Saturday, January 31, 2009

Check out my Baby dancin' at Disney World

Here's the link to the girls two competitions at Nationals. Of course, I cried. They did a great job.
They came in 9th place in the nation but didn't make the finals by one point. Gracie still sounded very excited about it regardless of their placement. They plan to spend the next two days just having fun at Disney World.
We are very proud of you Grace, as well as all you other girls that we have come to know over the last 6 months. You guys are AWESOME. Go Cedar!!!

Type Cedar in the search bar and it will take you right to their routines:

For those of us who grew up back in the day...

TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED THE 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's!!
First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant. They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can and didn't get tested for diabetes. Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-base paints.
We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had baseball caps not helmets on our heads.
As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes.
Riding in the back of a pick- up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and no one actually died from this. We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter and bacon. We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar. And, we weren't overweight. WHY?
...Because we were always outside playing...that's why!
We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.
No one was able to reach us all day. And, we were O.K.
We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride them down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times,we learned to solve the problem.
We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's and X-boxes. There were no video games, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD's, no surround-sound or CD's, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet and no chat rooms.
WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!
We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.
We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.
We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.
We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.
Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!
The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!
These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever.
The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.
We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.
If YOU are one of them? CONGRATULATIONS!
Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it ?

A good quote from Jay Leno:

"With hurricanes, tornados, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end to another, and with the threat of bird flu and terrorist attacks, are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?"

Friday, January 30, 2009


Check out this awesome "ProLife" video on my sister, Charity's page. It's short, but very, very good.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Farewell Gracie Girl

Well, I just got home from the Cedar Heights Dance Team send off. The team performed their routines for us, said their "good-byes", piled on the bus and headed for the airport. This is what they have been working towards all year, and tomorrow they will be in Orlando, Florida for the United Dance Association Dance Championships at Disney World.
My Gracie gave me a big hug and didn't let go for a long time. She sobbed on my shoulder, which made me start to cry. We were a mess.
I stayed until the bus drove out of sight, waving and giving Grace a thumbs up. She blew me kisses as the tears rolled down her cheeks.
On my drive home I got the sweetest text from her. It is kinda for "everyone" so I decided to put it on my blog where ya'll can read it for yourself:

"My heart is hurting. I love you guys soooo much. I can't stop crying. I love you. Tell everyone I love them, I mean EVERYBODY. <3333" ~Grace We love you too, Sweetheart and are so very proud of all your hard work. Kisses and Hugs.

SK Dance Teams Stepping Out in Florida

South Kitsap Dance Teams Stepping Out in Florida

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

FINALLY got a picture of JOSH

My cousin Josh has been staying with my parents for about a month now. We never got to see him growing up so it's been fun getting to know him better. We are glad that his schooling has brought him from Michigan to Washington for a while.
Earlier this month I tried to get a picture of him. His eyes closed just as I snapped the photo so we tried again...and again...and again...and again..ect. His eyes were closed in every single shot. He would try so hard to focus on keeping his eyes open, but each time I took the picture he would blink. By the 7th try we were all laughing and I decided to put my camera away. I didn't end up getting a good picture of him that night, but on Saturday when he was over for David's birthday party, I finally got a good shot of him and my mom (aka: Aunt Barb).

....and finally we can see his eyes. Thanks for being such a good sport, Josh. haha

Miracle on the Hudson

A lot of credit was given the pilot for bringing the plane safely down on the Hudson. But we shouldn't forget who REALLY should be credited…

Artist, Rex Babin

Monday, January 26, 2009

Game Night With Friends

Oh, my! We had such a good time tonight as a few families from church gathered at the Armstrongs for some time of fellowship. While the guys competed in all kinds of sports on the Wii, we girls decided to play a board game. None of us had ever played this particular game before but Lindsey had heard about it somewhere and we were all anxious to try it. The game is called "Would You Rather" and is suppose to be a good way to get to know each other. Let me add most definitely did that! haha. I have not laughed so hard in months. My favorite part of the game was when sweet, sophisticated Lindsey had to keep two lil smokies up her nose for an entire turn in order to win the game. She ended up losing one of them so the game continued. When it came to my turn for the win, I had to interpret a cat stalking and pouncing on it's prey for a full 60 seconds. It was either that or let the other players write "GOOF" on my forehead with lipstick while I held my mouth open as wide as I could for an entire turn. I chose to be a cat over the "GOOF" but really, isn't acting like a cat in front of all my friends a pretty "goofy" thing to do as well? haha. We used Jacob's Elmo for the prey...Jacob decided to come save Elmo from the big mean kitty. haha! Be sure to watch the videos at the bottom of my post for a good laugh.
I sure hope our new friends Joel and Genea will hang out with us again and that we didn't scare them off :) Haha...Sorry, I just keep laughing when I picture Lindsey with the sausages up her nose, that is the highlight of my week!
Dan's infamous cheese ball. It was so yummy...even better than my garlic cream cheese dip. Dustin says he is "THE KING OF CHEESE BALLS"!
The game that had us ladies acting like preshoolers.

Lindsey goes for the WIN with Lil Smokies up her nose!

Here's my interpretation of a cat...which won the game :D

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Happy Birthday, David!

My "baby boy" is ten now. I can't believe it! He has grown up so much this past year. He's gone from a cute kid to a handsome boy. We celebrated his birthday today with a few of his neighborhood friends and his cousin Kenny. After some video games, presents and some of Grandma Hughes delicious Lego cake, the boys headed outside to play a little tackle football with David's new ball. They played so rough. Every time someone got tackled to the ground I would yell, "Oh, be careful!". I suppose I must let boys be boys, but nobody better hurt my baby! haha (don't tell David I said that).

Friday, January 23, 2009

Grace On the Front Page of Local Paper

Dancing Queens

Cedar Heights Junior High's winning dance team is about fun, hard work and building character.

Tough and Graceful
by Rodika Tollefson
Cedar Heights Dance Team Requires Stamina, Good Citizenship

During a recent practice session at Cedar Heights Junior High in Port Orchard, a group of about two dozen girls jumped and swirled while listening to their coach: “Five-six-seven-eight, hit one, hit two, hit three …”
The coach, Kathryn “Kate” Grieve, reminded the girls about the position of their toes, legs, arms, heads etc. as they practiced their routine, piece by piece. Now and then she’d make comments like “Christmas tree” and “Where is your head?”— or give out praises.
The routines look like a mix between studio dancing and cheerleading — but they are not an ordinary choreographed expression through music and movement. Each routine is like a two-minute sprint session, according to Grieve, and these young ladies need good body and arm strength to be successful. An expectation is, in fact, that the dancers are at the top in their physical education class.
“It’s hard work. I love proving to people it’s a sport,” said Kayleigh Vetten, a freshman who’s been with the team since eighth-grade and is co-captain this year.
The team, — currently consisting only of girls, grades seventh through nine, practices close to seven hours a week — and that doesn’t include the mandatory regular one-mile runs with the students who need to make up PE, or the bi-monthly competitions during the season.
“It takes stamina, strength and physical fitness,” said Grieve, who started gymnastics and cheerleading at a young age and continued on through high school and college in a dance team.
To be selected for the team, students not only have to learn a routine for auditions but also must have at least a 3.5 grade-point average, have good attendance and a good discipline report. “For my team to be successful, I need to have not only great dancers, they also have to be great citizens,” Grieve said.
Good citizenship, in fact, is part of the team’s goal. The group is involved in community service projects regularly. They also hold a study hall every week, and are expected to be “above and beyond” the average student.
“I like that this teaches them life lessons. It’s not about the dances they’ll learn, it’s about the skills they’ll learn,” Grieve said.
That is the main aspect that attracted ninth grader Tamika Tiller, whose older sister also was on a team in junior high. “She said she learned a lot of life lessons and it pushed her toward her dream,” Tiller said. She, too, is learning how to better communicate, take criticism and even be patient.
The team performs at halftime during football games at the school and other athletic events. Last year, it changed the name from drill team to dance team — to better reflect the trend of gravitating toward studio-style dancing. This year, the officers — three captains and three co-captains — even selected a more lyrical routine.
Grieve’s high expectations for her team have been paying off. Cedar Heights frequently places well at competitions, including several first and second places this school year. On Jan. 29, the girls will leave for Orlando, Fla., to compete in the Universal Dance Association’s National Dance Team Championship. It’s the team’s fourth year of going to nationals, and they are one of two junior highs competing from Washington state — the other is John Sedgwick JH from the South Kitsap School District.
The prestigious event will be televised on ESPN, and participating shows the dancers “they’ve accomplished a lot,” Grieve said.
Part of their success, Grieve said, is a group of “fantastic parents” and the district staff who support the team and are just as dedicated as the dancers. “It takes every single one of us to make it successful, and also keep it fun,” she said.
The team is a good fit for the girls who are highly competitive, including ninth-grader Hannah Lawrence, one of the three captains. Having never danced before, Lawrence didn’t think she would make the team, but worked really hard for the tryouts, she said. The team is like a family, she said.
“I love to perform. You get this adrenaline rush — you’re the center of attention,” she said. “People are watching you, and you are doing what you love. It’s a lot of pressure, too, you have to put everything out there, your heart and soul.”

It's A Small World

I got a pretty interesting phone call last night. It was from our neighbor across the street in the Gray's old house. David had given their son an invitation to his birthday party and she was calling to RSVP. After we dicussed the party she asked, "Did your husband go to South Kitsap High School?" (she saw his name on the invitation). I told her that we both did, and she laughed and said that she had dated him before me. Oh, my goodness, I knew who she was as soon as she said that. It was Tina G. who Dustin was going out with when I met him. They had dated a long time and were pretty good friends back in the day, so I gave the phone to him. It's kinda bizarre that she has lived there for a year and our children have played together but we had never met or even noticed that we knew her from our highschool days. Tina & I both admitted to being lazy when it came to being good neighbors, and with her husband in Iraq right now my heart feels for her and we will be having her over for coffee soon.
I shared this with one of my dear friends this morning and we laughed as she told me how weird it would be to have an ex across the street. Whether it be one of hers or his, she would feel like she needed to be all done up before she went to check the mail or take out the trash. I had to admit, I thought the same thing. Silly and prideful, I know...but that's just the way it is.

I fell asleep thinking about highschool and how Dustin and I first met and fell in love. I am thankful that God has been the glue that has kept us together all these years.

I love you, Honey. XOXO

Now don't you be laughing at my BIG bow and clothes. That was COOL back in the 80's. haha

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


My neice Celeste's boyfriend got her the cutest bunny. As we all reached out to pet sweet Clover she hopped right to Celeste and hid in her lap. I never realized how attached a bunny could be with someone. Way too cute!

Check out Clover's huge feet!

A Prayer Worth Praying

Dear Lord, I thank You for this day. I thank You that I am able to see and to hear this morning.
I'm blessed because You are a forgiving and understanding God. You have done so much for me and You keep on blessing me.
Forgive me this day for everything I have done, said or thought that was not pleasing to You. I ask now for Your forgiveness.
Please keep my loved ones safe from all danger and harm.
Help me to start this day with a new attitude and plenty of gratitude. Let me make the best of each and every day to clear my mind so that I can hear from You.
Please broaden my mind so that I can accept all things. Let me not whine and whimper over things I have no control over.
Help me to give the best response when I'm pushed beyond my limits.
I know that when I can't pray, You listen to my heart.
Continue to use me to do Your will.
Continue to bless me that I may be a blessing to others.
Keep me strong that I may help the weak.
Keep me uplifted that I may have words of encouragement.
I pray for those who are lost and can't find their way, help me to be a light so that they can find the truth.
I pray for those who are misjudged and misunderstood. Help me not to judge.
I pray for those who don't know You intimately.
I pray for those who don't believe. Please help me to share the Gospel with those I come in contact with.
I believe that You can change people and that prayer can change things.
I pray for all my sisters and brothers. For each and every family member in their households. I pray for peace, love and joy in their homes and that all of their needs are met.
I pray that every eye that reads this will know there is no problem, circumstance, or situation that You can't handle. Every battle is in Your hands for You to fight.
Thank You for loving me and saving me. I love you, Lord. Amen.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Cedar Dance Team Wins 1st at the Apple Cup

Once again, Cedar takes first in a state wide competition at the Pacwest Apple Cup. This time Dustin and I were able to attend since they held it at Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center. It was so much fun to see our Gracie up on that huge stage dancing her heart out. I was pretty bummed when I realized that my video camera wasn't recording their Pom routine...however, I did get the 2nd half of the dance on video. The girls did awesome as usual and were awarded 1st place. They also did a routine in the Hip Hop catergory, and won 1st in that as well. When the girls received their awards I got all chocked up and was so glad that I was able to be there. They have worked so hard and really deserved all that recognition. As I have said before many times...."GO CEDAR!"

Stretching before the performance.

Being silly while we waited for the judges to determine the winners.

Pom Routine

Hip Hop Routine