Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Stopping by Metropolis on the way to Florida

You never know who you'll bump into in a rest area:

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Graduation weekend

Congratulations to Annabelle for her graduation yesterday!

Because we were up in the stands of the football stadium, I wasn't able to get any really good pictures of the ceremony. Mike took a pretty nice one of the cap toss at the end though:

Here's a family photo from afterwards, as well as a slightly blurry one of Annabelle and Mike:

A couple of her with friends after the ceremony:

And the public relations person from her school shared these photos that she took from right in the middle of things:

We put Mike on a plane back to Florida this morning and wrapped up the weekend with one last scholarship ceremony at a really nice luncheon in Kansas City:

Well done, Annabelle! We are all so proud of you!

PS: Hat tip to Mike for learning how to tie a bow tie for the occasion!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Scenes from senior awards night

Up on the stage, having her graduation thank-yous read aloud by a guidance counselor:

Singing "Stronger" with the other senior Acapella girls:

Part of the top 10 percent of the class of 2013:

Celebrating with friends after the ceremony:

She received a number of scholarships, but only one came with a really big check:

The flag was part of her Daughters of the American Revolution citizenship award:

Thursday, May 16, 2013


Graduation is officially in full swing. Tonight was the baccalaureate service out at St. Mary's University.

Annabelle chilling out, waiting to head out:

And marching into the chapel:

In other news, Annabelle and I went shopping the other day and found this adorable dress for her:

It looks like it's made out of a feminine eyelet fabric, but if you look closer, you can see that the eyelets are skulls and crossbones instead of flowers. How very Annabelle!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Sock it to me (or to Molly)!

For the past couple months, my friend Molly and I have been getting together occasionally to have breakfast at our favorite coffee shop and work on our knitting. Today I showed Molly how to graft a toe using the Kitchener stitch, and she finished her very first sock!

Thursday, May 09, 2013

More awards!

This afternoon, we attended a scholarship ceremony at the Lewis & Clark Center to see Annabelle receive one of the John W. Poillon scholarships:

Then tonight she went to the school for the JROTC awards ceremony and came away with a really nice box to thank her for her support of the Special Teams:

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Going nuts

Craftsy is a great website with video classes on all sorts of topics. Once you buy a class, it's yours forever, to watch as many times as you want. I recently bought Custom Yoked Sweater with Amy Detjen, and it is amazing! I'm a pretty experienced knitter, but I still learned a lot.

One thing that Amy Detjen recommends is instead of knitting a boring old swatch in order to check gauge, knit a stocking cap instead. The sweater that I'm making for Annabelle will have a row of orange leaves as well as the squirrels and acorns, but that would have made the cap too tall:

I feel like a total badass. I learned to knit English style, holding the yarn in my right hand and "throwing" it around the needle. Thanks to this class, I can now knit continental style with the yarn in my left hand, which is much faster, AND I can use my right hand for the second color, basically knitting with both hands at the same time. That right there was worth the price of the class, but I also learned a lot about how to trap long strands of carried yarn, and the back side of my knitting has never looked better!

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Final choir concert

Yet another "last" tonight with Annabelle's final choir concert!

Annabelle had hoped that the whole Acapella choir would do "Wade in the Water," but it was just too much to pull together. So a dedicated group of 7 got together before and after school for a couple weeks to work on it:

Then for the finale, the entire group did "Some Nights":

Monday, May 06, 2013

Band BBQ

Tonight was our last band BBQ. As we waited in line for our food, the jazz band entertained us:

Annabelle capped off her high school band career with an award for student leadership:

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Go West!

After a run of knitting dogs this winter (2 corgis, one basset hound), I decided to get back into sweaters. I found a pattern called "Go West" by Bente Geil, who makes some really clever designs, and decided to give it a whirl.

I had a little trouble getting started because there were some typos in the pattern. I always miss my Grandma Grace, but I miss her especially bad when I have a knitting problem and it dawns on me that I am now the most experienced knitter in the family. So I kept at it and pretty soon this:

Turned into this:

Which eventually turned into this:

Shortly after that point, you take the two ends and kind of overlap them at the sides and then start knitting in ever-increasing ribbing until you think you will Just. Lose. Your. Mind. But eventually I came to that very last round, cast off, wet it down, and blocked it on Mike's bed, where it looked--as my friend Deana put it--vaguely cephalapody:

We have had some freakishly cold weather, which is a good thing ONLY in that it gave me an opportunity to wear my new creation:

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to put my hands on the super-cute shawl pin I had bought to go with my sweater, so I'll have to wait until next winter to show this little guy off:

Overall, this was a lot of fun to knit, but it came out much bigger on me than I was expecting based on the photo from the pattern (and I did match the stitch gauge AND I knitted the smallest size). I would gladly knit it again, as the yarn (Geilsk Thin Wool) was an absolute dream to work with, but I think I would cut each section of ribbing by about a third or so.

Senior prom

Annabelle went back and forth until practically the last minute as to whether or not she was going to prom this year but at around lunch time yesterday she decided to go. She borrowed a dress off of one of my (tiny, elegant) neighbors, met some friends at the dance, and had herself a blast!

Here she is on her way out the door:

(Yes, that dress had Fred weeping quietly into his bourbon.)

And here are some goofy pics she took at the prom with a few of her friends:

Friday, May 03, 2013

Bring me a bucket

I'm sure I've said it before, but Annabelle has had a great time being a JROTC sponsor this year. She has gotten up in the middle of the night to accompany her unit to drill meets, brought cookies and cinnamon rolls to their early-morning practices, and even went with them to Louisville several weeks ago for an important meet. Today her unit left for a meet in Florida, but alas, she just wasn't able to go along. She would have been welcomed, of course, but she would miss the band BBQ and the last choir concert and--most dire--arrived in town from a 24-hour bus ride just in time to take her AP Calculus exam. Since she wasn't able to go (and since they're going to Daytona), she bought a kid's sand bucket and filled it with goodies to help them enjoy the trip and also with things they might need at the competition (bobby pins, safety pins, etc.).

When she got on the bus to present the bucket, everybody was very excited, thinking she would be going along after all. They were bummed that she was staying behind but very grateful for their "bucket o' sponsor."

One of her friends took a picture of the bucket and posted it to Facebook shortly after the bus pulled out to begin the journey:

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Busy day

I have discovered something new about myself: Snow in May makes me very grumpy. I know there's no point resenting the weather, but today I can't help it.

It's not like today didn't have a couple of bright spots despite the weather. First of all, we went to the scholarship ceremony for the Fort Leavenworth Spouses' Club. Here's Annabelle with the other recipients from her high school:

This was the weather as we left the ceremony though:

I'll bet this driver was hating life today:

In the evening we went to the high school to see Annabelle get inducted into the International Thespian Society:

As you can see from the sign in the picture, LHS's chapter is number 287. This is apparently a big deal, as chapter numbers are given in order as new chapters are created, and there are now over 3,900 chapters!

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Horizon Scholars banquet

Annabelle's school has a lovely tradition where each year they designate students who have a 4.0 GPA as Horizon Scholars. Each Horizon Scholar gets to select the teacher who has been most influential on his or her high school experience, and these teachers are invited to attend a wonderful banquet along with the students and their families. Before the banquet, the teachers and the students write essays about each other, and they participate in a video session where the teachers give advice for the future. Annabelle had a really tough time choosing, because she has had quite a number of fantastic teachers. In the end she went with Dr. Prost, her band director.

This was Annabelle's essay about Dr. Prost:
When I came to Leavenworth my sophomore year, I briefly toyed with the idea of re-joining band, but I considered myself too greatly out of practice and decided against it. By some happy accident at the end of my first semester, Dr. Prost overheard me playing in the choir room and suggested I give high school band a shot; I have been a member ever since.
Dr. Prost has always been supportive of my musical endeavors, including re-teaching myself bassoon, picking up the bari sax for marching season, and joining the jazz band. Furthermore, he takes a genuine interest in how his students are doing as individuals, not just musicians. Occasionally, he talks to me in the hallways about how the Scholars Bowl team is doing. When I had a car accident before school one day, he made sure to ask me whether or not I was actually okay.
Though I am currently dreading the day I will have to give back my bari sax, I know that my experiences from band will follow me for a long time. Thanks to Dr. Prost's confidence in me, I have learned to find confidence in myself.
And his essay about her:
I had the great fortune of meeting Annabelle Taylor during her sophomore year. She was enrolled in choir at the time and was practicing her bassoon for an end of the semester choir project. Convincing her to enroll in band for the following semester may end up being the greatest move of my career.
Annabelle has been one of the best student leaders that I have had in our group. I'm not sure if she has read books about leadership styles, I think leading just happens to suit her. Here is Annabelle's method for being a leader of your peers: (1) always set an amazing example of hard work, self-control, maturity, musicianship, and responsibility; (2) be sincere in encouraging others; (3) make sure that any corrections are positive and constructive.
I'll mention one more item, because I doubt that it will make it into Annabelle's official bio. During the 2012 marching band season, I gave her the unofficial award of "Toughest Band Member." Annabelle, with an injured wrist and lugging a very heavy baritone saxophone, was one of our finest marchers. Other students quickly learned that if they wanted to complain about carrying a small instrument and insignificant physical discomforts that I could merely point out Annabelle.

We had a great time at the banquet. It was fun to watch the video of all the scholars and their teachers talking about each other. Afterwards I managed to snap a couple pictures, one of Annabelle with Dr. Prost:

And one of her with her outstanding guidance counselor, Ms. Klima:

Annabelle also received a really nice framed photo of her with Dr. Prost and her beloved bari sax, which I know she will treasure for years to come.

Edited on May 26 to add: I found the picture of Annabelle and Dr. Prost on Facebook! It was done by First City Photo and Frames, and it is simply gorgeous: