Sunday, March 27, 2011

Swimming with the Dollaphins!

It was finally Maddie's turn to go and swim with the dolphins at Discovery Cove. This has been a fun thing to do with the girls. It is one of those things that we decided to do "because we live here and should take advantage of it". Maddie got this gift for her 13th birthday and has been patiently waiting for the day to arrive. We decided that a day at Discovery Cove is much better on Spring Break than in the middle of November. Her day arrived and we left bright and early Thursday morning for SeaWorld in Orlando.
We had our dolphin experience in the morning. Maddie was so excited for this. She had gotten a dolphin pillow pet for Valentine's day and has delayed naming until this very moment when she would meet her dolphin. Then, to our surprise, we met three dolphins. We met with and petted Dash. Then we got a ride from Dexter. After a few rides, Dexter wanted to do his own thing, so we borrowed Rascal from another group. Maddie had so many names to chose from. She pondered and pondered. She finally chose Dash. By the way, Maddie still pronounces "dolphin" with a slight "ah" between the "l" and "ph" making it sound like "dollaphin". I wouldn't want it any other way.
Maddie looks lovingly at Dash.
We spent some time in the aviary with the birds. This is Maddie's favorite bird - the mohawk bird.
See its green mohawk? It also had a bright pink section under its wings. Maddie really enjoyed the birds.

We went to go in the stingray lagoon and Maddie decided it wasn't a place she wanted to be. The stingrays are about 18 inches across - small ones. Their stingers have been removed, but she would not be fooled. She likened them to cockroaches - just really icky. So then we proceeded to the coral reef for some snorkeling. She really wanted to look at the pretty fish. She put her face in the water in the shallow end. Then she saw it: The table sized stingray swam by right up on the shallow part. NO WAY. She kept tyring to go in, but she just couldn't. I got a little snorkeling in, but not much. We snorkeled around the tropical river, which is just like a swimming pool - no fish. We even fell asleep in the sun.

After that adventure was over, we drove an hour to Tampa, found a Five Guys to eat at, and went to our hotel for the night. Next morning we were up and off to Busch Gardens. It was a wonderful day to go there. There weren't any lines on any rides. The day was sunny and warm. Maddie had done her research and made a list of the rides she wanted to ride. She packed that list, and then she made sure to have it with her as we entered the park. Upon seeing one of the "approved" rides, she changed her mind and crossed it off. We rode two water rides and were completely soaked so we didn't feel the need to ride a third. We browsed in stores.

We fed the lorikeets.Maddie got a henna tattoo. I am a firm disbeliever in tattoos, but this doesn't bother me. It is like finger nail polish or hair dye - not permanent. She picked a pretty hibiscus flower design.

After the tattoo, we walked around a little more. Maddie noted that her list was checked off and she was complete. So, she was ready to go home. I'm sure if friends had been along, she could have stayed the rest of the day. I didn't mind as it wold put us home around 6:30. We headed off for the 3 1/2 hour drive home. What a delightful time with Maddie. She was always thoughtful and so fun to be with. We laughed a lot. I'm so glad to have had that time with her.

Now her tattoo has flaked off and this is the stain left behind.

School starts back tomorrow. Fourth quarter begins - the beginning of the end. I'll blog about my birthday soon and then Morgan's New York City trip. Until then...

Monday, March 21, 2011

Moving Right Through Spring and Straight into Summer

We are on Spring Break and I couldn't be happier. I got up and walked. The weather is still pretty decent for a morning or evening walk. Today I went to lunch with Lisa. Her baby is due any day and she needs a little cheering up, so we went to lunch. Travis, Rozzie and Maddie watched her kids. They packed up a lunch and went to the back park. They had a good time. There are only about three weeks in the spring and fall when parks are any good in Florida, so we made use of it!! They went out on the dock. And afterwards, they cooled off their feet in the pool. Apparently they had a decent time!!
This is my favorite time of the year in Florida. I try to find things that I like. Azaleas are something I like. Last year, two weeks before they were to bloom, Travis took the hedgeclippers to the azaleas and loped all the buds off. I nearly had a heart attack. I actually cried. This year, I reminded him to NOT trim the bushes. They are in full bloom right now and I LOVE IT!! Our pale pink azaleas are pretty. I like the deep colors best, but I go with what the builders planted. Funny thing about our bushes, there is one bush that puts out rogue magenta flowers. It used to be just one branch. But...looky who's peeping through down on the bottom of the bush now!! This bush is a genetic wonder.Last week was Morgan's last Kaleidoscope concert for band. They played the marching music one last time and it brought tears to my eyes. I went up on stage to get this picture because she sits so far back, I can never get good pictures. She told me that I needed to get off stage (it was still 10 minutes before show time). I reminded her that it was ok, I work there. She wasn't amused. A few of her friends asked for pictures, though.

We have a fun filled week planned. The girls got their rooms cleaned, floors cleaned, and laundry done. Now they can have a few fun days. I can't believe how fast the 3rd quarter went. It is usually so slow. Now we just have 10 weeks of school and it will all be over! YAY!!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Divas to the Runway, Please!!

Another fantastic weekend for us! I have a few things to report, so I think I'll be posting a few different times this week. Beware!!

Rozzie's dance team had a national competition in Orlando this past weekend. I was able to chaperone which got me out of school a little bit early. Isn't it funny that getting out 15 minutes early can be such a big deal?

We got to the hotel, which was the Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Studios. The Hard Rock hosted the whole competition. It is a really nice hotel in easy walking distance from Universal's parks and Citywalk with restaurants and all that. We had a lot of luggage and so we had a bellman help us up to the room. He was talking to us and asking the girls lots of questions. Then he asked if they were going to the park the next day. Rozzie answered that no, she and her friend Nora were going to hang out at the pool. He questioned them a bit further and finally asked, "If you had tickets, would you go to the park?" They responded, "Yes!" He pulled out his wallet and handed them each a ticket. They were jumping around, yelling, screaming, and generally going nuts. They were so excited. So, early Saturday morning they were bound for Harry Potter World and the rest of Universal Studios. Rozzie is on the far right:
After half a day at the parks, the girls all came home and slept for 30 minutes. Then it was time to get to work. They got dressed. I, along with a few other moms, did hair. It takes about two hours to get all 21 girls ready to perform. They are so funny to listen to. We gathered in the lobby before heading over to Citywalk and the Hard Rock Theater. Here are Rozzie and Nora being famous: (they are so excited that they get to dance this time!!)
Looking like they did, they got a lot of comments, stares, picture requests, etc. One girl I was with was told, "I like your face." We knew what she meant!! The girls did their thing and looked really good. When they came back in the auditorium, they got a standing ovation! It was very exciting. A few other teams danced and scored higher than us, but we held our position. Then, West Springfield High School (Virginia) took the stage and blew everyone out of the water with a dance based on "The Matrix" movies. The dance was so cool. It took us all by surprise. They got the 2nd standing ovation of the night. We ended the competition in 4th place, making finals the next day. We were pleased with the standing and were ready to work hard.
We got to sleep in and get ready before heading to the venue. We were really excited to see "The Matrix" again. Everyone knew they would win - they scored 9.954. We were down at 9.17-something. We had a lot of fun taking pictures - the last of the season. This is Rozzie with her coach, Miss Edmonds:
Here is Rozzie with her two best friends, Lauren and Nora, whom we call "Noren" for short. The great thing about this are the creepers. I know I have addressed the issue of creeping on the blog before. I knew Natalie was creeping (on the right side), but Alexa took creeping to the next level peeking right through Nora's arm!! She is GOOD!
Here they are before the performance - happy to be in finals and enjoying themselves. Rozzie is in the center on the back row. Her hair is enormous.
They danced and brought their game to the floor. They danced perfectly. As they counted down from the final 11 teams, we all got more and more nervous. As they got to 4th place, we waited and it wasn't us! (Sounds like the marching band finals!!) Then they called out 3rd place, and it wasn't us!! Here we are with West Springfield, waiting to hear the results. We knew we were 2nd, and that is what they called out. We raised our score around 4 points. WS was awarded a 9.971. They well deserved 1st place. We truly feel honored to have won 2nd (at the State competition, 2nd felt like losing it all).
The girls with their trophy. They were also awarded the "Technical Excellence" award!!
Here is a close up of the girls from "The Matrix". They wore wigs and WHITE CONTACT LENSES!!! They started the dance with sunglasses and took them off and just amazed us all.
The girls posed for pictures together and were so gracious to us. Our girls were so happy to be ranked up with such a great show.
In my classes, I have shown our team's video and then "The Matrix" video and my students have loved it. Rozzie and I got home at 11:00 on Sunday night and were back to school the next morning. All good things end and reality is waiting for us. I'm still smiling!!

Now for an explaination on the title of this blog post and the last one regarding Rozzie's team: The music has the lines "Divas to the runway, please" and "haters bring me fame". Both statements seem to fit the dance, the year, and the response to the costume.

I can't believe this year is over for Rozzie. We have had a lot of fun with it!!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

On the Edge of Art

This weekend was Maddie's turn. As you may or may not know, we switched dance schools this past year. I won't go into the whys and wherefores. However, the new school is much more conveniently located. As a result, I finally allowed Maddie to participate in the competition team. she is thrilled about it and loves to be part of the group. This weekend was their first competition. It was over at UNF (on the other side of Jacksonville). Here we are in our Art's Edge wear, looking very supportive and all that. Maddie was in two dances. The first was a modern piece called "Rise". These are the girls that participated. They did not dance with the flowers. They were awarded a special judges choice award for the dance which is a great compliment. They were rated a "gold" status for the dance which is pretty good (it isn't platinum - but it's not a silver or bronze either).
I thought Maddie looked so pretty in this picture. Her hair is amazing. My hair has never been nice like this.
The second dance was in the "musical theater" category and they danced to "Ease on Down the Road" from "The Wiz". Again, they got a judges choice award for great characters and costumes. They scored a "gold" once again. Maddie is sitting on the floor attending to the Cowardly Lion. (The girls in black are crows) (Sara, with your keen eyes and great understanding of their nature, you might be able to spot some ticks on this picture.)

Maddie had a lot of fun. I enjoyed myself and got some knitting in.