Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Karate Champ.

Cullen competed in a local karate tournament this weekend and placed 4th in board breaking and 1st in forms - earning his first hardware.

His first event was the board breaking competition.  The 4-6 year old Little Warriors took turns kicking plastic karate boards.  The white board was easy to break, while the subsequent boards were stiffer.  If a competitor was unable to break a board, they had to sit down until the last person was standing.  After the board breaking was finished, Cullen received a piece of paper with his name and placement and was instructed to go to the trophy table to collect his prize.  He came back with a 4th place trophy and a huge grin on his face.

Cullen's second competitive event was karate forms.  He was set to perform the Starblock Set (a short routine performed with the left hand, the right hand, both hands and then backwards - see the video from his birthday for a demo).  There were five 5 year-olds in his ring.  To compete in the the karate forms event, the competitors must stand, bow, walk to the judges and say the following "My name is Cullen Swanson.  I am from H&H Karate.  I will be doing the Starblock Set."  Then, the judges grant permission, the competitor performs and then waits for their score.  Dirk and I were both so nervous that we had butterflies.  Cullen, on the other hand, was calm and confident.  He walked right up to the judges, spoke clearly and then performed the Starblock Set loudly and with great ease.  As each competitor received their scores, Dirk and I could tell that Cullen's score was the highest.  After all competitors were finished, they walked to the front of the mat and the winners were announced:  5th place, 4th place, 3rd place, 2nd place, and 1st place "Cullen Swanson".  When Cullen received his placement card he started for the trophy table and the judges sweetly told him to wait for the final instructions and respectful bow.  When he was given the OK, he made a bee-line for his hardware.

Cullen and his trophies have been inseparable ever since.  The trophies have journeyed to the neighbor's house, a restaurant, school and karate class.  I think they may even share his pillow at night.  Congrats karate champ!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Where is spring?!

We had a busy weekend with our neighbor, Alex Roupe's First Communion and a 2nd birthday party for Quinn.  We were thankful to have a packed agenda, since the weather was horrible.  I know, I know, everyone is miserable.  I am positive that global warming is a farce.  Let's think positive thoughts and maybe we will see 60 degree temps by May.....

LaVigne's Unite.

This time we united for Aunt Gerrie.  A celebration of her life was planned so that everyone could come together to tell stories, laugh, and just be together.  It's hard to put into words what it's like to be a LaVigne - as Marybeth tried to explain to her boyfriend, Little Jake, "we are going to my aunt and uncles and there could be anywhere from 10 to 40 people there".  It's a loud and loving family.  The volume would have been just as loud if there were 10 members of the family present, but as it turned out, we were closer to the 40 number (a small, intimate gathering).   Everyone wants to be in the same room and many times there are bodies stacked shoulder to shoulder just so no one misses out on anything.  Many stories and fabrications are told and retold and those stories only get better with time.  One key thing to remember is to never show your soft underbelly - any vulnerability will be exposed and the twins will be sure to needle you mercilessly.  And any newbie is sure to leave their first encounter with a nickname and a fair amount of teasing.  It's quite the scene when we all come together, I think we all just wish it happened more often!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Hoppy Easter.

We had a great Easter holiday weekend.  The kids went on 2013's first bike ride (Cullen on his new bike and Simone on the Strider balance bike).  They decorated eggs, played with toys, went swimming at the Y's indoor pool and awaited a visit from their favorite bunny.  On Easter morning, Cullen woke up at the crack of dawn to find his basket.  We coaxed him to cuddle in bed with us until Simone woke up.  Then, it was off on the hunt.  We instructed the kids to find a basket that belonged to them with a "C" or and "S".  Cullen spied his sister's basket before she did and was sweet enough to keep walking - allowing her the glory.  That tricky rabbit  hid Cullen's basket in the bathtub - which he thought was hilarious!  We then went to mass and onto Bob and Mimi's for brunch.  We had a few special additions:  Kari, Charlie and Claire Nelson and Marilyn Kennedy.   Everyone had a hoppy Easter!

We are ready for the renewal that spring brings:  melting snow, fresh flowers, green grass and the ability to play outside! 


Celebrating Irish-ness.

Dirk and I drank irish beer.  Simone and Cullen wore green and played with toys.  We all celebrated our Irish-ness!