Val's News
Val's News & Notables

Welcome to my little page which I hope I will be able to update on a fairly regular basis. I give you fair warning that this is also my spot to crow about my kids accomplishments.

I am embarrassed to say that I recently checked this site out after having created some new sites for our Drama Booster club & the kid’s tennis team and found this site was looking pretty bad.  I’ve cleaned up the recipe page, which is still the only part of this site that has a whole lot of merit, unless you are as entranced with my children as I am.  Sue has finished her first year of college, and we are quite happy to have her back home if only for a few months.  Natalie and Bobby are looking forward to finishing this year of school. They have both done quite well.  Natalie is 2nd in her class and will be attending the Governor’s Honors Program this summer for Language Arts. It is a terrific 6 week program that is paid for by the Georgia Legislature. Sue went 2 years ago for drama.  Bobby’s love for drama led to his induction into Thespians - the Drama Honor Society - this spring.  He is the only freshman.  He was also named the outstanding freshman drama student for the whole school. I’m hoping to get some pictures on this site soon, but who knows.

It appears that I am only capable of updating this once a year.  I’d like to believe that my life is so exciting and so busy, that I just haven’t had time, but that would be ridiculous.  Sue is thriving in her freshman year at University of Florida.  She received a National Merit Scholarship which pays her tuition and board.  We are very lucky that she is so smart and so far UF has been a very good fit for her. She has a terrific roommate named Joanna from Indiana. Her other best buddies are Sarah, Mary and Jay.  They make a powerful group of five that pretty much rule their dorm hall.  Fortunately, this is a good thing.  They decorated their hall as Hogwarts and all of them dressed up as characters from the book for Halloween.  They hosted a group of kids from the local Boys and Girls club.  About 20 people from Sue’s dorm all went together to see the opening of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.  I take great comfort in the fact that these kids are still kids. 
Nat is doing great, but is having a frustrating time with her schedule. She is currently taking French IV AP on her own. She had to take AP Chemistry instead of AP Biology, and now they’ve told her there is a problem with next semester’s schedule. Nat is getting a little annoyed. She founded and is president of the Film Club, co-president of the Philosophy Club, competing in Debate, and getting ready to take over Thespian’s next year. As Nat would say, “I like being in charge.”  She is so busy, and wishes she had more time to work on movies and play the piano.  There just aren’t enough hours in the day.  She works both Saturday and Sunday, because she is determined to earn enough money to by a green VW Bug.
Bobby is having a great first year in high school. He was an understudy in the fall play, and is eager to get a bigger and better role in future plays.  He continues to be addicted to his various strategy games on the computer.  The most recent game he’s been into is Gothic.  Warcraft III is still a favorite. I’d like to channel some of his enthusiasm for his games into his geometry and biology classes, but you can’t have everything. He loves his history class, and is a star in his French class. I wish he could still pursue music, but at Lassiter if it’s music it has to be marching band, and that does not appeal to him at all.

Pathetic is the only word for how I have monitored and maintained this website!  I’ve deleted quite a bit which is all for the best, I assure you. All is well at the Andres household. The kids continue to thrive. Sue graduates from highschool this year and Bobby will graduate from 8th grade. As Sue goes on to college, Natalie will be a junior and Bobby a freshman.

Well, as you can see, I am already having problems posting to this site on any kind of regular basis.  C’est la vie. As many of you may be aware, Sue has jumped full force into the acting world again this year. She is currently in rehearsals for “Mark 2000” - a play based on the gospel of Mark which Father Joseph is directing at our church.  He has been so pleased with her that her original role has been expanded.  They will be performing in May. She is getting ready to start rehearsals for “Anne Frank”.   She has been cast as Miep - Mr. Frank’s secretary who helps hide them. She just had her Thespian performance last week, which was hysterical. She was in an “Abridged Version of Hamlet” and “Wasp”. We have both on tape - they are terrific.  She is also in the midst of directing a play for her “Children’s Theatre” class.  They are doing “Sly,  the Fly, and the Evil Guy”. And because that wasn’t quite enough for her, she just tried out for “Done to Death”.  She’ll find out if she’s in at the end of the week.

Natalie and Bobby are continuing to excel in their music.  They are both doing piano.  Bobby absolutely loves his trumpet and is in the Jazz Band at school - one of only two 6th graders. Natalie is doing terrific on the clarinet. Her 8th grade symphonic band just competed in a Band Festival and won all “Superiors” which is as good as it gets. She has made the monumental decision to join the Lassiter Marching Band next year.  This is a huge time commitment, which is causing her some worry.  She likes to do a lot of other things besides music, but it is a nationally known program, so she felt she had to give it a shot. Both Natalie and Bobby will be performing scenes in their Drama Class on the 27th (all 3 children are hambones).  Natalie is doing a scene from “Steel Magnolias” and Bobby is doing one from “The Odd Couple”.  They both seem to be thoroughly enjoying their class. Natalie has her Southern accent down beautifully, but she’s concerned that she seems to lapse into an English accent every so often. I’m really looking forward to watching them perform.

Bob and I are fine.  Work is fine. We had a wonderful trip to Lake Tahoe last month to ski. It was heavenly. Our first adults only trip in a LONG time.  We even got to fly first class (thanks to a large amount of “ski miles”) which I think may be one of the most glorious and funny experiences we’ve ever had.  Bob actually took video of the stewardess passing out the hot towels before our meal. We also kept the menu cards they gave us. I never thought it was possible to thoroughly enjoy a transcontinental flight! Not to mention the fact that Northstar was wonderful; the snow was terrific; we love our new equipment and we just had a thoroughly awesome trip from start to finish. That’s all for now. 

Merry Christmas Everyone!  It’s a joyous night in the Andres household, because Valeri has finished all of her shopping and wrapping, except for one special gift for Bob. That will be wrapped tomorrow night, secretly. I have finally finished updating my little recipe page with only a few traumas, including losing my stupid cranberry recipe not once, but twice, and I still haven’t found the original.  I’m convinced I managed to throw it out. A sure sign of too much holiday baking.  We’re hoping to work on our Family Website tomorrow, so we’ll have some new pictures for everyone to check out over the holidays. In case we don’t, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

We just finished celebrating our second Thanksgiving in Atlanta. Last year Don & Deb and family were still living here, and we were lucky enough to have Jeff & Lisa bring their family down to visit. This year since we were not going to have any family around, we decided to head for Walt Disney World!

We had slipped down there after Thanksgiving when we still lived in Tallahassee and had a terrific time. The park is all decorated for Christmas; it is still warm and the crowds aren’t bad. This year we decided to spend the entire Thanksgiving holiday there, and we had the extra treat of Don & Deb deciding to come too! We had a rough start due to some unexpected illnesses, but everyone recovered in time to have a great time. 

We went to Animal Kingdom for the first time, and it was terrific. I was a little leary, but Disney has done a terrific job again, and It’s Tough to Be a Bug was hysterical, although I’m not sure that Christian shares that sentiment.  He spent most of the movie under his chair being consoled by Natalie! We barely scratched the surface due to a brief rainstorm, so we’ll need to head back.  The fastpass worked wonderfully well and we took advantage of a special “E Ticket” night, so we were able to go on several of our favorite rides. We’re hoping to post some photos in the Family News site, so you can check them out if you would like.

We’re slowly getting ready for the holidays. Still no tree yet or Christmas lights up outside, but we’re getting there. I’ve had to ration my daily decorating - no 10 hour marathons, as my family has requested that I not be a “crab” for the holidays.  I’m quite pleased with my new wreath and garland this year, and I’ve forced the family to vocalize their admiration several times.

This has been quite a couple of months for Sue.  As you may now, she was part of the cast in the One Act Competition for the Cobb County.  Her school hosted the competition, and their play placed 4th, which they were very pleased about. Sue also decided to try for the Governor’s Honors Program in Drama, which is open to Sophomores and Juniors. She was first accepted at the school level, and then had to attend a county wide competition where she did a monolgue from “Twelth Night” as Viola and another as Emily Dickenson (which I think is hysterical). She had great fun doing it, but more importantly she was chosen as a finalist and will now go on to the State Competition in March. As if that wasn’t enough, one of her favorite teachers, Dr. Brown who heads the English Dept., pulled her aside last week to tell her that he had gotten the scores back on the PSAT’s and that she had scored a perfect 800 on the Lit section and a 660 on Math. He is determined to get her to ace the SAT’s and go for a National Merit Scholarship - wouldn’t that be a blessing! She is really enjoying high school, and we are so proud of how well she is doing.

Bobby had his first Jazz Band Concert on Monday night. It was thoroughly entertaining.  He did really well, and was so into it. It is so fun wathcing your kids have fun. Nat has a concert tomorrow night, and Sue is busy as the assistant director for “Odie”.  Natalie and Bobby will be having the piano recital in a couple of weeks, and they hope to put together a little Christmas CD with some piano, clarinet and trumpet.  They are all doing terrifically well in school. Natalie has continued her unbroken string of A’s in school, and is on the Principal’s Honor roll. 

In short, life is very good right now. I wish you all a very happy holiday season

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