For Uncle John and Vanessa

My brother and his girlfriend got Allison a camera for her birthday. It came with some type of Disney photo shop software. The camera holds 300 photos. Adam and I laughed because our first digital camera held 6. The kids have had fun taking pictures of each other and other random objects in the house. Last night we finally uploaded the software to the computer. We're still trying to figure out all it offers, but we've had fun playing with it.


The Week in Review

We've had a busy few days. Of course the most exciting thing has been Allison's birthday which was on the 4th. However, we've had a few other things to keep us occupied, and I've posted about them below.

Last Friday night Alex, with his Indian Guides tribe, took part in the Cleveland Cavaliers High Five Club. Before the game, they got to welcome the players onto the court in a high five tunnel. This was very exciting. The Cavs won (of course!), and their games seem to be very exciting because they are a bright spot in Cleveland professional sports. Plus, now mom is familiar with some other players other than LeBron James.

ANOTHER MISSING TOOTH Alex finally lost this top tooth, and we are so glad because he's been wiggling it forever! He wanted to be the one to pull it out this time (not Dad) so it took a little longer to break free.


Alex now has his 'Blue Tip' Tae Kwon Do belt (blue with a white line in the middle). He tested for his blue belt awhile back, but mom forgot to bring the camera that day. Today he presented his form for the judges as well as a kick to break the board.


As I mentioned Allison's birthday was on Thursday, and her big gift was her first American Girl Doll, a Bitty Baby. She loves her new baby so much! (There are some pictures below of them in matching green dresses and hats). Today, however, we celebrated with her friends. There are only 4 girls in her Pre-K class (and 9 boys!). This is hard on the teacher, but easy for mom to plan a party. We celebrated in complete princess fashion with boas, tiaras, wands, and a multi-layered cake. The girls had a great time, and of course, Allison had the most fun!


100 Book Challenge

One of the programs that Alex's school participates in is the 100 Book Challenge. It is a literacy system designed to teach children independent reading. We have been huge fans! The children have Reading Logs in which they keep track of every 15 minutes of reading (similar to a Public Library summer reading program). The children are given 15 minutes during the school day to read, and they are encouraged to read 15 minutes at home each night, as well as 15 minutes on the weekends. Of course you can always do more, which Alex has! At this point in the school year, if you've followed the suggested reading times, the children should have completed 100 steps of reading which equals 25 hours of independent reading.

The school has four award ceremonies to recognize the students who have reached the appropriate steps. Yesterday students who had reached 100 steps of reading received medals and certificates. We're proud to admit that Alex had not only reached the 100 step mark, but was the only 1st grader to have reached the 200 step mark (and he is nearly to 300...we're actually shooting for 100 steps per month).

The picture below shows him being recognized by his teacher and the principal for his success. His teacher told the school, and the parents, that Alex's secret is that he doesn't watch much television, and therefore is able to complete several steps each evening. He's actually had a few children tell him that they want to quit watching TV in order to 'catch up' to his steps. This was encouraging to us because we've always told the children that if they do their best, it encourages others to do their best.
Later that day, in music, the music teacher made up a song about Alex for the students to sing. He couldn't quite remember it all, but it went something like, 'I know a boy who reads a lot, and this is how he does it, he turns the TV off......'. We told Alex that no one was making up songs about us when we were in school.


Snow Day

What would have shut down the entire Portland/Vancouver metropolitan area is par for the course here in northeast Ohio. I estimate about 5 inches of snow total. Adam had the driveway shoveled by 7 am, the street was plowed by 7:30 am, and we had Alex to school by 8:30 am. Alex was actually a little disappointed that he couldn't stay home from school to play in the snow. I told him that doesn't happen in Cleveland. I believe the forecast is calling for more tonight.

Sierra actually is a huge fan of the snow. She has wanted to be out in it all day!


The October Road

I cannot believe we are nearly halfway through November. October seemed to pass in the blink of an eye. Our month was filled with camping trips, costume parties and a blur of other activities. To make up for the lack of posts, I've at least provided you with dozens of photos below. Enjoy!

Allison's THREE Halloweens

Allison had a tough time deciding on one Halloween costume this year. Fortunately, she had several opportunities to dress up. We went trick-or-treating one night at John Carroll University. This was such fun! The students decorate the dorms, and the trick-or-treaters go door-to-door within each dorm while the students pass out candy. There are even a few 'haunted' dorms. For that event she wore her ballerina costume from her spring dance recital. I was excited to get two uses out of it.

Second, she wore a princess dress for the actual Beggar's Night here in South Euclid.

Finally she wore a fairy costume to her preschool Halloween party. All girls should be so lucky.

Red Ranger


Costumes with Friends

October Photo Shoot

Niagara Falls