Friday, September 26, 2008

Fall Staff Luncheon

Today was my first big event as hospitality committee chair at the elementary- the Staff Fall Luncheon. I had a lot of help from the committee in early preparations, setting up, replenishing during service, and clean-up. Here are pictures-

Some members of the committee got together for a crafting session were we made these invites.
We handed them to the staff a week before the luncheon.
They were very well received!

The night before set-up.
This is just part of the members of the committee.

One side of the buffet table.

The front side of the table.

The dessert table.

The lounge table decorations.

Some of the 90 staff that came through our buffet.
The turkey breast, gravy, and sweet carrots were prepared by Sirlion Stockade for the cost of the food only. (Sweet deal!) The green salad, mixed fruit, olive tray, bread/rolls, butter, drinks, and desserts were donated by parents.

Besides having wonderful events all year long, one of my goals with this committee is to foster committee involvement. While I could certainly do all the work by myself or with one or two helpers, what makes a PTO strong would get lost- people/volunteers. It is much better to offer everyone opportunities to help- big or small- so that they feel like they belong. This is also a great opportunity to meet generous hearted people I might not otherwise meet. It is a win-win for me personally and for the PTO as a volunteer based organization.

Our next event is a "scary food" after-school snack for the staff the week of Halloween.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Raised Fall Garden

We haven't had a vegetable garden since the house on Rolling Meadows. The topic had come up a couple of times in the last year. Finally we decided on what we wanted- a raised bed. So Ed built a raised box out of scrap wood we had gotten from other house buildings in the neighborhood. These pieces had been waiting in the garage for at least a year and a half.

After the box was built, he lined it with 2 layers of black pond lining to keep grass and weeds from invading the space. Then Ed went to Whittelsey's for "Professional Mix Soil" that was recommended for vegetable gardens. We had a coupon for "10% off on Tuesdays" so he went last Tuesday, of course!

Dane helped load the dirt into the wheelbarrow from the back of Ed's truck and dump it into the garden box. He wanted gloves like Dad was wearing so he ran in and grabbed two mismatched winter mittens. Too cute!

On Friday, I purchased the veggie plants from Gaddy's Feed.

This morning we planted!!!! Dane helped me put in onions, lettuce, jalapeƱo peppers, cauliflower, green bell peppers, red bell peppers, crook neck squash, and better boy tomatoes. We got everything into the warm soil. Dane wanted the job of watering for the garden for the first time.
A month ago, I happened upon an article about English Victory Gardens. That stewed around in my mind as we were making plans for this garden. I really liked the idea of growing our veggies again. We had such good gardens before so I am expecting success and victory this time around as well.

Rebecca mentioned the baby rabbits that are plentiful in the neighborhood. They have had trouble with them before in their garden. We may have to add a little chicken wire fence around the top edge to keep the little cotton tails out! (Thanks for that hint Rebecca, I hadn't thought about the rabbits at all!)

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Passing by the front window this morning, a movement caught my eye. I looked again and saw a little black chihuahua running back and forth down my street. I went out and was able to get it to come to me. I noticed it was an older dog so I did not attempt to pick up. It followed me into the house. I gave it water, which it drank, and food, which it did not eat. After I felt like the dog was comfortable with me, I unhooked it's collar to look for a number. There was a number and a name, "Meka." Meet Meka:
Short story- the owner of the dog was away in Kansas. She left Meka in the care of her boyfriend who lives one street over. Her boyfriend is a Travis County Constable. He called me to find out where I live. He said (at 10:30 am) that he would be by in "a couple of hours."

The two younger boys came home from school very excited about seeing the dog. They cooed all over her! They asked to have pictures with her! Of course I took some! I also took some of Meka close to Andy for size comparison. I think of Andy as a small dog. Next to Meka, Andy is a big guy!
The rest of the story- At 5:00pm, the boyfriend shows up as we are walking out the door to go to soccer. I
wish, wish, wish I had had my camera in hand. It was so funny to see this big burly deputy, in full uniform with weapons and mirrored sunglasses, pick up and cuddle that tiny dog!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Picture Volunteer

Today I spent a chunk of time volunteering at the elementary school. From 8 am to 12:30 pm, I was a helper for one of the four photographers who were taking individual school portraits. I enjoyed helping children with collars, jackets, wild hair, etc. I also enjoyed getting tips from the pro. We chatted in between classes about all thing photography.

As a thanks for volunteering, I am to receive extra pictures of Dane and Mason above & beyond the packages I ordered. I also got to look at the pictures of them as they were taken. Mason hit it on the first shot. A second shot of Dane was his winning shot. He had a great smile the second time around! I also was given a special opportunity to have Mason and Dane photographed together. That was a treat! They got it together in one shot. And as I was ready to leave, the photographer I was working with handed me a CD on which she had put the picture of them together! Sweet!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Homecoming Game

Friday night was the Hendrickson Hawk homecoming game against Del Valle. Clark was very excited because the band was going to perform 4 movements to their show, "Imaginarium." Clark is equally thrilled because this year the show allows for trombone and baritone. He gets to play both at different points in the show.

Football is fine but I made my own good time by shooting pictures of everything going on at the game. I have picked out my favorites to share.
The football team in the Hawk Tunnel.
The flags make a run.
The Hawk Sign.

The Color Guard.A cheerleader stunt.

Clark spots the "Mamarazzi."
This was after the homecoming court music not during
the marching show.

Clark on the trombone- center of picture.

Clark marching with his trombone.

Clark on the baritone.
I am going to look for an even better telephoto lens. Just imagine what I will be able to do with that!

The hawks won the game 44 to 14.
Go Hawks!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tuesday was 60's Day at Hendrickson High School. Clark and Abigail dressed up!
Tuesday night was Back to School night at HHS. We went to all 8 classes of Clark's. It was an interesting night! Ed is miffed over the coach/algebra teacher. We will see what comes of that. Otherwise everyone else was fine. We really liked his World Geography teacher. We got home late as the last class didn't get out until 9:00pm. That put Clark to bed late so this morning was more like taming a grizzly bear that guiding a teen-ager through his morning. Early bed time tonight!!!!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Dinoland at Zilker

September 7 & 8 marked the opening weekend for Dinoland down at Zilker Botanical Gardens. Dane, Mason, and I went down on Sunday with 3 out of the 4 Cantu kids and Shannon. Here are photos from the day.........

The gang!

Dane listens to the Paleontologist/Comic.

Mason & Simon plant a fern to take home.
Vanessa & Dane plant a fern to take home.

Follow the dinosaur trails to see these.......

It was bright, sunny, and hot!
Given those conditions, I am not in love with any of these photos except
the next one.......


Saturday, September 6, 2008

Soccer Season 2008 Begins!

Today was the opening day of the 2008 Fall soccer season. We started off in Manor at the CAYSA fields for Mason's 9:00am game. Mason goalied the first half and a quarter of the second half. While in the goal, he stopped everything that came his way! In particular, he had a beautiful dive save and another save that had some luck involved. Here is what happened.... an opponent shot one at Mason that was high in the air. Mason jumped straight up just tipping the ball with his finger tips. Luck and angles drove the ball into the side pole of the goal. The ball bounced back at Mason who jumped on it full body and soul! It was a heart stopping moment on the side line.

When Mason played forward the last quarter, he took a left footed shot from back a bit, that was powerful! The other team's goalie jumped and caught it!

In the end, Forza won with a 4 to 1 score. Our other goalie let one slip in! Oh, well!

Dane had his first game with his new team, "Storm Hawk" at 1:30pm at the PAYSL fields. He played a great game of running hard, blocking the ball and kicking the ball. He even got one of his 3 shots into the goal!!! It was exciting!! Here are a bunch of pictures (I took 94 pictures of Dane's game but not all were of Dane. I just took other team members because it is good practice and fun.) The game ended in a tie of 4 to 4.

The team cheer with Coach Tovar

Dane gets a foot in the ballDane keeps his eye on the ball and moves towards it

Between two people, I caught the moment that Dane shoots the ball into the goal for a score!
A break-away!

Dane comes around for another pass through the parent tunnel.
Clark helped with the tunnel.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Family Reunion 2008

"The Nut Doesn't Fall Far From TheTree," is the slogan I wanted to put on the family reunion t-shirts I designed when I was President 5 or 6 years ago. While I thought it was hilarious, and in some cases TRUE, in the end, I didn't do it. Instead the shirt was gray with green ink, and a design of a tree with "Symank- Richter Family Reunion" circling the top of the tree. Good enough to wear once a year!

The Sunday before Labor Day finds all the Symanks and Richters in the Crawford Texas Community Center. It is a potluck event with many long tables stretching down the center of the hall loaded with foods of all kinds. Desserts get their own special place boasting two tables loaded with sugary delights!

This reunion was no different. There was the family prayer before the very young and very old elbowed their way to the front of the line, citing their age as the reason they needed to eat first. Those of us in the middle age range get stuck at the end of the line. But never fear, there is always plenty to go around! (However, my yummy Mexican Chicken Roll-ups and cupcakes were cleaned out!)

After the plates are cleaned and the catch up stories are swapped, the kids head outside for the pinata bashing. This year, even with a plastic bat, the poor donkey pinata didn't make it through half the kids! Dane was the only Limbaugh boy to get a hit before the candy hit the ground and the kids scrambled to get their hands full of it.

There is always a business meeting where the current President tells how many people have attended, how much money is in the account, etc. There is also a few minutes spent on fun things like who is the oldest male/female in attendance, along with youngest male/female in attendance, newest married, longest married, farthest traveled, shortest traveled. (Ed almost declared he'd been married the longest because it felt like forever, but I elbowed him pretty hard and he put his hand down. That kind of behavior may lead him to win the award for the "Marriage Most Likely to End Next" -- or maybe "Most recently deceased husband"!) Hands up for the Anne & Ernest Symank family! We had the oldest female (My Oma who is 93yrs.), longest married (Uncle Herman & Aunt Dorothy Symank who have been married 63 yrs.) and the farthest traveled (Cousin Joe Crain who traveled 600 miles from Springfield, Missouri).

The newest addition to the afternoon activities is bingo. I took a box full of small toys to contribute to the prizes. I also ended up "calling" all but one game. It was fun! I was hoarse by the time we left because I was speaking loudly and repeating the numbers so the littlest kids could play too.

We made it back to Pflugerville around 5:00pm. I didn't get any photos because in the loading of the van that morning, the camera didn't make it out. Oh, well!