Saturday, December 31, 2011

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas! Licky had a great Christmas Eve as the Cosmo PillowPets invaded his space. He was not amused. There was hissing!
However, I will pause here to say that Licky has been a different cat since Morgan came home. He has been on his best behavior and has allowed a snuggle or two. His hissing and growling has declined, too. We'll see how he takes Morgan's departure.

Christmas Eve was spent at the Collard's house for dinner, the Smith's house for a bonfire, and then back to the Collard's for dessert. Here is a great group of girls who have all grown up together. The girl in the red shirt and the girl in the red pants were both babes in arms when we moved here. It has been nice to stay in one place for a while and see all these girls grow up and many of them have moved on to college and other pursuits. Maddie is 3rd from the left; Morgan is 3rd from the right, with Rozzie next to her on the right, and then McCall in the red boots.

Here is the traditional Christmas day picture. This was after church. Rozzie and Morgan are wearing their new garb. Oh, and yes, Morgan colored her hair brown. Notice that Maddie is braceless - at least on top.

This morning, we went to the temple to do baptisms. Morgan has had a "limited" temple recommend that lasts for a year. She goes to the Provo temple regularly. She asked Travis if we could go as a family. Since there were no youth groups today (New Year's Eve), the temple allowed us to come and have a private family baptism session. As it turns out, the 1st counselor in the temple presidency used to be our stake president and Travis served on the High Council for a few years with him, and he was there to preside over our baptisms. He and his wife had us do one of their names that was very dear to them. This made for a very intimate time together in the temple, unlike I have ever experienced. We really enjoyed our time there together. We were done by 10am.

We wasted time for a bit and then went to lunch; we were all pretty starved!! Then we left Orlando and were back home by 3pm. That is when the fun started. The girls wanted to go nap and lay around, but I got them busy on the Christmas mess. It is all put away now and our house is back to normal for the first time in 3 months!! It feels very good.

I have finally finished the ornaments. I'm sorry they are late, but that is just the case this year. People ask why I continue to do the ornaments. My answer is that I'd feel bad for all the younger kids who didn't get any and their older siblings got a whole bunch. Maybe no one else cares, but I do. So there is the answer, it is really very simple.

The next 6 weeks will be pretty tough with basketball season and the last 3/4 cheer competitions. Once that is done, I will be happy. It has been a whirlwind, but it has been fun and I'm glad I did it.

I wish all my blog readers (3-4 of you) a very happy and prosperous 2012!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Bicycle built for Seven

A week ago, my cheerleaders had a competition in St. Augustine at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind. It is the same school that Ray Charles attended. It was quite an experience for all of us as most of the event workers were deaf - none of them seemed to be blind. We even got to see the school's cheer team perform. The coach stood in front and counted in sign language to keep the team on beat with the music. Then when the music stopped for them to do their cheer, there was someone who beat a bass drum. The cheerleaders could feel the beat of the drum to cheer to the beat. It was really quite amazing.

On our way out, we saw this contraption:

It is a bike that seats seven!! One person steers and all seven pedal. We were told that it is a strange sensation to pedal and move in a different direction than you are facing. I googled videos of this thing and it is interesting to watch in action. The school uses this for bike rides with blind students. I have learned quite a lot with this cheerleading thing!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

We have a couple bruised bumpers...

Two accidents in one week.

Rozzie and friends were on their way to Chik-fil-A last week after school and were in a 4-car crash. Two cars were a complete loss. Two had little fender-benders. All students were ok. That was a crazy afternoon.

This morning, Travis' car-pool hit a kid who was driving to school without his lights on. All were fine.

In addition, 0ne of my cheerleaders was in a big accident and her SUV is all crumpled up. She, her sister, and the other driver are all fine.

I hope that by the rule of threes, this theme has run its course.

Last weekend, Maddie's dance group performed at a Winter Festival in our area. Maddie loves this Tap routine to Michael Jackson's "Beat It". The red jacket is mighty impressive.
The group did a little Christmas dance which included a kick line. I just want to point out that Maddie is second to tallest girl in the group. Conversely, when I was on the dance line, I was always 2nd or 3rd from the end and was officially grouped with the "Shorties".

I thought you all might want to see a picture of Travis, Morgan, and Patrick. This cat LOVES to be held. He is very much like a baby or a puppy. He always looks like he is the most comfortable being on the planet. By the way, Morgan comes home tomorrow!!

Last night was Maddie's band concert. It was rather nice. I enjoyed the Chipmunk's song. Maddie played the kazoo for that song. She looked rather dapper in her uniform.

She didn't want to have a picture of her back, but I took one anyway so we could all see the back of this impressive ensemble. However, don't be fooled, her school is not the "Ougars", but the "Cougars".

School ended today, and not a moment too soon. I am so happy for this break. I cannot believe how quickly this year is moving along.

Anyway, that is all I have right now.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Competition Season Begins!!

Football season ended sadly in overtime. We were winning the whole game and then lost in OT. Very much sadness. But, the day before the very sad loss, we celebrated Thanksgiving. Maddie and I are into these cute cupcakes and so for the Thanksgiving table, we made corn!! They are covered in jelly bellies. The corn husks are phylo (sp?) dough. After dinner, everyone was very interested in the phylo dough and ate that!! I think the cupcakes turned out very cute!!

Lani, Roger, Clint, and McCall came over for dinner. How very odd to be missing Morgan. She was having a blast up in Idaho Falls with some friends. She even got in a dinner with Aunt Karen, Savana, Paetan, and Journey. Look how these girls have all grown up!! Sadly, there are no pictures of me...

Ah, here is a picture of me. See what you were missing? Anyhow, my cheerleaders had their first competition this weekend. They hit all their stunts perfectly in practice and warm-ups, and then they dropped them in competition. SO FRUSTRATING!!! We didn't lose...we came in 5 out of 6. It really is good for them. We are putting them right back out on the floor next weekend, so they can, hopefully, redeem themselves. Anyway, this is before the catastrophe - my choreographer/coach, Cortnee, whom I couldn't do without!!
Here we all are at our hotel, going off to lunch in our fabulous new t-shirts.

We really had a good weekend. One of the dads is a pilot and so he booked our hotel. We stayed at the Westin by the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. The hotel upgraded Cortnee and me to a 2-bedroom suite with a kitchen!! It was just perfect for everyone to gather. We went to eat at Cafe Tu Tu Tango which serves everything appetizer style!! It was delicious and fun. They have belly dancers and artists for entertainment. It was nice to get the girls away from school and get to know them better. They were very well behaved (thank heavens).

Competition season for Rozzie starts in January, and February for Maddie. I guess it will just stay busy around here.

The cats are good. Travis was in Toronto last week and he loves that. He then had to hold down the fort while I was out of town on business. That has never happened before!! And....I think that is all for now. I'm "off" today so that I can work on a school assignment. I won't bore you with the details, but let's just say there are some very frustrated and angry teachers over this class we are taking.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

She Floats by her Hair...

I haven't posted in a while. I'm sorry. I have been busy, it is true, but mostly I just post the same pictures over and over of the girls doing their stuff. I know you don't mind it, but I recently heard that someone said I was living my live vicariously through the school and it hurt my feelings and it isn't true. I am involved in my school and I support my children and their activities. I also enjoy being part of the community and the great students I have met in my eight years working at Fleming Island High School. So I have moved on and will now post pictures of my kids involved in their school activities.

Last Friday night, our football game was a play-off game in Tallahassee. It is a 3 hour bus ride out there. The school hired the big buses for us. Cheer and dance shared a bus, so I got to ride with Rozzie. I had planned for Travis and Maddie to ride the bus with us until we found out that the band was not able to make the trip due to their own state competition the next day. So, a few 8th grade students from the surrounding feeder junior highs were invited to participate in the "spirit band" (think "pep" not "ghost"). Maddie was chosen to go with the band, so I volunteered Travis to chaperone. In some ways, being the cheer coach has been a great blessing to us: this ended up being a family event rather than just another game for Rozzie to be at. Since the game was in Tallahassee and one of the FSU Marching Band drum majors is a grad of Fleming Island, he came out to the game and directed the band. In addition, about 15 other FSU students and former band members came and played with the little spirit band. They worked had and did a great job!! Keith really challenged the kids and looked to have a great time doing it!! Rozzie's former dance captain Brittany is at FSU now, so she came to the game. Rozzie thought it would be a great idea if she just stayed with Brittany until Brittany came home for Thanksgiving. We didn't let her stay. Sorry. So here are those pictures: Rozzie and Brittany

And Maddie with Trumpy. On Saturday, we celebrated Maddie's 14th birthday. She has been wanting to make some cupcakes from some new books we got this past summer, so I let her pick a theme and we made the cupcakes. They were more adorable than you can imagine. Notice that one flamingo got too close to the alligators. Uh-oh!! We had the party at the dance studio as they had rehearsal and there was only an hour between rehearsal and our "appointment". I love this picture of these two little girls looking longingly at the cupcakes. Don't worry, they got one!!

Then it was party time. Ever since our violin teacher leased some of his property to a man to set up his flying trapeze school, Maddie has had dreams about flying through the air with the greatest of ease. For her birthday, we made that happen. She invited some friends from dance. When we pulled up to the location, the girls went quiet. One said, "This isn't quite what I pictured." They were all pretty nervous. Only one girl got scared and had to be let down slowly. As they all tried new things, they got better and better. However, on the first try, each and every girl had to be shoved off the platform. The guy would yell, "jump" and nothing would happen. So the lady on the platform would give them a little shove on the back of the ankle and just push them right off!! Look at their faces!!

It started to rain, so they weren't able to transfer from one bar to the "catcher" named Tyler who was really cute and had nice muscles!! Actually, he was one of my former students from my subbing days and was really surprised to see me!! I asked the girls later if they had discussed his muscles and they both laughed and said yes. I knew they would!! They all had a great time and Maddie was so happy. They are a little sore today, though. And here is one last picture of Maddie. She was going to to the transfer, but it was too slippery with the rain. I just like the serene feeling of the picture. (and that is Tyler sitting up on the other bar)

And what about Morgan? She had her last home game last night. Her friend took this picture. It is Morgan being Morgan. She has really enjoyed marching for BYU this year and looks forward to going to Dallas for the bowl game!!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

And Also This...

I just finished this sweater. Thought you ought to know.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Amazing Aging Trick - by Rozzie

She went to the orthodontist on Thursday:
And came out looking older and more mature. She has never smiled as much as she did on Thursday.

The weekend we were out at BYU for homecoming, it was cold and rainy/snowy. That was not the perfect weather for the annual BYU blue foam slip and slide. They saved it for the next week and Morgan (of course) got in on the action. Still no picture of Morgan studying or in class. I'm assuming it happens, though.

We got home from Utah just in time for Fleming Island homecoming. It was "Hero" week. The day devoted to "Storybook Hero" produced about 500 students of Hogwarts. I love this picture of Roz. It shows a side of her in school that is rarely seen. I love the passion and excitement in this picture. I sometimes wonder if she knows she isn't really Bellatrix.

Parade-time came up and it was a little different this year. I had to monitor my cheerleaders. I was able to see Rozzie and her dance team off, though. The were firemen and had a truck for the seniors to ride on. Rozzie and Nora were thrilled to carry the banner.

My cheerleaders chose an angel theme. Their float was so pretty!! I rode on the very back of it, all hidden. It was kindof fun!!

After the parade, we have a big pep rally called Gold Rush in the stadium. These are my cheerleaders performing. I love this shot - it is a good action shot.

I was so happy to have homecoming out of the way - very stressful. It is such a fun week, but there is something to do everyday and then the added stress of both cheerleaders and dance team performing, I was so tired by the end of the week!!

Shortly after accepting the coaching position, I had a thought to have a "Pink Out" game in October, like the NFL does, only just one game. I approached the vice principal about it and he thought that would be fine. I promised the cheerleaders and dance team would perform together. Then I notified the football boosters of our plan. I never followed up with them, but when I showed up at the game Thursday night, the team was decked out in pink socks and undershirts. It was announced in school and fans showed up in pink. The cheerleaders and dance team sold pink spirit beads and pink ribbon face tattoos. It was really exciting too look around and see my idea work out so nicely.

It just so happened that the Pink Out was also Junior High Band night. It was so exciting to see Maddie march out on the field!! She enjoyed sitting with the band up in the stands and playing a few songs with them. It was known all around that she was Morgie's sister!!

I had ordered the cheerleaders and dancers pink poms for the night. Swoopette was thrilled that I had an extra pair for her!! My mascots are doing such a great job this year.

Rozzie smiled all night - showing off her bracelessness. People were pretty impressed that the cheerleaders and dancers performed together. They looked really good - all 42 of them out there. They learned the dance in just 2 days. It was pretty simple - with that many dancers it had to be. It was a great way to show support for the cause. All the money made from the sale of beads and tattoos will be donated to the Susan G. Komen society for breast cancer awareness/search for the cure.

Friday was a planning day and I was able to go to work and WORK for about 7 hours. I holed up in my room. I had been looking forward to that day for so long and now it is done. This morning I proctored ACT exams. work work work... It is a surprise to think that the school year that just started is already 1/4 done. The time between now and Christmas always goes so fast. That is a good thing!!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Rise and Shout, the Cougars are Out!!

After an afternoon of rest and relaxation, kindof, it was time to meet up with the girls AND Katie and get ready for the game. Morgan had to go to practice. Katie went and met up with her friends that she went to the game with.
We went to the stadium and got family pictures by the cougar (it was a gift from the class of 1965). Here is Morgan in her finery, by the official mascot. (Exciting moment)

Here are Travis, Roz, & Maddie with the unofficial mascot. Funny thing is, he wasn't one of the young students. He had a wife and kids. I found that funny.

Before the game, the band marches to the stadium from the practice field and they stop right in front of the cougar and play a few songs. It was a late game and so it was dark. But it was sure fun to see them all do their thing. Then they march onto the field for the pre-game show where they make a big "Y" and then spell out "COUGARS". Then they line up down at the end of the field where the players enter the field. Travis went down near the field and got some really great pictures of Morgan. This is when they made the big "Y" and the tubas and colorguard make a big oval around the letter.

It was a chilly night and our sweatshirts weren't quite enough, so the girls got new sweatshirts. I guess some of that is their official indoctrination to the BYU idea. They really loved it there. I think, like Morgan and like me, they like the idea of doing something different than the rest of their friends. They love the mountains and the change of climate. Change is good.

Here is a shot of the half-time show. I liked the last song the best, but I can't remember what it was!! It was so much fun to watch the band. Oh, the game was good, too. BYU won.

Maddie was determined to get a foam finger. She is very proud of it. She was able to point at many things with it.

Barb and Gary were seated a few seats down from us. Rick, Holly, Autumn, Brooklyn, and Preston came and enjoyed the game with us. It was chilly, but not as chilly as we look. It was pretty decent. I was almost too warm.

After the game, the band marched out and stopped in front of the cougar again and played three songs. They got really loud and seemed to have a great time. Again, my favorite was the last song they played. Then they sang the alma mater. That was really nice. I am so glad we were able to go out and see her in her new habitat. She seems to have acclimated well and loves her new life. Seeing her march was wonderful.

We got home super late on Sunday night and had to hit the ground running for Monday. It was homecoming week. What a doozy. Pictures to follow!!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Coming Home!!

I don't have much time to write as we have a plane to catch in a little while. But I wanted to get the first half of pictures posted from our BYU Homecoming trip. We got in on Wednesday and went straight to Provo to visit Morgan. We went and had dinner in the Cannon Center and met many of her friends. She is pretty happy here! This is Morgan's dorm door. We were able to visit her room as it was "visiting hours". Rozzie and Maddie each spent a night with Morgan and went to classes with her.
It was cold and rainy/snowy. We were there for the first snow of the season. Once the clouds lifted, the mountains looked so pretty!!

We went out to dinner one night with Morgan's boyfriend, Bradford. He is a very nice young man and they seem to have fun together. Katie joined us for a few minutes, too. So much fun to see her!! I think they like being in Provo together.

Travis was able to take some time to visit his friends Al and Lael. Eric was there, too. They were friends from Minnesota, when they were all just little boys!

Saturday morning was cold and drizzly, but we went to watch the parade!! As the band came around the corner, I got tears in my eyes. I'm such a wimp.

We were set up at the beginning of the parade. After the band and a few other groups passed, we started the hike across campus to the end of the parade. This was taken at the end. I really like this picture of Morgan and her fellow sousaphonists.

We got some nice pictures at the end, too.

Grandma and Grandpa came up from Hurricane to see Morgan march. This was really fun to have them there.

These girls were so happy to be back together for a bit.

Towards the end of the parade, Grandpa had a little fun!!

Lucky for you, this isn't the end of the pictures. I'll post again as soon as possible. It was BYU homecoming this week; Fleming Island next week.