Sunday, February 28, 2010

Girls' Basketball

Last Fall, Jesikah had a big interest in learning to play basketball.  My good friend, Priya, did some research on teams, and she found out that both her girls and both of our girls could all play on the same team.  Well, since we are neighbors, we thought this was a very good option for car-pooling too, so we went with it.

In the picture, Tessa is on the bottom far left and Jesikah is the top far right.  Divya and Pramika (our neighbors and the girls best friends) are sitting right below Jesikah in the front row next to each other.

They started practicing last November. Their games started in December and ended in February. It was kind of a frustrating experience for everyone I think. Our girls were both beginners as well as Priya's girls. We planned to put up a basketball hoop in our driveway so that the girls could have a place to practice, but still haven't gotten it done. On the team, the coaches two daughters were very experienced. The coach would get frustrated with our girls for their lack of knowledge and hardly let the 4 of them play in games. He never took the time to teach them the basics of the game.  We had to spend time with them at home just to explain the rules of play.  He would rotate one of our 4 in at a time and his two daughters would always play.  It was important to the coach to make a good impression and to win.


The only way they will learn to play is get the opportunity TO PLAY.  Jesikah would notice that they were the only ones being left on the bench during the game, and she would approach the coach about it.  The coach would say that they needed more time to watch and learn...whatever!

The pictures were very unprofessional too (as you can see).  I did some editing on them to even get them this clear(the lighting was very poor).  I wished I would have just taken my own pictures.

Most of the games were pretty funny to watch because the girls really didn't know what to do if they ever got the ball since it was such a rare occasion.  In the end, they did improve some, and I was proud of them during the last game because they really tried hard and were able to make a few good plays.  Anyway, I guess we will know what team NOT to put them on next year(if they decide to do it again).

Shutters

One of the things that frustrates most me about myself is my indecisiveness about certain things.  I'll come across something that I can't decide on, so then I research more options, and then I REALLY can't decide.  This has been the case with the shutters on our house.  When we first had our house built, Eric and I went back and forth on shutters vs no shutters.  I even had some of you vote a while back on the blog.  We finally decided on shutters, but the builders forgot to put them up.  We knew that we had a year warranty, so we figured that we'd give it some time and see if we liked it the way it was or if we still wanted the shutters.

Well, we finally decided that we did want them, so we asked our builder to put them up for us before our warranty was up. 

They went about it a different way than I expected.  They built the shutters, put them up, and then painted them black after they were up.  Before they painted them, I almost liked them white. :) (again indecisiveness)  Above, the guy is painting them.  He finished just as it was getting dark, so I didn't get a picture that night.

The next day with shutters


Close-up

In the end, I was happy with the result.  I was relieved when the builder suggested a certain style of shutters and I liked them.  That made our decision easier.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Old Time Portraits

At Sam's Club during the last week of January, there was an outside company taking old time portraits. I love that style of portraits, and we have had a frame in our living room for 5 years that my parents gave us with that style of pictures when the oldest 3 were little.  But, they were getting outdated, and I wanted to update the pictures in the frame to include Jarem too. As it turned out, the new pictures worked perfectly for the frame and Jarem was included too. I was actually surprised that the orientation and sizes worked out so well. 

I like the way they turned out, except for that fact I had to spend all too much money to get the poses I wanted.  The sitting was only $5 for unlimited number of people, and the 10x12 of all the kids together was $10.  That was their promotion, which sounds good, right?  But of course, there are lots of cute ones and they charge you $40 a sheet unless you get a package.  I wasn't about to pay $40 a sheet, so I got the package which was a lot less per sheet but more sheets.

Alex wasn't particularly fond of the hat, but it was the style then, so I like it.  The girls loved dressing up, and Jarem was just cheesing his fake smile, but we finally got a good one of him in the end.





Valentines


These beauties showed up on our kitchen table Saturday afternoon(Feb 13th).

Sunday morning, these were on my nightstand along with some beautiful earrings and a heartfelt card.  My husband has always been a great gift-giver, and once again, he didn't disappoint.  I have never seen these type of chocolates before, and I'm not usually a big fan of chocolates, but these are "to die for".  My two favorites: the creme brulee, and the lemon tart.  Creme brulee is one of my favorite desserts, and the lemon tart had a liquidy lemon center...yum!  They are now gone, and I want to go find another box!

We usually do a small gift for Valentine's Day for each child, like a book, or maybe a shirt or stuffed animal.  This year, however, they got a little more than usual because both Eric and I ended up getting them something separately.  This book that I made for Alex was supposed to be a Christmas present.  I've have wanted to make it for awhile, and finally got it done just in time to have it shipped for Christmas.  Unfortunately, I didn't check out the price closely enough when I started, it was going to cost me $100 plus shipping.  I was not willing to pay that, so I left it on Shutterfly until they had their best deal.  Finally, for their Valentine's special, I was able to get 40% off plus free shipping which was probably as good as it was going to get, thus, he got it for Valentine's Day!  I think he was excited about it although it's hard to read emotion with him sometimes.


I had a 2 page layout for each grade with his class picture and school picture for that year.  Then on the next few pages I tried to include good friends, school activities, and sports that year.

I picked a couple of my favorites to show.

The book ended with his 6th grade graduation (his elementary school went through 6th grade in Washington).  This was a bittersweet memory because although he was moving onto to middle school, he would be leaving all of his friends for the last 5 years to move to Tennessee about a month after graduation.



Eric got the girls these two adorable bears which they quickly named, "Lena"(pink) and "Morghan" (red).  I got them each a clothing item, which they also liked.


But this little treasure was by far the favorite of the afternoon.  While I got Jarem a cute mini-Lego set, this book was Eric's gift for Jarem.  I'm going to be honest and say that I wasn't particularly thrilled for my sweet little boy to get a farting book, but that's what happens when my husband and his brother shop together. :) To make it even more irresistable for them, their dad's name is Walter, but he goes by "Kent" because he has never liked the name, and farting is a hilarious topic among his family.  Needless to say, Jarem could not stop laughing about it, and his laugh is contagious, so it really turned out to be quite funny.  But, that's not all...


The book was accompanied by Walter the Farting Dog stuffed animal who really farts when squeezed.  Eric proceeded to read the book to Jarem while Jarem squeezed the dog each time it farted in the book.  Eric could hardly read it he was laughing so hard, and each of the kids was nearly rolling on the floor with laughter.  Since then, Jarem has become better friends with Walter than I had hoped.  He now has become his lovable sleeping companion...ugh! 

All in all, it was a great Valentines Day and a fun weekend.  I enjoyed celebrating Tina's birthday with Linda and Elke on Saturday and we also really enjoyed having Kyle and Jessica spend the weekend with us.  It's so great to have some family within a couple of hours, finally.  We love spending time with them.  I liked have Valentines on Sunday because we had an enjoyable and restful Sunday afternoon together.  We laughed a lot about Walter, napped, played games, and ate.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

School Closing Make-up Plan

I was interested in how the kids would be making up the school days they have missed.  This is what I found on the school district website: 

Weather Related School Closing Make-Up Plan 2010
This plan is designed to make up as much time before critical state tests as possible while maintaining the graduation and spring break calendar.
As of Tuesday, February 16, 2010, seven days have been missed in the school calendar. We have three built in snow days leaving four days to be made up for instruction.
  • Day 1   Addition of 30 minutes to the end  of the school day beginning on March 1, 2010 and ending March 18, 2010   
  • Day 2*   April 2nd (a day formerly “out of the calendar”)   
  • Day 3   Addition of 30 minutes to the end of the school day beginning on March 19, 2010 and ending April 9, 2010 and full student day on March 8th   
  • Day 4**   For staff only, May 25, 2010 (all staff report for training – students use a stockpiled day)   
  • Day 5 (if needed)   Addition of 30 minutes to the end of the school day beginning on April 12, 2010 and ending April 29, 2010 
I thought it was interesting that they will be adding 30 minutes to a series of days rather than adding more days.  I think I like that plan better than the alternative.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Oh, the snow!

I took this picture of Jesikah and Pramika on one of the snow days last week with their snowman.  It was the first snowman of the season.  The other days it was too cold, but this day, the snow was wet enough to stick together nicely.

Jesikah and her snowman

Strangely enough, it started snowing again yesterday, and guess what?  The kids got President's Day off afterall.  I got the phone call about 5:15am this morning that school was cancelled yet again.  I think this makes something like 6 or 7 snow days out of school in the past month.  It's still snowing which makes me wonder if there will be school tomorrow?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

School on President's Day

Over the past two and a half weeks, the kids have missed 5 days of school because of snow or ice.  I think they missed one before that too, so they now have 3 days to make-up.  Because of this, the school board voted that the kids go to school ON President's Day.  I've never heard of that, but that is fine with me since we didn't have plans anyway.  Besides, it seems like they have been at home more than at school lately.  I'm sure it's going to throw some families off though who already had trips planned.  I just hope they don't cancel part of Spring Break since we DO have plans for then.

Don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed the snow.  However, I'm hoping that we don't get much more because they cancel school so easily here that the kids may go to school all summer if it keeps snowing.

Adventure Science Center

 
On one of our many recent "snow days", I took the girls with me up to the Adventure Science Center in Nashville.  Unfortunately, Jarem was sick, so Alex offered to stay with him while we went.  We met the Wall family up there, and the girls had a great time.  We decided to buy a family membership, since the  membership was a great deal for military.  I was very impressed with it.  I look forward to many more fun times at the Science Center.

  
The area where you feel weightless as if you are on the moon.

  
Jesikah suspended

  
Tessa and Alex giving it a try

  
Tessa weightless

 
Katie performing surgery.  She was so cute in her surgeon's gown. :)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Greatest Show on Earth

Our kids had never been to a circus before, and I think I'd only been once when I was about 8. Tessa said that she didn't know circuses were real, she thought they only happened in books.  Eric said he may have been when he was young too, but he doesn't really remember. So, when Eric's brother, Kyle, and his wife Jessica invited us to come to the circus in Huntsville, Alabama (where they live), last Saturday, we were excited.


Here's a picture of us down in the pre-show area before the circus started.  We got to go down on the floor before the show started and see the elephants, clowns, and etc. up close.  None of the kids would let me get their picture with the clown?


Kyle and Jessica just before the show


The kids on the floor before the show

Elephant in pre-show

Elephant painting a picture during pre-show

Here we are in our seats waiting for the show to begin

Our $12 cotton candy came with this complimentary hat...

The elephants part of the show

The beginning circus train/parade

Tessa with the hat (she wore it most of the circus)

Jarem with the hat

Me with the hat


Tessa enjoyed the circus probably the most.  Alex and Jesikah also enjoyed it, but Jarem kept wanting to lay down and go to sleep.  I didn't understand that...it was constant motion and entertainment. :)

All in all, we really enjoyed all the performers and animals.  I think I was most surprised when they had 6 motorcycles driving around in a big steel ball all at the same time.  We loved the "little man" and all his tricks and stunts.  I also enjoyed the trapeze artists, and trampoline tricks.  I think it covered everything a circus is supposed to have.  Afterwards, we went out to eat at Red Robin (a place we have missed since moving to Tennessee from Washington).  It was just as good as we remembered.  Then, we went to see Kyle and Jessica's new house before heading back to Clarksville.  It is very nice.  We are so glad that they live only 2 hours away now.  We enjoyed spending the day with them.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Itchy Legs

About three weeks ago, (one of the first days all my kids went back to school after Christmas break), I decided that I was going back to the gym.  I hadn't been in a couple of months, and I hate paying for the membership that I'm not using.  In addition, I hate the extra pounds that I'm packing around even more than the membership fee.  I needed to get back in shape, and what better time to start than the new year, right?

So I dropped Jarem off at preschool and headed to the gym.  I felt so good about making it to the gym finally.  I went right to the theatre room at the Clarksville Athletic Club, and I started walking on the treadmill to get warmed up.  I was wearing long workout pants with shorts underneath since it was cold outside, but I figured I'd be too warm in no time.  I hadn't been walking long (maybe 1-2 minutes at most) when my legs started itching.  Now, this isn't the first time this has happened, I have experienced "itchy legs" before when I haven't worked out in awhile.  So, I thought if I just dealt with it for a few minutes, I could push through this. 

As I sped up my walk and started into a slow jog, the itching became more and more intense!  By the time I had been on the treadmill for only a piddly 7 minutes, the itching was so extremely intense it was DRIVING ME CRAZY!  Finally, I knew that I had reached my limit and I COULD NOT TAKE IT ONE MORE SECOND.  So, I got off the treadmill and practically RAN to the dressing room to find a place to privately dig my nails into the fronts of my thighs.  It was AWFUL!  After I found the dressing room and got my scratching done, I waited a few minutes and felt better.  I wondered if it may be caused from my new workout pants.  They were a different fabric than I was used to, and I couldn't remember if I had washed them before wearing them (after all, I had purchased them a few months before).  So, I stripped off my pants and thought, "I'll just wear my shorts".  I was not giving up that easily.  I HAD to get a good workout, I was already at the gym and that's half the battle.

I headed back to the theatre room to give it a second go.  It wasn't three minutes of walking on the treadmill this time when the itching was already just as intense as it was before.  Once again, I raced to the dressing room to scratch myself to death.  I finally conceded after round 2 that exercising was just not going to work for me today, so I got my coat and keys and headed out to the car after only exercising for 10 minutes total.  On the way to the car, I thought I just as well jog to the car to get some kind of exercise (maybe it was the treadmill).  It wasn't a 20 second jog to the car and I was already itching again.  I was SO mad!  Here I had dragged myself to the gym and been so good about starting my new year's resolution only to be stopped by crazy itching legs.  While I had experienced itchy legs before when not exercising in awhile, it has NEVER been even close to this intense.  In fact, I don't ever remembered feeling itching of that intensity in my entire life.  Am I really crazy or what?

When I got home, I did a little research online to see about possible causes.  It made me feel better that many people have had similar experiences, although I pity them. It truly is miserable! I learned that "itchy legs" made the top ten list for most embarrassing things that happen while exercising.

Here's the possible causes that I came up with from my research:
  • It could be the salt in your sweat is making your legs itch
  •  Some synthetics can trigger a reaction, and sometimes your legs get itchy in response to residual pesticides and dyes in the fabric used to make your pants. If you notice that your legs get itchy when you wear new pants, wash them and try exercising again.
  • Vibration can cause itchiness like vibrations from a treadmill
  • Some people say itching only happens when exercising in cold weather or some say hot weather
  • Caused by inactivity because capillaries in your legs contract when not in use and expand again when used. Because they lost the elasticity, the nerve endings around the capillaries will transmit the sudden expansion of these capillaries to your brain and your brain perceives this as an itch.


In fact, experts say, "Having itchy, irritated legs during exercise is fairly common. The good news is that the sensation is temporary (if caused by inactivity).  If you stick with your exercise routine, the blood flow will force the capillaries to open and, with consistent expansion, the irritation will subside."



As could be expected, this "itchy legs episode" has put quite a damper on my new year's resolution.  While this experience definitely discouraged me from getting out and exercising again (I haven't been to the gym since); I have ventured outdoors to exercise a couple of times since then, and I only got the "itchies" one other time but only when sprinting.  I walked and jogged without an issue.  I figure it must have been the new pants with the vibrations of the treadmill and the inactivity all coupled together.  Who knows, maybe the sweat played a role too.  I'm going to try exercising outdoors for awhile and when I get the courage to try the treadmill again, I may try Benadryl. :)