Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Don't Just Stand There!

The other day I was home with Jarem and he asked me if he could play Wii. Usually the kids only get to play on Fridays, but I allowed him to play for a little while. Afterall, he rarely gets to even play, let alone play the games he wants, when the other kids are around...the curse of the youngest.

Here he is playing a game where you try to rope the bull. He was totally cracking me up, so I got out the camera for a little video. The Nintendo company could so use this video for advertising what a good workout Wii can give you. :)

In the video after trying to rope the cow a couple of times, it's hard to hear, but he says, "Don't just stand there" (meaning the cow). He was going so crazy with his wiimote that he wasn't even pointing it at the screen. It was funny. At the end he says, "I got the cowie".


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Imagine... Whirled Peace!

The girl's school celebrated International Day of Peace 2009 by making "pinwheels for peace". It was part of a worldwide effort to promote peace. Their website estimated that there were 3 million pinwheels spinning on September 21st, 2009, in countries around the world! Their principal spoke about ways of promoting peace within their school and the whole school sang, "Give Peace a Chance". Then each child planted their pinwheel. It was a very pretty site and turned out to be a nice day even though we've had a lot of rain.

Tessa and her classmates blowing their pinwheels while waiting for everyone to gather.

Holding up their pinwheels

Jesikah with her classmates and pinwheel

Jesikah again

Jesikah letting Jarem hold her pinwheel.

Most of the kids all held up their pinwheels while the principal was talking.

Another view, you can see Jesikah from behind

Jesikah standing next to her teacher, Mrs. Watson, during the principal's speech.

Tessa planting her pinwheel

Not a great picture of Jesikah, but her shirt was planned, "Give Peas a Chance". It was the same as the song they sang with the exception of the Peace for Peas.

Jesikah also had peace socks that matched.

Jesikah after planting her pinwheel. I had my telephoto lens on because I wanted to get some good distance closeups, but as it turned out I didn't need it. It was hard to get all of her unless I backed way up.
Below: a few photos of the pinwheels after the kids went inside.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Riverfest 2009

This past weekend, Clarksville had their annual Riverfest celebration. We went last year on Saturday evening and ended up frustrated because we spent most of our time waiting in long lines, with smoking everywhere, and a generally kind of rough crowd. I had heard if we went in the daytime it would be much better, so I took the girls and Jarem from about 11-3 Saturday afternoon this time. Eric and Alex didn't want to go, so they stayed home and worked in the yard(not a bad deal). :)

It ended up being much better during the day and there were no lines and a much better atmosphere as well. There were lots of bounce house type activities and you paid $10 for a wristband to get into nearly everything. Unfortunately, the wristbands were only for 6 and up, so the girls got to go on everything, but not Jarem. Jarem patiently waited for the girls to go to their activities and finally we got to go to the toddler zone where toddlers get to play for free.

First, everyone had to get their faces painted. Jesikah wanted her face painted SO bad that she couldn't even think about anything else. The lady that painted their faces did an amazing job. It was not included in the wristband however, and we had to pay $4 per person. Later, we found free face painting which I totally would have done instead. I have to admit though, this lady did an awesome job, so I really didn't mind paying the $12 for the three of them in the end.

Different lady bugs on both sides, so we had to get a picture of both.

Jarem didn't want his face painted at the last minute and asked if she could paint his leg instead. :) She said she could paint his arm and he was much happier with that. He got Blues Clues with a few pawprints for clues.

This was one of those pictures that I was having trouble getting the settings right on my camera and it was way too bright, but after photoshopping it, it turned out pretty cute.

Tessa riding the bull. It bucks and tries to throw you off. Tessa loved it so much that she had to do it 3-4 times. No one else was in line so it worked out fine.

Both girls tried this velcro bounce thing. You put on a velcro suit and try to bounce high and throw yourself on the velcro wall. Neither of the girls managed to get very high, but they thought it was fun. We saw some people do tricks where they landed upside down. That was cool.

Tessa doing the climbing wall. She is our adventurous one. She was so excited to do it and she made it all the way to the top without a hitch. Jesikah didn't want to do this one.

Here she is on top!

Jarem patiently waiting while the girls play in one of the bounce houses.

Finally, we go to the toddler zone and it's Jarem's turn. He loved this bounce house. There were blow-up footballs and basketballs that they could throw in the nets or there was a basketball hoop where you could bounce and make baskets. That is what he is doing in the picture. He didn't want me to put this picture on the blog because it showed his underwear. :) I guess he hasn't heard yet that it's cool yet! :)

Tessa and Jesikah petting a mule while Jarem played.

The girls liked these chickens too.

Jarem loved riding this little train. It was so cute how he was waving at me out this little window the whole time. I did feel sorry for the driver who was driving in a circle 8 pattern on the grass all day long. He looked a little hot and bored.

The food was very expensive, but we did manage to find some $2 hot dogs and $1 water bottles before we left. We got a funnel cake and cotton candy for everyone to share too. They wanted the sno-cones, but for $3 each, I just couldn't see paying that much. So, I promised them a 99 cent frosty at Wendy's on the way home and everyone was happy. We had a great time, and when we came home, the boys had cleaned out the garden area in the backyard and headed to see the movie, "GI Joe". So I guess they got their reward for their hard work!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

School News

#1 This is a picture of the girls next to the "Best of the Best" wall at their school. This bulletin board is just as you walk in the school. The principal goes around and chooses the best pieces of work (one from each class) and displays them on this board. Tessa and Jesikah both made it on the best of the best wall at the same time too, so I had to get their picture. Tessa is pointing to hers above. It is an assignment on nouns and verbs with liftable flaps. Jesikah's is a map of Tennessee that she made with three liftable flaps showing landforms and agriculture in different areas of Tennessee. Good job girls!

#2 In other notable school news, I got a call from the PTO president last week asking me if I'd be willing to be treasurer for the PTO. She said she saw on my membership form that I had been PTO Secretary before. After explaining to me all the responsibilities of the treasurer, I somewhat reluctantly told her I would be willing to do it, if they needed me to.

Well, later that evening, I get an email from her informing me (in a vague sort of way) that she had called two other people who had also said they would be interested in being treasurer (they wanted some options I guess)... She wanted us all to meet at the school on Monday morning during their PTO board meeting. Then, during the meeting, they would call us each into the meeting one at a time to ask us questions and then we could all leave and they would vote. The lucky winner got to be the treasurer, and WOULDN"T THEY BE LUCKY?!? :)

Let me just say, have you ever been interviewed for a job you didn't apply for? And further, have you ever been interviewed for a VOLUNTEER position that you didn't volunteer for? Well, one of the three of us said she was OUT (the smart one)! And the other two of us suckers showed up at the school to get grilled. Well, I ended up being the really big sucker because I was the LUCKY WINNER!! Aren't I lucky?

What they didn't tell me until later was that the previous treasurer quit because it was too demanding and school had been in session only 2 weeks before he quit...not a good sign. I'm even more nervous now that I've been the treasurer almost two days and already received at least 15 or more emails from the PTO president plus I already met with her yesterday. She is quite the go-getter! I may end up being another statistic. I like being involved with the school and the PTO(don't get me wrong), but I have to admit, I really didn't think it was right the way they handled it. I'm already Jesikah's room mother, isn't that enough?

#3 I just wanted to share some of Tessa's spelling words from last week. My kids have all done lists of spelling word contractions before, but these were a little different than the typical ones I'm used to. They definitely have a bit of Southern flair.
I was surprised aintn't wasn't on there. :) Certainly the south isn't known for their proper grammar. I'm constantly correcting the kids.

Child: "There ain't no pie in the fridge Mom."
Mom: "You mean, isn't any?"

I'm joking, they aren't really that bad yet, but I do find myself correcting them often.

Free Tennis Courts, anyone?

Alex decided not to do football this year, and soccer for boys isn't until spring, so he joined the newly formed middle school tennis league. He loves to play tennis and one of his friends from church is also doing it. The problem: where to practice?

There are, on the high school/middle school grounds, tennis courts, but they are always locked. I contacted the person who is in charge of the courts this morning to find out if we could get access to them. Here is the response I received:

"Ms Bass, those stay locked and I cannot give out keys. Sorry"

It makes no sense to me. My son GOES to the school and is on the middle school league representing their school, but they are not allowed to use their tennis courts. I'm told that their insurance covers middle school students too, so I just don't see what the issue is. Where we came from in Washington, the high school tennis courts were always open for public use.

So last night we found some tennis courts across town and dropped off Alex and his friend to practice. He called me 10 minutes later saying they had to pay $4 an hour to use the tennis courts. Are you kidding me? I did find out that the fees start after 5:30pm, so we'll be going early from now on, but still, it's across town. Why not the school courts...any feedback?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Photography Class

I have been wanting to learn more about my camera and how to take better pictures for awhile, so I finally enrolled in a photography class at the local college here. Last week, it started and will last six-weeks. To my surprise, there are only 3 of us in the class, so we get lots of individual attention. I've learned so much already and I've only been to one class so far.

Our assignment for this week was to take lots of pictures and read our camera manual. It has been both fun and frustrating this week taking pictures with the new information. For the class, we are required to only take pictures in manual mode using only natural light. So the frustrating part is when I am in a hurry and can't get the light set quickly enough. I felt a little frustrated when we went to Riverfest this weekend and I couldn't get the settings adjusted correctly. I was going from shade to bright sun to overcast, etc, and everytime I had to change the settings before I could take a picture. I admit that I did cheat a couple of times and change it to Auto mode. However, on just a typical evening or morning, it has been fun adjusting the settings to change the picture because I don't usually have to keep changing them once they are set.

I don't know much yet, so you photographers out there, don't be too hard on me! :) Here are some pictures that I have taken for my class this week:

This picture below is of Jarem taking a nap. Sometimes, he just puts himself down for a nap if he gets tired while playing. This was one of those days. After I shot a couple of pictures, I accidentally woke him up and so I put the camera away. He said, "No mom, I want you to take a picture". I said, "Ok then go back to sleep" and he did.

The next several pictures are random ones I took of the kids playing outside with thier friends one evening:

The next pictures I took at sunrise behind our house when the mist was rising off the ground:

I love the natural light in these two of Jarem. It was about 7:30am. His poor little face is still recovering from his sunburn.

Funny boy picked his own poses and I just took pictures. This one I caught him when he was laughing at himself. Jarem loves having his picture taken.

Visiting Great Grandma Guelde

Our trip to Florida wouldn't have been complete without a stop at Great Grandma Guelde's (Eric's grandma) house in Ocala. So Sunday afternoon, we left the island and headed to her house. We got there about 7pm. We spent Monday with her before heading back Tuesday morning. The kids, of course, always love playing in the pool at her house and really enjoy being with her too. Jarem kept saying, "I have lots of Grandmas: Grandma Cindi, Grandma Guelde, Grandma Ricks, and Grandma Dayley". It was the first time that he had really connected all his grandmas, so it made me happy that he knows them all.

Poor Jarem woke up Monday morning looking like this... We suspect it was sun poisoning since regardless of the amount of sunscreen we lathered on his face the few days before, he kept getting sun. He has such light skin. We used three different types of sunscreens the day before, and after reading up on sun poisoning, it says it can be an allergy to a sunscreen that is activated by light. His poor little nose had lots of little blisters and his face was hot, red, and swollen. Regardless of the cause, he was a bit miserable most of the day, but especially because we wouldn't let him swim in the pool with the other kids. Finally, when the sun started to go down, we let him out to swim for a couple of hours.

Another picture of him after he woke up. The kids kept saying that he looked like a different person and Alex called him Chinaman because his eyes looked a little Chinese he said. After some Benadryl and staying out of the sun all day, he looked much better by the end of the day.
He looked in the mirror about halfway through the day and told Eric that he was only a little bit China now.

The kids enjoying Grandma Guelde's pool.

Tessa's new favorite thing is diving. She did a lot of that in her swimming lessons this summer.

Eric and Jarem sitting on the porch swing in the shade while the other kids swim.

Grandma had lots of old pictures and stories that she showed us and told us about. Eric and I took lots of pictures of the pictures she had and plan to make a book with names and relationships of his ancestors. It was very fun and interesting to learn about all the things she shared with us.

The kids always look forward to seeing their second cousins too when we go to Florida. Marley (left) and Allison (middle) are Eric's aunt's two youngest children. Allison and Alex are the same age and Jesikah and Marley are the same age. They really all have fun together.

Here some of them are camping out on Grandma's family room floor.

This is Eric and his Aunt Lisa. She is only ten years older than Eric so they kind of grew up together. With all Eric's gray hair it is hard to believe that Lisa is older. :) She & Denis came over Monday night with the kids to visit with us. Then the kids stayed overnight and she came back Tuesday morning with donuts for everyone before we left. She is a lot of fun.

Eric with his Grandma. He has always been close to his Grandma Guelde because he spent many summers with her and his grandpa when he was a teenager. He has many fond memories with them. She is a sweet lady. It's hard to believe that she will be 80 next month. She hardly has any wrinkles. We had a lot of fun with her. She is such a sweet lady.

The whole group of us (minus me who was taking the picture) in Grandma's kitchen before we headed home Tuesday morning.