Tuesday, December 5, 2017

...Play Practice

...just a busy time of year, isn't it?  Tonight, we hope Krampus doesn't visit us, but he's been at a few grocery stores lately, which cracked us up.  A sleeping patron of the arts at the symphony has been cracking up all of us as well, especially Madison, who wants to see - and hear - this one video time and again.  Meanwhile, we're getting ready for the main sanctuary production of "Christmas in Color," while prepping for the second part of "Humbug!"  Madison had her "Live to Give" class after school today, and they did some charity work, and then there was piano as well.  We'll have updates in a bit, including the elf's latest effort, and a few empty boots left by the fireplace, as well as a large Zane Grey collection of books... lots going on right now!

Monday, December 4, 2017

We Are Groot

Madison woke up to see some new vegetation in the house this morning.  Of course, we're talking about Groot and company.  It appears as if Jingle and friend are planting themselves right next to baby Groot.  By the way, that Groot comes with some grass seeds and soil to plant, along with some vines that you can grow, wrapping upwards and around Groot's body and arms. We'll try that in a bit, perhaps when January starts out and things calm down here a bit.

Yes, right now, things are supremely busy.  We're getting behind on this blog easily, as there is so much writing that needs to be done for upcoming weeks at KidPak, and of course a big Christmas production upstairs.  And then there's the other things we need to do around the house each Christmas time.  This morning, Mommy and Daddy watched a movie while wrapping presents.  We decided that's the best - and only - time to really watch Christmas movies, is first thing in the morning.  We saw "Christmas in Connecticut," while doing a good deal of wrapping.  Doing the wrapping daily will help decrease the stress and amount of wrapping later.  We still have to deal with cards, of course.  We're getting a few in the mail, but now we're starting to make and send out our other cards.  Lots to do!

In the meantime, Madison had ballet tonight, although not as many showed up.  They had "The Nutcracker" this weekend, and a lot of dancers were taking the day off to rest.  Meanwhile, Madison and company were doing choreography, which is something Madison likes to do.  Afterwards, Mommy and Daddy took her to Chick-Fil-A, as they were making gingerbread cookies there tonight.  It's National Cookie Day, which is appropriate enough, given that it's December.

Tonight we read from a few books, including the classic "Shoey and Dot:  The Christmas Miracle."  Shoey, of course, is tied to Madison in many ways, starting with the most obvious:  they're both adopted from China.  It's a nice little story, but always has an extra punch to Mommy and Daddy when reading it.  The other book gets read next month, a sweet story about a little girl from China, much like ours.

Sunday, December 3, 2017


This morning, Jingle Bell showed us that he was part of #teamtiki.  This goes back to September, of course.  That's when we were watching a live cam from Marathon Key, showing the approaching storm.  And along with all the others watching on that online site, we were collectively wondering about this tiki that stood there defiantly against the approaching storm.  Surely this thing would blow away, right?  The conversations went from bets about what time it would blow away to a sudden shift in support for this little tiki that could.  Madison was enjoying the conversations, and adding her own.  And when we found out the tiki survived Hurricane Irma, we were pretty surprised.

Madison had to put on her shirt this afternoon, and pose for a team shot.  She's got her #teamtiki shirt after the storm, the makers of the shirt saying that the profits of the shirt go towards hurricane relief.  Madison wears the shirt from time to time.  She's still a proud member of #teamtiki.

But this picture was of Madison later on.  Here she is earlier:

Yes, today we started our new series, "Humbug!"  Madison is seen above, a townsperson enjoying the sights and sounds of the Christmas season during the time of one Ebenezer Scrooge.  You can see her here below helping decorate the tree as festive music plays.  We had about seven or eight townspeople on stage, giving gifts and singing songs.  

Daddy was one of the narrators of the story, as you can see below.  We had these podiums, and we had little lights that illuminated the script as we told a somewhat revised version of "A Christmas Carol."

Ah, here below are a few more townspeople.  Some are handing out toys, and others on stage singing Christmas carols.  It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Of course, that's until Scrooge steps in.  Mommy was taking pictures this morning, and you can see she did a great job with the pictures, and the costuming as well.  This morning's performance - especially in that second service - was one of the greatest things we've ever done at KidPak.  Here comes Scrooge!

Daniel was phenomenal as Ebenezer Scrooge, but then again so were all the other actors on stage this morning.  You can see a better shot of our townspeople here below, all shocked at Mr. Scrooge's idea of decreasing the surplus population.

Madison's right there amongst them, and she does a great job acting surprised.  She loves being on stage, although she doesn't feel the need to be on stage all the time.  Next series, she wants to be in the audience again.  This series though, she's having a great time with the others doing a bit of acting.  Next weekend, she has a slightly bigger part.

Meanwhile Ebenezer was here, abusing his clerk Mr. Cratchit.  We did some interesting things with the lighting - and did a more minimalistic approach to the office of Marley and Scrooge.  It actually worked out, and in some ways looked better.

It was certainly less of a hassle to bring out smaller bits of furniture.  You can see Calvin above, scribbling some notations and trying to stay warm.  This was a production that had the kids really paying attention - they were quiet and focused, just taking in this Christmas classic.  

Check out our Ghost of Christmas Past!  Camille brought her own costume in, having played this part before.  She did so well as her character, leading Scrooge around quickly to see some of his shameful past.  Of course, our bottom line for today was "The Past is Past," which meant that we can find forgiveness if we ask, and repent.  Will Scrooge do just that?

We'll see as the weeks go by.  Well, of course he will.  He goes on to become as good a man as any, and whenever anyone speaks of Scrooge, they know that he keeps Christmas well.  By doing this series, I think we're keeping it well.  It's such a treat to show a little culture at KidPak these past few months, all while bringing forth some important bottom lines.

Scrooge here is listening to the real story of Christmas, and of course that's what our audience hears as well.  It's was a perfectly wonderful morning at KidPak.  And look what else happened this morning too:

We got to sing Christmas carols out in the lobby.  You can see Scrooge lurking in the background there, but the rest of us are pretty upbeat.  Madison just loved this part so much.  Daddy made special books for everyone, and we all went out there to bring forth a little Christmas cheer.  One more note:  see the guy in the middle in purple?  That's the Ghost of Bob Marley.  Yep, mon.

Anyway, it was a tremendous day.  As you might suspect, we were pretty tired afterwards.  But it was so good, and we'll treasure the memory of it for quite some time.

We got home and watched a few Christmas movies, including "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever."  Madison played piano and studied for an upcoming vocabulary test, and then it was about an hour and a half of "Epic Mickey 2."  Yes, we're backtracking with that game, but she's old enough to be more proficient with it.  She's Mickey and Daddy is Oswald, and we're having a good time with it.

Tonight before bed, we read a Christmas story or two with Cars characters, and then another Christmas story by Stan Lee.  We have a bunch of these one-shot stories that you can finish in one night, and they're all connected with the theme of Christmas.  It's fun reading.  We cover the devotional, then a few books, and then prayer, and then... well, it's time for a good night's rest.  And to all a good night!