Thursday, May 9, 2013

GymFest 2013

I'm pretty sure I've posted a bazillion (yes that's a word) times before about my girls and their gymnastic skills. What can I say?  I'm a proud momma!  A few weeks ago, they had their annual GymFest.  Neither of them compete (I'm so not ready for that...and thankfully...neither are they) so this is the one time during the year that they can show us what they're really working on.  Well, aside from the handstands, splits and cartwheels in the Family Room.

Since they are both in "special" classes (Zoe is in Advanced and Ava is in Development) they were given specific shows that they were to go to.  So basically, we spent an entire morning at the US Gymnastics Center.

Ava was first...

I'm not sure if her love of gymnastics is a true love of the sport or the fact that she gets to hang with BFF Ashleigh for an additional 2 hours every week.

She's very proud of her handstand, back bend, and split!


I'm amazed at how much more confident she's gotten this year. There were days in September that she needed to be pealed out of my arms.  But now, she runs right in to Betta!

After Ava, it was Zoe's turn.  Some of her siblings weren't thrilled to be staying, but a bag of skittles and free reign with Dad's phone and the iPad made them forget they were about to sit through another two hours of gymnastics.

Zoe is more of a "let's see how high I can fly" type of Gymnast. Don't get me wrong, she cares about her handstands and cartwheels (on the beam) and her splits (they freak out Dad), but she loves to jump. High!

And dive.

I enjoy watching her get as much energy out as possible.  It's really quite incredible!

Huge props to her coaches that have to harness that energy...along with a dozen other girls just like her!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Bread - It makes me happy

Anyone who knows me, knows that I enjoy baking.  But by "baking", I mean pies, cookies, cakes, etc.  And every Christmas, I've coveted my friends' Kitchen Aid mixers. Honestly, it wasn't even JUST Christmas that I got a little green with envy.  Anytime I took out that hand mixer and tried to cream not-yet-room-temperature butter. But guess what I got for my birthday?  (Did you read that in the sing-song rhythm that I typed it? No? Go back and read it again.)

Yup, I am finally a full blown baker!  Well...not quite, my eyes, one must be able to make bread before they can claim the title of "Baker".  I think it's the yeast that scares me. So, naturally, I attacked that challenge first!

It wasn't a complete disaster, but clearly, I needed to call in a professional.  My friend Emily is in the midst of adopting a little girl.  To help raise money for the extreme cost, she is doing auctions and making dinners.  She makes delicious bread.  De. Lish. Us. Bread.  Naturally, she was my first call.  We pulled out our calendars and picked a baking day.  What a great time we had!


We've tried to have another baking day, but it just hasn't worked out with our calendars.  So sad.  Still, I highly recommend calling up a girlfriend who can do something you want to do...and getting together to learn either FROM her or WITH her.  It was basically a grown-up girl play date.  And now, something that will always remind me of her.  Every time I bake her bread, I pray for her little girl.  I can't wait until the prayers can change from "bring her safely to her new family" to the day-to-day requests!

In the meantime, I've tackled so many more yummy treats: pretzels, pull-apart bread, and cinnamon bread just to name a few.

The problem I have now?  All this baking...means I need to do more running!

Anyone got any good recipes?

Seuss Day

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in March, the kids' school celebrated Dr. Seuss.  It was a fabulous day.  The kids each wanted to dress up as a different character, and the sucker that I am, I obliged.

We had a Cat in the Hat...

...a Lorax...

...a Grinch...

...a Cindy Lou Who...

...and a Sam...

Each class visited the "Cat in the Hat Cafe". After a quick snack, the older kids read to the younger ones.

 It was great to see teachers and even the principal get in on the fun.

It may have been a lot of work, but I'd say the payoff was worth it! (For the record: Eli is playing the Grinch, he's not sulking.)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Hoop Dreams

Saturday was Ty's last basketball game of the season. Some of the family is a little happier than others.  Not everyone enjoyed sitting at the games.

He had a fabulous year on the Ramsey Rebels. They finished the season 17-9-1.

They are a great group of boys and wonderful coaches. The coaches have a great "I don't care about the score" philosophy. They play man-to-man defense and run a motion offense.  They run their butts off. Oh, wait, the kids aren't allowed to say that word, so I guess I shouldn't either.  "They run their rears off." It's wonderful!

To you "non-basketball" people (is there really such a thing?) that's all really cool.  It means they are teaching my boy the basics.  Ty is learning to love the game in it's pure form.  Not the NBA version.  Not the watered down, "everyone should win" version, either.

But what I really truly appreciate the most about this season is how much more Ty loves the to play.  Sure, he knows more. He's gotten better, too. But he WANTS to play.  He shoots in the driveway, watches college hoops, and we've even gone to our neighbor's high school playoff game.

Some of the Ty's games were really fun to watch.  There were games that everything clicked and the ball went in the hoop.  There were games when it really looked like basketball, but we lost anyway.  There were also games that were flat out ugly. 

Yes, that's a final score after 4 six-minute quarters.

Still, this basketball-loving-mom enjoyed every game (even if sometimes I forgot they were 9 yo's playing and I may have gotten a little competitive and riled up.)

So proud of you, Ty!


Friday, March 8, 2013

Did any of the Presidents Bowl?

When there are two people in the family with birthdays in February, Presidents' Day seems to get lost in the shuffle. It becomes a day to catch our breath.  There's never enough fore-thought for it to become much more of anything but a day at home. 

This year, I decided we needed to do something as a family.  Even if it was just something for a few hours during the day. Thankfully, I have a friend equally as crazy, that had the same thought: bowling! Low commitment yet something the gang rarely does, so they would reward us with tons of "cool parents" points. We decided we would attempt to bowl together. 11 of us. Crazy, right?

Still...we thought we would give it a shot.

We had to wait a little while for 2 lanes to open up next to each other, but that's what the Arcade is for, right?

Somehow, we scored a deal with the bowling lady that gave us shoes, a pitcher of soda (which we never did use), two lanes (each for an hour) for as many bowlers as we wanted for $50. SCORE!

Once we got lanes, there was a clear line drawn in the sand.  Eli and Ty joined the Veenemas.  The rest of us Higbys would be a team.  And the competition was on.  At first, it looked like the V+2 lane would run away with the match but we quickly found our rhythm and thanks to a few surprise scores, our lane was definitely the victor. 

Eli's delivery wasn't half bad.  He even managed to put his fingers in the holes of the ball. Granted, he used his left hand for the holes and held the ball with his right palm, but he rolled the ball straight...and with decent speed!

Cole was a little more of a "non-traditional" bowler.  He didn't even use his hands to take the ball off the return. He'd pick up the 6-pound ball with his wrists and stand sideways to chuck the ball down the lane.  He was probably the most thankful for the gutter bumpers since it looked a little more like pinball than bowling during his turn.

When it was Zoe's turn, she would race up to grab a ball and without even pausing to breath, she would head right straight toward the lane and throw the ball without any aim or plan.  It was as if choosing a bowling ball was part of her delivery.

Ty was a pretty typical bowler.  Not great.  Not horrible.  Not consistent. But competent. Doubt he'll get a bowling scholarship for college, but he'll hold his own on a date some day.

Poor Ava was at a disadvantage before she even got there.  The smallest ball we could find was 6 pounds.  Even for a 31 pounder, that's a pretty high percentage of her body mass. She'd lift the ball and it'd look like her knees were about to buckle. She eventually settled on a "put-the-ball-on-the-ground-between-her-legs" approach and then pushed it with all her might toward the pins. She always required my help, so don't expect to see any pictures. Even still...the ball moved so slowly down the lane that there were a few times I wondered if it would make it.

At the end of the night, the "Surprise Bowler" award goes to Cole! Look at these final scores!!! Yes, you're reading them right.  We all used the gutter bumpers and Cole came in 2nd.  He beat 3 parents! Crazy!

So who wants to be my travel companion when I have to sit through Cole's matches on the PBA tour?