December 24, 2010

More ballet

I keep forgetting to post this video, and I finally got permission from my friend Emily - her daughter Kate is the other ballerina dancing with Katie. Katie is still ballet-obsessed, dancing all the time and watching as much Angelina Ballerina as I will let her (not much). She was disappointed to take time off for Christmas break. But they start their recital practice in January, which will make up for a lot, I think.

I hope this brings you a little holiday joy!

November 11, 2010

Halloween weekend, part 3 (of 3)

The third part of the weekend was my reunion Sunday afternoon with the Dominants - my high school show choir. About two dozen of us from the 1981-85 era showed up and we had a wonderful time. I can't believe it's been nearly 20 years since I've seen most of these old friends, and it was like no time had elapsed at all. We even looked the same. Amazing what tricks the mind can play....

So I stole my old friend Lisa Offley Novitsky's photo from Facebook (have to give credit to Bill Putnam, who took it with Lisa's nice professional camera) - I was having too much fun visiting and reminiscing to take many photos of my own. But I had to share this one of Jill, Lisa, Sara, and Sara - just like it was 1983. What a great group we had!

Halloween weekend, part 2 (of 3)

I guess this should really be titled "Rally to Restore Sanity" because that was the big event for us Halloween weekend - yes, we really went. It was crazy!! Not the people - everyone was fantastic (we didn't even see anybody smoking until after the rally was over, even though we were outside) - but the sheer size of the rally and what that meant for getting there and being there.

We rode the Metro, which took forever, and got there on the late side. OK, that wasn't all Metro's fault - you know us. We walked up the National Mall as far as we could, and still were so far back we could catch glimpses of the last jumbo screen, but that was it. Katie took photos from her periodic perch on Dave's shoulders:

Katie was really good, too. When she got bored, she read books at our feet. But she did pay attention - catch her dancing to the O-Jays and "Love Train"!

The signs were hilarious (here's a picture of my favorite), the talent on the stage (we could hear almost everything) was phenomenal, and - Fox and MSNBC pundits be darned - the rally really did have a message that was terrific. Not that it made any difference in the election, but maybe someday....

Halloween weekend, part 1 (of 3)

When you have a kid, Halloween is a totally different holiday. It will never be my favorite, but Katie thinks it's great. So we go to every event we can (trying to limit the candy at each, if at all possible). This year she wore a different costume for each of the events. Luckily none of them took much work -- or expense -- on my part.

The Sunday before Halloween is a kid party at Bucknell, put on by student groups. Crafts, haunted houses, games, and lots of candy possibilities. Katie was Belle. She did her own hair.

The Friday before Halloween is the Kinderfolk Halloween party - very cute. It starts with a parade around the block, then the kids play games (and the parents go out for coffee!), then we all come back to watch the kids sing Halloween songs for us. And eat, of course. Katie was a black-and-white cat - she designed her own costume, using a cat tail I made for myself in 1988 (can't believe I still had it).

This year, Halloween being on Sunday was a little tricky, since we were in Virginia in the afternoon (see part 3 of this blog section). We made it back to go trick-or-treating with a horde of neighborhood children. Thanks to Dave's mom for being home so we could both go with her; it was hilarious to watch the kids race from house to house. Katie had planned all weekend to be Cinderella, but ended up as Princess Tiana. No photos, unfortunately, since it was dark by the time we got back.

Katie has already laid out her costume for the next four years. I'll have to write it down somewhere and see if she remembers.

October 23, 2010

Letter to the Editor

Last Sunday our local newspaper published a front-page article about a former radical Muslim-turned-Christian and his remarks to an area church congregation. The article was a rehash of his remarks, which were pretty incendiary and awful. Dave was so mad he could hardly speak. I went to my own UU church that morning (having not read the whole thing yet), and lots of people there were that mad, too.

So Dave and I wrote a letter to the editor. It took us nearly a week, and then another week for them to print it, but they did (Friday, Oct. 22). They took out two large paragraphs (it was longer than their guidelines, I admit), but left most of it. We've gotten amazing response from friends about it, for which we are grateful.

But I wanted to put up the whole letter, including the paragraphs that didn't get printed. So here it is - enjoy. :)

To the Editor:

We are appalled at the front-page coverage in Sunday’s Daily Item that was given to the hate- and fear-filled presentation by the former self-proclaimed radical Muslim who has converted to Christianity. It is bad enough that his remarks, at least as reported in the article, were one-sided, incomplete, and inaccurate, but for the Daily Item to give him so much attention without any counterpoint is irresponsible.

While it is true that there are radical Muslims who seek to destroy Christianity and Judaism, it is not true that mainstream Islam as taught in the Quran does so. Dr. Shayestah learned his variety of Islam from radicals, so it stands to reason that that is the Islam he knows. But just as members of the Ku Klux Klan and Aryan Nation profess a distorted form of Christianity, the extremist movement in Iran of which Dr. Shayestah was a part espouses a distorted form of Islam. Mainstream Islam holds that peace and harmony are the highest of values. The word “Islam” comes from an Arabic word that means to submit to and obey the will of God.

Another inaccuracy is his characterization of Allah as a “man-made god”. Al-Lah is the Arabic word for God, as revealed to the prophet Muhammad, just as Yahweh and God are other cultures’ names for the revealed one true God. Although the names are different, the god is the same. Muslims pray to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob just as Jews and Christians do. Although Muslims do not believe Jesus is the son of God, they do revere him as a great prophet.

He also makes the same mistake that many people make of selecting bits and pieces of a holy book and using them to paint a religion with a broad brush. Applying the same logic to Judaism and Christianity would lead one to conclude that the God of Abraham encourages second-class status for women, slavery, human sacrifice, and genocide (the parting of the Red Sea and the Great Flood stories come to mind). But that is not the loving God that is the centerpiece, with his son Jesus, of modern Christianity. A whole reading of the Bible gives another picture. Likewise, a whole reading of the Quran gives another picture of Muhammad’s teachings: one of peace, unity, equality for women, and welcome to strangers, to name a few.

We live in an increasingly connected world, one that more and more is falling into fear from radicals who claim theirs is the only true religion, the only true way, the only way to live. Wouldn’t it be better for all of us in the long run to learn more about each others’ humanity and to find the beliefs, values, and ways of treating other people that we hold in common? Fear-mongering will only serve to destroy us. Love, as taught by the Muslim, Jewish, and Christian God, is the better path.

David and Sara Kelley

October 12, 2010

Katie meets her congressman

Yes, Katie got to shake hands with our congressman (Chris Carney) tonight. It was very nice, actually; before he tried to meet me, he bent down and asked her name. She told him "Katie", so he held out his hand and said "Hi, I'm Chris." It made her comfortable enough with the crowd of adult legs to stay through the whole meet-and-greet-and-pep talk at the local Democratic headquarters.

The thing that made the biggest impression on me (other than introducing himself to the kids) was when Carney mentioned his wife, who we all know is undergoing breast cancer treatment. It was clear she and his kids are his number one priority. He said he wants to beat his opponent for a lot of reasons, but the main one is for the charge that he skipped out on important votes in Washington to go home for a few days. In actuality he went home to be with his wife when she had surgery. That kind of accusation really says volumes about his opponent, and made us all feel that it was worth defeating him for that reason alone. Jeez.

On the way home, I got to give Katie a lesson on how democracy works. Cool. And it will be fun to let her punch the ballot for Chris in three weeks.

October 9, 2010

... and Beginnings

Fall really is the time of beginnings, if you're on a school cycle. Katie started every day preschool this year - and we both love it. She really enjoys going every day, and I like those few "free" hours every afternoon. They get eaten up pretty quickly, but not as fast as last year, only three times a week.

She's still at Kinderfolk, with a lot of the same kids as last year - and a few more. There are 17 in the class. I have a lot of respect for their teachers. :)

She also started reading this fall (maybe late summer), but I don't have any pictures of that. I guess I should take some, since she spends a LOT of time with books!

And ballet started up again in September - Katie's now in the "pre-ballet" class. There is some of the free-ish movement as before, but they've added barre work and more step learning, as well as combinations. They are all so cute! It's more tiring (especially coming after an afternoon at school), but Katie's learning more and becoming more confident in her dancing, if that was possible. It's spilling over, still, into out-of-class dancing: this was at her friend Ryleigh's fifth birthday party. Dave hopes this isn't the beginning of a new kind of move....

October 7, 2010


I usually think of spring as the time of beginnings, but once you're on a school calendar, fall really feels like beginnings - which means August is endings. OK, the slowing downs, maybe. So here are a few photos of our end-of-summer activities (August and September):

Last trip(s) to Knoebels - we went in mid-August with Laura and Lisa, and then in early September with Jude and Elizabeth. Katie and Jude don't see each other often, but were glad to spend the day together (so were their moms).

And the last family hike of the summer - Labor Day at Shikellamy Overlook. Katie did the whole thing herself, and was triumphant after a long downhill and leap over a little creek.

Our CSA is still going strong as I write this, but we've already had our end-of-season potluck. Farmer Jackie made a little pumpkin patch for the kids a few weeks ago - here are Katie and Naveen having a ball rearranging the pumpkins!

September 10, 2010

Our summer vacation

We did get one vacation trip this summer - to Toronto for Dave's conference. I still can't believe we packed so much in to one week, and that Katie did as much walking as she did. A real trooper. So here's the nutshell version of the trip:

Niagara Falls - we stayed there overnight on our way (we drove).
Katie was not really impressed with the falls (any of them), but did like the fake mummy outside the Ripley's Museum. Sigh.

We went to all the museums on Toronto's City Pass. I know - tourists. But they were worth it, really! We went up the CN Tower, and looked through the floor at the retracted baseball stadium roof.

Katie and I took the subway and then walked up a BIG hill to Casa Loma, a 20th-century castle with a not-so-fairy-tale story, but still beautiful.
The audioguide stick was a huge hit with Katie; I think I liked the gardens best.

We took a ferry to an island in Lake Ontario, with an amusement park - probably the highlight of the trip for Katie!

Us girls drove out to the Toronto Zoo one day, which we both liked even in the beating-down sun and high temps we didn't expect in Canada. And Katie learned how to use Mommy's camera!

Dave got to go to two very cool museums with us - the natural history/history/culture museum known as the Royal Ontario Museum (dinosaurs, other neat stuff, dinosaurs, more dinosaurs - guess what Katie wanted to see?) and the Ontario Science Centre.

Then we drove home and recovered from our trip. :)

July 18, 2010

Princess Camp

Yes, indeed, there is such a thing as Princess Camp - and as soon as I heard about it, I knew I had to sign Katie up! Thanks to my friend Jen for the info; her daughter Charlotte (one year older than Katie) has gone twice.

The girls - 25 of them ages 3 to 8 - colored, made crafts, listened to stories, played games, did some dancing, and "billowed" (ran under cloth swaths held up in the air) for four mornings. Four very hot mornings in a non-air-conditioned dance studio in Danville. Oh, yeah, on the second floor, too. Each day was focused on a different princess, and the girls were encouraged to dress up.

Day 1: Cinderella (Katie has a Cinderella dress, as did Charlotte and most of the other girls!)
Day 2: Ariel (K wore her purple princess dress. Looks nice with the green lei she chose, don't you think?)
Day 3: Jasmine (K wore capris and a bathing suit top, very cute)
Day 4: Fairytopia (again, we have the official dress, but both the wings that go with it and the purple ones from Aunt Jen were cast aside for the borrowed ones at the studio that all the other girls were wearing. Who knew there was peer pressure in Fairytopia?)

At the end of the week, they all got a gold medal that says "Winner". Katie was very proud of it! I think we'll be signing up again next summer....

May 24, 2010

Ballet recital May 20

I'll skip right over the Lewisburg Arts Festival this year, since I didn't take any photos. I did everything else, though, at least it felt like it (just kidding - it's a great bunch of hardworking volunteers)! But it was a big success all around.

Our next goal - besides the end of the semester for Dave - was Katie's ballet recital. Her class is the youngest, and of course the cutest. Some of them did some dancing, some did some standing around..... The whole recital was really nice, actually, and Katie got to watch all the other numbers. Now she's really inspired to keep going. You can see how enthusiastic she was, even before taking the stage! Thanks to my friend Lin for some of these great photos.

After the recital was over, we took our turn up on stage to take photos. Guess who couldn't stop dancing?

Character meetings

It just so happened that WVIA, our public TV and radio station, had two events in the Lewisburg area in late April/early May that both involved big costumed characters from TV. Katie used to be nervous around them, but as you can see here, she isn't anymore! We had fun with Clifford the Big Red Dog at Wendy's for dinner one week:

And then Dave took her to Reptileland to meet Buddy from Dinosaur Train (her favorite TV show - a really good one). I don't do Reptileland. But they had a great time, and Katie even taught Buddy some ballet.

Katie's 4th birthday

Surprise, surprise, Katie wanted a princess party for her birthday! So all the little girls dressed in princess costumes, and we played (easy) princess games, had a castle cake, and attempted to destroy a pink crown pinata. They all had a great time and were so cute! We had the party the day before her birthday, since it fell on Easter this year. And Nana was here, which made it even more fun.

Winter and spring 2010

OK, here's a quick run through the rest of winter and spring, by way of a few select photos!

Katie started ballet class (really, Creative Movement for preschoolers) in January, and LOVES it.

We helped out with the Lewisburg Ice Festival again this year, and got to play with the ice and snow. It was a real treat for Katie, since we had no winter in San Antonio last year.

And of course there's always dressing up....

Colorado trip

OK, so I'm many months behind. But I couldn't post last week's events without posting a few photos of the winter and spring. I'll make them all brief.

Our big event was our trip to Colorado in January. We went with Dave's mom Martie (Nana) and got to see Sara's sister Jennifer and her family, and Dave's brother Doug and his girlfriend, Georgia. Sara's dad and Cynthia came up for the weekend while we were there, too. Big family reunion!

And when we got home to DC, we visited with Sara's brother Rob and his family. So Katie got to see all her grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins in one week!

We went to several museums, including the Art Museum, which was really terrific. They had a whole section of interactive exhibits, which explains why Katie and Aunt Jen look like this:

Here's Katie at the Children's Museum with Georgia:

It was a long time before Katie stopped talking about the Bells' cats; Rosie was willing to let Katie pet and cuddle with her (Oliver never lets that happen at home!).

February 4, 2010

New Year's Eve 2009

We went to State College again this year for First Night (New Year's Eve) - mostly because Callanish was performing. It's a great gig for us - we get over 200 people every year, and we get a professional sound guy. And I see friends and fans from State College that I only get to see once a year.

We also got to have yummy Indian food with our friend - and Katie's godmother - Ann Marie and her boyfriend Brian.

But the most fun that day was ice skating at the Penn State ice rink. Katie has been wanting to go ever since she saw some on TV; those ladies are ballerinas on ice, right? We even prepped with books from the library - here she is on the trip to State College, saving her energy. :)

We got out on the ice - Katie VERY reluctantly - and took at least 10 minutes to go once around with her between me and Dave. So she and I got off the ice while Dave skated. We got her back on a few minutes later for one trip around. With 10 minutes left in the session, she wanted to get back on the ice with Daddy - and then didn't want to get off! We're excited to try ice skating on our outdoor Lewisburg rink when it opens back up (this week, I think). No photos, though - Katie was moving too much and they're all blurry!