Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Singing

I had a great Christmas & have sooo many things to post, but for now, let me post some Christmas concert music.

I missed Jacob's year-end concert, as I was in Panama.  Luckily for me, Jacob has a good friend, Lauren, who not only video taped it for me, she watched Isabel that night too, since David had to work and we could not leave Isabel at home or in the audience by herself.  So thank you Lauren!!

Jacob's in a bazillion choirs at school, so it's hard to keep up.

This first video is a mix of two choirs:  The all girl "Bellisima" and the all boy "Teal Sound" groups.  It's a mash-up of "Jingle Bell Rock" and "Sleigh Ride."  And just so you know, Jacob and his teacher wrote the ending music to make it all go together.  :)   He's the handsome one wearing a green tie, second from the right, in case you don't know.

And here are a couple more songs.

Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

2011 Buffyfest Ornament Swap: Second Ornament Received

I received my second Buffyfest ornament.  This one is from Danie.

Group 7, from Danie

It's a small wood box with the Firefly crew wearing Santa hats.

Inside we found a Shrinky Dink ornament.

Group 7, from Danie

Yay!  Jayne's hat!  Thanks Danie!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Epcot's Candlelight Processional 2011 and Admiral Adama!

For the 3rd year in a row, Jacob's school was part of Disney's Candlelight Processional at Epcot Center.

Every year, stars from tv, movies, music, etc. read the Christmas story while selected auditioned high school choirs from all around the state sing alongside the Voices of Liberty and other professional choir members.

We've been there when Whoopie Goldberg read, Steven Curtis Chapman, and this year Edward James Olmos!!!  Edward "Admiral Adama" Olmos!!!  Jacob and I were PSYCHED!!!  He and Neil Patrick Harris were our top choices.

Disney is very strict about backstage photos and videos, so I have none.  We chaperones took turns since the kids were singing in two shows.  Half of us stayed behind to watch the kids' stuff while the other half got to watch the show.

I watched the 8:15 performance.  I got teary-eyed knowing this is it; the last year for Candlelight.

Here are a couple of videos for you to enjoy.  I love Mr. Olmos' voice.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Panama in December

I just got back in from a week in Panama.  I flew down to train the new Admin.  I made them all cookies as Christmas gifts.  Only 3 of the 24 cookies got broken (My bag got tossed by TSA.  The cookie tins might have confused their X-rays).

I arrived in Panama the same day as Noriega came back to the country after a 20-year absence.  I had no clue.  Luckily, I had arrived hours earlier and did not get the crush of reporters and traffic.

After checking in, I had lunch, took a nap, then met a co-worker for dinner at a local restaurant I could walk to.  On the way back, I heard loud music.  There was a Christmas parade in front of the hotel!  FUN!

I took these two videos with my cheap camera.  It was a fun parade.

Most nights I was on my own, but there's so much around.  There is a mall within walking distance of the hotel.  EVERYONE walks, so I felt really safe.

Walking back to the hotel from the mall.  
This is a hotel that connects to the mall via this walkway.

I also happened to arrive during the two or 3 times a year when Panamanians get an extra paycheck.  Everyone gets paid at the same time.  Everyone.  The 15th and the 30th.  Two or 3 times a year they get a second paycheck.  This is when I came.  Traffic was a NIGHTMARE.  People were out to spend their dough.   A 3 minute drive from a certain corner to my hotel took 25 minutes.  I kept telling my co-worker I would walk, but he would not let me, as I had caught a cold and it was raining.  He refused to have me get wet.  Poor guy still had to fight the traffic home.

From my hotel window.  Jam-packed traffic stalled in this area for at least half an hour.
It was another eventful trip, but boy did I miss my family and am glad to be home.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Running a 5k at Disney

I signed up for the 2012 Disney Royal Family 5k, part of the Disney Princess Half-Marathon Weekend in February!

As a non-runner, this is a big deal for me, so you marathon runners, no scoffing!

I walk on a treadmill at home.  I try to use it at least 3 times a week, sometimes more, often less.  :(   The company I work for has health incentives that lower the cost of of insurance premiums; participating in 10 events/online courses/challenges/surveys/physicals, etc.  By participating in the plan, I am paying almost half what my non-participating counterparts are paying.  But we have to participate! If we don't, next year you cannot qualify for the discounted rates.

This year, the plan changed, causing us to have to go "outside" to earn at least 3 of our 10 yearly points.  Hence, my trying a 5k.  A few coworkers in other cities that I communicate with have done 5k's (3.1 miles or so).

I have had friends run the Disney 1/2 Marathons and the 5k's so I thought, I can train up to 3.1 miles.  There is a caveat; you have to keep a 16-minute-mile pace.  On my treadmill, I have been averaging an 18-minute mile pace on average, but I figured with extra training tips from the health plan website, I could bump that up.

Finally, I signed up.

$50 gets you:

5k Tshirt
Finisher Medallion
Official Reace Program Guide
Goody Bag
On-course and Post-Course refreshments.

If you're not staying on-site (me) you have to get in Epcot by 4 a.m.!   Here's a map I found online.  Not sure if it changes every year. 

Here's a picture of last year's medal.

(Not my picture/hand. Found online)

I'm going solo so far.  I've invited some sisters and ex-sisters-in-laws to go, but still no takers.  Anyone care to join me? 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Another Day at the Estuary

I chaperoned again for Jacob's AP Environmental Science class in November.  We headed over to the same estuary as last time.

He was in my group this time, so we headed off to do some bird watching.

After that, we did some water testing.

My feetsies were COLD!

On the way back, I spotted a turtle.  We named him lefty because he was missing his right claw.   The people at the park were going to take him to an animal rescue site to see if they needed to help him along.  He looked like he was doing alright to me.

Hi Lefty!
Then, it was time to get into the water.  COLD WATER!! Holy cow, and it was higher than last time too.

Yep, I am in the water too, taking these pictures.

We were joined by another high school that was only there for 3 hours (we were there for like 6).  Our school learned last time to not mess with the lady who ran the place.  She did. not. play.  After a few run-ins with her, Stoner learned his lesson last time.  We all behaved.  This new school had not met her before and incurred her wrath.  The difference between that school and ours?  Some of their male kids talked back to her.  They were completely rude, especially one kid who thought he was the king of the park.  *head shake*  At least our kids complained quietly to each other the first time.  Not these kids.  One teacher had to tell the kid to let it go already because he was being a jerk.  Ahhh, respect.  We miss you so.

After changing and having lunch, and that other high school left, we worked on a CSI-style case.  Our group was one person short, so I teamed up with a student to help solve the case (we did!)

It was another fun AP Environmental Science field trip.

Friday, December 9, 2011

More of Isabel's Art

This blog has been All-Jacob All the Time lately.

Little Miss Isabel is still a wonderful, sweet amazing child.  She's a top reader in her class, having recently been the first of 2 kids to reach the "100 Books Read" mark since school started, and getting a medal for it this past week.  She loves Rock Band.  She finally learned to ride her "big bike."  She could ride bikes without training wheels for a couple of years but she'd been riding her baby bikes.  She got a "big bike" with hand brakes in March and had been terrified to ride it.  She finally got riding it down because I told her she could get a bike bell for the bike once she actually mastered riding it.  *ring ring*

Here's some more of her computer-drawn art.

She called this one "Me Outside."

This one is called "Inky Mess." I love the perspective.

Glacier National Park
And lastly,

"Dudes Funny Thing"
She's pretty awesome.  She's my Sugar Muffin Lumps.

Aaaaand, she decided to cut her bangs by herself; they were in her face.  0_o

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

2011 Buffyfest Ornament Swap: First Ornament Received

Hooray!  I have received my FIRST of 4 Buffyfest Swap ornaments!  From Heidi, I received this adorable Angel/Angelus ornament.  His face can be turned to go from "Grrrr" face....

to regular face.

So cute!  Thanks Heidi!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

2011 Deland Music Festival and Padlock's Performance

If you recall, Jacob took part in the 2010 Deland Music Festival.  He even got a mention in the newspaper!  This year he signed up again.

After the ACDA concert and lunch, we headed home. Jacob and a friend headed off to the festival early.  I was to meet them later with the 6 foot long table he was going to play on.  Call me RoadieMom.

It started drizzling.  Yikes! Not good for Jacob's equipment.  We drag the table from the Jeep to his corner when he suddenly realizes there are no speakers set up.  He asks the person "running" the corner where the speakers are, and was told that the owner of said speakers took them home because of the rain.

Jacob was near panic and MAD.  While his friend watched our stuff, we walked over to the event staff tent to see what we could do.  While the event coordinator placed some calls on his walkie-talkie, Jacob looks over to the corner he was on last year.  We decide to head on over and see if the guy had any set cancellations and could he fit us in.

Thankfully, he could!  He had one cancellation and another person who wanted to go on earlier than she was scheduled for, so we got a slot right around 8:00 p.m.

We owe the owner of the sound equipment, DJ Excite, a load of thanks!

Jacob, aka Padlock, played a 45 minute set.  Here's a video of about 15 minutes worth of music.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

2011 Buffyfest Ornament Swap!

YAY!  It's that time again for the Buffyfest 4th Annual Whedonverse Holiday Ornament Swap.  This is my third year participating.

My first go-around I carved stamps.   My second year, I played with Shrinky Dinks!

Click on the label "Buffy Ornament Swap" to see all the posts showing what ornaments I received in exchange for mine.  They're great fun.

This year, I decided to get old-school on myself.  I used to be an avid cross-stitcher.  One of my many talents, yes.  I went on Etsy and found some terrific patterns for sale  from seller "Velvet Elvii,"  so I purchased some.

I started out doing a regular old stitch.  When I was done, I looked at my work and realized it was ginormous! How was I going to make an ornament out of this huge thing?

I decided to try again, this time cutting the stitching area in half.  And this is where I killed my eyes.  I wear contacts to see far but don't need them to see close.  If I was wearing my contacts, my eyes could not focus on the teeny tiny stitching I was doing.  I would have to take my contacts out every time I decided to work on my projects.  The deadline loomed closer and closer and I actually asked the Buffyfest peeps to put me in a small group, because I was afraid I could not get these done in time.

And what did I chose to stitch?

To give you a sense of the size, here's a picture of the first one I did in the standard size along side the small one I did.  The quarter is for size reference.

teeeeeeeny stitches

Then it was time to mount them and at this, I fail.  I did not space them apart enough. Derrr!  Even with an Xacto knife, I am full o failure.  It was ugly and there was a lot of pulling of hair and gnashing of teeth.  In the end, though, I think I fared well.

I am also including some spare inch Artist Trading Cards I made with a stamp I carved, for a swap back in March.

I will be mailing these out tomorrow or Friday to the 4 other people in my group. If you're interested in really cool cross-stitch patterns, check out Velvet Elvii on Etsy.

Monday, November 28, 2011

2011 Florida ACDA Honor Choir

Again, Jacob auditioned for and made the 2011 Florida ACDA Honors Choir.  He made it last year too. Both years, he was the only one from his high school to go.

The 2011 Deland Music Festival?  Remember it landed last year on the same day as ACDA?  Yea.  Same thing this year!!  Last year I combined the day; this year I will do two separate posts.

Driving Jacob all over the place for rehearsals was soooo fun.  Um hmm.  They come from all over the state, including the Keys, so they can only rehearse the 2 days before.   That Thursday's rehearsal was at night but he had to miss school on Friday because it was an 8-hour rehearsal day. Saturday, I dropped him off at 9 a.m. for more rehearsals, before we went back for the 12:45 p.m. performance.

I love seeing these kids be so excited about chamber music!  Makes me have hope, you know?

 After the performance, his new teacher (who we ended up sitting next to totally by chance; he's the only kid from their school there) and we all went outside for pictures and talks about Candlelight at Epcot. Yes, more singing! I know you are thrilled!

Jacob with Mrs. King, his new choral director

After the concert, we headed off to lunch at Don Pablo's, where Jacob got many looks due to his attire.  :)

Here is one of the three songs performed at the 2011 Florida ACDA High School Honor Choir performance.

"Zadok the Priest" by Handel.  (Wait for it.  Scared the dickens out of Isabel when they started singing.)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Family Food & Fun

It is not often you get the five sisters ALL together in one shot.  Last time, it was 10/10/10, Brenda's wedding.  Before that?  I'm pretty sure it was my wedding; 09/15/2002.  We're just never available at one time!  This year, we were all together for Thanksgiving.  We were only missing one adult nephew and one spouse.

There was WAY too much food; it was a little ridiculous.  Tons of meats and tons of dessert.  I made a quick cake too.

Guess who took some home? No one!  It's all in my fridge!  Anyone wanting a snack? Come on over.

Dad and Kaleb have a staring contest.  Dad won.

Baby Giana eating her dinner.

Baby Ava snoozing away.

Lyric, the last one at the kiddie table.

Damian holding Sookie and Vixen.
We decided to go outside and take family pictures.  As I set up the tripod, I started taking random test shots. This picture below was totally candid.  They had no idea I was taking pictures.  It looks like some men's ad.

Youngest sister Lissette & hubby John

Eldest sister Brenda & Hubby Freddy

Let's go people! Why's Isabel so cranky?  I think Jake's yelling at her. 

The "good" family pictures are on the previous post here.

We decided to take a shot of the five sisters.  I went to the formal living room a.k.a. the piano room to set up.  The lighting is minimal in the room so I decided to mess with the shutter speed.

Oooooooh, ghoooooost!

Brenda, Janelys, Kaaren, Vicky & Lissette

My step-mom Nellie with the girls

Dad & Nellie with the girls in age order
Two sisters and dad/Nellie left that evening, while two sisters spent the night with their kids and hubbies.  It was a truly fun day.  I am thankful we were together.