Sunday, January 15, 2017

A time to...

As the verse goes, there's a time for everything....   this is my time to brag!!

Veronica came running off the bus several days ago and said she had something to show me.  She dug around in her binder and pulled out this gem:


Holy cow.  4H PRESIDENT???  It wasn't voted on so I'm not sure how it was determined who was president.  Maybe they went by grade point average, and since Veronica is a straight A student, she got it.  Who knows!  She held her first meeting the very next day.  She was nervous.  Everything she had to say was written down and I'm sure the 4H leader gave her direction.  I'm super proud of my smart girl!!

My ValGal was busy the past few days.  Friday night she went to the Winter Formal Dance at school with friends.  We had looked at dresses months ago, and this was the first one she tried on at JC Penny.  It was so sparkly and elegant and I thought it was perfect.  Of course, it was gone when we went back to actually buy a dress, but I found it online somewhere else for half the price!





Thursday night Valerie began her District VII Honor Band adventure.  She had rehearsal Thursday night and all day Friday.  Then rehearsal again for a few hours Saturday morning, and the concert was Saturday afternoon.  It's amazing how much these students accomplish in such a short time.  The concert was a bit long since it was Youth, Junior High, and Senior High bands performing.  They were all amazing though.  Valerie loved being a part of it and has her eye set on getting the 7 year Honor Band award when she is a senior.




All the back and forth was hectic and I was glad to be through it all, or so I thought.  I completely blanked on Parish Honor band.  Since she made District, she's automatically in Parish.  We get to do it all again in a week!!   Welcome to the life of a Band Mom I suppose!!

I don't mind.  I'm so proud of both my girls.  It makes me happy to see them do good things.


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Monday, January 09, 2017

Sink or Swim

This is going to be a crazy week.

Tuesday and Wednesday night is the usual dance class routine.

Thursday begins Valerie's Honor Band adventure.  She has rehearsal Thursday night, then all day Friday from 9:00-5:00.

Right after rehearsal, Friday night at 6:00 is her Winter Formal Dance at school, which is sponsored by her Beta Club.  Val doesn't want to miss it.  We'll be rushing home to get dressed and do hair!

Early Saturday morning it's a few hours more of rehearsal at the auditorium.

Val has a couple hours break, then it's show time.

I was a choir girl, so I never experienced Honor Band.  I was in District Honor Choir and All State Honor Choir.  We'd audition, and after you made it, you got a packet of music to learn that was chosen by the director.  Not everyone passed the audition, so the few of us that did would meet either before school or after school to learn the music.  I could sort of read music, so I'd plunk out the notes on my keyboard at home.  A lot of the songs weren't our usual style, but our choir director made sure we learned it.  She made sure we weren't lost.  Then we had a few days of rehearsal with the whole choir to put it all together.

Valerie got a packet of music a few days after she made Honor Band.  I had to send in a fee and fill out forms.  That's been it though.  There's been no direction or encouragement.  Her band director hasn't mentioned honor band once.  There has been no after school practice or anyone to say, "If you have questions or need help with a piece, let me know."  She's only a second year band student and hasn't quite mastered the higher range notes.  She's been practicing, but I don't think she knows any of it very well.  She's even said she'd "shadow play"  (pretend to play)  the songs if she couldn't play them.   More or less, she was given the sheet music, and whether she learns it or not is up to her.  Info is scarce.  I don't know what the dress code is for the concert or even how much tickets will be.

Maybe it's just me.  Maybe Honor Band is different than choir.  It just seems a bit much to give 11 and 12 year old kids (who aren't that experienced) a stack of music and expect them to learn it all on their own.  Sure, it's good to be challenged every once in a while, but you'd think her band director would make a little effort to ensure her students became familiar with this new music.....    I guess it's sink or swim.


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Friday, January 06, 2017

Cold and dreary day

Hey y'all...  Winter has arrived down in South Louisiana.  It will be held Friday, Saturday, and Sunday this year.   Ha.

Did I say it was cold today?

And rainy?

I went out to start up the car to warm it up before bringing Val to school and it had just started raining.  The headlights were shining into the (cluttered) garage and what did I see?




If you look closely, there's teeny tiny white specks floating around in between the rain.  Sn....  I won't even say it.  You know that sort of thing just DOES NOT happen here.  That's probably the extent of our wintry weather.

Needless to say, I'm staying inside where it's dry and warm today.
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Sunday, January 01, 2017

Well hello ~2017~

Happy New Year and Happy Last Day of Holidailies!!  (I managed to keep up this year - yay!)

Our New Year's Eve was quiet as predicted.  We popped fireworks during breaks in the rain and the kids had a great time.  We lucked out at midnight and it was dry, only to have it storm a few minutes later.  Someone in our neighborhood put on quite the fireworks show, which was nice to watch!  Today it's more rain and we're just hanging out at home.

One thing I plan to do this year is clean up my Facebook.  I stepped way back from posting there long ago. I don't really comment much and I post mainly funny pictures of the cats!!   Nobody needs to know what we eat every day and every time I'm at Wal-mart.  I like FB, I really do.  I like seeing friends' pictures and recipes.  I like answering questions and getting answers.  The complainers, though, have got to go.  The fake people have got to go.  We all have those people that make us want to roll our eyes at every update.  There's a few people who would instantly inbox me every single time I posted something.  It's like they were watching for me to post just so they could message me.  After 100 times, it gets annoying.  It's time to unfriend or unfollow.  I keep my FB friends list very small for a reason.  I know someone who has 1200+ friends and doesn't really know most of them.  I don't need random people seeing what little I do share, so the list will get even smaller.

Other goals for 2017:

- get back to the gym at least 4 days a week
- go back to eating better and eat less carbs
- continue de-cluttering the house
- keep the house better/cleaner
- paint the endless walls and trim in the foyer and living room a new color


On to bigger and better things.



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Saturday, December 31, 2016

~2016~

I can't say 2016 was a bad year, nor was it exceptionally great.  We've had our share of ups and downs, but such is life.  Health wise I am feeling better than years past.  I feel like kids kept me busier than ever.

I remember staying up until midnight on NYE when I was a kid expecting something big to happen.  We'd watch the ball drop at 11 our time, then wait.  There was a KC Hall around the corner, and if my Dad and I stood outside at midnight, you could hear all the noise from the big party held there.  Fireworks were illegal, but there were always a few firecrackers going off somewhere anyway.  It always seemed like those people were having a ball and it made me wonder what I was missing out on.  Finally at 18 (the drinking age was 18 in Louisiana for many years) I got to see what the fuss was about.  It usually wasn't much different than a regular night on the town.  Sometimes it was fun, but a lot of times it was just too hyped.  Still, I remember feeling like I HAD to go out on NYE.  It just seemed so sad and boring to sit at home and I felt like I was going to miss something.

Now I'd rather not go anywhere at all.  Tonight I will ring in 2017 with my little family of four at home. Clint went fireworks shopping yesterday.  We're supposed to get lots and lots of rain over the next few days, so we're hoping for a break in the weather to burn some money in the driveway.  Midnight is not looking dry at all, but it should be dry enough right after dark.  Valerie has requested fried chicken - Popeye's specifically - for our NYE dinner.  I don't have to cook so that's fine by me!

If you are going out, be safe!  Happy New Year's Eve, everyone.

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Friday, December 30, 2016

The no-carb life

Yes, we are "those people."

No rice.

No bread.

No pasta.

And hardest of all - No sugar.

We are 'those people' some of the time.

It's not something you can do forever, but when I'm in the right mind set, I can keep it up for weeks.  The hardest is no sugar.  It works though and you don't realize how eating those things affects you until they are gone from your diet.  I can say I feel so much better with out the carbs.  I feel lighter and have more energy.  It takes about 3 days to get past the cravings, but after that you don't really miss the sugar.  Eating protein makes you feel fuller and less hungry also.

All it takes is one cheat though, and it's like starting all over.  Eat a piece of bread or a couple cookies, and you are starving.  Craving more sugar, more carbs.  Hungry all the time and eating more than you should.

Until I'm ready to begin again.

It's a vicious cycle.

I've been off track for a while now.   The months between Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are hard , especially as much as I like to bake.  It's not Christmas with out cookies and homemade candy.  We've had numerous kinds of cookies, cake, pie, pralines, fudge, and bags of candy laying around for weeks now.  I've had more than my share of junk and I feel it.

January 1 though, it will be back ON.  It's back to the gym and back to eating better.
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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Disney scheming

Once again, we are all set to head on over to Disney World!!   We'll be driving this time since flying has just gotten ridiculously expensive.  Our trip is mostly planned out and I've been waiting for my Fast Pass 60 day window to open to make our ride selections to plan our days.  That was today, so I got up much too early to camp out in front my laptop waiting for 6am.  We're only going to Magic Kingdom and Epcot this trip to maximize our park time. I like Animal Kingdom okay, but Disney Studios doesn't interest us much at this time.

A few weeks ago, Disney threw a big wrench into our plans.  Last year they introduced a new money making scheme:  a ticketed private after hours event at Magic Kingdom.  There were only 3,000 tickets available which is small beans in comparison to the 60,000 guests in Magic Kingdom on an average day.  Can you imagine the Magic Kingdom a ghost town??  I read reviews.  I saw picture after picture from people who attended these events and it was like they were all alone.  No one in sight, or maybe 3-5 people here and there.  All the rides were walk on.  Some were the only people on the ride.  Walk off, walk right back on rides that normally have a 120 minute wait.  Plus "free" ice cream and drinks.  Whoa.

If you need a visual...

THIS:


Turns into THIS:




How much would you pay to spend three hours in a deserted Magic Kingdom??

The day after I bought our park tickets, Disney announced the return After Hours Event for 2017, and they lowered the price.  There's one of these events smack in the middle of the week we are going.  Again, Whoa.

I'm a sucker.  I may have fallen for said scheme and bought four tickets for this three hour private event to the tune of $507.

Disney logic:  My kids are Disney nuts.  It will be Veronica's birthday while we are there.  It's only money and it's probably the only time we'll ever get to experience an empty Magic Kingdom.

I would imagine an empty theme park is a bit.... creepy.  But the Magic Kingdom is one of my most favorite places on earth, so being there with nearly private access to almost the entire park is something I just couldn't pass up.

Our trip is still a while away, but I will be sure to post a detailed update on the after hours event once we're back!!



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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Un-Christmasing

We were up early today for a dentist visit.  The kids, not me.  Veronica was nervous, so I went back with her.  Valerie went by herself, so I really don't know what they told her, if anything.  Veronica has not one, but two small cavities.  Ugh.  We are very diligent with teeth flossing and brushing, but I know it's bound to happen anyway.  She's still doing better than I ever did because by age 10 I had a bunch of filling already!!  She's scheduled to go in Monday afternoon for the fillings, so I hope she handles it well as this will be her first experience with dental work.

I started un-Christmasing the house this afternoon.  I know, it's still Christmas until January 6, but it can be Christmas with out all the clutter around.  My Mom usually started picking up Christmas afternoon and by December 26 not a bit of Christmas was left.  I do like my pretty decorations and it makes me a bit sad to put them away, but the 'stuff' all over can be a little too much.  I packed just about everything away except for the tree, and I'll start on that tomorrow.  There are some people around here who leave their trees up and turn them into Mardi Gras trees.  Nope, not me....

The outside lights will be up for a while longer.  January 1 is our scheduled last day for the light show, but it looks like it may be sooner.  The show just does not run in the rain.  Even light rain trips the GFCI, and we are forecast for a "rain event" over the weekend.  I guess our NYE will be a rain out, so Friday may end up being the last day.  It will take some time to take down the lights and label everything so we know where it goes next year!

How about you?  How long after the holidays do you leave your Christmas stuff up?

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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

It's a major award!

Our local power company has a holiday lighting contest each year.  It's probably a ploy to encourage people to decorate excessively so their bills will go up!  We've been decorating and entering for many, many years.  Every year we'd put up more lights and we'd get the usual consolation prize in the mail - a calendar.  We've suspected it was rigged because the same people win almost every year.  You can't win two years in a row, but family A wins one year, family B the next, then family A again, and B... and so on.  They put up the exact same decorations every year and still win.  The guy that won for our district last year had plenty of lights, but he also had one of those Star Shower things.  A Star Shower won - really??  Clint's theory was that we didn't have anything on the roof (too high) or anything religious (not our style.)

Well, Christmas Eve I was poking around online with my new iPad and what do I find but an article in the paper about another local family who has a big Christmas display.  The article mentions that they were winners of the lighting contest in their district.  The article went on to list the other winners -  and guess who was first on the list?

US!!

The prize is $100 cash.

After all these years of entering we finally put up something worthy of winning.

I felt like the old man on "A Christmas Story."

"It's a major award!  I won it!"

video
 
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Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas Re-cap

Christmas Eve! 

I spent most of Christmas Eve day doing dinner prep.  We usually take the easy road and order a dinner to go, but we decided to cook Christmas dinner this year.  I brined a turkey and made some of the side dishes ahead of time.

Veronica has been sick with a stomach virus since Thursday, and now she had this nasty sounding cough.  Constant cough.  Clint took Veronica to urgent care in the morning, and they said she had a virus that was going around.  By the afternoon we thought she was on the mend since she said she was feeling much better.  Maybe it was the Christmas excitement that made her feel better.

We always have party food on Christmas Eve - finger sandwiches, BBQ meatballs and sausages,  chips and dip, and deviled eggs.  We took pics in front the tree and then it was present opening time!


the aftermath


Everybody was in bed super early. Veronica usually is too excited to sleep, but she said she wasn't going to stay up this year.  I knew something was wrong.   Santa was able to pass before 11pm.  Santa brings the good stuff:




About 1:15, Veronica woke me up and wanted me to go to the bathroom with her.  She peeked into the living room and Santa had passed!  Of course she had to get Val and have a look at their stuff.


It took some convincing but I finally shuffled them back to bed.

Christmas Day

Clint got up first and started on cooking Christmas dinner.  I had just gotten up when I heard Veronica coughing. And coughing.  She said her stomach hurt or maybe she was hungry, she didn't know.  She took about 5 steps down the hall, and ran to the bathroom to throw up.  She barely looked at her Santa stuff again and didn't even ask to open any of it.  She didn't even have interest the laptop she had been pining for. My poor girl spent the whole day laying on the couch, vomiting off and on.  She tried to eat applesauce and it came up.  She'd drink water, and it came up too.  Ugh.  We thought about an ER visit, but who wants to be at the hospital on Christmas Day??   We just let her rest.  I basically cooked Christmas dinner in between tending to her.  By then with so much done already, it was past the point of postponing it.   I felt so bad, but me, Clint, and Valerie had Christmas dinner with out Veronica.

Finally very late in the day Roni was able to keep down some apple sauce, then some Power Aid, then much later some chicken noodle soup!!!   I sat with her in bed and showed her a few things on her new laptop and she was almost her normal happy self.  I sure was happy to see that smile.

I still feel awful that she missed most of Christmas.  She was so excited about Santa and I spent so much time planning, and it was a bust.  Valerie is too old and doesn't seem all that interested in the magic anymore.  For sure we'll have a do-over of Christmas dinner once she is 100% well.  I usually start taking down my inside Christmas decorations on the 26th but this year I'll leave them up for a few more days.
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