Wednesday, July 27, 2011

American Idol Live & An Extraordinary Treat We Never Expected

Many of my facebook friends will be thinking, "Oh, joy, she is going to talk about this again!"  LOL  But, I have to, because it was THAT great of an experience for a fan and, most importantly, as a mom.  Also, on facebook I didn't tell the whole story.  :)

I have to start with purchasing the tickets and watching the 2011 season of American Idol.  Genna and I are HUGE fans and American Idol is a family event!  Throughout the show Genna developed a bit of a crush on Scotty so many little girls.  We heard things like "I just love how the lights sparkle in his eyes!"  And when Scotty asked "Are you gonna kiss me or not" and I asked for her answer we got nothing but blushing!  If she ever reads this she will be a little mad at me!  LOL  Anyway, fast forward to buying the tickets.  I told her we had great seats and she said, "I just wish we were going to be close enough to touch them."  I explained that those tickets cost a LOT and that we were lucky to have the seats we had!

Finally, after waiting for over 2 months, last Friday, we started our concert experience riding over to New Orleans with our friend, Keith, and his 7yo daughter and 14yo niece.  We had Happy Meals on the way...never imagining the night would be SO happy!  Then when we got to the arena we had to separate since our seat were in different sections.

We found our seats and got settled.  Some of the top 24 locals were on the floor below us greeting people and taking photos with them.  Genna had a little moment where she was mad that she couldn't meet them.  Honestly, it was one of those moments when I was frustrated with her and fussed at her that she'd better change that way of thinking and be happy that she was a VERY lucky little girl!  *sigh*  Then, lo and behold, she had the chance to take a picture with Jovany Barreto.  As far as she was concerned the night was cool...she met someone fairly famous and was getting ready to watch a concert!

Here is her photo with Jovany:

Weellll...just as the concert was about to begin Ford ran a texting contest...we were to text in the name of our favorite American Idol Ford commercial.  The prize...backstage passes after the show!  We didn't even have to see the choices...we knew the answer, of course, was Zombies!  So, I texted in my time.

The concert starts.  I get a text from Ford..."Please respond with your e-mail to enter to win..."  I did.  Then I get another text..."Congrats, you won backstage passes after the show!  Text Neil ASAP to claim your prize tonight."  AAHHHH!  Here I am sitting here not even wanting to tell Genna yet.  Because, if I tell her and then it doesn't happen...Oh My!  I was in shock and I really didn't believe it.  I don't typically win stuff.  So, I texted Neil..."We have 5 people!!  Did we really win????"  Text comes back "What section are u sitting, seats?"  At this point Genna knows something is up because I'm texting and missing the concert!  I text back..."We are in section P row 11 seats 4 and 5...friends are in section Q."  Neil responds, "I will meet u there at intermission."  YAY!  I texted back..."OMG.  Most excited 10yo little girl ever sitting next to me!  Thank you SO much!!"

Meanwhile I had sent a text to Keith to tell him I thought I had won the passes.  He is up there doing the same thing...not wanting to get a little girl's hopes up.  It was almost like we just couldn't believe it until I had the passes in my hands!

We go on and enjoy the concert.  Intermission comes and Neil shows up.  Next to us there was a mom and two 13yo girls.  She jokingly said, "If you can get passes for us I'll PAY you!"  LOL  So, I just told them I'd see what I could do.  I actually had the nerve to ask for more passes!  And, guess what...he gave me two more and I knew the mom would totally trust me to watch over her daughter and her friend.  I thought those two precious girls were going to fall out of their seats!  And the mom was just so sweet and thankful.  Made me feel good...even though I only did what anyone should have done!

We go on and enjoy the concert.  But now Genna is saying "How much longer until we can meet them?" She was just a little excited.  All 5 girls were.  The concert was really entertaining...and they really are the most all around talented American Idols ever!

When the concert was over we found our way to where we needed to be.  Then we waited in the press box for a while.  Then we were filed into the greeting room.  We were last in line and I told the girls to stay that way!  We'd have more time with everyone if we weren't being rushed by people behind us.  We were in that room visiting with them for well over an hour.

I'll start from the beginning with photos.  :)




She is so tiny!


I really like Thia and can't wait to watch her grow up!  She is adorable and extremely talented!!!

This hug happened when Genna met Lauren for the first time!  So sweet!!!!

And, here is Genna singing the chorus of her song for Lauren.
Genna wrote it herself and it is quite good.  :)
Lauren was blown away and couldn't believe that Genna is not even 10yo yet!






My favorite part of this photo is that you can tell he is smiling as she sings to him.


Let me tell you...all of the youngest (Scotty, Lauren, and Thia) were just the sweetest kids!  I feel old calling them kids, but I have a nephew older than any of them!  They really came across just the way I pray Genna and Thomas will grow up to be...genuinely kind, fun-loving and caring.  And truly thankful for the place in which they have found themselves.  Oh, and extremely sweet and loving toward their moms, who are giving so much to be on tour with them.  I thanked each of these kids for being such great role models for our kids.

Toward the end of the time in that room we ended up spending more time with Lauren and her mom, Kristy.  It was so nice to meet her!  I thanked her, as well, for raising such a great girl!  You know what she did?  She pointed up to the sky and said "I have to thank Him...and my mom!"  I LOVED this response and told her so!  We talked for 20+ minutes.  It was fabulous!  It was "mom talk," too, which is funny to me.  We talked about raising kids, and the importance of God, for us, in that journey.  She and I could totally be friends!  LOL   

While talking with Lauren she reached over and caressed my purse and followed that with, "I Love Your Purse!"  I had seen this coming before I ever entered the room.  What can I say?  My Vizzini purse is gorgeous!  :)  I had already texted Paula Vizzini, purse designer, to see if I could give my purse away! And, so I did!  Lauren was shocked when I asked her if she wanted it!  LOL  I literally gave the girl my favorite purse off of my arm!  For a woman...that is a lot like giving someone the shirt off of your back!  Wouldn't you agree?

She showed her mom and her eyes got all starry...Lauren turned back and said "I'm not giving it to her, she'll steal it!"  LOL  She did give it to her mom, and when it was time for Lauren to leave to greet fans outside she ran back and said, "I'm sorry...but Momma, will you be sure to get my purse!"  So cute!

Here is Lauren with her new purse!
I sure hope we'll get to see pics of Lauren using her Vizzini in the future!

HAHA  And the night wouldn't have been complete if Genna wasn't asked to sing for Ms. Kristy, too!

You may have noticed that James Durbin was missing.  We didn't get to meet him.  That stinks, but we hope that he wasn't feeling sick or anything that night!  This tour is exhausting for this crew and you can see it on their faces!  "Thankful" just doesn't even begin to describe how I feel about them taking the time to meet and greet all of us and many more happy fans!

The ride home was fun...the girls were still going on and on.  When we got home I uploaded the photos to share on facebook.  And about an hour later Genna came upstairs to me...she was hugging her 8x10 autographed photo and had big crocodile tears running down her cheeks.  I asked her what it was and hugged her and she literally sobbed..."This was just the BEST night of my life!!!"

And, I'm thinking Genna will stick with her love of music and performing!  The girl has guts...she sang with NO problem for them that night!  She blew me away!  :)

Happy times and memories that will last a lifetime!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Here is something you don't see every day!

Even at the Audubon Zoo this one is rare.  We were walking along and just watched as this bird picked up a rat and flew away with his lunch!  And...I snapped VERY quickly!!!  LOL

Because I couldn't decide which way I like it better you get to see it again!

My kids being can come over anytime to see that!  :)

Pink beaked duck!

Two Headed Snake

Would NOT want to wake up with this guy staring at me!  LOL

I think this white alligator was posing with our kids!

Unlikely friends?  
I think this is the same bird from above.  And I took this before he picked up his "fly through lunch".  So, I have this dialogue in my head going on...
Bird:  "I'm getting hungry, I think I'll go over there for lunch."
Turtle:  "Whatever...I don't like rats!"

Beautiful and creepy all in one animal.

TINY TINY lizard

Genna holding the tiny lizard!

4 exhausted kids and 3 HUGE pancakes for dinner!  :)

"Hey, we want some pancakes!"  :)

Hope you enjoyed these!!  :)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Did you hear that?

Not in this house, you didn't!  LOL

Nothing but silence here since the kids are off visiting Nana and Huckie for a few days.  It has been great!  We miss them, of course, but they are having a blast.

Today they are spending the late afternoon at the beach and having a sunset picnic followed by catching crabs in the surf when it gets dark!  They have been equipped with nets and flashlights for their adventure!  Fun stuff!

Then, tomorrow, they are going on a Pirate Cruise!  I can't wait to hear all about it!

Needless to say...they are being spoiled!!!  With everything...from the fun activities to the grocery list!  That's what grandparents are for, right?  :)

What have we been doing?  Well, I've traded in my "super suit" for "cleaning gloves" and I'm doing some leisurely cleaning.  I've isn't so bad when no one is stopping you to ask for food or drink or entertainment!  Or when no one is coming behind you just to undo what you've done!  LOL  Kevin and I have had a couple of dates hanging out with friends, and for a couple of days we're just going to take the time to recharge before the kids come home.

When they get home we only have less than 20 lessons left until we'll be finished our school year!  Then Kevin is taking some vacation time and we'll spend a couple of weeks having family fun before we start school again after Labor Day.  Oh, and on this coming Friday, Genna and I are heading to see the American Idol Live Concert!!!  We are very excited!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Want your child to have awesome language skills??

It's so fun when something comes up that helps me realize that a particular curriculum has really worked well!  That happens daily, but some things (like really understanding all of the parts of a sentence) are less obvious.  I don't walk around having Genna label sentences in the grocery store, but I do have her do a lot of math for me.  Does that make sense?

Yesterday her spelling assignment was to find the subject and predicate of sentences.  She labeled the subject noun, the complete subject and the complete predicate with ZERO hesitation.  It was exciting for me.  She can actually lable much more including:  article adjectives, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, prepositions, objects of the prepostion, and prepositional phrases. 

She learned all of this from Level 1 of Shurley English.  It is very reasonably priced and I'm telling you...even if you don't homeschool, do yourself and your child a favor and get it!  It moves very smoothly, especially for a 3rd grader.  Most days it doesn't take more than 10 - 15 minutes to complete a lesson.  The basis of the curriculum is a group of for each part of the sentence.  Thomas joins us for this fun!  It also focuses on writing and other basic language skills.  Technically, it is for a 1st grader.  Genna did NOT learn anything like this in 1st grade!  My plan with Thomas, since I'll still be using his Abeka Language because of the phonics and reading comprehension, is to work through it slowly and take our time.  It will be interesting to see how fast he catches on.

Is cursive handwriting obsolete?

I've commented in earlier posts that for the last year Brandy and I have discussed how we are amazed at how cursive handwriting is still so heavily focused on in education.  Well, I don't know if she called someone or something, but someone heard us and agreed!  LOL  We are so smart.  Sometimes it amazes me.  ;-)

This morning I was half awake and my eyes popped opened when I heard a news story about how many states are phasing cursive handwriting out of their curriculum.  They will introduce typing at an earlier age since so many kids are carrying laptops instead of notebooks in the later grade.  I think it make perfect sense.  Cursive was a way to make the ink last longer!  LOL  Not an issue these days!

I have a feeling some will still insist that kids should learn to use cursive handwriting because of the romanticism.  It is like corks in wine bottles.  Screw caps work better, but most of the wine industry is not about to take the drama away from the bottle opening process.

I happen to agree...schools especially should be focusing on solid reading and math skills.  Typing is going to be much more important for this next generation.  Heck...we are making grocery lists on our cell phones!

Here I to find a typing program for Genna and Thomas.  FYI...I will still teach cursive (Genna did that this year), but I won't stress myself or Thomas over it or push it too early.

Here is a news story from yesterday:

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Fonz!

Saw Henry Winkler on TV today and was so impressed with his passion about "learning challenges."  What he said is so true.

I'm cheering for him!  I love that he has used his fame to help raise awareness and teach the world that people with learning challenges can be brilliant, too.  Some may be brilliant artists, others may be brilliant business people, but for anyone it is important to accentuate the positives!