Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Blue Knob, PA

Our family went to Blue Knob over the Memorial Day weekend. It's an annual event, though typically we go with other families over Labor Day. The first night was VERY cold--(perhaps because I forgot to pack one of the sleeping bags), but it very beautiful and quiet there, and was very relaxing. We missed having Erika and James who came last year, and Kara who hasn't been in a few years. Julia gets to return in about one month for her week of church Girl's Camp.

Andrea with friends on top of the dinner bell

Julia plays a game with friends in the mess hall

Daniel finished a 1000 piece puzzle with the help of a few other people.

We slept in simple cabins, but Daniel wanted to sleep one night under the stars.

Top Schools

The high school that Daniel and Julia attend (and James attended) has just been rated in the top 1300 schools by Newsweek. Scores are based on the number of AP and advanced level classes taken divided by the total number of graduating Seniors. [Click the title to link to Newsweek's article.]

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Daniel Inducted into National Honor Society

We are very proud of Daniel as the first member of our family to be invited to join the National Honors Society, which looks for well-rounded students who display scholarship, leadership and service.

Daniel has taken accelerated classes, is involved in 6 choral and band groups, has been a team captain on the Cross-country team, participated in Track and Field, leads the Madrigals, played in the pit for the school play, is an Eagle Scout and has almost finished his Duty to God award (a 6-year award). He often quietly helps out when the Red Cross needs donors, or volunteers are needed at school or church. Oh, and I'm not sure the Honors Society realizes he is one Nintendo wizard. Way to go, Daniel.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Meals that Heal--New Food Blog

Fish Tacos with Tilapia and Cabbage

I have decided to start a new blog called Meals that Heal. It will feature actual meals I make for lunch and dinner--when I have time to post them. Most recipes are very basic. I am striving for healthy family meals with natural ingredients that are easy to prepare. The blog is intended as a reference for myself of how I have adapted recipes. And hopefully it will give others some insipration. Feel free to make comments of how you have or would make them differently.
click HERE

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Great Wall

A couple weeks ago Erika took a train from Wuxi to Beijing (about 675 miles). Friends of ours from Maryland were kind enough to let her stay with them--and even to take her on the 2-hour excursion to see the Great Wall of China. Although she considered going to Beijing in August to see the Olympics, it worked out to do it now. She flew back to Wuxi on a plane. BTW, she got her perm and haircut in China. :)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Awards Night

Tonight--from 6:00-10:00pm! was Awards Night for the High School's music program.
Daniel was honored to receive the Choral director's award for Dedication. As the student director of the Madrigal's, he needs to know the music extra well to direct beginnings and cutoffs, and to give the first pitch for each song. (Wow, how does he do that?) Dan got his third year participation award for Concert Choir, Madrigals, Mens Chorus, Jazz Band, Marching Band and Symphonic Band.

Julia received a Letter this year for her 2nd year of participation in Concert Choir, Womens Chorus, Marching Band and Symphonic Band. Julia also went to the podium to give an award that she made for another student.

Let me also mention here that at their recent competition at Virginia Beach, VA, their school won FIRST PLACE for every group! Every chorus, band and orchestra.
And, an award was also surprisingly given to a dedicated parent who co-chaired the sub sales this year (1600 subs were sold, and assembled by the students as a fund-raiser.)

And Andrea and I were a good audience. Well, Andrea got tired and went home early...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mother's Day

I have a great mom and others who have nurtured me, and I enjoy being the mom of 6 great children. As it happened this year, both Kara in Colorado and Erika in China were asked to speak in church about motherhood. It was interesting to talk to them as they prepared, and also to hear later what they said.

Some of the highlights of my day were: (in no particular order)

1. talking to my mom on the phone and reminiscing

2. a visit that week with my mother-in-law--who raised the best son ever

3. a package (of spring bulbs) and a card sent from Kara--how thoughtful!

4. a home 'spa' coupon from Julia for massage, manicure and light snacks!

5. a nice card from Daniel

6. an e-card from China from Erika (and a long phone call with her the next day making sure she wasn't affected by the earthquake in China)

7. a 45-minute call with our missionary son, James (whose next call will be at Christmas)

8. Andrea made it a party by making everyone invitations for a party in our basement. She set out chairs, got the video camera ready and tied a rope to the middle of her blanket and threw the rope over a beam. After a countdown she pulled on the rope and revealed her present. It was some of my favorite licorice candy--Good and Plenty and SNAPS--which I hadn't had since I was little. She also made a gift in school- a pot with a couple coupons stuck in-- 1 hug, 1 massage, and my favorite, 'I will put my plate in the dishwasher. Good 1 time!' (Got to love her!)

She also wrote me a song and had everyone sing it:
If you want to be like Mom
Well, you gotta

Like to swim in the pool
and look so cool

Like to eat
while being neat

Like writing and reading
and overachieving!

That's why we love you!

9. some pretty potted plants from my wonderful hubby, David, with a very sweet letter/card. He also brought me breakfast in bed by himself this year, and made dinner with the kids. They ended up grilling inside due to the weather.

10. remembering that Dave and I met on Mother's Day 25 years ago. It was definitely a red-letter day for me that year, and he has made it a special day for me every since by being such a good dad that he has made me look like a decent Mom.

Happy Mother's Day, everyone!

Grandma, Grandpa and Aunt Julie

Dave's parents live in Cincinnati. They came for a visit with his sister Julie, who helped them drive out here. They had just visited Dave's sister, Kathy, in PA, and saw a couple shows in NYC. They arrived Tuesday night and we had a nice visit--breaking in our new deck furniture with them. It was the first night of Daniel and Julia's High School music concert. They are both in the Concert Choir--but with getting Andrea to gymnastics and having company, we decided to just see Daniel and Julia on Thursday night.

Wednesday I took our guests for a day trip to Annapolis. It was fortunate that Dave unexpectedly decided to meet us down there because right after he came his father started feeling unwell. A kind shop owner got him a chair and some water, but it then became apparent that he needed more help and we called 911. Dad was doing better even before the ambulance arrived, but we went to the hospital to have him checked. Dave helped convince the doctors not to keep him overnight and he was home by dinner--which was a big relief.

Thursday night we all attended Dan and Julia's concert. One or both of them was in every group--Jazz Band, Mens Ensemble [which sang 'Sherry baby' :)], Womens Ensemble, Madrigals (Dan is also the student director), and Symphonic Band. Everything was very professional looking and sounding, and entertaining.

Friday Dave took the day off and we went to the Inner Harbor with Dad, Mom and Julie. We toured a Mexican ship that was in port and walked around a little--having crab cakes at Phillips and then gelato at Vacarro's in Little Italy. [My nocciola (hazelnut) gelato with whip cream and almonds was huge and delicious!]
We watched the rented movie, Les Miserables, that night.

Saturday we relaxed and then the whole family went to Toby's dinner theater to see the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

We had good seats and enjoyed the singing and dancing. The buffet was yummy, too. I happened to be sitting near one of the instructor's I see often at the gym. Dan's trombone section leader was doing the lights and their choral teacher, DK, was playing the piano for the orchestra. Dan also recognized our waitor who helped with his school play (That night he played the Pharoah/portrayed as Elvis--you know, 'the King'.)

They left on Sunday morning, Mother's Day. It was great having them visit. It was like a little vacation. And it was nice to enjoy the fun things in this area that we don't usually take time for.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Our Missionary

Our son James (Elder Meiners) is really enjoying the experiences he is having in Riverside, California on his Spanish-speaking mission. He has been in California about two months now. He and his companion, Elder Harding, have been teaching many people. Last Sunday James had his first opportunity to baptize, and baptized children of a family. Their grandma was also baptized. I am proud of his enthusiasm, humility and hard work.

Elder Harding (left) and Elder Meiners

Elder Harding and Meiners with Grandma Julia, Kimberly, Wilson and Angel who were baptised last Sunday