Wednesday, May 27, 2015

AJ's 5th Grade Graduation

Well, he did it.  AJ completed the 5th grade and will be moving to West Jessamine Middle School in the fall.  Since he's already played 2 years of soccer at the middle school, we anticipate an easy transition.  This boy has worked his tail off the last few years.  He started at Wilmore Elementary School in August 2010 in the 2nd grade, knowing no English and never having attended school before.  He's come a long way and has been a leader at the school this last year especially.  We could not be prouder of our boy!

Presentation of Certificate of Completion

AJ was also nominated by the faculty at Wilmore Elementary School for a special award given to one girl and one boy from the graduating class.  This character award is more important to me than any sports award would ever be.  So proud of the young man AJ has become!

Citizenship Award presentation

Criteria for the Citizenship Award

Showing off his Citizenship Award

AJ with Mrs. Beckley, his teacher for 3 of his 5 years in elementary school. Mrs. Beckley had AJ for 2 years of 3rd grade and taught this boy a love of reading.  His first year of 3rd grade he was just beginning to read basic sentences.  This year, she taught his 5th grade class, specifically reading.  AJ has become a voracious reader and Mrs. Beckley could not be prouder of him.

AJ & his buddy Zach

AJ & his 4th grade teacher Mrs. Baker, who also taught him basic math after school one day a week when he was in the 2nd grade (just because she knew he needed some extra help).  Love this lady!

AJ & his buddy Jimmy

Some of "the guys"

Obligatory family picture

Monday, May 25, 2015

Opal's Visitor

Opal had a visitor stop by the other day.  One of my elderly neighbor's family members had seen Opal out and about and brought his bulldog, Caesar, over to meet her. As you can see, she wasn't quite sure about him at first.  I believe this is due to the fact that he is an intact male because she has played well with other female dogs.  We are unsure of Opal's background, but it is very clear that she has had several litters of puppies so she really wasn't interested in hanging out with Caesar for too long. 

 Caesar definitely has the bulldog wrinkles and large head.  This being said, it appears Opal is not 100% bulldog but may have a mix of French bulldog in her.  Her head is much smaller than all the other bulldogs we've seen, her feet are smaller, and she is taller than most.  Guess we'll never know!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Saturday in Red River Gorge: Auxier Ridge

With a B-E-A-U-tiful Saturday on tap (and no soccer games finally!), Dad and the kids decided to brave the Memorial Day weekend crowds and get out in nature at Red River Gorge.  (Mom had to work, so no fun for her.)  We got an early start, much to AJ's chagrin, in order to miss the hotter afternoon temps and crowds.  (When we got back to our truck, the parking lot was full and cars were parked for a couple hundred yards along the side of the road.)

Our trail for today:  the two Auxier Ridge trails.  Over 7 miles of hiking...a little ambitious?  Yes, but we can do it!

Pausing along the ridge for a view

Stopping for a picture along a dizzying cliff near Haystack Rock.  (Seriously, Dad had to walk away because his head was swimming.)  Over AJ's right shoulder you can see Courthouse Rock, one of the points of interest along the way.

Haystack Rock

Off in the distance across the gorge you can see Double Arch, another point of interest on our itinerary.

Chloe & Essie by Haystack Rock

Panoramic view from the ridge

Chloe discovered a Chloe-sized rock stool

No fear

Chloe really wanted to see how deep the crevasse went.

AJ:  "Hey! It's the Olympic torch!"

Courthouse Rock from below

Arriving at Double Arch, though from this angle you can't see why it's called that.

Here's a better view of the reason for the name "Double Arch".  About this time of day, the trail was beginning to get pretty crowded.

Descending the carved staircase from the top of Double Arch

View from Double Arch



Three very tired kids at Double Arch.  Only 2.5 miles back to the truck!  Seriously, they did great, going over 7 miles in just over 3 hours (with only a little whining in the last mile).

I failed to get a picture, because we were all so tired and hungry, but there is a new Sam's Hot Dog Stand on the Natural Bridge side of the parkway.  It was a big hit with some famished kids.  Essie said, "That hot dog place was pretty good, Dad.  Thanks."  (This is a big endorsement from Essie, who has a bit of a negativity problem.)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Today was OOVOTO Day at the kids' school.  OOVOTO stands for Our Own Version Of The Olympics. 
The day opens with an Opening Ceromony with a parade of nations (just like the real Olympics).  Our kids get to represent Ethiopia every year.  This is AJ's last year at Wilmore Elementary and the girls are already talking about how they will get to carry the flag next year.

OOVOTO is not just about regular track & field events but also has fun events fitting every child's skill level and interest. 

Essie wins the long distance race! 

Chloe made up great time after the relay runner in front of her fell.

Chloe competing in the basketball shoot

Essie took 3rd in the basketball shoot

Essie took 2nd in the jump rope competition

Essie had a disappointing finish in the Buddy Walk, but it's a great example of some of the non-traditional events at OOVOTO.

A new even this year was the Kush Toss

AJ's favorite event-the distance race

He also took 1st in the basketball shoot

and in the hurtles

and in the jump rope competition

Saturday, May 16, 2015

And Another Season in the Books

The girls finished their 2nd season of soccer with a 0-1 loss in the championship game.  The girls skill level continued to improve and they enjoyed playing with several teammates from last fall. 

Team Union

Coach Hillary presenting Chloe with her runner-up trophy

Essie receiving her trophy from Coach Hillary

Essie & Chloe

I have not been good about making post this season as things have just been too busy.  I did take video whenever I could though so here are some highlights from this season.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Another Season in the Books

AJ just completed his second season of middle school soccer.  (And next year he'll actually be in middle school!)  It was a very successful season for the West Jessamine Colts, finishing the regular season with one loss and one tie, then winning the conference tournament for the second year in a row.  AJ led the team with 17 goals scored on the season, including back-to-back 3-goal games in the conference tournament.   Here is one of his goals during the semi-final game.

 In the conference championship game, with the game tied 0-0 and less than 3 minutes remaining, AJ made a push, drawing the defense to his side, and crossed a perfect pass to an open teammate for the game-winning goal.  There was much rejoicing.

The starting 11 line up for the national anthem before the championship game

Back-to-Back Salt River Conference Champions!

Special thanks to one of the parents who is a talented photographer for the photos.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Happy 13th Birthday, AJ!

Today we enter the realm of parenting a teenager.

The cake has the logo of AJ's favorite professional soccer team - Chelsea F.C.

Cool Kentucky gear from Aunt Buffy

AJ's favorite player - Didier Drogba

AJ's headphones broke last week, so the girls picked out these for his birthday gift from them.

AJ has been wanting a speaker for his iPod so he can jam his tunes in his room.  His favorite lately is Johnny Cash.  Hilarious to hear him singing, "And the tears that I cried for that woman/Are gonna flood you, Big River..."

Chelsea t-shirt with matching shorts and soccer socks from Mom and Dad

Essie loves the blue cake.

And the requisite "awwwww" picture from AJ's first ever birthday party, four years ago.  (Chloe couldn't resist "helping" show how it's done.)