Monday, November 28, 2011

ThanksChristmasGiving 2011

Brock & I have been celebrating Christmas on Thanksgiving with his family since 1991. At that time, his parents were both still teaching, but had purchased a condo in Florida. They wanted to use their Christmas break each year to spend time at the condo, so the Reynolds (or at that time, the Devall) ThanksChristmasGiving was born. We would celebrate Christmas & Thanksgiving all in one, with both the traditional turkey dinner AND exchanging Christmas gifts. For years, we did this at Great Grandma Devall's house in Effingham, complete with Uncle Bob & Aunt Deb, Matt & Mark, Uncle Dave & Aunt Penny, Dave, Michael, Barbara, Rob, & Teresa.

Since then, spouses have been added and 6 great grandchildren have been born or adopted. In addition, Great Grandma Devall's health has declined. We no longer celebrate as an extended family. However, the three generations of Reynolds still get together, now in Mokena at Brock's brother Scott's house. Preston & Shaling had a great time playing with cousins Cooper & Chase, as well as opening gifts from Uncle Scott & Aunt Michelle and Grandma & Grandpa.

Preston & Shaling pose in front of the Christmas tree.

Chase selects a gift to open.

Cooper thinks about which gift to open next.

Shaling smiles for the camera.

Preston smiles for the camera.

Shaling shows off her new roller skates.

Preston shows off his Diary of a Wimpy Kid puzzle.

Brock & Scott show off their Cubs stocking hats.

The Reynolds clan - Bill & Nancy, Brock & Amy, Scott & Michelle, Preston, Shaling, Cooper, Chase

Dad & Shaling chill out.

Videos (don't forget, these don't show up via email -- come out to the blog to view them):

Shaling opens a present.

Preston opens a present.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Decorating for Shaling's 1st Christmas in the USA (Videos)

As I told my Facebook friends late last night, I typically have a severe aversion to Christmas decorating. Not the decorations, which I love to look at, but the act of putting them up and the act of putting them away. It's one area of our lives in which Brock typically spoils me and does it with little or no help from me. However, this year is different. We brought the boxes up from the basement yesterday evening and Shaling immediately lit up like a Hollywood spotlight.

She helped fluff out the branches and inserted them in the appropriate parts of the tree. She excitedly dug through the boxes of Christmas statues, teddy bears, and trinkets, oohing and aahing at each one. She sat by in anxious anticipation as I unveiled each ornament to be hung on the tree. She put Santa hats on each and every one of us. She danced; she sang; she repeatedly exclaimed, "I love Christmas"! Her attitude was so contagious that it was impossible to be a grinch.

She (in her Barbie pajamas) & Preston (in his Spongebob pajamas) have starring roles in the following 5 brief videos. Reminder -- if you get my blog via email, the videos are not included; you have to come out to the blog to see them.

In video 1, Preston & Shaling are being goofy & belly laughing as they hang toys from Frosty's hat (Frosty dances & sings).

I filmed video 2 because the kids suddenly realized I had been videoing and asked me to video again. They continue to be nonsensical, dancing & jumping around as Brock puts up the tree.

In video 3, Preston & Shaling wish you a "Merry Christmas" and jingle bells. Shaling puts Dad's santa hat back on his head. Preston practices to be a Salvation Army bell ringer. Mom comments on her messy living room.

Video 4 features Shaling dancing & singing with a Christmas teddy bear. Braxtina, our 17-year-old cat, surveys the situation.

In video 5, Shaling treats us to "Jingle Bells", as sung in Chinese (Mandarin).

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Preston: 6th Grade Band & Jazz Band

This is a post all about Preston. He had his school fall concert on Tuesday night. He played 3 songs with the 6th grade band and 1 song with the jazz band (he has to split drum set time with another student, so they each got to do 1 song).

For 6th grade band, he played bass drum during "Celebration Overture":

Rochester 6th Grade Band: Celebration Overture from Amy Reynolds on Vimeo.

He played snare drum during "Amazing Grace":

He played bells during "Armed Forces On Parade":

Rochester 6th Grade Band: Celebration Overture from Amy Reynolds on Vimeo.

For 6th Grade Jazz Band, he played the drum set during "Early Bird" (his cohort got to play drum set for the "James Bond Theme").

Rochester 6th Grade Band: Celebration Overture from Amy Reynolds on Vimeo.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Medical Update: Teeth & Ear

Shaling had orthodontic surgery this Tuesday. Dr. Milner took out three of her teeth - two permanent teeth & one baby tooth - to make room for teeth underneath to come up. She didn't care for the Novocaine shots, but handled the post-op soreness like a champ. She will eventually need braces, but we don't see the orthodontist again until next August or September.

She had yet another post-op visit with Dr. Huang (E.N.T.) today. He thought the ear looked much better. In fact, he said we could stop giving her the ear drops now. After pouting through some of the appointment, she smiled broadly when she heard that. She does, however, still have a small scab on her eardrum, so he wants to see her again on December 14. He predicts that we'll do a follow-up hearing test in about 5 months.

She continues to stay busy - has a basketball game at 8:30 tonight, stayed at her friend Katie's house last night, is still taking trumpet lessons, etc. Tomorrow we are giving an adoption testimonial at a "Chinese Thanksgiving" to raise money to buy coal for orphanages in China.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Thoughts on Sports, by Shaling

Our little athlete has some opinions and she likes to share them (hmmm...I wonder where she gets that from). She shared opinions with me at three different sporting events this weekend: the Rochester Rocket 7th grade girls basketball game, the Rochester Rocket playoff varsity football game, and at her own 4th grade girls basketball game at The Gym.

First, at the 7th grade girls game, she watched for awhile, then gave me an unprovoked, but rather accurate analysis: "really good passes". She was also spot-on with calling double dribbles or traveling calls before the referees even signaled them.

Next, at the football game, she told me that she wants to play football; "it's really fun". After expressing a touch of surprise, I told her that she'd have to get used to people knocking her down. She ignored the idea that she'd get knocked down confidently told me that she likes knocking people down and that she'd knock her best friend down.

Finally, at her own game, she told me that when the girls play basketball, the boys should dance. Oh, and to be clear, by "dance", she meant cheerlead.

Though I'm still not sure where she gets off being so opinionated (ahem), I like the way she thinks!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween & Basketball

Got a Halloween pictures and some basketball videos for you today. Shaling enjoyed her first Halloween, taking in a big haul. She chose to dress up as Wonder Woman (her belt was just a WEE bit big). Preston is Tron.

She also played her first regular season basketball game on Sunday (with Dad as her coach). She didn't make any buckets, but she had several steals and rebounds. She hustles all over the court and makes it her mission to get the basketball.

Here are several extremely brief video clips from her game:

In this video, Shaling shoots the ball (misses), hustles on defense, gets a steal, then turns the ball over.

In this one, Shaling brings the ball up the court, then turns it over.

Shaling gets a steal, then a breakway shot at the basket (but misses it).

Shaling gets a steal, then shoots (and misses).

In this video, Shaling hustles and plays "help defense".