Monday, January 31, 2011

Birthday sweets.

It was so sweet of my newspaper staff to celebrate my birthday with cupcakes in class...

and the day before, it was sweet of Brett and the kids to welcome me home from my scrapbooking weekend with a birthday cake...

with my name(s) in orange, no less! It was sweet of them to put just five candles on it, too.

But the sweetest part of my birthday?
Getting to spend it with my sweetie!

Birthdays like this even make turning 43 pretty sweet!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A week in the gym.

With Katie's regular weekly basketball game on Tuesday plus a tournament this weekend, we made three trips to the NRMS gym this week. While the team was 1-2 for these games, the girls played with lots of heart, and OUR girl played her usual tenacious D. My goodness, can Katie play defense! We were really impressed since she pulled a muscle in her back Friday night and had to play with pain Saturday.

Some highlights:

Tuesday - vs. N. Richland

Friday (tournament) - vs. Haltom

Saturday (tourney championship game) - vs. Smithfield

Katie had quite the cheering section at this game! Her aunt, uncle and grandparents were there to see her play.

We love watching Kates play!

Monday, January 17, 2011

In the books.

After work Monday night, Brett and I printed the manuscript for the third volume of his Classic Home Video Games book series. We took a few more photos and burned three CDs to send to his publisher.

From Brett's blog: "Finally, after 2 1/2 years, 166,075 words, 115 photos, 100s of hours of research, and way too many 4- and 5-hour nights of sleep, my 711-page manuscript for Classic Home Video Games, 1989-1990: A Complete Guide to the Neo Geo, Sega Genesis, and TurboGrafx-16 is ready to put in the mail [Tuesday]."

I'm so proud of Brett for his hard work on this and all of his writing projects! We can't wait until we can get that third book in our hands!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Happy new birthday, Katie!

For those keeping score at home, you may be thinking I'm WAAAAAAAAY behind on my blogging if I'm just now getting around to Katie's birthday. (Actually, that's not too far from the truth, but I digress--which may be why it takes me oh-so-long to write posts.)

No, this Sunday was Katie's new birthday. She told a crowd of witnesses that she believes Jesus is the son of God, He died for her sins, and she's ready for Him to lead her life. After that confession, she was immersed in baptism.

Her youth minister, Brock, did the honors.

We love the baptistery in our church building. Since it's in the Great Hall and not in the Family Center (auditorium), friends and family can be close to see the baptism.

And with that, my daughter is now my sister!

Since before she was born, this has been our prayer for Katie: that she'll grow in the Lord and someday choose to follow Him. It is such a blessing to see her begin her life in Christ.

We were glad Papa, Nana and Aunt Kelly could be there for this special occasion!

Of course, Memaw was there, too.

In addition to family, we were surrounded by our church family.
It was wonderful to share this day with so many who have served as spiritual mentors throughout Katie's childhood. It was also special to hear from so many Facebook friends who are as thrilled as we are that Katie has made this decision.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Band concert.

(Ryan's in there! See him? I'm not a fan of photography in darkened auditoriums!)

After all the hoopla of the Rose Parade, the Rebel Band's winter concert was a real change of pace. The top bands performed some of their concert pieces, the All-State Band members performed their etudes, and then the RHS portion of the All-Birdville Marching Band played their Bandfest salute to armed forces and this number:

Since the band played "American Woman" countless times in rehearsals—not to mention along the parade route—that old Guess Who tune will forever be the theme song of the big Tournament of Roses trip. I can see a day in the not-too-distant future when hearing "American Woman" on the radio will bring a tear to my eye as we remember that week in Cali!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Triple header.

Ryan and Katie's first day back at school was followed up by a triple header of basketball games. First up: Katie's game vs. Hurst.

After the middle school game ended, Katie, a friend and I made a quick Sonic stop and then headed to RHS for the Bell vs. Richland games.

We got there in time for the end of the girls game. For that one I sat on the Bell side while Katie and her friend were "true to their school." I was keeping my eye on them, so I was surprised to see them move down a few rows after just a couple of minutes. The reason?

Uncle Scott and Adam were there! That was a nice surprise! They were there to watch a friend's twins play in the boys game.

Check out those crazy students!

It made for a late night, but it was fun to see North Ridge, Bell and Richland play all in one day!

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Wowzers! It's 2011!

I can't believe New Year's Day has come and gone! And what a day it was! Katie and I spent the morning in Pasadena to see Ryan march with the All-Birdville Band in the Rose Parade.

(This shot's from the local paper.)

(So is this one.)

(This one I took. Several trees in front of our grandstand cast some pretty stark shadows!)

It was unbelievably exciting for us to be there to see the band's big moment, and it was a bunch of fun for us to follow the kids to some of the SoCal tourist destinations they visited.

I still have a ton of photos to edit, and Katie took hundreds, too. And then there are Ryan's pictures, which I haven't even seen yet (even though I'm dying to see what he shot)! Until I can get actual blog posts written, here are some Facebook photo albums from our first day in Cali.

Float Decorating
Santa Monica Pier

Saturday, January 01, 2011


Finally, finally, FINALLY the day had arrived. 1/1/11. Rose Parade day.

Katie and I were up and at 'em at 3:30 that morning. Since we would be going straight from Pasadena to LAX, we had to be completely packed when we left our hosts' home at 4:30 a.m.

After loading up our rental car, we drove to Pasadena. Since I was worried about running out of gas while stuck in traffic after the parade, we stopped in Alhambra at a nearly deserted gas station. It was still dark outside and a little spooky in spite of the well-lit station, so I was startled when a man approached me for directions. Turns out the guy was from Fort Worth and just needed directions to the parade!

We arrived in the chilly predawn hours, getting to our parking garage without any trouble. Walking to the parade route, we were cold and sleepy, but that was nothing compared to the thousands of people who had camped along Colorado Avenue for prime parade-viewing spots. These people were serious about their camping. They had patio heaters, hibachi grills, big tables and chairs marking off their group's territory. And in the middle of all that, there were all these lumps. It took a bit to realize that those lumps were people in sleeping bags! Soon after we arrived, a convoy of tow trucks roared down the street, blasting their horns. As we walked, we could see all those lumps start to move, woken up by those truck drivers.

Since we couldn't sit in our reserved grandstand spots until 6, we walked down Colorado, looking for something warm to eat. We ended up at Andy's Coffee Shop, arriving early enough to get a table. We ordered a nice breakfast and even got to use the bathroom there (since we were paying customers and all).

After that, we did some major people-watching as we walked back east on Colorado.

We found our reserved seats and were relieved to see that the trees in front of us would not significantly block our view. Those trees cast some pretty mean shadows, but at least we weren't looking into the sun,
AND we weren't sitting on a roof!

To pass the time, we entertained ourselves by taking self-portraits.

Lots and lots of self-portraits.

Katie even used her panoramic function to create this:
Since we were pretty far from the parade's starting point, it took the entries about an hour and 15 minutes to reach us. We heard the Stealth bomber fly over at 8 a.m., and then a little later, Facebook friends posted that they had seen the band on TV. It was so exciting to know that our Birdville kids had been on TV and were on their way to us.

(These photos from our local newspaper were taken near the parade's beginning.)

Then I got a text message from a friend:
"Is this Ryan?" he asked. I screamed and even cried a little. Our friend Michael had spotted Ryan on TV!

At last the parade made its way to us at 1570 E. Colorado. We oohed and aahed and waved at Grand Marshal Paula Deen, the floats, the equestrian units, even the pooper scoopers. But then, the 15th unit in the parade arrived.

Oh. My. Goodness. It was so incredible to see them! Katie and I yelled, stood and clapped while the people around us cowered. OK, not really. But they were really curious about this ginormous band. After the band had marched out of view, I explained how the group was comprised of three high schools' musicians. Then I posted a status update:

I was beyond proud, and tears still spring to my eyes just thinking about that moment.

Of course, the parade didn't end with our band.

Wisconsin band


One of the floats we'd seen being decorated

Cirque du Soleil on the LA float

Crazy rider

Pac-Man sousaphones

The very tall float in honor of Pac-Man's birthday

Pac-Man with his cake

City of Burbank

HGTV's Dream House float
(We're so glad HGTV shows the parade without commercial interruption! It was on HGTV's broadcast that we got the best view of Ryan.)

9/11 tribute

Truly, all of the parade was UNBELIEVABLE. I'm so thankful Katie and I were able to be there to see it all in person.

At one point during the parade, Katie told me, "I could break my arm right now and this would still be a good day." Yep, it was a VERY good day.

From there we waded through tons of traffic to get out of Pasadena and make our way back to the car rental place. We both really needed to use the bathroom, but lines were too long when we left the parade area, and we never found a good place to stop on the road.

Even though they didn't have a public restroom, we still had to stop at one place before dropping off our car:

Donuts in hand, we drove down the street to return our little Versa. We planned to use the restroom at the rental agency, but the shuttle bus arrived as soon as we did. Thankfully, we made it to the airport just in the nick of time. (I'm surprised TSA wasn't alarmed by that crazed look in my eyes, though!)

Aboard the plane, Katie continued to document our trip a little too thoroughly:
But really, aren't airplane toilets fascinating?

We really enjoyed our view of the beautiful sunset.

About four hours later, we were back home in Texas, tired but ever grateful for our California adventure.