Since moving into our home almost seven years ago this closet has been a dumping ground for luggage and backpacks, the key word here is dumping. Today I took some time to build in a set of shelves which with any luck will result in a more organized use of the space. While I was at it, Maya also got new shelves in one of her two closets.

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Celebrating her 5oth birthday today is Jeanine’s close friend Irene. Her husband organized a surprise private dinner party at the Colonial Inn where we spent the evening enjoying the company of her circle of friends.

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Nicolai won three matches today to win first place in the DCL (Dual County League) Tournament in the Junior Varsity 100 pound division. He wrestled with great composure and strength beating every opponent by a margin of 10 points or more.

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When I returned home from work this evening I found Kyle, Hannah, Nicolai and Maya playing this game of their own invention. The binders created ramps down and up which a quarter is rolled with the goal of landing in one of the bowls each carrying a different score. I am always thrilled when the kids find an activity they can all enjoy together. When they have invented the game themselves it is that much better. The brothers teamed up against Hannah and Maya who were led up until the final round.

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I received this bonsai tree more that two years ago as a gift from the family and it has thrived under my care. I water it weekly and prune it once a month or so. I realized I had never posted a picture of it and decided to rectify that oversight today.

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Nicolai defeated his opponent from the Boston Latin School this evening with a first period pin. His match finished at 7:30 and I raced to Acton for my 8:30 indoor soccer match. Unfortunately, we lost 4-1 against a team I felt we should have beaten. Kyle has really improved his study habits and is applying himself with real intensity for mid term preparation. We will all be glad when the week is over.

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Every year we post select holiday cards on the wall in our breakfast nook. This year the task was not completed until our order for small magnets arrived today. Before wallpapering this wall we painted it with magnetic paint which makes it ideal for posting photos and artwork. See if you can find your card.

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Everyone looks on as our new Roomba (floor cleaning robot) drives around the kitchen in search of things to vacuum. It employs several different navigation algorithms (diagonal runs, spirals, wall hugging, cliff detection) which the kids have already started to evaluate. Nala does not know what to think of this low profile intruder but has so far elected to keep her distance although she did become quite concerned when it started to push her food bowl around. Jeanine is reserving judgement until she sees the final results. We have tentatively named it Dusty.

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In the sitting area off of our master bedroom we have a rowing machine that Jeanine uses from time to time. In one of her rare requests for a technology addition to the home she hinted that she would enjoy a TV she could watch while exercising. She was thrilled when she discovered the new set installed. The kids are now vigorously calling into question the family policy of no TVs in the bedrooms. Technically this TV is in the sitting room or in our case the rowing room and their protests were summarily dismissed.

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Jeanine on her way to attend a fund raiser for the Concord Music Conservatory pauses to let me take a few portraits. She just keeps getting more beautiful with time.

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Hannah and Kyle went grocery shopping together and returned home to cook dinner. They were kind enough to make an extra smoothie for me as I recuperated on the couch from an unusually stressful week at work. Later they played cards which is exactly the right speed for Kyle as he recovers from his snowboarding injuries.

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It doesn’t take much to tie up traffic during my commute. This morning a tiny accident slowed down the works. On the bright side, I noticed this interesting tree which I have sped past a thousdand times. It is far easier to smell the roses if you are not racing past them.

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When I returned from work this evening I met Danielle for the first time. She is a college student who helps us out on Wednesdays while Jeanine is attending her Stand and Deliver workshops. She drives the kids to and from their activities, prepares dinner, and keeps the house clean. Anyone who operates our cook top immediately qualifies for inclusion on the family blog. Later in the evening I had an indoor soccer game. I had a goal and two assists but we lost 4-3. I was out of shape from my recent travel and the fact that we had no subs did not help.

Maya’s room transformed. There are some fabric details which still need to be worked out but the basic layout is complete. I designed and built both beds, a bookshelf which is off camera (on the near wall) and the coat stand all in cherry. I am very pleased that each child in turn has enjoyed these pieces and hope they will one day be passed to the next generation of Calabrias.

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Maya requested a total makeover for her bedroom today. She has outgrown the style of her current furniture which she now regards as childish. Before removing all of the items pictured here I took several photos to help sell these items on Craig’s List or eBay. The new motif is entirely cherry and teak wood and we were able to refurnish the room with items we already own. Maya and I worked together on the project for the better part of the day and I really enjoyed our time together. I will post an after photo tomorrow when we have natural light again. The new look is not as well coordinated but definitely more mature.

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As the resident snow blower I have a love hate relationship with snowfall. On the one hand it usually translates to an hour of hard work, on the other it makes for the most beautiful photos. This is the farm across the street from our house.