March 28, 2016

2016 Easter Festivities!

Easter felt like it sneaked up on us this year.  Although I generally feel that way when Easter falls in March.  We tried to make the best of it though and even though it wasn't as warm as we though it would be on Easter Sunday, there was no snow, like last year, when Easter fell in April!

We decided to color eggs on  Friday, since my MIL had come up to help me get the house ready for our festivities on Sunday and I thought she would enjoy it.  Turns out she had not colored eggs in years and was excited to make a few with the boys.

Saturday was spent running errands and getting all the food that I needed to make the delicious food that we were going to eat on Sunday and the kids were such great sports since they had to come along for the ride.

On Sunday morning the boys were excited to see what the Bunny brought.  They were happy to see some new baseball gear, books and some candy.

New Disney Infinity character and some baseball pants!
A new baseball gear bag and the Chris Grabenstein book.
Batting gloves and a Disney Infinity character!
They also got some pool toys and giant water bottles for the days we spend at the ball field.
Charlie had to work, so dinner was planned for later in the day.  That gave me plenty of time to prep the meal and get some yummy appetizers in the oven.  We had a nice spread of hot and cold munchies, including the crowd favorite stuffed mushrooms, which rivaled the delicious bacon wrapped tator tots that my Aunt brought.

My sisters cute jelly bean garden cake!
I have pretty much perfected the Easter meal and have not deviated from the menu because it works and I know how to prep everything so that it's all ready together.  We had 2 different styles of ham (a whole smoked ham and a spiral ham), an herb roasted leg of lamb, mashed potatoes, spring pea medley and sweet potato casserole.

Pioneer Woman famous baked ham with Dr. Pepper glaze!
Garlic and Rosemary crusted leg of lamb!

After dinner we sent the kids down to the cul-de-sac while we hid the eggs for the annual egg hunt.  It was nice to not have to worry about the snow this year and the sun had finally come out so it was a bit warmer than it was earlier in the day.  

Shaun checking out his loot!
Everyone gets one big egg and 10 small eggs
One big egg has $5 inside, David was the lucky winner this year!

My happy family!
Another Holiday celebration success.  I love hosting my family and I am already looking forward to the next one!

March 20, 2016

Lion King, Jr.

Last year David participated in his school drama club, Kids in Action (KIA) and was excited to audition again this year for the production of Lion King, Jr.  The auditions were on November 12th and he found out right before the Thanksgiving recess that he got in again.  Part auditions happened in December and before Christmas he was cast as the goofball hyena Ed.

He was excited to be cast in this roll, and was called in for a second audition to try out his laugh for his music teacher before the official rolls were announced. He wouldn't practice the laugh for us throughout the 3 months of rehearsals so we were going to be surprised.  It wasn't until the first show when he was mic'd that I heard him and it was perfect and hilarious!  And it was confirmed for me when I heard the audience reactions to him.  My heart swelled with pride!

I thought Seussical, Jr. was amazing last, and the Lion King, Jr. did not disappoint.  The kids were amazing and they completely transformed into these characters.  It got me right in the feels each show.  The amount of hard work that went into this show was astounding.  Not only did the kids work their butts off in rehearsals, but we had an awesome team of parents who stepped up to help with set building, painting, costume design and make-up.  I was honored to be able to capture all these memories for everyone.  Looking forward to seeing what KIA brings for us next year!

Last rehearsal before show week:

Yeah, it's dinner time, and we ain't got no stinkin' entrees. 

Show week - Costume rehearsal:

Shenzi: Well, well, well, Banzai, what have we got here? 
Banzai: Hmm, I don't know Shenzi uh, what do you think Ed? 
Ed the Hyena: Oo ehehe, oh hahahaha 
David nailed his facial expressions.  This was right after Mufasa knocks them down.

Banzai: Yeah!  You hear that?  If you ever come back, she'll kill ya!

Opening Day:

Thursday morning the kids do a show with full costume and make up for half of the school and then on Friday morning they preform for the other half of the school.  It's a great way to get a practice audience before the real opening.  Once all the kids were costumed and made up, I snapped a portrait so that they could have something that shows their character!  I was so glad to have the chance to capture the hard work the costume design team did!
Ed the Heyena
Full costume!
And because they ask the audience to refrain from photographing during the performance, I snapped images of all the kids for the parents to have during the two morning performances.

Ed the Hyena: Ahahahahahahaha!
Thursday night I sold tickets and worked on editing all the images I had taken during the various rehearsals and shows.  I could hear the laughter from the audience and the clapping!  I knew the show as a hit!

I also had the chance to photograph the Lion King Wall of Fame!  Each year they create a wall showcasing the cast and directors.  It came out awesome!

David's head shot!
After opening night, with his first flower of many!

Friday Morning Show:

On Friday morning, Evan convinced me to sit in the front row and it was a good call, because I was able to get even better pictures for the parents!

Just can't wait to be King!

His famous laugh!

So prepare for the coup of the century!
Long live the King!

Friday night I was in the audience with my parents, aunt and cousins!  It was really the first time I got to see the show without a camera up to my face.  It was just amazing and eyes were definitely a little misty and my heart was full of pride - these THIRD, FOURTH, & FIFTH graders are amazing!

Closing was interesting because Friday night one of our directors who was due to have her baby the following week, started having contractions and was not going to be up for being at the show.  An SOS went out to a few of us who really knew the show, asking if one of us could help with the music cues and I answered the call.  I got a crash course in the system and managed to not totally screw it up.  Only one miscue, and of course I felt awful about it, but considering I hadn't ever practiced before, I was pretty happy with my performance.  It think it really helped that I knew the show so well after all the time I had spent in the Show Week rehearsals.  It made for an interesting day and I was so happy to have been able to help.

Show flowers!

February 28, 2016

February Vacation - Family Ski Trip to Jay Peak

With no real plans for a vacation this year we decided to spend a couple days up north at Jay Peak Resort up in Vermont.  Mother Nature was not on our side for this trip but we still managed to have a great time and I can't wait to try this place again next year (hopefully under better weather conditions!).

We drove up Wednesday morning.  The weather forecast was for snow with a change over to freezing rain.  It mostly snow for our ride up, but by the time we hit the slopes it had changed over to freezing rain.  We were determined to make the best of it by getting in some runs.

Evan and Momma can see the freezing rain on our goggles and helmets!
After taking a few runs it was time to warm up and dry off in the lodge for some lunch.  One one of our runs down to the lodge, Evan and I found some of the Mardi Gras necklaces that had been tossed in the trees (that was the theme for the week).

Waiting for his brothers so we could get some lunch!
After lunch we tried to get in some more runs, but it was just not fun anymore.  The chair lifts were so cold and wet from the freezing rain and we were getting soaked!  Unfortunately we still had an hour before our room was going to be ready but we were all so done skiing that we decided to get out of our ski stuff and hang out in the lobby.

The Hotel Jay
Once we got our room we were able to get our skis and put them in our room locker.  Check out the ice that formed from them sitting outside.

We headed up to our amazing room (a two bedroom with a kitchen and living room space) and got all our things organized.  We hung up all our wet stuff, so that it would hopefully dry for the next day, and got our swim suits ready to enjoy the indoor water park in the hotel!

Ready to play!
After some fun in the water park, we made a quick bite to eat and it was off to bed.  The weather reports for Thursday were showing heavy rain during the night with clearing in the morning before a second round of rain came through in the afternoon.  We needed to be ready first thing to make it to the Tram.  Our goal was to go to the summit as a family before the rain.

When we got up, we continued to check the weather reports.  It was foggy, but not raining so we got all our gear on, grabbed our skis from the locker and got in line for the Tram.  It was too bad that it was so foggy because we missed out on the views.  But we made it to the top!
We made it to the summit!
And I made it all the way down and lived to tell the tale!
It was very, very slushy and in fact you could see a river of water running down the side of the very top.  It was so warm so at least we knew it wouldn't be icy, but it was still a challenge for me, but I plugged away at my own pace.  I was proud of Evan and it was on this run that I realized he had passed my abilities as a skier!

After that run I was ready to go back to some smaller hills.  My legs were jello.  I did one more run and waited for the boys to come back from another trip to the top, including Evan, who was able to keep up with his older brothers!

Evan and I were ready for lunch, but the David and Shaun went up with Dad to the summit for one more run before the rain really started back up.  Unfortunately for them, it started right after they got on the Tram.

David, Shaun and Dad riding on the Tram
After that last run, they were soaked!  We grabbed all our skis put them in the locker and headed back up to our room for some lunch (the nice thing about having a kitchen was being able to bring some food).  After lunch and a realizing that it was going to be raining for the rest of the day, we gave up on skiing anymore and headed down to the water park.  It was crowded, but the boys still had fun.  You could see that the rain was quickly changing to snow and the wind was picking up.  The temperatures were going to drop from 50 to 10 in less than 12 hours.

Shaun trying out the boogie board!
Chilling out in the lazy river!
The lazy river was fun, there was a section that was almost like a wave pool!

David in line getting ready to try surfing
He didn't have the balance but managed to stay on long enough for me to take a quick picture!
Evan trying the boogie board
Waiting in line for the slide
After some time down in the water park we headed back to our room to get ready for dinner.  We were going to take a shuttle to the other lodge to eat.  There was a restaurant that had diner style food on their menu we thought the kids would like.  Their pancakes were SO good!  We had some time to go back to the water park and let the kids swim and it was much less crowded.  Then it was off to bed, we had to pack and check out in the morning.

On Friday morning, we packed up our room and got all our ski gear on.  We were going to brave the wind and cold for a few runs before heading home.  The bellhop came and took all our bags and brought them down to store them for us until we were ready to go and we headed to the lockers one last time to get our skis.  The wind was gusting so hard that they shut the down the Tram.  I was worried about ice, since all that slush that was on the trails on Thursday would have frozen and even though there was about 3 inches of new snow, the ice would still be underneath all that.  

We headed up on one of the quads and it was COLD!  The snow was blowing all around and I knew it was going to be tough skiing.  We managed to get in a few runs and while I was right about the ice, it wasn't icy everywhere, only in places where the wind could really blow the snow off the trail.  The boys skied a few runs in the woods and Charlie said it was some of the best skiing he's done in a long time and that it was too bad it was so cold.

Look at all the snow blowing around!
We had some lunch and then it was time to hit the road.  Evan went with Charlie for a couple of extra runs me and the other two got all our bags and skis to the lobby.  We got all our things from the bellhop and packed up our van and said goodbye!  We had a blast and the boys are already asking when we get to go back again!