Saturday, May 28, 2011

My Sincerest Apologies

For all those who are addicted to my blog and have been dying for a new post, here it is. I am sorry for the delay. These past few weeks have been very busy with important things every afternoon and evening. It will all slow down in two weeks (I keep telling myself). To start off, we got our family portraits taken by Jen when she came out to do Morgan's senior pictures. I got them ordered and hung on the wall!! I took the picture at this angle hoping Jen could see the metallic finish on the pictures. We went with that finish because we were at the rail yard. We are so happy with how they turned out!!Maddie was inducted/abducted into the National Junior Honor Society of Green Cove Springs Junior High School. She was rather proud of this accomplishment and they had a very nice ceremony with candles and all that stuff!! Here she is, a proud member of the NJHS. Next was Morgan's senior awards. This is a very nice evening other than the fact that we don't have an auditorium and it was about 85 degrees in the cafeteria. The administration does a nice job to make it a special deal for these kids. Each senior (receiving an award) has a slide with their picture, a list of their accomplishments, and (if known) where they are going to school. Morgan's slide states that she received the Principal's Scholar Award (3.75 GPA), the Eagle Pride Award, and AP Scholar Award. It also lists that she is attending Brigham Young University. She is pictured here with Mr. Ward, our principal. The next evening was Morgan's Band Banquet. That was a fun night, sprinkled with a few tears. As you know, band has been Morgan's home at high school. She has loved it with all her heart. She has looked forward to her senior banquet for 4 years, anticipating her 4-year plaque. She was also awarded one of 3 "Best Attitude" awards which was a great honor. It was so nice for her instructors to recognize Morgan's love for the organization. Morgan is so thrilled that her marching band experience is not ending, just progressing, as she was accepted into the Power of the Wasatch, BYU's marching band. We already have our plane tickets to go out for homecoming!! This past week was my senior barbecue. Four years ago, I asked my department head if I could have a little barbecue for my seniors to celebrate their accomplishments. Most of them don't receive the senior awards at the fancy ceremony; however they have put forth great effort to get to the finish line. So the senior barbecue was born. Over the past 4 years it has grown tremendously. WalMart donates time and food. The local corporate people come with with all the food and drinks AND they grill it and serve it. This year, Golden Corral also donated macaroni and cheese, cookies, and cupcakes. And let's not forget my dear Travis who takes a day off and makes funnel cakes for the kids. Last year, one of my students wanted to play flag football every week. I finally told him that we might be able to play a game at the barbecue. I was a bit nervous about flag football, though, and suggested kickball. The administration said ok, and the kickball game was held. As I said, this whole thing has continued to grow each year and this year, it was no different. The kickball game grew to having 4 teams with an actual playoff. we have a 10th grader who is a little league umpire and he dressed up to call the games. We had team colors and decorated tshirts. We have a 1st place and 2nd place trophy. It was, as expected, the best day of the year. The kids ask about it weekly and were so excited for the big day. This year, Morgan was a senior and she was allowed to play in the game. I like this action shot of her. The ball is hovering in the air, Morgan is running, and the infield is running for the ball.When the day was over, my team was victorious and I now have the trophy in my room for a 2nd year!! This is the group picture. It was in the high 90's, but the game went on! Right after kickball was Morgan's last violin lesson. She has been playing for 15 years and has had Kyle as her teacher for 11 of those years. He was just home from college when we started with him. He went to school at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. We moved from Cincinnati the same week he came back home. At our first lesson, Morgan wasn't so sure about him until he mentioned having gone to King's Island (amusement park) the weekend before he came home, which turned out to be the same day we had been at King's Island. She was sold!! I kept my emotions in check until we got in the car and Morgan mentioned getting choked up playing one of their favorites, "Ashokan Farewell". Then I cried. Kyle has been much, much more than a violin teacher. Then there was Maddie's band concert. They played many recognizable songs and Maddie was so excited for this evening. The bands are small. Band doesn't begin until 7th grade here. I feel that and earlier start brings in more interest, and by 7th grade many are lost. The kids have to take so many other classes, too, that there just isn't time for band. But these kids worked hard to learn the instruments this year and did a great job. Both the 7th and 8th grade bands combined to play 4 songs at the end of the concert. Maddie said those were the hardest songs. She agreed that playing hard songs makes one a better. If you are having trouble locating Maddie, she is the 2nd trumpeter from the left. We discussed how good these kids become very quickly once they reach high school.

These are Maddie's good band friends, Kelly and Taylor.And last, but not least, we have a new kitten, Patrick. Here is Licky and Patrick. Patrick is interested in Licky. However, if this picture had sound, it would be a low rumble. Patrick is a very fun little kitten with very sharp claws.
This next week brings Rozzie's freshman awards - it isn't fancy like the senior awards, but she is receiving something anyway. I have been suffering from a cold. I haven't been sick in ages and this is not fun. My ears feel like there are balloons inside them. I have even taken to using a neti pot and it really helps!! I never thought I'd be able to do it, but I didn't drown myself. Maddie was even brave enough to try it. Friday night is the big night. Stay tuned!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

My Moms

A dear friend did a post today recognizing the strong women in her family. She is one for whom I have great respect. She had some great stories and it is evident in these stories, why she is such a wonderful person. I, too, have been blessed by some great women in my life. I thought I'd just mention my grandmothers and mothers.

My grandmother, Ruth Presler Talberg was a formidable woman who could wield a fly-swatter with accuracy and agility. She moved around a little bit in her youth, but then her father moved the family to central Minnesota. Her mother had left the family and her father raised the three children on his own. I didn't learn that she spoke German until she went to school until her funeral. My mom said that Grandma and Aunt Minnie would speak in German when they didn't want the kids to know what they were talking about. Grandma had 7 children and 40-something grand-children. My memories are of food, lots of food, from the garden that Grandma & Grandpa tended. Grandma was always canning and freezing. When we went to visit, we would shell peas, scrub cucumbers, shuck corn, etc. She would give us a dime to go to the Foley pool and then come and wave at us through the fence. She had a lot of friends - people dropped in at the house all the time. Grandma always had food to share with anyone that dropped by. She taught piano lessons and played the organ at church.
My grandmother, Isabelle Ritchie Hawley, was born in Scotland, and her family emigrated to California when she was three. She had 5 children and 24 grandchildren. We would go out to visit Grandma and Grandpa every summer and would stay for near a month. She would get us McDonalds and gum. She would take us to movies. She was always so kind and loving to us. We loved our summers in California. I have fond memories of the smell of the dishwasher in their house in Simi Valley. She kept all her daughters' dance costumes for us to use as dress-ups. Later on, she lived in Northern California on a 10-acre walnut orchard. We found it so exciting. She has always had such a strong testimony of the Gospel. Just last weekend, my grandparents celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. My mother-in-law, Barbara Graham Smith, is a woman of faith. She has always understood the Minnesotan in me. She has 6 children and 25 grand-children. She is a hard worker and is never afraid of doing the hard things. I have seen so many friends struggle with their mother-in-laws, but I have been so fortunate to always have a great relationship with Barbara. I know she counts me as one of her children. On of my fondest memories is of a time when Mom and Dad were on their way to Madeline Island and they stopped at our house. It was suggested that I pack up Morgie and Rozzie and go along for a week's vacation. I packed up and the next morning we rolled out. I had a most wonderful time with my in-laws. I am forever grateful for that level of comfortability with them. My own mom is Katherine Talberg Olsen. She was raised in Foley, Minnesota. She joined the church when she was a college student at Macalester College in St. Paul. I have always been impressed that she accepted the Gospel as a college student. She has remained active to this date. She raised 5 children on her own. She was a substitute teacher, a piano teacher, and an envelope addresser. She worked round the clock, and I don't believe we were the most grateful of children. Don't worry, we have already apologized. She has a bunch of grand-children; some of them by blood and many by marriage. They call her Grandma, too. She has played the organ at church for many years, (just like her mother) and has passed that gene on to my sister, Sara. She works at the temple. She belongs to multiple book groups. I love her very much for all she has done for me and for being a great example. On time when I was the smartest teenager ever, I told her that I was going to raise my kids the "right" way. Well, I ended up following her example and have done it the "right" way!!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

All Dressed Up with SO Many Places to GO!!

Morgan's last band concert was last week - well, both of them. They had a real concert. I told Morgan that I was allowed to take any pictures I wanted. She cooperated at one point and waved. Her little face is in the center and she is even waving, acting like she is happy I'm taking her picture.
Later in the week, the band travelled to Tallahassee for their state MPA (music performance assessment) where they scored straight superiors. Mrs. Rys cried - she has never gotten that before. Needless to say, Morgan's senior band experience was rather exceptional.

Yesterday (Saturday) was a busy one for me. I went on the pre-hike hike. Next week is the hike for Girl's Camp, but I'll be doing ACT testing. Maddie has a band trip to Orlando, so we went on the Leader's pre-hike hike. It was 5 miles in the wilderness of Florida (luckily a shady wilderness). We had a nice time and Maddie accomplished that task for her Level 2 Camp Certification.

Later in the afternoon, Maddie had a dance expo in Jacksonville. It was national dance week and so there was a little showcase that our studio participated in. The girls have a good time together. It wasn't too hot, either, so that made it real nice. Maddie went home with her teacher and Travis and I stayed downtown.

We went to his office. (Maddie's performance was only 2 blocks from his office.) We had our gear in the car so we could get ready for .... PROM NIGHT!! The theme was "Masquerade" which made for fun table decorations. It is a fun time to mingle with the teachers:

I love seeing my students. I think this year was the best prom yet. There didn't seem to be the baseness that was so apparent 4 years ago. Mostly, I enjoy seeing my students all dressed up and looking their best. I take pictures and put them on display in my classroom. When I asked for pictures with one group of students and said it was for the "shelf of fame," Terra exclaimed, "I've been hoping to get on there!!" I put those pictures on my facebook page.

Here I am with McCall. We have known this family for a long time. Both McCall and Morgan are graduating. Sad note here, Morgan didn't really want to go to Prom, so no pictures with my own daughter. I'm a little sad about it.

And here I am with my date. He couldn't go last year, so it was nice to have him along. He was great about taking pictures and just hanging out. I do a lot of socializing and he is there to drive me there and back safely. The Prom is at the football stadium and there was an arena game there last night and it was really busy. Glad to have him along for that - and for the company.

I feel like I've been hit by a truck today. It is time for me to rest a bit. Rozzie had dance team tryouts on Friday and made the Golden Girl Dance Team for her sophomore year. Yay!! More next week, I'm sure...