Learning to Love the Laundry…

laundry picIt has been a while. There has been a lot that has happened in the last five months. So much so that I am not sure even where to start. We have seen God work in amazing ways. However, it doesn’t go without saying there have been trials;To the point that I have looked forward to the steady, regular chore of doing the laundry.

The adventure began in mid-June with Eric heading into a new job/career working with people who value his expertise and care about his entire well-being… in ARKANSAS. At the same time we were seriously considering selling our home in Texas. The job change just pushed us toward making that a reality. In the same turn we made a decision for the kids and I to stay in Texas. This would allow me time to prepare for finding a job in Arkansas in education and honor the direction EmBug is headed with her passion for the Theater and Vocal Arts and keep the course with the phenomenal programs offered in the district she currently attends school.

On top of all that another transition was us purchasing a home in Greenbrier, Arkansas where Eric will reside during the week near his job. Eric would then spend time in Texas on the weekends, and the kids and I have a “vacation home” to hang out on long weekends and holidays.

To further the changes Kritterman started Middle School and EmBug entered High School. It has been a roller coaster of changes. So when I say that I have learned to love the laundry, it is a strange, but true statement.

No matter the chaos, the laundry must be done. No matter what made the piles of dirty clothes, once they are clean they are ready to be worn again. I find myself folding the kids and my clothes from the past week and remembering the small moments when they were wearing a certain t-shirt and quipped some humorous comment, or how one certain item is in the laundry every week… and I smile, because I know in our upheaval, the kids have a piece of clothing that brings them consistency and comfort. Every time I do the laundry (usually over the weekend in about a 12 hour stint) I get a certain excitement in feeling like I am giving my whole family a chance start another week with a fresh start, just like Jesus gives us grace and a fresh start.

So, I am learning to love the laundry, my hope is that I am also giving this blog I write about our family life a fresh start. Our Razorback Ranch may have a few changes (the Razorback Ranchette in Texas and the New Razorback Ranch North in Arkansas) but the heart of our home is in our family and no matter where we are, we have the laundry I am learning to love for the consistency and continuity it represents. With that I am wanting to share our journey in simple uncomplicated ways and how God works… even in the tedium of laundry.

This is a STAGE in life… right?

I love my kids. I love my husband. I love my job. I love serving in my church. I love my family. I love my friends.

Easter 2017

Easter 2017 with Eric. Love this picture of us!

I love spending time with my kids and my husband. I don’t see my time I spend on my work outside of the normal working day as intrusive or excessive; I enjoy every minute of my job, even when some days the hours are long. I love serving in my church. I love and treasure the time I spend with my family. Unfortunately, not much is left for my friends.

As my time is being taken up more by my children’s events and activities, it leaves very little time for “friend time.” For me, if there is a conflict between my children’s events and activities, time with my husband and/or family time and an opportunity to spend it with my friends… it will always be kids, husband and family. Right now those conflicts are happening so much, I find myself disconnected from friends.

It’s my fault. However, I wouldn’t change the decision I have made to put my kids/ husband/family first. I have even seen it said that if you find your friendships fading it is because you have become self-absorbed or busy with your life, and not taken the time to invest in your friendships. I don’t disagree… but I can’t tell my kids I won’t be at their events, performances and moments. I also can’t tell my husband I would rather go out with the girls on a Saturday night after he has been traveling weeks at a time and wants to spend time with me.

So that brings me back to finding myself disconnected from friends. I don’t like that my friendships have grown apart, that I don’t have meaningful conversations with my friends on a frequent basis, or that I don’t get invited to fun nights out. That is on me.

So I ask myself, how do I fix that?

Well, you have to be a friend to have a friend, right? That requires time and investment, and I am right where I started. So I think I am resigning myself to the truth about this time in my life… it is a STAGE.

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Text from the parents of a family that Kritter gave a tour for Kindergarten Roundup. This is the school where he attends and I am the Assistant Principal.

I apologize to all my friends who may have assumed that I just didn’t want to be friends anymore because I never call… not true. I just am trying to stay one football game and musical performance ahead of my kiddos and still have a meaningful marriage.

I hope I don’t look back and regret that I didn’t make more effort to find the time for my friends. I do know I don’t regret a moment I have been present to treasure my husband or my kids.

It has been the surprise moments where I have chosen to be there for my kids that I have seen God work. Seen how they are growing up into amazing adults. They have also seen how their mom and dad love each other, because we spend what little time we have, together. So this STAGE… it won’t be long, and I am working on being content with that.

EmBug, age 14, Leading Youth Worship May 3rd, 2017

In Every Moment…

I will be honest. I don’t balance well. I am either all assistant principal, all mom, all wife, all friend… you get the idea. I am pretty sure if someone was to look at a scan of what dendrites were firing where in my brain, no one part of my brain would overlap. I am that compartmentalized in how I operate. Is it a fault or strength of focus… I don’t know.

When I am at work, it is all about work. That would be ok except my son attends the campus where I am an assistant principal. Sometimes that means that my mom life will intersect with my work life.

So this past week one of those intersections between mom and assistant principal occurred. We had our Spring Open house at school. I was helping in my role of assistant principal… all in my “work mode” compartment of my brain. Earlier I had arranged for my son to be picked up after school instead of “having” to stay through the Open House. He had declined the offer to go home early and, to my surprise, opted to stay. I had noticed, but didn’t think to ask him why. I quickly moved to the next thing I needed to do to be present for as an Assistant Principal. I attended the PTA meeting and then started serving pizza to families… my son was somewhere. I thought he was hanging out with some of the other teacher’s kids and was content.

In the midst of placing slices of pizzas on plates and handing to parents and students, I hear a urgent but quiet voice call, “Mom.”

I look beyond the family waiting for pizza in front of me and there stands my son. He says my name again, this time with a hint of sadness and pleading, “Mom.”

I respond, “What’s up buddy? Is everything ok?”

At that point his response is filled with exasperation and disappointment, “I wanted you to come see my work and show you my ePortfolio.”

Before I really think about my response, because my brain is still in the Assistant Principal compartment, I say, “I don’t know if I can, bud. I need to stay here.”

He is angry and before I can retract what just rolled out of my mouth… he is quickly exiting, but not before I can see the frustration and tears brimming in his eyes.

Suddenly the mom compartment of my brain kicks in and I turn to my counselor, serving with me. I tell her what I have suddenly realized. Kritterman had stayed because he wanted to show me his work. He wanted me to be his mom for a moment, not the assistant principal. He wanted us to be like every other son. I need to be Kritterman’s mom… just his mom.

I try to be what I need to be, whatever the role, in every moment. However, I realize I fall short most of the time.

This would be defeating if I didn’t know that I don’t have to be ALL in every moment.

gospel-of-john-1-prologue-1118-18-638Often we are told to “be the light.” I believe this is a misconstrued spiritual notion. Recently I have read and come to understand, Jesus “is the life, and that life is the light of all mankind.” (John 1: 4) I don’t have to “be” anything. I only need to seek him. He already seeks after me. He is the light. His light, when I seek him shines through me.

Unlike my son who sought me out and needed to remind me of what he needed, Jesus already knows our need. He does want us to ask and seek him, not because he doesn’t know, but because he wants to have a relationship with us. He loves us perfectly.

He is perfectly present in every moment with us. He wants to do life with us in every moment.

What I am coming to realize is that even though I compartmentalize my life, He is there in every moment. When I walk alongside Him and let His light shine through me in every part of my life, I am more in tune to loving others. I am able to be more of what others need, not by my own strength, but because of what He does in and through me.

It is a relief to now that I don’t have to “be the light”… He is enough, and He shines through me. When I fail to allow his light to shine through me, I fail in every moment. Thank goodness for His forgiveness and grace.

Later after the PTA evening was over and I was home, I sought out Kritterman. I apologized I hadn’t been the mom he needed in the moment when he called for me. He was quick to forgive, and tell me he loved me.

What a mighty Savior we have. When we call out to Him, He is already there… in every moment.

 

 

Where do you see yourself…

“Where do you see yourself in five years?” It is a question often asked of us whether it be over coffee, in a discussion with your spouse or in an interview. Five years ago I had a plan, but my plan isn’t where I saw myself… in fact it is much better than I imagined.

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Five years ago if you told me that I would run multiple races including several half marathons, a marathon and a participated in a sprint triathlon… I would have laughed at you. Five years ago if you told me that I would be teaching youth girls and LOVING it, I would have asked if you were sure you were talking to the right person. Five years ago if you had told me my husband would have a stroke and we would be stronger for the experience and our family would be happier than it has ever been before, I would have been overcome with fear. Five years ago if you had told me that it would take almost five years to realize the place I saw myself in five years… an assistant principal, I would have responded in anger and frustration, questioning why it would take so long.

But now I look back at the five years and am filled with gratitude both for the celebrations, accomplishments and the struggles. Gratitude for the friendship that was forged through the running with a dear friend that knew better than I did that I was capable and would run half marathons, a marathon and participate in a triathlon. I am filled with gratitude for the deep, authentic relationships I have formed with my youth girls that I have now been teaching and learning with for three years. I am beyond grateful that Eric’s stroke has not created huge limitations for him, but has provided a reset and restart on life for us all that has forged deeper bonds between us and our children and brought us closer as a family… and fear has not won! And crazy as it sounds, I am so profoundly filled with gratitude that  the time it took for me to take my next step in my career was when God’s timing was right for me to step into the role of assistant principal. It happened in perfect timing in a place that is a fit that is so perfect I often can’t believe it.

The better question might be: “What do you hope to learn about yourself and others in the next five years and how will you use that to impact the world around you?”

That is what I am trying to answer. I have deeply learned it is more than alright to have plans, but the plans I have are not always the best plans. I have learned that God’s plans are what is best for me. I don’t know what the next five years will hold for me… I have aspirations. I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have aspirations, but this next five years is with less trying to “shoe-horn” my plans, and more relying on God. He has shown me to have my best interest at heart, and frankly He is due my trust and faith. He has proven to me, even when I have not been faithful to Him. So my next five years I will strive to trust Him more, live by the faith I proclaim and let Him speak through me in my actions to impact the world around me for HIS glory.

I am looking forward to the next five years… the trials and the celebrations. In every moment and opportunity He is leading me to where He feels I best fit into His design… and I love that is where I “see myself in the next” five years… and for an eternity.

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When God Provides a Window…

When Kritterman andgod-opens-a-window-meme EmBug were little we would ask them, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Over the years EmBug has wanted to be Taylor Swift, an artist, and a “Cat Lady,” yes, a “Cat Lady.” Kritterman has wanted to be a Lego designer, an astronaut and a video game designer.

As a parent you wonder will their aspirations and dreams become a reality. Do their gifts and talents align? And then you are given a gift, a window to see the possibility. We all believe in our kids. We do our best to provide them every opportunity. We celebrate their accomplishments and we hope upon hope that their dreams will become a reality.

em-lion-kingLately our home has been a bustle. EmBug began the school year as part of the cast of the Northwest ISD Middle School Musical Production The Lion King. She had practices every day after school and even a Saturday for the first four weeks of school. All the while she kept up her school work and managed all A’s by the end of the first marking period. She loves the stage and every piece of what makes theater, theater.

Between this event and now she has had a choir concert, another theater performance Attack of the Zombies, planned and put on a school dance with her Student Council as STUCO president, practiced for an upcoming piano competition, all while prepping, practicing and trying out for All-Region Choir. She is my workhorse. She is efficient with her time and her resources. She excels at whatever she puts her mind to do.

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As a mother, though, I wondered… what is it that she really wants to do? What does she see herself doing? Recently EmBug has been talking passionately about wanting to be a secondary Choir teacher and more specifically a Region clinician. Her experience last year at all-Region Choir, UNT Choir Camp this summer and the ongoing impact of her Choir teacher Lauren Wilemon had spurred her to this new found path. I was excited for her, but I wondered if it was the environment or it was innately her.

Then God gave me a window. It wasn’t during a performance. It was at all-Region tryouts as the group warmed up. Her face was in complete love of what she was doing, she wasn’t just “warming up” she was feeling the music, she was moved by the notes and the story the song was telling, every part of her was in-tune to the notes and the song… she may have been in the middle of the gym floor with twenty something other girls around her, and yet it was if no one else was there and a spot-light was on her. In that moment I saw her as the Secondary Choir Teacher and Region Clinician she desires to be. I saw the promise of her future.

With Kritterman being a bit younger and having a sister that is passionately into everything, it concerns a mother, if his dreams and passions also being developed. While EmBug and Kritterman are very different, the same hope and desire for him to find what he aspires to be is there. With Kritterman is hasn’t been as hard to determine where his interests lie and what he wants to do. He’s my linear, mathematical, logical thinker. Anything that has to do with building Legos, solving puzzles, playing video games and trying experiments, especially with “how things work” he is “ALL IN.” So being a Lego designer, astronaut or video game designer isn’t a surprise. He too has had experiences and influential people in his life. The many summer Techno Camps where he has built and programmed Lego Robots, the opportunities he has had to teach others both in person and through video tutorials about how to build and program Lego Robots, and the teachers who have recognized and encouraged his passion for the mathematical/logical through activities and projects has only encouraged his desires to create and design through the use of technology. He excels with anything that involves design, mathematics and problem solving. He tells his dad and I he wants to be a Computer Science Engineer or a Film Director (while flying in space… he’s learned he can be the other and be an astronaut, logical, right?)

kritter-determines-the-volume-of-a-cubeAs a mother, I wondered if the math and programming is just what he is good at, or is this something he loves… is he passionate about it? Then his current math teacher Courtney Baker, emails me an image of his work where he figured out the volume of a box before he is taught the formula. He is able to problem solve how to determine the volume without being taught it. Was the strategy most efficient? No, that is what the formula provides. However, he determined how to get there, much like the original mathematician who determined the formula.

A few weeks later, after many afternoons after school spending time in the same teacher’s flex space of her classroom, trying, trouble shooting and fine tuning he programmed a “Dash and Dot” to do a behavior that was inspired by a “YouTube Video.” It was a complete synthesis and redesign of a pop-culture social media sensation transferred to a computer programmed technology device.

Once again, God gave me a window. I never doubt Kritterman’s resolve. He knows himself and his strengths. When he successfully combined the programming of the “Dash and Dot” with the influence of a “viral” YouTube with his own twist of humor, I saw how limitless his future will be. Who knows, one day he may be flying in deep space, programming computers and sharing via video with his own twist of humor using the knowledge he gained both now and through the completion of a dual major in Computer Science Engineering and Film Production.

 

It is exciting as a parent to see your children pursue their passions, it is even more exciting to be given a brief window into what the future may hold for them. It is very possible their future may look very different from what it appears it could be right now. I may have a passionate future Secondary Choir Director and future Computer Programmer/Film Producer on his way to Infinity and Beyond. It is fun to think of the possibility and at the same time I am enjoying the present and the joy in both their faces as they both fully invest in the joy of living and learning. I love it when God gives us a window and allows us to capture these moments, much like Mary who “pondered these things in her heart.”

 

 

Hitting the Reset Button…

Reset buttonSince the last post “In This Storm,” our family has experienced first hand God’s providence and care. Eric has been restored to full employment. I have been blessed to transition into a new position as assistant principal at an elementary near our home in the school district I have worked for the past 8 years. Emmarie was able to go on a mission trip to Corpus Christi (mom, too), attend UNT Choir Camp, go to Summer Church Camp and end the summer starting rehearsals for the Middle School Musical, Lion King. Kristopher became fully engrossed in the digital phenomenon of Pokemon, Go!, created stop motion videos via NISD Stop Motion Camp and continued to learn more about robotics through the NISD Lego Robotics camp.

I will not minimize that the first half of 2016 was rough. I have said many times in the first six months of this year… “I am ready for 2017, 2016 needs to make a quick exit!” However, I would not trade the life lessons: our family growing closer through the difficulties and seeing my children, husband and my own faith grow. These experiences have also helped me to be grateful and less consumed with the small “hiccups of life.”

As educators, we have two New Year’s. There is January 1st and then there is the first day of a new school year. We are lucky to have the opportunity to start a new calendar year and then a new school year. This year I am using it as a “reset button.”

We have already faced some challenges with our “new normal.” This includes Eric being in California for 10 days and missing Meet the Teacher and our first day of school. That’s not what we are going to focus on, rather, we are looking forward to the ways we can embrace the changes.

Sendera Admin TeamPart of that is me reaching out to my village of support, setting aside my default to do everything on my own, and not stressing about the small stuff. God has got this and he has already placed me in a web of support that is better than I could have ever hoped.

Here’s to the 2016-17 school year and hitting the reset button!

 

In This Storm…

plot twist

I have fallen into a Social Media trap. I post and brag about the perfection in my family’s life. I don’t share the ugly, the weaknesses, the shortcomings, the failures. It was ok for me to share the perfection. I was good with sharing, bragging, boasting of the things I had done, my husband had done or my children had done.

“Look at how ‘blessed’ I am,” is what I was saying…

But where was God in all this? Where was my reliance on my savior? Where was the being ok, if everything isn’t ok?

And then the domino of events began…

First, my husband had a minor stroke in January. Then, after that, there was a series of minor events where hopes were dashed and financial concerns surfaced. In every situation I kept saying to myself: “this is not a big deal; we can get through this; it could be worse.”

Of course, in true educator fashion, I kept plowing through events, thinking… “Once summer break is here, I can reflect, reorganize and refocus. It will all be better with a break and a little vacation.”

Then it came, Memorial Day Weekend, the small domino of events chipping away at my resolve turned from a snowball of concern to the impending doom of an avalanche. My husband was pursued via litigation by a previous employer. For the next three weeks everyday was an unknown and my unease and fears grew. I hadn’t had the opportunity to reflect, reorganize, or refocus. Vacation was off the calendar, too. Then Friday, the final blow. His present employer stepped away. No income.

So my pseudo-perfect world came crashing down. I found myself feeling vulnerable, afraid and questioning why. Why is God letting this happen?

Then sweet friends have come to my side. Encouraging me in hugs, prayers and sending me words of encouragement and scripture. It is amazing.

I feel “blessed” but in a humble and undeserving way. A way which I did not create or design. In the same way I was given Christ’s love, undeserved and without condition.

Our little family has come together, and in true humor we are yelling “Plot Twist!” (see above meme) Having faith that God knows the plan. A plan not based on our actions but His character; we are confident we are loved and cared for by a God much greater than us.

I saw a video this weekend at my church’s service. It was a lead into the message that focused on father’s. Over and over again, the message from the father’s in the video was “You’ve got this.” I don’t think I have “got this” except with the Father by my side, I know “He’s got this!”

This morning I was reading His Word and trying to find peace in this season. My sister texted me the scripture below. It is the most comforting words I have received so far… and, of course, it is His word!Ps 143 vs 1 to 12

As I go forward, I am not sure what the plan is. I will continue to post moments of things that my family have done that make my heart happy (plus I have grandparents to keep up to date on the latest about the kiddos). However, I am working on not making this about what I have done or deserve, but the true, transparent work God is doing in me and my family. I am working to be less perfect and more what is the real us. So just to let you know I am trying to #keepitreal and #keepitpositive, while giving the credit of all of this life I have to the one who provides… Abba, Father.

I will praise Him in all things. I will praise Him… IN THIS STORM.

 

 

Kritterman’s Top 15 of 2015

Never a Dull Moment when we can Dubsmash!

Kritterman had a banner year in many ways. He took his first state standardized test this spring. Got his own phone on when he turned 10 years old and has taken on lots of new opportunities and responsibilities at school and at home. As mentioned, he moved from a one digit age into the world of two digit ages. This year’s list reflects not only his accomplishments and new responsibilities, but his ongoing passions and newly discovered passions.

Battle of the Books team 14

15. Early in 2015 Kritterman took the many hours of reading from a specific list of books and participated in Battle of the Books at his elementary campus. While his team did not win at the campus level, his dedication to read and work with a team of fellow readers further encouraged his love of reading.

14. One exciting new responsibility is helping Dad mow the lawn. That involves driving the tractor (or sitting lawnmower). In late February was his maiden “voyage” and he’s been helping Eric ever since… that is until the tractor bit the dust! Yes, we are on the hunt for some new wheels and nothing would make Kritterman happier than to be back in the driver’s seat!

Techno Expo 2015 Kritter

13. Kritterman continued to showcase his learning through his favorite medium… technology. For the fourth year in a row Kristopher presented at our district’s Techno Expo. You can read a previous post about him and his sister “#digitalLearning… It’s a Family Affair.” He continues to amaze us how he utilizes digital tools to emphasize his strengths and support other learners.

destination imagination team 2015

12. For the third year Kritterman competed in Destination Imagination with his team. They practiced for hours months before the regional competition. It is amazing how much he enjoys this truly kid driven, creative problem solving competition.

spring soccer 2015

11.Soccer continues to be a love of Kritterman’s with him playing  Outdoor Spring, Summer Indoor and Outdoor Fall seasons, with a total of 3 1/2 years of soccer. He truly enjoys being able to play on the same team, the Firebirds, with the same coach for several seasons.

10. Kritterman spent the two previous summers attending the district Lego Robotics Club and his skills have grown exponentially. He was asked by special invite to join 4th and 5th graders to be part of his school’s Robotics Club. This led to him having the opportunity to be part of a presentation at Northwest ISD’s  Night of No Limits (a Problem Based Learning- PBL Showcase). He continued to attend the robotics camp in Summer of 2015 and earned half of what was needed to purchase his very own Lego EV3 Robotics Kit so he could pursue his passion for robotics and programming at home.

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9. While our aim is to always be at school, when we found out Kritterman had earned an award of Perfect Attendance we were both surprised and thrilled. It wasn’t our pursuit.. it just happened. So, when the end of the 2014-15 school year awards came around it was worth celebrating!

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8. Did you read #12 and #10? Need I say more? Attending his 3rd Lego Robotics Camp was his thrill… his bot did not win the battle like he had hoped but he has plans for this year. Watch out world… or at least all the other campers!

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7. This year was Kritterman’s “decade” birthday. We wanted to do it in style. EmBug and Mom were on a mission trip on his actual birthday, June 23rd, so to make a big splash a Minion Birthday Party was planned early in July for the opening weekend of the movie “The Minions” at the luxurious dine and watch movie theater, The Moviehouse.

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6. When you have your own YouTube channel, blog and have created video tutorials for robotics programming you might be asked to sit on a panel and be asked questions by educators wanting to know why technology in the classroom is important to how you learn. This happened this summer at an Educator Conference called 1:World where Kritterman with a handful of other students shared the importance of technology for their own learning.

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5. In September Kritterman took a road trip with Mom and Dad to go to the Texas Tech vs. Arkansas football game in Fayetteville. This was his first trip with Mom and Dad all to himself and he enjoyed being their focus of attention and celebrating the Hogs!

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4. Together Kritterman and Mom ran several 5Ks throughout 2015 (Reindeer Romp- December, Larry’s Run in Bentonville, Arkansas- September, and Run for Change- April). This has helped develop a new interest and a determination.

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3.Of course part of running some of the 5Ks were motivated by the challenge to run a total of 26.2 miles for the the Marathon Club he participated in the fall of 2015. He reached his goal of 26.2 miles when he ran his final 5K of 2015 at the Reindeer Romp. It won’t be long before he will be passing Mom and beating her to the finish line.

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2. How can it be said other than this boy loves Legos. No box of Legos can be left undone. Any extra cash, birthday money or Christmas money goes to a new Lego kit.

1. What do you do when you get a video of your son at a sleep over demonstrating his second time on a Pogo stick… and he has wicked Pogo stick skillz? You modify the Christmas list… 3 days before Christmas!

There are lots of other joys, celebrations and accomplishments that any grandmother, aunt or mother would want to share, but for the rest of us, if you are still reading, this list is already way to long and must come to a close. We are looking forward to 2016 and as this post is getting it’s final touches Kritterman is already accomplishing more things worthy of posting. Here’s to hoping, as a mom, Kirsten can capture the events in a more timely manner throughout 2016! If not, know we will have another list of Top Events next year… we may be too busy enjoying the moment to get it published on the blog.

It wouldn’t be a post on Kritterman if we didn’t say, “May the Force Be With You… and build on!”

EmBug’s Top 14 of 2015

EmBug is our STAR, if there is a stage she is most at home, front and center. It’s not that she demands that attention off the stage, she’s actually very quick to disappear into a crowd, but when given an authentic stage, the audience, the script/song and the spotlight, she shines. Here are the top ways she “shined” in 2015.

Em techno expo 1514. February 26th EmBug presented twice at Techno Expo (Our School District’s Student Technology Showcase). She shared her Google Site of her Summer Reading Project and her group collaboration on Mechanical Energy.

13. Singing in any situation keeps EmBug’s spirits high and anyone else around her. Her rendition of “Don’t Rain on my Parade” in early March while doing the dishes entertained many when Kirsten posted on Facebook.

12. Performing as Dionysus, the main narrator, of the Greek Theater festival at her middle school at the end of March.greek festival em 2015

11. Performing at NISD Spring Solo and Ensemble and earning I’s in mid- April.Solo Ensemble Orchestra 15

10. Performing in her last concert with, the children’s performance choir, Cantare’ on April 30th.



9. It began in May and was an amazing experience, and still is. EmBug now sings with the FOTP Worship Band during youth and adult services on various occasions during worship services.

8. The end of 2014-15 School Year Awards EmBug earned Top PreAP 6th Grade Girl for Science and Top 6th Grade Girl Theater student.

6th grade EOY Awards EmBug

7. May 31st she competed in the National Guild Piano competition… our pianist earned a Superior Plus Rating (national standing). She performed 10 songs fully memorized and perfectly executed before a nationally certified judge.

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6. In June EmBug and Kirsten went on their first mission trip to Houston, Texas. The Houston Mission trip with Fellowship of the Parks (FOTP) Youth to the 5th Ward helping with Generation ONE was an amazing experience for both and are already making plans to participate in this year’s FOTP Youth Mission Trip.

5. Once again our thespian tried out for our district’s Middle School Musical and earned a part in the play “High School Musical.” She played the role of “Cyndra”- a very mislead self-proclaimed “opera singer.” It was a thrill to see her and her fellow cast come alive and deliver an outstanding performance that rivaled college theater performances.

EmBug in HS Musical

4. This next mention can’t capture the hard work and determination that EmBug put into polishing her gift of singing. She started her 7th grade year in the 7th Grade Concert Girls Choir after trying out in the spring for Varsity Girls Choir and not making it. Her dyslexia has always required her to work harder and learn additional strategies to succeed at the highest level. At the tryouts the sight reading proved to be too much. Even though we thought that there was no chance to make it into the Varsity Choir in the fall, she worked all summer long to improve her sight reading skills. A change in staff in the choir department in August opened up the opportunity for an additional chance to try out and this time she made it into the Varsity Girls Choir with flying colors. However, the story doesn’t end there. She then determined that she would make the All Region Choir. In the midst of all preAP classes, piano lessons, musical practice, church volunteer work, youth group and family responsibilities she persevered and practiced. She tried out and made 4th Chair Second Soprano in the Highest All-Region Choir. A huge accomplishment for anyone but an even greater personal success for a 7th Grade girl who struggles with sight reading due to Dyslexia.

All Region Choir 15 EmBug.jpg

Lion With Wardrobe Fall 15.jpg

3. In the fall EmBug’s One Act Play class performed “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.” While she did not have a speaking part, she did enjoy imitating a deer. What was more impressive is that Kirsten successfully crafted a “deer-like” costume for her. We are not sure if this is one of EmBug’s top celebrations or Kirsten’s! đŸ™‚

EmBugs 13th Bday

2. Teenager in the House! This year EmBug crossed the threshold into “teenager.” She is never without a creative thought or idea. Her celebration with friends this year was no different. She planned the whole outing, having her friends take a timed trip to Goodwill with $15 to find items to dress like a Christmas symbol or character they pulled from a hat. Then the entourage was chauffeured by Mama Wilson to the Fort Worth Stockyards where they completed the Maze… made famous by the Reality TV Show “Amazing Race.” This was followed by a “selfie” treasure hunt challenge also planned by EmBug. The night ended by watching “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” and eating pizza. There was no lack of giggling and it was a memorable night for all the girls.

1. This year we added a new tradition to our Christmas Eve. Embug helped as part of a Candlelight Choir during our church’s four Candlelight Christmas Eve Services. As she grows up her activities change. What an awesome opportunity to watch her use her gifts to bring joy to others. What was more exciting was the opportunity for EmBug and Kirsten to sing in the last service together.

EmBug and the Cat Sling

There are many other items we could include. The dance where she “Wobbled” her way out of her knee cap. Her Student Council and Fellowship of Christian Athletes leadership and participation. Her work with the 3 year-olds at Church on Sundays. Her culinary curiosity that has led to many a prepared meal for the family. Even her winning the FOTP Youth Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest might be worth mentioning, but seriously, at this point only the grandmothers are reading this and it has to stop somewhere! She is an amazing daughter and we are so looking forward to every day and what it will bring.

Here’s to another amazing year with EmBug!

Where did the time go?

Christmas party parker products 2015

Somewhere between the last snow day in March of 2015 and January 1st, 2016 my good intentions and many plans to blog about events, activities and celebrations remained unwritten and many images are still stored in “the cloud.”

So in an attempt to capture what was missed the next 3 posts for “The Wilson Family Stories from Razorback Ranch” blog will consist of a list of Embug’s, Kritterman’s and our Family’s top events of 2015.

Hopefully in 2016 the posts will be frequent, short and keep us smiling!

 

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