Caleb gets his Orange Belt

Caleb is turning into a dangerous weapon.  He had his Orange Belt test on Saturday morning.  This time, he was required to count from 11 to 20 in Korean, break yet another board, and perform his first Poomse.  A poomse (pronounced Poom Seh) is a set of Tae Kwon Do moves that functions like an Encyclopedia of moves.  Almost every martial art has something like this.  Sometimes, they are called Forms.    They are to help the practitioner remember and practice the various moves.  Caleb has been working hard on his Poomse since he got his Yellow Belt.  Now, he has to start practicing his next Poomse.

On Monday (Martin Luther King Day), there weren’t a lot of students in the class, and Caleb, with his Orange Belt, was the highest ranking kid.  He got to stand at the first dot reserved for the most senior ranking person, and he beamed that he got to do everything first.  He still seems to be very much enjoying it and motivated.  Hopefully, he won’t turn on us one day.  I only outrank him by one belt at this point, and I think that’s only because they never had an Orange belt back in my day… You just went straight from Yellow to Green.  Hopefully, this isn’t accelerating the day when he challenges me for control of the herd…

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Happy Birthday Andrew!


Andrew turned two, last Thursday.  We had a small celebration with family on Thursday night at Claim Jumpers, then at the Family Fun Center.  Andrew, in general, is much more daring than Caleb was at that age, and he’s not hesitant about trying to climb things that might be slightly beyond his capability.  I suppose that’s a good characteristic to have throughout life, unless it involves very dangerous things…   Unfortunately, most of Andrew’s challenges at this age involve something dangerous.

We had a party on Saturday for him.  It was the first party we have had since leaving for China in early 2009. 

We had a race car theme this year for Andrew’s birthday.  Tenille made a super-fun race-track themed cake for him from scratch.  We had Cars playing, we had a double-elimination Hot Wheels race tournament, and played some Xbox racing games. 

The Hot Wheels race was pretty exciting for the kids (and some adults).  The finalists came down to Caleb and Maury Church.  In the end, Caleb ended up winning two out of three races.  Some say it’s not about the car, but more about the driver, but I think in this tournament, it was pretty much all about the car.  Caleb won his first trophy (the Andrew Cup) and he was happy about that… He kept asking if it was a "real" trophy.  I told him that all trophies are real, unless you got it for no reason… I think that’s right…

Andrew had a blast at his party.  He loves playing with other kids, and he’s at an age where older girls like to "take care of him."  The Church girls (that’s their last name) carried him around and spoiled him throughout the party.

As with any two year old, he’s learning how to share (which is a euphemism for "he likes to take other kids’ stuff.")  It does sometimes get a bit out of hand with a big room full of 2 and 3 year olds… Lots of tug-o-wars, resulting in one kid victorious, the other crying.

For the most part, he’s a good kid, and we can usually talk him into sharing… although sometimes it may take a few minutes… and some bargaining…

We expect great things from him this upcoming year – learning how to talk, count, and work with the alphabet.  And we look forward to his outgoing personality bloom even more.   

Sound of Music Sing-a-long

I got my wife 2 tickets to the Sound of Music Sing-a-long at the 5th Ave. Theater for Christmas.  Apparently, right around New Year’s day, the 5th Ave. Theater shows the Sound of Music the movie, while the audience presumably sings along.  $20/ticket.  I expected my wife would take my mom, since my mom loves the movie, and I don’t think I’ve ever even finished watching the movie once.  But, being the loving wife that she is, she chose me. 

I have to admit that I wasn’t completely thrilled about going to watch 3 hours of Julie Andrews.  We just saw Avatar a few nights before, and if I was going to go spend 3 hours watching a movie, I personally would have picked watching the 3d special-effects laden action movie again… Regardless, I brought it on myself, and I was obligated to be a good date for this movie, and tried to finish “giving” this Christmas present with a good attitude.

I only mention my hesitance in going, so that you can understand that I am not a Sound of Music fan.  That is I wasn’t, until I went to this show.  It was as if Seattle’s rabid underground fan base of this movie, all crawled out of their doily-decorated living rooms for the annual gathering.  I have never seen such crazy and enthusiastic groupies.  About a third of the audience was dressed up – like nuns, the Captain, the children, the puppets, the Baronness, and Maria in various scenes of the movie.   Before the movie began, all people that dressed up were showcased on the stage.

When the movie began, during the panoramic shots of the hills and forest, the audience started calling for Maria…. “Mariiiiaaaa!!!!  Where are you??!?!”  Hundreds of people calling for Maria at the top of their voice…. Then as the camera pans to Julie Andrews spinning through the hills with her title song, the audience erupted in a welcome scream that I’ve only seen reserved for teenagers greeting the Beatles.

The audience was a mix of extreme Sound of Music fans, drunk people, and husbands/boyfriends that were there to mock the film.  By far, the latter two groups were outnumbered by the fans.  As each song started, the audience started sing-along in full voice right on cue.  During the Do-Re-Mi song, I turned around to see the audience, and they all knew the actions to the song as hundreds of fans appeared choreographed to the sound track.  Where did they learn the actions?  Did I miss this class in elementary school?  Tenille didn’t do the actions, so either she didn’t know either, or she was just trying to make me feel not so awkward as the only person that was sitting there trying to mouth the words to a song I semi-knew…

Another fun part was that we all got Party poppers, and it was implied that we should use them at the height of Maria and Captain’s romance.  Most of them were used at the end of Maria and Captain’s dance at the party.  For about 5 seconds, it was like Chinese New Year in Beijing, and the theater reeked of sulfur.  However, there were the Hooligans that popped the poppers at the most inappropriate times…  it was like a contest for some…. and there were plenty of inappropriate times, when the movie is half about Nazis.

Anytime that the Baronness was on the screen or her name was mentioned, the movie was drowned out by hissing from the audience.  This was consistent throughout the entire movie…. there was a LOT of hissing…

As Julie Andrews is dancing and singing along her way to her new assignment at the Captain’s house, it occurred to me that I haven’t seen that kind of talent in any kind of modern movie.  Apparently, this is the most watched movie during dialysis… and it was explained that it was because it made people feel happy…  In some ways, I wonder if we’ve let fancy CGI special effects win over pure human talent over the last few decades, which in some ways is too bad.   It’s clear that Julie Andrews possess a gift to make you feel happy.  She exudes good and innocence. 

If you’re a big Sound of Music fan, you must go to the next showing next year.  If you thought that it was an ok movie, but not sure if you’ve ever really finished watching it, you should also go.  It was definitely a worthwhile and interesting experience.  I would go again… and next time, I’m dressing up…