Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Family Photo Time

Each year, Mark and I take a photo for our Christmas card. This year, we also took the opportunity to get one of the whole Kee clan. Actually, we got more than one, but you know how those things go...hard to get twelve people looking in the same direction at once, much less smiling!

I know what you may well be thinking: "Who was the photographer? Jax?"

No! My handy-dandy self timer!

Hey, if you've been good this year, maybe you'll get an autographed one in the mail! If you haven't been good, send a check or money order :-)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Meet Jax

Well, we did it. We took the plunge. We have a new family member.

His name is Jax.

After all my angst about what kind of dog to get, and where to get it, things mysteriously fell into place from an unexpected direction.

My sister's neighbor used to breed English Laborador Retrievers. They are the "show" labs, smaller, blockier, and more calm than the American version. She had a female that she was considering breeding. Well, she did get bred, by some mystery dog. The litter was born in April, and my sister got one of the puppies. The owners kept one puppy for themselves...that was Jax. Ultimately, the owners felt like they weren't able to give him the time he deserved, and wondered if we might be interested. He is housebroken, trained, and a wonderful dog. You can see how pretty he is:

He is a little bigger and a little more furry than I would have ideally liked, but the socialization he's had is pretty wonderful. And the age is perfect. He has a good foundation, but is still young enough to have that addictive puppy sweetness. The girls are at the perfect age as well. They are taking the responsibility of pet ownership seriously, and are very engaged.

Once again in my life, I find myself crooning encouraging words for good and timely potties and poopoos. And I will surely be one of those people who is eternally coated with white hairs.

I'm OK with that!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Last game

Last weekend was the end of the soccer season. Our team, the Hornets, ended up in the #1 spot overall, which was exciting for the kids, including Mark. Many of the games were very close, which makes it so fun to watch. To me, it is also a testament to the teams being pretty evenly drafted, which pleases my sense of fair play. Our girls really picked up their game this season, and it was exciting to watch them grow. Here are a few shots from their last game, which unfortunately was a little one-sided. Abigail played offense, which was where most of the action occurred, so poor Mae, on defense, spent most of her time standing around.

Abigail dribbling up the field:

Mae getting ready for a big boot:

Abigail made some pretty spectacular moves during the game.

AND she made her first goal!

Coach Schlaefer gathers the players in:

And they give their final cheer for the season:

The girls have both been selected for the All Star team, which will play against Oakhurst on Dec. 10th. So...I guess my season as Soccer Mom isn't quite over yet!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fall is a great time to go woodcutting. The weather is crisp, and motivation is high, because if you WANT wood for the winter, you'd better get it quick! My sister and my father both use wood for most, if not all their winter heating. Mark likes to get out there and help with the woodcutting, partly to be helpful, and partly because he just plain enjoys it. Last year, he smashed a fingertip, completely popping his fingernail out of its bed (very gross). This year, it was my brother-in-law's turn...he sliced his kneecap open with the chainsaw.

But other than that, boy is it fun. You can see the draw, right?

Mark and Scott were out a couple weeks ago, downing a dead tree and cutting it into rounds. As Mark was cutting the downed tree into 20" sections, Scott spotted something moving. They turned off the chainsaw and moved in for a closer look. Here's what they saw:

The center of the tree was hollow, and there was a little owl in there! This little guy just barely escaped getting chopped in half, but he still looked a little sleepy. Maybe he was stunned by the fall as the tree came down. Of course, the guys were also concerned that this might be the legendary spotted owl, which is endangered. Later research showed it to be a Western Screech Owl, common in these parts, and audible on any given summer night, when our windows are open. We were pretty positive of the ID after it flew away. It was about 10" tall, an excellent flyer (so presumably fully grown), with yellow irises and small "horns". Here it is in a tree:

We were all happy to see Mr. Owl fly away without incident, especially given our track record! And we collected enough wood to keep everyone warm and snuggly all winter. Looking forward to it!