Yesterday we gathered as a family to celebrate 96 years of life for my Grandma. It is a time for cousins to gether and run, adults to visit, and everyone to eat too much.
I have one of the best grandma's in the entire world. Our family is pretty great when we all get together, and it all began with her and Grandpa. Just looking at these faces, I feel mighty blessed.
It was brought to my attention, that today is National Sibling Day. I think my brother forgot to send me a card and buy me a gift. My gift to him, is this lovely blog post.
He is not too shabby of a brother.
Science Olympiad. Our family passion. We discovered it when Caleb was in 8th grade, and have been submerged in it since.
A little background, to understand the challenge our small school faces. We are a 2A school. A town of a bit over 2000 people. We have one elementary, one middle school and one high school. Small town. Science Olympiad is one even that is not divided by school size, by public or private, by anything. A school with a couple thousand kids, has that couple thousand kids to pick their 15 team members from. Our middle school has around 200 kids to pick the 15 team members from. We do not have an endless budget. Many of our coaches volunteer (me inluded).
The kids start around November. They stay after school for an hour and a half to two hours every day. They go in on our days off for multiple hours. They are building contraptions and studying for tests. There are 15 kids, and 23 different events.
Two years ago we made it to state.
Oh my. Look how young they look! Caleb is there, front and center.
Back to the story. Two years ago we made it to state. We were in a local region that had us competing with schools our size. We made it. Only one event placed in state. We were thrilled. I don't recall where they whole team placed.
Then, last year, we were moved to the Kansas City region. Playing against big big big schools. We came in fifth. Top four go to state.
This year. We stepped up our game. Back to state.
These kids, have worked so very hard. Very, very hard. They placed 6th. In the entire state. The best our middle school has ever done. Competing against large schools and private schools. Schools with huge budgets. Schools with professionals for coaches. Sixth. Amazing.
Pictures can be found here. Lots of them. Of regionals and state.
We have begun soccer season. Saturday was day one. Saturday, we also had a snow storm. It made for a fun, cold day. We started our day with Caleb's game. It is his first time playing since he was probably 9. He did practice sometimes with Alex last fall, so his skills were not all gone. My boys tend to not have a lot of agressive qualities, soccer is fun, but they are just not agressive. He will get even better with time.
Up next was Alex's game. It was several hours later. I managed to work in a visit with my grandma and a nap. My grandma is able to watch the games from her room. That is pretty cool.
Alex has found his niche at playing defender. I am learning quite a bit about soccer. Basically.. he is the last resort before the goal. He has some powerful kicks. And some awesome soccer hair.
It started snowing during Alex's game.
Immediately following Alex's game was Jonas' game.
The kids were loving the snow. His coach sent me the next picture.
I do not think these kids minded playing in the snow at all.
It was a wonderful start to the soccer season. Every Saturday for weeks, filled with more soccer. Fun fun fun!!
Today, we celebrated my middle son's birthday. He embodies the personality of the middle child so well. His personality is amazing. He has a spirit within him that is hard to explain. He is kind, and a delightful child.
For the past few months, my grandma has been able to join us on these celebrations. It is wonderful. For Christmas I got enough blue willow ware plates (her pattern) to start serving meals on. It brought back fond memories.
There was a wee bit of music. Instruments for everyone.
Some outside play.
And... after almost everyone left. A drum concert.
I love these gatherings. I am pretty sure the boys and all of the guests love them, too. It warms my heart.
Tonight was the community talent show. I did not get a good photo of Jonas, but he played the Chicken Dance on the piano. Here is is, before the show, messing around with our neighbor, Callie.
Caleb performed an original song, with his band, Randevooz. The song is called "Stray Cat Blues".
Normally, this is loud. Loud. And then a little lounder. They did the accoustic version for this show.
There was a joke at the end. To like them on facebook. Ok. Not a joke. Alex told a joke later. But, here you go. Like them on facebook.
Then Alex and his friend Samuel performed. They sang "Hurt" by Nine Inch Nails, but Johnny Cash's version.
They have been practicing this number for months.
I was so proud of the boys. I was proud of their friends. I was also proud of all of the kids I know from work. What a great show.
I have been slacking. I am up to my eyeballs in homework. I did statistics homework on my break at school Monday, and thought my brain might explode.
Here are some videos of what the kids have done within the past month.
KCI Conference Choir. Alex did this. He is not in choir at school, but loves to do this sort of event. One of the benefits of the small school, is he is given this sort of opportunity.
Next is the middle school 8th grade band at large group contest. Alex again.
The high school symphonic band got to do a joint concert with William Jewel College's symphonic band. This is not that join performance, but rather the high school band on their own, performing one of thier pieces.
I should have a video of the joint performance. I will have to see where I put it.
Finally, the high school band at their pre-festival concert. This is my favorite of the pieces that they play.
Finally, not a video.. and worthy of a post all its own. The science olypmiad team has made it to state!
Here are my two state bound boys.
We have some good friends here in town, and we get together with them about once a month. Several families. The oldest kids play heavy, loud music. Middle kids play minecraft, younger kids admire all those older than them.
We got a surprise concert by these two. Somewhere between the older and middle kids, these two, as someone said last night, are meant for each other. They both have gentle souls. They are both so likable. Two great kids. Not that all the kids aren't great.
They are working on a number for the talent show that is March. They had only practiced together once before.
Basketball season is back! It started last week. But, while Jonas was playing basketball. I was here.
Probably at the exact time he was playing. As I was in that spot, relaxing for awhile.
But, that is for another day.
I believe Jonas has improved since last year. Last year he got the ball and froze. Couldn't wait to pass the ball. This year, he is dribbling, running, passing. More confidence in his playing.
He has different coaches this year. I need to remember to tell the old coach next time I see him. Jonas dribbled! That was his goal last year.
Plus, his best friend is on his team. Basketball is going to be wonderful this season. I adore these two kids. It is quite enjoyable to watch them.
Before I met Jared, I never knew anyone with a pinball machine in their house. I probably only played pinball a handful of times. But, then I met him. There was a pinball machine in his folks' basement. Then I went to his cousin's wedding. There was a pinball machine in her parents' basement. Whoa.
When Caleb was a wee baby. One month old or so. We would lay him in the middle of the living room to sleep, then go down and play pinball. When he was big enough, he stood on a chair to play pinball himself. All of the boys played pinball standing on a chair.
I learned about the fascination of the silver ball. I started playing pinball in the student union between classes. They had the Addams Family there. A good machine. I learned how to spot a good machine. Flash Gordon is also a good machine.
But, many moons ago, the machine broke. It is hard to find a repair person for a machine.
Several months ago, we were given the machine. The machine from Jared's childhood. The machine I played on while my baby boy slept on a blanket upstairs. It was busted, but had potential. If we found a person to repair it, it was a great machine.
We put it in the laundry room. A room that once seemed very large. Now, a pinball machine occupies over half of the room. The UPS man once commented on it, because you can see it through the windows. It is a great machine. Potential is there.
Guests came and went. I had to explain to adults and kids alike, it does not work. But someday it will, and you will LOVE it. Yesterday, I was telling Alex's buddy this. He didn't quite get what the problem was. I said.. come on in, I will show you. Plugged it in. Turned it on. Boom. It worked! He gave me his sweet smile, and started playing. They played until 1 am last night.
This morning, Jared came down stairs, excited to get the chance to play on the machine. He turned it on. No luck. The friend assured him it worked, went into the laundry room, did who knows what. It started working again. It is being temperamental. You have to be willing to accept that it will die at any minute, and may need to rest to work again, but it is up and going. We have been playing for about 24 hours now.
The kids had not played it for about 5 years, but the skills are coming back fast.
We need to get someone out to make it work right. It is a great machine. But, for now, it is wonderful. Not perfect, but wonderful. The memories are great. Kids are picking pinball over Xbox. Wonderful