Over the past two months, Elise has competed in two jump rope competitions. I had planned on one big blog post with videos, results, and details. Unfortunately, my video editing skills are as bad or worse than my video taking skills, so that's just not going to happen in any sort of timely manner. At this point, I have one video to share. It is from Elise's single rope freestyle routine at the USA Jump Rope Region 2 Qualifier. I had the good video camera with me, was set up in a good spot, ready to record. I judged for most of the day, but was fortunate enough to be on a judging break while Elise was jumping freestyle, so I could record it myself. That was my first mistake... assuming that I could successfully operate the video camera. Nina had been using it earlier in the day and set the camera on "still photo" mode. That should be enough explanation to know what happened next. Thankfully, at the last minute, I had the foresight to ask Elise's friend to take a video using my iPhone as "back-up". Whew. I should always have a back-up. So, as you watch this video, imagine it is the one I took horizontally, with a nice video camera, zooming in on her opening smile, and capturing the coach's reaction after she finished. Of course, all of that came out as a single still photo of her opening pose. Sigh. I will never learn.
Anyway, this was a great competition for her. In the March competition, she came in 6th out of 18. In the weeks between the two competitions, she added more difficulty to her routine, and this time she came in 3rd in single rope freestyle out of a competitive group of 20 twelve year old girls. Technically, that placement qualified her for nationals, but she was competing as a non-qualifier because she chooses to participate in only the local competitions. I haven't figured out exactly why she doesn't want to do the bigger competitions, but it saves me thousands of dollars in flights to California, hotel rooms, uniforms, and practice time, so I don't push the issue.
Anyway, without further ado, here is the not-so-great iPhone video with the wrong date in the title. (The competition was April 12, not April 22. Oops).
Yes, I know... it is marketing. It is a great advertising to create a video that you know will go viral. Still, I love this. I love the Christmas spirit of it (ignoring the whole marketing piece). I love that these passengers will have this happy Christmas memory forever! It makes me smile.
I think that Kurt Hugo Schneider is pretty much a genius when it comes to videos. You may remember some of his videos posted on my blog previously, here and here. I follow his youtube channel, and he never ceases to blow me away with his talent and creativity. For your holiday entertainment, here is his latest video, a holiday medley. As you watch, keep in mind his note at the beginning - that this video was done in one take, and with no visual effects or editing. Amazing. Enjoy!
I heard about this video tonight at jump rope practice, and I'm still smiling just thinking about it. Several local jumpers were invited to perform on Live With Kelly in New York a couple weeks ago. They are all on a team here in town that competes against Elise's team, and one of them used to jump for Elise's team.
As if jumping on national TV wasn't enough of a thrill of a lifetime, a special guest joined them. The kids had no clue at all what was about to happen. It was a complete surprise. Check out the video. I bet those kids and parents are still grinning from ear to ear... what an opportunity of a lifetime!
Have you seen the Caine's Arcade video yet? If not, it is a must-see. (It is at the bottom of this post.) I love this kid, and more than that, I love his dad. Kids are so spoiled these days (mine included) with iPods, iPads, Wiis, and 24/7 cartoons that it just seems to suck the creativity out of them. Caine's childhood reminds me more of my own. One summer, all the kids in the neighborhood decided we were going to build a car. Imagine Fred Flintstone's car built with scrap lumber, a million nails, paint, and old roller skate or skateboard wheels, and you have a pretty good picture of it. We spent hours every day from sun up to sun down in the stifling Texas heat in my parents' carport building that thing. My mom's poor car tires suffered more than one puncture wound from the nails we left scattered hither and yon. She just patched the tires and let us keep going though. We were out of her hair, out of her house, and using every bit of creativity, teamwork, and determination that we had. After the car's short maiden voyage where we realized our engineering of the wheels really didn't work out so well, we turned the car into a lemonade stand. How's that for making lemonade out of a lemon?
I try to foster that environment for my girls. I kick them outside with the neighbors and tell them they have to play outside. When Addie and I are taking our weekend siestas, the girls know they aren't allowed in the house unless someone is bleeding. They always manage to entertain themselves - usually with bikes, scooters, jump ropes, sidewalk chalk, dancing, and friends. They have yet to build anything the scope of a car or arcade though. Perhaps I need to enforce more boredom? We had enough cardboard from broken down Girl Scout cookie boxes that they probably could have built Six Flags if they had been inspired.
Perhaps next time they claim they are bored or ask to watch TV, I'll hand them some packing tape, empty boxes, scrap wood, a box of nails, and a hammer, and tell them to go away. I'd love to see the results. I know somewhere under the layers of Lady Gaga lyrics, Temple Run high scores, and iCarly quotes, there are children with big dreams, endlessly creative minds, and boundless optimism that only children have.
Here is the Caine's Arcade video. It will make you smile, make you cry, and make you wish you hadn't bought your kid that handheld video game.
Christmas was good to us this year. My dining room table made a rare appearance to host Christmas Eve dinner. If you know anything about my dining room, this photo in itself is nothing short of a Christmas miracle.
This is my parents' first Christmas here since their move from Texas, so they came over for Christmas Eve dinner. My dinner plans involved cooking a pork roast. Unfortunately, I forgot to pull it out of the freezer early enough to thaw it completely. Since I was hesitant about serving up roast ala salmonella, I ran out and bought a Paula Deen ham on Christmas Eve. That sucker was great! Thank you Paula Deen!
My parents were in luck. They got to hear Addie's harmonica concert. It was as lovely as you might imagine from a hyped-up four year old with a new harmonica.
After Christmas jammies were opened and donned, JoJo read stories.
Then, I had a little fun taking bokeh photos of the tree,
and late that night, Santa stopped by. He stuffed the stockings and set out the baskets o' electronics.
I usually prefer still photos to videos, but I do love videotaping the girls coming down the stairs each Christmas morning. This year, I think Nina's reaction was priceless. I'm so glad I caught it on video.
You think she like her iPod?
Elise was pretty happy with her stash as well.
One of the things on Addie's list (along with a roller coaster, a fox, and a giraffe) was "little tiny people that I can push on a little tiny swing." After puzzling over this request for a while, I finally realized that she was remembering playing with some vintage Little People that my mom's neighbor in Dallas had. As always, Ebay can usually get me out of any jam. Who would have thought that in 2011, a four year old would be asking for 1970's Little People? When she opened the gift though, she exclaimed, "It is just what I asked for!!"
In the afternoon, we spent time with JC's family. All the testosterone bearing family members (they are few and far between) received remote control helicopters. Papa looks like he was having fun!
Addie continued her streak of good presents.
Maybe she had just opened her Cars Play-doh set. That was a huge hit. Most other toys were neglected the rest of the day while everyone played with Play-doh.
After a couple of science experiments,
a few rounds of new video games, too many desserts, and saying thanks that nobody's hair got caught in the remote control helicopter blades, we all settled down for a long winter's nap.