Saturday was my 33rd birthday. I love my birthday. I love the time of year, the football games, the crisp air, presents, and CAKE!!
As a teenager my birthday usually fell on a band practice or competition date. My mom started a tradition of surprising me with cupcakes... for me and the other 60 some band kids! I remember asking her who the cupcakes were for one year and she said they were for my brother's fall festival at school. I fell for it hook, line, and sinker.
This picture was taken as I was being surprised with cupcakes for my 17th birthday (I'm in the white shirt). Mom's on the far right and all my band friends were singing to me. Did I mention that I love my birthday?
So, this year I looked at the calendar and noticed that Jon had not one but two band competitions on my birthday. I called my mom and asked her if she and Grandpa were up to keeping the kids for me that day so I could go with Jon and the band. I knew it would be too long of a day for the kids. She not only kept them on Saturday but offered to keep them all weekend! The kids were thrilled and so was I. A whole weekend to spend with Jon and the band.
Guess what I decided to bake....
I baked 4 batches of cupcakes. King Arthur's Tender White Cake is great, by the way. Using cake flour is important.
Friday night I went with Jon and the few band members who showed up to the optional football game. Well, optional for the band members. The temperatures hovered in the low 40's and there was a cold wind and mist most of the evening. Let me tell you, I picked the wrong football game to go to.
After going to bed in a flannel night gown, 3 pairs of socks, and clutching a hot water bottle, the next morning I was ready to go with Jon to the competitions.
The kids loved the cupcakes! I think I made quite a few friends with that move, right there.
Jon found this "Assistant Director" coat in the uniform room. He said it's mine now. It's huge but it was so warm. The sun was out but the wind was constant and cold.
I love that man. I loved spending the day with him.
We had a lot of down time at the first competition so while we waited in the stands for the competition to start, some of the band and dance kids started a dance line. Is that what it's called? I'm so uncool and definitely not a dancer so I don't know these things. Those girls were so cute and such good dancers. Some of the boys jumped in there for a while. Jon's got the best band kids. They're sweet, funny, and respectful. Teenagers are nothing to be afraid of. This gives me hope for parenting our two in about 6 years.
Time to go warm up.
This is how the drum line gets ready for the competition. I think there was some prayer, some grunting, and some dancing involved.
Can you see the band in the tuba? Well, not in the tuba.
Jon pumping them up before they take the field. Before every performance, Jon goes to each band member, shakes their hand and thanks them for working hard and wishes them luck. He said he learned that from former Steelers coach, Bill Cowher.
Move out of the way, judge! I'm trying to take a picture of the band. See the dancer being lifted up in the back? Lots of talented kids.
Such a great performance! And guess what. They won first place! They also won best music and general effect. That is a huge deal since Jon wrote the music and the drill for the show.
The second competition was at Wake Forest at the new BB&T Field. It was beautiful and a lot bigger stadium then the kids were used to. They were a bit nervous but luckily they got to warm up for a while on the field.
How exciting to see your school and name on the big screen (even if Jon's name was misspelled).
Hopefully you'll be able to click on the picture to enlarge it. They face the back of the field in their opening set.
This young man had just finished his solo written specifically for him by Jon. He's a very talented young man who did a fantastic job with the solo.
It was such an exciting performance. You could feel the energy from the kids in their performance. They did a great job and earned a very respectable 80 points!
It was a great day!