Sunday, March 31, 2019

Smoky Mountain Flute Invitational

What a weekend!

Daniel attended the Smoky Mountain Flute Invitational for the third year in a row.  Friday night he went with his flute instructor for rehearsals, concerts and a workshop in playing Celtic music.  We pulled into home around midnight! 

 Photo credit: Karen Hamilton

Photo credit:  Karen Hamilton

Early Saturday morning (like 5 1/2 hours of sleep--early), we got Tera checked in for the chess tournament while JP walked Daniel across campus to the music building for his second day of the flute invitational event.  

While we spent the day biting our nails over chess games, Daniel attended master classes, workshops and concerts.  He also had a chance to network with flute professors and professionals connected with various colleges and universities.  


After the awards ceremony, we found out there was a 5K race going in the downtown area. So we walked straight from the chess tournament over to pick up Daniel trying to make our way across streets crowded with what seemed like THOUSANDS of people.  After locating Daniel, JP's expert map skills got us back to the parking garage avoiding the race almost entirely.  We had to drive in the opposite direction that we intended, but he still navigated us out of town without encountering any detours whatsoever!  He is so awesome! 

We headed to our favorite Mexican restaurant for a late night dinner and finally arrived home about 14 hours after we left!  Another late night, but so thankful the kids had the opportunity to participate in their events.  I was especially thankful that the two events were within walking distance of each other---almost 16,000 steps worth of walking distance, but who's counting?  

2019 TN All-Girls Chess Championship

Ever since Tera started playing chess, she has wanted to play in an all girls tournament.  While she was actively playing a couple of years ago, there were no tournaments close enough for us to attend.  Until yesterday!!!

A official from our local region contacted us to alert Tera about the upcoming Tennessee GIRLS tournament that would be LOCAL!!!  I told her she really had to do it!  She has so much on her plate, but she prepared in her spare time online and with Daniel.  

What an awesome experience for her senior year!  

 Sitting, waiting and walking was how the rest of us spent the day.  Almost 16000 steps total! 

Going into the day, Tera's pretty lofty goal was to finish in the top three.  It was a nerve-wracking day to say the least.  You never know how a chess day is going to go--ups and downs.  Two hour-long games that wear you out times FOUR!  

But she did it!  Third place overall!!!!!  

There was a three-way tie that would have required a playoff for a scholarship to the engineering program at UTK, but Tera is NOT even remotely interested in that field of study.  So, she retained her third place ranking and let the other two players play the tie-breaking game.  I'm proud of her for knowing what she wants and letting others that would actually benefit from that scholarship compete for it.  Most of the people there did not understand her decision, but we did!  That's one of the things we love about that girl! 

She got a nice chess swag bag and is waiting on her third place trophy to arrive.  Definitely one of the best highlights of her senior year! 

Daniel also had a pretty big event on the same campus that day, as well. I'll post about the mad dash at the end of the day and Daniel's event in another post.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Indian Chief

Last week, Daniel had the privilege of joining a local ballet company in their production of "Peter Pan" as a flute playing Indian chief.  He jumped right in, figured out what he was going to play on his bamboo flute while all 500+ audience and cast members' eyes were upon him.  He did SUPERB!!!!  

I will applaud his resilience for being able to pull something together with only 3 rehearsals on top of his already full school and extra-curricular schedule.  This boy amazes me!   He had such a wonderful time, but was definitely ready to come home after being around so many people for 4 days straight!  

Hot Wheels and Pill bugs

Michael is settling into a phase of play that I'm really enjoying seeing.  We are in a transition period here.  Tera is graduating in a couple of months and Daniel will be graduating next year.  Sometimes it feels like Michael is right on their heels in this growing up business.  He has really enjoyed participating in 4-H this year and with that has come quite a bit of competition opportunities .  While I think competition is an important learning experience, too  much of a good thing is never good.  In a couple of weeks he will compete at the county level in the 4th grade demonstration event as well as a photography contest.  We've known about this for a while and he's ready.  

Since then, two other competitive events came up and he wanted to participate in both of those as well.  We did contemplate it.  We even scheduled an extra private lesson in karate in preparation  and did research on a design for the other event.  But then something happened...

Last week, Michael went on a play date and re-discovered Hot Wheels.  Something changed.  We went from him practicing and talking about competitions to  just playing.  Now, he still wanted to compete in both the events.  BUT when I saw that he was spending more time collecting pill bugs and playing with Hot Wheels tracks than wanting to prepare for competition I wasn't convinced any more.  

I informed him and then his teacher that he wouldn't be competing.  I know they were both a bit disappointed and I have questioned whether or not we were did the right thing   But JP and I  felt he just wasn't ready... ready for the pressure, ready for the extra practices/work/commitment--he needs to just be a kid for as long as he wants to be.  Yes, he COULD do both, but not with our schedule as it is now. 

Today he had a friend over for a game day (board and card games) and then he just wandered around the yard in quiet contemplation and play.  We prepped for a big day his siblings have tomorrow and he went to fencing.  Not once has competition come up.  

It's in these moments of reflection that I don't regret letting him have that freedom of childhood that is so easily lost in our society (and even our family) today.  There will be plenty of times that he will be able to compete in things that he enjoys, but the days of Hot Wheels and pill bugs pass away quicker than we would hope! 

Friday, March 15, 2019

Not Spring Break

Everyone in our area is on spring break this week, but not us!    The sunshine lured us outside and to the gym quite a bit more.  I mowed for the first time of the season and a kid in the neighborhood stopped by to play with Michael. 

Michael had a more "relaxed" schedule in science and art as we continued learning about Kandinsky and clouds from last week's Fun Friday lessons.

Tera's been producing some major projects this week for the WW2 British history unit.   If this girl could find a career where she got to work on these kinds of projects every day, she would be one happy camper! 

The van had some maintenance repairs done at the beginning of the week.  We finally got Tera's graduation announcements picked up and her graduation gown steamed.  Her senior bio was submitted and she'll begin working on her scholarship application soon.  

3 karate classes and a little doggie therapy.

 The sun is shining in the window and I'm so thankful for this bit of springtime weather and warmer temperatures, even if we aren't on spring break. 

Monday, March 11, 2019

25 years today...

Since we went on a day trip yesterday for our anniversary, today happened to be more of a normal day for us.  JP had already scheduled the day off, so we made arrangements to have the van checked out--oil change, brake job, etc.  We dropped the van off, picked up Tera from work and dessert for dinner.  

I put a pork loin with potatoes, carrots and onions in the crockpot for dinner. (Once I made horrible chili for our anniversary, and vowed to always have a nice meal for special occasions even if we had already celebrated!)   

School with the kids, while JP went out bargain shopping.  Picked up graduation announcements, Tera's graduation gown from the dry cleaners and the car from the shop.  JP found Tera the record player she's been wanting for a great price.

Dinner and dessert with the kids and exchanging presents. 

When JP and I were dating, the first gift he gave me was a bracelet just like this one. Years later we took it be repaired; they replaced the clasp with a different one. One day it fell off and I lost it. To say I was upset is a severe understatement. I still hope that one day I'll find it in the house somewhere, but so far after several years I haven't. 

Today on our 25th anniversary, JP surprised me with a new bracelet just like my other one with the original type barrel clasp. The jeweler told him they didn't make those clasps anymore, but he happened to have one and they custom made the bracelet. I cried...I love that man of mine!

The Gardens and Deerpark Restaurant

We really enjoyed walking around the conservatory and hiking on the grounds of the Biltmore during our day trip there.  The gardens were some of my favorite parts of our day and I wish that more things had been in bloom outside, because I'm sure it is gorgeous! 

I wore forsythia in my hair the day we were married 25 years ago. It was the only thing blooming on our college campus.   It's our flower...

For our splurge dinner, we chose the Deerpark Restaurant.  The seating was comfortable and relaxed and our waitress was awesome.  The servers we encountered on the buffet line were not top of the line--either for skill or attitude.  The food was fine, but not as good as I thought it would be.  There were a couple of items that I really liked.   It was nice for a one-time experience, but I wouldn't visit there again.  We both left pleasantly full, but not overly stuffed.  (I know my zoomed-in pictures look like there is tons of food on my plates.) 


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