Sunday, 30 April 2017

A Week in Review (April 23-29)

A Week in Review (April 23-29)

Watched: Jack practice his "Cups and Balls" magic trick for his audition for the talent show.  They are only able to take the top 12 acts and so about 2/3 of the kids who tried out won't make the final cut.  He's made big progress in his performance with the practicing. I'll keep my fingers crossed that he doesn't get nervous when performing for other people.

Read: I wasn't really in the reading mood to start the week, so I didn't make a ton of progress on Edgar and Lucy.  I keep seeing great reviews on it so I will keep on keeping on and hope that it draws me in sooner rather than later.  I'm a little over half way, so hopefully next week I'll have a review for you. 

Listened: To several interesting workshops when I attended a conference on Saturday for the PTA.  It was a conference meant to uplift and inspire PTA leaders to go back and leader their local units better. I definitely feel I'll be able to do a couple things for better and will be able to provide minutes more in line with the state level of our PTA would like to see. 

Made: Darling little gifts for the secretaries in my life.  They all are truly blessings to me and they make my life so much easier.  They all seemed to enjoy them and I'm glad that I could make their day a little brighter.

Felt: Glad that I was able to attend Jack's field trip with him to Cave of the Winds.  There was a lot of fun things for the kids to do.  They got to play a Speed Freak game, learn about bats, try their hand at spelunking through a wooden cave, learn about lightening, go gem panning all in addition to their trip through the cave.  The cave was a bit of let down because it just didn't feel as authentic as our experience in Mexico.  I put a few of the photos I took below.

Planned: A dinner and drinks night with some our wrestling friends. Since I was at the convention all day on Saturday, we planned it for next week. It should be a good time and I'm looking forward to it.

Loved: My personal to-do lists are really shrinking and it felt good (but odd) to do a little bit of nothing while Jack was at school. Jack has only a couple of weeks of sports left. I'm not sure what we will do when everything is over.  I'm sure we will fill it up quickly. 

Here are the pics for the week:

Cave of the Winds

Secretary's Day Gift

My birthday gift from brother and sister-in-law.  I have three books in front of it, but I am very excited to be able to read it without waiting in a long hold list!

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

A Week in Review (April 16-22)

A Week in Review (April 16-22)

Watched: Candy Making during a Hammond's Candy factory tour.  It was pretty fascinating to watch them make lollipops by hand.  When they pulled the candy on the machine it was totally memorizing.  We finished up our tour purchasing several things out of their candy shop.  We didn't like the taffy because it tasted too much like the wax paper it was stored in.  The caramels were delicious.  The caramel marshmallow egg was intensely sweet.  Jack purchased a bubble game flavored candy cane and enjoyed it.

Read:  I finished up The Rosie Project.  I didn't enjoy it as much the second time around because I already knew what was going to happen.  It appears that re-reads just don't really do it for me.  Next book I started on reading was Edgar and Lucy.  It's quite a lengthy book and I am only at the beginning. It's quite odd.  It definitely hasn't drawn me in yet.

Listened: Good conversation at my book club.  It is such a diverse mix of women that we always have some interesting conversations.  I got to hear some hilarious bad date stories due to the Rosie Project.  Since I have been with Nick since we were 20, I didn't really have any good stories to share.  It did make me really thankful that I am not in the dating world!

Made: Jack's "elevate-a-word" costume for his school parade on Friday.  He didn't want to do too much, so we came up with the word athletic.  He wore a his basketball jersey, wrestling shorts and head gear, football pads, shin guards, wore his track shoes and sports gloves and carried a baseball.  I was amazed at the number of really creative costumes that students came up with.  I am not sure how the administration is going to pick just one best costume from each grade level.

Felt: Relieved that the yearbook was done.  I spent a lot of time this week taking pictures and building the final pages.  We didn't quite reach the sales goal that I had set for the school, but we are close to breaking even, which is better than the couple hundred that I thought we were going to be under.  Now I just need to calculate which teachers earned sonic drink passes and jeans passes.  Only a couple more hours until we are onto the 2017-2018 yearbook.

Planned: An awesome Easter morning.  Mom and Blas needed to get home to take care of the plants in the green house and so woke up and fun Easter morning.  Jack and I competed in an Easter Egg hunt to see who could find more eggs.  He won by just a few.  It's not easy trying to hunt for eggs that you've hidden.  My mom captured some good pictures of that moment.  We also had delicious caramel rolls for breakfast.  We played some games before they headed out.  We took family pictures and Poppa kept picking on Jack so his face and body language show that.  I tried to give you the best picture below

Loved: Watching Jack play football on Saturday.  Everything really seemed to click this week and he did a phenomenal job of playing Tight End, which his coach uses primarily as an extra blocker on the offensive line.  Our team mom, who also happens to be my friend, caught some great pictures of Jack.  I put just a few of my favorites below.

Here are the pics for the week:


Before the tour


Football Pics

Sunday, 16 April 2017

A Week in Review (April 9-15)

A Week in Review (April 9-15)

Watched: All the Days of our Lives that I got behind on with our vacation and the busy week that followed. I really took advantage of my birthday and didn't do much work that day, so it left plenty of time to try to close that game.

Read: I'm still working on The Rosie Project. I think because I know the outcome I'm not quite as invested in it as I thought I would be.  I really need another book to come off my hold list to inspire to get this one done quicker.  

Listened:  To Jack's wrestling coach recognize for him being an outstanding leader to his teammates. It makes my heart so happy that his name was the one that came to the coaches minds when they thought of someone who shows excellent leadership. I hope the skills he is learning during wrestling and all his sports continue to grow with him throughout his entire life.    

Made: Nick is had to fly for work this week. Sadly, his destination wasn't available from Colorado Springs and we had to make the drive to Denver. Each time I drive through that traffic I think of how grateful I am that we found the Springs as an alternative. I'm sure you would adapt to the traffic, but I just feel my sense tense up every time I drive there. It also made me very glad that Frontier has added several more stops from the Springs. It's such a nicer airport to deal with!

Felt:  So loved on my birthday. The morning started off by Jack presenting me with a homemade card and taking care of all the normal things I do for him in the morning. Then I took a nice long bath before heading off for a short lunch with my friend Katie.  After lunch, I had a massage scheduled. I picked up Jack up from school and we chilled until Nick got home from work. Then they presented me with a clue for a scavenger hunt. Jack was a little upset I got his clues so easily. I'm sure next year they might be tougher.  The boys gave me tickets for us to go see the play Bye Bye Birdie. Next we headed off to football practice.  After football practice we stopped and picked up a cake to celebrate with then it was off to HuHot.  They sent us home with a giant piece of cake. When we pulled up the house I saw another cake waiting for me. My awesome neighbor and friend Kelly thought the boys might forget chocolate so she made sure to get me a cake!  My day also consisted of lots of awesome texts, calls, and Facebook messages.  My mom and step dad got me a new kindle with an awesome case. My brother and his wife got me the newest release from one of my favorite authors, Fredrick Bachman. My friend Mindy scheduled a day to dine out at Tucano's with me on Thursday. A girl just doesn't get much luckier than that!

Planned: On waiting a couple more weeks to find out if we were going to have a new niece or nephew, but Valerie and Angel found out early and decided to share the big news with everyone. Valerie made a cake and then let Macie cut into it. I was sure it was going to be pink, but nope,  it was blue.  We will welcome another nephew to our family in October of 17. 

Loved: That my mom and step dad were able to drive down for Easter weekend. They luckily were able to get here early enough to be able to get Jack from Landsharks practice to football while I was picking Nick up from the airport. After practice we are some pizza and played some cards.  On Saturday, we headed out to Jack's first football game of the season.  Overall it was a good game, but he did make a couple boneheaded plays and coach yelled at him to get off the field towards the end of the game and he could't quite get it back together.  He was pretty upset leaving and so I totally forgot to get a picture with Grandma and Poppa in his uniform.  Luckily, by the time we got home he was doing better.  We played some call-for-your-partner pitch and Jack's favorite Nerf Hide and Seek.  We also cooked an early Easter dinner since Mom and Blas have to leave early-ish on Sunday.  We ended our night with more cards and Nerf hide-and-seek.  

Here are the pics for the week:

Battle Orbz were a hit for our wrestling part

I told him there was a small spatula in the drawer he could cut the cake with.  I couldn't stop laughing when this is what he came up with.

Jack's spring picture

Sunday, 9 April 2017

A Week in Review (April 2-8)

A Week in Review (April 2-8)

Watched: Jack strike it big on a jackpot win at an arcade in Tampa.  He had wanted to play on the one on the boat, but it was just way too overpriced.  So we spent our free afternoon in Tampa walking along the river for a bit, then enjoying a Mexican lunch, followed by the arcade, and then a stop a local brewer before catching the train back to Orlando.  The arcade was a blast full of different games than Chuck E Cheese.  It was also pretty quite on a Monday afternoon, so it felt like we had the place to ourselves.  As long as you bought your tokens in mass quantities the game prices were pretty reasonable too.  

Read:  I was able to finish up The Mountain Between Us on our train ride back from Tampa to Orlando.  I wasn't a huge fan. I thought it was rather predictable. I am sure it will make a good movie. If you are big Nicholas Sparks fan, you should definitely read this one.  Next, I read It Ends With Us.  I put this on my list thinking it was a romance novel. It's not. It's about the cycles of domestic abuse and the trail of pain that it leaves. It was a very quick read that drew me in almost immediately and I was able to read the majority of it on our plane flight home. I think if you haven't lived through domestic violence, this book could give you a picture of what life is accurately like for some victims.  Next, I thought about reading The Chemist, but it just wasn't hitting the spot.  So I started rereading The Rosie Project for my book club this month.

Listened: To the sweet sound of my boys sleeping as I unpacked from our trip,  Even though, not minutes after landing Jack was asking to have friends over since it was a snow day, I think he was really quite exhausted from all the fun we packed in.  He and Nick settled into watch Pirates of the Caribbean.  One of my trips down stairs, I looked over and saw them both sweetly snoring instead of watching the movie.  Jack had to go back to school the next day, but I knew that if he had fallen asleep, he must have really needed the catnap.  I snapped a cute picture of them and went about unpacking.

Made: A full list of everyone Champions of Character gear.  We are having our party this coming Sunday and I wanted it to be easy to distribute.  Every piece of gear has a name written on it and is in the box in alphabetically order.  It will feel good to be able to get all this extra stuff out of my house!  I am excited to see what the kids think of the designs that I came up with too.  Hopefully they enjoy them.  I know that I want to cross this bridge even earlier in the next wrestling year.

Felt: Like we are making big progress with the yearbook.  We created an incentive plan for the teachers to try and some sell some more books so I am crossing my fingers and toes.  I don't want it costing the PTA to put out a yearbook that I have worked so hard for.  I know our school does everything last minute, but this is cutting it way too close!

Planned:  Too many meetings for the first Thursday of the month and back from a vacation. I had a staff meeting, a PTA meeting, Nick had a public meeting, and Jack had football practice.  I am so glad that we have made friends with one of his teammates so that we can help each other out.  She was able to deliver him to me after practice since I had to be at the PTA meeting.  She was also nice enough to take the team's snacks that I had signed up for, but then had to miss since Jack decided to play in the chess tournament instead of the first football game.

Loved: Watching Jack succeed in the District 20 chess tournament.  He wasn't sure he wanted to miss his football game, but decided to he should honor the commitment that he worked towards.  He was honestly hoping that he could do both.  However, we learned that the chess tournament is an all day event.  It is run in a 5 round Swiss style tournament.  This means that each player plays in the round against someone with equal results to them.  So in the third round, all the 2-0's play each other, all the 0-2's play each other, and all the 1-1's play each other.  Points are given for the round in which you win in and also the quality of your previous opponents wins.  It's a pretty complex system.  And given the fact that each round can last up to an hour, it is a pretty major time commitment.  Jack was 3-0 going into the fourth round.  On the way over, he thought that he might win 2 games and seemed good with that.  However, having won three straight, he was feeling like victory might be closer than he had originally thought.  In the fourth round, he was beaten and it really rocked him.  He went into the fifth round knowing he needed a win and he managed to get one.  However, with the complex scoring rules we didn't know where that had left him.  I was sure the two kids playing each other at 4-0 in the final round would have 1st and 2nd, but had no idea if Jack's 4-1 would get him third.  He had a lot of angst waiting for them to announce results because he really wanted that trophy.  I kept trying to remind him that even if he didn't have the trophy he still had a 4-1 record and that was really something to be proud of.  When they called a name of kid for third that wasn't Jack, I felt so bad for him.  However, then they said "In 2nd place from Prairie Hills, Jack Thomas", we were all shocked beyond belief.  He was so thrilled and proud of himself.  I still don't understand exactly how he passed the other 4-1 kid, but it had something to do with their opponents scores and when they each lost in the rounds.  He says that he will most likely miss another football game next year to represent his school again.  

Here are the pics for the week:

Just because it's so easy to forget what day of the week it is on the cruise, they put it on the elevator floor for you. 

One of Jack's favorite games from the arcade in Tampa

Don't worry, they didn't try to grab him...

Just a little bit of Champions of Character Gear

Awaiting his first match

A Week in Review (March 26-April 1)

A Week in Review (March 26-April 1)

Watched: The new live action Beauty and the Beast movie with my friend Katie.  It didn't quite hit the spot like the original did, but I enjoyed and am glad that I went to the theater to see it.  I am so glad that I had another girl to go with because I don't think either of my boys would have enjoyed it very much.  They went to see the new King Kong movie, Skull Island instead.  Jack enjoyed it more than Nick, but they each gave it positive reviews.

Read:  I finished up Maybe in Another Life on Sunday.  I really enjoyed this chic lit book. It was a very quick and easy read that drew me in. If you are looking for affirmation that you can be happy no matter what choices you happen to make this book makes that all seem like a possibility. Definitely a book I would recommend as a fun "beach read". It won't change your life, but you'll enjoy the journey.  Next, I started The Mountain Between Us.  It is clear to me that I was on a chic-lit streak when I put all these books on hold.  With all the traveling I didn't get a chance to finish it, but I know it will be done next week.

Listened: To my text message go off again and again, as they continued to announce delays on our train that was taking us from Orlando to Tampa.  The fare is ridiculously slow, so you can't complain all that much.  We all really enjoyed the ride once the train got there.  If speed isn't a factor in your travel, I recommend taking a least a short trip by train.

Made: It into Orlando so late on Tuesday evening that by the time we made it to our hotel it was actually Wednesday morning.  The luggage took forever to make it off the plane!  I will admit that I was very nervous about us even getting there since they were calling for a lot of snow to hit on Tuesday night and I was afraid it might arrive early.  Luckily there wasn't more than a light dusting and it only effected the plane ride for a few minutes as we drove through the rough weather.

Felt:  So exhilarated to be at Harry Potter World.  Even though we made it in so late, we were at the park in time for early admission.  While heading for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, we stopped off at the Dragon Challenge ride.  We checked Jack's height at the entrance and they said he just barely made it.  However, once we made it onto the ride, they told him he was too short.  He was devastated.  I rode the ride anyway and it was a great one.  Hopefully we will make it back there again, so Jack can experience it. We made it to the Harry Potter ride next.  If you are a Harry Potter fan, I can't describe how awesome this ride was.  Even the wait in line is amazing!  Luckily, Valerie had suggested buying the photo pass and we were able to capture some hilarious photos of us on rides. We were all surprised by the Flight of Hippogriff ride.  It looked to be a "baby" coaster, but it actually had some decent speed on it.  Next we took the fun ride on the Hogwarts Express.  Once over there, it took us a while to find Diagon Alley.  It's quite clever that they don't have the entrance be clearly marked.  We didn't head straight for the Harry Potter ride, but looked around at all sorts of things.  It's all really a sight to see.  While in line for Escape from Gringott's, we tried some pumpkin juice.  Jack didn't like the aftertaste and I thought it was too sweet.  Towards the end of our day we tried the Butter Beer and none of us really like that either.  We are definitely the odd ones out.  We rode plenty of other fun rides and had more great experiences, especially at the Rip Ride Coaster, which was Jack's favorite ride in the park.  At the end of the day, Jack tried to see if he was tall enough for the Hulk ride, which has the same height restrictions as the Dragon Challenge.  At least this time, they told him "no" at the beginning of the line instead of the end.  this really put a damper on the end of his day.  Again I tried it because the line was short, but I didn't like this one.  I hated seeing miss it by less than a 1/4".  So, we decided to ball up his socks, stick them under his heels and he went on the ride.  He loved and was very glad he got to go.  I was feeling too woozy so Nick went on it with him instead of me.  Exhausted, we headed back for the hotel, got a little swimming in, and turned in early-ish.

Planned: On Jack being with us for most of the time while we were at sea on our cruise.  He usually suffers from FOMO (Fear of missing out) when he's not around us, so he tends to hang out with us.  However, the cruise ship had such fun activities for their kid's club that he often chose to spend hours there.  We did allow him to sign himself out and I think knowing that he wasn't stuck there made a big difference in his ability to enjoy it.  We told him we would either find him there, the basketball court, or our room.  It worked out perfectly for all of us.  He learned many new games and was always entertained.  We spent plenty of our evenings watching him shoot hoops with the big kids.  He was almost always at least 6" shorter than any other player on the court, but that didn't stop him from being a crowd favorite.  I suggested to him that he offer up a game of knock out and that caught on quickly.  Everyone seemed to enjoy the game a lot.  Cruising is so amazing that Jack and I are already planning when we can take another one!  (Hint:  It's no where as soon as we'd like.)

Loved: Our time in port.  We docked in Cozumel but took the ferry ride over to Playa del Carmen.  Our excursion was to the Amazing Secret River.  We walked a path in the jungle down to a cave entrance and onto what used to be the bottom of the ocean 2.5 million years ago.  There were amazing stalagmites and stalactites to behold.  The water was freezing though.  Not being warmed by the sun really makes a huge difference.  Luckily they provided wet suits!  They didn't allow us to take our own photography, so we only have the memories in our head.  They attempted to take some pictures, but wetsuit and helmet are not flattering looks.  Plus, I felt the pictures didn't concentrate enough on the background.  It was definitely not like anything I have experienced before.  After lunch, we headed back into the city and down to the beach.  We only had a couple hours before we had to catch our ferry back to our boat.  Luckily, Senor Frogs had tables on the beach so Nick could enjoy a beer and Jack and I could enjoy some time in the ocean.  Nick failed to take any pictures of that because he just doesn't think about capturing the moments like I do.  We tried to snap one as we were waiting for the ferry, but there is a lot of shadows.  Oh well, we have the memories!  We picked up our one souvenir for the trip for Jack.  We haggled for a Mayan Chess set.  Sadly, we didn't leave enough time and we ended up with a set of mismatched pieces, but he loves it and we made it work.  I am sure if you ever see us in person, he will gladly show it to you and offer you a game (or ten).

Here are the pics for the week:







Pictures from Nick's Phone: