Saturday, August 28, 2010

Little League Football

My sister with my nephew
in his football jersey.
It's no secret that football reigns as the most glorified sport in Texas.  I grew up in a small Texas town and was a cheerleader from 7th grade through my senior year in high school.  As such, I understand the basics of football.  It was as much a requirement as learning to read and write in our small school. 

My sister and her family now live in our hometown and my nephew has been playing organized football there since the 1st grade.  He loves the sport, his momma loves to cheer for him, and his daddy loves to coach him.  My parents are full-time cheerleaders for him, too.  It's completely a community event and is a lot of fun to watch.

The first time I went to see him play two years ago, I showed up at the football field and got into line with a zillion adoring parents and fans.  When I got to the entrance, I was given the fee for entrance and was sure I was in the wrong place.  "No," I said, "I'm just here to see the 1st graders play."  I was certain there must be something else going on that would require an entrance fee.  The lady at the ticket stand looked at me like I had just sprouted a second head and said, "Yeah, honey, the fee for just watching the 1st graders is the same for everybody."  Oh.  So I paid my fee (just a few bucks, but really!?!) and made my way into the stands.

Now, remember, I am accustomed to Varsity games.    I am comfortable and familiar with that scene.  I just had no idea that it was 'shrunken' and now applied to my baby 7-year-old nephew!  The players were completely decked out in their uniforms, fully uniformed cheerleaders lined the field (with megaphones and pom poms!) and the stands were full!  A full concession stand was operating, too.  Other than a band playing, it looked just like a Varsity high school game. 

This year, my nephew plays tackle football in full pads.  I went to his first game and was amazed at how much they looked like a REAL football team!  They lined up correctly, called plays, kicked off, tackled, even completed a few passing plays.  I was very impressed.  In our little military town, competitive football starts in middle school, or is done through a private league of some sort.  I had no idea how much these little guys (now just 8 years old!) knew about the sport.  And they love it.  My nephew relived every play for me after the game and wanted to be sure everyone saw each pass, run, and tackle. Very cute.

Oh, and did I mention that my studly nephew is the quarterback? And can complete 20+ yard passes?  And is as adorable as he is talented?  Just wanted to throw that in.  ;)   Stay tuned to hear more about the season this year!

Getting decked out for the first game of the season.
Check out the 'game face!'

My sweet sister and her adorable family!

Heading off the the big game.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fun Night at Migs

Lori singing at Migs.
Isn't it funny how locals will name their own establishments?  In my little hometown, there is a yummy Tex-Mex place called Miguelitos.  The locals call it "Migs."  They have a live band on Thursday and Friday nights and seating on the patio is premium. 

After spending the day at the hospital with Dad (who was very loopy from his serious drugs after surgery), my sister and I headed to her house to spend the night.  On the way, I called my cousin-and-friend, Lori, to see if she wanted to meet us for dinner.  Turns out she and her sister were headed to Migs already!  So we called Mom who called our sister-in-law who brough her daughter ... and we ended up taking up most of the patio by the time we were done.

Lori is a singer.  She has a beautiful voice and sings locally at fairs, events, and ceremonies all the time.  It's fun for her and we all enjoy listening.  At some point during the evening on the patio, the band realized she was there and we all encouraged her to sing with them.  She really had no choice, but was happy to oblige.  So with no rehearsal, no words to songs, and no planning at all, she jumped right in and became a part of a very fun night.  We would all shout out requests and if Lori knew the words (or I could look them up on my iPhone fast enough) and the band knew the music, they'd play it.  It was a fun night for all ... and Lori became quite the celebrity there.  At one point, most of the restaurant staff was lined up outside listening to her.  I tried to take some video, but my phone battery was low, so I only got a few snapshots ... here's what I got before the phone died:


My sisters and Me
After a stressful day at the hospital, all four sisters decided to have some dinner. We ended up at West End in Dallas, just down the road from the Methodist Medical Center. It was close to closing time for all the restaurants there and we ended up at a yummy little Tex-Mex place for a little nourishment.  A good end to a loooooong day.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Successful Surgery for Dad

My stepmom and sisters with Dad before his surgery.
After tests and scans and more of each, Dad was scheduled for surgery at the Methodist Medical Center in Dallas.  His surgeon, Dr. Jeyarajah, was fabulous and was able to remove all cancer from Dad's body.  It required a full ileostomy and the removal of over half his liver, but it also came with a very positive prognosis.  Dad will still need to go through at least one round of chemotherapy to ensure all cancerous cells have been destroyed, but then we believe Dad will be cancer-free.

I was so glad all the sisters were able to be together during this time and we are all amazed that our dad walked into the hospital with stage four cancer and walked out without a trace of it.  We are so thankful for the wonders of today's hospitals and now are hopeful for a quick recovery.

Monday, August 23, 2010

First Day of School!

School started on August 23 in Harker Heights.  The boys were both excited to get back to school and see their friends.  After school, we gathered with our next-door neighbors to create our traditional first-day-of-school cake.  This tradition started with a previous neighbor six years ago and is still going strong!  It's a fun way to wind up a long first day of school.
First Day of School!
Working on our traditional first-day-of-school cake with our neighbors.

I forgot to ice with white icing first to make the windows. Oops!
But this year's version does have an escape hatch on the top, courtesy of our neighbor's son.
He said he added it because "it's the law." =)
The finished product!  It was YUMMY with ice cream!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

My Papa Turns 94!

This weekend, my dad's dad, Papa, turned 94 years young.  He is doing well, but does suffer from some memory loss.  He was thrilled to have so many visitors and generally returned the greeting of "Happy Birthday, Papa!" with "Happy Birthday to you, too!"

All three of his kids were there to celebrate and many of his grandkids and great-grandkids as well.  My family was able to attend, which is one super 'perk' of living in Texas!

Happy Birthday, Papa!

My Dad and His Girls
The Grand-Girls!
Poor Papa.  He's just trying to read his birthday cards.  =)
From left to right with Papa in the middle: Smirky, Smiley, Girly, Sleepy, and Grumpy!
The Great Grands

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Colon Cancer Strikes Again

My dad with his dog, Timmy,
on Lake Texoma.
My family has a history of colon cancer.  My maternal grandfather died from this type of cancer, and the memories of how sickly he looked before his death have always stayed with me.  When my mom was diagnosed with this cancer a couple of years ago, I was relieved to find out that it was in an early stage and required only a portion of her colon removed.  She fully recovered and is now cancer-free.

My dad was recently diagnosed with this cancer as well.  His was further along and will require a complete removal of his colon and at least a portion of his liver as well.  The cancer has spread and the doctors are not sure if they may find more as they are in surgery.  There are spots on his lungs, liver, and thyroid as well, although they are not sure at this time if any of these are cancerous or not.

My sisters and I plan to be together with our dad during the surgery and have even created a webpage at Caring Bridge for others who would like to follow Dad's progress.  You can find it at: if you would like to follow along, too.  Thanks in advance for your prayers and concern!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Meet the Teacher 2010

Our school, like many, hosts a "Meet the Teacher" night the week before school starts.  It's a great way to get all the kids' supplies put away, learn where the classroom is, where your child will be sitting, and get a 'lay of the land,' so to speak.  My kids always love this night ... and this year was no exception.  They are both thrilled with their teachers and relieved to see a few familiar faces in the classrooms!

Checking the class lists.

My oldest with his 5th grade teacher.
One more year until Middle School ... eek!

My youngest with his 2nd Grade Teacher

Happy Night for both boys!

Living the Legend in the 1st Cavalry Division

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Water Fun for Junior Warriors

Because our Organizational Day was in August, we did everything we could to ensure that all participants weathered the Texas heat.  From Army water 'buffaloes' to sno cones to fun water play, we provided lots of opportunity for cooling off.  Enjoy these cute pics of our unit kiddos cooling off in the water play area ...

Setting up targets for the water guns.

Water guns are always a hit with kids.

Super soakers and water guns ...

Camo soakers are a great way to cool off.

Beach balls and lots of pouring cups kept kids cool and happy.

A whole lot a splashin' going on!

My favorite photo of the day ... the tub being used as a pool!

Fun times were had by all!

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Junior Warrior Dash

At our battalion's Organizational Day, Soldiers participated in a variety of fitness competitions: football tournament, basketball tournament, volleyball tournament, and a Warrior Dash.  The Soldiers competed in teams of two in the Warrior Dash ... a very physically demanding competition that highlighted various warrior skills.  This was the second Warrior Dash the battalion has conducted.  For today's event, though, the Soldiers put together a Junior Warrior Dash, too.  It focused on kids about 7 - 12 and turned out to be a great time for them.
Map of the Junior Warrior Dash events

Station One:  Box Jumps
Station Two:  Sponge Relay
Station Three:  Vest Run
Station Four:  Low Crawl
Station Five:  Bucket Carry (1/2 full of rocks!)
Station Six:  Push-Ups and Sit-Ups
Station Six:  Push-Ups and Sit-Ups
Station Seven:  Jumping Jacks
The kids had a great time completing a warrior dash "just like their Dad!"  When they finished there was lots of water, sno cones, and special "Army Strong, CAV Tough, Black Jack" arm bands to show they were true junior warriors!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Battalion Organizational Day

The Red Dragons braved the heat today to execute one fine organizational day. The Soldiers competed like champions, Families turned out in droves, and even the kids had lots of fun things to do.

The day began with The Warrior Dash ... a CrossFit type of fitness competition.
Here, these Soldiers begin with 50 box jumps.
Kids enjoyed the bounce house (and the shade it provided!)
Letter Writing station to write letters to Soldier Heroes.
We enjoyed a delicious lunch catered by Big Hoss BBQ.

My youngest takes aim at his daddy in the dunking booth ... and hits on the first try!
Our oldest son dunks his Daddy!
After several consecutive dunks, Hubby starts spraying back!  The kids loved it.
Soldiers competed in Football, Volleyball, and Basketball.
Hubby enjoys a sno cone on a hot, hot day.
Me with our fabulous CSM's wife ... and her fluffy, furry friend.
CDR and CSM add the champion banner to the winning battery's colors.
Hubby and me at the end of a long, hot, super-fun day!