When I found out that Cadence had to go to 3 different meetings at the high school in January to prepare for high school registration, I couldn't help but groan. Sometimes I just dread school meetings. I've been a little on edge about Cadence being a Freshman in high school next year. It's made me feel old (which is dumb, I know), makes me reflect on how fast life flies by, & just made me anxious about her being at such a big school with such older kids. Are we really at that point already?
Anyway, the first meeting was just a "this is how you work the registration software" meeting which was indeed, not very exciting, but needed. I think I got that one down pretty fast.
The second meeting was a whole lot more fun for both Cadence & for me. It was a Band Bash at the high school where all the incoming Freshman were invited to spend 5 hours at the high school with the current high school band students. 5 hours seemed like a long time, but Cadence had a blast! They did 5 things that night.
#1. Made high school friends. That is SO important. It's scary going to the big school & being the freshman. Band was always a place where I felt like I belonged & where most of my friends were. Meeting other band students was just what Cadence needed.
#2. Practiced three songs. They were all given 3 pieces of music & spent an hour practicing with the high school band students. And let me tell you. . . they were hard. I was thrilled to see the level of difficulty they were playing. The entire band that night was about 250 students.
#3. Learned about the different bands offered at the high school. They have several music groups at the high school. Marching Band (early morning . . . oboes don't march so Cadence won't be doing that), Jazz Band (early morning. . . a possibility for Cadence to play piano), Symphonic Band (basically High School Band), Woodwind Ensemble (the advanced band), & pep band (for sports games & school events). . . . & that's just the bands. They have orchestra groups for strings as well. And the best one of all . . . . Symphonic Orchestra which mixes band & orchestra instruments (after school once a week). Those were always my favorite groups to play with so I'm absolutely thrilled they offer that at the high school. Cadence will definitely be playing in that class.
#4. Ate Dinner. The band booster club provided & served dinner to all 250 students there that night. What a fun opportunity to mingle & make friendships with these other students.
#5. Performed a concert for the parents. My favorite part was the part where I got to go & listen to the entire band play. Cadence was thrilled to be one of three oboes in the group. She's never gotten to play with other oboists before & it was a great learning experience for her. They played beautifully. (Once I get the videos uploaded to youtube I'll post it on here because they were seriously amazing for only practicing for one hour.)
I was all of a sudden REALLY excited for Cadence to start high school here. Thank you MVHS for putting this parent's anxious nerves to rest. Best music program EVER.
The 3rd meeting we had at the high school was the orientation for registration where the kids got to tour the school & make the final decisions on what classes they will be taking next year.
While we were there, we went over to the music department to talk to the band teachers again to figure out which bands to sign Cadence up for. They have 2 band teachers & I love both of them. They are wonderful. When we walked in, they both remembered Cadence (it's hard to forget an oboe) & as we were asking about the classes, the symphonic band schedule in particular, Mr. Kneebone invited Cadence to be a part of the Symphonic Orchestra effective immediately. Cadence's jaw almost hit the floor. They only had 1 oboist & needed someone for the 2nd oboe part so now I take Cadence every Monday afternoon to the high school to be in that particular class. She gets high school credit for it (even though she's just in 8th grade), & she's making all sorts of friends there. They are playing Tchaikovsky's 5th Symphony in it's 50 minute entirety. Incredible. Difficult. Amazing. What an opportunity.
Did I mention I LOVE THIS SCHOOL.
Cadence is officially a Mountain View High School student. Yay!
Trek's sister Tarrish gave the kids the most amazing gift ever for Christmas. Seriously, it's the coolest thing you've ever seen.
She sent life size flying fish. One is a great white shark & the other is a huge clown fish that looks like Nemo. You fill them up with helium & assemble them (they take about an hour each to assemble), then you hook up the remote controll & let them fly. They are so cool.
The remote controls the tail & as it swishes back & forth, the shark/fish goes forward, up, & down just like a real fish in water. We turned the Jaws theme song on & let the shark swim around the kids. It was hilarious. The kids love these things.
Most of you know I have a very dear friend named Nancy who is like a Fairy Godmother to my family. I met Nancy on a plane ride home from working for Disney as an Imagineer. We talked the entire plane ride, exchanged numbers, & we've been best of friends ever since.
Nancy really is our fairy Godmother. She has no children of her own so she basically adopted our family as hers. Every year for the kids' birthdays & for Christmas she sends us the most amazing gifts & surprises. She loves it & we just adore her. She is SO sweet & does so many things for so many people. We are blessed to have her in our life.
When we got home from our Utah trip, we had our Nancy presents waiting for us. Nancy usually sends clothes for everyone for Christmas & birthdays & we just love her for it. The kids all got new shoes & new clothes for the new year. They were thrilled.
I got a bunch of clothes, shoes, & some fun little miscellaneous things.
Trek got some new shirts, hot cocoa, a new nutcracker (she sends him one for Christmas every year) & a few other fun things.
His new night watchman nutcracker looks great with his collection. Nancy has sent him ALL of these nutcrackers over the years. It's quite the collection now.
Instead of buying a bunch of presents for the kids this year, they got our trip to Universal & a new trampoline. We figured they'd have more fun with those two things anyway & we were right. As soon as we got home, Trek set it up & they've been jumping every day ever since. Best purchase EVER.
And Christmas vacation was over just like that! What fun we had though. It was wonderful seeing both sides of the family & just relaxing for a couple of weeks.
Santa did come & he brought some really fun things for the kids this year.
Canyon got a little puppet theater with some puppets.
Craiger got his favorite Wii game (he's been wanting forever) & a controller.
Bladen got a really cool knights & dragon fort. He collects knights & dragons & plays with the little action figures for hours on end. This thing is going to make those little battles a whole lot more exciting for him.
Taya is my horse lover & look at this adorable barn that Santa brought her. How precious is that?
Lorien is my karaoke queen so she was THRILLED to get a karaoke machine.
Cadence is definitely becoming a teenager. . . she got a new backpack & the maze runner book series.
They were all very excited about their gifts.
My mom wasn't in the best health the entire week we were there. Poor thing. I felt so bad for her. But she had a good Christmas day. Just look how beautiful she is. I love you mom!
After opening presents, we broke out our new games & played some more. That Speak Out game is just plain hilarious.
But my mouth is way too small to put those things in it. I kept gagging & throwing up. Justin thought it was hilarious.
After lunch, & showers, & just enjoying our gifts, we finally opened up our stockings.
I had a lot of fun with stocking gifts for Cadence & Lorien this year. All the gifts I put in Lorien's stocking were Harry Potter themed.
And all the gifts I put in Cadence's stocking were Thomas Brodie-Sangster themed (aka her Hollywood crush . . . Newt from the Maze Runner & Ferb from Phineas & Ferb)
They loved it. Unfortunately I didn't get a single picture of Trek or I opening our stockings. I guess that's what happens when you're a grown up. But I did surprise Trek with an iWatch (which my grandma, parents, & brother all helped pitch in money for. I have the best family ever.) We were SO proud that he made Major so quickly. He is such a hard worker & such a wonderful husband & father. He deserves it.
We had a really relaxing Christmas Eve at my mom's house. We opened one present on Christmas Eve morning, a game from Talon & Carolyn, & we played it ALL DAY LONG. It was called Speak Out & it's hilarious. You put these dental mouth guards into your mouth & read cards out loud. The other players have to guess what you're trying to say. And let me tell you, it is IMPOSSIBLE to say anything that starts with the letter "B" with those things in your mouth. It was pretty funny.
We made a big Christmas dinner with turkey & mashed potatoes & yams & all that good stuff, & then settled down to watch a few Christmas movies as a family. Out of nowhere, we heard the sound of jingle bells upstairs & the kids raced upstairs to see what it was. On Mamoo's bed was a wrapped present for everyone in the family including the grown ups. Santa had come a little early to deliver a Christmas Eve present.
What were they? Pajamas, of course.
Canyon was SO excited about is Baymax pajamas that I couldn't even get a decent picture of him. He kept jumping around excitedly while I tried to get a picture.
Craiger got a Minecraft Avenger set of pajamas.
And Bladen got Star Wars.
Taya got a beautiful Tinkerbell nightgown.
And Lorien & Cadence got matching Hogwarts/Marauders Map pajamas. (I'm still jealous of these. They're amazing). We figured out later that the shirts glow in the dark. Where it says "marauders map" in the light, it glows in the dark to say "Mischief Managed." Totally awesome.
And of course I got Mickey pajamas. Surprise, surprise.
Trek also got some Harry Potter pajamas. Go go Gryffindor!
After we got our new pajamas on, we settled down & watched Santa Claus 2 as a family. Then we sent all the kiddos upstairs to bed. In my family, Santa doesn't fill the stockings. Every person in the family buys one (or more) thing to put in each stocking. It can be as simple as a candy bar or sometimes a big suprise present . . . like an iWatch (I totally surprised Trek this year as a gift for making Major in the Air Force.).
Stockings have come to be my favorite part of Christmas. I love the thought that goes into the little gifts & how COOL some of the gifts are.
My mom handmade every single one of the stockings. They are absolutely beautiful. And boy were they full this year. We had bags & gifts in front of & behind almost every stocking. SO MUCH FUN.
After we filled the stockings, we went to bed & waited for Santa to come & do his magic.