Monday, February 11, 2013

Faith Crusaders Win! Win! Win!

To top off a perfect season, Steven's basketball team had one final job to do. In order to earn the first ever JV Boys Basketball banner for our school gym, they had to win first place at the CFLAA tournament. It was a sudden death tournament over the course of a weekend, games starting friday night. Because they had an undefeated season, they were top seed, and had a huge target on their backs. Our boys were the underdog cinderella story. One local team in particular was really out to get them. That team has beaten our team at every meeting the past 7 years in a row. This season was different, and our team beat them, so they were really determined to prove it was just a fluke, and steal the CFLAA title.

Our boys won each game over the weekend, and were prepared to play for the banner. Of course it ended up that the local rivalry team was winning all of their games as well, and our two teams would end up playing each other for first and second place.

The championship game was SO EXCITING! The teams went back and forth, point for point. The crowd was into the game big time. Our side and their side cheering and hollering ever louder as the clock ticked down. I thought I was going to have to go outside in the last 2 minutes of the game, because I just couldn't handle the anxiety.  I told Mom she could just let me know how it goes, because every score we made was being matched, and I felt like I could throw up. I wanted these boys to win, they had worked so hard all season long as a team. I just couldn't imagine they would end their season #2, and go home without a banner for their school gym. I prayed in my head Lord, how many banners does that other team have in their gym? At least 10. Please let it work out in our kids favor for once.

They had a very aggressive kid on their team who was a really, really good player. He had fouled our kids all afternoon, and was really cocky about his skills. It had come down to the last few seconds of the game, and the other team was up by a point. Our teams best scorer was set to shoot, and that same arrogant kid fouled him. We thought all hope was gone. There were only 4 seconds left on the clock, and our player had to make both of his free throw shots in order for our team to win. The gym went silent as he set up to shoot. SWISH!!!! Tied game. SWISH!!!!!! Faith Crusaders up by one. The other team still had seconds on the clock and they ran down to make a two pointer, but missed the basket, and our team won. Yay!

After the game, Steven invited his teammates back to the restaurant for a celebratory dinner. We didn't know how many would drive back from Orlando where the tournament was held, but it ended up being everyone! Those boys were so proud to bring the trophy into the restaurant and celebrate, and our customers ate them up. We played Queens "We are the champions" over the restaurant speakers, and everyone sang and swayed.

This was Steven's first ever experience with basketball. He and the other 5th graders were second string to the better playing 6th graders, and didn't get as much playing time. In the famous words of Uncle Pete, "Steven, you gotta be the bug before you can be the windshield." Steven told me a couple of days after the basketball season was over that he couldn't wait to play again next year, because he would finally get his chance to be the "windshield."

Get ready for photo overload.....I want him to be able to look back on these pictures one day.

From the first day of the tournament, Steven's fan club was in the house. Amanda Lily wore a T shirt that said "I heart #10" and she rocked her big hair bows in support.

She even painted her toe nails in school colors!

My t shirt said "GO FAITH basketball"

My Dad caught this snap of the two of us cheering. Funny, right? We Kountanis' will not be out cheered.

Especially not when Steven is making moves like this one. He full on stole the ball right out of this players hands, and our team scored off of his defensive play. He surprised the heck out of himself when he did it. All his older team mates were giving him hi fives, and our fans really got going. Dad caught this picture as he was in the act. I love it when he takes my camera. :)

Nana and Papa....more big time fans.

Steven's #1 fan stealing a kiss after the game.

Just before the big championship game.

The Varsity team even made the trip down to Orlando to support the JV team. They brought signs and posters along with them. 

"Good Game"

What an awesome game it was!

Sweet Victory

Hanging out at the restaurant with the team mates was so fun.

They pretty much took up the entire place.

Proud Dad serves the team, and hatches an idea to smash whipped cream in the coaches face because there was no gatorade on hand to shower him with.

I made these chocolate cupcakes the night before, and had them waiting at the restaurant for our celebration.

You boys took Dad's advice and went after Coach Hoffert with the whipped cream but ended up wearing it yourselves instead. Boys will be boys.

One last pose with the trophy before saying goodnight. 

Steven, this last photo is of your biggest supporters all season. Just like in football, we were all there together supporting you. We love you and are so very proud of you. Always keep your humble spirit and a drive to do your very best. This time, your best won every game. But, you know how it feels to loose, because in football, you never won a game. Win or Lose, always, always be driven to do your personal best and have fun and you'll be a winner in life.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Birthday weekend

This year for my birthday, we celebrated in a different way. My Dad's charity, Care4Kids was hosting an event over near our home. When he called to ask if our family would be interested in volunteering our time and help, at first I declined because it was on my birthday. After more consideration, I thought it would be a wonderful thing for all 4 of us to do on my birthday, even if it meant us getting up at 6:00 am on a Saturday. I called Dad back, and told him of my epiphany. It felt really good to do for others on a day that was supposed to be a celebration of me. I often tell my children that the greatest gift is one of service, not any material thing, and that you should leave this world having given more than you take. It blessed my heart to watch my husband and children giving and serving others. What better way to celebrate?

My sweet husband brought me these beautiful flowers. I love peonies. They are so lovely. 

Later that evening we went out for dinner and dancing with our closest friends. The girls in our circle all have birthdays within weeks of each other, and we had a ton of fun celebrating each other.

These pictures are of my birthday gift from Hubby this year. An outdoor fireplace!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Bieber Fever!

Our friends, who also happen to be our next door neighbors, called me with a fun proposition. They had 4 tickets to the Justin Bieber concert, and wondered if Amanda Lily and I wanted to go. Honestly, Amanda Lily is not at the age of being boy crazy yet, but she has always liked JB's pop music. I hadn't been to a concert in YEARS so I thought, what the heck? The four of us had a BLAST. I have to admit, the kid put on a great show! I could have done without the thousands of screaming tween girls, but the show itself was lots of fun. His dancers and lights were amazing. At one point while we were waiting for him to come onstage, Amanda Lily and Anna started the wave. It was so funny because they were relentless about getting it started, and before long, the entire Amway Arena was rocking the wave. Our girls thought it was the coolest thing, and we heard about it the entire ride home. Since the concert, Amanda Lily and I have been jammin to  JB's music. We've also decided to become concert buddies with Misty and Anna, and are looking forward to our next big girls night out. Taylor Swift anyone?

Before the concert, the girls made posters. Security took them away from us at the entry of the Amway, and added them to a huge pile. We told them that they took the posters to Justin after the concert. 

Here they are at the entrance of the arena strutting their stuff.

I might seem like an old lady, but these earplugs were a life saver. All four of us wore them the entire concert, and were sooooooo happy we had them. The decibels of tween girls screams was just too much for our ears.

Afterwards, we bought both girls matching Believe Tshirts. Of course, they had to put them on that instant, because they were believers for sure! 

I left that night with the biggest smile. It was Amanda Lily's first ever concert, and I was there to share in the fun. I hope she will always look back on it as fondly as I do. Thanks for the great memories JB!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Tiny Bunny

spring 2013 423
Our neighborhood had a visit from a little baby bunny, and thanks to a kitty, we got a close encounter. Carleigh and Amanda Lily released this little guy back into the wild after a few quick cuddles.

Disney's Typhoon Lagoon

We are such Disney people. I remember when hubs and I were dating, and we would go to every weekend and walk around. We would stand in line with families, and look at the kids and dream of our own family. True story! Our kids are 8 and 10 now, and we walk around Disney, and thoroughly enjoy them.

A few weekends ago, we were looking for something to do on a sunny Saturday in January. We ended up at Typhoon Lagoon, and had SO MUCH FUN. The place was like a ghost town, so we rode on each slide several times. I didn't know if Amanda Lily would like the slides that went straight down (wedgie makers), but she surprised me, and loved them. She, Steven, George, and Uncle Dan rode them several times, while Aunt Jess and I chilled in our private cabana with Pina Colodas. Looking back on the pictures makes me long for summertime, and all things water related. I can't wait to be able to get back in the pool, and take long lazy boat rides out to the Springs, and snorkeling, and having beach sand in my toes. Sooner than later......

Having a private cabana with an attendant is so worth the extra $ in my opinion. We had a cooler filled with ice, a private locker, swanky adirondack chairs, private beach area that overlooked the wave pool, unlimited water bottles, and an attendant to bring our lunch order, extra towels, or anything else we needed. Disney service does not disappoint. 

Amanda Lily enjoying the wave pool.

Both kids being eaten by a shark skeleton.

Lazy river, my favorite.