Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tennis Camp

My camera doesn't take good indoor pictures, but here are photos of the boys at the Thompson-Woods Holiday Tennis Camp at VT. They worked their little butts off for two hours pretty much non-stop. Small groups played on each of the six courts with each of the six pros. It was a great experience for them.

Grant's forehand

Spencer preparing to serve.

A nice suprise

The kids and I had breakfast with our friend Chuck who works with them on chess, and me on life! Chuck is well-read and has an ability to analyze life and its trappings in a philosophical and objective way--but with a healthy dose of humility. At breakfast he presented us each with a book from his collection, carefully selected and totally appropriate:

For me: The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
For Spencer: Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman by Richard Feynman (himself!)
For Grant: How to Calculate Quickly by Henry Sticker

He explained why each book was important for us and we left anxious to get reading! This was just the neatest thing.

I have a lot of reading to do! Jake lent me several running books that I've started on as well. And I am in the middle of several other books with the kids.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Smart dog

Today I got Trixie a new Wubba (at right). The old one has only one tentacle left and...well...it looks pretty much like a sperm at this point.

She is one dog who seems to truly appreciate her toys. She took that new Wubba and snuggled with it and even brought it upstairs with her. Then....here's the amazing part. We were in the kitchen and I said to Trixie, "go get your Wubba" and she looked at me and I could tell the wheels were turning. Off she goes...and YES, she came back with the Wubba! The old one, but still, what a smartie!

She has a toy basket and enjoys playing with all the different things in there. Now if only we could get her to pick up her toys and put them away!!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Prep 08

Various scenes of Christmas!

No personal space required.

Last day of school before break - pajama day/bowling/movie.
No actual schoolwork!

Teamwork on the Christmas cards.
Jobs included addresser (Cortney), folder/stuffer (Robert),
licker (Grant), and stamper and return address labeler (Spencer).

Oh, Christmas Tree! Kids made the paper chain garland.
Of course, photos never do it justice and you can't really see the lights.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Virginia Tech String Program Recital

Last night was the big recital for the students in the VT String Program in the Squires Recital Salon. I was equally impressed by the first-years (Spencer among them) as well as the second-years-- it's fun to see what we all have to look forward to next year. It is hard to believe that none of these kids knew anything about their instruments just three months ago. We enjoyed seeing the personalities of each of the kids come out during the performance as some look ready to start up a jazz band!

The first-years being readied by Vernon Burnsed for conductor Jeff Midkiff

Spencer was thrilled that his third-grade teacher, Mrs. Lloyd, came to see the performance. He scanned the crowd until his eyes settled upon her and then all was right in his world! She is clearly one of those pivotal and influential teachers who has inspired and encouraged Spencer. She is very gifted, creative, and energetic, and we are lucky to have her.

Frere Jacques - Spencer is second from the right, front row.

Twinkle Twinkle - Spencer is second from the right, front row.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Recital at Wheatland

Today was the recital at Wheatland Retirement Community in Christiansburg, Virginia.

Here's Grant's rendition of Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer. Interesting choice of song considering we were at a retirement community filled with grandmas!

The long-awaited Spencer/Grant duet of Jingle Bells.

And Spencer's Ode to Joy!

Thanks go to Grant's piano teacher Darlene Himes and to the patient teachers of the VT String Project: Vernon Burnsed, Yi-wen Evans, and David Feldman.

Darlene went above and beyond the call of duty to suggest and coordinate this duet and give the boys the opportunity to perform together.

Darlene and her happy students!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Who needs cellos and pianos??

No need for those expensive lessons and pesky sheet music. Why bother when you have tub tunes?!