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Monday, December 21, 2009

Gingerbread Men Cookies

Tonight we went over to the Cantu's house for dinner. Shannon made homemade cheese enchiladas and chicken tomatina enchiladas...super yummy! She made beans and rice too! Her house smelled like a delicious Mexican restaurant when we walked in!

After the meal, the kids started decorating gingerbread men cookies from some kits I had brought over. Note to self- the HEB kit comes with ready to use icing. The Wilton kit comes with need to mix icing. Boo, Wilton- Yeah, HEB!

Here are pictures of the kids cookie decorating.



Cookies

The work station/mess!

Friday, December 18, 2009

1st Grade Christmas

HPES 1st grade had a giant brunch in the cafeteria for all 1st graders. That is 7 classes worth!

So much food!
Tables and tables worth!
Dane goes through the line.
Dane's class eating brunch.
Dane gives Mrs. Simpson her gift from him.
Dane gets a "thank you" hug back.
One tired but happy Christmas guy!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gifts, gifts, gifts

I mentioned, in an earlier post, about the families we were adopting for Christmas. With most of the shopping done, we had a "wrap party" on Sunday. It was mandatory participation for the Limbaugh boys. Mom and Nana came to help too. Wrapping gifts for 6 kids plus a few parent gifts was quite an undertaking. It took us all afternoon, minus a dinner break, and the rest of the night to get it done.

In order to keep it organized, we had "wrapping stations" and each kid's gifts were wrapped in a unique paper so it is easier to know which gifts go to which kid (even with the tags on them).

Before the wrapping begins.
Clark wraps for a 3 yr old boy.
Mason & Ed wrap while Dane draws a card.

Nana wraps for a 4yr old girl.

5 of the 6 stacks of wrapped gifts.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Yellow Belt Ceremony

Friday night was the Kickstart Yellow Belt Ceremony. Mason has really enjoyed this class and is totally engaged in the martial arts.

To advance from white belt to yellow belt, the students had to pass a skills test which included moves they have learned this past semester and push ups. Mason passed his test with a 98, of which he was extremely proud.

At the beginning of the ceremony, the instructor, Ms. Benitez thanked two parents for their help with Demo Team. One of them was me! I was taken by surprise! How nice to be publicly recognized!

After the opening remarks, all the students showed off their newly learned skills.

Mason is on the far right of these photos.

Mason and Simon

Next the Demo Team did their moves.
Mason was in a fight scene with three other members.
Here is a poor quality video of the fight scene...
but you get the idea.
video

What you don't know is that just after Halloween, Ms. Benitez was in a horrible car accident in San Antonio while visiting a friend. Apparently is was very serious with touch and go moments in the beginning. The doctor told her husband that if she wasn't as fit as she was, she would have died from all the internal injuries. Scary stuff!

So when Ms. Benitez started to talk about what the students mean to her, how hard it was being away for three weeks, and how well the classes did with the sub, it was extra emotional for everyone. She cried, I cried, and everyone around us cried!

Next the students were called up one by one to receive a certificate and their new yellow belt. Kickstart instructors from the other middle schools were on hand to help pass out and congratulate the students.

Mason is congratulated and receives his certificate.


Once everyone received their yellow belts, they changed out their white belt with the new yellow.

Ms. Benitez surprised me, right?.... I got her back! I had taken a bunch of my best photos and turned them into an 8x10 collage which I matted, had the Demo Team members sign, and then framed. I had also picked up a beautiful bouquet of flowers for the Demo kids to give her. I arranged with her husband and another instructor to help pull off the surprise. So at the end of the ceremony, another instructor called the Demo Team forward. Mason had snuck back to get the gifts out of hiding. Amanda, a Demo Team member, took the mic and talked about how Ms. Benitez gets the credit for their success and how they all thank her for teaching them. It was very moving which lead to more tears as Ms. Benitez opened the gift and took the flowers. Everyone in the stands was balling along with her!

This is that moment.

The ceremony came to a close. It was picture time!

Mason and Ms. Benitez


Simon, Ms. Benitez, &
Mason
Mason and Simon show off!


Their friend Jacob joined in.


Friday, December 11, 2009

HHS Winter Concert

Thursday night Clark's band had their Winter Concert at Hendrickson. Clark played 4 times; Jazz Band, Wind Ensemble, All Brass, and a Brass Ensemble (of which he was the only sophomore playing with all seniors!).

It was a lovely night of great holiday music. We all enjoyed it!

Jazz Band setting up.
Clark is in the middle looking to the right.
The Brass performance.
Clark and fellow trombonists leaving the pit.
The Wind Ensemble.
Clark is the second Santa hat from the
left of the screen--waaaay in the back.

Here's a video of Clark's high school jazz band performing during the concert. Although the picture quality could certainly be better, at the very least you can appreciate his awesome performance. One of Clark's friends very thoughtfully recorded this clip for us.

video

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

PCMS Winter Concert

Mason's beginner band concert was last night. They played 2 holiday songs and then each section played a piece separately of the full band. They were great when you consider that they have only been playing their instruments for 4 months.

The concert was at Pflugerville High, in their auditorium. Grandad and Granlally drove up to hear Mason's first ever band concert.


Before the concert begins...


The Sax's play "Smoke on the Water."
Mason and his buddy, Simon.



Kickstart Demo Team

I was called back to shoot more pictures of Mason's KickStart Demo Team. The instructor is putting together a photo board from the pictures I shot a few months back and the new ones I shot on the 8th.

Mason advances to the gold belt in a ceremony this coming Friday. He will be performing as well in a fight scene and on num chucks. I will post pics of that event after it happens. Until then, here are some of my favorite pics taken yesterday.

The KickStart banner.

The Demo Team
The Forms Team
The Form Team in action.
Mason in a fight scene.

Mason on "the chucks," as he calls them.