Friday, September 29, 2017

Grandpal's Day at All Saints

Today was a special day for the preschoolers at All Saints.... Grandpal's Day!  What made the day even more special for Walker was that BOTH sets of grandparents were present for the very informal day.  Walker was thrilled to show everyone his artwork and classroom.

We all looked around, took a couple pictures and then went to reception for cookies and lemonade.  Following the event, we went to lunch with my parents.  What a fun couple of hours.


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Karate Chopping

Walker is only 3.5 years old, but it was time to get him involved in something.  The poor child has been dragged to every sporting event of his older siblings for the past three years, so it was HIS turn to have an activity.  I wanted it to be something simple, something that could allow him to get out some energy and I wanted him to learn some discipline.  I had my sights set on karate, and was thrilled to see it was offered as an after school activity at his preschool.

One day after school he attended a trial class.  He broke a thin board, and was hooked!  I enrolled him, and he has been going weekly since then.  There are only three little boys in his class, so he is getting plenty of attention.

The boys are doing frog jumps (to improve flexibility), front kicks, rolls and punches.  Walker is really enjoying his 45 minute class each week.  I look forward to seeing if it starts to click and he chooses to proceed with this as he gets older.

Walker and his buddy, Winston

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Happy 9th Birthday Preston!

We kicked off Preston's birthday celebrations with Steve being a mystery reader and having lunch with him at school.  It was definitely a surprise, and all of the kids love having a parent there to break up the monotony.  Steve read two books, and Pres loved every minute of it.

Then Steve got to dine on a fine cafeteria meal, while all of the kids at the table chatted it up, sneezed on their food and shared items with each other.

Principal Lowry with Preston

The following day, I got a text from the principal at Shades Cahaba.  He loves to make the kids feel special, so he pulls each child out of class on their birthday to snap a selfie and then texts it to their family.  Such a sweet gesture. 

Later that day, I went up to the school to have lunch with my buddy.  I snuck in a McDonald's happy meal (his favorite) in his lunchbox, and he was the king at the lunch table because he shared his french fries with his friends.

I froze my bootie off (do you notice the sweatshirt that Preston wears every time he goes to the cafeteria?). 

I didn't believe Pres that his class sits at the tables under the air conditioning vents, and that it would be cold enough to warrant a sweatshirt, but it is!

Pres with some of class friends
a couple of new jerseys, cash and candy=great birthday!
Of course, the school celebrations just kicked off the REAL celebration the following day, on his actual birthday.  He awoke to presents from my parents and us, and then we went to his flag football game.  The Bantas came to support Preston too.  Though his team lost, he scored a touchdown and still had a good game.  We celebrated with a cookie cake with his teammates.  And after the flag football game, we went out to lunch as a family to Taco Mama (his favorite).  We stuffed our faces, and then he and Steve went to Tuscaloosa.  The pinnacle of the day was going to Tuscaloosa with his Daddy for the Alabama - Colorado State game, and he loved every minute.  When asked what he wanted to do for his birthday, that is what he wanted.
nothing like family support
we love this sport loving boy!

cousins (sans Bennett)
Mimi and Papa surprised Preston with another birthday cake, and bought him a new Alabama jersey...ROLL TIDE!  Steve even scored two tickets to the club level - Preston's favorite because he can eat unlimited ice cream and drink any soft drink he desires.

Of course, Alabama is off to another strong start this season, and rolled all over Colorado State.  Even though it was pretty clear that they were going to win, Preston had NO desire to leave, and wanted to stay for his first entire game. 
4th Quarter!  41-23 final score
Preston passed out on the car ride home, but he will easily say it was one of the best birthdays he has had!  Happy 9th Birthday Buddy, can't wait to see how the next year shapes up!  You are a caring, competitive young man with an analytical brain that never stops will go far in life!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

YMCA Camp Cosby

Since Kindergarten, the kids have gone to spend the night away at camp.  They have always enjoyed themselves, and have never been homesick.  In the past they attended Camp Winnataska, but this summer they tried something new and went to Camp Cosby.  We chose a week that worked well for our family and at the last minute, Bennett had two friends sign up and ask to be in her cabin.  They were both excited for their new adventures!
Arapahoe Cabin

Layton Bradford, Claire Garrett, Ella Serotsky and Bennett
Though Preston didn't have any friends in his cabin, he was ready to meet new ones and experience a new camp.  Camp Cosby is on Logan Martin Lake, and is set up like the camps you see on tv.  The cabins are all lined up, with toilets and showers inside each cabin.  They are also air conditioned, which is a huge benefit over Winnataska.  The pool overlooks the lake, and they have tons of water toys in their careened area of the lake.  There is a huge covered area with basketball hoops, a dining hall and a large horse barn with trails around it for riding.

Everything was set for a great week...regardless of the rain they experienced every day.  Thankfully there were breaks in the day for them to get out and play.  As you can see from the pictures, they had a blast!  Many of the photos are blurry because they wouldn't let you download them off their website without paying for them, so we just cropped them.

B working at the horse barn

P making friends

B did a lot of horseback riding as her main elective

Brave Bennett holding a snake!

Sunset at Camp Cosby
When their six nights concluded, we drove back to pick them up early Saturday morning.  We decided to get Preston first since his cabin was the furthest away.  When we first saw him, he immediately ran to us, and gave us the biggest and best hug!  He was crying tears of joy, which in turn made me cry.  He was genuinely excited to see us.  We then walked to Bennett's cabin.  She had seen us pull into the parking lot, so she had waved to us, but we weren't allowed to grab her without checking in first.

Bennett was the last one to get picked up in her cabin, and she was cheerful and gave me a hug too.  Once we got all of their bags back to the car, we listened for an hour to all of their stories from the week.  They both said they would have stayed another week, and are excited to return next summer.  Thank you Camp Cosby for the great time, and all of the memories!  I absolutely love that our children are getting these opportunities and thoroughly enjoy camp.
But the BEST reunion, was when the three kiddos were all reunited....Walker missed them, and they missed him. Beckham was pretty thrilled too, now his dog walkers are home!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Week of Fun!

After Preston's All Star Tournament concluded, we hightailed it up to Smith Lake!  In all honesty, we didn't expect Homewood to do very well in the tournament, but they came out guns a blazing at the beginning of the week, so we continued to adjust our schedule.  When the writing was on the wall that they were going to go down fighting, we sent Bennett to the lake on Friday with Myra, Louis and Dan.  We were packed and ready too, and planned to leave as soon as Pres finished playing.  Saturday morning, we watched him play with Walker and Beckham in tow (literally so we could immediately leave).  They won the first game, had an hour break, and played again and lost.  It was a long, hot day for all of us, but we wouldn't have changed any of it.  We just knew that we were all anxious to cool off in the lake.

So we hurried up there, changed into our swimsuits and immediately began relaxing.  Louis and Michelle cooked a ridiculous dinner for the Father's Day feast (beef tenderloin, baked potatoes, corn on the cob and French bread).  That night the Mizerany boys stayed up chatting, while the rest of us pooped out somewhat early.  The next morning we enjoyed a breakfast feast, some swimming and a ride on the waverunner before we headed back to Birmingham.  Walker and Beckham both swam in the lake, so it was a BIG accomplishment!  We hated to cut our weekend short, but we needed to take Bennett and Preston to camp for the week. 

Even Beck wanted in on the fun!
After dropping off the big kids at Camp Cosby, Walker asked several times a day for the first couple of days where they were.  He finally settled into his new, quieter routine by Tuesday.  However, Steve and I quickly realized that parenting just Walker was much easier.  Since our big kids are the picky eaters, we decided to take Walker out to an Asian restaurant that we have been wanting to try.  We hoped that he would try sushi, he didn't, but he did enjoy the fancier environment and was well behaved.
Bamboo on 2nd
Tuesday night we ate with the Jarmons, who only had Jack for the night.  The boys had a fun night and entertained us with their air-guitar playing.  Then on Wednesday, Shanon and Lauren spoiled me early for my birthday since Lauren had to miss my birthday festivities that Steve planned for Friday.  Shanon picked me up, and brought wine and the ingredients for a delicious steak salad.  Lauren treated us to sparkling rose when we walked in the door, more wine, AND they bought me a gorgeous necklace.  We stayed for hours talking and it was so nice.  Nice to be spoiled, nice to be loved, nice to just relax and catch up with good friends.  What a wonderful night we had together.

Thursday, June 22nd, was my birthday.  Flanked by two big celebrations, we decided to lay low and grill steaks...just the three of us.

Friday was the pinnacle of the week.  Steve had arranged for Walker to spend the night at his parent's and invited folks to join us at Gian Marco's for a delicious dinner.  We started off at home for a pre-dinner cocktail, and then headed over.  After a couple bottles of wine, and many calories....we took the party to Leah and Fletcher's.  Steve had purchased a cake, and they all surprised me with singing "Happy Birthday."  I thought he spent too much on the cake, so I chewed him out, but then the party continued.

Sadly the next morning came SOOO quickly with a VERY early pick-up time at Camp Cosby.  However, what a week!  I still can't believe I am 45 years old, but I feel so content and happy with where I am so no hard feelings or anxiety about my age.  Thank you Miz for spoiling me, not only on my birthday, but every day.  I am a lucky person to have such loving family members, beautiful, healthy children and wonderful friends. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Rags to Riches....All Star Baseball

Preston pretty much likes every sport he plays, but he genuinely loves baseball.  So when the option to play an extended season through the all stars program was presented to him - he jumped all over it.  Even though spring baseball was still in the throws of it (literally), they held all star tryouts in March.  Preston made the Homewood Red team (AAA team), and was excited to play with some awesome kids!

They started off just practicing on Sunday afternoons, but when spring ball ended, it ramped up quickly.  Preston was either playing a game, or practicing baseball every night (except when it rained....which was quite often this season).  He played pitcher, and ran all over that field backing up other in-fielders.  When they rotated positions, he played right field.  Both were new positions to him, but he quickly learned them and added a lot of value over the season.

Though the team had a lot of wonderful players (and parents), they were all in-fielders during regular season.  They could all hit the ball, and understood the game, but catching pop-flies in the outfield challenged them all.  Sadly they had some tough competition, and lost every game.  It wasn't like they got run ruled every game, they were often close.  They would start off winning, but after an hour, they would tire out (the all star season plays 90 minute games, or 6 innings versus 60 minute games during regular season).

always smiling
As the season came to a conclusion, they entered into a double elimination tournament against the other five teams in their division.  We didn't know what to expect, but they surprised us all.  They won their first game against Spain Park, by a lot!  It was their first win all season, and a great one!  So we decided that they had to wear their "lucky" red jerseys, and we weren't allowed to wash them.  In fact most boys, including Pres, decided that it would be best if they didn't even shower. 

The following night the boys played Hoover.  They started off winning by a big amount, but Hoover came back at the end.  Fortunately, the boys stayed strong and defensively held them and ultimately won the game!  It had to be the jerseys, right?!  So once again, no washing of the jerseys.  We didn't let Preston get by without showering again though.

Day 3, they were set to play Vestavia Rebels (the toughest team in the league who is undefeated for the past two years), however after warming up and being ready to WIN - the game was rained out.  This wasn't new for these boys, as they have had quite a few games rained out, or postponed due to rain.

However, these boys got up and came back on Friday night for the big game.  They gave it their best shot, but they couldn't pull it off.  But there weren't tears and bad attitudes, because these boys knew they had another shot the following day.  So like every day that week, Preston rested up and was ready to give it his best shot on Saturday.
They showed up at 10am, warmed up and realized that they had to play Hoover again (the winner of the 9am game).  They were wearing their navy jerseys and were pumped up!  They started off strong, and played very well.  They won, which put them up against their toughest competitors again...the Vestavia Rebels.
the sweet team between games on Saturday

Parents went to buy food, water and ice and they rested.  They gave it their best shot at 1pm.   They played well initially, but they started to show signs of fatigue, and it was HOT!  Sadly they couldn't pull it off like they had wanted.  However, when they were lined up for the awards ceremony, there was nothing but excitement and joy in their eyes when they were each handed their ring for earning 2nd place in the tournament!  This isn't a cracker jack ring either, this is a real live superbowl-looking ring that is actually heavy and has stones (they don't care if they aren't real).  This was a first for them, and they all wore them proudly!

The boys before they knew they were receiving rings.
Proud Daddy, who was there early for most practices, played catch in the backyard, and helped him with batting.
these smiles prove that they were proud of themselves and happy with their new loot
What a fun way to wrap up baseball!  Thank to Preston's coaches, Charles Perlis (head), Greg Brockwell, Scott Myers and Jonathan Winzeler (all assistants)....they did a great job!