First and foremost, I'm a mom to the Queen Bee, Rachel. I'm also a full-time freelance court reporter working in Philadelphia. I've been married more than 20 years to Fred. Besides work, I keep busy running Rachel to cheerleading/tumbling, taking care of the dog and cats, taking loads of pictures and keeping up with my wonderful friends and family.
Rachel was born in China, and in the summer of '09 we took her back to China for a Heritage Trip.
Rachel is in the EXCEL program at school, and every year the fifth grade EXCEL students have a Trade Fair. They have to create a "business" -- whether it's a game, a product or a service -- and try to make a profit at the Trade Fair. Rachel created a "Wishful Wheel." It is basically a spinning wheel game for prizes. She had three different prizes: 76ers beads, friendship bracelets and super balls. They can purchase various forms of advertising, such as hanging posters, making a commercial during morning announcements, etc. Any money they spend they have to keep track of and pay back out of their profits. So they were supposed to try to make prizes or use things from around the house and not use food as a prize. Rachel's Wishing Wheel did pretty good. She didn't make the highest profit, but she followed the rules and had a lot of customers, so it was successful. I think her next big project will be the wax museum. That should be a fun one.
Rachel's competition this weekend was at Villanova University. Her team took first place out of three! They looked so good, too. The middle of the pyramid that ends their routine collapsed, but aside from that it was a great performance. It was a long day. We thought we'd be home by 2:00, but we didn't get out of the gym until 2:00 or so. After stopping for lunch, we didn't get home until 5:00. It was a fun day, though. There was a parent team that performed, and they did surprisingly well. In fact, I think they inspired our organization to start one. Should be interesting!!!
Xian was our second stop in China. (Clickhere to read about our train ride from Beijing to Xian, hereto read about our first day in Xian and click hereto read about our visit to the Terra CottaWarriors.)Okay. Technically, this is a scene from the overnight train we took from Beijing to Xian. I like the mountains in this one. This was taken probably about an hour before we arrived in Xian. The best part of the train ride was when the sun came up and we could see the scenery going by. It helped me forget how dirty and gross I felt from the day/night before.
We saw a lot of pool floaties being sold along the street in Xian, and for the life of me I couldn't figure out where they would be used. China's not like the U.S. where every other house has a pool in the backyard. The only pools I saw while we were in China were the ones in our hotels.
A woman doing wash outside a shop.
Wires. Lots and lots of wires. Can you imagine working for the cable company or phone company and having to replace a downed wire!?!?!?!
Employees participating in team-building exercises before their workday.
Day laborers waiting to be hired. The little signs say what type of work they do.
Old folks in a park doing their morning exercises. We saw this happening everywhere we went. Sometimes it would be just one or two people; other times it would be large groups.
While in China last summer, I took TONS of pictures through the windows of our buses. They are some of my favorite pictures from the trip. On days when I don't have any current pictures to post, I hope to post some of these pictures. I'll start tonight with ten photos from our bus in Beijing. (Click here to go to read all about our trip to China.)
Traffic. Sorry; I'm not sure why the picture is so crooked.
This was a pretty cool building. If you click on the picture, you can see it bigger to see all the detail.
I have pictures of this theme park in my scrapbook from our first trip to China ten years ago. It was abandoned then, and it still sits empty.
It was interesting to see all the different modes of transportation and the many configurations of bicycles. There seemed to be no limit to the amount of stuff piled on bicycles.
Rachel graduated from the D.A.R.E. program today, along with the rest of the fifth grade class. Over the past several months, they were taught drug prevention, how to avoid peer pressure and how to get themselves out of sticky situations. They each prepared a poster and an essay and awards were given out. Rachel's friend, Bianca, won the essay contest for the entire fifth grade, and she read her essay during the graduation. She did a great job.
The blurred faces is a little creepy. Sorry. I don't like putting kids' faces on the Internet without their parents' permission.
Our Mayor was there, along with our State Assemblyman and the Superintendent of Schools. They are public officials, so I don't have a problem putting their faces on the Internet!
Tonight we went to the Philadelphia 76's game. It was not exactly a sell-out. And it was boring. Basketball is definitely not our sport. But it was interesting to come to once.
I spent most of the game reading the manual for my new camera. I might have learned a few things. I was so frustrated after the D.A.R.E. graduation, because I got very few good pictures. Even closeups were blurry. The two pictures I posted here were from the old camera. One thing I did learn is that I need to get a telephoto lens. We left the game after half-time.
Ferris was a little stinky, so he had to get a bath.
"No! Please! Not a bath!!!"
Tomorrow will be a long day. Rachel has her D.A.R.E. graduation at school at 9:30. Then I have a 2:00 job in the city, after which I'll come home, pick up Rachel and then head back to Philly for the Sixers game. Hopefully I'll get a little work done in there, too.
We were in Trenton this morning for a cheerleading competition. It was Rachel's (and my!) first all-star cheerleading competition. She did cheer for six years for a rec squad (pee wee football) and did competition with them for four years, but this is her first year doing all-star. We woke up at 4:45 and left the house at 6, got to Trenton by 7:30. I played with the camera while watching the other teams perform, but I still need to figure this new camera out. Once again, every single picture I took, except for the close-ups, was blurry. I don't know what I'm doing wrong, so I'll have to get the manual out I guess. I also need to invest in a telephoto lens sometime in the next month or two.
This is how Rachel's team lines up to begin their routine. They did so good. I'm so proud of Rachel and all the girls. The looked great!
Rachel and Emily having some post-performance Dippin Dots.
This is all the teams from the morning session on the mat for awards. It was fun, but I'm exhausted. I am not a morning person, and when I have to get up earlier than usual, it just knocks me out.
Rachel has a cheerleading competition tomorrow, her first one with this organization. I am SO excited to be able to go and just be a spectator/parent and have nothing to do with coaching! I can just sit and watch and cheer the girls on. Our van windows are now painted red, white and blue and have Rachel's and Emily's names on them. Emily and her mom will ride with us to all our competitions. And tomorrow we'll have an old friend with us, too.
So check back some time later tomorrow or Sunday to hear all about our first all-star cheerleading competition!
This morning was dress rehearsal where Rachel cheers. Competition starts next weekend, and the dress rehearsal gave the girls an opportunity to perform in front of a crowd. It also gave me an opportunity to practice Rachel's makeup. I don't think I did too bad. We had to buy the makeup. The gym decides what colors and how they want it applied. But you can go as dark or light as you want. Rachel's was pretty much right in the middle - some girls had it much darker and some were much lighter. By the time they actually performed, Rachel's lipstick was much lighter. I might try putting something on her lips next week to make the lipstick last a little longer.
This is Rachel's team. There are 36 girls. She is not one of the flyers. She is the backspotter for the second stunt group from the right. The stunt they're doing is called a scale.
Rachel and Emily's friend Morgan came to cheer them on. We were so surprised to see her there!! She cheers with a different organization, but the teams are on different competition levels, so we will never compete against Morgan's team. It's the same with another cheerleading friend who cheers for yet another organization and who we will see at our competition next weekend. They're at the same competition, but different levels.
After the dress rehearsal we went to look at kitchen cabinets. We're seriously considering remodeling the kitchen....we're talking knocking out a wall and everything. So we're doing some shopping around to see if we can afford it.
After cabinet shopping Rachel had to finish a project for school. She and Fred have been working together to build a pueblo. Rachel designed it and picked out the materials. Fred is help assemble, mainly with the hot glue. I think the cheer bow adds a nice touch.
Rachel did the gluing of the smaller parts. I'm so proud of her in so many ways!
This is how the day started out. More snow, and Ferris wasn't liking it. When I first opened the door for him to go out, he took two steps and turned around and tried to come back in. Then he tried to go under the table on the deck. Finally he realized he had go thru the snow go potty.
We went to our neighbor's annual New Year's Eve party. They live two doors down, and it's always a lot of fun.
This year we played some Rock Band. Fred was playing guitar, and so was Mike. Or one of them might have been doing bass. I don't know for sure. Kevin was playing drums and Dave was singing. Brian was watching. We did get him to sing once. Dave's wife Frani and I were the only women who played Rock Band. But there's no pictures to prove it. You'll have to take my word for it. Frani played drums on a couple songs. I played drums, then sang, then played guitar. I'm definitely best at guitar.
Look out, Brian!
The kids played some games, too. Here they're playing Apples to Apples.