Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Hello, Winter

This is the only good thing about winter. Already counting down the days till spring. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

A Visit from the Big Guy

We were just hanging out at the family Christmas party, when we got a visit from a very special surprise guest. Jolly old St. Nick himself!

The bigger surprise was that our kids actually acknowledged him. (Well, at least  2/3rds of them. Tate was not having any of it.)

We got a smile out of Curtis. 

And the cutest picture ever of Paige. Love this one. 

Though Tate ignored Santa, when it came to Bingo, he was all in. His impressive skills earned him a Slinky. 

Smiles all around.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Day at Preschool

One of the cool things about my work is that we get eight hours of paid time off to volunteer wherever we'd like. That means  I get to have a little more time with my favorite four year old. 

Today I spent the morning at his preschool. 

I got to practice both my uppercase and lowercase Hs, sing some songs about alligators, and spend a lot of time sitting in a very tiny chair. 

But I wasn't just there to learn. I was there to work. 

I spent about an hour and a half cutting out laminated pages and I must say I was pretty good at it (though the cutting muscles in my right arm are a little sore tonight). 

I spent the other half of the class working at the teaching table, where I practiced colors, shapes, and letters with the kids, including this guy. 

It's fun to see him in his element, talking to his little buddies, raising his hand to answer questions, enjoying snack time. But the best part for me was seeing how proud he was to show off his dad.

I felt pretty proud, too. 

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Happy Hoopster

It's well documented that Curtis hates just about everything (until he tries it, and then he just pretends that he hates it). 

For the past two years, I've tried get him to play basketball. No luck. Both years he refused me flat out. 

But this year was different. Curtis told me he was going to play Junior Jazz.

And he was actually happy about it. And I'm happy that one of his buddies from school is on the team, as well two kids from the ward. (The rest of the kids are also from the subdivision, which means we'll get to know some new folks in the neighborhood.)

Check out this smile before his first practice. 

He was even happier after practice—after the team played Elimination and he came out victorious. 

But everyone knows that the best part of playing sports is getting the uniform. And this one is reversible. Sweet. 

He had his first game on Saturday. After tip-off he promptly scored the first four points of the game. The season's off to a good start. 

Sinterklaas is Coming to Town

Somehow, seemingly overnight, my department turned into the Dutch consulate. I'm now surrounded by three people who have wooden-shoe heritage.

So of course we decided to celebrate Sinterklaas at work on Friday.

Everyone's knows that if you leave your shoes by the door, Old Saint Nicholas will fill them with treats. So Liz printed out pictures of klompen for everyone and brought in real-life carrots for Sinterklaas' trusty goat.

And sure enough, Sinterklaas found his way to the marketing department! Not only did he give us each a chocolate Santa (chocolate Sinterklaases can be a bit tougher to come by in these parts), but his helper Vanessa also delivered the traditional Dutch breakfast of bread, butter, and chocolate sprinkles! Heerlijk!

The Sutherland kids also prepared for the annual arrival of de Sint, putting out their shoes in hopes of a Sinterklaas treat

While good kids get treats, there's a different fate for naughty children. Sinterklaas' helper, Zwarte Piet, beats the bad ones with a stick, shoves them in his bag, and takes them on the boat back to Spain. 

It was a close call for our kids, but they were able to make it on the nice list. Phew.

Chocolate letters all around!

And now for some more education: