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Friday, February 12, 2016

Getting current with Courtney

Time to give an update on the youngest female of the Apedaile6 crew- Courtney. This year, Courtney has faced new challenges, had some adventures and all the while working hard.

In the spring of last year, Courtney started driving. This was my first official lesson with her in my work parking lot. It brings me a laugh every time- the looks on both of our faces. Let me tell you, the process of teaching a child to drive is terrifying, frustrating, eye opening, but once it all clicks- the benefit of having another driver besides Mom/Dad is SO wonderful!

Courtney celebrated turning 16- with a volleyball ice cream cake. In true fashion, she celebrated with us after having a long volleyball practice at school.

Not only did Courtney start her Junior year, she also switched High Schools to attend the school we are zoned for. It was a decision that was influenced by many factors, but Courtney managed to make the transition seamlessly.

New school, new team. Courtney made the Varsity Volleyball team and played Libero during her school season. 

HHS Lady Commandos- Varsity Team

During her volleyball season Courtney gives every practice, game and point her all. For any that have watched her, can testify that she sacrifices her body for the good of the team. Take in point some examples....

and YES, she does wear knee pads.
Legs, forearms and elbows  are often filled with bruises and floor burns from diving.

This is the grand prize winner- her hip. This happened during a tournament weekend. I know I couldn't do half of what she does with the heart, passion and effort of Courtney.

Hard work pays off! Defensive player of the year- holding her plaque with her school coach, 
Coach K.

As the year progressed, we prepared for Courtney's driving test. Like most things in life, we needed to wait until later in the year to schedule around volleyball. We re-enacted the first drivers lesson as we drove around the neighborhood that the drivers test takes place. Much more confidence this time!

The face of a very happy young lady after taking her drivers exam.

Officially official to drive on her own!

One might think after the school season of volleyball is over, then Courtney gets a bit of a break from volleyball- Nope! Not in high school at least. We usually have about 3ish weeks off then that leads right into club season- which is almost a must to remain competitive as well as important for growth as Courtney's goal is to play in college.

This year, Courtney made the 17 Elite team for her club. Elite is the highest level and has even more extensive practice and playing schedule. Elite teams practice 3-4 times a week for 3 hours each time. Courtney won't be finished with her club season until mid June, in which she will already be practicing with her school team. It's basically an all year sport- just different teams.

Love her new warm up shirt with her last name on it. Elite team members were given it as a gift at Christmas.

Despite having volleyball take up a good portion of her life, Courtney still manages to be a creative soul who loves dabbling in many things.
She enjoys photographing beauty found in nature.

She is the best selfie taker.
There are a few other areas Courtney has made some pretty fantastic stuff and I'm planning on sharing it will you soon.

This girl LOVES Zaxby's!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Getting current with Lindsay

Since my blogging skills have been,ah hem, lacking for a good while, I'm going to try and do a brief update on each of the kids. Doing big picture here, people. With a family of 6, there is almost always something going on, activity to go to or things to celebrate. The good news is I'm present and enjoying every one of these moments. The bad news is I'm not popping on here to chronicle these events. I'm trying to do better. Baby steps.

This fall, Lindsay had her Senior photos completed. Our good friend, Adam Wray, did us the honors of capturing Lindsay. After talking with Lindsay and Adam, we decided to shoot in Downtown Nashville. Lindsay literally stopped traffic.

As you can see, the results were fantastic! A great blend of street/urban and some natural settings. 

True beauty- Class of 2016

The girls at home also managed to attended our first University of Tennessee football game this fall. It was a campus visit for both Lindsay and Courtney.

They scored some free T-shirts and we also heard the Rocky Top song no less than a few hundred times that day. It was almost painful to admit, but that song/chorus is quite catchy!

We sported our Orange for the big game.

Lindsay also ran as Vice President of the United States this year.
Not quite ready to run the country, but she was equipped to run for her Honors Government class.

We celebrated Lindsay's 18th Birthday

For her Birthday party, we held a painting class at our house.

Beautiful sunflowers resulted from the party,

In early December, we had a big (to us) it was really quite small production crew come to our home to film Lindsay, John and myself. Lindsay getting her microphone on. It was  amazing to see just how much work goes into setting up for a basic interview filming.

Watching Lindsay during her interview. I was sitting in a small back entrance but careful to be out of her line of site so I wouldn't make her nervous.

Lindsay and all but one of the crew members. The 2 ladies on the left(and one not pictured) flew all the way from New York for this interview.

Then Lindsay received BIG NEWS!

She was accepted to University of Tennessee, Knoxville! This was the university that she was hoping to be accepted to and she was overjoyed to get this letter. Looking forward to Lindsay's last semester of high school and savoring every last moment of her at home.

Hoping to update more of the Apedaile kids very soon.

Monday, January 11, 2016

9/11 Memorial and Museum

Going to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum was one of the top items that Lindsay requested that she be able to visit on her trip. This was our first visit there despite having been to NYC one time for me and a few times for John prior to this trip.

Going to the site proved to be an emotional and life changing experience. While most of what is here on the site is deeply sorrowful, horrible and unthinkable, it is a place that I can't recommend more for everyone to visit. It's hard to put into words, but I left that day being reminded of what our country went through, is still fighting with acts of terrorism and the strong sense of community and patriotism NYC and our nation experienced.

Even though Lindsay was alive when the attacks occurred, she was very young. This was something that deeply touched her. Seeing things first hand she had only seen in textbooks, on television or told by John or I came to life and brought a new meaning/understanding.

The Freedom Tower

Majestic, beautiful and touching the clouds. We explored the Memorial Plaza while we waited for our turn to go inside the Museum.

Looking across the reflection pool towards the upper right center is the 9/11 Museum building.

While bustling with people from all over the country and world, there was a somber reverence in the air.

Each area of the two memorial pools held the names of the victims- all grouped together by event. The Twin Towers, each of the Flights,First Responders and Pentagon.

All of the names were cut out and illuminated with lights below.

Scattered through the names, we would encounter a flower, note or American Flag placed inside the name on the memorial. It would immediately bring it back just how it continues to impact people every single day.

Despite what this represents and historically what took place on this very spot, it was absolutely beautiful. Done SO WELL.

We didn't have any idea of what to expect, but it quickly became moments of being brought back to that day, but with such a new awareness. Due to just wanting to experience everything fully as well as out of respect of what this museum contained, I didn't take many photos.
Above this is the area we entered where most of the exhibits were- the lower level of the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

There were so many items that much of the world identifies or is familiar with from the 9/11 attacks on display. This was the Fire Engine that sat outside the World Trade Center buildings that was mangled after the buildings collapsed. There were displays with stories, videos, audio recordings and photos from 2001.

The  National 9/11 American Flag, Originally flown at the Twin Towers, the tattered flag was restored by touring the U.S. and restored by Americans from all 50 states by patching it from other damaged flags.  Truly beautiful.

This interactive screen was where visitors could write messages.

After a few moments, the message would appear on a large world map. Scattered though the map we would occasionally see sentiments from children or spouses expressing how they missed their loved one killed in the attacks. It was so heart wrenching to see those pop up knowing people directly impacted were just feet away.
Nighttime brought a simple glow to the memorial pools.

Freedom Tower at Night

This massive wall in the museum is clearly one that caused all to stop and pause for a long time. The 2,983 squares represents the victims from the 9/11 as well as the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The squares are blue as to capture the shades of the perfectly clear blue sky on the morning of 9/11. The quote, "No Day Shall Erase You From The Memory Of Time"- Virgil was created from the steel from the World Trade Center. Behind the concrete walls lies the remains of the victims that were not able to be removed.

We Shall Never Forget