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Madi at TOPs Gymnastics Meet

Madi’s gymnastics schedule keeps her and her Mom and Dad REALLY busy. Most nights during the week there is practice, practice, practice – then more practice on Saturday. But when she competes in a gymnastics meet, it gets exciting, because she gets to travel !!. She’s competed in Louisville, KY, Knoxville, TN, Indianapolis, IN, as well as, West Virginia, Columbus, OH, St. Louis, MO, Chicago, IL, and this year she’s going to Michigan.

When she doesn’t travel too far away, Grandma and Grandpa even get to go. Well that’s what we did this past weekend. In fact, both of Madi’s Grandmas and Grandpas were able to watch her compete this weekend. This competition was sponsored by TOPs (stands for Talent Opportunity Program). There were hundreds of gymnasts from all over competing this weekend at a huge convention center that was only about an hour away from home. Well… An hour away for the Johnsons. A good bit farther away for the Mines, but they braved the trip anyway and had a great time watching Madi do her stuff.

And Madi did super!! She took first place in her age group on the Balance Beam with a score of 9.25. Way to go, Madi !!!

Trophy Time!!

Happy Birthday Grandma J

Even at age 6, Sam realizes the need for multi-tasking. 🙂

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Thanks for the great birthday present, Sam. Love you!!

Grandma J

The Holidays 2010

Has anyone else been keeping track of when the Christmas season begins? I hear crotchety old curmudgeons complain about the commercialization of Christmas and how the stores have seemingly moved Christmas to November in order to entice the wiley American shopper to buy more and buy more often – their intent being of course to extend the gift giving season for as long as possible. Before this past year, I never really gave it much thought myself. When folks started revving up for the Holidays, I was always still in the “plenty of time” mode, and I stayed in that mode sometimes until Christmas Eve when I realized that I needed to finally do some revving up myself.

Well this year, in addition to becoming “old enough” for Social Security, I must have also unknowingly joined the ranks of the Christmas season’s Crotchety Old Curmudgeons Geezer Club. Did anyone else notice that the Christmas “buying season” started before Halloween this year? I think it started in September, but I may even be late in that estimate. It could have even started before Labor Day. As I wandered around the stores or watched commercials on television, in addition to typical Halloween and Thanksgiving displays, I noticed that Santa was even coming town!!

I may be one of the shrinking majority of folks that still considers Christmas to be a time for religious celebration and not just a time for buying and for lists and for hustling products. I’m not what folks would call observant. The world has a fairly free hand from my perspective. I am corrected quite often for “not noticing” something I should have. So when I did notice this past year all the busy hustle and bustle of Christmas starting so early, my new membership in the Christmas season’s crotchety old geezer club started to bubble-up to the surface. And I discovered that I’m not much of a fan of being a member in that Club. You know, when it comes right down to it, I really like “noticing” when the Christmas season starts to rev up, and I could give a hang how early that season begins.

Noticing Christmas was a bit of an eye opener for me this year. I noticed all of the stress, all of the noise, all of the commercialization, and all of the busy hustle and bustle. But you know what else I noticed? I noticed that folks were taking just that extra bit of time to wish a merry Christmas to people that they may not have taken the time to talk to before. A Christmas smile, a note on a card, and maybe just a bit of extra “Christmas warmth” was being passed around to most everyone you met. And you know what? With results like that – To my way of thinking Christmas can start in July!! I think I’ll turn in my membership to the Crotchety Old Curmudgeon Geezer Club. I think those sad folks don’t know what their missing!

Here are a few snapshots of a “busy” Christmas. It seems there was plenty of time for frosting Christmas cut-out cookies…

Hanging out with Grandma and Grandpa…


Making extra time for family…


Playing in the snow….

And of course – GIFTS!!

Merry Christmas everyone!!

I wish everyone a wonderful and happy holiday season – however early you would like to begin!!

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