Sunday, April 8, 2018

Service Guild Gala - 2018

Once again Steve and I celebrated The Bell Center and all of the wonderful things it does for the families of greater Birmingham with children less than three years of age in need of intervention.  I volunteer through the Service Guild which services The Bell Center, and the Gala is the sole fundraiser for the year.  The money this event raises goes towards the operating budget of The Bell Center.  As always, it was a beautiful night of people coming together for a common cause.  The final numbers are not in yet, but it looks like we have raised about $250K!  Wow!!

One of the best parts of the night is looking at all of the stunning gowns of the women.  Steve and I love dressing up too!  Of course Birmingham's crazy "spring" weather made for an extremely chilly night, so pictures outside were very limited due to the frigid temperatures.  Thankfully it was nice and warm on the dance floor as piles of people boogied to a popular 80's band!

Black and Veatch also sponsored a table, and we had a great time with some Southern Company folks!  What a fun night at The Club for the 30th Guild Gala!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Party of Five in Park City

3 excited kiddos!
For the past several years, Steve and I have been taking the big kids skiing. The first year we hit Big Sky Montana.  Though we put them in group lessons, they ended up being by themselves most days, and therefore learned a lot.  The last two years, we skied at Park City.  Preston is still our risk taker, and always pushing himself, while Bennett is more cautious and timid.  However, they both have continued to thrive, and are getting better each year.

Since Walker is now four years old, and potty trained, we knew it was time to bring him along.  Staying on the mountain was very important for us, and being near to ski school since he would be taking lessons daily.  After lots of research, we decided to stay on the other side of the huge Park City The Canyons.  We found a ski-in/ski-out that worked perfectly for our family.  We booked it, and began restocking our gear since everyone outgrew their gear from last year.

All smiles as he watches his namesake movie "Boss Baby"
Our trip to Utah was Walker's first airplane ride too, so he was doubly excited!  Bennett and Pres were just as happy for him, and both insisted on sitting next to him on the way there, while Steve and I sat behind them.  It worked well for everyone!  Once we arrived, we waited for our uber, and got ourselves checked into our condo, hit the grocery store and picked up our skis.

The kids were anxious to hit the hot tub and pool, so we did that too.  Of course, it didn't take long for Walker to set up his "office" in our condo.  The boy brought some of his essentials and took over the kitchen table.
Walker's Office (AKA our kitchen table)

The morning of our first day on the slopes, Pres and Bennett were up early and dressed and outside before we could even get Walker and ourselves ready.  We finally got all three kids to ski school, and were able to enjoy several runs before the coldness set in.  By mid morning, our fingers and toes were numb, so we headed in early to get hand and toe warmers and defrost our extremities.

We finally warmed up enough to head back out and ski the rest of the afternoon, but we learned our lesson for the rest of the is COLD!  By 3pm, we were ready to get the kids and hear about their days.  Everyone was cold and ready to hit the hot tub, so we called it.

Day 2 went a little bit better.  We were all ready about the same time, and at ski school on time with warmers in our boots and gloves.  Walker asked to skip ski school, but reluctantly went without tears when it was time.  Steve and I skied a lot more terrain this day and got more vertical feet than the previous day.  However, we were a little chilly and ready for our delicious lunch at Lookout Cabin.  Nothing better than an adult beverage (or two) to warm you up.

We hit the slopes hard in the afternoon before collecting the kids.  Bennett and Walker were ready to go back, but Preston was dying to get another couple runs in, so we went out together.

Pres and I came back and were ready to join everyone else in the hot tub.  Kids always have a ball jumping back and forth between the heated pool and hot tub, and we always meet someone fun to chat with about our days.  Kids had another great day on the slopes, but Walker still hadn't left the magic carpet.  His instructor told us that she would be taking him up on the gondola the following morning, and was confident that he could maneuver a lift so we felt optimistic about day 3.
Warm and happy after lunch!

What a difference a day makes!  Day 3 was great for everyone!  The four of us skied together all day, and had a great day, with the exception of one error on my part.  While on a chair lift, I took off one of my gloves to adjust Preston's gator and forgot my pole was on my wrist, which fell off when I took off my glove.  Sadly I dropped my pole....into a bunch of trees, on a double black run.  I reported it to ski patrol, but they couldn't find it, so I was determined to go after it myself.  Preston skied down with me, and we found it!  We had been a little cold, but after going down the run and working hard to dodge the trees, we worked up a sweat.  As the day started to wrap up, we ran into Walker and were thrilled to see him going down a green run.  He loved showing off, and was determined to ski with all of us.  We rode up a lift with him, as he spouted off the rules of riding a chair lift (lean back, ski tips up, safety bar down, etc.) was great!
All of our babies can ski!!!

That night, we went out to dinner to celebrate!  After a long day of skiing, some pool/hot tub time and shower, we knew Walker wouldn't last long. We walked to a nearby place, quickly ordered, and shortly after dinner, he fell asleep in my arms.  He completely missed the ice cream that he so desperately wanted.

We tried to milk our final day on the slopes....skiing as much as we could, and grabbing Walker promptly at 3pm.  His instructor told us that he did great and was moved up to a high level 3.  He quickly gained his confidence, and did fantastic.  He did great keeping his skis fairly parallel and kept a pretty good speed going down.

Now that everyone is finally skiing, I already can't wait for our next ski trip.  So until next time...

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Youth Basketball

This winter Preston played basketball through the rec league again.  He was lucky enough to get chosen by an experienced coach.  David Lee did a great job leading the boys, and really honing in on what their strengths were.  He was fair, and encouraging the whole time.

Preston doesn't have the height that a couple of the other kids had, but he was great at guarding whoever he was put on due to his speed.  He hustled and played hard the entire game each week.  The team started off losing the first two games (though they were close losses), but they then went on a winning streak....winning the last six games of regular season.  The boys all improved, and worked great together.  It ended up being a really fun season, and Preston improved a great deal over the past couple of months.

As the season wrapped, his team was ranked third entering the tournament.  They played the first game in the tournament, and won fairly easily.  However it was their second game, the semi-championship game, that was going to be the toughest.  Preston was scared, as he should have been.  They were tough, and probably expected to win.  They were up the entire game, leading by 7 points at one time in the 3rd quarter.  However, they came back in the 4th quarter and narrowed the gain by a basket with two minutes left in the game.  Then, Davis Lee (the coach's son), made a basket to tie it up!  The boys went crazy, and I was cheering so loud from the stands.  But when Davis got fouled with less than 20 seconds left and made both baskets.....they knew they had won, and it was HUGE!  They advanced to the championship game the next night.

Steve was out of town, and missed the final two games, so I had to text him updates.  He was thrilled to hear about the big win in the semi-championship, but there are no guarantees with 3rd grade basketball.  So though Preston's team had previously beaten their opponent in the regular season, they needed to be clicking to secure the win. 
Davis, Lennon, Coach Cornutt, Morgan, Jakobe, Coach Lee, Travis, Win & Pres

The boys started off strong, and finished the half with a 12 point lead.  However, the other team came on strong the second half, narrowing the gain to just 5 points at the end of the 3rd quarter.  They held pat for several minutes into the 4th quarter, but then the gain shrunk even more.  With less than 3 minutes, the game was within 4 points.  Once again, it ended up being a nail biter, with the game being secured within the last minute.  Thankfully for Preston's team....they ended up as the CHAMPIONS!!!  They were all so excited!  But what Pres was the most excited about what his plaque.  They said they decided to do plaques with a piece of the former basketball court on each winner's plaque, instead of the typical trophy (since they had just put in new courts this year).

As you can tell from the pictures - he was pumped with the final results!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

UA Basketball Game w/ Uncle Dan

Selfie at the basketball game

Our children are so lucky.....they have three "fun uncles" that love our kids.  Each one has something special that they share with each of our kids, and Uncle Dan is definitely the biggest Alabama fan.  He is extremely faithful to Bama, and has tickets to every sporting event.  So whenever one of the kids wants to attend something, he can always provide them with a ticket.  He has taken Bennett to gymnastics meets, and this time it was Preston's turn.  He was dying to go see a basketball game!

Preston and Uncle Dan headed to Tuscaloosa to watch Bama roll all over Tennessee.  Pres had a ball, and said it was so loud inside the coliseum.  Thank you Uncle Dan for the wonderful memories, and for spoiling each of our children in your special way.
Final Score....Bama Won!

Pres wishing he could win the raffle and win the autographed Derrick Henry jersey

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Impromptu Date

Friday, Uncle Dan reached out to invite Bennett to accompany him to a University of Alabama gymnastics meet against Missouri.  Of course she jumped at the opportunity to go with him!  Our children love some Alabama sports, and love hanging with their Uncle Dan who spoils them like crazy!  When I asked her what they talked about on the way down, she said "I don't know...he asked me about school and I talked for 15 minutes, then I asked him something and he talked for 5 minutes, and then he asked me another question and I talked until we got there.  I guess I talked a lot."

She had a blast watching the pros, and loved getting to meet and take pictures with many of the team members after the meet.  Walker and I were asleep when she got home, but I loved hearing about the fun she had the next day.  She got a ton of autographs, and one of the gymnasts even gave Bennett her flowers (which she quickly put in water).  She had a great time, and we thank Uncle Dan for the fond memories!

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Update on Walker's Burns

July 5th - after shower, before bandage
After Walker got burned, he was given strict instructions to stay inside and keep his wounds clean.  The burn unit told us, if we could keep bandages on him for the first 10-14 days, that would be the best case scenario for minimizing infection and optimizing the healing.  We bribed him heavily, and he was thankfully very cooperative.  However, things needed to be adjusted.  He couldn't attend summer school anymore, he couldn't play outside or go swimming, and had to minimize his activity some so the bandages would actually stay on.  Walker did great until his follow-up appointment mid July.  I didn't work, and we just did puzzles, watched movies and colored....A LOT.

Thankfully they gave us the "all clear" at his follow up visit so we could still go on our Midwest road trip.  We just needed to minimize his time outside, and when he is outside, he needs to have SPF 50 on all wounds, and wear a baseball cap to protect his scalp.  Since he had lost all of his hair along his burn, it looked weird anyway, so he happily wore his cap.
July 13th - face healing nicely and still smiling

July 13th - no scab yet

About 4-6 weeks after his accident, the scars on his face were only visible after he got hot and flushed.  And 6 months later, I am happy to not see anymore redness or evidence of the burns on his face, chest and arm.  But sadly he still doesn't have hair growth on his scalp, in fact skin continues to come off when I brush his hair.  I am still hoping to see new hairs, but the doctors said it could take a full year for the healing process to be complete.  However, after speaking to several other doctors, I am not optimistic.  They don't think his hair will regenerate because they think the burn was just a little deeper than originally diagnosed, hence the lack of complete healing.
July 21st - still redness on face and scalp starting to scab

Aug 24th - occasionally bleeding and healing still
Jan 21st - still not 100% and no hair at crown