Monday, January 23, 2017

My Guy at 3-5

Ben turned 35 in December. We gave him all of his gifts a day early, because he spent his birthday in Kansas City watching the Chiefs with his buddies. 
The girls picked out lots of interesting gifts, and were excited to see if he would like them. 

Kara and Kiersten got him this giant package of twix bars. There were 18 candy bars in there. We still have some sitting in the pantry. The girls haven't found it yet. 

Kiersten was eager for him to open a gift that she asked me to order for him. It was the live action trilogy of Ruroni Kenshin. She planned on getting it for a few months, and we ended up having to get it shipped from Singapore, as it was not available yet here. 
He was genuinely happy to receive it. I think it may be the most successful gift the girls and I have ever gotten for him. He's a tricky one. 
He also loved the tie his mom sent. He wears it every red Friday. 

On Sunday, since Ben was in KC, the girls wanted to decorate their gingerbread house. One of these years I really want to make one from scratch, but we went with a kit again this year. 
If you're wondering about their crazy hair, please know it was a fight to even get them to go get dressed that morning, haha. 

Kiersten carefully piped icing on the sides and roof, so Evie could smear and smash candies all over her hard work. 

Evie kept all the candies she wanted to eat off to the side, and insisted that there wasn't room for those ones. Kara was annoyed with that. 
Finished product, a fabulous, cozy house for ginger people to inhabit. 
View from the side. I suspect Evie could have found space for some more of those tasty candies. 

Winter CCL Projects

Kiersten's CCL class for first semeseter was sound studio. She enjoyed learning about recording music and all that goes into it. For her final project, she and her group recorded an album of 5 songs called Enjoy Nature. They all helped write the tracks, and recorded the music with computer software. One of her friends played the violin and another played the guitar. Kiersten sang on one of the tracks called, "together" and also collaborated on the lyrics. They also made a game to go along with the music where you clean up trash in a park, so they got a little programming in as well. 

She showed us the programs and equipment, but I'll admit I had very little idea what she was talking about. I just smiled and nodded. 

Kara seemed sort of jealous because se has not taken this class before. Evie was intrigued, and honestly trying to figure out how it all worked. Kiersten kept explaining it like it was the most obvious process in the world. 
She also wanted to look for her artwork in the hallway. That's hers in the center. She was slightly perplexed that it was hung sideways. But they were all hung that way in order to fit on the board. 
Kara's first semester class was a gifted art component on creating and developing a business. She got to choose her own project. A lot of the kids had built pretty cool models and games. Kara designed bows, and researched the process for setting up a business. She even got permission to sell some bows at project night. She spent a lot of time creating her fabulous bows to display. 

When I saw her project I was kind of surprised at first, because it didn't seem like weeks worth of work. But I soon realized that the majority of her time was spent on the computer designing her logo, business cards, and elements for an online shop. This is at least the 4th version of her business card. I think it's a safe assumption that the graphic design was what she took away from the project. That's not the outcome I would have expected, but rather interesting for me to realize. 
She did do a beautiful job of making bows, and one of the other teachers at school helped her out with supplies and a sewing machine. 
The last day before winter break was a half day, and the girls were invited to a fun Christmas party with their friends. 
Kiersten's class had a pajama day, so she insisted on changing into something more party appropriate. 
They had a grand time, and so did the moms. 

Here are a few six flags pics. It was cold, but practically deserted, so that was a fun visit. 

There was no waiting for Santa, so the elves called us over. They may have been a little bored. We seriously didn't see more than maybe 50 other people while we were there. They wouldn't let me take a picture with my own camera, annoyingly, so here is the print I got. It sure got them in the Christmas spirit!
Kiersten also ran into the big guy on her way to the bathroom at Wal-Mart. He called out for her to see if she wanted to get a picture. She thought that was pretty random. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Miller Basketball

Kiersten is enjoying her first basketball season. Her team is called the Rip Tide. She usually plays point guard, and really enjoys it. She is doing pretty well so far, but still has a ways to go. 
I like when they have the head ref there. He always explains things really well. I wish he could be there every time, but we usually have the younger refs, which is understandable, since these are the youngest girls in the league. 

There are a lot of turn overs, but they are getting better each game. 
Kiersten is a pretty good little hustler. She practices really aggressively, and then plays more timidly during the actual games. She is trying to work on her confidence in the games. I told her to picture Kara's face on the other players, since she always plays her best against big sis. 
Isn't that the cutest?
It's definitely a good work out for her!
Note to self; take pictures of Kara playing. Her team is doing well, and has only lost one game so far. She also plays point guard most of the time. The last 2 minutes is full court press, so that tends to be the exciting part of the game. 

Brown Belt Baby

Kara tested for her brown belt in Tae Kwon Do in December. She was nervous, but confident. She was practicing a lot for a few weeks before the test. We got there early for her to warm up, but still ended up on the floor, because the chairs go fast. One of these times I will remember to bring my own. 

She even did some pushups before the test. 
She is always great on stances. I don't know how her legs can stand to hold that position for so long. 

Kicks are also a strong point for her. 
The brown belt exam only lasts 2 1/2 hours. Evie fell asleep after an hour, and then Ben showed up and took her and Kiersten home. When the lower belt ranks left, I was glad to be able to get up in a chair. Too old for the floor. It was crazy hot in there too, so it was not super pleasant to hold a sleeping 6 year old. At one point, Kiersten was laying on me too. 

Her hamstring started to bother her about an hour in, but she decided to tough it out. Her teacher was worried she may have pulled a muscle, but she was ok the next day after resting. She did have a painful look on her face several times during the exam, but she did not want to quit, so he let her continue. 

She really likes sparring. Being the awful mom I am, we forgot her mouth guard, but she didn't get hit in the face, so that was good. 
It was funny to watch the girls barely willing to hit and kick each other, while the boys at the back of the room were going at each other pretty hard. The girls had to be pushed constantly to actually make decent contact. 
These to buddies couldn't stop giggling and love tapping each other. The instructor kept yelling, "Hit her Anna! Harder Kara!" 
They did eventually pick it up a bit, but Kara still held back, because she didn't think her size advantage was fair. 
When she got to spar against the boys, she hit and kicked her hardest. She was not worried in the least about kicking the boys that are smaller than her. 
She passed, and was awarded her brown belt. One step closer to black! It's hard to believe it's been 2 1/2 years since she started. 

Her teacher is so great. He is hard on them, and expects them to do their best. It certainly spills over into the rest of her life.
She attended several sparring practices ahead of the exam to make sure she was ready for that portion of testing. I'm surprised how much she enjoys it. She actually gets hurt more often playing basketball, because at TKD, everyone is trained in how to hit/kick etc. Her favorite is getting to spar with the teachers. She is rather predictable, and always goes for a head punch or a kick to the side of the waist. They always have to remind her to try other moves. 
The instructor kept urging her to try to hit his head, but was protecting it too well, so she went for a kick to the gut. He wasn't really ready for that, haha.