Thursday, November 21, 2013

Throwback Thursday

As we often do when we're together, my mom, Sara, and I snooped through the photos on each other's phones while hanging out in our hotel room in Chicago. I came across this series of photos, from one of Sara and Jeff's visits to Ann Arbor, on Sara's phone, and am fairly certain they never made it to the blog. They showcase Sara and I trying to get 15-month-old Hallie to sit with us, look at the camera, and smile for a picture, which as you can see, never happened. She's been a pistol from the beginning.

The last picture above is the closest we got to her sitting with us, looking at the camera, and emailing. One out of three ain't bad…

And here are the other two pictures Sara took on her phone that day:

Will and Hallie look so little! And Uncle Jeff looks so refreshed, like a guy who doesn't have kids of his own who keep him up at night! (Sara was preggers with Lily at the time.)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Hooks

This fall Will played (and Tom coached) his first season of machine-pitch baseball. We went from tee-ball, where the kids hit off the tee or, as the season progressed, off a VERY SLOW coach pitch, to actual baseball, where the kids hit off a machine that chucks the ball at them at 37 MPH. I honestly thought this season would be a disaster, and that Will, who gets extraordinarily frustrated when he doesn't play well, would want to quit the sport by the end of the eight-week season.


Turns out Will is pretty darn good at hitting a 37 MPH "fast" ball. He's also a decent fielder and a smart baserunner, and his understanding of baseball strategy is quickly catching up with that of the adults who instruct him on the field. In my opinion, Will is a ridiculously fun player to watch, not only because of his baseball skills, but because he loves the game. A couple of weeks ago he caught a pop fly to end the game, and the excitement that radiated from his little body (and his mouth) when he realized the ball had stayed in his glove lit up the entire field.
Coach Tom and Will on first.
Getting ready to bat.
(Look at the muscle in that kid's forearm!)
Waiting on second.
The Hooks, Fall 2013
Obligatory goofy shot.
Jackson, Will, and Logan, fall 2013.
Jackson, Logan, and Will, spring 2013.
Logan, Jackson, and Will, fall 2012.
I used to hate baseball. It's now my absolute favorite sport.

A special thanks to my friend Rhonda, who took all of these pictures!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

It's November. Again.

Here she is in 2011:

Here she is in 2012:

And now here she is in 2013:

I need you to slow down, Father Time.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Kickin' Butt and Taking Names

Now nearly 11 months into Tae-Kwon-Do (I regularly call it karate, but I think it's technically Tae-Kwon-Do), Will continues to thoroughly enjoy the sport. He'll graduate to a camo belt in December - at which point he'll get to start sparring - and a few weekends ago he competed in and did VERY well at his second tournament. He did so well, in fact, that I felt badly for the other competitors and their parents…Will swept all three categories and took home three gold medals.
Waiting patiently for his turn to compete in weapons.
Weapons routine.
Weapons routine.
Weapons routine.
Waiting to begin his forms.
Being declared the winner in the one-step sparring bracket competition.
I love this picture of Tom - he's SO proud,
but trying to stay composed and respectful.
Receiving one of his gold medals.
His place on the medal podium.
Showing off his medals in the car.

Watching Will come into his own as a student of Tae-Kwon-Do has been so much fun, and seeing him rewarded for his hard work and focus nearly brought tears to my eyes. Regardless of how long Will sticks with this sport, the time (and money) we've invested in helping Will learn how to control and manipulate his body, focus his energy, respect his elders, and work hard toward an individual goal has been well worth it.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Happy Halloween in 2013

The Halloween festivities began the weekend before the holiday with a huge, family-friendly party at a friend's house out in the country. If I had to guess, I'd say there were close to 150 costumed adults and children celebrating that evening, and all four of us had a great time. My pics from the party won't win any awards, but at least we paused long enough to capture a couple of fun moments.
Will and Logan enjoying shaved ice snacks.
Will and Hallie, keeping watch outside the jail.
Will, hangin' up his saddle outside the saloon.
The following day the kids and I "carved" their pumpkins. (I still don't think they're ready for knives, so I give them hammers and let them pound these Mr. Potato Head-style features into their pumpkins.)
Using all her strength to push the princess' arm in.
Hallie and her princess.
Working on his pirate.
We're having trouble taking good pictures lately.
A LOT of trouble.
Silly faces, just for fun.
I spent all of Halloween Eve, just as I do every year, baking and frosting and decorating.
That's seven dozen cupcakes.
Next up came Halloween activities and parties at both of their schools.
Trunk-or-Treat at Hallie's preschool was moved inside and
became regular trick-or-treating because of rain.
This girl was super excited about her cupcake.
Will's teacher had him climb up on one of the computer
desks so that she could take his picture with her skeleton.
And last but not least, trick-or-treating with friends in our neighborhood. Will especially has reached the perfect age for trick-or-treating. Young enough that he still loves to dress up and people don't question whether or not he should be going door-to-door asking for candy, old enough to appreciate how cool this strange holiday tradition really is. (And while I still check every piece of candy Will brings home, he's now pretty darn good at assessing what is and isn't safe for him to eat.) Will's also started to want to share experiences like trick-or-treating with his friends and not just with his parents and little sister, so he loved having his buddies Logan and Jackson over for the evening. (Tom and I enjoyed hanging with Logan and Jackson's parents, and Hallie gets along well with both Logan's older sister and Jackson's younger brother.)
Our Halloween village, all lit up for Halloween night.
Let the games (the trick-or-treating competition
between me, my dad, and my sister) begin!
Wonder Woman and Batman.
Wonder Woman, Clart Kent/Superman, and Batman.
(Tom wore his costume to work and even taught a class that day.)
Ready to head out with Kendra, Logan, Jackson, and Morgan.
A brief photo stop in front of a neighbor's lawn decor.
Headed home to refuel before trick-or-treating a little more.
My final count, which of course meant victory.
We certainly have a warm-weather advantage in Texas!
Happy Halloween!