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A “Celebrate the World” performance was held last week at Anna’s school. The older classes had to try out for a spot in the show. Anna was selected to perform a piano piece entitled, “Jocularity”. I think she would’ve rather been selected for the flute or the singing group she tried out in, since she likes those things better. Piano is something she doesn’t think she’s very good at, but for only taking lessons for three years, I think she does great (and obviously so does her music teacher). Hear for yourself:

The other activity going on the same night at school was the learning fair. Many of the children participated by reseaching a topic of their choice and preparing a display board. Anna has been so into cheerleading this past year (as you maybe could tell from previous posts), that it was a natural choice for her project this time.


She has studied diverse topics over the years. I went back and pulled photographs from previous learning fairs where she researched: Russia; Rocks & Fossils; Dams; Sharks; Horses; and Moose (her favorite animal).



After trying to come up with a “family” picture for our last Christmas card and realizing that we had NO photographs that included all 6 of us and Sunday morning last week we were all dressed up since we were attending the boy’s cousin’s confirmation (our church is casual)–this meant getting out the tripod and lining up the troops in the backyard. Got in about a half-dozen shots before we lost the attention of my youngest (although she couldn’t pose without lifting up her dress–good thing she’s only 4).


The annual MVC Alumni banquet was held earlier this month. It was only the second year that I’ve attended. After about at 20-year hiatus from the MVC organization, I joined the newly formed MVC A-Team (the “A” stands for alumni) last year and reconnected with some old cheerleader friends and made lots of new ones. Yes, twenty-some years ago I was a Minnesota Vikings Cheerleader. I still think I am in a rather unique position having been both a professional cheerleader and a professional engineer. Here’s proof:



Back to the banquet. Last year Jeff was one of about 5 men present and although he was a good sport at the time he declined to attend this one. He passed considering it a “girls night” event. He was right. There were even fewer men in attendance this year. A few of the 80’s ladies braved the old costumes and performed the original “Vikings” song that we hummed and sang along to cheer them on. They were awesome! Then Lisa S. had those of us from the first few years of the team come up with her as she reminiced about how things use to be. The MVC team celebrated 25 years this past year. Lisa S. also won this year’s alumni award–way to go Lisa! The women that I’ve come to know that have represented the MVC over the years are not only obviously beautiful on the outside, but beautiful on the inside too. They are genuine and amazing women that I’m proud to be associated with.


mvcalum2One final note: my friend, Tami who is herself an MVC alumni (and is shown above in photo 8 with me) and who is also the current MVC coach, was named Mrs. Minnesota just one week after our banquet. I’m so happy for her. Congratulations Tami! See more information on Tami and her new title here:


Among many artistic things, Brandon loves to draw. As a little boy I remember his drawings of strange and wonderful creatures that only a boy could love. Now his talent has grown and his drawings are beginning to reflect some of the things that he loves now. His Grandpa Earl:


and this dog, Lolly:


and being a boy of 16 there is also a girl (sorry he hasn’t shared any drawings of her).


Ellie has been anxiously awaiting spring and the opportunity to ride her two-wheeler (plus training wheels) that has been stored in the basement. A week ago Tuesday we had a snow storm, but by the weekend the weather warmed up. With the helmet on she was determined to ride by herself and didn’t want Mommy or Daddy hanging on to the back of the seat. I have to fill you in that our house is on a street that does have a hill. She did pick up quite a bit of speed heading down to the culdesac so you can understand why we wanted to hang on to her seat. At the end of the road she spent about half an hour just circling around before requesting help (smart girl) to make it back up the hill to our house. Here is my determined girl on her first bike ride:


After admiring my London friend, Veevs, textured photos she encouraged a number of us (and also assured us that it wasn’t as hard as it looked) to give it a try.  Veevs has hosted two challenges for our group and the results have been amazing and addicting.

The first last month:



If you’d like to see how the rest of the group made this photo their own through textures check out this:

And this month Barb provided a photo that had wonderful repetition of boats and masts. Here’s what I did with it:


It is so amazing to be how different and wonderful everyone can make the same photo. Check back with Veevs site to see how others did:

Last night to get together as the 2008-2009 MVC All Star team and they celebrated last Thursday by hanging out at Winter Park (Viking headquarters), eating dinner and cake, getting awards and having their pictures taken. Being a part of this team has been one of the highlights of the year for Anna (me too!). Seeing her perform has brought back sweet memories for me and being able to perform with one of my daughters at an NFL game was such a joy. Both the team veterans and rookies were recognized by Coaches Stephanie and Katie. The veterans on the team having been with the group two years. Then the coaches awarded a few special team awards. The first one they named was for “Best High Kicks”. When they called Anna’s name, she let out a joyous scream. She would’ve won the award for best reaction to receiving an award if there was one. I’m a proud Mom and I think it’s awesome to share a love of dance and performing.



project52bannerA day off from school and what do the girls do? They go shopping of course! I’ve always said that my Ellie inherited the Nana shopping gene. (Nana is my grandmother). But this shopping trip was a hoot. Ellie lead the way into store after store picking out “cute” clothes, holding ladies-sized shirts up to herself in the three-way mirrors. Then she spotted the shoes (and these were ladies shoes) in the back and before I knew it off came her little tennis shoes and her pink socked feet were placed in a pair of black high heeled pumps. Between laughing and trying not to cause a scene in this store I did remember to get my camera out:


Back at home, Anna gave Ellie a full makeover (I mean hair, makeup and clothes). She then taught her little sister to “walk” down the runway (in this case the back hallway). Ellie had the walk, she had the pose, she had the pout and oozed attitude to the max. See for yourself:


It was the annual Fiesta celebration performances last week where Spanish culture is highlighted in drama, song and dance. It was also a way for the kids to show off their hard work learning a new language. Anna’s school begins teaching Spanish in the first grade with weekly lessons. By the fifth grade, Anna and her classmates are beginning to appreciate all the cross cultural similarities and differences.

Anna played a major role in her class drama, “El arbol capoquero”. She was the axe-person sent to chop down the kapok tree. All the animals pleaded with her showing that the tree represented their home, their shelter, their food supply. In the end she agrees to save their tree. Here is a short exerpt from the drama:



Their class song or cancion was “La Bamba”:

Anna and a number of other girls from the class ended the night with an engergetic dance to “Mueve, mueve”.


Senora Carmen, their Spanish teacher, should not only be congratulated for being such a wonderful and inspiring teacher but also for recently becoming a citizen of the United States! Congratulations Carmen!

project52bannerMy stepson, Brandon, got all dressed up for a band concert (he plays the french horn). He reluctantly agreed to be photographed. He actually spends time to get his hair to look like this. I won’t complain, because usually he’s a pretty good kid.

week-9-brandon-webAnd here are a few other pictures  from that night:

jeff-bran-webJeff and Brandon–see he can still smile big.

And Jeff with Austin and Ellie:

jeff-aus-el-webEven though Austin got his braces off a few months ago, this is the best smile I usually get from him. I know this is probably just a “teen” thing and that this new look is “cool”, but I miss that grin of his.

aust-ellie-babySee what I mean?