Thursday, December 27, 2012

Making Christmas Cookies

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Presents, presents, family, friends, fun!

My son was thrilled with his RGIII jersey ... and then totally surprised and excited about the iPad mini that was under the jersey. My daughter was equally thrilled about her mobile craft station (loaded with crafts), her stylist chair (for her American Girl doll), and her new pink ear muffs. Thanks, Santa!

We got all dressed up after Santa's gifts and went to a beautiful mass at church. Then, we came home and had a wonderful brunch. After which we opened more gifts ... then waited to facetime with our family in Ohio and opened yet MORE gifts. And then dinner with our neighbors.

It was a good day. Merry Christmas ... again :)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Don't get me started ...

Loving having the in-laws here for the week. I'm thinking it'll make getting to Christmas even easier. My wife's parents came in on Friday afternoon, and we've been having a six-person blast for almost 24 hours now :)

On a sour note, as parents, my wife and I decided that we should no longer wait until the last minute to figure out gifts for the kids. We were so busy taking care of presents for everyone else, that when we got around to the boy (our 3rd grader), it was not easy to figure out and purchase something that he would really love for Christmas. I won't get into all the logistics, except to say that the endeavor has included a trip to Best Buy and the Apple Store, phone calls to several other retailers, repeated trials to purchase online, a cross-city trip by my mother to make a purchase, a postal service request for 'express' shipping, snow storm, repetitive inquiries into where the 'express' package has been, ulcers (mom and I), a couple more phone calls, back up plans to drive a couple hours on Sunday, and final look online to notice it's in town and will be delivered today or tomorrow. [Ok, so maybe will get into a lot of the logisitics.]

Anyway, I will, in the future, make certain to take care of the kids FIRST from now on. I know that they have EVERYTHING, but it still matters what they get for their Christmas presents.


Merry Christmas Everyone!

Love you Mom and Dad! [Thanks for helping out with all this.]

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The week that crawlllllled by

So, this week is going exceedingly slowly. Oh, there's plenty to do. But I just despise the 'getting ready' stage. Let's do this already! No more anxiously awaiting the next holiday. Let's enjoy it! When Christmas is here, let's celebrate and not move on so quickly.


I don't want to see any Valentine's Day or St. Patrick's Day or Groundhog's Day decorations for at least three weeks. (Ok, so I'm not going to see Groundhog's Day decorations, like, ever, but you get the point.) I want to celebrate with my family and friends. I want to enjoy celebrating the arrival of Jesus and then the New Year. I want to feel renewed with the hope that Christ has brought and that a new year signals. I don't want to look to see what else needs to be done or what the next holiday is. I want to enjoy THIS one. In it's season. So, I ask you all to leave your lights up for a week or two. Enjoy your presents for more than a day. Hug your kids (and parents) and wish them a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year for at least a month. After all, 'tis the season.

That is all.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Monday, December 17, 2012

3rd Grade Champions!

This weekend was full of drama, to be sure. And I feel for parents, everywhere, especially those in Connecticut. In my little neck of the woods, I chose to take full advantage of spending the weekend with my kids. My daughter enjoyed dance on Saturday, and building a "starship" (see "Paw Pic of the Week") with her friend as well. Church was attended on Sunday, and the Packers beat the Bears, so we're all happy here.

And, of course, my son's team competed in the end-of-year house league tournament. They got the number two seed based on being undefeated (another team was, too - they didn't play each other during the regular season) and having the second-best total scores.

Friday night's game was pretty lackluster and went just as the games had gone all year: my son's team, the "Hawks", won most or all of the skills competitions (2 points awarded per skill competition) to take a commanding 10-0 or 8-2 lead into the game itself, at which point the "Hawks" won enough quarters (also worth 2 points a piece) to win the game.

Saturday morning's game was a bit more frantic, even if the skills competition came out 8-2 in favor of the "Hawks" again. The other team was a bit more aggressive and it took a strong third quarter victory, in which my son and his squad controlled tempo, to secure a victory for sure. That sent us to the championship game later in the day ...

I have helped assist coaching the team most of the year, so I did my best to warn the kids that they would need to keep their composure - whether they did well in skills competition or not. And they certainly were challenged, because, although we won the passing competition (like always), we did not win the lay-ups, short-shot, or dribble relay events (although the dribble relay - the final competition - was VERY close). Losing three out of four skills competitions gave the other team not only six points, but also the bonus points for winning the most events. The score was 8-2 in favor of the other team after skills competition - a big hole to climb out of!

The boys were pretty down. All of us coaches reminded them to keep their heads up and keep playing - to keep their composure. I asked them if they thought I was kidding before the game about it. The team has two squads of four that usually play two quarters each, but we were missing one of our players, so a couple people had to play three quarters in the final game. Ended up working out just fine. We went out and won the first quarter, as the other team seemed pretty confident in their 8-2 lead. That brough the score to 8-4. Then, the second quarter went our way as well, as my son's squad gelled well with the added player they usually don't play with. Score 8-6. The first squad returned to play the third quarter and took it as well, playing very soundly on defense and getting a number of nice shots to go in.

Now, the score was tied 8-8. We would certainly get the bonus game points (2 bonus points go to the team with the most game points as well), so we just needed to tie the quarter to win the game. Well, after a few minutes, my son's squad was down 6-0 in the quarter. It seemed like we would lose the quarter and go to overtime. Then something clicked and a couple of the boys seemed to realize that they didn't want to lose. My son became a rebounding machine on defense, and put up two buckets to cut the score to 6-4. The rest of the squad played inspired defense and kept the other team from scoring with great help defense. A basket by another "Hawk" made it 6-6 with about ten seconds left to go, and a subsequent block of a final half-court attempt gave the championship to our boys!

So proud!

Pictures ... and video ...

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

"Hawks" go 8-0, get 2nd seed in end-of-year tourney!

My son's third grade basketball team finished the season up this past Saturday with two final victories. That put them at 8-0 for the season. They did not play the other undefeated third grade team, so the tie-breaker for seeding went to points-scored (which is really no necessarily the points scored in games, but also includes skill competitions). With the second seed in the upcoming end-of-year tourney, the Hawks will look to keep improving and playing well together. Nice season, boys! Go Hawks!

Monday, December 10, 2012

This ain't no Griswold family Christmas!

We don't go out and cut a tree (or pull it out by the roots, either). Heck, I usually just grab the big ol' fake tree out of the box in the garage, put it together in the front room, and let the wife and kids decorate it. However, since we'll be around most of the holiday season this year (ie: we're not traveling for Christmas itself), we went out and got a nice five-footer. It's nice to have the big one fill up the front room and the little one fill up the basement (with holiday spirit!). Here's the proof we did both this year - artificial and real.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Thanksgiving weekend bowling with the kids!

Dude's bowling off the wrong foot. Who can blame him? Not sure he's actually right-handed. May be lefty.

He's certainly adorable, though!

 She's adorable, too!

For the record: I didn't bowl. Thought it would hurt my back. My back didn't hurt the next day. Can't say that everybody else felt the same. ;)