Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Change is in the Air

There's a big family announcement coming soon, something we've been keeping under wraps for close to a month now. It's exciting and I can't wait to share it with everyone. Lots of changes in store, but we're ready to take advantage of this opportunity we've been given as a family. Stay tuned...

Friday, March 20, 2015

Hip, Hip Hooray!

Lord have mercy, the 8th grader made high school JV cheerleader tonight. It has been a try-out week filled with anxiety and lots of practice once she arrived home from two hours of work at the high school. Chants, a dance routine, tumbling… it's all part of the cheerocracy. Needless to say, she's over the moon, and one of only two freshman to make the squad. I didn't get a pic of her next to the board with her number on it, mainly because she was bouncing around squealing in delight. So proud of her and her hard work, willing to put herself out there and risk failing for something she really wants. Job well done!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Spring Break in Italy

We returned from our spring break visit to Italy at 3 am - four hours late thanks to some navigation snafu with the 747 which required them to find another ride for us across the pond. We're exhausted, but were unexpectedly upgraded to business class in the cushy reclining seats and actually got some real sleep on the plane.

The villa in Italy was amazing, a place we found on VRBO near Guardea on the border of Tuscany and Umbria. It took the owners seven years to remodel and add on to the property and it was obviously time well spent.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The wonderful world of NHD

In two weeks, the 8th grader and her partner (and best friend) take their national history day (NHD) exhibit to compete in regionals. It has been revised and edited and rearranged. We've chauffeured them to the public and college libraries for research. They've ordered books from Amazon. The exhibit board has required numerous trips to the local DIY and craft stores. The girls have purchased a variety of vintage items from eBay that have arrived from all over the US. And we've bought enough adhesive to wrap Christmas presents for the entire state of Texas for the next decade.

As much as I enjoy history, I wasn't particularly jazzed about this project. But I've really enjoyed watching it take shape and evolve over the course of the past few months. Walt Disney was a wonderful topic for the theme of leadership and legacy. Only the top two winners in their category of group exhibit will move forward to the state contest, so the girls are at the mercy of a rather subjective judging process with a fun topic rather than a more serious one. Disney wasn't awarded a Nobel prize. He didn't cure a horrific disease. And he didn't bring about world peace. But he spent his career doing his level best to entertain folks and make them smile. 

Who can resist Mickey Mouse? Or turn up their nose at Space Mountain? And Dole whips - best theme park treat EVER.

The front of the board is the "meat" of the project where the girls addressed the theme in Mickey's colors. The back of the board pays homage to Disney's groundbreaking classic Snow White, featuring movie pics as well as Disney quotes. 

I better not be seeing any pics of our board on Pinterest… though it was a useful resource when the girls first started brainstorming ideas for this project. Best of luck to our own little historian at competition!


Today the 8th grader wrapped up academic UIL season. It seems she definitely inherited the spelling gene. She placed first in all three meets she attended. She was all excited at the thought of continuing UIL next year in high school, expanding into the writing events since it's something she enjoys. Then it dawned on her she would be competing against upperclassmen. I explained the importance of getting her feet wet at the next level so she'll be a lean, mean UIL machine by the time she's a junior and senior. Here she is posing with me and her best bud Leighton, who also competes in UIL. I'm glad the 8th grader experienced the thrill of winning, but I won't miss the rude 5 am alarm on Saturday morning to get us up and outta the house to catch the big yellow school bus to the competitions at such an ungodly hour.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Travel Plans 2015

Hi, my name is Carrie and I'm a planner. That's my middle name, my mantra, my own little compulsion. Sure, it's still 11 months 'til Christmas 2015, but I already know where we're headed. It will be a Smoky Mountain holiday for the family since I just put down a deposit on a really pretty lodge. 

In other travel news, we'll be heading to a pretty villa near Orvieto, Italy, for spring break in about six weeks. The Italian countryside should be a fun change of pace since we've done many of the major Italian cities. This is an aerial view of the place. In the distance you can just make out a small olive grove on the property. The 8th grader and kids of the couple traveling with us will no doubt have a blast exploring everything.

That just leaves summer. I've put a deposit on a Mekong River cruise through Cambodia and Vietnam for me and the husband, but we're not fully committed. The college coed is thinking about study abroad in Costa Rica and we've never been there. It seems Spain wasn't too appealing since she has already visited a few times. Plus Costa Rica would give her the opportunity to do some scuba diving, an item on her bucket list. What 20-year-old doesn't want to have pretty beach access in a country where she can buy her own wine for 10 weeks this summer? 

So who knows. Maybe we'll end up in Asia. Or maybe Costa Rica. The 8th grader has expressed interest in a Spanish immersion program in Puerto Rico since her best bud from her former school in England is also considering it. We've all been bitten by the travel bug, it seems. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy 2015

Happy New Year! Where oh where did the last year go… and so danged quickly. At this rate, I'll be dead and buried in the blink of an eye if time doesn't slow down a bit.

We braved the cold, drizzly weather to meet up with the husband's family in Lampasas at the ranch. I spent most of the day parked in a chair near the fireplace in the cook house, alternately watching bowl games and reading my Kindle.

The girls had a chance to visit with their cousins and set off a truckload of fireworks well in advance of midnight that no doubt scared the bejesus out of all the various exotic critters at the ranch. Firecracker couple that we are, the husband and I slept through the end of 2014.

No doubt 2015 will be an interesting year for us. The college coed is headed to a large Texas university when the spring semester begins later this month, moving into the sorority house with what will be her first 40ish friends. The 8th grader will (gasp) register for high school next month. I will find out what my teaching fate will be for next year since campuses are in flux. Sixth grade history? Upper elementary special ed? Only the Lord knows at this point where the path will lead.

I wish all of my family and friends a year full of faith and grace, creating lots of wonderful memories with those you hold near and dear.