Saturday, April 27, 2013

Guys and Dolls: Saturday Performances

The cast of "Guys and Dolls" put on two magnificent performances today. The 3:00 matinee was only topped by the grand finale performance at 7:30 tonight. These kids have worked so hard and put so much into this show ... and it was evident by the consistently fantastic acting, singing, and dancing.

 Trey says he's not sure what to do without the myriad of rehearsals and performances and he cannot wait to audition for next year's musical, announced tonight. Seussical the Musical will be the Spring 2014 performance at Thoreau Middle School!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Guys and Dolls: Opening Night!

Tonight was opening night for the Thoreau Middle School Theater Department's production of "Guys and Dolls."  The cast was FABULOUS and Trey was absolutely spot-on with his impression of the NYPD cop, LT Brannigan.  So proud of these kids for all of their hard work!

Korean War Memorial

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Guys and Dolls Pasta Dinner

The cast of Guys and Dolls enjoys a quick pasta dinner before another dress rehearsal, thanks to some really cool parent volunteers.  The students are working hard on this and I cannot wait to see the live production!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Down and Dirty Science Project

Joshua has been working hard on his Science Share project. He has been very focused and independent throughout this process and it's so fun for me to see. Early on, he decided on a topic, made his shopping list, requested help purchasing items, and selected the materials he would need. Later, he set up the experiment, conducted it three different times, and planned his presentation board. When it was time to assemble the board, he opened up a Word document, typed up all the information, printed it out, and prepared to paste it onto the board.  He had a vision for how he wanted it to look and how he wanted it presented.  I think it turned out great and I'm so proud of his work ethic and independence.

As a mom, I have to make sure I am not too involved in projects.  I don't want to be the hover mom who does all the work for my kids but I also don't want to appear disinterested, not knowing what is due until it's too late.  On this project, I think I struck a good balance.  My contributions to the project included buying the materials and taking photos of Joshua while he conducted the experiments.  When it came time to assemble the presentation board, I helped Joshua by showing him how to insert a graph into a Word document and I proofread his work.  When working on the layout of the presentation board, I shared a tip on how to make the work stand out more by adding colored paper behind the information pages, helped him go through the photos to decide which ones would best tell his story (although he chose all the photos that were used), and helped glue down the corners of the pages and letters after he had it arranged.  In all, Joshua did the work on this project and I love what he came up with!

The Extraordinary Love of an Army Wife

I have a friend who is extraordinary.  She is beautiful and wise and among the strongest women I've ever known.  She is my sweet friend, a trusted confidante, a tried-and-true battle buddy.  Together we have laughed and cried and worried and prayed and then somehow managed to laugh again.  We spent only two years together in the same physical location but some people, and some events, simply bond you for a lifetime.

I want to tell you her story.

I first met my friend when our husbands were both assigned to the same unit.  The unit trained and deployed together, leaving spouses behind to support and encourage one another through the separation.  And we did.  We planned family nights, hosted fundraisers, sent packages and banners to our Soldiers, watched each other's kids, enjoyed ladies' night dinners, and anxiously awaited the return of our heroes.

We welcomed our heroes home and enjoyed the thrill of a unit reunited.  We continued to bond as a group and planned fun events for Soldiers and Families.  We celebrated the amazing successes of our unit's deployment and applauded spouses and children for thriving during a difficult deployment.  It seemed that all was right with the world again.

It was during this time of joy that tragedy struck.  A simple morning of standard Army Physical Training ended with a horrific accident and the injury of my friend's husband.  He is a combat medic, one of the best, and his medic comrades took great care in getting him immediate treatment; however, we soon learned that his injury was much worse than we ever could have imagined.

He had sustained a traumatic brain injury and spent weeks in ICU undergoing surgeries, an induced coma, and constant evaluations.  Multiple times during the first weeks, my friend was told that her husband would not make it and was advised to say her final goodbyes.

Throughout these agonizing times, she was absolutely amazing.  With three small children at home and her life in sudden turmoil, she was the absolute pillar of strength.  Making heart-wrenching decisions, enduring unimaginable stress, and facing the biggest fear of her life, she showed nothing but unconditional love and devotion to her husband.  Her family and friends and faith somehow provided her with superhuman strength.

Just weeks into this life-changing ordeal, she learned that she was expecting the couple's fourth child.  Her hero husband was evaluated and accepted into a Rehabilitation Center, and life continued on for her, one day at a time.

For the past year, this beautiful woman has been tried and tested in every possible way.  Her phenomenal love for her husband and dedication to her children has been completely awe-inspiring to see.  She delivered a healthy baby girl and had three very excited older brothers.  Her husband continues to heal and rehabilitate.   We are fervently hopeful that his recovery will experience miraculous progress and that he will be able to communicate and enjoy his beautiful family once again.  Until that amazing moment, we continue to pray for this extraordinary family that we love so much.

Me with my amazing friend

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Jefferson Memorial and Cherry Blossoms

Two must-sees in Washington DC are the cherry blossoms in the Spring and the Jefferson Memorial.  They go beautifully together so we decided to experience both today.  We greatly underestimated the number of tourists on this final day of the 2013 Cherry Blossom Festival so we ended up not staying for long.  We couldn't even see the end of the line for the paddle boats and could hardly walk two steps without bumping into someone.  It was clearly not the best day to visit the Tidal Basin.  We did get a few great photos to commemorate the day, though, so I was happy.

The cherry blossoms and the Jefferson Memorial always make me think of my fabulous sister-in-law, Carole Ann, and her equally fabulous husband, Mike.  Mike and Carole Ann met while both were living and working in DC.  The Jefferson has always been Carole Ann's favorite of the national monuments so Mike proposed to her there, a beautifully romantic and memorable moment for them both.  So we shared in the beauty of this amazing location and remembered a wonderful event that brougt two wonderful people together.  Sixteen years and three kids later, they are still a fabulous couple and it was fun to retell their story today.  In fact, they celebrated their sixteenth wedding anniversary this week  ...  so Happy Anniversary, Mike and Carole Ann!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Guys & Dolls Rehearsal

I snuck into Trey's rehearsal for "Guys and Dolls" today to take some photos for the director. Here are just a couple with Trey in them ... I cannot wait to see the full production!