Mara’s Blog Influencing the world one day at a time since 2005…

May 22, 2011

“I’m Riding My Bike Everybody”

Filed under: Videos — Luke @ 5:08 pm

Last year was Mara’s first time riding her bike without anyone holding on. At that time she still needed some help getting started. We have had a couple of sessions of practice since then trying to get more used to the bike. Every time is accompanied by a “don’t let go of me dad” type of comment. She has never let me let her go of her own free will. And at no point has she ever had trouble riding it after I did let it go.

Last Sunday was no different. We had gotten back from eating breakfast out and Mara was feeling like trying her bike. The session began like all the others, “don’t let go of me dad,” accompanied by a quick letting go of the bike, running right next to her so she can see that I am not holding her and replying, “I’m not holding on to you Mara,” and a cackle from Mara.

A few weeks before, Preston had visited and demonstrated his elite bike riding skills. He was all over the place with Mara’s bike with no problem. Somehow I think that gave Mara some added inspiration. It wasn’t long on Sunday before Mara was standing the bike up, walking it a little with her feet, and then lifting her feet onto the pedals and riding away. I ran with her for a few of these attempts since she hadn’t had a chance to learn to stop yet. But quickly that was at an end too. She got used to the stopping as well and then she was riding all on her own. Only an hour or so of practice and she was doing it all by herself.

RidingBike1 Video
RidingBike1 Video

10.3 MB / Time 0:23

Sunday turned out to be a full bike riding day. Riding in the morning, and riding in the afternoon. She was showing off to the neighbors and was very very proud.

RidingBike2 Video
RidingBike2 Video

9.72 MB / Time 0:22

View these videos with Quicktime, or I am afraid you might be seeing them sideways.

April 10, 2011

Six Year Work In Progress

Filed under: Pictures — Luke @ 11:41 pm

It couldn’t have really seemed like it, but we had not cut Mara’s hair ever except for one time to get a small trim to neaten things up (and I can’t even remember when that was). So six years of hair growth came to an end last Thursday. Some time ago Mara decided that she was going to donate her hair to charity. Mom joined her in that quest and the gating item was waiting for Mom’s hair to grow long enough.

We were just waiting to see how it would turn out for both of them.

Leading up to the moment, Mara seemed to be rethinking things just a little. I think it was also a little bit of anticipation more than hesitation.

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The before, long beautiful locks.

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The big moment.

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Lollipop for hair… even exchange.

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Mom’s turn.

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And… the result. Cute bobs.

If you would like more information about how to donate your hair like Mom and Mara did, please visit Wigs For Kids.

January 19, 2011

We call it playing t.v.

Filed under: General,Videos — Steph @ 8:42 pm

We have snow on the ground again. School is closed. What shall we do? Make some videos of course. We calling it playing t.v. and the kids absolutely love hamming it up for the camera. Check out these videos and get a good laugh. Honestly it was hard holding the camera still. Not sure I did a great job of it because it was so amusing to me. Thanks for the Harmonicas Nana and the Ukelele Grandma.

Click on the picture to watch the video
Mara singing 2011 01 19

Here are a few more videos to watch
Campbell’s trash can song

Mara’s random version of Spice Girls song

Campbell sings Beyonce

December 31, 2010

New Year, New Furniture

Filed under: Pictures — Luke @ 8:49 pm

We made a trip to Ikea this week because Mara was in dire need of some new furniture. Her dresser has had a broken drawer for the last couple of months. That was the primary reason for the trip.

But then Mara had another problem as well. She was acquiring so many books in her room that she no longer had a place to put them. The piece that we were using as a nightstand for her was overflowing with books on the one bottom shelf. It was basically a leaning Tower of Pisa. You couldn’t put a book on it or take a book out of the pile without the whole thing toppling down.

So, we got her some bookshelves to house her growing hobby. She absolutely loves to read.

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Really when you look at this picture of her new shelf and her books, it is amazing to think that in the short time that she has been reading she has basically read every one of these books. Some many times over. She started reading just less than two years ago.

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She just loves books!

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November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving in the Meadow 2010

Filed under: Pictures — Luke @ 9:59 am

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Yesterday Mara had her kick off for the holiday early. It was Caldwell Academy Thanksgiving in the Meadow. They have a family that allows the school to do an event on their farm, Apple Farm (the family name).

Everyone was welcome to dress up for the occasion. Some had simple costumes (like me) and others looked pretty authentic. Mara wore the costume that she made in her class.

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Pilgrims and Indians in perfect harmony.

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Friends make Thanksgiving fun!

There is a nice big pond in the back in one of the fields and they had a stage setup in front of it. They held a little assembly and fellowship to start the morning, and then it was off to fun and games for the kids. The Grammar school had some simple games that you will see Mara participated in. The Dialectic and Rhetoric schools went across the pond to experience bow and arrow and a little rifle shooting. Yes, they shot guns. We also went on a hay ride to wrap up the event. Lots of fun!

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Toss that corn.

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Everyone loves a pillow fight.

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There are more pictures in the album if you click any of the pics.

October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

Filed under: Pictures — Luke @ 8:49 pm

Kids are having fun trick or treating tonight.

Howdy Jessie!

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October 20, 2010

Hitching a Ride

Filed under: Videos — Luke @ 10:36 pm

This past weekend was brunswick stew weekend at Nana’s house. Mara and Campbell got to see their cousins and play around a little bit. They stayed the night as well and they always love to do that.

Since the cousins were together all of us planned to bring the kids Halloween costumes in order to take their pictures together. This might spoil it early before the holiday for those of you that don’t know, but there is a general theme for the Smith family heritage that has to do with Toy Story 3. Yes, that means cowboys and cowgirls. Well, little did we know, but Nana had a surprise for everyone waiting in the barn. Take a look at the videos.

MaraOnPony Video
MaraOnPony Video

1.9 MB / Time 0:36

CampOnPony Video
CampOnPony Video

1.7 MB / Time 0:31

September 30, 2010

Down on the Farm

Filed under: Pictures — Luke @ 11:48 pm

Last month when we had the chance to make it back to NY, we also took the opportunity to go to the farm where Grandma grew up and Dad used to visit every Saturday (almost) as a kid. There were so many fond memories of the farm that we thought it would be really special to show that to Mara and Campbell. It was a real adventure for them. Plus it was a chance to hang out with the whole family including Uncle Bob and Aunt Steph and second cousins, Abigail and Jack. There was so much to do and see.

First we just took a little trip over to the barn.
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Then it was down to the garden.
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After that we took a turn on the tractor.
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Next we fueled ourselves with some lunch.
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And then it was off to the creek to catch some critters.
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If you want to see more pictures of the kids adventure then go to the full album of pictures.

August 25, 2010

First Day of Kindergarten

Filed under: Pictures — Luke @ 10:12 pm

It finally arrived. Mara’s first day of kindergarten is here. I didn’t get to talk to her about it until tonight and it was so fun for her. She couldn’t stop talking about how excited she was, and how long she had been waiting for this day to come, and it is finally here. She is super cute about it.



Cute little kindergartner.

I think that we are really lucky to have found Caldwell Academy and it is going to be a very special place for her. We got to go into the school for an open house on Monday, and that is where some of the pictures we have are from.


Today we didn’t go into the classroom, and instead let her go from the auditorium after the morning greeting.


And she is off…

We can’t wait to see what happens next!

July 19, 2010

She Keeps On Rollin’

Filed under: Videos — Luke @ 12:24 am

As we already wrote about just a few days ago, Mara has been making some new accomplishments lately. This weekend was no exception. On Sunday we got Mara’s bike out and were doing some practicing. First, we did some balancing and we tried to do that by mimicking a Strider which is a bike with no pedals. I lowered the seat on Mara’s real bike and took the pedals off. I wasn’t getting much support for that method, however, so no one was trying to use the bike in that fashion with Mara. So Sunday was the first time.

Then, as Mara was able to glide a little with her feet off the ground, it seemed that her biggest problem was speed. We went to putting the seat back up to height, and putting the pedals back on. Within a couple of trial runs, Mara was pedaling herself without me holding her. Actually the first run that I let go Mara had no idea I wasn’t holding on.

Then, it was camera time to capture some of this on video. Check it out.

Bike1 Video
Bike1 Video

34.5 MB / Time 1:44

That video is Divx and the best resolution (except for the horizontal line artifacts), but if you have trouble with viewing it, you can try another of these versions.

Bike1 WMV version Video
22.6 MB

Bike1 MOV version Video
48.4 MB

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