Thursday, December 30, 2010

Oh What did we do in the Wintertime?

It is about time to get some Christmas pictures posted here, now isn't it? We have had such a good time. We have done a lot of knitting. Mom knit some Lugies that I was hoping to get done over the break. That was really nice!! We went to eat and Morgan's work. Travis took a picture of her, for which she was very embarrassed. She got over it, though, and we had a nice dinner at Five Guys. Morgan has been working diligently to obtain her degree from Five Guys University. She has about six hours of online training to do for her job. We listen along and get a kick out of all of it. There is a certain order that everything MUST be done. I understand why they have to have this training, but it is really goofy.
After we got home from dinner, there was a knock on the door and a "Ho, Ho, Ho." Who could it be, but SANTA CLAUS!!! It was sure fun to have Santa come check on us. Licky was a little freaked out, but he lasted for one picture.
Christmas Eve finally rolled around and we decked the halls and ate a lot. Here is the erstwhile "kid's table". There is Maddie, McCall, Kevin (McCall's boyfriend), Rozzie, and Morgan. Morgan decided that Christmas Eve was the night to pull out her new sweaters from Salvation Army for a night of Ugly Sweaters. Maddie also donned an ugly sweater. Here is a lovely picture of me and mom at the "grown up" table.
After dinner, we went to a friend's house for a bonfire, s'mores, and hot chocolate. Here is Travis and I in our holiday finery. I knit this sweater about 23 years ago. The girls laugh at it, but I think it is a classic.
Here is Morgan and Rozzie roasting a giant marshmallow over the flames.
Licky joined us momentarily for gift opening on Christmas morning. As you can see, he is delighted by the merriment.
Here are our three girls on Christmas morning. Yes, it is light outside. We made them wait until 7:30 before they got us up!!

We hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and a fun time off from school or just from the regular day to day drudgery. I go back to school on Monday and the students join us on Wednesday. I'm definitely NOT ready for that. But, the year is half over and there is much to look forward to in 2011!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Panhandling on the Streets of St. Augustine

Grandma is here for a visit so we took her out with us for our annual pre-Christmas dinner out. This year we chose The Columbia in St. Augustine. The Spanish/Cuban cuisine is so wonderful. The girls weren't quite as impressed as we were, but they seemed to enjoy it in the end. The signature "1905" salad is a wonder to eat. This has become a favorite place for Travis and me.
Here we all are looking so festive. I might add that the bread was also divine. And the lunch prices aren't so awful, either.
The whole reason we went to St. Augustine was that Travis had this idea that he wanted the girls to play their violins on the streets and see how much money they could make. So, I let him be in charge of the shindig. He kept trying to get me involved, but I resisted!! And he did a great job. He was getting the girls set up when a police officer came up and told him they had to be 50 feet off the main street. So then the police officer showed Travis where they could set up right outside The Columbia. It was a prime spot. I think the officer was happy to see someone who was actually dressed decently and might add to the atmosphere of the city rather than make everyone walk to the other side of the road. So they got set up and started playing.
Older people seemed to like them. Actually, everyone responded very positively, but the older people were the ones to drop money! But the group of people who REALLY liked it, was the small children. One girl was saying, "Look, violins, Mommy, look, violins..." and she really wanted to go see them, but the parents were too busy. These next two pictures are so sweet. This was what it was really all about.

This little girl stayed for a long time. The kids had fun and made some spending money. Then they found out that the Henna tattoo artist was closed for the season. Bummer. Maddie had asked if she could bring her trumpet and play. We weren't about to deny her enthusiasm, so she pulled the trumpet out and got going! She was a little startled at first at how loud she was. She commented, "It sounds so different without the whole band."
It was a lot of fun for the girls and for us. We had a great time watching them. They just played the same Christmas tunes over and over. People are only around to hear one or two songs. Travis had a good idea!! I think people were more inclined to give them money since they were actually playing recognizable music and were dressed decently. The guitarist down the street gave up after a while. He was just smoking and strumming away with his filthy hair hanging in his face. Who would you give money to?

Later that night, Morgan finally finished her masterpiece. The next morning, he was busy helping out:
Have you ever seen anything so adorable?

Merry Christmas to all!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

More Dancing, Running, and Working

The past week was a rough one. My face is on the mend; however, it still really hurts to wipe my nose and my nose has needed wiping. The Golden Girls sold $300 in candy grams which was a huge success in my mind. We were hoping for $100. This afternoon Lani and McCall came over and we all put them together and sorted them by teacher and have them all ready to go!! What a relief to have my fundraiser done!!

Saturday brought Maddie's dance performance at the Christmas festival here on the Island. She really likes being in the company at her new studio and looks forward to competing. She likes the team feeling!! She performed two dances and looked just beautiful. This one is my favorite!

They do a little kick line in the jazz dance.
Here is the entire company, the teachers, and Santa.
Maddie and Degas have been dancing together since they were three years old.
While we were watching the dancing, Morgan was at work toasting buns. Some of her friends came by and left their calling card on her car windows. Every window was covered. They even got the sun roof!! It says "We got even got this!" She was actually quite thrilled and can't wait to drive it to school. We had her clean the windshield to be able to drive.
After work, Morgan, Travis, and Tara ran a nighttime 5K. The route was lined with luminaries. She really enjoyed this one. Her finishing time was 3 minutes faster than her last race. She really liked this tshirt.

That concludes this past weekend's activities. It will be another crazy week, but after that - VACATION!!

A shout out to my sister who is 43 today. It will always be memorable because there was this crazy blizzard, church was cancelled, and the Metrodome roof collapsed and there are super cool videos of the collapse. Happy birthday, Sara.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Black and Blue League

I slept pretty well once I fell asleep that first night. My nose had swelled shut. Breathing through my mouth is one of my least favorite things and so falling asleep was a trial. I faced my students at school the next day and told them all the horrors I had lived through in the past hours and they were adequately impressed with my fortitude and will to survive. When I left for school, there were no outward signs of bruising, but I was swollen. Lani told me I smiled like a bad botox injection!! By the time I got to my planning time during second period, all the blood that had pooled in my nose drained into my lip creating a nice blood blister. It felt like I had a marble in my lip all day. The bridge of my nose doesn't hurt, and my lip doesn't hurt. It doesn't even hurt to sneeze. By the end of the day, I was feeling pretty ragged though. These were taken at the end of the day. The swelling is decreasing but you can see the bubble on my lip, and the bruising starting to come in.Morgan said I look like I'm puckering here - but I'm not!!
I'm feeling pretty decent. Today the bubble has started to diminish. It is very painful to wipe my nose. It is VERY tender on the inside.

Morgan had a great band concert last night and we didn't get any pictures. I didn't even see her. But the band sounded very nice.

Then we got home to find that she was accepted to Florida State University which is a pretty big deal around these here parts. Yes, BYU is still her #1 dream, but we won't know about that until the end of the month.
Now I must go and get Maddie and transport her to violin!! Have a great week. Tomorrow when I wake up it will be Thursday. I was convinced today was Thursday and then found I was sadly mistaken. LONG WEEK.....

Monday, December 6, 2010

Work Hazzards

I was just helping out some of my students with their project. I was the "usurper". Mrs. Teto assigned her kids to make a video using some of their vocabulary words they have recently learned. We all have a "thing" going on with a trophy that was awarded at the senior kickball game last year. It tends to disappear and then pictures of it surface on facebook. So the video was about people stealing this trophy.

While filming and stealing the trophy, Graceful here trips and falls ON said trophy, breaking the trophy and nearly breaking her face!! I gave the kids an awful scare (along with poor Mr. Pandich who was chasing me). The nurse came with gauze, ice, and the wheelchair. I was on the grass on my hands and knees checking to see if my teeth were there - yep - and letting the "smart" wear off when Mr. Pandich started saying that I was bleeding. I opened my eyes and took off the bandanna (I was a thief!) and sure enough, it was nearly gushing.

Here is a catalog of the injuries:

The trophy hit my face twice, once in the lip and then it grazed the nose. Now it is all decently swollen and I have to breath out of my mouth, which I hate. I look so silly and feel even sillier. I have been icing it. I cancelled everything tonight and put Travis in charge of everything that needs doing.

I'm trying to put on a happy face. My students feel just terrible. I'm sure this will be one of those things we talk about for a long, long time.
Here is an update. I just washed my face and finally took a look in my mouth - OUCH!! No wonder it feels funny!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Bake sale and Candy Grams

I am in charge of two Golden Girl (actually 3) fundraisers at this moment. This is not my usual "thang". Each girl is responsible for one fundraiser. I fretted for a long time and thought of ways to get out of it. Nothing realistic came to mind. So I thought real hard and had a bit of a revelation: "Candy Grams". I remember candy grams at school so I suggested it and it was approved and next week we start selling. I have been busy getting all the logistics done. The girls will sell during lunches. I hope it goes over well.

This past week, the Golden Girls hosted "Fleming Island's Got Talent" and they featured 13 acts. We were all a little nervous how this would work out. I asked the coach if she wanted me to run a bake sale/concessions just to earn a little more money. She said sure, so I put an email out to all the parents and got a few donations. We set up and sold $88 in cookies, cupcakes, brownies, rice krispie treats, popcorn balls, and water. The food was only 50 cents and the water, $1. We sold a lot of treats!! We were really pleased with the outcome. But even more surprising was the turn out for the show. We filled the cafeteria - that is right, we don't have an auditorium. The poor pianists played on a plinkety upright that wasn't quite in tune. BUT the show was great!! I really give props to these kids for putting themselves out there. In a musical or something there are others on stage with you and it is all set by a director, but these kids put themselves out there. The audience was VERY respectful - you won't always get that with a bunch of teens. A few hundred people showed up and we made over $1000 in ticket sales. It was a huge success!! What a great relief. The big surprise was that the audience was mostly teenagers - even boys!! There were very few parents/grandparents there.

AND, I am heading up an AVON order as a GG fundraiser. If anyone is interested, let me know and I'll tell you where you can look online at an AVON catalog.

Last, but not least, Morgan's restaurant opened up, and she worked 3-10 that day. She gets her first paycheck today!! The place was super busy and time went by quickly. I even took a quick picture of her working. I was happy to know that I had taught her how to effectively sweep a floor and wipe a table. This is what we call a "drive by shooting."
The food was REALLY good.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Giving Thanks with Friends

I hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving. We had a really nice week! Travis took the week off and the schools were out all week so we had a lot of togetherness as a family. Morgan started her job on Monday and really likes it. She has finished up working at the mall and has a "store opening" meeting at the new location on Tuesday!! I got to spend a day in St. Augustine with Lani for her birthday.

We celebrated Thanksgiving with the Collard's. We went over for dinner at 3:30 and ate our fill. We took carrot souffle, mashed potatoes, rolls, and some bubbly. Dinner was delicious as always. The conversation was even better. We tried something new this year. We ate, then took a nap break and reconvened later in the evening for pie! During the nap break, we added a couple girls to our gaggle. The Steinhour family moved away last year, taking their daughters with them. How rude!! Ashlyn and Maddie were happy to get back together.
Ciera and Rozzie had been plotting this reunion for a couple months. They were able to spend just a little time together, but it was well worth the effort. The girls spent the night, too. It was so fun to see them.
We took them all over to the Collard's and here are the other girls in attendance - Morgan, McCall, and Hannah - the other Smiths joined us for pie.
Hannah has noticed how often she appears on my blog. I guess it is because we like her a lot.

Here is a picture of the pies. Someone always asks what pies we had so here they are (clockwise from the top): chocolate (2 pieces left), pineapple upside-down cake, banana cream, strawberry/rhubarb, pecan, peach, pumpkin, and another pumpkin behind the flowers. YUM!
The girls retired to the back room for a lot of laughing and some creepy TV.
I sure miss my family on these occasions. However, I am grateful for such good friends to gather with and feel like we belong with them, too.
Friday brought new activities. Fleming Island is in the state playoffs and we had a big game. We won it, so that leaves the boys at 12-0 for the season!! Before the game, all the Golden Girls came over for pizza and poster making for an upcoming fundraiser that I am running: Candy Gram sales!!
This is what the whole house looked like for a couple of hours.

I went over and sold tickets at the game and it was full. We were so surprised to have that many people there on a holiday game. Many of the fans - maybe even more than half - were from the opposing school. It was a tight game and we came out on top.

So now the fun is over (for three weeks). These weeks leading up to Christmas break are exceedingly busy with concerts, games, celebrations, parties, and galas galore. I hope you all have a great December.

One last note, in case you didn't hear, Morgan found the email dated Nov 17 from BYU-Idaho stating that she was accepted. Back-up plan is in place!! We are happy. So is she.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Morgan Smith, State Champion

I will apologize right now for the over abundance of pictures and general gushing by me. But yesterday was a most amazing day. I had just spent the past couple of days crying each time I thought of watching Morgan march for the last time. Marching band has been the best thing for Morgan. She had a place in school where she fit and excelled and felt productive. We have loved being band parents and helping out - making funnel cakes - and all. It all ended yesterday as the band went to the state competition. They had a successful season, scoring higher than they had ever scored. They were confident they had a chance at making finals. We were very excited for the big day. We had a great football game the night before. It is state playoffs and we won - my student made a fantastical catch behind his head. We are now 11-0!! After all that, we had to be on the band bus at 4:30 am. I do not look forward to these days, they are so long and arduous. But we have a good time.

So let's begin the day! We got to Tampa and had our preliminary show at a high school. We had to get the kids fed. Trav and I brought 15 lbs of bananas. there were peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, donuts, and bananas. Morgan got her new band sweatshirt just in time for state. They are pretty schnazzy. here she is with her friend AJ waiting for food.

Next, the kids warmed up and stretched. The band teacher ran them through some drills and got them awake.
Before we knew it, it was time to take the field. Morgan is the middle tuba here:

We got into the stands to watch and cheered for our band and got shushed. We have never been to a band competition where we were told to be quiet. We are always encouraged to be supportive and cheer them on. This lady gave us this look anytime we clapped or said "Woo hoo" so I took a picture of her glaring at us.
And here they are as they finished their preliminary performance. They did a great job. We were really happy with how they did.
After the performance, the band goes for a picture. They look so sharp!! They are Eagle Band One.
After the big picture came the group pictures. Low brass:
Very low brass - sousaphones. This is a great group. Morgan has loved marching this thing around with these people.
Morgan and Tricia have been in band together for 5 years and marched tuba for 3.
This picture makes me really happy. It's thoughtful. I wish there wasn't a dumpster in the background. I get such happy feelings looking at this.
Next, the seniors had to go out on the field for what is called "retreat." All the bands line up and we find out scores and places and all. Morgan is the one without the helmet (sousaphone players don't wear helmets, hats, etc.). They were very excited. They were hoping to make finals - hoping hoping hoping!!
Yay!! Eagle Band One made finals. They came in 5th, only 1.88 points behind first. But Gainesville and Stoneman Douglas are always the winners of 3A. We were so excited to be that close to them. We were going to finals!! We had to eat fast, get on the buses, and get our hineys over to Tropicana Dome because we were on 1st!!
All the 4 year seniors get a medal, and Morgan has been waiting for this since her freshman year. She shows it proudly with her very proud dad! We were going to finals for the first time since freshman year - this was a big deal.
We got to the dome and warmed up. Then, time to perform. Instead of taking pictures, I watched and cried. All of us moms with seniors were in tears. This is the last performance of our children in high school marching band. Again, this is the end of the performance. I have loved this. I'm so proud of Morgan and this whole band. They performed so well in finals. Sometimes you can see how tired they are and they had been going for a long time and already marched once. But they were on fire. They blew it out of the water and their energy only increased. The color guard was spot on. It was beautiful.
Morgan is the short tuba - 3rd from the left on her last moment of the show. The band instructors both felt that this was their best performance of the year.
The kids were excited with how they did. This was it!! Look how I sparkle, too.
Then we spent the rest of the day and night watching 24 other bands. It is fun, but it gets pretty long. The 5A bands are the amazing, big bands. These bands have upwards of 57 girls in the color guard!!! Travis and I really enjoyed the day together. Soon it was time for the bands to line up for the final retreat. They got to 3A and said "5th place" and I expected them to say "Fleming Island" and they didn't! Wow, we got 4th place, how great!! Then they didn't say FI for 4th. 3rd place was more than we could have hoped for, but we weren't 3rd. That was Stoneman Douglas - we beat them? Well, 2nd is a great finish. We pretty much knew we were not going to beat Gainesville. Then they said, "In 2nd place....Gainesville!" I was watching Morgan get more and more excited. When they said "Gainesville," Morgan dropped to the floor. The band went nuts. They had just won State.
The amazing thing is that, as the 3A champs, there are still the bigger bands ahead of us - 10 of them. It turns out, our score was high enough to beat all of 4A and one band in 5A. Out of the 88 bands that competed at state, we came in 5th. What a great day. What a way to end Morgan's marching band experience. We keep saying, "I can't believe it." It was so much more than we were expecting. We were back on the bus at 1:40 am and asleep by 2:30 am. Home at 4:40. What a day.
Changing subjects, here is Rozzie dancing at Friday's football game. This is the fun hair picture.
In other great news, Morgan has a job! She was hired on Friday and starts tomorrow (Monday). The establishment is called "5 Guys Burgers and Fries" and is opening a restaurant on the Island. They have one at the mall and it does very well. Here is a general picture of a really big restaurant. Ours won't be two story, but they are all red and white. People are really happy the place is opening up. A friend from church knows the manager and so that helped a little. Morg was so excited when they called her to set an interview. She went on Friday before the game and was hired right then and there and she starts right away. There is no school all week, so she'll be working. The Fleming Island location opens up on December 1st and she'll be all trained in and ready to go. The timing of this job was perfect. We know she was blessed at this specific moment that when band was done and her schedule cleared up, a job came along. We are truly blessed!
The food looks pretty good, too!!
So that was a pretty long post, but it was good to get it all out for you. I hope you don't mind sharing in the photo journey of the day. Quite a good week... I hope my tears are done for now.