Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Sleeping Beauty

The Spring semester flew by! All of us commented that it went faster than any school year, ever before. The kids were involved in so many things. In the Fall, Miss Middler tried out for the school play. She is a natural on stage and landed the role of Aurora in the play Sleeping Beauty. She plays a good doe-eyed princess for sure!

She faithfully learned her lines and practiced her part, and soon the play weekend was here!

I had her pick out a costume and ordered it from Amazon. I loved how it turned out. She wore her hair down, like a sweet princess.

She was set to be our only child in the play, but the director came to me to ask if Big Ben would be willing to play one of the woodland creatures. He happily complied, and CC took charge of creating him an owl costume. He took an old brown sheet and cut it into wings. He pinned it to his black t-shirt. He added knickers that we had in our dress up big (one piece of a costume for Betsy Ross way back when Firstborn was in 5th grade!). Then he created his owl mask from old movie 3D glasses, some paper, and some feathers. We spiked up his hair really high, and he was the cutest owl I've ever seen!

In the play, the woodland creatures all love Princess Aurora. They all presented her gifts when she came to the forest before she met her Prince. The owl had to present her a worm he had coughed up. The gummy worm served as a wonderful prop for each dress rehearsal and for the opening night's performance. But then we got a big rain, and CC noticed the generous supply of actual earthworms around campus. He helped Big Ben preserve a REAL earthworm and surprise his sister with it on stage for her final performance. She stayed in character and recovered well. That's just what little brothers do, right?

All of the characters were so well cast. The play was so fun because the audience was encouraged to participate in reactions. The witch was booed, and the princess was cheered.

One of the sweet gals in the play had an actual spinning wheel from her home in the Netherlands, so they used it on stage.

The original plan for the "wake up kiss" involved one of my ninth graders, the Prince, kissing her hand. I told him...go on and at LEAST kiss her forehead! I'm her mama, and it's ok with me! The kiss worked and she woke out of her deep sleep!

It was a delightful show, and I'm so proud the kids got to do it!

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Basketball Season for Twinkle, Middler, and Me

A highlight of my year, and perhaps a big reason this blog is so behind, is that I was given the wonderful opportunity to be the head coach of both basketball and volleyball for our varsity girls' teams. That meant every Monday-Wednesday-Friday afternoon in the gym from November until May. It also meant wonderful time with two of my girls and the other lovely young ladies on the team. We faithfully practiced to prepare for our big February basketball tournament. Most practices involved LOTS of running, skills clinics, scrimmages, and an ongoing competition. I would divide the girls up in different ways, then give them skill competitions. They had fun working together to build points up against the other squad. What did the winning squad get? A pass on some of the lap running at the end of practice! I did not realize when I set practices up that way all of the benefits that would ensue...teamwork (with different girls on a squad at each practice), confidence in things they might never have tried (like 3 point shots), and fast practices (so they told me!).

Since this is my "Mom Blog," I can brag on my own babies. My girls were unstoppable! I LOVED coaching them and watching their performance on the court. Miss Middler simply knows how to get open and shoot under pressure. I tried to suppress my grin when I heard the other coaches yelling, "I told you to STAY ON HER!!!" when she would slip out from under them, all 5'3" of her, and put up a shot around a much taller girl. She's just the best at rebounds, too. She sticks that bum into them and grabs the ball.

And then there's Twinkle. Her naturally competitive nature, speed, and ball handling skills made her one tough point guard. I had other coaches asking me, "PLEASE tell me she's finally a senior and will be graduating!" Basically, she's a good dribbler, and she's fast. So, I told her in addition to setting up the plays and working the ball in, I wanted her to STEAL. STEAL every ball you can, I told her. And she did. Turnover after turnover frustrated our competition. CC would just say, "And there she goes again...." after she snagged the ball and found her way to a layup.

The season went fast, and we all knew this day was coming. Her last game of her favorite sport. Her last game to play with her sister by her side. Watching her play from age 13 on had come to an end. She fouled out in her last game, which was unusual for her, but she plays so aggressively that some refs start to target her, even when her steals are all ball. She sat on the bench and started to cry that she would have to miss her last few minutes of playing. I walked right up to her and said, "I'm so very proud of you in every way. I know this seems like the end of the world now, but honey, one day you'll tell your grandchildren about how Granny used to steal the ball, and then fouled out in her in last high school game." She smiled and hugged me.

After the last game, we met in the back hall and talked as a team. Most of the girls were crying, not because we lost, but because it was the end. They wanted to tell their captain, Twinkle, how much she meant to them. I think that little powwow was my favorite part of the season. It was completely spontaneous and completely from their sweet hearts, telling each other how much the season had mean to them. It was a special group of girls, and we had bonded as a team.

These are our three seniors who have all provided leadership and a solid Christian testimony to the team.

It had to end, but it sure was fun while it lasted! I'm so glad I got to be a part of it!

Sweet Cheeks on the Court

This year we were able to expand our sports program to include teams for the Middle School. This meant Sweet Cheeks got to play all three sports this year. It was so fun to watch her on the court!

 I didn't get to coach her this year, but I did have fun helping out with the scoreboard and shot clock! And of course I was a very loud cheering mom!!!

I am so proud of my girl. She had a lot of fun, and the ended up with a first place trophy in their Istanbul tournament! She made some new friends by trying something new. That's my girl!

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Christmas 2018

We returned from Prague just in time for Christmas Day. The day began with opening stockings, then our traditional breakfast of egg and sausage casserole, cinnamon rolls, fruit, and cheese grits. We used mugs that we picked up at various Christmas markets for our wassail.

Even if no birthday candles could be found, the cinnamon rolls were lit for Jesus' birthday.

Little Gus (yes, a full fledged member of the family now) was happy to have us back home.

We live in a country that does not really celebrate Christmas. But I can tell you that every Christmas a couple of things happen. I find that I get a little homesick that day, just a little sad about extended family being so far away. But it is also always special. The thoughtfulness of my kids towards us and each other, and the gratefulness they show when opening gifts is a treasure to me. We woke Sweet Cheeks to a guitar rendition of "Away in a Manger" just as we have been doing for our babies every year on Christmas Day. This year she was the only one still asleep.

Some things touched me very deeply. Firstborn bought me a beautiful plaid sweater. Big Ben was handing out wads of his saved money to his sisters. Twinkle painted me tiny watercolor scenes of things that have happened in our family over the years. I mean, I just soak it all in. I am one blessed mama and wife!

It's strange to be blogging about Christmas in July, but even this brings back such good memories of a day that is low stress and simple, with a sweet exchange of gifts and time together. I love our Christmas just like it is.

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