Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Graduation Season

It was a busy graduation week in the Kinnell family - first A.J. graduated from West Jessamine Middle School, then Essie & Chloe graduated from Wilmore Elementary.  It'll be off to new experiences in the Fall, but first we celebrate and honor their achievements so far.

A.J.'s Middle School Graduation

A.J. receives his 8th grade diploma.

A.J. with some of his soccer teammates.

Family photo - in front of some stranger's truck

In addition to his promotion, A.J. was recognized with awards in Social Studies, Math, and Science.

Essie & Chloe's Elementary Graduation

The graduation speaker was Essie's teacher's brother - former University of Kentucky basketball player (and Wilmore Elementary School alum) Jared Polson.

Chloe (blue dress at left) and Essie (pink dress at right) were both one of fifteen female nominees for the Citizenship Award.

Essie receives her diploma from her teacher, Mrs. Richardson.

Chloe receives her diploma from her teacher, Mr. V.

At the end of the program, there was a slideshow that included baby pictures and current pictures for each of the graduating 5th graders.

Essie and Chloe with Chloe's teacher, Mr. V.  Chloe really blossomed this year in Mr. V's class, putting more effort into her schoolwork than ever before, and it showed!

Family photo

Chloe with two of her other teachers - Ms. Wilson and Ms. White

Essie and Mrs. Burnight

Aaaand...summer has arrived.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A Soccer Four-Peat

On Monday night, AJ's West Jessamine Middle School soccer team won their 4th consecutive conference championship.  AJ scored two goals in a 4-1 win over Mercer County.

AJ has been playing for the middle school since he was in the 4th Grade, and they won their conference in all four seasons he participated.  (He skipped 6th Grade.)  This great run also includes two straight undefeated seasons and only one loss is three years.  It will be on to high school varsity in the Fall, something for which AJ has been waiting a long time.  (In Kentucky, you cannot play varsity soccer until you are enrolled in the 9th Grade.)

Congratulations, AJ!

AJ and Mason - the only players to be on all four conference champion teams.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Last Day of School Drop-Off!

Today, as I dropped my 5th graders off at elementary school for the last time, I shed tears of joy…that I never have to go through the car rider drop-off lane at school ever again. I have endured a lot of foolishness from other parents over the last six years. Here are some of my nemeses:

1. The “Expert” Parker Parent – This parent believes they can save so much time by backing into a parking space. The rest of the car line backs up clear around the circle while this person stops, slowly backs in, pulls forward to straighten out, backs in again, pulls forward one more time, backs in again…
2. The Lipstick Smudge Parent – This parent (usually a mom…but not always) has a PDA routine that rivals a superstitious Major League Baseball player coming up to bat. Before their child (or God forbid, children) can exit the car, there is the extended hug and backrub, followed by a minimum of two kisses on each cheek and one on the forehead.
3. The Red Carpet Parent – This parent will only let their child out of the car when they can park directly in the crosswalk in front of the school doors. Never mind that there are a dozen cars behind them and 30 feet of open curb beyond the crosswalk. Their child is just more important than yours.
4. The Secret Service Agent Parent – This parent will not move their car until they have seen their child pass through the doors of the school. If your child cannot make the 20-foot journey from the curb to the doors safely, maybe park and walk them in.
5. The “Procrastinators Breed Procrastinators” Parent – This parent’s child is putting the finishing touches on the homework they didn’t do the night before, and now that mom or dad has got the car in park, it’s time for them to sign all the assignment books, returned tests, behavior charts, report cards, and permission slips (after we take a few moments to read them for the first time, of course).
6. The Paratrooper Parent – Otherwise known as the awesome parent, this person (who bears a striking resemblance to me) slides the van door open as he comes to a rolling stop, shouting GO! GO! GO! as his children clutch their bags and execute a textbook drop and roll onto the curb. “Have a great day at school kids! Knowledge is power!” he says, as he accelerates away (providing he is not behind any of Parents #1-5 above).

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Happy 15th, A.J.!

Today A.J. turns 15 years old!  We celebrated his birthday over the weekend with a family party.

Dad's magazine cover cake design

Anthony Davis t-shirt from Grandpa & Grandma Kinnell

UK pullover from Mom & Dad

Socks and a Dicks gift card from Aunt Buffy

A.J.'s very own tub of peppermints!

All the boy really wanted for his birthday was Dick's gift cards, so he got those from Mom & Dad and Meemaw Neild.

Hard to believe this kid will be in high school in the Fall!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Jump Rope Team 2017

This is the girls' last year at Wilmore Elementary School (tear!), which means it's their last year on the WES Jump Rope Team as well.  They had their 1st performance this week at halftime of a women's basketball game at Asbury University.

Chloe & Essie
(and cake!)

Friday, February 3, 2017

Mom & Dad Go Cruisin'!

Just before Christmas, the director of the mission organization for which Matt serves as chairman of the board called us.  He was putting together a pastors retreat cruise for pastors with whom the ministry works in Eastern Kentucky.  These overworked ministers needed to get away from the pressures of life for a few days, and a travel agent helped get a great deal on a cruise out of Mobile, Alabama, to Progreso and Cozumel in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.  The ministry invited Matt to come along to sing and speak on the retreat (and bring Amy, of course).  So that's how we found ourselves traveling south on a chilly January day, heading toward sand, sun, and waves!

On the bus ride from the motel to the port

First view of our ship - the Carnival Fantasy

Getting ready to head up the gangplank

On board our first cruise ship!

Overlooking the city of Mobile

Exploring the ship

It was still a little chilly in Mobile - in the 40s the day we boarded.

Gathering for a Sunday morning church service - in the Cleopatra Piano Bar & Lounge :-)

Matt sings for the Sunday morning church service 


Prof Lauter, director of New Hope International Ministries, brings the morning message.

Sunnin' in our Sunday duds

Still a little windy and chilly, though.

Pastor David, head of the church planting ministry we support in Eastern Kentucky, leads in singing in the Sunday afternoon session.

Look at that beautiful blue water.

Preparing to view the sunset

If you look closely, you can see the sliver of the moon and a star high above.

Progreso - our first port

Off the boat with our friend and former student, Cassie

Our excursion for the day was a 2-hour bus drive to Chichen Itza, the famous Mayan ruins and one of the wonders of the ancient world.

The Pyramid of Kukulcán

Clapping in front of the pyramid creates an echo that sounds like the call of the quetzal bird, which made the Mayans believe that their applause was being received by their god Quetzalcuatl.

The Temple of the Warriors, featuring a statue of a chacmool

The Venus Platform

Carving of an eagle eating a human heart

Carving of a jaguar eating a human heart

The tzompantli - Skull Platform

The Great Ball Court

Our trusty guide, Felipe, demonstrates the echo effects at the ball court.

Carvings along the Great Ball Court depicting winners and losers

Snake statue that runs along the Great Ball Court

The end of the Ball Court

Snake carving

If you look closely, you can see a "Mayan chicken" - an iguana.


Our friends Freddy and Cassie went with us on the Chichen Itza excursion.

Temple of Warriors


Getting back on our cruise ship after the day at Chichen Itza

One of the towel animals left by our cabin crew

Amy enjoys breakfast on the blue waters of the Caribbean. 

Second day ashore - Cozumel

Our excursion in Cozumel was to swim with the dolphins at the Dolphinaris resort.  We couldn't take any pictures when we were with the dolphins (because they want to sell you professional photos at $30 each), so you'll have to settle for the following shots and videos of the resort.

The peaceful sounds of dolphins playing

Dolphin playing ball

Dolphins waving and clapping

Fountain in Plaza Cozumel

Saying goodbye to Mexico as we board the ship one last time for the return trip north.

This great photo of the sunset in our wake was taken by our friend Charlie.

The bow of the ship

Gathering at another retreat session where Matt would speak

Enjoying our last day at sea

Our final retreat session

Matt sings as we prepare to take communion together.

The New Hope/KMHA pastors retreat cruise participants - a great bunch of people

Our wonderful servers who brought us delicious dinners each night


I have no idea what this is, but it disturbs me.

And alas, we have to get off the ship and head back north to 30-degree temps.  :-(