Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Thanksgiving, Christmas and Birthdays...OH MY!

"I was thinking that you guys should come for Thanksgiving and we can celebrate Christmas and Mom's 65th birthday!"  That was all I needed to hear.  The thought of being with all my siblings, nieces and nephews (on my side of the family)...I knew we had to be there! It doesn't happen often enough!  It would also be extra special for Mom to have all of her kids and grand kids together for her birthday! How perfect! 

 I am SO thankful for these people!  I love and miss them SO much!!
(Yes, and the ones not in this picture!  They are in the following pictures!)

Check out that Thanksgiving spread!  We are such spoiled people!

This right here...it makes me happy!  I hate that I don't get to do this more often with my family, so I try to soak it all in and enjoy it as much as I can!

 All of the cousins!

 This just makes me happy!

 So... since we were all together, we thought it was the perfect time to exchange Christmas gifts.  This way we could watch everyone open them in person and not have to pay to ship gifts.  It was so fun to do it this way.  Just another thing to be thankful for.

The cousin gift exchange.

 The sibling gift exchange.

 My family opened gifts from Grammy.

 Lukey and Grammy :)
Poor Roxie!  As if it wasn't bad enough that she had a house full of people and chaos, then she had to put on the dreaded reindeer antlers!  Poor thing!
Mom had no idea that we were planning to celebrate her birthday!  I think she was pretty surprised when the girls brought over her birthday cupcakes!

You have no idea how crazy this was to see!  Mom does NOT like dogs!  However, she bought this bed for Roxie and actually invited her to come sit up there with her.  Crazy!  I think she secretly likes Roxie!

 We went downtown Indianapolis to check out the shop that Rebecca was selling her products in during the Christmas season.  It was a cool little shop!

 The guys!

With All-State auditions fast approaching, Ben couldn't miss any precious practice time, so he brought his trombone on the trip.  Abby didn't want to miss out on any All-District practice time either.
It was fun when they wanted to play for us!  Bring on the Christmas carols!!

Nolan was pretty impressed by the sounds of the instruments and thrilled when Ben offered to let him play his horn.  Maybe another trombone player in the family?

This trip was amazing!  I had the best time visiting, laughing like crazy and just hanging out with my family!  I am so thankful that we were able to make the trip!  Precious memories!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


What am I thankful for?

I don't want to undermine the important things like my husband and family, my home, food, God and all the things that we always come up with right off the bat.  But this year, I have something different to be thankful for.

Yes, I love my job as a mom, but that's not what I'm talking about this time.

I am thankful for my new job!

Getting a job wasn't something that I necessarily wanted to do.  It was one of those things that Jon suggested I do.  With Luke in school all day, I understood, but still didn't really want to.  I wanted to still be able to be a mom.  Go to Luke's class parties, be able to help out in his class and go eat lunch with him periodically.  I wanted to be at home and make yummy meals and fun treats.  I didn't want to be gone all day everyday.

The Lord knew what I needed!

He has provided me with a job where I only work two days a week and I only work during the hours that the kids are in school.  If the kids are out of school for any reason, then I am off too!  Not only that, but he put me in a room full of precious little toddlers!  I get to play with, snuggle and love on little ones and then send them home!  (I imagine that's what being a grandma will be like someday!)  This job couldn't be more perfect!

I am thankful for my job and that the Lord knows exactly what He's doing!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Marching Band Banquet

I know, I know... So much band stuff.  Well, this is the end.  (For marching band, anyway.)  This past weekend was the marching band banquet.  The kids look forward to this fun night every year.  It is a chance to look back at the whole season, receive awards and tell funny stories about their fellow section-mates.  It really is a fun night!

I LOVE these mini versions of the big props that were used during the show!
The table decorations at the banquet were great!!

Ben finally received his band letter!

Every year the section leaders pass out silly awards to their section members.  Ben's was a slightly embarrassing story.  I will spare him the embarrassment here.  :)

This is most of the trombone section.  A great group of kids!!  Ben is really going to miss those seniors next year!

The friendships made in band are priceless!  Ben has made some amazing friends!
Not only friends, but the memories and lessons he has learned in the past 3 1/2 months are ones that he will carry with him for the rest of his life!

It was an exciting, hard, sometimes disappointing, yet, fun marching season.  Now we all enjoy a little break from the chaotic schedule and look forward to next year!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ben's All-District and All-State Audtions

Ben doesn't shy away from a challenge.  He is a great trombone player and is always looking forward to the next performance or audition.  He works really hard and practices a lot!  

Unfortunately, All-District auditions and All-State auditions came the very first weekend after marching band ended.  Whoever came up with that idea was, clearly, not thinking about all that these kids have had going on all fall!  Still, Ben practiced as much as he could.

With weekly lessons and practice at home, Ben felt somewhat confident and hoped for the best.

Let me just say, I don't enjoy audition days.  It is purely selfish.  I hate waiting all day for the kids to find out how they did or if they made it into a band or on to the next round of auditions.  Completely nerve-racking!  A lot of praying goes on all day long!!  Ben claims it doesn't bother him.  I don't know how he does it!

After several hours of waiting Ben found out that he made it to the next round of auditions!  YAY!  (There are two rounds on this particular day.)

I am thrilled to say that, after several more hours of waiting, Ben made first chair in the NBDA Concert Band!  He also found out that he was invited to participate in the next round of All-State auditions four weeks later.

I cannot even express how proud I am of this boy!  I can't wait to see how the next round goes!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

OBA State Contest

OBA is huge!  It is the last contest of the season and puts you up against all of the bands in the state.  We were having a great marching season, so we were all very excited about how things would go this year! 

(I keep trying to add a video of the marching show, but it won't seem to work.  I will try again later.)

 Ben and his "senior" from last year.

Sadly (very sadly!!), things did not go at all like we all thought they would.  The Bruin Brigade did not make it to finals.  I have no idea where they ended up, but it was devastating!  The kids and parents, alike, were all in shock!  We all really thought we had a great show and a great shot at finals.  Apparently, it just wasn't meant to be.  Sad!  These kids worked their tails off all season, so it was hard to see them so deflated.

I guess there's always next year...

Friday, November 1, 2013

Pure Beauty!

I love the colors of fall!!

Halloween ~ 2014 Style!

Jedi's and Wonder Woman...oh my!  

Halloween was slightly different this year.  Ben had marching band rehearsal and wasn't able to dress up.  He was disappointed, especially since he and Luke were planning to dress alike.  Oh well...what can you do?

Luke couldn't wait to try on his costume as soon as it arrived! (Grammy made it and I brought it home from St. Louis!)  Ben tried his on too so they could compare!

 And have a light sabre battle!  I love my Star Wars loving boys!

That has to be the cutest little Jedi I have ever seen!
He was more than happy to let me take pictures of him in all kinds of fun poses!

And...my favorite superhero girl!  Wonder Woman!!  How cute is she?!
I was super excited to make a tutu for Abby! I told her I would be happy to make her Halloween costume as long as it included a tutu!  :)
I got to take these cuties out trick-or-treating!

Even though the marching band had rehearsal, some band parents came up with the brilliant idea to plan a trunk-or-treat event as a surprise at the end of rehearsal.  It was so much fun!!  The kids were surprised and the parents had fun putting it together for this hard working group of kids!

Even though the kids weren't allowed to dress up, Ben and his friend, Ben, dressed up as twins.  Do you see the resemblance?

I love Halloween!  Such a fun, fun night!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Bruin Brigade Takes on St. Louis!

The Bruin Brigade got to travel to St. Louis to compete in the Bands of America Super Regionals at the Edward Jones Dome.
When Mom found out that Ben was going to be marching so close to Indianapolis, she knew she had to be there!  I'm glad it's close enough!  

It was only appropriate that the band would have dinner at Hard Rock Cafe!  It was  SO cool!!  They had the entire restaurant!

It's a stack of Ben's!

Look at that boy of mine!

I am such a proud band mom!

The band had a great run of their show!  Unfortunately, out of 64 bands, only 14 were chosen to go to finals.  Bartlesville was not one of them.  But that was ok!  It was fun for them to get to perform in "the dome" and against some great bands!

The highlight of the trip came when the Bruin Brigade was asked to play the National Anthem for the start of finals!  Seriously?!  Yep!  Coolest thing ever!!  Such an honor!