Sunday, September 27, 2009

Reunion

Pete & I went to his 20 year high school reunion. 20 years. I told Pete that I wasn't old enough to be at a 20 year reunion. And I can't believe it. Like I can't believe that we have known each other for almost 18 1/2 years. Time flies when you're having fun!

The dinner was held at the county museum in the town where he went to school. It was a step-up from the 10 year reunion. The 10 year was held in a building at the fairgrounds. We dodged the rain, got our name tags {his, complete with his senior pic} and stepped back in time. It was such a fun time for me. I knew no one there - the 3 or 4 people I know that he went to school with weren't there. {And since I was in middle school during his high school years - except his senior year, we didn't meet until 2 years after he graduated, and he didn't keep in touch with many people after high school, there wasn't much chance for me to know many of his old friends.} It took everyone a little while to warm up, but before we knew it, we were yelling at each other trying to talk over all of the chatter - and the 80's music that was playing. People were catching up and reminiscing about old times.

I found myself sitting back and listening to people talk. What else would I do? I did go through the motions of "nice to meet you", but then what's a girl to do? I felt like I was at a high school dance or even in the school cafeteria for lunch. People talking about ball games, partying, dating, hanging out. And it was funny to see people say the obligatory "how are you?"s and then move to their old cliques.

For dinner, we had a barbeque buffet with various cakes for dessert. Nothing too fancy or exciting. At the 10 year reunion, they had heavy hors d'oeuvres. So we've progressed from hors d'oeuvres {that is a pain to spell} to barbeque. I told Pete that at the next reunion, we'll be eating baked chicken...in keeping with the "getting old" thing.

I saw some interesting people that night. We were standing around talking when this one guy came walking by. I kept looking up to find this guy's face - I think he was like 2 feet taller than me. I don't know if I've seen someone that tall before. Pete said he went off to school to play ball. I would have thought basketball, but I was wrong - football.

And then I saw Celine Dion's twin there. She turned out be one of Pete's old friends. Very pretty, very sweet it seemed. Very Celine. There wasn't a Titanic scene for her to break out in song, so I don't know if she has the vocals Celine does, but she probably would do just fine at a Celine dinner theater {like the Elvis place in Pigeon Forge}.

Speaking of twins, and I'm not sure how this would work...but I saw what could be Pete's brother's twin. But having twins 6-7 years apart would be some kind of miracle, so we would ALL know about it. Seriously, this guy looks just like Pete's brother. Bald on top, shaved on the sides; glasses. And I could even see his brother {on rare occasions} wearing what this guy was wearing - shirt, tie, sports coat. It was weird! Even Pete noticed it before I said something to him. He said he looked up and saw him and wondered why his brother was there. Funny!

I had this overwhelming urge to take pictures from the minute I walked into the museum. The building was neat. And there was a somewhat cheesy display set up with hay bales, pom poms and megaphone. There were a couple of other details, but I can't remember now. I felt weird about taking pictures of "strangers" in such an environment. I do take pictures of strangers but they generally don't know I am doing it. And they are not the main subject in my pics. Anyway, I did get the camera out when they were doing a class picture and attempt to get a shot of Pete. The lighting wasn't so good though.


Pete told me that there is already talk of another reunion. 25 years. That is just 5 short years away based on how quickly the last 10 years have gone. I should blow up this picture and try to memorize these people's names off of their name tags. Maybe then I will be a little ahead in a few months - I mean years - when I see them again. In the meantime, I will be digging out my own yearbooks at some point to cram for my own name game {there was a lot of name tag reading}- uh, reunion.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

9 minutes 45 seconds

I have known for 5 years, 2 months and 6 days that you just never know what to expect when you have kids. The surprises never stop. And I had another one today.

A little history....

Sam brought home a flyer last week for a fundraiser. And it was probably the 42nd fundraiser they have had in the month and a half since school started. We've sold coupon books. We're collecting box tops and campbell's labels. We've eaten at local restaurants for school nights. And we're getting ready to do a read-a-thon for the library. This particular fundraiser wasn't for the school. It was for the hospital here - for kids.
I looked at the flyer and decided that we wouldn't participate for a couple of reasons.
1) We're doing lots of fundraisers already.
2) It is a fun run. We generally don't run anywhere
{unless publix, target or getting dinner count (and not counting soccer)}.

Today...

I had no idea that they would talk about it at school {P.E., I'm guessing}. But they did. Yesterday. And again today. Sam got off the bus and said that the fundraiser was today, and he wanted to go. And he asked if I had the form they sent home from school. And my little form for Sam is somewhere in the local landfill.

I quickly got online and googled it. Bingo! I found the form. It was 3:30. Sam's group {preschool & kindergarten} was scheduled to race at 4:00. Grace was still napping, so I had to get her up and ready to go & make the 20-25 minute {at best} drive across town. There was no way we'd be there in time for him to run with his group. They would allow kids to run at a different time, but the kids would not be able to win a trophy if they didn't race with their age group. I told Sam this {and emphasized that he could still get a t-shirt if he finished} as we were leaving to hopefully avoid a nuclear explosion. He talked more about it on our way to the field. He said "it's just a mile. That's all. What's the big deal?" We got there just before the 4:15 race started.



I had absolutely no idea what to expect. Sam hasn't done any kind of organized running. Yeah, he plays soccer, but there's more to that than just running. So the race started, and he was pretty close to the front of the pack. And he stayed there. He kept with it. He'd slow down occasionally, and then he get a burst of energy and move ahead. But I was impressed and proud that he stayed with it.





After he crossed the finish line in 9 minutes 45 seconds, he got a ribbon. And then we got his shirt. He was so tired. And he asked, "why did it have to be so long?"

As we were leaving, we heard them announcing the top 15 for his age group. Had we made it in time, he would have finished in the top 15. Number 15 finished at 9 minutes 48 seconds. I am pretty sure he could have finished #15 if not better. Had he been running with his group, he might have pushed harder. But he did great. He set his mind to doing something and finished.

Monday, September 21, 2009

"He played t-ball on that field"

OK, it wasn't this exact field, but my brother played t-ball at the ball fields where Sam plays soccer. {It was his first time to come & see Sam play and maybe the first time he'd been to the park since he played there. And his wife & kids heard all about it. He must have told them about 30 times as they walked to our field that he played ball there.} For Sam's age group, they divide the outfields into 6 soccer fields.

Sam has been a little off at times lately during soccer. I told him before we left the house that he needed to play good - focus on the game, the ball, etc.

because he had a crowd coming to see him play that day. My mom & step-dad along with my brother, his wife & kids all came. I think we increased the fans for our team by like a 1,000 percent. And being a Saturday in September, everyone showed their team spirit.


I joked that my niece was a ball magnet cause it seemed like any time the ball was kicked out, it was in front of her.



Sam played good - and played hard. He got to play 3 quarters during the game. While he was out during the 3rd quarter, he followed Coach Pete {aka Daddy} around and supported his teammates. And he was so funny to watch because while he was standing {I use that word loosely} there watching the game, he could not be still. He was jumping up & down and kicking his foot. He wanted to be in. there. playing. so. desperately.




During a break in the action, I turned around to the field behind us. There were a few kids from another team jumping in the puddles on the field. I love this shot!


And when Spiderman - I mean Sam
- wasn't watching the game, I caught him climbing the fence.


After the game, Sam & J {who also plays soccer} had a quick game while we got our chairs and got ready to leave.



We headed back to the house for lunch, the football game and my brother's birthday. Happy Birthday bro! And ROLLLLLL TIDE!!!

The Man is Doing Nothing

While we were driving to Starkville, Sam wrote a story. He called out the sentences to us and asked for help with spelling words that he wasn't sure about. His form is still a little messy, but he did a great job!

"The man is doing nothing.
He will be doing something.
Will the dog get the bone?
The cat will get his cat food."

I went to Mississippi...

...and all you got was this really long post that took me a week to put together....


We spent last weekend in Starkville, MS to go to Pete's cousin's wedding {and for Pete to take pictures}. We left Friday afternoon in order to get there in time for the rehearsal & rehearsal dinner that evening. Not only was Pete taking pictures, but Grace was a flower girl in the wedding.

In the interest of time, we traveled the back way to get to Starkville {instead of interstate}. We were about half way there, and Sam had woken up from a nap. And naturally, he needed to go to the bathroom. So, we stopped at this gas station that we have stopped at a few times over the years on our way to Fayette {my grandmother was from Fayette so her family is there}. Pete came back out and said that he felt like he had stepped back in time about 30 years in that store. I agreed that the area we were in definitely was like going back in time. A place where you have to travel as long as an hour - or more - to "get to town". A bathroom stop at a gas station wouldn't be complete without grabbing a drink & a snack - something we haven't done much the last few years since we typically travel with kid snacks. But, we decided to get a snack this time. So the guys came back with candy bars & drinks. For the first time, Sam ate a full size Hershey chocolate candy bar. He has had some candy in small doses, but never a full size bar.


We were back on the road and made it on down to Starkville. We went to rehearsal where it took Grace a while to warm up to everyone. She wasn't sure that she wanted to wear her princess dress and throw flower petals from her basket. We finally decided that she could just hold her cousin's - the ring bearer - hand and walk with him. Just walk down the aisle, please!!!

Grace & her cousins - 2 flower girls & a ring bearer

After rehearsal, we took the kids back to the hotel to stay with some babysitters that Pete's aunt had arranged while we went to the dinner. Another first. The kids hadn't stayed with anyone other than family {or day care/MMO}. Other than the excitement of the fire alarm going off because of a fog machine being used in the lobby restaurant for a party or something, they did pretty good. Then the hard part...trying to settle them at 10:30 - they were still pretty wired. We finally got them settled. And Grace slept with Sam - instead of a portable crib.


The wedding was at 12:30 on Saturday, so we got to the chapel at about 10:00 so Pete could get as many pictures done before the wedding as possible. He was busy! Grace wore her princess dress along with her cousin {the other flower girl} and the bridesmaids.





When the wedding finally started and the wedding party was walking in, Grace was having a fit because some of her flower petals had spilled out of her basket. Not that she was going to throw them, but she would not walk down the aisle without them. And then at the last minute, the bride & groom's rings came loose off of the pillow. So between me trying to gather up flower petals & Pete's uncle trying to re-tie the rings, we were scrambling at the last minute.


Showtime!

The kids made their way down the aisle and did pretty good during the ceremony. Grace did try to chase after Pete at one point when she saw him off to the side taking pictures. I was pleased wit how Grace did especially since going to church on Sunday can sometimes be a disaster. If only she could cooperate like she did at the wedding when we go to church.

A few pictures were done after the wedding, and then we made our way to the reception location. We had great food, a few more pictures & the bride & groom were on their way.

Mr. & Mrs. P

We went back to our hotel for a nap, then headed to Pete's aunt & uncle's house for dinner. Grace was asleep before we got back to the hotel that evening, so I stayed in the room with her while Sam & Pete went swimming. We went to bed a little early - it was a long day.



4 generations - Pete, his mom, his grandfather and Sam & Grace

We left Starkville after breakfast Sunday morning. For a change in scenery {and a decent option for lunch - Fayette & the other small towns along the back way have pretty limited choices}, we decided to come home via the interstate instead of the back roads. And I joked with Pete that after spending so much time on the MSU campus, we might need to go by U of A to get the "germs" off. Sam hadn't been to Tuscaloosa so it was a good chance for him to see the stadium. Pete offered to let Sam & I jump out so I could take his picture. I got a few shots of him in front of the stadium, then we walked towards it and looked at the coaches' statues.


Sam at Bryant Denny Stadium


There might be a little football attitude in that expression?


We got to Bear Bryant's statue, and I was telling him about Bear and how he coached in the 60's, 70's & early 80's. And he was a really popular coach. And won several National Championships. At the end of my spiel, his question was..."well, when did he become a statue?" So then I had to explain that it wasn't really him.



A few raindrops later, we were headed back to the car in hopes of not getting drenched. We continued on to Birmingham to find lunch - at J Alexander's - and then headed on home.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Favorite tunes - young & old

Every once in a while when the kids are with me and when I have had all of the kid movies or music that I can stand, I turn on XM radio. I usually listen to channel 26, formerly known as "Flight 26", now "The Pulse" {I still don't understand the whole XM/Sirius buyout. XM supposedly bought Sirius and Sirius named all the channels. Whatever...}. Anyway, Grace has picked up on a song that has been playing a lot lately. She now has her first non-church, non-kid favorite song. It is "Still Have My Heart" by Caitlin Crosby. She only knows the chorus, of course, but it is so cute to hear her sing it.



Sam found his first favorite song at about the same age back in 2006. He loved "Hey There Delilah" by Plain White T's...."oh, what you to do to me...oh what you to do to me".




Sam seems to have continued his fascination with Plain White T's cause he can belt out the chorus to their new song "1,2,3,4".



I even caught him {and Grace} on video today...



So this trip down memory lane made me wonder what I was singing at 2 1/2 years old. I thought about it, and the earliest stuff I could think of was "Another One Bites The Dust" by Queen {or in my words, "another one rides the bus"} and "Africa" by Toto.






Upon further research, I learned that they were both early 1980's songs and as much as I'd like to be younger, the 2 1/2 year old time frame puts me clear back in 1976/1977. I turned to my trusty friend, Google, and searched for the Top 100 Hits of 1976 {they did keep records back in those days}. You can see the whole list at that link, but I went through the list & paired it down to songs that I know {complete with ranking for the year} - at least somewhat. Some good stuff, but I am not sure that I was singing along with many of them at 2 & 1/2 {maybe Mom might see something on the list that seems familiar? although, she did have a newborn around that time - so maybe not}. It was the day of disco, make-up wearing, dope smoking folks. And you had to be careful cause some of those people even had evil messages when you played their records backwards. I got to know most of these songs when I was older through movies, TV, and even going to various sports events.

2. Don't Go Breaking My Heart , Elton John and Kiki Dee

4. December, 1963 (Oh What A Night!), Four Seasons

5. Play That Funky Music , Wild Cherry

11. Sara Smile , Daryl Hall and John Oates

12. Afternoon Delight , Starland Vocal Band

13. I Write the Songs , Barry Manilow

18. Bohemian Rhapsody , Queen

20. Boogie Fever, Sylvers

21. I'd Really Love to See You Tonight , England Dan and John Ford Coley

23. Love Hurts (Live) , Nazareth

25. Take It to the Limit , Eagles

26. (Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty , K.C. and The Sunshine Band

31. You Should Be Dancing , Bee Gees

32. You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine , Lou Rawls

37. Dream Weaver , Gary Wright

38. Turn the Beat Around , Vicki Sue Robinson

40. All By Myself , Eric Carmen

45. That's the Way (I Like It) , K.C. and The Sunshine Band

50. Show Me the Way , Peter Frampton

51. Dream On , Aerosmith

56. Fooled Around and Fell In Love , Elvin Bishop

63. Shop Around , The Captain and Tennille

70. Evil Woman , Electric Light Orchestra

78. Got To Get You Into My Life, Beatles

81. She's Gone , Daryl Hall and John Oates

82. Still the One , Orleans

83. You're My Best Friend , Queen

85. Slow Ride , Foghat

89. Baby I Love Your Way , Peter Frampton

96. Rock and Roll All Nite , Kiss

97. The Boys Are Back in Town , Thin Lizzy


So do you remember your first favorite song? Or something close? Or even your favorite song from this time period? Like my friend Hillary {who recently took a trip down the musical memory lane}, I may be visiting itunes soon.

Friday, September 11, 2009

An anniversary of sorts...

This time last year, I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to finish getting ready to leave. It was a trip that we had looked forward to for many months. We took the kids to Walt Disney World for the first time.

The trip started off a little rough. We were delayed & didn't get to Orlando until well after midnight. But, after we arrived, it was a week of many magical moments.



Like meeting Mickey for the first time...



Minnie...



Mickey ears desserts at Chef Mickey's...



seeing Cinderella's castle...



riding Buzz Lightyear over and over and over...



hanging out with Daddy...



watching fireworks from in front of the castle...



just being plain "Goofy"...



eating delicious food (this was at Whispering Canyon at Wilderness Lodge)...



attending "Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party" (Sam did have football pants to complete his football player "costume", but he refused to wear them.)...



watching parades, including the Boo to You parade...



meeting Buzz Lightyear...



spending a week in a stroller...poor Grace!!



riding the Barnstormer once or 20 times...



until Sam discovered the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad...



Sam decorated his own cupcake at Garden Grill in Epcot...



got dizzy on the tea cups with Momma...



and watched 2 fireworks shows in one night...including this "special" show they did for a special event.



We had a wonderful time and have already been back once. And we plan to go on a Disney cruise next year. I hope we don't outgrow Disney for a long time.

A year later - this weekend - we're doing something special but in a different way. I'll tell you about that later.

Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Grace Speak


Grace has been cracking me up lately with some of the things she says - sometimes the words themselves, other times just her tone.

Grace Speak vs. People Speak

Spicy cheese vs. slice of cheese

A common "you've already had a snack" or "it's too late for you to have sugar" snack option {really ulitimatum - take it or have nothing} is a slice of Kraft singles cheese. Grace can't quite get out the slice of cheese so she calls it spicy cheese.

Ogrut vs. yogurt

Grace is my yogurt eater. She likes it for breakfast. She will ask to have some Dora ogrut. And she isn't shy when she sees Daddy with his ogrut. They have shared ogrut many a mornings.

Ogrut vs. okra

And she eats okra, but she has been known to call it ogrut. Okra, yogurt...similar I guess?

Some of Grace's other sayings...

"Helllloooo kiddos"

"it's kind of like..."

"It's really hot today" - Grace says this pretty much anytime she walks outside & the sun is in her eyes. It could be 100 or 70...same response.

"That's going to be awesome!"

"Ok, whatever" - This can vary from a casual, it really doesn't matter "ok, whatever" to a long drawn out complete with the look {where does she get that look?} "okkkaaayyy, WHAT-ever"

"Daddy looks like uncle Peter" - cause he is uncle Peter! A couple of our nephews were here recently, & Grace heard them call her Daddy "uncle Peter".

"Uncle Peter was cracking me up this morning
" - again, a result of hearing her cousins call her Daddy "Uncle Peter".

"Let's get out of here, dude!" - Grace came into our room early one morning recently. She laid down with us for a few minutes before she decided she didn't want to rest any more. She said to Pete, "let's get out of here, dude!".

In other breaking news, we recently discovered after Grace begged for some of my bread pudding, that she. does. NOT. like. it.



and she'll pull back just to get away from it.


More to follow, I'm sure...