Chess

Myers and Graham were recently accepted into their school’s Gifted program. Their first unit of study in Kindergarten is to learn to play chess. Rachel doesn’t know how to play and while my uncle taught me the basics years ago, I’ve since forgotten how to play. The boys’ teacher sent us this URL: http://www.chesskids.org.uk/ so that we can follow along with them as they learn.

Dr. A, the Gifted teacher, requested that we send pictures for her to use to construct custom chess boards for the boys. Some parents sent pictures of family members and pets, but we sent pictures of the boys’ favorite things: Pokemon for Graham & Lego for Myers. They turned out really great! See?

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, y’all! What a wonderful day! By the way, Myers is feeling much better…

BB and Hank came over first thing this morning. Just as all kids do, ours were up bright and early, eager to find out what Santa brought. We were still waiting for BB/Hank so we let them open their stockings, which kept them entertained for quite a while. And we got them involved in passing out the gifts and sorting them into piles.

The kids were angels as we opened gifts. They were so patient and quietly took turns opening gifts. They said thank you a lot and expressed genuine excitement and interest over what other people received. So sweet!

The kids mostly got little gifts — stuffed animals, some board games to share, and books. Myers was especially excited to get Action Plates, which are basically like the Fashion Plates that Louisa got for her birthday, but are instead used to design your own superhero.

The big gifts came from family, not Santa. From us, Myers and Graham each got a LeapPad tablet (age appropriate and indestructible) & Louisa got a Kindle Fire tablet. They also got one other really cool big gift from BB and Papa Hank — bicycles and helmets! Grandpa & Granny Annie gave the boys scooters and Louisa got a sewing machine. Grandma T gave the kids some money to pick their own present. They will enjoy a trip to the toy store on a rainy day!

Rachel and I never do much for one another on Christmas, but we did exchange ornaments and I got a new menorah, a long-running tradition of ours. Louisa made beautiful gifts for us at school and BB gave me a beautiful sterling silver and topaz (my fave shade of blue!) necklace. Even the back is so pretty, I may have to try and find a way to wear it like that, too.

Just as she always does, Rachel cooked up a mess of food large enough to feed an army! We had an amazing breakfast and enjoyed watching the kids play. BB and Hank had to jet off to spend the afternoon with their other grandkids & Rachel and I enjoyed the rest of the day relaxing and watching TV. Oh, and we ordered Chinese food for dinner, which brings me to this…

‘Tis the season to be jolly!

Christmas Eve dinner

We have a tradition of eating dinner at BB’s house on Christmas Eve. Family friends, Angela and Bengt, came and Rachel’s brother, (Uncle) Lee brought his fiance, Ally. A great evening was sure to be had by all, until…

Myers kept complaining about his tummy hurting, but was still playing with his brother and sister, so we shrugged it off. Dinner was running behind, as it always does on Christmas, and so we even thought he may be hungry and tried to encourage him to have a snack. He started complaining more, however, and ended up vomiting all over the floor. Poor little guy!

Ally (also a nurse), jumped right in to help me clean up the vomit. Since dinner was just about to be served, I didn’t want Rachel and the kids to have to miss out, so I agreed to sit with Myers in the bedroom. Rachel made me plate and I ate while keeping an eye on him and watching cartoons. Louisa and Graham came in to check on Myers and to see me for a bit. It wasn’t quite the celebration I’d planned, but things happen.

We hated to have to leave so early, but it was good to get the kids home and ready for bed. After all, Santa can’t visit unless kids are sleeping! Plus, we still had some gift wrapping and organizing to do, and it was nice to avoid staying up so late. Hey, gotta look at the bright side! Big picture, we still had a great night. Merry Christmas, y’all.

Happy 8th Birthday, Louisa!

The old adage “time flies” is proving itself to be true. It seems like just yesterday that Louisa was born and here we are, celebrating her 8th birthday. Unbelievable!

The weekend got off to a good start when, on Friday, Louisa got to attend a sleepover at Daisy’s house to celebrate Daisy’s birthday. And then, when the girls all woke Saturday morning to a huge breakfast, they sang Happy Birthday to Louisa. How sweet!!!

Louisa chose to have a party at the roller skating rink, which was so perfect because while there was a time limit to the party itself — in other words, the amount of time the staff would cater to our needs — the skating rink stayed open much later and the kids were able to continue to skate as long as they wanted. Most everyone invited came to the party and it was fun to meet some of her friends’ parents.

One little boy, Alex, evidently has a “crush” on Louisa. His mother said that as soon as he got the invitation to her party, he was over-the-moon excited and insisted on picking out her present on his own. He enlisted his sister’s help to make her a flower pen and he gave Louisa a little jewelry set. He’d written a letter, too, and as she read it, he ducked down behind the table. We definitely want to remember this story to share with Louisa sometime way down the road. You never know, she could end up dating him one day or something!

Louisa also got to celebrate her birthday with the family. BB made a wonderful cake, as always, and we had a great dinner too. There was one mix-up with gift giving, which was that BB/Hank gave Louisa the same thing that we’d gotten her — Fashion Plates! The kit they bought was nicer and had more stuff, so she kept that one. She was ridiculously excited to have the Fashion Plates, the only thing she really asked for…

Here she is below, blowing out the candles on her cake.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, sweet girl.

Please, Santa

The kids, especially Graham and Myers, have been dying for our elf, Kristal, to make an appearance. However, Kris usually doesn’t come until Louisa’s birthday to help us celebrate the twelve days leading up to Christmas. In the hope of Kris arriving early, the kids wrote these letters to Santa. I think it might do the trick!

Happy Birthday, Mommy

Today is Mommy’s birthday! As we always do, we went to BB’s house to celebrate with the traditional birthday dinner of Chinese food followed by birthday cake and ice cream. The kids were so excited to celebrate Mommy’s special day, made even better because Uncle Lee came to dinner!

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOMMY!!!