29 July 2012

Sambalam turns Thirteen

When she was born, on July 26, 1999, we named her Samantha Marie.  Then we called her Sambalam-badingdong.  The Schmooperdoodle.  Sambernista.  Mansantha.  Simba.  She grew.  (She's now taller than Rachel, who is 16 months older....shhhh.)
Samantha is now 13.  It happened in an instant.

We had a family dinner - Samantha chose egg salad sandwiches red velvet cake.  Rachel made her cake and borrowed a cool rose cakepan from our family friend, Elizabeth.  I thought they turned out great.  Samantha opened presents - new specs pictured here from Grandad and Grandmom, a Visa gift card from Poppop Jim and Mommaw Jean, plus the Vera Bradley bag she's been wanting and a few new shirts from dear old Dad and Mom.  She had friends stop by with candy and Bath and Body Works sprays - her favorite!

On Saturday, I took Samantha and her best bud Laura to get a new experience - pedicures.  Samantha says it tickled.  Laura had never had one either and the two of them have already decided that for Laura's birthday, they will be going back for manicures!  Isn't this a cool shot of Laura? She was reading a magazine, and this was my view. 

This is the finished product - pretty toes!

A little more on Samantha, for her entry in the teenage years.  At thirteen, she is entering the 8th grade.  She is taking AP classes and dances for the school dance team.  She is athletic.  She doesn't like to cook.  Her hair is actually very curly - she straightens it.  Samantha is NOT a morning person, but, when her head hits the pillow, she's OUT!  She plays with Jay Michael and does her sisters hair.  Of all our children, she is the one most often alone.  She treasures her family, but, she likes to break away from the pack.  She loves fruit.  Samantha says she will live at home until she finishes college.  She prefers summer to winter.  She likes to go places and explore.  Samantha does not like to watch TV, but she does like movies.  She says she doesn't want to drive, but, we'll see about that when it comes her next birthday.  She is moody - storming away one minute and asking what's for desert the next.  Samantha is kind, and fair.  She will break up an argument of her siblings and wants to keep the peace.  She is outdoorsy and is not afraid to get messy.  She's a confidant and friend to her older sister and a playmate and protector of her younger sisters and brother. 

We love you, Schmoop.  You are a vital and vibrant part of our family and we want you to succeed and shine.  Go get 'em, Samantha!

23 July 2012

Piranhas, 2012

Another swim season is over.  Charlotte competed for the local parks and rec team, in the 9/10 age division.  Her best times at the end of the season were all better than when she began, and that is the ultimate goal of swimming - it's a sport not so much about beating others, but, it's about beating your own best.

Charlotte had two main coaches - Coach Debbie (in blue) and Coach Andie (in yellow).  The team practiced Monday through Thursday from 7:30 to 9:00 am.  Charlotte was up and ready every morning - no complaints.  She qualified for the Arkansas state meet in four strokes (everything but breastroke - not her favorite). 

Here are her times:
50 yard freestyle: 36.94 - GOLD (ranked #13 in the state)
50 yard backstroke: 47.59 - SILVER (ranked #23 in the state)
50 yard butterfly: 43.09 - GOLD (ranked #7 in the state)
100 yard IM: 1:36:39 - SILVER (ranked #17 in the state)

We are so proud of you, Charlotte - swim fast, swim hard!

20 July 2012

Josephine at work....

Everyone is having such a busy summer.  Rae is driving, Samantha is dancing, Charlotte is swimming, and Josephine is...going to work with Mom.  Today at work was purposely quiet.  The attorney I work for was not in, and so the other assistant and I use days like these to catch up, organize and enlist child labor for chores like shredding.
See that huge stack of paper?  It's probably 700 pages.  Joey's job today was to shred.  All day.  'Til it's gone.  She got the job done.  See that white trash bag she's using as a chair?  It's the first bag of shredding she filled today.  It made a fine shred stool.

Shredding is messy.  Joey had to take sweeping brakes, which she used to fill the time while the shredder was cooling down.  She used it non-stop, and it would shut off when it became too hot.  Shredding is also noisy.  She had to be mindful of when a client would pop in the office, or when we were on the phone - she could only shred if conditions were right. 

At the end of her eight hour work day (except a lunch break - Popeye's, her favorite place to eat) - Joey had filled five bags with freshly shredded paper.  She carried them to the dumpster, too!  A good day's work and a good day hanging out with Mom at the office!  Thank you, Josephine!

19 July 2012

Dance Team 2012

Last spring Samantha tried out for the dance team for her junior high school.  Only 20 girls make the team and they dance at the football and basketball games, plus pep rallies and school spirit-type events.  She was so excited to make it - she worked hard and earned her spot.  This past week, the team traveled to a college about an hour away and spent time together learning new skills, team building and preparing for the upcoming season.  This picture is Samantha in her competition outfit - after she returned from her week.  Her coach had great things to say about her individually and about the team, she had a half dozen ribbons for her own efforts at camp.  She's off to a great start (and she teaches the rest of us her moves!).  Way to go, Samantha!

16 July 2012

On the road!

In the great state of Arkansas, some politician, some long time ago, somehow thought that 14 years old is old enough to ---- drive a car.  Yes, it's true.  At 14, Rachel took the test for her permit.  She passed on the second go round - the first time she took the test she discovered she was studying from the wrong material.  Now with permit in hand, she can drive a car with any licensed driver over 18 years old.  She drives our family all over town now, and considers it her newest right.  Actually, she does really well.  She asks questions as we go, and she's learning and gaining judgment.  Way to go, Rachel.  At 16, she can get a permit and drive alone.  I think that will be the really scary part for me.  At least now I'll be in the passenger seat if something happens.  Parenting is hard.

14 July 2012

What happened today?

'Joyeux Le Quatorze Juillet'  Celebrating the French revolution is almost as American as celebrating our own Independence day, right?  I mean, America DID lead the way and show those Parisian peasants how to take back their government, didn't they?  Vive-le revolution!  We may call it Bastille Day, but, don't say that to a Frenchmen.  He'd be lost.  It would be like a Frenchmen telling an American, "Happy Sign the Declaration Day".  Just say Happy July 14!

12 July 2012

Allergies ...

Jay Michael was borm with asthma and allergies.  He's been medicated, treated and hospitalized.  Do you think any of this could slow him down?  Nope.  He had a check up with his pediatric allergist last week and he got 34 pricks in his back, to test 34 allergens.  The bad news is that he is still allergic to all nuts.  This is serious allergy, but, his numbers have improved.  He also still reacts strongly to grass.  The good news is that he is no longer reacting to two of his old triggers - eggs and dogs.  So, NO NUTS for JayMichael, but, he's getting better.  On the asthma side, he is still wheezey when he's outside for long (uhm, soccer....but that doesn't stop him) and he breathes heavily at night while he sleeps.  He's medicated for the asthma, and he is very good about his breathers - his beaving teetmint - as he calls it.

07 July 2012

Girls' Camp

The ladies go to Girls' Camp after they turn 12. It's almost a week long and they have classes, do outdoorsy stuff and it's all based on the curriculum at church. This year the ladies went three hours north of home to Mena, and suffered through 100+ temperatures. They will probably tell you it isn't their favorite summer activity, but, look at these smiles.  They are having fun! They came back singing silly camp songs and made some friends with the other girls from all over Arkansas.

This is a cabin, (not bad accommodations for their week), and the last picture is from Bishop's night - the one night that the girls get a visitor from home, Bishop and Sister King, sitting to his left.  Rachel is in the background, behind Sister King and Samantha seems to be telling us all to be quiet.  Who knows what they were up to...

02 July 2012

Two Years Later

I came across this picture today - the ladies and JayMichael posing for the monthly snapshot.  This one was taken in July 2010 - just two short years ago.  They look so little to me.  We've had a few changes in the past two years, but, they are still the same sweet happy kids two years later.  I just love my BallTeam.

01 July 2012

Piranha In The Water

Charlotte is back in the swing of swim - She is a Piranha!  This year she is competing on a different level, since she is now in the 9-12 age division.  Last year she was at the top of the 7-8 year olds, and now she's at the bottom of the 9-12 year olds.  But she's only at the bottom if you count by age.  If you go by speed - she's at the top of her division!  Scoring in swimming is not cut and dry (pun intended...).  The most important time to beat is your own time, but, secondly, the USSA produces guidelines for each age and stroke.  Basically, you take Charlotte's time, apply it to a chart, and you see how she stands up with national averages.  These times are gold, silver and bronze.  Ideally, you want to always beat your last time and swim gold in each stroke.  With already three meets under belt for the 2012 season, Charlotte is: gold in freestyle; silver in backstroke; gold in butterfly; silver in breaststroke; and silver in IM (individual medley, one lap of each stoke, all done in one race).  In short, we are pretty proud of Charlotte - and so are her coaches!  She's on fire in the water!
In this video, Charlotte is in lane two, second from the top.  Green cap.
She was so excited that they called out her name at the end!