Friday afternoon we picked the kids up from school, came home and loaded the van and got on the road to Orlando around 4:30. We went directly to the Kissimmee Civic Center for Clay to weigh in, before heading to the hotel and getting something to eat....we arrived around 7:10 pm and found the most disorganized mess I have ever experienced - including the gymnastics meets and swim meets we've gone to, and there were some real doozies there! There was a humongous line for weigh ins. Apparently, some people were showing up and saying that they weighed 110 lbs.....then stepping on the scale and they weighed 130! So everything had to be changed - weight classifications, etc. I don't know if this is really what the problem was or not - but we waited in line for almost two hours before Clay could finally be weighed in. We finally left and headed to our hotel around 9-ish. We arrived at the Clarion Resort to face another disappointment. This was NOT a Clarion, nor was it a resort....well, anyway, it wasn't like any Clarion we've ever stayed in before. Basically, it was a MOTEL. Yep, doors to the outside, noisy, small, cramped, dirty. We were supposed to stay two nights, but once we saw what the hotel looked like, we cancelled the second night. Yuck. In the morning when I tried to take a shower, the water TRICKLED out. Gross. So......we went to breakfast and then headed back over to the Civic Center. Even though Clay wasn't supposed to compete until 6:00, he wanted to be there to support his teammates who were competing earlier. We went in hoping for the best but found more disappointments. First, $5.00 to park the car - 1/2 mile away!!! Then, $25.00 for Tim, Paige and I to be allowed into the venue. Then, they wouldn't allow any food or water in. The photo above is what it looked like inside. Small, and the parents were all upstairs so we couldn't see very well, and couldn't really take photos. VERY crowded and VERY noisy. Finally, they were running about 1 1/2 hours behind schedule. Big surprise, huh? So, the highlight of the day was walking to downtown Kissimmee to get lunch. We found a cute little Cuban diner with wonderful food and the owner was a sweetheart! Unfortunately, Clay didn't go with us - he was off with the rest of the team eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that one of the parents brought in. Tim, Paige and I walked around a bit (just to get away from the noise!!) and returned around 3:45. Clay found us and wanted to get a hot dog. Shortly afterwards he was taken to the staging area and then we didn't see him again until...... He marched in with his age group........OK, so remember - Clay is a pretty skinny kid, high metabolism.....I was a bit concerned because it was about 6:30 at this point, and all Clay had had to eat all day was a BIG breakfast around 9:00 am, a peanut butter sandwich and some chips around 1:00, and a hot dog abount 4:00.....He did his form, and it was terrible. No sugar coating it! It was sloppy and loose and he didn't place at all....so now, I am starting to get a bit concerned....Finally, he goes to spar. Hmmmmm......ok, well, the good news is that he got a silver medal (2nd place). The bad news is that the kid who took gold was really good. Clay held his own though, although the judges didn't seem to acknowledge it when HE would score...Clay took a pretty vicious kick right above the knee and fell to the floor. The medic came over, his coach, the ref......I shoved my camera at Tim, and took off. It was probably pretty funny - I was shoving people aside and FLEW down the stairs to the floor level and into the ring. I didn't know I could move that fast!!! Thankfully, Clay is OK - just a bruise and he will be sore for a few days..... He was taken over to the athlete's table and checked over....they had him sit there and ice it.....This is the first time he has ever had an injury - thank goodness it wasn't anything serious. I think his pride was more injured than his leg!! We headed home around 9:30, FINALLY got something to eat around 10:00...and got home about 12:30 am.....
Well, it looks like there may be some changes on the horizon for the Van Kuiken family.....we are still dealing with the whole school dilemma. Clay has been accepted into the Academy of Finance at Fleming Island High School, which is where he wants to go. It looks likely that that is where he will be next year, but no decisions have really been made yet. However, while he has been accepted, it is not the school that he is zoned for...so we have to fill out a form, have the school he is zoned for sign off, then have the FIHS sign off, then have the school board sign off. In addition, we need to start picking his classes and having his current teachers recommend certain (honors?) classes for him. Yikes. This is all beginning to feel a bit overwhelming. I mentioned the Academy of Finance.....Clay decided he wanted to apply to that one rather than the one that I THOUGHT he would pick, the Academy of Television (or something like that!). His reason? He wanted to learn how to make a lot of money. Ha ha. Poor kid - I think the he may be under the impression that it will be like the Gordon Gecko School of Finance. Actually, they will take a regular course load, and then take one class per year. In 9th grade it is Introduction to Technology. Tim and I will be happy if he just learns how to balance a checkbook!!
As for Paige, she is zoned (and will likely be going to) for Lakeside Junior High. However, I must say that so far I am a bit underwhelmed by the helpfulness of that school. I have heard that the public school 6th graders are choosing their classes for next year now, so I called the school to see what I need to do to get Paige tested for the gifted program and to choose her classes. The guidance counselor I spoke to was, hmmm.....well, just no other way to say it but a BITCH! Seriously. She was snide and condescending and acted like she was doing me a huge favor just speaking to me! The bottom line is that she said we cannot choose classes for her until sometime this summer and that she may not get her choice of elective. Now, I need to explain that their choices for electives are pathetic. Mostly just band and chorus stuff, etc. There is an Art class, which Paige would love...but that is about it. There are no study halls, no drama, no dance, no language. Aargh. Anyway, it is a very frustrating experience. Tim and I are going to call the school today and try to speak to the principal or vice principal and see if we can get anywhere! Also, we are thinking about switching dance studios for Paige next year. The drive is just too much 4 days a week, and there is noone to help......So in addition to looking into all the school stuff, I am also researching dance schools. She needs someplace with good, classical training - which, believe it or not, is REALLY hard to find!
Finally, this weekend is Clay's state Taekwondo competition. He is so excited he can hardly stand it!
This picture shows Paige in line at the Greek/Roman feast .... they had just come in from the fields after running races, throwing javelins, etc. and obviously the toga was looking a bit disheveled.... Until, finally....it just disappeared...... After the "feast" (and it really was - Tons of delicious food!) I went home to feed the puppy and take her out. I came back up to the school with Gracie to watch the "mental" games. As I was walking up to the gym, Gracie pulled out of her collar and took off. I had this comic/nightmare image of her running into classrooms and wreaking havoc all over the school. Thank goodness, she came when I called her and disaster was averted!! This photo is of her being such a good puppy in the gym while we watched...she just lay in Paige's lap..... Saturday, we cleaned, Clay mowed the lawn and blew off the driveway, and Paige had 2/3 of her triplet friends (the girl thirds...) over to play. Do they still do "playdates" at age 12? Or do they just "hang out"????? OK....yes...ANOTHER sunrise....but this one was kinda cool. The sun came up, and then about a minute later.... ......It disappeared into the clouds. It is a rainy day here today.
Happy Friday! It's been a busy week (as always!!)....Tim got home Monday night. Tuesday morning we had big thunderstorms and winds and lost power for three hours. Thank heavens for that generator we got after the last hurricanes!! The kids were evacuated to the performing arts center (aka the "PAC) because a tree fell on one of the portables, and another two trees fell on the property. Now it is a blustery day (you can see how rough the water is in the photo - usually it is dead calm in the am) but it is supposed to warm up to around 75 and be beautiful.
Today is the 6th grade class's "Olympika". I am a volunteer, and also had to make Greek food. So, naturally...I was online yesterday looking for authentic Greek recipes. I made a basil/feta spread/dip (yummy) and a Greek salad. Paige tells me though that a lot of people are just buyng hummus and pita. !!! Why don't I ever take the easy route? I always try to do an authentic recipe. :( Oh well......pictures of Paige in her toga to follow.......
This week went by so quickly, I can't believe it has been over a week since I have written anything! It wasn't a conscious decision - just busy, and I guess I didn't really feel like I had anything to say! So I will just give a few brief "bullet points" about what happened the past few days.....
* I walked into the kitchen to find my sweet, darling children....having a "dance off".....!!!
* Tim has been working a lot....the price we pay for him having so much time off last month!
* Clay has had a "spring cold"......
* The kids had a 4 day weekend for the Easter holiday, and we absolutely, totally enjoyed doing NOTHING this weekend!
* Even though neither of the children believes in the Easter bunny anymore, the awesome furry bunny STILL came to house and left fabulous baskets for the kids!
* I had a get-together with a friend of some of my friends.....ever since we moved here I have been hearing how I should have known Holly...we would have gotten along so well, etc. We became friends on facebook, and had a quick little meeting over Easter weekend. She has three beautiful daughters and a 7 month old Goldendoodle. Gracie and her dog, Ginger, had a ball playing and they both slept very well that evening! It was so nice to FINALLY meet Holly! Hmmm.......VERY attractive, Miss Paige. DUDE! Clay, YOU are "the man"!!! Clay and Paige giving Gracie a bath after her playdate....she began to smell a bit, er, "ripe"....you know, that lovely sweaty dog smell.
The kids are off to school, Tim is off to Frankfurt...and I am doing laundry and tidying up the house. I walk out to the garage, and find this. A bucket FILLED with tadpoles. Some of you who have been reading this blog for a while may remember an earlier post about the 6 bullfrogs I found in Clay's room - so you won't be surprised. I am not complaining, mind you...it could (and has) been much worse. And - he did keep them in the garage, rather than the house....still.....you just never know what you'll find with a boy!!
It's been a good weekend. Tim got home Friday night and the weekend has been filled with yard work, a trip to Costco, another trip to Publix, cleaning and cooking lots of spaghetti. It was my turn to cook for the youth group up at the church - so I made spaghetti, salad, garlic bread and brownies....the kids (espeicially the boys) ate a TON!
Paige has been playing beauty parlor with Gracie today - she gave her a bath, brushed her out, and then "did" her hair....doesn't she look cute? She is getting so big....
Tim goes back to work tomorrow morning and then we have the usual busy week with all the kid's activities.....
PAIGE: My History teacher pulled an April Fool's joke on us yesterday. Every day we have a "quickie quiz" on what we read the night before. Yesterday he gave us really, really hard questions...like "what was the first sentence on page 411?" and "what is your aunt's middle name?" It was pretty funny (after he told us it wasn't really going to count as a grade!) BUT, I did get 100% on the real one! Spring Break was fun. We went to the beach and got to visit Gramma. I got sunburned. It was really fun, though! No ballet this week because the studio is closed for spring break, but I did have a private lesson on Tuesday and yesterday.
CLAY: Hi. For Spring Break we went to St. Pete. We went to the beach and I went wade-fishing in the bay with my friend Mr. Joe. School is going well. I can't wait for the weekend though. Only a couple more weeks until my Taekwondo competition! :-)
Today is a dark, dreary, rainy day - lots of thunder and lightning last night and a 90% chance of rain - ALL DAY today. Blech. Oh well, it is good for the plants, right? By the way, in the photo above - all the brown stuff on the ground is that nasty oak pollen which has been making my life miserable for the past week or so. I really hope this rain washes it all away!!! I WAS going to take a picture of Clay's room to show you all how cute it looks, but someone didn't clean his room very well this morning. Guess what someone will be doing the minute he walks into the house this afternoon......?!
So....Tim wanted me to write this big, elaborate April Fool's blog today.....about Clay getting arrested, Paige getting a tattoo, me being pregnant...etc. etc. I explained to him that the idea behind April Fool's is that you actually have to fool people - i.e. make it believable, but he wasn't buying it. So...if he asks, just tell him I wrote about it (technically, I DID!) and that it was a GREAT prank. Ha ha...snicker, snicker.
No big plans for today....Tim left for work this morning, Paige has a private lesson today at ballet.....other than that, just the usual - cleaning, the never-ending laundry, and working on more school stuff trying to plan for next year!