27 November 2014

Gobble, gobble 2014

Thanksgiving 2014 got here too quickly.  Summer break feels like it was just yesterday.

Today we ate with James' Dad and family at the Holiday Inn in Little Rock.  The food was fantastic.  Lots and lots of turkey, ham, potatoes and stuffing.  Samantha was thrilled with the fresh fruit and Rachel was thrilled with the pecan pie.  Charlotte, Josephine and JMichael are all just happy with food in general.  We don't have picky eaters at our house.  I'm thankful for that.

We ate and then we took the scenic route home.  We live about thirty minutes north of the big city, so we meandered home along beautiful country backroads.  We took a pit stop at a little country church and the goof{Balls} let me do an impromptu photo shoot.  I do love these goofy kids of mine.

The quintessential kids table - the BallTeam is usually pretty well behaved in public, but when they see Dad pointing a camera their way, the poses and faces come pouring out.  I told Samantha that I would put this picture on the blog and one day her grandchildren would see it and she said, great!  They will see their grandmother was awesome! 
Josephine, 10, demonstrating her wings.

everyone smile!

This is the one that ended up on all their instagram accounts....Rachel added the text and posted it and then Samantha and Charlotte posted it on their accounts, too.  I'm so grateful that they are a close knit group of siblings.  They know how to push each others buttons and they look out for each other.  We are truly blessed.

Very thankful for them, and for James and for all the blessings we enjoy.  Happy Thanksgiving!

18 November 2014

Clean County Poster Contest

Our county, like lots of communities around the country, holds an art contest to sponsor its programs within the schools.  The Clean County Poster Contest was the most recent one that Josephine entered.  She drew a poster in art class, back in August, like every other student in her homeroom, and didn't think about it again.  This week we heard about her drawing.

Our story begins with another good call from the school principal.  This time it was from Josephine's principal and she was so excited to tell us that Josephine's drawing had been selected as a winner.  Out of all the kids in the county - that's about 15 elementary schools - Josephine was one of the winners.  Twelve were chosen - all girls - and the county will use the drawings for its county education district calendar.  Josephine is "Miss November, 2015".

She was presented with a gym bag full of goodies - she was particularly excited about the extensive collection of stickie notes.  The presentation was in front of the school board meeting and Josephine was the first one ask to address the board.  She said she was nervous, but, she was articulate and handled herself very well.  We are so proud of our artist, Josephine.

Her poster is a girl recycling - she's putting her bottles in the recycling bin - and behind her is the recycling center.  Click on the picture for a close up.  Way to go, Josephine!!!

Josephine with Ms. Nash (representing the school board and Mr. Noggins, representing the Clean County Coalition), then Josephine with her principal, Mrs. Hill.

The awarding winning artists, posing for the newspaper camera.
Josephine is front, far left.

17 November 2014

Cute Kid Quotes

Our Cute Kid Quote comes today from JMichael, aged 6.

Tonight, I asked Rachel to get the kids together for nightly prayers.  As the kids trickled in to our bedroom, one was clearly absent.  Where was JMichael?  James called for him again, and the answer came from the front room.  From the sound of his voice, we all knew he was playing a video game.  Go ahead!, he yelled.  I'm folding my arms in here.

Uhm?  No.  Good try, dude.  Now get in here.

This picture was taken by Charlotte while I ran in to pay the water bill.  This is the good stuff that happens when you leave your phone with your kids.

16 November 2014

Rockin At The Hop, 2014

"Rockin' At The Hop" is the musical show that the sixth grade presents for the parents each year.  Charlotte was SO very excited to participate.  She had been singing the songs all around the house for weeks.  The kids have a blast dressing up 50's style.  They all sang Rockin' Robin, Great Balls of Fire, and a few selections from "Grease".  They served the parents cold cokes in glass bottles and ice cream sundaes.  They did the hand motions to Rama Lama Ding Dong.  One of the boys crooned Houndog and Elvis would have been proud.  What a fun and upbeat evening.  Charlotte loved her poodle skirt, and had a great time with her friends - this one is Kamden Kuydendall, and the girls in the car with Charlotte - flying off like Sandy and Danny did in Grease - are her friends Abi and Anna.
To see Rachel Rockin At The Hop (she was in 6th grade in 2010) click here

08 November 2014

Sharks, Fall 2014

JMichael just finished his soccer season with the Sharks.  He scored goals, worked on his skills, and made some new friends.  Fresh air, sunshine lots of exercise - all the benefits of kids in sports are worth the expense, the time and the running around of the practices.
The following pictures are all from our friend, Crystal Rajatora.  She took pictures all season and gave the team all copies.  So wonderful.
Eye on the ball.

Listening to Coach at practice.

Action shot - teamwork.

A throw in.  Both feet have to stay on the ground so coach tells them to cross one behind.

I'm open!

A little showboating after a goal.

Dag he's adorable....his teammate in this shot is Lawson.

I love this shot because it showcases JMichael's signature mismatched socks and the sunlight is in his hair.

An action shot of JMichael and Kenneth, one of his buddies.

Thank you, thank you to Coach Seth Cooper.  Soccer is more fun with a coach that teaches and encourages and motivates.  He donated time, bought treats and shared his love of the game.  JMichael played hard because he wanted to please his coach, and because he loves the game.  We will be back next season!

06 November 2014

Charlotte, Sixth Grade Celebrity

I always cringe a little when I see the phone number of one of the kids' schools come up on my phone.  What happened to her?  What did she do?  Am I in trouble?

Today I got two calls from Charlotte's school.  The first was a recorded message which explained that the school had been on a ten minute lock down earlier in the day but that all was now back to normal.  The reason for the lock down was that a suspected gun had been discovered and the situation was investigated and dismissed by the police.

The second phone call was a personal call from the school principal.  She asked if I had received the automated message and I said that I had and I was glad all was well.  She then said, Well the hero of the day is your daughter, Charlotte.

What happened was that while Charlotte's class was outside after lunch, she noticed that a young kid - about 10 years old - was playing across the street in front of his apartment.  He had what Charlotte thought was a gun.  She said she watched him playing with it and he pointed it at the kids at school and pretended to shoot.  He was making sound effects and getting closer to the kids at recess.  The child also took the gun apart and loaded it.  Then he repeated his aiming and pointing.

By now Charlotte was worried that he actually loaded a gun.  She and four of her friends ran for the teacher and Charlotte arrived first.  The teacher promptly blew her whistle and all the kids headed straight in to the school.  The principal called the police and the investigation started.  Charlotte gave her statement and explained to the principal and the police what she saw.

In the end, the boy did have a loaded gun - a BB gun.  He was visiting family in the apartments and just playing.  He didn't mean any harm.  But he might have actually hurt someone if he had shot at the kids. 

The principal was very proud of Charlotte and was full of praise for her.  She also announced over the loud speaker at school that Charlotte Ball had been the eagle eye that spotted the gun.  That alone thrilled Charlotte more than anything.

Way to be there for your classmates, Charlotte.  We are so proud of you.

03 November 2014

Halloween 2014

Rachel went out with her friends to go trick or treating and then back to a friends house for a Halloween party.  They grow up so fast......  Eleventh grade.

Samantha had a football game to go to on Halloween, so she was dressed as a high school dancer.  They did have a special Halloween dance and this picture (captured from the School's twitter account) was their final move.  Samantha says she was at about 10 o'clock in the second "O".  Boo.  Tenth grade.
Charlotte also ditched good ole Mom for going out with friends.  From left to right we have Tatum, Josey, Charlotte the nerd, Bailey and Kayla.  They all spent the night at Tatum/Josey's house after trick or treating.  Great bunch of friends.  Sixth grade.

Last but not least we have the little two.  JMichael went as a soccer star and Josephine is Where's Waldo.  Both recycled costumes.  Both as cute as ever.  Let the sugar coma commence.  First and fourth grades.

01 November 2014

Splash - October 2014

The October 2014 Splash is an homage to the Beatles, in the spirit of Halloween.  This intersection is right in the middle of the "downtown" in our rural Arkansas town.  Rachel was all about the details in this one - please note that Charlotte is holding a "cigarette" like George Harrison was and Rachel is barefoot, like Paul McCartney.  Our own little Abbey Road.