Friday, August 26, 2016

Piano Performances 2016

My 3 piano girls once again made me proud! They worked hard in spite of school work and sports teams to prepare for the recital. Here are some snapshots of a beautiful night! It was our last concert in the atrium of the old campus. That thought was present in my mind as I listened.

The instructor organized a group performance with piano and flute. One very special teacher and friend played along with them. She asked me to take a picture for her mama. Some things never change. Am I right?

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Soccer Tournament 2016: First Time First Place/Back to Blogging/Favorite Spring Memory

I haven't blogged in 2 months! This morning I awoke at 5AM, feeling like getting up at 5 was preferable to going back into a deep sleep from 5-6 (anybody agree?), so I brewed some coffee with the call to prayer as my audio backdrop. And then I thought I'd blog. And I found 4 precious (non-spam) notes telling me someone was praying for me, telling me my blog was missed. And it made my day. I'd like to catch up. The end of school, our campus move, summer was a blur. It was a wonderful mind-dazzling blur, but I just couldn't stop to blog. Now I'm back. I don't want to give this up. My main reasons for blogging are to keep a family record and to give myself an outlet to write and take photos. If you've stayed with me, thank you. I'm back.

Let's get back to my favorite memory of Spring:

Our girls practiced and trained hard for several months leading up to our soccer tournament in April. The back story is that we don't have our own field. So, for years now, they hike through the neighborhood and practice on an abandoned half-sized field. This year, even that field was in the process of being demolished. It involved crawling through a hole in a fence to get inside. We play against teams with their own available regulation-sized fields with lush green grass and all the sponsors and boosters clubs backing them. So, sometimes we feel like we are going up against Goliath. Still, we are grateful to get to play after all the practice.

By a miracle, the Friday games for the girls were scheduled during blocks when I was not teaching. I sat as the lone soccer mom, coffee in hand, screaming my head off. All of my 3 girls got to start the game. There was no place I'd rather be!

After a few games in the two days, we had miraculously worked our way up to the spot to play for 1st or 2nd place.

As we went into the final game, we all stated that, though it seemed a win would elude us, we were so very proud of them for making it this far. The team we were to play against was undefeated. In fact, no one had scored on them the entire tournament. Our game began, and at the half, they were up 2-0.

We comforted ourselves that the girls had worked hard and 2nd place was guaranteed. But then shortly after the 2nd half began, Twinkle kicked a ball that rolled right up to the goal. The opposing goalie had not been scored on the entire tournament. A sweet but fiesty teammate ran right up and tapped the ball in. We had scored. We roared!

Here's the awesome goalie. Here's my girl giving her a run for her money! And then the unthinkable happened. Twinkle kicked a ball to the top right corner of the goal. Just minutes before the end, we had tied it up. The opposing team was mad. The goalie was flustered. We were ecstatic.

The refs put us in a shoot out. Each team got 5 kicks. CC went over to the girls and gave this advice, "We are proud of you no matter what. She may catch it; she may not. Don't try anything fancy. Just kick it between the poles." Our girls lined up. They lined up. One by one we kicked. We got to the end, and I realized Firstborn would be our last kicker. How could the coach do this to me? She plays defense! And then my little baby, who I held for the first time in 1999, who somehow grew up in what seems like a matter of days, kicked that ball right in the goal. And we all froze. Then the boys jumped out of the bleachers and stormed the field.

I realized I was the only one who could click a picture, so I started snapping. We had won the soccer tournament for the first time in our school's 12 year history!

I wish I could say everyone was a good sport after that, but in reality, the other team were very sore losers. They fell on the ground. The parents grew angry and demanded yet another penalty shoot out kick. They initially refused to receive the 2nd place trophy. They said they were the true winners because they were undefeated until this game. It went on and on. Meanwhile, we hugged, cried, and cheered our brave girls.

I'll be telling this story to my grandchildren. It was my favorite memory of the year!

I'm a proud mama!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Seeing Greece Together: The Church of Saint Titus

We just really wanted to be in a church, even briefly, on Easter morning. We didn't have enough time off the ship to find a local fellowship and attend a worship service, but just to be in a House of God was something we desired. We walked until we came to this beautiful place. Just as we walked up, the members were exiting with the priest handing them each a small cake.

This beautiful place was originally from the 2nd Byzantine period. During Ottoman rule, it was converted into a mosque and the bell tower turned into a minaret. It suffered destruction by earthquakes and fire, but as the city's most significant religious monument, it has been restored each time.

After giving the members time to exit, we entered.

And this was by far, my favorite Easten morning picture. CC read the Easter story to us aloud.

And we enjoyed the beautiful colored glass.

Easter 2015

After we boarded again, Sweet Cheeks and I began checking out all the (7 or so?) bars on the boat and seeing if the fruit drinks tasted the same in all of them.

Big Ben quickly learned that he could even order something like a milkshake.

I love my kids. They looked up every conceivable activity on the boat and went to classes. Here Sweet Cheeks is attending an origami class. Firstborn went to embroidery class. Twinkle (of course) went to Greek dancing. No belly dancing!!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Seeing Greece Together: Next Stop Crete

Though Crete has some amazing archeological ruins we could have seen through a tour group, we opted for a slightly slower pace for this beautiful Easter Sunday morning. We enjoyed the all-inclusive breakfast, then de-boarded and took a long walk along the shore.

I can't capture on here the smells and sounds. I wish I could. It was a beautiful little port town with all the busy sights and smells of fishermen up early.

We walked a long harbor to an end point that contained castle ruins.

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