All Things Unbelievable.

Nevada is a Swing State. All the candidates keep criss-crossing the Silver State trying to influence the voting base.

And when I heard that Obama was going to be back again, I knew I ::had:: to go. So this morning, Ken stayed with the girls (yes, I married a Wonderful Man) and Alex and I woke up at 5:40 am to go stand in line and see Barack Obama.

By the time we arrived, shortly after 6 am, there was already a line of about 1,000 people. It would soon swell to over 12,000. We were so early that we got to position ourselves against a barrier where supposedly he would walk by. And all I could think of was how ::unbelievable:: it would be if he shook Alex's hand.

But in the mean time, there was a lot of waiting. We met some of the nicest people and listened to an awesome soundtrack that started off with U2s "Beautiful Day" and ended with Stevie's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered." Things couldn't get better or could they?

And then they announced "Barack Obama, the next President of the United States" and pure rock-star pandemonium erupted.

What was truly amazing is that when he was done with his speech, he took off his coat, rolled up his sleeves and went and shook as many hands as possible.


One little Cub Scout's hand!!! When he saw Alex, he looked down and said "Well, hey there!" because Alex was one of the first of three kids right in the front of the barrier. See the photo below?? That's Mr. Obama giving Alex a "Well, hey there!"

And that's the shot of Obama letting go of Alex's hand...

And here's an AP Photo...and yes, I took Alex out of school for this. As I told him afterward, it may only happen once in his lifetime and he will remember it always. It will be part of history, not just his but all of ours.

So I'll leave you with his last words...that still ring in my ears...can't even begin to describe how inspirational, uplifting and positive our experience was -
"Let's give our children the future they deserve, and let's act with
confidence and courage to show the world that at this moment, in this election,
the United States of America is still the last, best hope on Earth. Thank you
Nevada. And God bless you, and may God bless America."
I highly encourage each and every one of you to go and see a rally in your town. I'd of course prefer it was for Obama but even if it's not, you need to see our democratic process in action - it is truly priceless.


All Things Political.

Sorry for one more political post. But just in case, you didn't see this over the weekend here's the entire clip. Click and enjoy political satire at its best -


All Things Picture Day.

Do you remember Picture Day in school?? Well, here are our Fall School Pictures. Alex in Fourth Grade - all cheesy smile in a grown up outfit.

And Kata, oh our Kata. It was her Very First Picture Day...she was ::so:: excited, can you tell?

And yes, at some point Bella's preschool will do a Picture Day although they haven't done one yet.

Wishing you a moment where you can remember all those school photos and the clothes and hair styles that go with them.


All Things Drip with Sunset.

I've been reading a lot of poetry lately. I have to admit that I miss writing it. I did so much of it back in my teenage years.

But last night's sunset (I know, not another sunset photo) was so spectacular that all I could think of was the Emily Dickinson poem that begins -

"How the old Mountains drip with Sunset..."

And I can't help thinking, as the U.S. government stalls to figure out how to unravel the financial market mess, another day sets and is gone. We are faced with the reality of a broken government, a broken financial sector, soaring prices on everything except housing and our dwindling 401Ks.

Please, register to vote and make sure on Election Day you do get out there and cast your vote. Don't let the sunsets go by without action on your part.

Okay, I am off the soap box and promise to continue the family style blog. Forgive me for ::having:: to say something.


All Things Carnival.

Double Diamond Elementary School held its first Carnival yesterday afternoon. What a fun fundraiser. They had all the traditional kiddie games. Running the pumpkin toss above was Alex's second grade teacher, Mr. C. Of course, he let the girls "cheat" a little and brought them closer to the buckets. And for those of you observant enough to notice, even Alex took a step closer.

Then it was time for face painting. Bella was the only willing participant. She told the girl she wanted a "B" for Bella. There you have it. Her personality in a nutshell. The fact that she later cried her eyes out when Ken denied his littlest angel some cotton candy as a dinner entree and the paint ran down her cheek is a separate issue.

Oh yes, there was a fishing game. Bella loved that one.

Alex's class sponsored a Lollipop Toss. And yes, we got the most "prizes" at this booth. Because we don't have enough sugar in our house.

Although there were at least twenty such game booths and a bounce house, the most popular attraction by far was the Dunk Tank. We got there in time for one of the sixth grade teachers to go in the tank. She's an Olympic silver medalist in rowing (Sydney Olympics). Wow, we still can't quite process that?? Incredible. So they waited in line, patiently.

And the girls went first. Bella didn't quite knock it down, but she got an assist from a volunteer and down went our Olympian teacher. Oops. Then Kata, out of nowhere, actually hit the target but not hard enough, so she got the assist as well.

Most impressive was Alex, who knocked it down on his first try. And down one more time. A Family Hat Trick. We were proud, alright.

And then it was time to go so we could get a proper dinner in...one without too many artificial colors and additional flavorings. No one was particularly thrilled to leave. But as they say, there's always next year.

Wishing you a carnival moment. May you always hit the target on that Dunk Tank.


All Things Artsy.

On Sunday, we were treated by our fabulous dentists, Dentistry for Kids, to an afternoon at Art On Earth - an art studio just for kids. The minute I walked in, I felt at home. Colors. Clutter. Things to Squish and Smear. Oh yeah. And the best part? For this Type A Mama?? It's not my house - helloooooo???

Our kids, being not-so-very-shy creatures, fell right into the watercolor table and below are the results of their creative outbursts. And I know you want to know why our dentists sponsored this event. Well, they like to use the paintings as their decorations. Cute? Very.

And there was even time to play at the Clay Table. Alex made a dragon (fresh from watching "Eragon" with me). Kata and Bella googly-eyed smiley faces. Well, alright then.

And after snacks of cookies and water and many, many promises to brush our teeth that evening, we were back home.

Wishing you an afternoon filled with at least one, if not two, creative outbursts. Pick your own medium, please, there are so many to choose from and just remember to listen to that muse. I know I keep listening to mine.


All Things Go West, Young Man.

Alex's fourth grade class took a field trip to Donner Memorial State Park this past week. The best part for me? Well, Ken got to go on the field trip. It was his first one and I think both the boys enjoyed it immensely.

Besides the learning about the obvious, i.e. the Donner Party, they also learned about the general harshness of life in the mid-1800s while on a wagon train. The height of the statue represents how high the snowfall was that year. You can actually see it from I-80.

Note how they are all straining to fill out their worksheets?

After lunch, they also got to explore some of the surrounding hiking trails and our beautiful Sierras. Note, Alex is appropriately attired in his Cal shirt!

The best part for all the kids was the fact that they had to cross a state line to get there. They were all impressed that they were all the way in California.

The best part for Ken, well, the field trip ended early. So while the kids were returned to school and class time, Ken got to come home to Bella and myself quietly playing in a house where only the sound of the dryer could be heard for another hour. And because he is a smart man he didn't ask, "Is this what you do all day?" On a side note, "Oprah" wasn't on yet and we were fresh out of bon-bons in the pantry.

Wishing you a moment of discovery. Go out there and find your piece of nature today. Feel the crunch of a hiking trail under your shoes. Enjoy.


All Things Having Some Fun.

Because I saw this on Jib Jab and thought I'd have some fun. Just think Troy and Gabriella some odd 25 years later...scary isn't it? Scarier still is that Ken was the Captain of the basketball team a la Troy and I was, well, the Academic Geek Girl with AP Physics and AP Calculus...so there you have it.

Happy Friday, folks and just click on the green arrow button in the middle of the screen to see this.

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!


All Things Kicking It.

Another season of soccer has begun for Alex. For those of you keeping score, this is his fifth year of soccer. And he's on a different league this season. A much more serious league with actual jerseys and referees and everything. He loves it.

And he's playing better than ever before. See him? He's number four.

He actually stopped the ball from going out of bounds in the picture up top.

He loves playing defense, that's him in the middle of the defensive line. It's been extremely satisfying to watch him grow and stretch this season.

Wishing you a moment where you just "kick it" today...figuratively or literally - your choice. And yes, I am drooling over telephoto lenses for the new camera...perhaps for Christmas or Valentines Day...so this soccer mom can do justice to the sports photos...these incedentally, were taken by Ken...because I was at the two-hour ballet set of classes.


All Things First Position.

Bella is officially All Grown Up now. She goes to preschool and she gets her very own extracurricular activities. Here she is in her ballet class. Same instructor as Kata, the effervescent but tough, Ms. Diane. We (heart) her.

I know I've said this before but it bears repeating. Life lessons can easily be learned by observing children in a learning environment.

Lesson 1 - March to the tune of your own drummer. When everyone else is marching one way and you hear the option "now let's turn around." Don't change directions, just keep marching. It works for politicians and business people, why not you?

Lesson 2 - When it's not your turn (as in you have to wait for little sister's class to end before yours starts) be patient. Good things come to those who wait.

Lesson 3 - It is very helpful to keep in mind which side is left and which side is your right. This will help keep you on course.

Lesson 4 - Boys will not always like you. It's okay, one day there will be a boy who will. Trust me on this one. Obviously, this little boy didn't want to be partnered with anyone, including our mellow little Bellissima.

Lesson 5 - Good things come to those who wait. Kata was asked to help demonstrate a move for the little ones.

Lesson 6 - A variation of Lesson 1. When everyone else goes, you can choose the option to stay.

Lesson 7 - And when you decide to conform with the rest of the pack, be sure to always take a leading position.

Lesson 8 - Always, always be sure to jump for joy!

And so Bella's lesson ended and Kata's began. It's going to be a fun year with two hours of ballet each and every week. I'm going to get a lot of knitting, crocheting, reading and writing done. And the best part? I get to watch my kids grow up in front of my eyes.

Wishing you a moment to apply one of our Eight Life Lessons. Choose the one that challenges you the most.