Monday, April 27, 2009

AB Makes History!!!!

Our amazing AB has done it!

After months of hard work, she is going to Washington DC to represent ICS and Washington state at the National History Day Competition!!!

She placed FIRST this weekend at the state finals in the senior division for her performance on Jessie Benton Fremont!!!

Here is a run down of Saturday's events:

We woke up early in order to be at Green River Community College in Auburn at 9 am. But wait, before we got to Saturday she had to get to this state competition (see this blog post of Monday, March 16.)

AB performed at 10 am (first presentation of the day; judges were fresh). Her only goal: make it to the finals.
Despite being very nervous, she performed her scenes flawlessly and when the judges asked some interesting questions, she had good answers.

We then took the props back to the car and went to watch our neighbor's documentary. They were experiencing technical difficulties so tensions in the room rose but all worked out fine in the end. Next, we went to another building to see AB's four friends perform their group presentation on Nellie Bly. Their hard work showed and it was excellent.

After this, the waiting started. Lunch was awful (no really, the food was bad) and all were watching the clock for the 1 pm announcement for who would make it to the finals. 1 pm came and went and 2 pm came and went and the nerves were definitely jittery.

Eventually someone took the stage and was cheered even though they were only setting up the screen for the posting that was to be shown via a PowerPoint slideshow.

Finally, the posting was up - with a dark blue background - and no one could read it! So we watched as they changed the background on each page to white, followed by the gasps and screams reverberating throughout the cafeteria! Everyone pushed forward to try read the screen as the different divisions were posted and this was nuts! It took several loops through the slideshow before we figured out that all of our kids had made it to the finals. It was very exciting!

AB's time was very last at 4:15 so we had some more time to kill. We moved the car and took her props to another building. I went into the room early and watched the last two performances before hers; meanwhile AB, EB and Dad paced in the hallway. By the time she finally got into the room and started her presentation, it was close to 4:30. The judges were yawning and now I was a bit worried about her placement in the lineup. But again, her presentation was great even though she forgot one line and was worried about it; I kept reassuring her that no one but me knew she had left it out!

Next, we had more waiting but by now we were all very hungry so we left the campus to get some dinner; we didn't want to find out what the cafeteria had in store! The awards ceremony was scheduled to start at 6:30 with the doors opening at 6 pm. We were back from dinner and in our seats on the bleachers in gym by 6:05 and there was definitely a buzz in the air.

Well, 6:30 came and went and finally when the crowd was getting restless and starting a wave up and down the bleachers, the ceremony started. This part could have been very painful as they thanked all the volunteers, judges, teachers, etc. but they kept it moving very well.

The special awards were first and AB won $100 from the Doc Maynard Chapter #54-40 of the Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus for performance best representing Western heritage from 1850-1900. This was a great way to start the evening!

Once they handed out all the special awards, the first category for those going to Nationals was to be PERFORMANCES! We were all on the edge of our seats as they counted down from 6th place to 1st. Once they hit number 2 and Abby wasn't called, we were already screaming!! Abby crawled over all of us and headed down to accept her award from Captain History!

While she was gone (they took pictures on the other side of the gym), her friends won 1st place in the group performance category! As Abby returned to her seat and high-fived all her friends, she dropped her shoe down the bleachers! We were then ALL insanely giggling, trying to figure out how to get it back!

Next, our neighbor who had had more technical difficulties with the school's equipment in his final round, came in 1st in the documentary category! Just proves three back ups are a good thing to bring! Here he is receiving his medal.

Once the presentations were over, we were able to take a few pictures and then it was back to the bleachers for a detailed info meeting about Nationals. It's a good thing most of it is online or written down because I'm not sure we all heard it that night!

Finally, we headed home, stopping to get a celebratory McFlurry (GB had bribed EB to stay with ice cream…we had two cars and he and dad could have gone home early.) They were both really glad they stayed and EB is now talking about participating next year (the theme? something like Inventions/Innovations in History – sound like EB?)

The DC event is Saturday Jun 13 – Thurs Jun 18 at the University of Maryland in College Park. Right now, Grandma B (the inspiration behind the whole concept) and I are planning to be AB’s chaperones.

We have a very large contingent from AB’s school going. Last year, only our neighbor went from ICS with a second place finish for his documentary. This year, in addition to AB and her four friends, there are a couple of 8th graders who won for their Jr Div group performance. There is another group that came in 3rd in the Sr group performance and they are alternates but probably won’t go as dropping out of this event just doesn’t happen! Anyway, there are lots of talented kids at this school!

So that was our weekend! We are very proud of AB and now we have just about enough stress to carry us through the end of the school year...woohoo!

If you want more info, visit this link for National History Day.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Jittery Twittering Knitter

Okay, I got my iPhone about a month ago and I can't seem to set it down!

In addition to letting me check my email on the run (both home and work and even the school one I monitor for Parent Organizer postings when it's my turn), take phone calls, check the weather, take a photo, record a song at a band performance, look up stuff on Ravelry, see which library books are due, add to my 'want to read' list, listen to books or podcasts or *gasp* even music, find a restaurant, calculate a tip, read a magazine (Kindle application) and I discover new things every day BUT lately, I've become very fond of, okay, addicted to Twitter.

Do I need more interests or things to do/check? No, but this form of social media seems to have me hooked. I seem to know things before my husband reads them in the paper or we see them on TV. I communicate with people with similar interests (knitting, travel, reading, cooking, local info, Shibas, my kids' friends, and the list goes on.) I can't explain it and I'm certain I won't be able to continue to follow the 150+ people I have to date but every day I find someone else who is interesting and can communicate in 140 characters or less!

So, for now, I continue to charge my iPhone every day and turn it on when I have a spare moment to catch up on the world. Yes, the knitting has slowed to a crawl but the family is still fed...wait....! I just saw that I could update my blog using my mobile device...I'm off to figure that out! See the problem...

So, in addition to calling me a 'jitteryknitter' you can officially label me Geek Mom!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

My Unsung Hero

Someone commented on a previous post that I really don't have a husband because he is often absent in all our vacation pictures.

Well, I just want to post this to prove not only does he exist, he's the whole reason we made it to New York (and all our other trips too!)

GB plans flights, reserves hotel rooms, researches activities, buys show tickets and attends to countless other details depending on where we are going. THEN, on these trips that he works so hard to plan, he spends the time documenting our adventures!

So, I just want to say thanks to my dear husband for all his hard work and for making such great memories. I also want to remind him that the iPhone was a great purchase as a camera because I can now sometimes (when I remember, etc.) show that he was with us too!

The boys resting their feet and discussing art.

Farewell to NYC

On our last day in NYC we slept in a bit, packed our luggage, went hunting for a good NY bagel for breakfast and headed to the Guggenheim Museum.

This was an incredible building and the easiest museum yet to manuever; we went to the top and simply walked down the spiral, viewing the exhibits as we went.

These books (or pieces of books) travelled down the rails along the edge of the museum (see picture above) and landed with a 'thump' in this pile. It was a very interesting, kinesthetic art display.

I think EB must have liked this one so we have a photo of it.

Trying to decide on a lunch spot...I think we had pizza.

We walked around a bit more then headed to the airport via taxi.

Two extra hours in the Newark airport as we didn't know our flight was delayed.
Newark sunset

Well, thanks for travelling with us. This was an amazing trip and one we will always remember.

Now, where to next year...?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday in NYC

Can you guess where we are? Yeah, besides standing in the rain!

We're looking in the windows at the Today Show. While on a sunny day, you would have to get up really early and stand in line with many others to get here, no one was very interested on a wet morning like this! We only stayed a few minutes as there isn't much to see except the hosts under bright lights off in the distance. But the kids thought it was 'cool' so I'm glad we dropped by.

We were on our way here - The Museum of Natural History, where everyone goes when it rains!

Once again we decided to split up and check in every hour or so. Here AB and I discuss our plan of attack or maybe it was something she saw.

EB with a meteor. The story of just getting this into the museum was pretty amazing. GB & EB quizzed a docent and he said when he was a little boy it was in a different part of the museum but they built a special space for it. Ask GB for the whole story about this.

And there were lots of dinosaurs too!

Dinner was at Carnegie Deli - pastrami and corned beef all around - yum!

The last show we saw was "Chicago" and it, like the others, was fabulous. The unique thing about this production was the orchestra was on stage the whole time and EB thought this was just great!

Heading home tomorrow!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Thursday in NYC

Thursday - whew! Are you tired yet? Writing about this week is almost more exhausting than living it!

Here we are at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (or The Met, as the locals call it.)

This is another amazing place full of ART and lots of it. At some point, we decided as a group to split up and meet back in an hour because we all wanted to see different things and at different paces. That was fun because when we re-grouped, someone would say, "Well, did you see the Egyptian temple?" and the response would be, "No, did you see the Frank Lloyd Wright house?" or the musical instruments room or the Roman statues or the armor room or the shark (yeah, never figured out that one...)?

In addition there were all the artists you've heard of but never seen their paintings up close. AB has had some art history and was educating us as we discovered new things - who says art isn't useful in school?

But as with all museums, your feet get tired and your brain starts to then it's time for lunch! And in this case, a visit to String, a yarn shop off Park Avenue that mom had to visit; I got some beautiful cashmere!

From Park Avenue we walked to Central Park and discovered lots of things we never knew were in the park. This place is huge too!

Here we are on one of the bridges. The weather was beautiful and about 65 degrees.

Here is AB resting her feet.

Who knew there was a castle in the park?

Here is EB atop it.

Strawberry Fields - a memorial to John Lennon. Still not sure who puts the flowers there every day...?

Once we made it back to the hotel, we still needed to do something for dinner. We also wanted to check out the cool Apple Store on Fifth Ave. We were also looking for a bookstore since AB had finished her books and was clamoring for another (we found a store that had three floors and some very interesting 'art' books - EB, put that one down! I think it had 'erotic' in the title.)

So turning to my trusty phone, I located a place called "The Jekyll and Hyde Club" - didn't read the reviews but it said it was a 'theme' restaurant. This place was very interesting and probably wonderful 10-15 years ago. It had people dressed up outside encouraging people in; I think they were supposed to look scary...but we were scarier; we were hungry!

So, like the tourists we were, we played along and went inside. You entered through a dark hallway and it was a little like the entry to Disney's Haunted Mansion (only not as well done.) They warn you that you may never return and those with heart issues better not come in! (Right then and there, we should have turned around...)

Anyway, we get inside and there's no one in there, maybe only 5 tables had people at them. The walls were covered with talking heads and it looked like a ride from Disney (only with less lighting.) As we struggled to read our menus, these roaming 'actors' kept coming by our table, asking us where we were from and cracking really bad jokes. At first it was entertaining, but with so few people to visit, they were at our table A LOT.

At one point, this guy picks up our camera off the table and makes GB take pictures of all of us with him. He was fine but our waiter took our order, brought our food and disappeared! I finally had to wave him down to get our check as we were done with not only our meal but the surroundings. We were also thrilled to see that in addition to New York food prices, they had tacked on $3/person for 'entertainment'! Now that's SCARY!
We told AB that this is what unemployed actors have to do and she better stick to her studies!