Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Ben's Christmas Concert

Today was the day of the Christmas Concert at Lake Clear Elementary School, the K-3 school that Ben attends...there are less than 60 students in all, 2nd grade is the smallest with 9 kids and 3rd grade has 16 kids...


The kindergarten class made these trees to decorate the wall...one of Ben's classmates must have been sick that day (because we're one tree short)...I showed Ben the picture and asked him which tree was his, and he looked at me like I was an idiot..."Daddy, they all look the same"...I had thought pretty much the same thing, but wouldn't have pointed it out...


Other grades made these other decorations (much more easily identifiable decorations one might point out) to decorate the lunchroom/gym/library/auditorium with, and did a lovely job!


I loved the mugs of cocoa, especially the big green one, it made me want to make some cocoa with a peppermint stick in it as soon as I got home...


The performances of the 4 classes were all so great and so sweet that I was sore from smiling so hard by the time the concert was done...


The choreography was spectacular...the girl in pink stripes is Ellie, a girl about whom Ben loudly, and without prompting, says that he does not love...


The kindergarten class did 3 numbers, 2 songs sandwiching a poem...it made me so happy and proud that I almost cried...


The 1st grade did some great songs also, especially Ayla, a friend of Ben's and the daughter of our friends the Buerketts...


There were a couple of ensemble numbers with all of the kids together, including one where the kids sang and used sign language...

video

Here's a video of one of the songs that Ben's class sang...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Snow Day Videos

I had a snow-day today, not a big surprise given the amount of snow that fell yesterday; so once it warmed up a bit, Ben and I headed outside to play...

I took advantage of the situation to play with my new video camera a bit, and submit these 3 short movies for your consideration...

In the first one, Ben is sliding down the track that we made yesterday with his new sled...there were about 8 new inches of snow laying on it so the first few runs were pretty slow, but things picked up after that...

video


After sliding for a while, Ben asked about jumping off of snowbanks, which we both did for a bit...it was fun, but he yearned for something a bit more vertical, and asked about the hot-tub...we waded through the snow (up to my mid-thigh, up to his chest) to the hot-tub and he jumped...

video


and plugged into the snow there...

video

We had lots of fun...I also showed him the "trick" of standing under a loaded tree and letting Daddy shake a cubic yard of snow onto your head...he liked that so much that we did it a bunch of times, until he was a little blue (I didn't record that because I didn't want to trash my new toy on its first day in action)...then we headed back inside...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

New Video Camera

I got a wonderful little digital video camera from La-La, and we tried it out today for the first of, hopefully, many videos of life in the Adks

video

Big Storm!!!

We've already gotten about a foot of new snow, and we're expecting another foot or so between now and tomorrow morning...we're ready for a loss of power if the trees start to fall, and the house is warm and dry...

A couple of hours ago, there was a window of nice weather in the middle of this blizzard, and we took advantage of the break to open a present with Ben (we had permission)...a super sled from Uncle Steve and Auntie La-La...


Ben didn't know what was in the huge package before he unwrapped it, but he may have gotten some sort of hint from the fact that we got him dressed for the outdoors before we opened it...


Gail took one for the team and made the first run in the deep snow (like 2 feet, or more)...flipping over a bit and getting trapped like a flipped turtle in the soft and deep powder...


Once we made couple of runs down the trail, it packed down nicely, and Ben got some nice speed on the way down...the climbs back up the hill were hard as the snow was over Ben's waist...


It was a fun time for all of us, and a nice chance to get outside as the weather was quick to close back in on us once we went back inside (for some grilled cheese made in our huge cast-iron skillet)...ice-pellets alternate with white-out snow as I'm typing this blog entry...


Ben loved sliding down the hill, going fast, and crashing into Mommy or various trees and stumps at the bottom of the hill...it was cool to see him build up speed on the packed trail and then disappear into a cloud of snow when the sled wandered off into the loose powder (and stopping instantly as he lost all momentum)...


At one point, Gail fell back into the snow at the bottom, and got caught in the comfortable depression in the powder...she took this picture at arm's length, doing a good job of keeping the fear out of her eyes...eventually she had to roll over and sort of crawl out of the deep snow until she could stand up...


At the end of the sledding (we could tell when he was done because Ben could no longer get his fingers to hold onto the handles of the sled), he lay down on this new and wonderful present and gave a contented smile to us, to the sky, to the snow starting to gently fall again, and to the universe...

What a great break in the weather, and a lucky opportunity to take advantage of it...

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Before the storm...

We woke up to a cold day yesterday, and generally took it pretty easy inside until after lunch, when we headed over to Lake Placid to see, "Enchanted"...



We had a great time in this movie...



We almost had the entire theater to ourselves, as everyone else was getting ready for the massive storm that is supposed to come in the near future (nope...not here yet...gentle snow)...after the super movie, we went to the Great Adirondack Steak & Seafood Company, it's not just a clever name, we had a great meal...Gail and I enjoyed the best prime rib we've ever had (at 4:15pm) in our lives, and Ben had some high quality seafood (fish sticks)...



Today was a ton warmer, so we ventured outside for some Christmas Tree hunting in the woods on our property...this pumpkin, perched on our grill, was covered in about an inch of ice filled with tiny bubbles...



The fairy door that we installed last Spring showed signs of use and habitation...


We chopped down 2 trees, and carried them back through the woods to stand up in our field for final selection...Ben chose the tree that will be our Christmas Tree this year...


While mom strung some lights along the windows and on the tree, prior to decorating the tree, Ben and I went out in a time-honored tradition before (and after) big storms, shopping for Emergency French Toast (EFT)...we're all set for the storm, as big and bad as it gets, but there's still an almost undeniable drive to shop for basics, ordinarily bread and eggs and milk...hence EFT...


Cedar, our Cheagle (or Beagow) is getting to be a grumpy old man, but he is still outrageously cute...


We strung up the lights and hung our favorite decorations on the tree, Ben chose well...


Gail unpacked the ornaments and laid them out on the dining table, and we would take turns picking through to find the ones we like the most, and hunting for the perfect spot to hang it on the tree...


We have ornaments with pictures of each of us and our pets...Hobson and Zeke, our oldest cat and dog, are both gone now (although both are buried on our property, Hobson is helping to grow a rose and Zeke's grave is covered with wildflowers and ivies), but they will always grace the Christmas Tree at this time of year...


Ben had a great time playing with a couple of ornaments that didn't make the cut for this year's tree...I loved his expression in the picture above...


Gail did a great job organizing/managing/overseeing the decorations, including the stockings, tree and the rest of the house...we're ready for the storm, and for EFT tomorrow morning if it turns out as promised...

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Cold...and cabin fever...

Gail has has been working at home a bit this week...both on Paul Smiths stuff and on stuff for her Doctorate...she's getting a little punchy, and it's not going to get any better in the near future...

We're down around zero this morning, and expecting a major dump of snow tomorrow, so we may not get outside as much this weekend as we ordinarily do...



Here are Gail and Ben playing a game with complex rules over which the vampire-duck has final decision-making authority...



Gail was working on a paper for her doctoral progam this morning, before the fire had caught up with the cold, especially at our dining table, which is far away from the woodstove and its vent and exposed to the nearby windows...