Reach and Pull and Reach and Pull.

Ken finally had a chance to come to our swim lessons at Little Ones Swim...I am sure after listening to both Kata's and Bella's lessons he had "Reach and pull and reach and pull..." ringing in his ears...

Both girls' lessons are at the same time...love that Margie (the owner) for scheduling classes so that Mommies can stay sane...so while Bella and I are in the Mommy & Me class, Kata is with Coach Stephanie on the other end of the pool. Kata is doing extremely well in her class...really concentrating on breathing...today, they put on flippers for the first time...she was truly Ariel...her mermaid dream come true.

Kata swimming by herself.

Bella, Bella, swim over to Mommy...Bella swimming with Margie.

Wishing you a day filled with 92-degree water and lots of splashing about...reach and pull and reach and pull...


Here Comes Santa Claus.

"I don't want to see Santa...." wailed Bella...yes, we were back at the Summit Sierra mall for their Carriage Rides with Santa. Right after church...and before lunch. Not a good idea, you think?

And then he arrived promptly at 1 o'clock as scheduled...clip, clop, clip, clop...here comes Santa...

We were all excited...second family in line...43 degrees, cloudy and no snow.

Kata was already with her request...Alex was still trying to make up his mind...and Bella kept mumbling "I want a dolly...I want a dolly..."

And then we were loaded into the carriage. " My, you've grown so much from last year, " Santa said to Alex.

Here's the happy shot right before we took off!...Santa led us in singing "Jingle Bells" and "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer." He asked the kids what they wanted...Alex, scrunching up his nose, "I haven't decided yet, Santa." Santa to Alex, "Might have to thumb through a few more catalogues or go on-line, hmmmm?"...Quick nod from Alex..."And you young lady?" he said to Kata..."I want a Hannah Montana doll that sings..." she said clear as a bell..."Those are very popular this year..."said Santa...."And you?" to Bella...."I want a dolly..."...."A dolly...what kind of a dolly?" Santa clarified...."A purple dolly!" exclaimed Bella..."A purple dolly??!! Ho-ho-ho...well, m'dear, you are at the top of the purple dolly list...ho-ho-ho...no one has requested that one yet!"

And so ended our ride with the fat, jolly, old elf...we found out his horse's name was Bella.

And then, courtesy of the Toll House Cafe, we brought some warm cookies to Santa...and a small donation for carrots for Bella, the horse.

Wishing you chilly afternoons filled with warm, chocolate chip cookies...fresh out of the oven.


Choo. Choo. Boogaloo.

So it's Black Friday...and we're at home enjoying balmy 41-degree temperatures...in spite of the clear blue skies...brrrr...we decided not to even bother going out to see what deals we could pick up. Instead we're at home, enjoying hot cocoa and popcorn (one of the many Boy Scout cans) when I looked down from the study to observe the following -

God bless the manufacturers of Thomas the Tank Engine. Wishing you a day filled with creativity as we kick off the start of the Holiday Season.


Turkey Day Recap.

This year for the first time since 1994, it was just us... but as you can see the festivities were in full swing -

File Under: Things To Be Thankful For

Alex - My family, friends and my house.
Kata - My family.
Bella -Elmo.
Sophie - My family, our friends - near and far, my health.
Ken - All the football on TV and ESPN2 in HD...kidding...he actually said "our family."

Alex's turkey centerpiece was our primary focus on our table decor...the actual turkey and stuffing was wonderfully moist, the mashed potatoes turned out great...sweet potato casserole was perfectly done...Ken stirred the gravy so it had no lumps whatsoever and miracle of all miracles...all the kids ate the turkey this year!! Woo-hoo, Kata had seconds and thirds...who knew?

Mama said there were marshmallows...on the turkey?? I don't think so...

Ooooh! The marshmallows are on the sweet potatoes...I get it!

Here are our Thankful Boxes from Sunday School...great job using old cigar boxes and beads and lots and lots of Modge Podge!

And the meal ended with none other than....Gate Pumpkin Pie...for those of you who do not know...Gate is Kata's stuffed elephant who gets her through things like seperation anxiety and flu shots...so in honor of him...the mini pies...and yes, for those of you playing I Spy with My Little Eye...there are giraffes and bears as well....don't ask...I wanted to even it out for Bella and Alex.

Happy Thanksgiving to you one and all...may you have a moment today to remember all the things you are grateful for this year.


Let the Festivities Begin.

What a beautiful night. It was warm, like 55-ish. There was Starbucks hot apple cider, although we opted not to wait in the extremely long line. Why were were we there in the first place? Well, our mall kicked off the holidays with a tree lighting ceremony. So we thought...hey why not check it out. And it was well worth it. We found a great parking spot...a sure sign that we needed to be there. We enjoyed the local high school's jazz choir renditions of all our favorite Christmas songs.

The tree was soooooo big...

We all sang "Santa Claus is Coming to Town..." very loudly...and he came on a great big fire engine!

Alex practiced making his own version of fireworks with Ken's keychain flashlight. Oh, the future pyrotechnic engineer...

And then BAM! The fireworks began and the tree was lit up! Santa worked his magic once again...
We were all a little tired but...

we were excited to go and get some Starbucks hot chocolate and that new flavor at Baskin Robbins....Peppermint...it's pink (very important for the girls) and has little pieces of peppermint candy in it (refreshing for the adults)...yummy. Can't you tell we found temporary happiness in a cone? Woo-hoo...let the festivities officially begin!


Scouting for Food.

You might've seen them in your neighborhood this week...little boys dressed in their scout uniform leaving flyers on your door...well, today was pick up day...and you can see how our little boys are so excited by the kind people who actually took the time to set out a bag or two by their door...they all worked hard lugging the bags...and now those bags are off to the Evelyn Mount Food Drive.

For 26 years, Evelyn Mount has provided holiday meals to thousands of Reno and Sparks families through the program she and her late husband founded. The Mounts started the charity when they moved to Reno in 1976, and found there were no services to help those in need. She and Leon started by feeding about 25 families with food they cooked in the family's kitchen. Now the 77 year old Mount spearheads the food drives every year…and plans, prepares and supplies thousands of meals to needy citizens in our area. This year her goal is creating holiday food baskets for nine thousand families…including sending baskets home with school children in need and delivering them to homebound seniors.

Here's to Den 6 for contributing their little part in helping this cause...way to go boys! And to Evelyn Mount...an amazing angel here on earth.


Author's Chair, The Movie

Author's Chair

For those of you who haven't gone through elementary school recently, they now have something called Author's Chair. The students write an essay on a topic (Alex's was Things I Love To Do When I'm Outdoors) and a panel of teachers (not his own) selects the best one out of each class...well, Alex Riggsby, come on down! Alex's little essay on how he loves to play with Beckham was selected for the honor.

Now the truth of the matter is that he needs to be incented to play outside with Beckham *BUT* the essay has a few little rings of truth in it...Becksie does love his squeaky, soft soccer ball!

Waiting for his turn

Our Al-la-lex, as Bella likes to call him

Phew! It's over!


Turkey Time...Already.

So Alex's teacher came up with a Family Project...the emphasis on *family*, please...for *everyone* in your family to help decorate a turkey...so Alex requested jewels (he's a Mama's Boy alright), feathers and buttons...our turkey had to look like it came from a pirate's treasure chest...or at least that it was tar'd and feathered (or in our case, hot glued) in pirate booty (no, not the corn puff snack). And Ken held Beckham, so the puppy could "watch."

In the pic below, Alex is laughing because Ken mentioned how cute he looked in his headgear...he was wearing reindeer antlers at the time. Alex made me promise not to put the pic on the blog...oops! my fingers were crossed little dude! We've been watching "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" on TV...why not, the stores are decorating in August for Christmas so why shouldn't the TV stations follow by airing holiday movies early???....sigh...whatever happened to airing "The Wizard of Oz" on Thanksiving Day and then the festive videos could follow???...childhood just isn't the same...next thing you know it'll be "Frosty's Christmas in July"...wait, they've already made that movie!!!

So here's the final bejeweled result!

And a wreath I made to display all the lovely Play-Doh crosses the Sunday School kids made for me...aren't they sweet? The one depicting a snowman in lieu of Christ (the cross is red and snowman is white...on the right) was made by Alex...he'll tell you it was the only mold that looked like a person. Hmmm...well, the intentions were good, eh?

Hope you find some peace in this pre-holiday moment...only 11 days left until Thanksgiving!