Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

"For unto us a Child is born; unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" Isaiah 9:6

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Turning the Page

It's the end of another season and I don't mean fall (although some mornings it feels like Old Man Winter might be sticking his foot in the door!). I mean we are transitioning into another stage of 2010, the final stage of 2010.

We are putting the Halloween costumes in the dress up box, packing up the pumpkins and yes, hanging up the football cleats (yes, sadly - our season ended yesterday but truly this deserves a post all its own). In their places, we are planning our Thanksgiving Day menu, pulling out the evergreen garland and brushing the dust off of our basketball high tops.
As my friend Christy says, it always seems that just when we get a little weary of the sights and sounds of daily routine, things change and we get a fresh new set of activities and things to look forward to. That time is surely here and I''m happy to usher it in, I just can't for the life of me believe how quickly the time passes.
Before we completely turn the page, here's a look back at lots of very busy fun...
I asked Lilly's teacher if I could come in and do caramel apples with her class -- her teacher loved the idea so we did it. I had moments of "What was I thinking?" but it turned out to be so much fun. The kids loved it. I had fun too.
Caramel Apple Day with KC -- a picture of Lilly with her first "crush"....Tony.....he is absolutely as sweet as he looks in this picture.

Lilly's turn with her apple....

Beautiful Creations --

Winston's first carry on a kick-off return. He got taken down by a vicious face-mask tackle shortly after this picture was taken but a great effort by #44.

Winston and his buddy Griffin - their teams played each other. On the field, they were formidable opponents but afterwards, friends again!

My Future Foxes at the Swamp....great annual night at the high school we are zoned for...a family night of fun and football. It doesn't get much better than a Friday Night high school football game!

Lilly with our principal, the incomparable Rene Harris. I can't even put into the words the treasure she is to our students and our school. We are so blessed.

Winston flanked by 2 of his best, most prized friends. One is exactly like him, the other is polar opposite....but my goodness how he loves these two boys.

Kindergartners ready to take the field. Love that smile on my girls' face.

I have absolutely NO skills in the area of pastry bags and frosting, but I did manage to make some pig cookies that actually looked like PIGS!! These were for Lilly's farm week at school. Loved them!!

Love our newest addition to the Halloween decoration inventory! Thanks Holly!

Our fall festival at Beech Hill was the best ever, if I do say so myself!! It's always a ton of work but so much fun for our students. I love this picture -- Lilly breaking it down with Miss Maddie and Mrs. Lois -- 2 of our custodial gems at school. This one just might make the yearbook!

Our flapper and Braves baseball player for Halloween 2010. Winston's costumes are always pretty easy to assemble and Lilly won 3rd place in the Costume Contest at the Trunk or Treat at church. It was a super cute costume! This was taken on Storybook Character Day at School.

And sweet Lilly Lou begins her first year with Basketball. She's one of very few girls playing but she isn't the least bit phased by that -- having a big brother helps!! Looking forward to watching her play and have fun!

And in a moment I am very proud of - I managed to plan and execute a successful SURPRISE party for 2 of my good friends with fall birthdays. This was in the works for many weeks and it took much coordination but it came together perfectly. Here's a picture of Kellie as she arrives to see a dining room full of her friends. Shayne was surprised too but I didn't have my camera ready for that one. YAY!! I love it when a plan comes together!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sack That Quarterback....Sack that Quarterback

The last 9 weeks have been a blur...a fun blur filled with school, football, PTA and fall happenings. Somethings I wonder if blogging is my thing....I love the notion of having our family life journaled and how helpful this might be someday when I dust off my cropping tools but a post every 6 weeks isn't exactly the point. We'll see...

For now, our wirey #44 has continued to make some great plays this Raider season - several first down runs as Running Back, quite a few forced fumbles and kick off team returns. All great stuff - our final regular season was this past Thursday - it was another stout showing by a pretty good Raider Team. We won pretty handily and head to our first playoff game next Saturday. Things could get dicey from here on out but no doubt, we've had great fun with some great players and great coaches. Win or lose, we coudn't be more proud of #44....he gives it everything he's got.

Great sack by our boy...check it out....

Sunday, October 3, 2010

It's not how big you are, it's how big you play

Truer words have never been spoken about our little Bantam Raider.

That's him in the picture open field tackle on the quarterback by a small but very skilled #44. On this play, Winston broke through the line and chased down the Redskin QB for a sack. If you'll click on the picture for a closer look, you'll see he is completely air-borne....he needed some extra height to get the he leaped for it. You better believe this picture's a treasure in our house!

We are 3 games into our 2nd season of tackle football and while Winston would tell you first and foremost, his team is currently undefeated and one win away from a playoff berth, his very proud Mama would tell you that already on more than one occasion he has shown his signature sheer will to "get it done" regardless of his challenges.

The fact is Winston is small in stature. Playing for the 2nd year in this division, he's still one of the 2 smallest players on the team. He weighs 50 pounds on a good day. To give you some perspective, we have a player on the team who weighs in at 172 pounds and this my friends, is NOT an exaggeration. It's on the roster - he was weighed by football "officials" on draft day. That's over 3 times Winston's weight. You can imagine my concern as his Mom, the potential for injury to Winston playing tackle football in a sea of enormous boys. Because Joe is a coach and goes with Winston to practice, I am not up against that "potential" day in and day out at practice but I do see the collisions on game days...and wow, sometimes they are a bit too much for me.
Do you see the size of those brutes coming at my boy?? Thank goodness small also means agile and quick...he can usually outrun the beasts heading straight for him.

Sometimes I watch through my fingers covering my eyes but ALWAYS I say a prayer for his safety on the way to the game and I follow that with a prayer of praise when I am delivering my boy home after a safe night on the football field.

We are a football family through and through - if there is a football game on, it's on our TV and at least three (poor Lilly) of us are watching and discussing. I cheer for those hard hits on the tube.....but I cringe when it's my boy!!!
I cringe you see - my boy's helmet is the first in the lineup there...that's his nature, he's usually the first in position and the first to cross the line when the play starts...he loves to be in the thick of things and make something happen.
And when he makes it happen, he's the first to run off the field all puffed up and proud about what he and his team accomplished.

So I digress....back to my point....

#44 is small but let me tell you this - he's not small in heart or in confidence or in his ability. He's had some huge plays this year, averaging almost one big play a game - plays that get your attention and everyone else's too....even the referees have commented on Winston's abilities despite his size. He's been carried off the field by his Coach twice after game-clinching saves for his team -- Joe and I have been brought close to tears watching him receive the praise and accolades from his teammates and his Coaches. When people ask if I am #44's Mom, I proudly say "YES, I am"...a few times it's been followed by a comment like "That boy leaves it all on the field" or "He plays with heart".....truth be told, a win is great but I'll take perseverance and will over wins and loses any day.

So you don't think we might be disillusioned....we are definitely not idealistic about Winston's football career -- he's smart, fast and is naturally athletic but we aren't waiting by the phone for football scouts. We are simply enjoying this season in life, watching him have great fun in a sport he loves.
The rewards are great for us all
For Winston - it's the fun on the field and OF COURSE getting a big win
For Joe and I - it's the frequent glimpses of hard work, determination and spirit of our small but oh so BIG boy.

Winston's latest celebration -- he was carried off the field by his Coach....after he forced a fumble on the final play of the game against a very stout Vikings Team. (and if you're keeping track, it's the ONLY time I'll cheer against the boys in purple and gold!)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

B for Busy.....

Busy with all the happenings in our little corner of the world.

What a vicious cycle...I blog regularly and then takes on a new and faster pace and time for anything other than "survival mode" as I call it. (I think I just used 2 sound effects in one sentence, that's a first!) There are spans of time when all I can do is make sure we have clean underwear and homework is finished.

Lately we've had piles of PTA Membership cards covering the majority of flat surfaces here at home, we've lived without milk for days at a time and we've reached into the dirty clothes basket more than once to pull out nasty (and I do mean NASTY) football practice clothes for Winston to put back on to head to practice.

I enjoy all the busy but I don't enjoy all the clutter and chaos that ensues when the busy takes over...something always gets pushed to the side and then the piles form and when the piles take over, Mama starts to twitch.

Between PTA, football, school, Sunday School and more PTA (yes it has earned 2 spots on the list these day- I really need to do a PTA blog post just for my own recollection of the madness when I'm 80 years old and can't remember), the month of September was a blur. At one point last week I had 200 emails sitting in my Inbox....and yes if you are still keeping track, I am a stay at home Mom with 200 emails. Crazy.

So..after some effort and planning.....the house is in relative order, our Bantam Raiders are sitting pretty with a 3-0 record (can't say the same for my beloved Vikings),489 PTA cards have been distributed, 200 parents have been trained properly to volunteer at our school, the dining room is not loaded down with stuff and my inbox only has 59 items....slowly, ever so slowly....the's starting to subside....

Just in time for the holiday season!

Amidst the twitching...we had some fun's a peak.....

Lilly enjoyed her first 5 girl trip without her Mama - she went to Auntie and Unc Unc's for a few days and had all kinds of fun. She even snuck in a trip to see Grammy and Granddaddy. She had a great time with lots of people who love her to pieces.
Spirit Day at School - I still can't believe our children are both in elementary school!

I love watching my Kindergarten Lilly in her element at school - being Room Mom has its perks!! As for kindergarten, she loves it, loves her teachers and after our first parent/teacher conference, we feel ever so good about how she's doing so far.

Winston has shown his stuff in his college football prognosticating (is that a word?, it is now). He is pretty well versed in all things football and college football might be his specialty. He is lending his expertise each week as he helps his Unc Unc with a College Pick-em Contest at Unc Unc's office. So far so good - Winston has gotten 7 and 8 out of 10 consistently each week so far...not bad for an 8 year old!!

A weekly conference to review his picks.....

We've had some fun with The Sparrows...dinner, sleepovers for the boys and front yard football. They are GA-bound come spring-time so we are taking in as much of them as we can before the moving truck arrives and they start their new adventures in the land of peaches and peanuts. The up side - there are some GA trips planned and some Braves games thrown in for good measure.

Huddling Up for a play against the Daddies...

We spent a lovely Sunday at Cypress was nice way to spend a late summer morning. We arrived before the heat did and snuck in a boat ride before it got too hot. The attempts to get a nice brother/sister picture were futile....what can I say, I am a glutton for punishment...

So peaceful in the swamp.....

Until we had to row past this guy....Winston was freaking out but this gator never opened an eye...he was snoooozing.....but yes, Winston will tell you we were VERY close to this little fellow.

The boys flirted with the Macaw in her cage...she did all sorts of tricks to keep their attention. I love this picture of my favorite boys....

And my goodness, this beauty of mine - she does take my breath away sometimes. That scrunchy it.
We are back in the full swing of pigskin for the boy....season is going very well....a post all his own is coming for sure....
We've had some sleep-in-curlers nights recently and Daddy is always the one with the comb and the foam curlers....he does a much better job than I do. I hope she'll always remember that her Daddy curled her hair.
And Winston....and his House of cards....we've spent a small fortune on those suckers...or at least HE has....thank goodness for all the Dick's and Target gift cards that arrived for his birthday.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Good Day to be a Gamecock Fan

A week ago, Winston got to take a ride with The Plylers to the land of garnet and black. It was Gamecock Fan Appreciation Day in Columbia and as it turned out, Winston and Hampton garnered quite a lot of attention and enjoyed a big day together.

They each chose these crazy garnet wigs as their special treat for the day - they wore them proudly to the event and got the attention of many....including Coach Spurrier! This picture cracks me up - Spurrier is grinning at
those two and their crazy hair!

They went as part of an early birthday celebration for Hampton; rumor has it, Cocky had advanced notice on Hamp's birthday and the boys had a private birthday moment with the big ole' rooster. Good Times for sure.

They made the online photo gallery of the State's newspaper with the 2 pictures below...with the wigs, there were several flashbulb mome
nts from USC staffers and news reporters.

They came home from a big day with lots of Gamecock memorabilia including a cool poster with freshly inked autographs of many of the football players and other fall sports athletes.

Even for us fairly "neutral" SC football fans, we might have tipped in the direction of the Cocks after this fun day!

Houston, We Have A Kindergartener.....

We kicked off what promises to be a milestone school year.

Beginning a new school year is always a
study in multi-tasking if you ask me and when you factor in PTA responsibilities, the "To Do" list reaches a length that is daunting for sure.

We had everything times 2....2 sets of forms to complete, 2 Meet the Teacher events, school shoe shopping for 2 pairs of feet,
and lunch planning for 2 very different palettes.....we managed our first week just beautifully with only a few tears and those came from Mommy!!

So first, our Kindergartner...

Last Monday, the baby of our house grabbed her lunchbox and backpack and walked into her new school like she owned the place. This is not surprising considering the time she's already spent the
re over the last few years. More on the comforts of Beech Hill later....

I struggled the first day to let her go...she'
s used to preschool and all the structure that comes with it but it still seemed a year too soon for all of this with my baby girl.

The tears came when I first saw her name written at her seat...the reality set in...big school was here for her.It seems to me that ti
me takes a different pace when real school starts....first Kindergarten and in the blink of an eye, we'll be shopping for her Senior Prom. I am excited for all that she has to look forward too but it's scary to slowly let go of the tight grip we've had for these first 5 years. She seems much more attached to me that Winston ever was - making my heart a bit more tender this time around. With lots of prayer and faith, every grade will bring both fun and challenges and we'll do our best to navigate things as they come.

So...back to our littlest Beacon....

Lilly is in KC with Mrs. Canty and Mrs. McCl
ain - without any doubt they were my top choice for her. Lilly has very different needs than Winston did as a new Beacon and I think the Canty/McClain combination is perfectly suited for my girl. She already loves them both; she sits next to her neighborhood buddy Sebastian, and frequently talks about how much fun centers and carpet time are each day.

She had a wonderful first week and aside from being a bit tired at night (Mommy too!) she woke up ready to hit the path for school. She got 2 "Caught Being Good" certificates that also came with trips to the coveted Treasure Box. She is going to do GREAT and really there was never any doubt!

I am looking forward to being the Room Mom for KC - a shared responsibility with 2 other Moms, one of which I know very well so we are going to have some big time fun with our KC Class!!

Next up our 2nd grader....even more difficult to beli
eve...he was just 3 years old, wasn't he?

Winston has Mrs. Havens and as much as we know the vast majority of the teachers at BHES, she is one we don't know qui
te as well.I put 100% trust in the Administrative team to place Winston where he would be successful and their choice for him was clear - Mrs.Havens was the teacher for him.

She is very structured and I've heard from many par
ents that she is fantastic with her students, has next to ZERO discipline problems and gets her students fully prepared for the rigors of elementary grades (3rd-5th). I love that she has raised 3 boys of her own -- I feel like she must understand the riddles of testosterone in a way that not all teachers can and for my boy...who is ALL boy...this has to be a plus!

She prefe
rs to manage her classroom alone and doesn't need much in the way of parental support IN her classroom. We've never had a teacher like this and I'd be lying if I said this won't be a bit of an adjustment for this Mama who likes to be involved but frankly the hard truth of the matter....this is WINSTON'S 2nd grade year, not mine and I have to "get over myself", focus on him and trust that Winston is exactly where he needs to be. My needs don't really enter into this important notion that God has been reminding me.

So on Monday, Winston rolled into 2nd grade as if he'd been going all summer. He is learning independence and responsibility
as he has also been charged with keeping a protective eye on his little sister too!! He's up for the task...

He came home his first day exclaiming he had
the "Best Teacher Ever" and hasn't skipped a beat. Mrs. Havens sent a note home yesterday describing Winston as a very considerate and intelligent young man. Music to his Mama's ears!!

Daddy and his favorite girl

Ready for the walk up the path to start a new year at the Beech...

We had our annual "Back to School" driveway par
ty for all of our neighborhood friends right after school ended on Monday. The heat and humidity were really quite miserable so we cut our cookie cakes, poured cups of Crystal Light and congratulated our friends in record time but it was still fun and it kept the tradition alive and well.

Lining Up for cookies....Ms. Holly couldn't cut and serve fast enough!

Big Girl after her first full day as a Beacon!

Homework was thankfully light our first week - we worked on earlier bedtimes, quiet and calm mornings and what on EARTH I am going to do each day from 7:10 until 2:05.....I'm SURE I'll think of something!!

Meantime, here's to a fantastic first week of school for 2 of Beech Hill's most precious Beacons.

SHINE ON W.E. and Lou Lou!!
Mommy and Daddy couldn't be more proud if we tried!!