Saturday, November 6, 2010

Dan Qualifies for the Boston Marathon!

Dan has been training for the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon for months. At first his goal was just to run another marathon. Then he decided he would like to qualify for the Boston Marathon. See you just can't sign up and run The Boston. There is a qualifying time that you have to meet for your age category. Dan had to run another marathon at 3 hours 20 minutes and 59 seconds to qualify for The Boston. I can't tell you all the hours that Dan put into training for this. Yesterday, we drove to Indianapolis to pick up his packet and stay the night. Today, 1,400 miles of training (since June 1) and four pairs of shoes later, he made it!! Dan's official time was 3 hours 19 minutes and 4 seconds! His pace was 7 minutes 36 seconds a mile. He came in 236th overall. He worked so hard. The girls and I are so proud!

Here he is, 7 a.m., dressed and ready. This is the "before" picture. Those are his snazzy racing shoes :)

Here he is crossing the finish line! The time on the clock is a little off from his official time. The official time is tracked by a chip attached to his shoe. It doesn't begin till he crosses the starting line and he was in Level 3 seeding so he crossed the starting line a little after the clock shown started. I was getting so worried. The clock said 3:18 and he hadn't come around the corner of the far building. I was getting a little teary eyed thinking that he wasn't going to make it. He came around the corner at 3:19 (by the finish line clock) and I wanted to tell him to hurry up! Skyeler was calmer, she told me that it wasn't going to take him a whole minute to run that short distance :)

Here he is getting his shiny, wrappy thingy. It helps him stay warm. We knew we were headed in the right direction on our way to the finish line when we saw a bunch of sparkling people headed our way. Unfortunately, it was still freezing at the end of the race and by the time we picked up his track pants and made our way back to the car, he was really cold.

The sight at the end of the finish line...the Indianapolis State Capitol Building.

Here he is with Aly and Skye inside the Convention Center. He told me I should have said his hair was a wreck. Who cares about his hair!! He just ran 26.2 miles :)

Trick or Treat

This Halloween Cheryl and Glen brought the boys here to Trick or Treat with Aly. We were kind of hoping that they would do a theme again this year, but Aly had other plans. First, she wanted to be Jessie from Toy Story 3. Bryce and Carter didn't want to be Toy Story 3 characters. They were going for Star Wars. So we thought Aly would make a great Princes Lea or Padme. Aly didn't want to be either. So no theme. Bryce and Carter stuck with their Star Wars theme, Bryce being Darth Maul and Carter Darth Vader. Aly chose to go with a Percy Jackson and the Olympians theme and was Athena, Goddess of Wisdom. Aly looked very pretty in her costume and got quite a few compliments telling her so. She also got at least one Princess Lea comment :) Carter sounded like Darth Vader behind his mask and Bryce's was actually pretty scary. They had a great time and got quite a bit of loot. It was so nice to have them here to visit. We wish we could get together more often.

Darth Maul, Athena, and Darth Vader ready for Trick or Treat. I think Darth Vader is trying to use his Force powers on me :)

I tried to do Aly's hair into some intricate looking thing. Not too shabby. You can't imagine the bobby pins it took to keep it that way!

On a mission ... a candy mission

Skyeler walked with us but didn't dress up. She's checking out Aly's stash to see what she can confiscate. Lucky for her, Aly doesn't like a bunch of mini chocolate bars. Skye and I had quite a pile to ourselves.

The piles...

Skye turns Sweet Sixteen Part III

Ok, so there is one more post on Skyeler's 16th Birthday. I guess she partied pretty hard. :) The funny thing is, none of these pictures were actually taken on her birthday. Her party was the weekend before. The ones to follow the day before. Why no pictures on her birthday? Her friend Elizabeth was testing for her Black Belt in Tai Kwon Do on her birthday, which was immediately followed by our church's Harvest Party.

One thing you need to know about Skyeler...she hates surprises. Usually, Dan and I are very good at NOT surprising her, however, we had two great opportunities for surprises the week of her birthday. Granny and Papa decided that they just couldn't miss being here for her 16th birthday. I decided that I couldn't miss the opportunity to surprise her when they got here :) She was surprised! Papa beeped the horn as they pulled in the driveway and she looked out the window and saw the red truck. It was great!

The second surprise was her birthday present. She had asked for a dress for the Renaissance Festival for an early birthday present. We bought it for her and told her that that was pretty much it for her presents. Well, her laptop, which had been Elizabeth's old one, was not keeping up with some of the new photo/video editing that she was trying to do. Dan decided that she needed a new one and since it was her 16th birthday, he wanted to do something special for her. So we bought her a new laptop. She had NO idea :) Dan took her out to Panera and took his own laptop case with her new laptop in it (with all her stuff already installed and ready to go). He pulled it out and surprised her. Needless to say...she LOVED it!!! And was VERY surprised! Dan took a couple pictures at Panera ...

While Dan and Skye were out at Panera...Granny, Aly, and I went shopping. Aly wanted to buy something for her sister for her birthday. She was so excited to find the purse that Skyeler had been looking at! She bought that and some pretty push pins for Skye's bulletin board. We happened across a birthday card from a cat at Target. It was perfect! So not only did Aly come home with a birthday present for Skye, but Sparkles (unknowingly) came home with a card and a present...a burnt orange shirt with a cat on it.

It didn't take long for Aly to realize what Skyeler getting a new laptop meant...the trickle down effect :) We got a chuckle when Aly said "Can I call Skyeler's old laptop 'my' laptop now?!" Dan wiped all of Skyeler's stuff off it and got it ready for Aly. Who knows how long it will keep running, but for the moment, we have a pair of geeky, techy girls. This is what they looked like that evening! The best wasn't staged :)

So we are glad that Skyeler had a wonderful Sweet Sixteen! She's such a blessing and we love her very much.

Skyeler turns Sweet Sixteen Part II

I "dressed to match" for the photo shoot so I could have my picture taken with Skyeler. I rarely like to have pictures taken of myself, but couldn't let the opportunity pass by.

After the photo shoot, we came back to the house for some pizza. Then we were off again for a scavenger hunt at Skyeler's favorite outdoor mall. Dan and I had spent a couple hours getting questions and riddles ready for the scavenger hunt. Questions like "Which direction is 'Nine?'" Answer: West. "What lotion might Alice wear in Wonderland?" Answer: Secret Wonderland by Bath & Body Works. "Bring back a Caribou Coffee napkin with a signature on it. Get 2 extra points if the signature is Aly's." Well, you get the idea! The girls had a blast! After two hours, Hadley, Skyeler, and Elizabeth won the hunt. Tori, Calleigh, and Sarah were only a couple points behind, however. The girls were so tired that they didn't even want to shop :0 We dropped by Dairy Queen to pick up the ice cream cake and then headed home for dinner. Skyeler had an awesome time just hanging with her friends. It was a great day!

Skyeler is Sweet Sixteen!

Shh, don't tell anyone but I am extremely behind on my blog. Shamefully so, really, considering how much I want to share. My anal self couldn't post Dan's marathon pictures before catching up, however, so here we go :)

Skyeler, my first baby girl, turned Sweet Sixteen October 23rd. Ridiculous! Unbelievable! We were all set to throw a big birthday bash, but Skye's not into "big" or "bashes." We had her closest friends over and spent the morning at a nearby park having a photo shoot. This is something Skyeler had been wanting to do for a while. Two memory cards later, we had some pictures to go in the frames we bought for the party favor.

Aly, not to be left out, had to jump into a few of the pictures. My favorite of her and Skyeler alone is in the sidebar. Her favorite was her and Skye in the canoe, a picture she had planned from the moment we went to the park :)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Renaissance Festival 2010

Hear ye! Hear ye! Queen Elizabeth I requests your presence at her annual Renaissance Fair! Aye, today was the day that we presented ourselves at the court of the Queen. After attending the jousting tournament (in which our patron knight had the victory), we meandered through the market place hoping to barter for some trinkets to bring home. We enjoyed our time at the fair and trudged home weary, but well pleased with our outing.

Skyler Ray (a.k.a. "little" Skyler) and Aly found a suit of armor to pose by

The joust: the tourney was very enjoyable this year, our knight was from "Scotland" and is on the horse with the purple trappings

Back (l to r) Tommy, Riley, Calleigh, Elizabeth, and Tori; Front (l to r) Matt, Nina, Max, Aly, Skyeler, and Skyler Ray

Skyeler found a very cool hair ornament that actually holds her fine hair

Aly also found a very pretty hair ornament. It looked very nice in her long hair

Riley comes to Aly's rescue with a piggy back after her shoes (which got a soaking in the dewy grass) began to rub her feet

"I'm only here for the food" (name that movie!) Actually, it is always on my list to get a funnel cake :) Surprisingly, I ate more of the candied pecans than this funnel cake. The kids descended on me once I bought it :)

Skyeler wearing her Sweet 16 Birthday present (a little early). I'm such a bad mom, I forgot to get a formal picture of her wearing it (oops). She had been drooling, I mean looking, at this dress for two years. It is very pretty.

The back of her very pretty dress :)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Meeting Author Bryan Davis

(Skyeler made a banner of the book covers of all the series in PhotoShop)

It has been quite a few years now that Bryan Davis has been among the top favorite authors of Skyeler and her friends. His "Dragons in Our Midst" and "Oracles of Fire" series have been read, reread, and passed around between them. Skyeler loves to listen to the audio books before bed at night. Now that Aly is 10, she is listening with her sister and getting to know "Billy" and "Bonnie." When Skyeler, Elizabeth, and Calleigh found out last May that Bryan Davis was going to be near our area, they asked if I would take them to a book signing. So we loaded up the car and drove an hour to meet him. Skyeler and Calleigh brought the few books that had not been signed personally and Elizabeth bought a new one to have him sign. He graciously posed with the girls for a picture. The girls love the stories he has to tell and getting to know the characters within them. I love that he is a Christian author who provides them with a clean fantasy series to read. A win-win situation :)

Skyeler has asked me to post a few links for anyone who might be interested in checking out her favorite author... to check out all the great series he has available! a direct link to his brand new book out this month. a song that was written for the book "Masters and Slayers," set to music, and performed. Look for Skyeler's YouTube link coming soon. She got a copy of the music and has recorded herself playing it on the piano.

Calleigh, Bryan Davis, Skyeler, and Elizabeth

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Back to School Post

Finally, we have made it back to school. Today finishes up our second week. Things are moving along nicely. My plan was to have the whole school year planned and the paperwork ready to pick up and go in file folders. Well, I'm am still working on that. However, the first two weeks that I did get planned out, worked out very well for Aly. She enjoyed having her own checklist to mark her work off. Of course, this led to an Aly funny this week when I noticed that she had marked off something we hadn't accomplished yet. The conversation went something like this...

Me: Aly, you marked off Bible. We haven't done Bible yet today.

Aly: Yeah, I know.

Me: Well, why did you mark it off then?

Aly: I just like having things marked off on my list, it makes me feel like there is less to do.

So I guess she's liking the checklist idea, even if she hasn't really grasped the concept :) This year we will be doing a study of countries and cultures. We began with just an overview of geography and our hands-on project was to make a world cake showing the continents. Much harder than it looked. Aly finally had me try to draw the continents and I didn't do any better. Aly, being the little chef that she is, loved baking and icing the cake.

Teaching Textbooks Math is great. Aly does the lessons on the computer. Totally takes this non-mathy mom out of the equation. I love it and so does she. Aly loves her new grammar book (Junior Analytical Grammar). We are picking up the pace a bit in spelling and handwriting. This year I'm having her do more writing. We are starting out with some story starters and she has had a couple creative little paragraphs. Our read aloud is The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. I had to make her pick from a few classic books for her reading assignment. She doesn't like to try new things in reading. So her first book was The Mouse and the Motorcycle. She finished it this morning and decided she really liked it. For fun she is reading the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. Last week she had all her Playmobil figures lined up in the Roman arena and they all had Greek Mythology names and were acting out various battles and scenes (and a few make believe ones) from the book. For science we are planning a study of biomes and habitats, as well as adding in the Land Animals of the Sixth Day book. We went outside and looked around our backyard for nature and found a bunch of rotting apples from our apple tree were feeding butterflies, flies, chipmunks, and the groundhog (or hogs, not sure how many there really are). There were between 6 and 10 butterflies flying around the bottom of the tree. Aly got this picture of one of them...

Skyeler's work is going well, too, though she's working pretty independently. We have tried to incorporate her interests into her schooling this year and still leave time for her to explore some of the extras that strike her fancy. History is the Middle Ages. A time period she loves. Right now it is mostly reading. We hope to add some field trips to make this come more alive. Algebra is Algebra in any language. She's just trying to plow through. Same with grammar, where she is just doing a refresher workbook. Literature will be two fold. She'll be reading some Medieval Lit along with her history assignments (for instance, this week she began parts of the epic poem Beowulf). Also, we will be doing the Movies as Literature course with friends of ours. In science she is working on finishing up biology from last year and then will be moving on to chemistry. She is most excited about her two electives: Photography and a Jane Austen Literature study. Photography began last week. She's beginning with an Amanda Bennett unit study and then we will move on to various online resources from there. One of the biggest things with photography will be to have her out practicing with the camera multiple times a week. She has already been roaming around outside the house looking for something interesting to photograph and I am hoping to get out to some of the metro parks for more practice. Our Jane Austen Lit Study will start in October with friends and we are all excited. We are going to have the girls keep a blog of their work during the study, so stay tuned for a link. Skye has been using her free time to practice her piano and brush up on some Photoshop skills. She has been using Photoshop in our co-op Yearbook class and this year she has branched out to try some other things. She was excited to have a montage of book covers that she had Photoshopped together posted on the Bryan Davis Dragons in our Midst forums. I am trying to foster this talent and let her have time to explore and experiment.

All in all a great start to the new school year. Co-op begins in a week and a half and then we will be in the full swing of things. I always have hopes to update weekly or so, but life does happen and I have no idea if I will be able to keep up or not.

For Granny & Papa

Granny and Papa sent Aly this adorable hat (and money) for her birthday! She loved it. The hat totally fits her style.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Not Back to School Post

Last week after vacation I was frantically trying to finish my school planning for the year. Every day I was surrounded by school books, paper lists, and file folders. I was planning to finish everything by Saturday night. School was going to begin Monday. Somewhere in the middle of the week, my back tooth started bugging me a bit more than usual. It's been giving me bits of trouble here and there, mostly just sensitive, for months. I had the feeling it was something a little more. Seeing how we had our first outing with Skyeler's new PEACH group Friday afternoon, and that I was hoping to find a new family dentist closer than our current dentist that we love (though an hour away), I went to an urgent care dentist Friday morning. They gave me a cleaning and filled a cavity in the tooth that was giving me fits. A deep cavity that they thought might eventually need a root canal. Well, the last root canal I had was a ridiculous affair with numerous dental visits that ended with a tooth that is still sometimes sensitive and the dentist (in MI) that said I had the tiniest roots of any patient he had ever seen. Nice. So I had pretty much decided no more root canals. If it gave me trouble, they could pull it. Well, the urgent care dentist was nice enough to give me a muscle relaxer for my TMJ and sent me home. They said the tooth might be a little sensitive. Well, it was more than sensitive, it was downright painful. I spent the weekend in pain and by Sunday night I couldn't even sleep. Called our family dentist Monday and when they squeezed me in, I found out that the tooth had abscessed. They couldn't extract it Monday because they were booked. So yesterday I went back to have the thing extracted. They thought it could be saved by a root canal, but looking at my x-rays, they wouldn't be able to do it in the office because that tooth had crooked roots. I would have to see a specialist. I wasn't too keen on losing a tooth, especially one that was second from the back, but I wasn't about to spend thousands on a specialist AND the root canal. My family dentist put me in IV sedation to do the extraction. That has got to be the way to go for ALL dental work. And of course the stupid insurance company doesn't pay for it. But let me tell you, it was worth every penny I paid :) Now we have wiped out our Dave Ramsey dental fund that was supposed to be for Skyeler this fall AND I'm home recuperating from the extraction with antibiotics and Advil (since I'm can't take Vicoden) AND I'm tired and sore and tender AND we haven't been able to start school. I am hoping to feel more myself tomorrow (and caught up on all the sleep I lost!), so I can finish up that planning. School will (hopefully) begin next Monday instead.

North Myrtle Beach

I wanted to share a few more pictures from our Myrtle Beach trip. It's amazing how sleepy lying in the sand and playing in the waves can make one. Every evening after we got in from the beach and had dinner, we were all ready to just chill out. I was thinking that I would post more pictures Friday night when we got back to my parents, but our road trip back took FOREVER! By the time I got pictures loaded onto a CD for my mom and onto Cheryl's laptop, it was bedtime. Here are a few favorites ...

Pruney toes.

Aly being ... well, Aly :)

Skyeler after spending too much time inside watching "The Next Top Model" or some such show (I really don't know what it was called) with her Granny. We think it might have went to her head.

I had been planning this shot since the first day on the beach. Skyeler didn't buy a Boogie Board so she wasn't in the picture.

The beach was beautiful this morning. It was also not yet crowded. I captured this shot of Bryce, Carter, and Aly coming in on their Boogie Boards. This picture was not staged. Love it when that happens.

That morning I was also able to capture this cool shot of Skye and her reflection. If you look close, you can also see her shadow.

Carter being ... well, Carter. :)

Skye and Granny

The Younger Yahoo's and their umbrella

Our last night at the beach, Cheryl and I walked out to pick up our beach paraphernalia and saw the tide was completely out. Neither of us had seen it out so far before and it was really amazing. The beach was so wide and their were little tide pools of water left behind. We ran back to get the yahoo's and Granny from the pool. The kids LOVED running around in the tide pools.

There were some "minnows" in some of the small tide pools. The yahoo's and I had spent some time on the beach during the week trying to catch some in our buckets (we didn't bring any minnow nets with us ... next time!). Skye and Bryce ran back to the condo to pick up our buckets in hopes that the small space would allow them to finally catch one. I don't know how long we stood there while the yahoo's and Granny tried time after time to chase those little fishies into the buckets. Bryce built a wall and Skye sat real still while Granny "herded" them towards her. Skye has the patience of Job when it comes to things like that. I think she and Bryce would have been sitting there till the tide came in if we had let them.

Finally a picture of all four yahoo's. We had hoped to take portraits on the beach. I wanted a new one for my "Cousins" frame, Granny always wants new pictures, and Cheryl wanted to get her Christmas Card photo. Unfortunately, it was too windy. Way too windy. We'll just have to wait for another time.