Archive for December, 2014

Earning their stripes

Posted in Leah, Molly, Sports on December 24th, 2014 by c-had – Be the first to comment

The girls are very much enjoying karate. Last week was Molly's first belt test, where she would test to earn a yellow stripe on her yellow belt (note that belt rank may differ from one form of karate to another). She's been practicing and studying for several weeks, and she was finally ready to test.

But, first, Leah got to show off her karate skills. Leah’s karate class is too young for belt tests, but they do have ceremonies to culminate a specific topic they've been working on. These include demonstrations for families. Molly and I got to watch, but sadly Jen did not. She arrived with us, but then had to turn around and head home when we realized the girls had forgotten their bag with gear and belts (which is why Leah is not wearing her belt).

Leah led their initial chant.

Karate demonstration

Left fighting stance

Left fighting stance

Nice punch.

Nice punch

Her kick was so quick, I couldn’t get it all in the picture.

Quick kick

A front kick requires an open mouth.

Front kick

Strutting is important when you block an attacker.


When the target is up high, you need to be on your toes to punch.

Punching on your toes

Side kick

Side kick

This session focused on balance, and all of them got a stripe for the belt and a certificate, as well as a high five from sensei. Since Leah was missing her belt, she had to wait to get her stripe until a few minutes later when Jen arrived with belt in hand.

High five

Then it was on to Molly's test. It was intense, including terminology, techniques, katas, kumite (sparring) and something I can only describe as toughness (getting hit in the stomach, sat on while doing a plank, stepped on while on the ground). It lasted over 2 hours. Here’s Molly sparring a bit.

Belt test

More sparring

Sorry that I don't have more pictures of her, but the place was packed with parents and there's only a little window to look through.

Molly did great and passed the test and earned her yellow stripe. Congratulations, Molly!

Yellow stripe

Quick trip to Savannah

Posted in Celebrations, Family visits, Trip on December 23rd, 2014 by c-had – 1 Comment

Grandaddy turned 95, and a celebration was in order. Since the girls have school (and we don’t like to skip school) and lots of other activities, we decided to just go for the weekend. And since flights to Savannah are both expensive and only at difficult times for those of us traveling with kids, we decided to drive.

So, we got Molly from school and hit the road. We made it as far as Florence, South Carolina before stopping for the night at a hotel. Then we woke up Saturday morning and went straight to the party which started at noon. The party was just for immediate family, but Grandaddy has got a lot of immediate family.

Birthday party

Time to blow out the candles.

Number 95

Someone thought it would be funny to use trick candles that relit themselves. He persevered and got them out eventually, though.

Trick candles

Grandaddy and Betty have had some rough times this year, but they’re still smiling.

Grandaddy and Betty

The party was held at the Sail Loft at the Savannah Yacht Club. It’s very nice inside, but outside is even more fun. Water and boats are everywhere. The girls especially liked watching the boat lift put boats in and out of the water.

Fun outside

Look at the boats

After the party, we stayed the night at Grandaddy’s house. At 95, he’s still fixing his great grandkids’ toys.

Still fixing

Then we woke up early the next morning to drive all the way back home. Thankfully, traffic wasn’t bad, so we managed to make it in a little over 12 hours. Just in time to put the girls to bed to get some sleep, as they both had to be up for school the next morning.

Ornaments galore

Posted in Leah, Molly on December 23rd, 2014 by c-had – 1 Comment

Acquiring the tree was not enough for the girls - they wanted to decorate it as well. So, we broke out the ornaments and put on the Christmas music. Leah hung the first ornament.

First ornament

And many more.

Another ornament

Trying to avoid having all the ornaments along the bottom of the tree, Mommy gave Molly a bit of a lift.

A little higher

And a bit more of a lift.

And a little higher

I can lift, too.

Leah up high

And my shoulders get them even higher.

Even higher

Just chilling

Eventually, parent ladders give way to real ladders. Leah wasn't up for climbing up high, but Molly was happy to.

Ladder time

I still do the angel on top, as long arms are required.

Angel on top

Here’s the tree, fully decorated. Oh, and some goobers in front of it.

Complete tree

Strike a pose.

Strike a pose

And another pose.

Future models

Evergreen Christmas

Posted in Family outings, Leah, Molly on December 21st, 2014 by c-had – 1 Comment

Again this year we headed to Greenway Farms to cut down our Christmas tree. They have lots of trees to choose from and cut down yourself. This year we also tried out the pit beef, which was quite good. Sadly, the hay ride was not running since the ground was so wet from the rain the day before.

Before picking our tree, we had a photo shoot. For our Christmas card picture this year, Jen decided she wanted something among the Christmas trees. So, we set up a makeshift photo studio amongst the rows of trees. Between camera, tripod, Wi-Fi remote, external flash, wireless flash trigger, flash stand, and my hat as a make-shift lens hood, we got the shot.

Christmas card photo shoot

Then we packed up the photo gear and walked the rows of trees to find the perfect one. Here are the girls with our chosen White Pine before cutting it down.

Christmas tree picking

Lots of painting

Posted in Leah, Molly on December 10th, 2014 by c-had – Be the first to comment

We’ve done a lot of painting around here lately. First, we painted our main level bathroom, then our bedroom, and finally the girls’ bathroom. The girls were excited to help on the latter two. As usual, they tired quickly, but were enthusiastic while they lasted. They even came up with a song.

Three weeks later, when we painted their bathroom, the song had changed slightly.

And, in case you were wondering about Molly’s hair in that video, here’s a picture of her crazy updo. She needed her hair up to keep it out of the paint, but Mommy went beyond the usual ponytail this time.


Lots of singing

Posted in Church, Leah, Molly on December 9th, 2014 by c-had – 1 Comment

We’ve had a lot of singing around here lately. First, Molly sang with her choir in church. Note that in her new older kids’ choir, she even has music in a fancy folder to read off.

The next week, Leah sang with her choir.

Lastly, the girls were a part of our church's Walk to Bethlehem. They were part of the heavenly host, and got to sing Gloria for each group that passed by. It was raining, so they wore ponchos over their angel outfits. Leah wouldn't go out without Jen, so Jen joined in the fun as well.