Saturday, November 27, 2010

Putting up the Christmas Tree

Today we put up our Christmas tree.  Eric put lights on the outside of the house, and we got out our Christmas decorations out.  It went quicker this year since we had lots of help from the kids.  This is the only picture that I have of putting up the Christmas tree. 

Thanksgiving Day!

We invited our good friends, The Howe Family, over for Thanksgiving dinner.  We also invited a couple of other families, but the others already had plans.  The Howe's were able to come though, and it was so good to spend time with them again.  Since they moved up on post this past summer, we have hardly seen them.  It was good to spend time with them again.  It also gave us a chance to get acquainted with little Isaac who was born in October.  We had a yummy dinner including Jeremy's signature pulled pork, which was delicious and lots and lots of desserts!

Isley, Jesikah, and Hannah with baby Isaac.  Jesikah is getting her baby fill.

Isley and Strati joined us for dessert

Strati in his Cowboys gear.  He and Eric are both big Cowboys fans.  I thought the Cowboys had won the game on Thanksgiving because Eric had been cheering and Strati was decked out.  I found out a few days later that they had actually lost the game in the last seconds. :)

Jeremy and Strati chatting

This is Nick probably a few days after that when they came over between a break in their Sunday schedule to hang out.  We were showing them they new car which had just arrived that day.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Feasts

Between the 18th and the 23rd, I attended 3 Thanksgiving feasts.  First, on the 18th, Jesikah had a Thanksgiving lunch at school and asked that I come.  Since I've been having lunch with Jarem and Tessa every Friday, she has wanted me to come to lunch with her, but has been a little apprehensive of how that is looked at in middle school.  It went well, and she wasn't embarrassed at all. 

Both Tessa and Jarem had a Thanksgiving feast at school on different days.  I attended both.  Jarem's was on Friday the 19th.  His was a little interesting because they just laid out paper on the floor for the kids and the parents just stood around.  Also, it wasn't really a traditional feast because they had sandwich meat instead of real turkey or ham and more kid-friendly foods.  It was fine though, and the kids were cute dressed in their hats.  The kids sang a cute little song about a turkey in the beginning.

Tessa's was a much better meal with real turkey and the works and was held Tuesday, November 23rd.  This time, the parents got to eat with the kids too.  Hers was held in the lunch room where there was much more room and the tables were decorated in there.  Definitely better for 4th graders.  Regardless though, I enjoyed the time with both of them.

These were all taken on my cell phone, so the quality isn't that great.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Things I Learned From Coaching Soccer

Tessa and Jarem had their last soccer game on Friday, November 13th.  Jarem had his soccer party, Wednesday, November 17th and now we were officially done! Whew! When I finished coaching Jarem's soccer team, I had a lot of things in my mind that I wanted remember from the coach's perspective as well as a a few random other things I learned through the season. 
1) Being snack coordinator is not too much to ask.  I have always sat perfectly still when the coach asked for a snack coordinator.  With all the many teams my kids have been on, I have never once volunteered.  We've even been on teams where the coach ended up assigning snacks because no one volunteered.  Now I feel ashamed for being like that because it really isn't a big deal.  At our first meeting, it was very quiet when I first asked about someone volunteering for snack coordinator, but someone did finally step up.  And I was very grateful not to have that extra pressure on me.
2) The difference between a corner kick and a goal kickAfter embarrassing myself a couple of times at games for setting up in the wrong place, Eric finally explained to me the difference between when a corner or goal kick is played for an out of bounds ball.  You'd think after watching Alex play for years, I would have figured that out, but nope.  :)

3) It IS important for all players to arrive 15 minutes early.  In the past, I would usually arrive at games that our children were playing in about right on time or even sometimes a few minutes late.  We've gotten better over the years, but still struggle with it sometimes.  When the coach said 15 minutes early, I just thought that was a cushion time to make sure everyone arrived by game time.  Now, I understand that it is important to have a little warm-up time, but even more, it is VERY stressful for the coach waiting and wondering if they will have enough players.  Many times the ref was ready to start the game and I didn't have enough players.  Then a couple would show up a few minutes into game time but arrangements had already been made to play less on one field or whatever.  Having only 8 players on my team and needing 6 to play, many a game, I stressed on how many players I would have.

4) It IS important to let the coach know if you are not going to be there.  There again, having only 8 players, if only 2 didn't show up, we had the minimum number to play.  It was nice to know if they weren't going to be there so we could make necessary adjustments and not wait around.
5) Are trophies really necessary? Most people feel that their kids should get a trophy and a party for completing a season of any sport. After coaching the season, I was burned out and ready to be done. When people started asking about trophies and parties, I felt tired. However, I was happy I was able to redirect the question back to one of the askers and have her get the trophies. Still though, I had to collect much of the money. She told me they would be $5, and when they ended up being $11 something, many families thought that included the pizza too. I was quite surprised when a couple of families asked about pizza being included when they got to the party. Anyway, the trophies are cute and Jarem was happy with his, but are trophies really necessary in a non-competetive league? What about a nice participation ribbon or certificate made by someone besides the coach? :)

6) Don't EVER let your kids carry around empty giftcards at team parties.  At our end of season party, one of the boys on my team handed me a play jewelry ring and said that was for me.  When I looked up at his mom to see if she wanted me to have it, she said he'd been carrying it around all day for me.  I smiled and said, "Thank you".  Then in his other hand, he handed me an Aeropostale giftcard and said, "This goes with it".  I thought it was observant that his mom noticed I liked Aeropostale and I told him thank you and then proceeded to give his mom a sincere "thank you very much".  It was at that point that she said, "Oh, it doesn't have anything on it, he just likes to carry around my empty giftcards."  That was a little embarrassing! That said...

7) Do something for the coach.  Not that I expected anything, (because I coached out of sheer need and mostly so Jarem could have the experience), but I have to admit that when I walked out of Cici's pizza after the team party that night with only a play ring, I felt a little disappointed   A simple thank-you card from anyone would have been appreciated.  While I know I wasn't a super-coach or anything, I did show up and teach them every week at practice and coach every game.  I got a couple of thanks (in passing), but nothing that I really felt was sincere.  I know that I have sometimes been guilty of not doing anything for our kid's many coaches over the years.  I guess I figured they must do it cause they love it and that's their reward...(not so much)!  And I feel bad now.  I will not go another season without at least giving the coach a thank-you card for their effort.

Even though some of these sound a bit negative, I mostly had a very good experience coaching.  I enjoyed the time I got to spend with Jarem and the other boys and I enjoyed getting to know them and watch them play and progress.  My very favorite game was the second to last game where we didn't have enough players to play on two fields so all the players that were there played together.  (Typically, the team is divided in two and play on two fields so everyone gets to play nearly the whole game).  It was fun because normally I always had to separate the best two players and that was the only game where they both played together as well as the rest of the team.  We were able to do some fun moves and plays.  That said, I don't plan to ever coach again, but I will help, be snack coordinator, and have a new perspective on the coach's job. :)

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Today we had the last soccer games for the season.  It was a little rainy in the morning, but we made it through  Tessa and Jarem's games without getting too wet.  By early afternoon it was raining pretty hard, but let up just before Alex's game started at 3:30pm.  By halftime though, it was coming down hard and Alex got soaked to the bone before the game was over.  It was so cold that I really felt bad for him. 

I feel like I have neglected to blog about Tessa and Alex's soccer experience due to my intimate involvement with Jarem's team.  Tessa has worked hard this season and improved a lot.  She had the same coach that she had a year ago when she played, and we like him as coach.  His name is Johnny Woodard.  Eric was an assistant coach to him for the first half of the season and then got incredibly busy with work and call and wasn't able to help much during the second half.  Tessa has gotten better at following through with the ball and being a little more aggressive.  Aggressiveness just isn't in her nature though, so it is a kind of hard thing for her to learn to follow through and keep going even when an opponent approaches.  Here's a few shots that I got of her during the last game.

It's kind of funny how she flails her arms sometimes when she runs kind of like a rag doll. :)

Alex did not have a good experience with the adult league.  He started out thinking he would really like it.  He liked the first two games and then after that, he begged not to go every week.  Many of the weeks he had Saturday conflicts involving church, school, or friends so he wasn't able to make it.  He only made it to probably 4-5 games.  He said some of the adults kind of picked on him and said mean things, which initially was what he said they DIDN'T DO, so I don't know.  But, I don't think he will do it again.

Eric's Deer

On the day before Veteran's Day, Eric went to spend the weekend up at his dad's Missouri ranch.  His dad and his brother, Kyle, stopped and picked him up on their way through from Huntsville, Alabama to Missouri.  Eric shot his first deer while there.  He has never really been a hunter so I was surprised when he wanted to go hunting.  However, since living close to his dad's ranch in Missouri, he and his brother, Kyle, enjoy hunting on the ranch.  Even more than hunting though, I think they just enjoy being outdoors together and setting up their stands.

This buck had a messed up rack.  One side was normal while the other side must have been damaged when it was young because it had a little weird antler and the rest wrapped around his head.

I think Eric's allergies were acting up in these pictures because his one eye looks a bit swollen.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Alex's 15th Birthday

On November 11, Alex turned 15! Alex is fortunate that November 11th falls on Veteran's Day because he gets out of school nearly every year. This year, it was no exception. He invited his friends over after their youth activity Wednesday night and they spent the night. Then Thursday morning, we got up and had a pancake breakfast. A little later I took them bowling and then we got a Subway platter for lunch. Alex loves Subway. He had a good birthday.

The night before his birthday, we let him open his present from us since Eric was leaving to go hunting for the weekend.

It was an Ipod Touch!  He was VERY happy.  He has a hard time showing excitement sometimes, but he kept saying over and over again for several days, "I'm so happy, I'm so happy, I'm so happy!"  He loved it immediately and put it to good use right away.

Book from Grandma & Grandpa  (It's a book about Parley P Pratt who Alex learned a lot about during the Nauvoo pageant). Alex was excited about it even though he is making a weird face.

Alex opening the gifts from Jarem and Tessa.  They gave him Ipod screen protectors and silicone cases

Alex loving the silicone cases...but again being weird

Hugs for Jarem for the cases

The party group eating Subway after bowling.  Later we had cherry cheesecake, but I forgot to get pictures of it.  Altogether, he said it was one of his best birthdays ever.  He LOVED the Ipod, and, of course, hanging out with friends too.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day Program

Tessa is in Honor Choir this year in her elementary school.  They had to try out for it, and they practice Friday mornings before school.  It is a great thing for her to be involved in, and it doesn't take a lot of extra time for us. 

They perform at all school programs that include music.  This was the veteran's days program which took place on November 9.  My favorite of the songs they sang was, "God Bless America".  In the top picture, Tessa is in the 2nd row from the bottom, 5th person from the right.  In the lower picture, she is in the front row center.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Nauvoo Family Pictures

My sister, Candace, emailed these pictures to me this morning. These are our professional pictures we had taken while we were in Nauvoo this past July. A man took these pictures at no charge to us. What a great service!!  I love how they turned out. These were the costumes we wore all week while participating in the Nauvoo pageant.

Alex, and his cousins, Colton and Kadie, spent 2 weeks in Nauvoo with my parents.  They were full cast members getting to be a part of the entire pageant.  This was their little family (below).  We came their second week and participated in the gold cast which was just a one-week cast.  Alex had such a wonderful experience, and I'm so grateful to my parents for making it work for him to have the full experience.

Alex, Colton, Kadie, Grandpa & Grandpa Ricks

Everyone together including my sister, Candace's family, who was also in the gold cast with us.  We also met my sister Melanie and her husband, Ben (top right) and my brother, James (top left) and we were able to do some fun things together and have a family reunion there.  Melanie, Ben, and James were not part of the pageant, but they borrowed our extra clothing just for the picture.

Everyone with a serious face like they used to do in picture.  Jarem is so funny in this one trying to make a serious face.

My sister, Candace, and her cute family

Us, of course

This was another family that was in our cast and we spent a lot of time with.  We got to know them pretty well.  They were from Mississippi.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween Carnival

Since Halloween was on a Sunday this year, our church party was on Friday and we did a little trick-or-treating on Saturday to some families in our neighborhood who had opted to accept trick-or-treaters on Saturday. There was a lot of discussion around here on whether Halloween should be celebrated on Saturday or Sunday.  Some whole communities and cities adopted Saturday trick-or-treating here in Tennessee.  There were some rather heated opinions in our neighborhood on which should be done.  In the end, many decided to accept trick-or-treaters both nights.  However, I think us and one other family were the only ones that went on Saturday.  It was fun though and more relaxed with fewer people out.  On Sunday, we went to church and stayed home, but Jesikah did dress up and give the rest of our candy out to trick-or-treaters who came by.

Jarem and Tessa dressed up Friday night before the party

Tessa is a queen, specifically, Queen of England according to her, and Jarem is a cowboy with horse.

Alex didn't dress up this year, but is holding the candy.
The woman in charge of the carnival , Laura Richards,holding the poster she made. She did a great job!!

Mikayla holding Laura's baby, Loni (so cute)!

Cowboy hanging out

Jesikah and her good friend, Pramika.  Jesikah was dressing up as Elphaba from the Broadway musical, Wicked.  She painted her neck green too the next night.

Outside of the church there was a little picture-taking area

Here are Laura and Loni together...this was probably my favorite costume of the night...Little Bo Peep with Loni as the little lamb.

Other fun costumes of the night: The Grants

The Walls (we saw these shirts at Suessland in Universal Studios Florida).  I love, love their hair.

I hadn't seen this one before.  When you are pregnant you have to work with what you've got. :) This is Jennifer Waldroup

Cute clown...Michele Hughuley

The Collis' with a borrowed baby. :)

Elke as a cute devil.  I love the tail coming out the back that you can't see.

The Grants again. :)

Amy Wheeler...her costume was amazing. The more you looked, the more you saw.  There were all kinds of things like little spiders and etc that you had to pay attention to notice.

Lion and Tiger babies
(I borrowed pictures of some of the people there from others facebook and blog pics of the event.  I was boring and didn't dress up, but I enjoyed seeing all the fun costumes others put together )