Thursday, August 14, 2014

First Quarter 2014 Catch Up

 I'm finally getting around to blogging again.  I don't know where the time has gone, but it has flown!  Enjoy the plethora of pictures marking the Allee family's first quarter of 2014.


 Ta-dah! You probably don't recognize this pose unless you've watched "The Croods".  This is Ellary's demonstration of a human 'Belt".  Definitely one of her more unique creative moments.

On from the youngest daughter to the eldest...With the departure of all of Alyson's baby teeth came the arrival of braces.  Yea!  Alyson was actually pretty excited about the thought of having straight teeth.  She quickly learned the process of getting there is not so easy.  Oh, well.  She'll thank us more later!

You didn't know we have two actresses in the family, did you?  Kourtney and Ellary discovered a new talent in January that they never knew they had...acting.  Both tried out fot he Missoula Children's Theater play Pinnochio and were chosen for the roles of an Urchin (Kourtney), and a baby doll (Ellary).  They spent one week rehearsing after school for up to three hours each evening and then performed in the play.  They had a great time and are looking forward to trying out again next year.

A special break for the boys.  Keegan and Joel seem to be growing the quickest these days.  Maybe it's just that their more baby/toddler features continue to evolve at amazing rates.  Here are random pictures of Joel playing and enjoying some time with Daddy, a picture of Keegan he insisted I take of him in front of the doctor's office when he had strep, and an outing at the Leopold Nature Center in Verona in which Joel sledded for the first time without the assistance of his sisters.  What big boys they're becoming!

Alyson also participated in something for the first time this year-basketball.  She played with other fifth grade girls from Middleton on a team who appropriately named themselves for that time of year, 'The Blizzards'.  Kris volunteered as the team's coach and quickly learned that ten and eleven year old girls are very social.  Keeping their attention was a challenge, but his efforts proved to be very rewarding.  The girls went from not knowing much, if anything, really, about basketball to setting picks, calling out plays and guarding the other player.

Kris had the chance to help Special Olympics again this year by participating in the Polar Plunge.  So you know how cold it was in Wisconsin this winter, right?  No, you haven't yet?  It was the fifth coldest state for the 2013-2014 winter, and most cities in Wisconsin reported the 1st or 2nd coldest winter on record.  That's extreme! With the help of friends and colleagues who sponsored his insane plunge into a frigidly cold pond near the Alliance Center, Kris raised the fifth most money for Special Olympics in the Madison area.  Pretty neat.  He also had the best fan base cheering him on.

Another highlight our family enjoyed was a Valentine's Daddy Daughter Dance.  The girls were very excited and dressed special for the occasion.  Their date began with pictures by the mantle and Kris surprising them with flowers.  After a few hours of dancing and refreshments, they came home with big smiles on their faces and Kris remarking that it was one of the best night's he can remember.

Keegan also enjoyed Valentine's Day.  After watching his sisters prepare for and then bring home Valentine's from elementary school and preschool, Keegan finally had the chance to do the same for Speech class.  He prepared super hero suckers and came home excited to show me his bag full of goodies.  This coming year he'll get to do the same in 4K.  Yea!

Later that evening Kris and I celebrated 15 years since he proposed to me on Valentine's Day.  15 years! We began our celebratory date at Ruth's Chis for dinner and then took in a Buddy Holly Concert at the Middleton Performing Arts Center.  Besides the three teeny bopper girls a couple isles in front of us and a few dancing in the back, we were by far the youngest in the audience!  The impersonator was awesome, and he even threw in a Patsy Cline song.  Kris and I had a great night and are looking forward to many more years celebrating Valentine's Day and the day he proposed!

 Alyson and Kourtney had a chance to show off their musical skills at a few concerts this year.  First was Kourtney's piano recital.  She did very well.  Then the girls played their string instruments at the Middleton Cross Plains Area School spring (so when did March constitute springtime?) concert.  Alyson has been playing violin for four and a half years now, and Kourtney just switched from cello (this last year) to flute (this coming year).  Besides the cello being pretty big to carry, Kourtney didn't know band was an option in fifth grade.  She's looking forward to trying her hand at the flute.  Alyson will continue violin, and our family is scheduled to play and sing in the Primary Program in October.  The girls have already begun to prepare.  Ellary also participated in a kindergarten performance honoring Raffi, the artist most famously known for singing "Baby Beluga".  Ellary hopes to follow in Kourtney's footsteps and play the flute someday.

To break up the monotony of the winter cold, we kept ourselves busy doing various activities.  Instead of completing our Christmas tradition of making a ginger bread house before the holidays, we saved it for a cold day in February.  Actually, we just never got around to it, and Keegan held us to our promise that we'd make it.  The kids had fun all the same.  We also had play dates with friends from church and school.  Keegan's friend and his sister exchanged play dates with us.  They got along really nicely.  It's just too bad they're family has moved since then.  We also went to the mall a few times and let the kids play on the play structures.  All in all we found lots of ways to help us cope with the cold.

Joel had his first haircut in March.  Instead of letting his straight blond hair grow out until he is three like we did with Keegan, we decided to give his hair a trim and still keep it long.  He went from having a mullet to looking more like a little boy.  He's had several trims since then but we've kept his hair a little on the long side.  What a handsome boy!

The last big event to make note was Kris' work trip to Arkansas in March.  While there he presented a paper, visited an art museum and saw Sam Walton's first store.  A week or two later we would found ourselves in Utah visiting family and our old college stomping grounds with the kids.  More of that to come in my next post.  Thanks for reading.