We've been busy dancing up a storm around here! (Is that why it has been raining so much?) Get ready for a shower of cuteness!
Heidi was an ornament on the Who's tree. Some of the kids were candies, some were stars, some were bells and some were little trees. Heidi's favorite was the tree costume - it turns out that all the girls love the tree costume and had to take turns practicing in it. How lucky that it turned out that she got to be a tree! A few minutes later when she came out for the curtain call she ended up in a candy costume. I guess someone else got their turn to be a tree.
Molly was a stocking. At first she was NOT happy about this. The stockings were plain red and white, which, I'm told, was "BOOOOORING!" Luckily there was a little embellishment before the big show and the costumes were a lot more exciting for Molly. (They were a lot more itchy too. One boy in another performance who was not a big fan made sure every one knew he didn't like the fur around his head.)
Have you ever seen a cuter bunch of fake-Japanese girls? Emily and her dance group did such a great job at their show too! Unfortunately the song was so catchy we still can't get it out of our heads. Cha cha cha!
We went to San Francisco the other day. We drove around a bit, saw some fun things, drank fancy hot chocolate, etc. You know, the usual.
As we were getting ready to leave, Emily got really sad. "You mean we aren't going to that fun park?" We weren't quite sure what she meant. Luckily she reminded us that one time when we visited SF we went to a really, really fun park by the water. Then Scott remembered what it was . . .
the warm-up court in the Marina District.
The kids were so jazzed to play on this "playground" you would have thought we'd driven to Disneyland. We were there for at least an hour. Really!
Heidi was happy.
She even smiled for the camera. (Unfortunately she would NOT do that for the Christmas card photo shoot earlier - grrrr. Look for a card with a girl doing gang signs and making crazy faces. Yep, she's mine.)
Molly was happy.
I love this coat. It makes her look like the most fashion-forward Jawa in Tatooine.
Last week the Kindergartners had their annual Thanksgiving Feast. The food was, um, good but the kids were great! I loved listening to all their fun songs and seeing their costumes!
Getting ready for the feast was a lot of hard work for the kids and their teachers. Molly was exhausted from all the preparation. Apparently she was so tired she made everyone else who came to our house tired too.
The babysitter was exhausted just hearing about it.
Scott and I escaped to Santa Barbara last weekend, not for a little R & R, but for pretty much the opposite reason. Scott ran his 3rd marathon! Amazingly enough, he beat his best time by 18 minutes and qualified for the Boston Marathon in the women's division. I raced too - but Scott is more fun to brag about.
While we were gone the girls went to stay with their cousins. I'm not sure what it looked like at their house but I have a pretty good idea anyway. Two weeks ago the cousins came to our house to sleepover.
These three played Sardines . . .
while these two made a fort and camped out underneath.
Merliah, the hippy (who grew out of her costume since we bought it) and Belle went to the church Halloween party.
They won some fish and named them Nemo, Sparkles and Goldie. I've heard stories of goldfish that live for two years. Yeah, good one. Luckily I warned the girls that goldfish only live for a few weeks. I gave them this extra short time span so they wouldn't be disappointed when they died.
Here they are in action.
The next day two of them Goldie and Nemo were not very active any more. By that night Sparkles joined the party in the toilet bowl. Oh well. At least we still have plenty of candy.
Before we go to bed we always check on the girls and re-tuck them in their beds. Lately we've had to search for them because they move - a lot - like, into different rooms.
The first time we found them all snuggled up they were in Emily's room. She has a double bed but they were all on one side! They actually slept like this all night long.
It was pretty cute, but not as cute as . . .
the night when they Charlie and the Chocolate Factoried themselves. Can you even find three girls in there? Three girls in a twin bunkbed is pretty impressive. They are really good at playing Sardines, by the way.
No, no one in the family turned eight. It was our eighth annual pumpkin patch trip with the Workmans. To be perfectly honest, this is not the easiest way to buy pumpkins. The prices have gone up (WAY up), it's not close, and it's usually super hot when we go. That's OK. We usually get some cute photos along with some pumpkins and it is never, ever boring with C&G+5 around.
There must have been a strong wind when I took this one.
This was the best photo we got of all 38 of our kids. How many of you are lucky enough to get to wear shorts and flip flops to your pumpkin distribution centers? Please, come visit when you get tired of the snow.
We were so roasting hot after picking our pumpkins that we decided to cool off with a nice ice cream cone at Rite Aid. Yes, Rite Aid. They are extra cheap and really, really big there - and that's just what we were looking for.
This is the best photo of our family I've seen in a year - and it's of us sitting against the wall at Rite Aid after sweating to death at the pumpkin patch. We need to take more family photos.
We've already established that Scott is a superstar. How super is he now? He's so super he's half-way made of iron!
After a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike ride and a 13.1 mile run he was still smiling. Wow! He says he might be done with that race but I've heard that before. In just over a week he'll be running his third marathon.
Who knew I'd married such an athlete? I didn't. Scott didn't know it either. My husband is a superstar and I love him. You know what - he loves me too, even if I pose like I'm in the Mrs. South Placer County pageant in his finish photos. That's love.
This kind of weirds me out, by the way. I did like the Roman section though but I'm not sure why the Romans were there in the first place. Hello, remember Hadrian's Wall - they built it to keep the Scots out of Roman Britain. How soon they forget . . . anyway. I got to throw a spear in their camp and I was really good at it.
We also watched the strong man festival. They were not so impressive. They were mostly just, how to do you say it politely, round. The strong women were awesome - not round, just buff - and fun to watch! Emily is planning to compete next year.
Heidi and Molly agreed that the shave ice was the best part of the festival. Dying the tongue is always a fun and festive event. Also, shave ice stops the whining.
I love how this kid is looking at these guys like they're nuts and the nuts are giving the kid on a leash the same look.
Ayuka came to our house last weekend. Her school did a week-long tour of California. OK, not all of California. She got to see San Francisco and Universal Studios in LA. Just the staples I guess. Luckily for us, there was also a homestay program so the students could live with American families. She was only at our house for 36 hours and we did our best to give her a homestay to remember - or at least to help her be thankful she's Japanese.
As soon as we picked her up we took her right out to get a hamburger. In her questions about America she wrote, "Will Americans eat hamburgers all the time?" Yes, dear Japanese student. We do. We especially like them with bacon because bacon is like a little hug from God.
We've got spirit, how about you?!
Next we took her to see American teenagers in action - the local HS football game! I had some friends who brought their Japanese students too so we all sat together. I wish, wish I could speak Japanese because I would have loved to hear their true reactions. All of the students were very polite and I really couldn't tell if they were having fun or not. They just smiled and nodded a lot when I asked them questions. I'm going to take that as a yes, it was fun.
This photo was taken on the first cold day of the year. I'm starting to think it was also the last cold day of the year. Whew! I'm roasting here! Also, can you see that Heidi was profoundly influenced by Mugatu's final collection?
The next morning we took Ayuka to go see some California produce. Every time I go to Denios I kick myself for having been away for so long. I LOVE the produce section. You can find all kinds of things you pay double for at the grocery store AND then lots of freaky looking Mexican and Asian fruits and vegetables you can't find anywhere else. Come over. I'll take you. It's been too long already.
The rest of the day we wore poor Ayuka out by taking her to the mall, going miniature golfing and best of all, we sent her with some friends to go to a Stake Dance! I think she had fun. Again, there was lots of smiling and nodding, so who knows. I know she liked the Sonic drink she came back with.
Sayonara, Japanese kids! We'll see you next August!
I have a hard time with the first day of school in CA. When I was a kid it FELT like fall. The leaves were changing color and the long pants and the sweater your mom bought you were actually weather appropriate. Today was 107 and I don't think the traditional Minnesotan back-to-school outfit was on anyone's body.
My kids are Californians. Yeah for new traditions!
Since I made Heidi a new school dress the other girls decided they wanted one too. Molly's is a cupcake dress and Emily's has Japanese dolls on them. She's all about Japan these days. Really. This week a Japanese exchange student is coming over and she can't wait. Notice that Heidi is still wearing her school dress (but the reverse side of the last time it appeared on the blog). She has been to school three days and has worn that dress three times. I wonder when she'll want to wear something else. (Also, that reminds me, I have to go change the washing so I can get the dress out for tomorrow. Done. Isn't it fun to do chores together?)
Check this kid out! She looks so grown up to me! She's in second grade and I cannot believe it. We are so excited about her teacher and her classmates. I asked Emily what she wants to learn this year and she told me "cursive and multiplication". OK then, here's to a year filled with cursive and multiplication!
Cute little Molls started Kindergarten today. She has the same teacher Emily had and we couldn't be happier about that. When Molly went into the classroom she sat right down on the rug. Apparently she didn't want to waste time coloring or playing little games. She was ready to get down to business. She has lots of cute friends in her class and gets excited to talk with them. I hope that she will learn to NOT talk for at least part of the day.
Scott and I, along with Uncle Whit, Uncle Mike & the famous Savannah went camping last weekend. At first I was really hesitant to leave Heidi but Scott convinced me that backpacking is different than car camping. Aside from Girls Camp, I haven't had a lot of camping experience, but you know, he was right - there is a difference! Heidi had more fun with the cousins and grandparents anyway. They went to McDonald's for breakfast.
Scott, Emily, P, Molly and Q getting ready for the 2 mile hike.
Here's Molly pretending to be a turtle.
Emily decided to get up with the sun so instead of waking up the other kids, she and I went on an adventure. We ate our breakfast (not McDonald's) by the river. Do you recognize the jammies?
Have you ever seen kids happier to be in a tent? We might have to do this again soon.