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Scott's Mom Wins Award

May 10th, 2009  · stk

Scott's Mom was honored last night in a gala event held in Washington D.C., where she was given the prestigeous "2009 - Mother of the Year" award, by the National Maternal Society of America. Beyoncé Knowles, British singer Seal and his wife, Heidi Klum, were among those in attendance. The presentation included a pre-recorded message of support, from President Obama. See the CNNBC news video, proudly posted on Randsco.

Marilyn Kimler Recognized as "Mother of the Year"

CNNBC News - Just in time for Mother's Day, the National Maternal Society of America, last night, awarded Marilyn Kimler - my Mom! - the prestigeous and coveted "2009 Mother of the Year" award.

In a star-studded event that included such celebrities as Miley Cyrus, Beyoncé Knowles, British singer Seal and his wife, Heidi Klum, the Master of Ceremonies, Robert Winthrop, presented the Marilyn's award and described her hard work.

"Our recipient's duties also include selflessly contributing 52-hours of every day to people other than herself," he said, to a packed audience.

To see the CNNBC neww video of the event - which also includes a pre-recorded message by President Obama - continue on ...

"You go Mom!" said Scott, during several telephone interviews, last night, with various press agencies, "You rock!"

Mother of the Year Award Presentation

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Updated: 14-May-2009
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Spring Break

March 26th, 2009  · stk

Alex goes to Vancouver for Spring Break 2009! Alex visited maternal grandparents for a week of fun, most of which has been captured in this online scrap book (Thanks Gran!)

Alex has a "Whale" of a Time in Vancouver!

I still have to pinch myself at the fact that Alex is in school! She's finished her 2nd (of 3) kindergarten terms and did very well on her report card, by the way. (Alex "meets expectations" or "exceeds expectations" in all 42 of the development metrics and improved over her first term marks in 7 of them.)

Yay Alex! (Congratulations and high-five's all 'round for our "Oop"!)

For her week-long Spring break, Rachel ferried Alex over to the mainland, so that she could spend a week with her maternal grandparents. Rachel returned after a couple days and we were "kid-less" for the better part of a week! (Not that we really took advantage of it, but we did note how clean the house stayed and - sadly - how quiet it was in her absence. On the plus side, we did enjoy a few "pub dinners" and even had a lunch-date at a sushi restaurant, so mom and dad enjoyed some "quality time" for ourselves.

Alex was kept very busy in Vancouver and even kept a journal of her activities! ("Thanks Gran and grandpa for taking good care of me! I had lots of fun and I especially liked making the scrap book," said Alex, adding, "Well, Dad said to say the bit about the scrap book, but I did have fun making it - really!")

To see what the Oop was up to on her Spring break ... read on ...

Alex's Spring Break Journal

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Updated: 21-Aug-2012
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Alex at Watch Lake

September 5th, 2008  · stk

Alex stayed with maternal grandparents, during our recent canoeing adventure on the Bowron Lakes. They took her camping to Watch Lake, in the southern Cariboo Mountains of central British Columbia (not too far from where we were). Alex went on her first horseback ride! See the nice photo scrapbook that her grandmother made for her (viewed in the new AstonishMe! Photo Gallery)

Grandparents Take Alex Camping

Mom and Dad couldn't have gone on their 6-day canoeing adventure on the Bowron Lakes Canoe Circuit if maternal grandparents hadn't been willing to look after Alex, during this time. Alex had fun in Vancouver, but it was the camping trip to Watch Lake, near 100-mile House, that Alex really enjoyed.

"Gran" and Grandpa took Alex in their Volkswagen Westfalia camping van to a recreation area in central British Columbia, just a few hours south of where Mom and Dad were canoeing on the Bowron Lakes. The area is in the Southern Cariboo Mountains and is renown for fishing, wildlife and contains a plethora of small lakes. Apparently, they've been visiting Watch Lake and staying at the Watch Lake Lodge cabins and/or campground, for years. It's the kind of place that fosters a long-term relationship with customers, reminding me of some of the summer resorts in Pennsylvania and Upstate New York.

Alex enjoyed swimming, horseback riding, campfires, playing with other kids, playing games, feeding the ducks, walking the dog, eating roasted marshmallows and a BUNCH of other things!

Her "Gran" took lots of pictures and made Alex a scrapbook of her time at Watch Lake. It was very well done and Alex decided she wanted to share it. (It doesn't hurt that my AstonishMe! mate, ¥åßßå, has nearly finished the alpha-release of a very spiffy bit of jQuery-based photo gallery code!)

To see Alex's scrapbook at Watch Lake (and a cool online photo gallery) ... sally forth!

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Updated: 21-Aug-2012
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Svala Checkerboard Table

July 22nd, 2008  · stk

IKEA Svala Checkerboard Table Project: Alex got an IKEA "Svala" table from her grandparents. Most IKEA furniture must be put together and a finish applied. This was no different. What was different, however, was that Scott turned it into a checkerboard. (Step-by-step instructions, tips and photos are included for other do-it-yourself project types).

DIY Project for an IKEA "Svala" Children's Table
(or any other unfinished table, for that matter)

I had the idea of doing something special with an IKEA TRIVIA: What Does IKEA Mean? ikea logo The popular Swedish home furnishings retailer - IKEA - has 282 stores in 36 countries (and plans on opening about 23 more stores during 2008). It was founded in 1943 by Ingvar Kamprad (17 at the time). The company name combines the first letters of the founder's name and the village in which he grew up (Elmtayrd Agunnaryd) ... hence: Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd! happy boyNow you know! Just remember it for the next time you play Trivial Pursuit!  table that Alex got from her maternal grandparents, as a gift. Sure, I could have simply stained it, or applied polyurethane, but I wanted to try my hand at something slightly more fancy.

By adding a checkerboard playing surface, Alex could use the table for more than just tea parties and coloring sessions. The only question was, "What's the best way to add the checkerboard?"

The project languished, partly because of other chores and a busy schedule, but also because I was couldn't decide on the best way to proceed.

Ultimately, I flew by the seat of my pants, using a combination of spray paint, wood stain and polyurethane. I tried to add an 'antique touch' to the finished product and all-in-all, I'm pleased with the way it turned out.

I thought I'd share the steps (plus a bit of what was learned along the way and things I'd do differently) in case someone else out there wants to take on a similar project. ;)

For step-by-step instructions and photos ... carry on brave DIYs!

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Updated: 4-Aug-2008
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The Oop Catches a Rainbow

July 11th, 2008  · stk

Alex caught her first fish (a rainbow trout), at Nora Lake, while visiting her grandparents in California, during our mid-June holiday. She had great fun fishing and catching her first slippery trout!

Alex Catches Her First Fish at Nora Lake, in Northern California

There's something very special about a kid catching their first fish! Funny though, because the Oop probably won't remember the event, as she's only four and a half. Nope, it's more a memory for the parents and - if your lucky - a great photo opportunity! (Wonder how many family albums contain grinning kids and their prize catch?)

The Oop didn't disappoint, in the photo department. Sporting rather cool-looking purple shades and gripping a decent-sized rainbow trout, Alex proudly showed off her first fish. Grinning gamely, she's gripping it tightly with a washcloth, in order to gain some traction against her slippery catch!

Alex's first fish came during a recent trip to California, with her Dad, to visit her paternal grandparents. The fishing expedition was suggested by Bill and Kitty, friends of the family and it was a huge relief to drive out of the (hot) northern valley and into the hills that surround Mount Lassen.

The weather was cool and the smell of pine trees permeated the air, as we drove past Grace Lake, driving over to nearby Nora Lake. Alex was excited to go fishing and eager to get her mitts on some ' Power Bait What is Power Bait? powerbait Powerbait (Berkley Trout Bait) is a moldable fish bait that comes in a small jar. It's effective for catching fish, but boy does it stink! Powerbait comes in a variety of bright colors and also comes as pre-formed nuggets. ', which she wanted to buy when we got home, as she was pretty certain that Tuxedo, our cat, would find it a delicious snack!

To read more about Alex's first fish ... continue on ...

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Updated: 12-Jul-2008
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