Sunday, November 10, 2013

Fall, Halloween and Red Ribbon Week

Fall here in Texas is just not the same as my home state of Michigan.  This is the time of year I truly miss Michigan (the state, not the people---I miss them all the time).  Fall in Michigan includes beautiful colored foliage, cider mills and pumpkin patches.  Here in Texas, it's often still really hot in October (it was this year) and the leaves just don't change the same way---it's rather a one tree here, one tree there occurrence, and sometimes they just drop without the color change!  We did try out a local pumpkin patch after some friends said it was "awesome".  When we drove up to find a flat field with pumpkins strewn about, I wasn't impressed.  Add to the fact that it was 99 degrees and we had  a bummer of a "fall" experience.  But we did get pumpkins!

We ran into one of Kendra's besties in the corn maze.  The sheen of sweat on them indicates the heat, right???

We had big plans for these two pumpkins.  Sadly, time got away from us and they were unadorned for Halloween.  :-(  The skinny one was going to be painted and be a candy corn.  The round one was going to have holes drilled into it for a polka-dot effect with a candle.


This year, Kendra decided to trick or treat for canned goods instead of candy.  Actually, she did more than that.  She chose to do this as a value project for her Personal Progress for Young Women in church, and she proposed to her principal that it become a school-wide project.  She met with the principal, who loved the idea, and then it became the first project for the new Leadership Club.  They did posters, went on the announcements, made flyers, and hyped-up the "cans instead of candy" campaign.  She collected 62 food items, and the school had more than 500 items collected for a local food bank. 

The dog throws her off--she looks like Dorothy, but she's actually Wendy Darling from Peter Pan

People in the neighborhood were really kind and supportive to Kendra as she collected cans!
My first costume of the season--I was a "Party Animal" at our church party

Red Ribbon Week always falls on Halloween week-=which makes for a ton of dressing up.  This time was especially exhausting, but also fun!

On Jersey Day, this cutie surprised me by wearing my team!!
Nerd day was fun!

We had a Science Hat Vocabulary Parade and my team decided to be Mad Scientists.  Yep, that's my real hair, all hair-sprayed up and crazy!
Halloween Parties:
This was an odd thing for me---this year Kendra was invited to a Halloween party and I had one, too, on the same night.  It was weird for us to be at our own different parties!!  Just the beginning, I know...

Kendra with two friends at her party--Cookie Monster was the hostess. 

The whole group!  It was a super fun party, according to Kendra!   The mom did a Fear Factor game with them, they got to spray paint on their fence (on butcher paper), there was a trampoline, great food, great decorations, and GREAT kids.

My party--hosted by the Ballards.  They turned their home into Hogwarts.  This is just one stunning example of the extremes to which they went--it was AWESOME.  No stone was left unturned...the details were amazing.  I wish I had brought my good camera (again!). 

On my way to my party---from the feedback I received, I make a pretty awesome Maleficent.  I wonder if my students agree with the "wicked queen" label... ;-)

Fall Choir concert

Last year Kendra got to audition for the top choir at her school--the varsity choir.  She made it, and she really loves it!  She had her first concert on October 17th.  As usual, I was duly impressed with what her director can accomplish in a short 7 weeks!

I think she looks lovely, but she really hates the choir dresses!

I forgot my good camera!  Ugh...iPhone pics in bad lighting. :-(
On a side note, Kendra had the opportunity to audition for all-region choir.  This choir is comprised of 7th and 8th graders from 4 districts locally.  They had a Saturday rehearsal, then had sectionals before and after school for several weeks in preparation.  The audition took most of a Saturday morning (mostly because I volunteered to be the parent-in-attendance and ride the bus to help out the director).  The kids were told they would receive a phone call from their director by 6:00 p.m. if they made it.  Kendra has three close girlfriends in choir and they were anxiously texting each other as the time grew closer.  Kendra was thrilled to receive a call, and she made it!  She placed 9th chair out of around 60 girls who auditioned in her room, and was selected to participate in the "top mixed choir" which is the best-of-the-best.  It was bittersweet, though, as only one of the three close buddies also made it.  She's definitely entered the time in her life where this kind of thing is going to happen a lot, especially since she's in music and theater.  The awesome thing is that her friends are so awesome and supportive of each other.  The all-region choir has an all-day rehearsal coming up next weekend and it will culminate in a concert for parents.  I'm looking forward to it, and I'll bring the good camera!!!

State Fair and Lion King

Our wonderful friends, the Ballards, gifted Kendra with two tickets to see the Broadway musical The Lion King at Dallas Music Hall (for her birthday).  The show was being performed at the same time as the State Fair of Texas, and because the Music Hall is on the edge of the fairgrounds, our tickets allowed free admission to the fair on the day of our performance.  Luckily, our tickets were for a student holiday from school (and I took the professional development day off).  (For the record, this was October 11, 2013)

Years ago, when we came to the fair the first time, this was Kendra's favorite attraction.  It's a mini-farm which is all interactive.  This little apron was huge on her then!

She's rather proud of this pic---she loves that she is WAY too big for the tractor this year!

Me and my friend, Mr. Camel

Our treats of choice:  Dippin' Dots for her, Funnel Cake for me.

We did a super quick change-o in the car and voila!  Ready for Lion King.  It was spectacular!!!

First day of school...yeah, 11 weeks later...

Goodness, this is lame.  I'm blogging about the first day of school, which was August 27th, on November 10th.  Yikes.  Well, at least it'll be here for posterity!  :-)  This year:  Kendra--7th grade, Colleen--4th grade (I must be doing something's my 7th time!)

The RIDICULOUS amount of supplies required for 7th grade.  Not at all sure what they'll do with 300 boxes of markers (2 per kid required--seriously??)

All packed up---she had to schlepp all this in!

Awwww....reminds me of when she was a wee baby.

Lucy doesn't get to go, but she'd like to!

7th grade, baby!  Have to take pics inside--it's pitch dark when we leave in the mornings!
4th grade, again!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Birthday Party #2--Friends and Scavenger Hunt!

Kendra invited three friends over for a pool/scavenger hunt/sleepover party to celebrate her birthday.  I've said it before, but Kendra has a real gift for discernment when it comes to people.  She picks some GREAT friends.  They were loud, they were crazy, but they are such good girls---it was a lot of fun for ME to hang out with them, too!  :-)

The girls arrived around 1:00 and the first item on the agenda was some pool time! 

We were having one of our famous 1,000,000 degree days, so after about an hour we decided that we would move on to the next thing on the party agenda and return to the pool after the sun stopped baking us to a crisp within moments of exposure!

So, the girls showered up and we piled into my car and headed toward the mall!  I had planned a scavenger hunt for the girls.  The clues would lead them to certain stores or mall locations and they had to do something and pose for pictures.  Instead of making gift bags for the girls with useless junk they would just throw away when they got home I gave them each $10 to spend in the mall on anything they wanted.  They LOVED that! 

The clue cards...I tried to use the names of the stores somehow in the clue.

And...they're off!
This clue said to choose a cap for your favorite team and represent!  (For the record, Kendra wanted a Detroit Tigers cap, but they didn't have one!)

This clue said to relax their tired tootsies

This was in Aero where they were supposed to pick something they'd like to have for Back to School.  They all went for a scarf instead!

This clue said to find the sign for the year of Kendra's mom's birth, showing the GAP in our ages.  :-)

The clue told them to try on some lip gloss at Bath & Body and pucker up!

They all had to pick shades with Kendra's favorite color:  Sparkles!

Trying on crazy shoes (they all were DYING to get them off because they HURT!)

The last clue said "Time's up...choose a fun watch and take a pic"

There is a pretty cool photo booth thing in our mall that Kendra has been dying to try for a long time.  I told her to wait until her birthday party because it was kind-of pricey.  But it turns out it was a pretty good deal---for $6 the girls got to take 5 pictures with 5 backgrounds of their choice which were then printed on a sticker sheet, but the best part of the deal is they were then emailed to us!  We entered in all of our email addresses, so each of the girls got a full set of pictures that they can print or use however they want!  They loved it!

C almost dropped Kendra on her head! 
Here are the five pictures sent via email.  SO CUTE!  (the funniest part was that since the booth used a green screen and J wore a green shirt it looked like she did a costume change for each picture! ha!)

After the scavenger hunt we went to a few stores for the girls to spend their $10 cash-ola.  Two of them bought things and two chose to save the money.  Then we headed back to our house for yummy pizza!

Next, the girls gave Kendra the gifts they chose for her.  Background story on the first pic:  Kendra's friend F had asked her via text what she might like for a present.  Kendra didn't really have a good answer, so F said, "Ok, I'll get you some plain black socks, no sparkles!, and a Barney video."  We got  a huge laugh at the time...little did we know that F would be true to her word!!!  :-)
I LOVE how much Kendra is laughing at this! 

Kendra was spoiled by her friends...a cool custom notebook, pens, a neat t-shirt, several earrings and hair bows, nail polish, and fun "nerd" glasses!
A closeup of the back of the tshirt---I couldn't get the pic to turn!

We headed back to the much better without the beating sun!

YUMMY ice cream sundaes!!!  (Love that Lucy is front and center!)

Nail polish fest in the a.m. before parents came to get them
Kendra said she had a total blast with her friends.  Mission accomplished!!!