Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Choir Camp

UNT Middle School/Jr High Choir Camp in Denton, Texas.

Dane was one of 67 kids who attended Choir Camp for 4 days in July. Lucky kid!

The kids got to sleep in a dorm, eat in the dorm cafeterias, practice in the UNT music buildings, learn to play hand bells, and participate in fun activities every day with UNT choir students.

~Check in morning~
The boy on the far left was Dane's roommate, Josh. A camp counselor holds a welcome sign. The boy next to her, Johann became Dane's best friend at camp.
 Dane shows off his camp back pack and lanyard. In the back ground you get a peek at his dorm bed.
That was the last we saw of Dane until Saturday afternoon. I got nightly phone calls and saw videos and photos on Instagram through out the camp. I heard stories of great singing, fun games, a talent show skit performance (Yay Dane!), and new friends.

On Saturday afternoon Mason, Clark, Briana, and I attended the Choir Camp concert being held at the The Murchison Performing Arts Center on the UNT campus. It was a beautiful facility!
 All the campers got a camp t-shirt that they wore for the concert.
The singers took the stage. We had front row seats. You could feel the excitement in the air.
 The kids performed a total of 9 songs. 
Praise We Sing to Thee
Be Like the Bird
Laudate Dominum
Loch Lomond
Bedu Pako Baramasa
Serve The Lord With Gladness
All God’s Creatures Got A Place In The Choir
Part of the daily activities was learning to play hand bells. The boys played while the girls sang a song then they switched. You can't see Dane in this picture though. He had bell D4 which "played a ton" but was in the second row. Nonetheless, it was beautiful to hear.
 The boys perform one of their pieces next.
The big fantastically fun finale was, "All God's Critters Got a Place in the Choir." This arrangement included movement, animal noises, a banjo, a fiddle, and drums. Such a great way to end the concert.
 As you can imagine, the applause was thunderous and the smiles huge!

After the concert, Clark spotted Dane and friends leaving the concert hall. He snapped this picture showing the spectacular architecture of the concert hall in the background.

Camp friends Johann, Dane, and Jonah

 Dane had such a great time. He wants to go back next summer. He plans to keep in touch with his camp friends over the school year and looks forward to seeing them next July.

Monday, July 20, 2015

College Tours

The boys and I spent several days in Denton last week. We had several activities on our agenda.

Dane went to UNT Choir Camp (more on that in the next post). Clark hung out with his girlfriend Briana. Mason and I toured 3 North Texas College campuses. Plus more!

Mason will be a high school senior next year so he is already looking at college options. Before this trip, he and Ed had already toured Sam Houston State University and University of Texas at San Antonio. He lined up 3 more campuses for us to check out.
Pics from our 1 1/2 hour University of North Texas tour.
 Pics from our 2 1/2 hour University of Texas at Arlington tour.
 Pics from our 1 1/2 hour University of Texas at Dallas tour.
Based on campuses alone, he is ranking them UTA as first and UNT and UTSA as tied for second. We will see how they rank after he looks into the specifics of the degree plans and classes.

Besides walking all over campuses, we went to Clark and Briana's favorite Denton donut shop, Hypnotic Donuts. Mason tried one that had bacon on top called Canadian Healthcare. (Yeast raised long john topped with maple icing, full strip of bacon (no pieces here) and syrup.) He devoured it in 3 bites.
 Briana and Clark had the Maribeth. (Chicken biscuit with in house made peppered gravy and tator tots.)
 I carved some time out to have a 2 1/2 hour dinner with my cousins Kim and Pam who both live in the Dallas area. We tried to get our nails done after the meal but both nail salons near the restaurant were closed by the time we got there. Oh, well.
 We also stopped in the ice cream shop on the square called Beth Marie's for some crazy flavored ice cream. Clark had "Wobbly Monkey." I had "Texas Doctor." Mason had "Cake Batter." All very delicious!
 I even got a good shot of Clark and Briana inside the 
Murchison Performing Arts Hall on the UNT campus. My two favorite eagles!
It was a busy 5 days!!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Race 21

To celebrate Clark's big 21 birthday, we surprised him with a trip to Track 21 Racing. None of the boys had ever been to an indoor race track so it was a treat for them all. Hummm. Smell the testosterone!
Ed, Clark, and Mason raced on the big track. Helmets on, race cars running.
 Here are a few pics of their speed adventure.
 Go speed demons!

 At the end of the race, racers get a time sheet to see how fast they went.
Happy guys!
 Meanwhile, at the small race track, Dane was getting his speed on.
 Fun time for the birthday man!
 For dinner we visited a Chili's. Clark ordered a Watermelon Margarita. 
They carded him. Hilarious!
Back at the house, we indulged in homemade Chocolate Coke Cake.
 It was a full evening of birthday celebration. We love our birthday man!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

21 Whoop

It's a big day for Clark.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Plan B

When Plan A doesn't work, you move to Plan B. In this case, Plan B has a pool so it is really a Plan B+.

We will be closing and moving in mid August. 
Can't wait for our first dip in our new pool!
 Back yard and pool!
 We love all the beautiful landscaping too.
This is step one of our new 2-3 year plan. Our own home, in Spring, in which we can unpack and decorate to our taste. (Ya'll know how much I like to paint walls! Seriously!) It will be nice to see our own things again. They have been boxed for a full year now. Dane will be able to stay at his awesome middle school and in their amazing choir program.
More on this as we roll along.... finally, again.

Sunday, July 5, 2015


On January 2nd, after discovering that we can shoot our own fireworks in this neighborhood, we started a "Fireworks Coin Jar," at Dane's insistence. On June 29th we went to have our coins counted. We all guessed around $20 to $25 range. Low and behold we had an even $83, thanks to the penny Dane found on the ground!!
That night we all headed to the big Firework Warehouse in town. We spent it all on a variety pack plus a few smaller items! The boys were so excited!
Jump to July 4th around 9pm. "The rockets red glare! The bombs bursting in air!" That was our street.

They got right to it.
 While they were busy "blowing up stuff," I took the opportunity to play with the shutter speeds on my camera to get some awesome firework photos.
Sparkler fun.
 Mason spells out "BMX" (for the love of his BMX Biking sport.)
 Fountains and the likes.
 Flowers & Spinners
Up high!
                Dane was a champ with the Roman Candle.            
 Now that we have tried a variety of fireworks, we know what we like and don't like for next time. The coin jar for the New Year's firework purchase has begun!

Happy 4th of July!!