19 May 2017

Samantha's High School Graduation

Samantha is a high school graduate.  I never thought for a minute she would not graduate.  I know that she will have other days in her life that honor bigger accomplishments.  But today, she is thrilled to be a graduate and we are proud of her.  Samantha is not fond of change.  She likes to have a plan and she likes thrives on structure and routine.  Sometimes that routine is sleeping away a summer morning followed by a strict regimen of netfilx in the afternoon, but, she does have a plan.  The future is unplanned and whether or not she will say it out loud, she is intimidated by the future.  High school was safe and secure.  The future will be her adventure.  And she will rock it like she rocked high school.  No doubt.
The senior class - ready to do this.  The speeches by the valedictorian and two salutatorians were mainly about finding yourself in a troubled world; being the best person you can and helping those around you; also lots of don't forget these years and who got you here - remember your friends and your teachers.  Remember that your parents supported you.  And one sentiment that hit me was something the valedictorian said - he said remember how you feel right now.  This instant.  Are you proud?  A little scared?  A little sad?  A little apprehensive?  Really happy?  Mix all that together and use in your future.  Remember being happy and proud and a little scared - then go accomplish something that will make you feel like this all over again.  Go be someone.
I was too early to get the picture with Samantha and the superintendent of schools, Dr. Tony Thurman, but, there is Samantha walking toward him, in the blue cowl, to get her picture taken.  And the second picture is Samantha getting yet another picture taken with her fresh diploma.  I don't know where all these pictures are, I never got any of them, except from the arena seats!
Jonathan Pace, Samantha's boy/friend (sometimes that's true, sometimes it's not, but, they are always friends!) - also the happy graduate.  Then obligatory picture with Mom and Dad with our graduate.

The whole gang - in the front is Samantha, of course.  JMichael to the left with Juanita Brumbley, Grandmom, behind him.  Then we have me, Rachel, Charlotte and Josephine across the middle.  In the back on the left is Evan Haines, Rachel's boyfriend, and Dad, and then Jonathan, Samantha's boy/friend.
Congratulations, Samantha.  We love you and we are proud of you!

18 May 2017

Line 89

Line 89 is graduation tradition in Cabot.  The day that the senior class goes to Verizon Arena, in Little Rock, to practice for graduation is their last bus ride as students.  So to honor their accomplishment of graduation, the whole town lines the route that the buses take from the high school out of town - Route 89.  Hence the tradition - Line 89.  The elementary schools, the middle and junior high schools, all walk to the road to line 89 as the seniors take their last bus ride.  They make banners and wave and cheer.  It's a great tradition.  Since they load the class alphabetically, Samantha was on the first of the 13 buses it took to transport all 704 seniors to Little Rock.  They kids all waved with their classes at school, but, of course, all the parents, and happily in our case this year, grandparents, also go out and cheer for the graduates.
 We had a sign and balloons, too, and let Samantha know where on the route we were, so she could wave at us.

There she goes.  Off to graduation rehearsal.  Congratulations, Samantha!

05 May 2017

Real Panthers

 R.E.A.L. Panthers is a program sponsored by the police in Cabot. They have the teachers choose one student per quarter on their team (a team is a set of three to four classes of students, classes are about 25 kids each), who exemplifies the qualities of a R.E.A.L. panther - respect, explore, achieve and lead.  There's an assembly with accolades and the R.E.A.L. panther gets this cool shirt.  Josephine was happy to the R.E.A.L. panther for the third quarter of her sixth grade year and I snapped this photo of a R.E.A.L. panther on her way to school.  Go Panthers!  Go Josephine!

30 April 2017

Splash - April 2017

April Fools - Rachel is not really pulling a little Samantha out of a bag of cheese balls, held by a giant Charlotte while tiny little Josephine and JMichael sit quietly by.

Instead, Josephine is doing a handstand.  Happy April Fools from the Ball Team.

23 April 2017

Prom 2017

Prom was on Saturday, April 22, 2017.  It is Samantha's senior year.  Here she is, prom night, pictured with Rachel, whose prom was this time last year, and who did exactly what her sister did - she worked.

These two amazing young ladies are all about doing things their way.  I made sure to impress upon each of them, You will only get one senior prom.  One.  If you do not go, that's up to you.  But you will never be a high school senior on prom night again.

Neither of them went to prom.  They were both asked, actually by multiple people.  They both have a grandmother who sews and could have had a custom dress.  Nope.  Rachel had finished school in the December before prom in April and she just didn't hang out with high school kids anymore.  Samantha said it's all about getting dressed up for pictures only to go to the after party in shorts and a tshirt, so what's the point?

She's not wrong.  The school district throws a huge after-party with bouncy blow up trampolines, roly-poly suits, door prizes like laptops and dorm sized fridges, and tons of free food - the community donates it all and the students are encouraged to come - no admission.  This year they had a hypnotist and a DJ from the big pop station in Little Rock, Alice 107.7.  But were my kids there?  Nope.  Working.

Samantha did go hang out with a few friends after work that night, who did go to prom, but, true to her words, only stayed a little while and then chilled with a bonfire and movies until late.

Make your way ladies.  Make your way.

22 April 2017

Pinewood Derby 2017

Cub scouts is great fun for our little man.  He gets to hang out with all boys and build a race car.  I haven't told him yet about cub day camp this summer.  He will be in heaven.  Here he is - far right - sitting with Derek and Israel, before the racing began. 
And now here he is at the end of a fun evening - including a cub inspired dinner of hot dogs, chips and cookies - he didn't place.  But that's okay; he got best in show and had fun with his friends.  The racing was pretty intense.  JMichael's car actually won a few races by placing it backwards on the track.  I didn't get a picture of the track - quite a chore to assemble, but, wow, it's fast and the boys thought it was great.  Some older kids - the Murphey's boys (Shane and Ryan) ran the program which decided who races when and where and against whom.  It was a double elimination round robin tournament.  Every car in every lane, twice, and against every other car in the pack.  It sounded pretty complicated, but, they handled it all.  Some families brought cars from years past and afterward the cubs finished their cars, we had a few fun heats with now retired family cars.  It was a great activity and I think we learned a few tricks to apply to next year's car - like start working on the car earlier than the day before the race!

07 April 2017

Love notes?

As our kids have jobs and social lives, James and I are finding ourselves able to have a simple dinner out.  Yes.  I just said we go out when we can and more particularly when we can get away with going with only the two of us, or with JMichael.  This particular night Rachel and Samantha were working at Tasty Freeze, Charlotte and Josephine were staying at friends' houses for the night, and we went out with JMichael, to Tasty Freeze, of course.  Our meal came with these markings.  Gotta love having an "in" at the local burger joint.  Great personalized service.  Of course, they know we tip well, too.