Sunday, October 25, 2009

State Bound!

Clark and The Hawk Band are State bound! They won the UIL 4A Area Marching Band Competition last night, placing 1st in the finals! The whole family plus Grandad and Grandlally went to Kyle to watch the performances.

Here are some general band pics. I have no idea where Clark is, if he is in any of them!

We never saw Clark close up while in the stadium, but he saw us! Rebecca had made a scroll with Clark's name on it. Mason held it up before the final's performance and Clark saw it! That made him smile!

So the next step is State Contest. This takes place on Tues, Nov. 3rd in the Alamo Dome in San Antonio. Mom and the boys and I will be going- even with the ticket price of $23 a ticket- gulp! Ed will have just completed his first week at his new job so we feel like that may not be a good showing for him to take time off so soon..... but we will see!


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Leaving ARL (Monday, Oct 19, 2009)

Monday, October 19, 2009, was my last day at Applied Research Laboratories (ARL). I am changing jobs after working at ARL for 10 1/2 years. Some of the girls couldn't let me go without a good ribbing, though. They decided to decorate my office one last time.

On the white board just outside my office, they shared a special message with everyone.

They also made sure the inside of my office was duly decorated, even the trees.

A couple of short missives.

Thanks, guys! You're the best. I've had a great time over the years, and it was really hard to leave. Just the same, I'm pretty excited about my upcoming adventures at

Dane's First Cub Scout Campout

On Friday, October 9, 2009, Dane, Mason, and I went camping with the Cub Scouts (Pack 711, chartered with St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church in Pflugerville). We spent the weekend at the Canyon Of The Eagles park, on the shores of Lake Buchanon about 15 miles north of Burnet, Texas. We had a fantastic time doing all sorts of Scout things. Here's a few shots from our trip.

The camping boys in front of their tent. We arrived Friday night, set up the tent, and then went to bed. The park has an acclaimed outdoor astronomy observatory, but we didn't have a chance to watch the stars that night because the sky was completely overcast.

The Tiger Cubs played some fun team games on Saturday morning after breakfast. In this game, Dane and Mark were teamed together and challenged to carry a tennis ball across a goal line by holding it pressed between their foreheads.

After several fun games, we paused for a quick lunch of sandwiches, chips, and apples. Eating outdoors for 2 days was definitely a new experience for Dane. He saw new and interesting ways to make food when you don't have a kitchen. Here, Mason "The Mouth" Limbaugh was hovering in the back (orange shirt) waiting for food to be set out so he could swoop in for some grub.

As lunch finished, The Tiger Cubs washed the few dirty dishes from that meal. Surprisingly, Dane eagerly plunged his hands in and helped clean. Mason stood off to the side "supervising."

After lunch, we headed out for a hike. We had about half of our Tiger Cub den camping with us, so before we set out, we paused for a group photo.

Dane and Aiden lead the Den on our nature hike. Cubmaster Jeff (Strivers) follows close behind.

The boys paused regularly to examine interesting objects. Here they try to decide if this rock feature was created by a volcano. ("It could happen!")

Here's a shot that illustrates how low Lake Buchanon has fallen. We took this picture while standing along the lake's normal shoreline. Because of the drought this year, the lake has fallen by about 40 feet, we're told. All of the area out in front of us in this shot is normally covered by water. The little bit of water that's visible is only about 2 feet deep, the Ranger said.

Back at camp after our hike, it was time for a few more games before supper. The younger Scouts challenged the older Webelos Scouts (4th & 5th graders) to a tug-of-war. The younger guys won (with a little help from a Dad or two).

The tug-of-war got the boys' appetites revved up. We soon ate a Royal Italian Feast for supper (spaghetti with meat sauce, which Mason declared to be delicious -- but then everything tastes great on a campout!) Then it was time for the best camping tradition of all:

The Campfire

Dane was more than happy to collect wood for the fire because a fire means roasted marshmellows!

Darkness came, and the fire was lit! Dane set across from me with his new Cub Scout buds. (Dad wasn't cool enough to join them. "Go sit over there, Dad.")

Then, the best part of the whole campout: roasting marshmellows, which was really just a good excuse to consume sugar and play in the fire!

On Sunday morning, we packed it all in and headed home for a much-needed shower. Camper Dane posed for a manly shot before we climbed in the truck to drive away.

Rain fell all morning Friday morning but stopped in time for us to enjoy our camping trip that afternoon. It was a soggy trip, but we didn't have a drop of rain until we were driving down the dirt road leaving the park on Sunday morning (Oct. 11th). What terrific timing!

As we were driving back home, I asked Dane how he'd rate his first campout. He declared it to be a 6 out of 10. I figured that meant he enjoyed it but wouldn't do it again. I knew I was wrong, though, when he raced in the door and started telling Lisa all the campfire skits, the games he'd played, the hikes he'd taken, and all about cooking outdoors.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Couple's Halloween Game Night

We hosted Couple's Halloween Game Night last Saturday night. No kids- just adults playing games and laughing like kids! After the meal, we had 3 tables of games going on. One table played Phase 10 Cards, another played Mexican Train, and a third played Balderdash. Somewhere in there a game of Spades broke out!

Here are pics of the people and the decorations.

Great times, great friends, great laughing!! Looking forward to the next one!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Spider Cookies

I made these super cute Spider Cookies to serve as a dessert at our Couple's Game Night this weekend. They sure were adorable and yummy!

Steps one, two, three, & four- Start with any chocolate cookie. Ice it with chocolate icing. Pipe 3 white icing circles on top. Drag a toothpick from the center of the cookie to the outside edge.
Steps five, six, & seven- Pipe 8 tiny spider legs. Place on piece of Trix Cereal as the spider body. Pipe tiny eyes.
And that's how you get cute Spider Cookies just in time for Halloween!

The hardest part was keeping the boys out of the Trix Cereal until I had finished with the cookies!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Westlake Marching contest

Yesterday was the Westlake Marching Festival at Westlake High School. It was a 5A band competition, but my school was one of the two 4A bands competing in the contest. Out of 16 competing bands, the top 10 went to finals. When they were announcing the bands that were moving on to the finals, the announcer called our name last, nearly giving everyone a heart attack. Later, Mr.Polk, one of our band directors, told us that the announcers called our name last because they used to work with Mr.G, our head band director, so they wanted to mess with him. Polk told us that we had placed 8th overall in the preliminaries and that we were the second band to perform in the finals, so we had to move fast.

After our finals performance, everyone was excited about the results. When they called our name for tenth place, everyone was a bit sad.

When we got back to the band hall, around midnight, Mr.G and Polk told us how proud they were. We were a 4A band that had beaten out 6 other good 5A band. They also pointed out that last year, at our last competition, we had made finals and placed tenth, so we had already improved so much from last year. Most people saw it as an omen of good fortune for this contest season, but that just means that we will have to work even harder to get to state and win "the ring".


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Follow Up- Art Contest

Thanks to everyone who voted for Dane's art work in the Arron Bros. contest. He is officially the Round Rock store winner!! Yay!!

Unfortunately, his piece was not picked by the judges to be in the final 10 for the online voting. :-( It seems that only art produced by older kids made the final 10. Oh, well.....

His piece is on display at

Friday, October 9, 2009

TP strikers

I innocently drove by Andy Monica's house on my way home from a PTO committee meeting and saw this shocking sight!!! At the time I didn't know what to think, so I took some pictures for Andy to have as evidence.Hopefully he can figure out the person or persons responsible for this awesome work... umm,.. I mean... mess, and prosecute to the emptiest extent of the law... ummm, ...I mean.... fullest. Yeah, I mean fullest.Hope you birthday was a happy one anyway, Andy!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Demo Team

A few weeks ago, Mason tried out and made the Park Crest Middle School Kick Start Demo Team. It is a group of 6th graders who take Kick Start as a daily class and meet after school two days a week for team training.

I sneaked in today after school to take some pictures of the Demo Team doing their thing. I found Mason and two other boys practicing with Numb Chucks while the rest of the team was doing kicks and punches with the instructor. Cool stuff!

Supposedly, the Demo Team may perform at a pep rally soon. I am looking forward to shooting that... if it happens!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Mason's Main Event Party

Mason had his "friend party" at the Main Event in Austin. It is a HUGE place with several activities from which to choose. Mason chose laser tag and glow in the dark golf as his two party activities, plus everyone got a "game card" for the arcade.

All 14 boys showed up, many of them friends since 3rd grade. It was great to see the group still hanging out!
Once everyone arrived, the boys went to laser tag. I couldn't go in with my camera so I caught them coming out all full of excitement as they compared scores.

Dane was still a little too young for laser tag so he got extra money on his game card. He and Ed played in the arcade.

Next we went into the party room for hot dogs, chips and sodas.

Then it was cookie cake from the Great American Cookie Company. Check out the sparkler 12 candles! The first lit one surprised Mason and he jumped back! Ha!

Then presents!

Next came glow in the dark golf. That was super cool and a little psychedelic! Mom, Shannon and I golfed too. Ed ran around with the camera. Here are pictures with the flash off and on.

After golf, the kids got their game card and were turned loose in the arcade. Once they used all their $$ they could go spend their points in the gift shop. Several kids "bought" candy and little stuff.

It was a fun party and a wonderful thing to do on a rainy day!

Happy 12th birthday Mason!