31 July 2014

Samantha is 15?

Samantha is not fond of change.  Her birthday is no exception to this rule.  She doesn't like that her age has increased by one.  In honor of her birthday, I have compiled a list of 15 facts about Samantha Marie.  How many of these facts do you already know about our Sambernista?
Her birthday "cake".  Yes.  It is a watermelon with candles.

The BallTeam - plus Adam - visiting his favorite cousins.
1:  Samantha would exist only on fruit if we let her.
2:  When Samantha was less than two, she decided that the contents of her diaper would be perfect to use in painting the walls.  And so she did.
3:  Samantha has been to the emergency room more than any other child of ours - with one trip for stitches in her knee, one for a dislocated elbow, and once for a super high fever.
4:  Samantha's hair is actually very curly.  She straightens it religiously.
5:  Samantha is great at math.  It's her favorite subject at school.
6:  When Samantha was about four, she got into a tube of paint.  She coated her hands and walked down the hall leaving smears and swirls and handprints as she went.  We painted over her trail - all except for one perfect handprint, which we dated and painted a frame around, so we could keep it forever.
7:  Samantha is not sure what she wants to be when she grows up.  It is my theory that she won't decide because she doesn't want to grow up.  Her past aspirations include a marine biologist (on the Great Barrier Reef), a dentist, a Rita's Italian Ice franchise owner.  Last week she said she wants to dance for a living.  I suggested a professional dance troop, a professions cheerleader or a dance team coach.  She said, nope.  She just wants to dance - like an event performance - and move on to the next one.
8:  Samantha wants to travel to Australia.
9:  Samantha is not a morning person.  Not.  Never will be.
10:  Samantha still sleeps with her baby blanket.  She calls it baby blanket and it is barely recognizable.  It's more a dear dear over loved and cuddled rag of cotton.  She insists she will keep it forever.
11:  From the third grade to the sixth grade Samantha was a competitive gymnast.  She reached level 5 and competed all over the state of Arkansas.  Her favorite event was floor, but, she was a beast on the uneven bars.
12:  Samantha enjoys seminary.  This is bizarre, because she is NOT a morning person and she does not enjoy church on Sundays.  But seminary, to her, is just right.  I don't question this too much - I'm just so grateful she wants to go.
13:  Samantha was in the band in junior high - she played the drums.
14:  Samantha as been on the dance team from 7th, 8th, 9th and now 10th grade.  She has never taken a dance class in her life.  She turned her gymnastic flexibility into dance moves and it works.  She was really worried about the very first try out because all the forms asked about dance experience and where each dancer took lessons.  We had to leave that whole section blank - but she made the team every time.  Junior high dance team and now this year is the big time - high school dance team.
15:  As the second of five children in our family, Samantha's place has been really the playmate.  She is very comfortable babysitting, but, her little three siblings know that it's Samantha who will jump on the trampoline and play baseball with them.
Carry on Sambalam.  Fifteen will be great, I'm sure.  We love you and we are so excited to be a part of your journey.

23 July 2014

Piranhas 2014

Charlotte is our swimmer.  In every meet, Charlotte is seeded against every other swimmer in her age division.  She will swim in the order of her best time.  So, say she can swim 50 yards of freestyle in 50 seconds.  She will be placed in the pool with girls her age whose times are just above and below hers.  The fastest eight girls (8 because there are eight lanes in the pool) are placed in the first heat.  The fastest girl is in the middle of the pool, and they fan out to the edges in order of speed.  So you know by looking at the lineup of girls that the middle girls are the faster ones and the outside lanes are the slower girls, even though the difference in their times may be only .001 of a second.  The second heat is the filled with the next eight fastest, the third heat is the next eight fastest, and so on.  Does all that make sense?

This year, Charlotte had a great season.  The Piranhas just finished their season and Charlotte improved in every stroke and added a new one - Breaststroke.  She likes IM, Freestyle and Backstroke and she LOVES Butterfly, but she never competed in Breaststroke.  In the IM (Individual Medley) she has to swim it (individual medley is 25 yards of fly, back, breast and free - in that order).  This past few weeks, though, she's been working really hard on her breaststroke just to improve her IM time.  Her coach encouraged her to compete in Breaststroke, and in her first race - seeded with no time, she crushed it. And yes, she shaved seconds off of her IM time, too.

Here are the final results - her best times of the season for each stroke.  These times are ranked against all other 11 and 12 year old girls in Arkansas.

Freestyle - 50 yards
32.19 seconds
13th in the state of Arkansas

Backstroke - 50 yards
37.68 seconds
21st in the state of Arkansas

Breaststroke - 50 yards
47.08 seconds
34th in the state of Arkansas

Butterfly - 50 yards
36.87 seconds
10th in the state of Arkansas

IM - 100 yards
1.24.42 minutes
20th in the state of Arkansas

Next year Charlotte will be 12 in a field of 11 and 12 year old girls....stay tuned for big things!

Another little tidbit of swim culture - Sharpies are essential.  First, you can write on your swimmer to show team spirit.  And two - her schedule - it's upside down because it's written on her leg for her to read - each Event, Heat and Lane she is in, all in one handy chart.

I am so proud of her and her devotion to her sport.  Swimming isn't easy - I know I can't beat her.  She has pushed herself and been rewarded for her efforts.  Her coach is fantastic - always a kind word and very encouraging, all the while he's pushing them harder and harder.  He makes them run and do cardio warm ups on the deck, or when the weather is too stormy to get in the pool.  He is their biggest fan and the swimmers all KNOW that he is there for them.  Charlotte is fortunate to call him Coach.

This last shot is Charlotte with this season's ribbons medals and trophies.  She earned 22 ribbons, two medals (from the Meet of Champs) and a team trophy.  Awesome, Charlotte.  Swim on baby!

16 July 2014

Pool and cuts

We have a generous neighbor family with a pool.  They share with certain families in the ward on certain days.  She does this not to segregate our ward, but, to avoid overcrowding because she invited so many people.  It's wonderful.  There's a diving board, and it's shady.  There are friends and carefree summer hours in the sun.  Yay!!
In other news, JMichael needed a haircut.  And so, thanks to Dad and his trusty clippers, JMichael has a new do.  So handsome.

10 July 2014


This post will not contain any pictures of fireworks.  Our Independence Day celebration included a visit from Dad and Ma, David Dawn and Adam!  We swam in the hotel pool, we ate out, we hung out at the house and played chess and watched movies.  The little ladies showed everyone their tricks on the trampoline and we even took the citizenship test, just to get into the spirit of the holiday.  We played with Adam, we chased Adam, we bounced Adam on the trampoline.  David even took a spin on the vespa with Rachel.  We saw fireworks, we chatted and ate ice cream.  We had a great visit and I took absolutely no pictures. 

Fortunately, my friend Cheryl Davis did.  We all went to the park and she made us look good.  Thank you so much for these awesome photos! 

Warning::::  Lots of pictures follow.  Happy Fourth of July!

Dawn, David, Adam, Dad, James, Ma, Charlotte, JMichael, me, Rachel, Samantha and Josephine
The Ball Team, July 2014

Wayne and Juanita Brumbley, aka Dad and Ma

David, Dawn an Adam, aka Ahdahm.  What a cutie.  So cute.

Our ladies - Samantha (14), Charlotte (11), Rachel (16) and Josephine (9)

The their little man - JMichael (6)

Close up shot of Sambalam.
And a close up of Charlie girl.

JMichael - playing in the tunnel.

Charlotte, I agree; teenagers are hysterical.
Beautiful smiles.

Random shoe shot.

Chatting on the bridge.

And another shot of the cute little guy.