Friday, August 28, 2015

Starting 4th Grade & Junior High

Monday was the first day of Junior High (6th grade) for Will (Falcons are back in black this year!!!) and of 4th for Annelise (rocking a skirt she sewed herself & her 1st pair of Converse. :-)) I still get 1 more year to walk in with her...

I didn't feel like I wanted to cry at all - not as he scooted down the street by himself, not when I closed the door, not when I walked in with Annelise ...until I walked by Will's former 5th grade teacher on my way out of the elementary school & thought for a split second, "He's not here..." :'( But he's sooo ready for JH!

Annelise's report: everything is awesome. She loves school. It's her happiest place on earth. Nothing new. :-P Oh, except that her switch-class teacher, Mrs. Potts, is obsessed with Erin Condren...and now SHE'S decided she's obsessed, too!!! She spent 2 hours choosing the designer notebook of her dreams yesterday: "beautiful reasons - deluxe notebook" She neeeeeds this, y'all! ;-)

Will's report: it's good. (This is HUGE! School has not been his fave.) He loooves... - wait for it - CHOIR! *insert pealing bells of joy* He's thrilled to have PE every day. He has worked his locker every single time with no problem whatsoever. He already knows what they're doing in PreAP Math this week. (The other elementary that feeds into his JH apparently didn't get as far as his class did. :-P) I told him to enjoy having it easy in there, b/c it's going to get HARD. He said that's WHY he loves math, "b/c it's a challenge." Be still my heart. He loves finally getting to sit wherever he wants with friends for lunch. He's been getting his homework done in Advisory (a little study hall period - he'll have way more homework ahead, but it's nice for this slow first week!) English & Reading (his notoriously least faves) are "fine". Social Studies was the one negative. (NOOOOO! That's *MY* fave!!!) Apparently the teacher is not super sweet and snapped at him twice for forgetting to get a paper on Monday & again on Tuesday. I told him to give her the benefit of the doubt; maybe she's having a rough start this week? (I hope so!) I bet him he surely wasn't going to forget to grab that paper, again, though!!! ;-) And maybe he's due: he's never had a "mean" teacher before in his life! :-P :-D To end the day, in stark contrast, "Science is my FAVORITE! I love the teacher SO MUCH, because she talks like this [very enthusiastically] just like you do, and she's so excited, it makes me excited!" Could I love him more? I think not...

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Last Saturday of Summer

We spent our last Saturday of the summer at Surfside Beach with my sweet cheer friends! This time, we brought a full set up: tent, hammock, & grill to cook out on the beach! We dodged a few sprinkles in the morning and were rewarded with the most gorgeous day...

Me & my friend, Angie:

Will & Addison made up their own watermelon-eating contest on the back of the truck!

All four kids also had a sandcastle-making contest:

And Will found this big hermit crab in the ocean!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Getting Schedules + Meet the Teacher

The kids both had their school previews this week.

Will got his JUNIOR HIGH schedule on Wednesday, the 19th. Junior High, y'all! We walked the path to all his classes and figured out his locker for Monday. He has a cake walk schedule to begin his day: he starts at 7:30 AM with Boy's Choir (all students must have a fine arts elective, & he chose choir! JOY!!!), followed by PE, then Pre-AP Math (his fave subject), Advisory (a little study hall period), and LUNCH! The 2nd half of the day, he has to buckle down: Reading, English, Social Studies, & Pre-AP Science, ending at 2:35 PM.

Working his locker combination caused MUCH initial consternation...but I wouldn't let him leave until he felt confident about it!

What are the chances that out of hundreds of 6th graders, Will's locker is RIGHT BESIDE his buddy, Tyler?!?!

Will is a BEAR for 6th grade! (Although he says he'll always be a Falcon 1st! ;-)) You can't play Junior High sports until 7th grade, so this is his "senior year" in our youth league as a Falcon.

Annelise is now our oldest at our same beloved elementary school. It feels weird to have her be the *only* Blake there! She's thrilled, though: she discovered she has 2 BFFs in her 4th grade class this year at Meet the Teacher Thursday night:

Friday, August 21, 2015

Opening Ceremonies 2015

We held our youth football league's Opening Ceremonies last Saturday, the 15th. It was a HUGE undertaking: we did uniform distribution all that morning, had a big tailgating party in the gigantic stadium parking lot with food trucks, inflatables, live bands, etc., and then we held the actual ceremony and first game at 6 PM.

My Cheer Committee was up past midnight the night before, sorting & packing our cheer unis...but I can't lie: we loved every second of our hang out time! :-D

After distribution, I had to get all 34 cheer squads with over 300 girls lined up in order by division to enter the stadium. (The term "herding cats" comes to mind... ;-)) To be honest, it was actually a lot smoother than I feared! I even got to pop over for a pic with my squad in the line up, before getting back to my VP duties:

It's hard to tell from this pic, but all 300+ girls & 60 coaches entered across the far sideline before spreading across the field for our Hello Cheer and our Opening Ceremonies Dance that we taught everyone at Cheer Camp:

I *sooo* wish I had footage of the performances - a few parents posted grainy close-up videos of just the sliver of the field their squad was on, but I haven't seen where ANYONE got the massive presence of the full field! :'( I need an official cheer photo/videographer!!!!! But to get a tiny idea of how many people were there, this is one section, as we waited for our league-wide aerial photo:

It was a HUGE success, and I ended the night teaching a new squad that had to cheer the opening game a bunch of new cheers and making friends with their coaches. :-D (The Board wanted our team to play, & JB said NO!!! He wants them to EARN playing on that field for the Turf Bowl in November... ;-))

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Will at 11 + Baby DVDs

Will turned 11 two weeks ago on August 6th. Eleven...

When Will was knocked out with strep a few weeks ago (yes, Will, too; he's how *I* got it August 1st :-P) he wanted to pull out some DVDs. We *NEVER* watch DVDs, b/c we have so much DVRed, and we're never just sitting around to watch, anyway; but this rare time, we were. He found his old baby DVDs that I had made of his & Annelise's first years of life. I told him he could try, but I was worried they wouldn't play, anymore, b/c they wouldn't work in the van DVD player... He inserted disc one, I held my breath, ...and there my pregnant-self appeared, painting his nursery!!! Y'all, my heart did somersaults. I couldn't believe these old DVDs still worked!!! I hadn't seen this footage in at least 6 or 7 years... and I can't tell you how THANKFUL I am to have it!!!!! And now to be able to share it with Will & Annelise... To hear their precious baby voices, again... To see their movements... I got Will's actual first steps & first words. (I was quick with that video camera. ;-)) And to think now, it could all be captured instantly & shared via our phones! :-P This was only 11 years ago!!! But pre-iPhone, and pre-camera phone for Will. I stopped making the DVDs around when Will turned 5 and Annelise 3, b/c we got a new camera whose files wouldn't convert, and our desktop computer could barely handle the movie-making process. I started putting all those clips online...but yeah: to have these first few years on DVD is priceless. How could I have forgotten they used to call breakfast cereal "bah-bahtch"? And the way that less-than-2-year-old Will would talk to infant Sissy...

So when bday #11 rolled around a couple weeks later, I was freshly off the emotional mama rollercoaster! :-D

Will at 11: he is sensitive & fiercely loyal. He has deep faith, and he has pride in whatever he's involved with. No one has more team spirit! I love this weird age: he is very independent and trustworthy...but he still *wants* to snuggle with me sometimes. :-)

So ecstatic over his Falcons Fathead wall stickers:

He had a "Nerf War" bday party the afternoon of Sunday, the 9th. I didn't know what a "Nerf War" party would entail, but he came up with what he wanted! We did cake, and then he & his buddies played different Nerf games at the park, (think paintball & capture the flag, but with Nerf :-D) before we all jumped into the pool!

11-year-old Will Q&A:
1. What is your favorite color? Red
2. What is your favorite toy? Tweetsie model train
3. What is your favorite fruit? Mango
4. What is your favorite tv show or movie? Big Brother or Survivor
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Sandwich at school
6. What is your favorite game? Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
7. What is your favorite snack? Cheezits
8. What is your favorite animal? Falcon
9. What is your favorite song? "Uma Thurman" & "Thanks for the Memories" both by Fall Out Boy
10. What is your favorite book? Garfield
11. Who is your best friend? Grayson at school, Jace on football
12. What is your favorite cereal? Trader Joe's Honey Nut O's
13. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Football
14. What is your favorite drink? Milk
15. What is your favorite holiday? Easter for Peepshi
16. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Surrounding myself with every stuffed animal, Nerf guns at the ready, LED light, & loud fan
17. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Trader Joe's Vanilla Greek yogurt
18. What do you want to eat on your birthday? Grimaldi's
19. What do you want to be when you grow up? Football player or game designer
20. Imagine that you can become invisible whenever you wanted to. What are some of the things you would do? Get past everyone to score a TD
21. I am very proud because… I have awesome football skills.
22. If I were President I would… make there only be 5 months allowed to campaign for president - none of this stuff like a year & a half ahead. (Preach, son! :-D)
23. I am afraid to... get shots & blood work. & of snakes.
24. Name one thing you do really well: play football
25. Describe what it means to be a good friend. Be nice, caring, selfless - that's really the core.
26. What is your favorite time of day? 6 PM, when it gets cool outside.
27. Describe your best day ever: going to Tweetsie early
28. Describe your favorite hobby: playing football
29. Climbing trees is… not my thing.
30. I wish there were a law that said… electricity is free.
31. What makes you feel sad? Losing someone in my family
32. What makes you feel happy? Playing football
33. Pretend that you can fly whenever you wanted. Where would you go? Italy
34. If I could choose a different name, I would choose… X-Factor or Bob
35. Where do you want to go on vacation? Atlanta to a Falcons game in their new stadium
36. What is your favorite thing to do with Mom or Dad? Dad - football, Mom - make awesome desserts, like s'mores

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Cheer Camp 2015

Cheer is back in FULL SWING! (Obviously, since I'm MIA online. :-D) Practice began two weeks ago:

I ran Cheer Camp with my Cheer Committee on Saturday, August 8th for all 300+ of our registered cheerleaders!!! We taught them cheer basics (voice projection, warm-ups, arms, jumps, a low stunt), our 2015 Hello Cheer, and our Opening Ceremonies Dance over two separate age group sessions, from 8 AM - 5 PM.

This little Seahawks girl made my day!!! Her mom came up and said, "My daughter is absolutely starstruck!" [Huh? Over whom?] "She could barely concentrate! When she saw you onstage, she flipped out, ran over to me, and said, 'THAT'S THE LADY ON TV!!!!!!' b/c we watch your YouTube cheer channel on our big TV all the time for her to practice." Y'all - I have a groupie!!! :-D She & her BFF asked if they could please take a pic with me. I mean, my heart could barely take it:

My fave pic of my squad:

Silly Falcons:

Sweet Falcons:

Our Cheer Camp school supply drive in conjunction with Operation Backpack was SUCH a success! When my friend, Wendy, went to deliver the haul, she overflowed their holding area!!! These are just a few of the 300+ girls at the end of the day:

My Cheer Committee BFFs & I were WORN OUT...but oh, so pleased!

And then JB & I threw Will's 11th bday party the very next day...

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Life Lessons Making a T-Shirt Quilt

I'm alive!!! I was just knocked out for a full week with strep, (omigosh - I've never had strep! The chills & body aches were horrific!!!) and then cheer actively began (practices, Cheer Camp, & Opening Ceremonies - no longer just planning for those things) so I've had zero online rec time -- so much so, that I even MISSED the start of the Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale yesterday morning!!! :-O If you know me, you know this is MONUMENTAL!!! How could I forget one of my most coveted mornings of the year?!?! Fret not: I remembered 15 minutes before I had to leave to teach Zumba, so I still got a few cute things...and honestly, probably saved myself from buying more I didn't need. (I *HATE* shopping for me. The bi-annual Lilly sales are two mornings ALL YEAR I remotely give a flip about clothes.) I'm trying not to wonder about what I missed the first 2.5 hrs... ;-)

So I'm playing catch up this week with a few rewinds! Today's installment: one New Year's (not-really-a)-resolution realized!!! I MADE MY T-SHIRT BLANKET!!!

How did this happen? The boys went on their annual football team-building overnight camping trip, and I wanted to do something special with Annelise that we wouldn't have time for with the guys around: sewing. BIG sewing. HOURS of sewing.

This entire experience was full of life lessons & personal evaluations...

I just jumped in. I didn't overanalyze - I thought about it on a whim as the boys loaded the truck and asked Annelise, "Want to do this?" Yep. Done. We kept invoking one of our fave quotes from a Joyce Meyer children's DVD: "Do it afraid!" This was a *SUPER HUGE* overwhelming project I'd been afraid to actually attempt for 15 YEARS. What good were those shirts doing another day in my closet? I wasn't ever wearing them. Even if I messed up a little (or a lot!) it was still better to JUST DO IT.

I thought when I *finally* pulled ALLLLLLLL those high school & college shirts out of my closet that it would look like I had donated 1/3 of my wardrobe to the Salvation Army!!! Nope. It looked like NOTHING CHANGED. My jaw dropped. I only had 18 shirts. :-/ In my mind, over the years, I felt like I had 50! It was a big bummer surprise when it came down to actually doing this.

We went out to a delicious girls' dinner and then to the craft store, where I bought my first rotary cutter (AMAZING!!!) and crazy-soft purple minky dot fabric for the backing. I used this website tutorial (out of literally hundreds!) - not because it looked highest quality, but because it looked EASIEST. I'm realistic: this thing isn't going on display anywhere, and I don't have 3 weeks to invest in making it a true showpiece. I wanted to bang this sucker out! :-D

Edges weren't straight. T-shirt fabric is so stretchy that it's hard to accurately measure when you're trying to make multiple squares all the exact same size. Some shirts were an absolute BEAR to sew through, b/c some of the screen printed design ink was so thick, (esp. the metallic gold on my college Odyssey shirt! I thought I was going to scream! ...OK, I *did* scream at that one.) This was *VERY HARD* for my perfectionist-self to be OK with!!!!! But, in front of my daughter, I kept saying out loud to myself: "Just go with it. It's not perfect, and that's OK." By the end, I even believed myself. ;-)

My first square cut with my new rotary cutter! (& it was the infamous Odyssey shirt! :-)

I ended up with 9 squares, b/c I used multiple shirts on a couple squares and ended up hanging 2 back in the closet (...for now. They just wouldn't fit the pattern. I would've needed one more.)

Sewing concentration...

Ta da!!! (Hey, it's good enough... :-P) And every time I see it, I will think: "Just go with it. It's not perfect, and that's OK."

Coming soon: Cheer Camp, Will's 11th bday, & Opening Ceremonies...