Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day spent in Tuscaloosa

We spent our Memorial Day by stepping upon college football's sacred ground. Yes, you heard me correctly. We visited Tuscaloosa and The University of Alabama campus. Doug thought it would be a nice day to visit T-Town, stop by the Paul "Bear" Bryant Museum, take pictures of the 2009 National Championship trophy along with Mark Ingram's Heisman Trophy.

As we drove down McFarland Blvd towards the museum and stadium, we took witness to the mass destruction from the April 27th EF4 storm that ripped through the city very close to the University Mall. So many businesses and homes were just wiped off the map. Unbelievable!

The temperature stayed in the mid 90s while we were visiting and I believe it. It was so hot and here I thought it would be a good idea to walk from building to building. Ugh! That was so DUMB. By the time we got back to our car, I was one big puddle of water. I wanted to tell Doug to just scoop me up and pour me back in the car. LOL! To top it off, Colton fought sleep all the way there; therefore, he was Mr. Crabbypants just about the entire time. YAY!!! Regardless, I had a great time. We got to go through the museum, walk around the Coleman Coliseum basketball court (Katie thought that was really cool). The gate to the football practice field was open, so we got to see inside it and take a picture or two. We figured the Heisman Trophy would be with the '09 National Championship CoachesTrophy inside the Bryant Museum, nope. Instead, it is located inside the Mal Moore Athletic Building, where Nick Saban's office is located. Doug asked if we could go see it. "Sure" answered one of the clerks. That building was a tomb, so quiet because everyone was gone for the day. Of course, Katie and Colton livened up the place by talking and laughing loudly. One of the employees, laughingly reassured me that it was alright for them to talk loud because no one was there. I was still embarrassed because we couldn't keep them quiet. Colton didn't like the fact that not only was it hot and he was tired, but he had to wear the leash. Yes, I broke out the harness bear with attached leash to keep Colton from running out in the street. He absolutely hates the bear. He expressed his disapproval the whole ENTIRE TIME. You gotta love it!

Items found inside the Paul "Bear" Bryant Museum

2011 Capital One Championship Trophy

Of course, we stopped by the stadium and I took a few pictures. I had Doug stop by the Denny Chimes and my favorite building. I have no clue what's inside this old plantation style home, but isn't it just beautiful. I tried to capture the Magnolia tree blossoms located on the front lawn, but they were pretty high up in the trees. I love a Magnolias, but hate the mess. So, I like going around and enjoying everyone elses. LOL!
Coach Nick Saban's statue erected much later after the 2009 National Championship

The graceful blossom of a beautiful Southern Magnolia

I love this idyllic antebellum plantation.  I can just imagine the Southernbelles with their wide reamed picnic hats to match their huge gowns.  Making their appearance off of the horse drawn carriage to one of many gatherings. 

After riding around, the kids were getting a little hungry and thirsty. While trying to find that perfect spot for a bite, we found a nice restaurant. It's called "Wings" and it's located across the street from the University Mall in a fairly new shopping center. We've never ate here before, but it looked interesting. I think their specialty is pizza because we noticed quite a few people eating it. Plus, they were having a special going on with the pizza - buy one, get the second free. You can't beat that price. Most of the pizzas averaged $18. We tried their Cheeseburger Pizza. It was so good! I've never had pickles on a pizza before, but the salty taste really made it delicious. We ordered Katie and Colton a plain cheese pizza. They both seemed to really love it! Colton is very picky and he ate a slice. Another reason for liking this place, they cater to the kids. Not only do the children receive crayons and coloring sheet, but a small sample container of Fruit Loops, which Colton absolutely loves. They also got to play in raw pizza dough. I love the smell of pizza dough, it's the yeast that smells so good. Yum! Both of the kids tried a taste of the raw dough. Colton seemed to like it because he had a couple bits. Katie asked if it was alright to eat it. Not knowing how their little bodies would react to yeast dough, I told her it was okay just don't eat too much. 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Congratulations Katie!

Eventhough Katie has to go to school one more day next week, we wanted to celebrate her graduating from Kindergarten last night. It was a small affair. Her school doesn't follow in some other school traditions by having a Kindergarten graduation event on school property. We didn't want her to miss out on the reward of accomplishing such a huge task as she did. We received her final report card on Thursday. She has mastered the skill (+ plus) of every single subject listed on her report card. YAY! We are so proud of her and expressed our happiness and congratulations with her last night. My parents, Doug's parents and us all met up here, showered Katie and Colton with gifts and drove to one of Katie's favorite restaurants for supper, Logan's Roadhouse. Katie really enjoyed her special day.
She noticed the Kit Heath jewelry at the store and really liked the slide bracelets.

Charms: strawberry, "K" and her birthstone.  I think she like her gift.

Colton is all about anything John Deere or cars.  He calls any John Deere equipment with their logo a "lawn mower".  If you try to correct him, he will get mad at you and let you know in a very stern voice that it is in fact a "LAWN MOWER".  LOL!

Katie posing.  It's funny, I send her to school with her hair looking nice and she comes home with it all in her face.  I guess it's a good sign that she is having a great time at school. 

G'ma Peggy and Paw-paw Millard gave her some more charms to put on her bracelet

G'ma Jerry and Papa John gave her a travel coloring book kit.  She absolutely loves it!  She's crazy about coloring all the time.

Colton's glad to be here

Katie's all smiles


Friday, May 27, 2011

Katie's Ballet Rehearsal - Raymonda

The Ballet, "Raymonda" will be performed this weekend at WSCC. I would like to encourage you to come and see this performance, if you have a chance.
Katie and her ballet friend, E, pose for me

Yesterday was our last rehearsal before the big recital. YAY! Katie is so excited. In the video above, she is the second to the right. I can see improvements every recital year. Enjoy!

A few sneak peaks of the show . . .

Mrs. A getting all of the little girls in order

Katie practicing her curtsey


Katie Ballet 2011


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Field Day - Part 2

Field Day 2011

Katie Hula Hoop Video

She absolutely LOVES to Hula Hoop, as you can tell. I think she was getting a little tear towards the end of the song. My baby's got some moves. LOL!

Katie and "Cha-Cha Slide"

I thought this was so cute.

Katie had her last rehearsal tonight.  Yay!  We drove in a thunderstorm all the way to the auditorium.  Once we got to the building, the bottom fell out.  The wind was blowing so hard that the rain was blowing in the car, so I had to roll up the windows.  I was so hoping that the storm would die down when it was time to go inside.  Nope!  It never happened.  We had to run for it and I had my hands FULL.  We made anyway.  We looked like drowned rats.  Poor Katie had to go home with sockless tenny shoes because her socks were soaked.  We did good though. 

During rehearsal, I thought our group did excellent.  All the girls knew their parts and did really well.  I'm excited to see the entire ballet after seeing just snippets.  Of course, Katie had a ball.  I had to be the mean momma, calling her down.  She wouldn't stay quiet or still and then I kept catching misusing her vocabulary.  I blame school for her unique language.  Ugh!  The first project on my list is MANNERS 101.  I have a video of today's rehearsal.  I'll try to post it tomorrow. 

I'd like to give a very big . . .


We Love You!


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Month Later

As you may know that it was exactly a month ago today that tornadoes EF4 and EF5 ripped up our precious South. My hometown was one of the survivors from a large EF4 tornado. The scars and battle wounds are still visible, but God has worked his magic among us throughout this whole ordeal. Our community has come together as one. We have been singing His name a little louder and we know as Christians that hell can rain down destroy our possessions, but that's all it is our possessions. We may crawl out from underneath the rubble and we may walk away beat up and exhausted. You know what? Satan can take and destroy our houses, clothes, jewelry, cars, but he still can not have our soul. Praise God from the mountain tops for God is carrying us and kissing our wounds. I am His child and He is my God almighty. It's hard to still hear about mothers and fathers losing their children from the storms. But you know, there is hope.  Those precious little gems are not lost. I believe, they are holding Jesus' hand right now, waiting to see their mommy and daddy one day. I've never been in the parents' shoes, nor do I ever wish to be, but there is HOPE. We know that we will see our loved ones again, just not right now and we will miss them and morn for them. They are in the best hands EVER. Have faith my brothers and sisters in Christ. What I mean about God carrying us is that our community has hope to wipe away our tears, say goodbye to what was and look forward to the future.

A friend that's in our Discipleship Class has lost everything. Her and her family are alright and are temporarily staying with another couple that's in our class as well. Last week, they finished clearing off the rubble and debris to build a new house. To start over after so many many years with your husband. D and her husband are the same age as my oldest sister, Maryann. Their kids are married and are starting a family of their own. To have all the photos, mementos, and so many many memories just gone is a couple minutes. There are so many other similar stories and some that have worse scenarios. I get goosebumps everytime I think about what happened to so many people throughout the South and now the devastation in the North West states (Missouri, Oklahoma, and Kansas to name a few). I can't thank God enough for sparing me and my family from all this pain and suffering.

I believe 20 businesses were wiped out of the downtown area, but they are making a come back. I dropped off a ad to put in our local paper the other day. There were windows and doors with windows all boarded up, but "We're Open" was spray painted on the wood where there was once a door. I had to work my way around through the only available door, damaged areas to the papers advertising section. You see a lot of that around town. There are already plans to rebuild and hopefully get new businesses and attractions to our community. You can basically get around the old part of town pretty good now. I believe there is only one block that still closed because of the extensive damage and possible risk. We are still recovering, but with God in control, we'll be healed.

Just after the tornado hit April 27, 2011

A Month Later . . .


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Many Many Events This Past Weekend

Mrs. M told me today that her Teacher Appreciation gift basket came in handy. Her and her family hit the road Thursday and Friday because her son, Daniel, is the baseball team's pitcher and the team got to go to the playoffs. Unfortunately, our team lost both games. Mrs. M said that everyone enjoyed eating all the snacks on the road.

Katie is still enjoying her play time at school. Thursday was game day at school. Katie took her new "Trouble" board game and she said that the kids really liked playing it in class. Today was "Art Day".  All the students got to paint, color, draw, play with clay or play dough.  Katie brought home 3 creations, I will have to share you at another time.  They turned out so good.  Tomorrow, is "Outside Play Day".  Katie's taking her bean bag toss and horseshoes to play with the group. 

Friday was the big "Field Day". Oh my gosh! It was sooo HOT! The high was suppose to be in the mid 80's, but I think the humdity had to be 90%. I made the mistake of wearing my crop pants, instead of my shorts. Everyone was drenched in sweat. I HATE sweating! The upside to having a wet t-shirt, when the wind blows you have an instant air conditioner. LOL! Sorry, I had to say it eventhough it's probably uncouth to say. I believe the children thought they were in heaven. Coach B had all sorts of activities all over the soccer field. Katie couldn't believe her eyes, 4 inflatables. LOL! She loves those things. In fact, there were 2 bounce houses, 1 giant inflatable slide and 1 catepillar agility inflatable. On one side of the field, Coach B had races (running and sack racing). On the opposite side was the hula hoop contest and all the children learned the Cha-Cha Slide dance. It was so cute to watch them. The racing was precious! All the little kids ran straight to Coach B instead of the finish line. They would all end up in a ball that a few of the kids tripped upon each other. Katie did good. She ended up in the ball with the running. She received 3rd place out of 10 girls in the sack race. She was so excited. I was glad that Coach B gave every runner a ribbon. I'll have to post the hula hoop and Cha-Cha Slide dance videos at another time. It was priceless! I had no idea that Coach B taught the kids this dance or I would have tried to help her practice for Field Day. You'll see in the video that she wasn't dancing all that great. I asked her later, if she was embarrassed because I had the camera on her. "No", she answered. "Why didn't you dance?" I asked. "Because I couldn't really remember what to do." she answered. Later in the day, I think the heat was getting to Katie just a little. She drank her water and ate two ice pops, but she was actually asking me if we could leave yet. She never says that when it comes to school activities. In fact, she's always begging me to stay a little longer. We were both pretty exhausted as soon as we got back home. She hit her bed and I hit the couch for about an hour. Doug wanted to get some lawn mowing done, while Colton was sleeping. Thankfully, Colton slept his usual 2 hours. LOL!
Racing to the finish line

Placed 3rd in the Sack Race

"A" and Katie posing after coming out of the Catepillar

The gang chillin' in the shade.

Hula Hoop

Katie sporting her ribbons

Katie and ballet buddy, "J"

Saturday morning, we spent about 2 hours at the ballet studio for rehearsal. The girls got to wear their costumes and us parents got to watch the rehearsal. This is usually when I like to video tape Katie practicing. Unfortunately, right when I started to record, a group of older dancers stood up in front of stage and none of the parents could see, much less record our little ballerinas rehearsal. THANKS OLDER DANCERS! I'll have one more chance to record during this week's rehearsal at the performance stage before the recital.
Katie turn around so I can take your picture

Waiting to go on stage

We got home from ballet rehearsal just in enough time to get a breather and we headed out again.  Doug wanted to go to our local airport to see the Air Show that was advertised.  I believe the Army helped out a lot with the show because they had an Army helicopter giving rides, two other Army helicopters performing and a jet that was used in the Operation Desert Storm.  You'll have to forgive me, I forgot the name of this jet.   Doug told me, but I was too busy either watching the show or the kids fussing.

It's gettin' a little HOT at this point

Charlie Brown

Sunday afternoon, I attended Jodie's graduation. I still can't believe she's out of high school now. She plans to head to USA next Fall. Bless her heart, I felt so bad for her. She looked like she was crying the entire time. We wish her the best of luck with new adventures.
Congratulations Jodie!

Today, I got a lot of things accomplished that I've been putting off for a few days now. I don't know what it is, but we've been invaded with ants and spiders. I grabbed my good bug spray and commenced to killing those little bad boys. While I was at it, I cleaned up some of Doug's collection of stuff that has collected in our carport. Yay! It looks a little bit better.  

As you know, I've been working on our little Summer School for Katie.  I've got a few science experiments lined up.  I've got her projects lined up as well.  One of the projects, she is read a few books on my list and get a small journal as to what she thought about it and which ones was her favorite.  Since the tornadoes, she seems interested in the weather.  I don't think it's a issue of fear, but curiosity.  So, we will find out why we have the weather that we do; what time of the year each often occurs; experiment making a volcano, find out why warm air needs lots of room, make our own tornado.  Of course, we have to do some fun stuff like making fake snot, find out if oil and water mix, and bath salts.  I might even teach her to forecast the weather for us, we will see.  I hope to make it fun and hands on.  I've got my agenda and fun field trips planned.  We're hoping to make it to The McWane Science Center  this Summer. 

Katie was happy that she didn't have to bring her school books (different reading level books)home. Like any other typical kid, she hates homework. I tell you what though, that hard homework has paid off. Her DIBELS scores came back today. Our little girl is officially ready for the first grade. YAY! Just to remind you as to what DIBELS is, it stands for "Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills".

Katie is suppose to know the following at the beginning of the First Grade Year in August:
  • Letter Naming (37 entering 1st Grade) - Katie scored 65 this month! Letter Naming means: Student recognizes upper and lowercase letters out of order.
  • Phoneme Segmentation (35 entering 1st Grade) - Katie scored 68 this month!  Phoneme Seg. means: Student tells all the sounds heard in spoken words.  For example, mop has 3 sounds . . . m-o-p.
  • Nonsense Words (50 by January entering 1st Grade) - Katie scored 52 this month!  Nonsense Words means: Student blends sounds together that make nonsense words.  For example, p-o-c = poc, k-a-j = kaj, o-t = ot.
We are so proud of our little girl!!!  Eventhough, she will not have a graduation, I'm thinking about having the grandparents and us maybe go out to eat or something special like that.  The other day, Katie and I went to the jewelry store to get a new battery for my watch.  While we were waiting, Katie and I checked out all the beautiful jewelry.  I showed her the children's jewelry section.  They had some sweet slide charm bracelets with initial pieces.  She seemed to really like the bracelet and asked if she could have one with a "K" and two birthstones for her birthday.  I was sort of thinking about getting it for her for graduating Kindergarten.   I may go back and check them out a little better.