Cinematic Experiences

(These are not reviews. I love movies. All movies. As long as I'm entertained then I think it's a thumbs up. Which means I like a lot of not so great movies. Just so you're aware. Take my opinion with a grain of salt. =)

Over the last few months, I have seen a ridiculous amount of new release movies. Some in the theater and some right when they come out on video (or soon after). There have been some really great movies so I figured I'd share what I thought. First off, in the theater I've seen:

Les Miserables:

Les miserables

Just so you know, this is one of my family's favorite musicals of all time. We've seen it together and separate more than I can remember and also starred my brother and sister at one time. I think that's the moment my father fell in love with musical theater. Needless to say, we all hold this one near and dear to our hearts. When they announced they were turning this into a film and that it would be released on Christmas Day no less, well, we knew immediately how we would be spending our holiday. Musical movies make me nervous. I am a live theater person and I feel like they take away too much and add too much to create the films. This, however, did not disappoint any of us. My father claims he didn't tear up but I know the rest of us kept the tissues handy! I loved every minute and there are some really awesome shots they created. Also, filming entire scenes in one shot is great and captures the realness of live theater that I love. So kudos to them! I will recommend this to anyone who is awesome.

 

Django Unchained:

Django unchained

This is a Quinten Tarentino film, so obviously my pops and I had to go see it in the theater, per tradition. We were a bit surprised by the crowd that joined us but it didn't appear that anyone got up and left so apparently they enjoyed it. I have to admit, it wasn't as gruesome as some of the other Tarentino films but wonderful none the less. There were some interesting songs it in but not as memorable as those in others. Will I watch it again when it is out? Yes, of course I will. Will I recommend this? Depends who you are, but yes. I was thoroughly entertained plus it had a fabulous cast who I could watch for days. 

 

Skyfall:

Skyfall

I must admit that many of the James Bond movies have all run together in my mind. Typically I will see them but not again. This film was very entertaining. It's a great action flick, and as I've seen many other people say before me, and really gets back to the basics of James Bond. If you like the older 007 movies then definitely check this out.

 

Lincoln:

Lincoln

Amazing. The film, the actors, the script, the costumes. All of it. I also think this is a GREAT reminder that our country has been stubborn before with change and now it sounds ridiculous. One day American's will look back at what's going on right now and think, "They really thought that gay people shouldn't be allowed to marry?". That's my opinion anyway. They laughed and scoffed when someone proposed someday women be able to vote! How unthinkable 😉 But really, what a great way for everyone, young and old, to remember where our country has been. Even if it isn't exactly historically accurate, it's nice to see something possibly a little educational on the big screen. Definitely go see this. Everyone.

 

Looper:

Looper

This is obviously not new. I saw this while I was out in Virginia. It was the first movie I'd seen in a long time in the theater and before it started I had no idea what it was about. (It's amazing what 3 months with absolutely no television will do for you. I must admit, it was wonderful!) At first, I was skeptical. Another time travel ish movie. Blah. But I was surprised and found that I really enjoyed it! There were some unexpected twists and I thoroughly enjoyed the cast. If you like sci fi/action ish movies then check this out. If you don't see it, well, you'll survive.

 

There have been a ton of great flicks (and some just ok) that I watched from the comfort of my own living room. Some of those are:

 

Seven Psychopaths:

Seven psychopaths

This had a real Tarentino feel, but, as my dad said, got a little silly. If you like the shootout and crazy story lines of Kill Bill or Pulp Fiction then you will probably get a kick out of this. I enjoyed it more than the rest of my family. The soundtrack, however, stole my heart. I will be purchasing it soon. Some really great remakes. The cast is outstanding as well. How can you not love watching and listening to Christopher Walken? There were several twists that I didn't see coming. Good for a laugh. =)

 

Frankenweenie:

Frankenweenie

Being an animal lover, this movie was precious. Warms the heart and gives off a good message. My parents thought it might be a little scary for actual children even though it is a cartoon but I feel like a lot of children's movies are going that way. If you enjoy animated films and had a pet growing up, you'll enjoy this. 

 

Prometheus:

Prometheus

I didn't realize this was the prequel to all the Alien movies until the very end. This made me jump a lot but overall I liked it. Will I watch it again, probably not. But am I sad I watched it? No. If you like the Alien movies then definitely check this out. 

 

ParaNorman:

Paranorman

Another cute animated movie. Again, this might be a little scary for small children but has a good message. I really enjoyed it, actually watched it twice close together, and I wouldn't complain about watching it again. Who doesn't love a cartoon about a kid who can see dead people? =)

 

The Avengers:

The avengers

Wonderful, as I knew it would be. Combines lots of great comic book characters and I love Robert Downy Jr. It's a great comedic action film. If you liked all the individual movies definitely watch this. I was informed by friends that I needed to see them all before watching Avengers (which I did) but my parents have not and they really enjoyed it. My mother was going to leave half way through (she did get a little confused and isn't a huge action movie person) but afterwards was very glad she stayed until the end. I would definitely recommend this movie and am planning on seeing it again at some point.

 

Beasts of the Southern Wild:

Beasts of the southern wild

My brother gave this recommendation to my parents and I and we really liked it (I think I did more than my rents). We did have to turn the subtitles on to understand what everyone was saying but it was a moving film. Definitely gives you reason to stop and think about your own life. The young actress does a truly amazing job (obviously, she's 6 and up for best actress). If you like artsy films that touch your heart, check this out. You won't be disappointed. 

 

Brave:

Brave

Wonderful. Disney has done it again. I actually went out and purchased it after I saw it the first time. Everyone should watch this. Made me laugh and cry. And give my mother a hug. 

 

Moonrise Kingdom:

Moonrise kingdom

Another must see film, in my opinion. If you like any of Wes Anderson's films, then you will adore this. So lovely and free spirited. It's shot in his typical style with much of his typical cast. They do a splendid job and warm your heart all the way through. I will be purchasing this at some point because I want to watch it over and over again. 

 

Igor: 

Igor

This is an older movie but new to me. Not as great as the other animated films I've mentioned above but cute still. So I figured I would include it. This would be a good one for kids around Halloween time. Obviously, it has a good message for kids and adults alike and it's got an unsuspecting hero which is fun. I enjoyed it.

 

There are so many good movies out right now that I just want to sit around watching them all day! Unfortunately I can't, so many of the films out right now will have to wait until I can rent them. My Spring Break may have to include a movie marathon so I can catch up! Have you seen any really good movies lately? Let me know! Even if they aren't new, I love suggestions and seeing movies I otherwise wouldn't have!

Much Love,

Laura

Make-up and Costumes- Kinda

Here is the very beginning of the costume and make-up journey…

 

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This is my CATS unitard. They disliked the costume that was sent for me, but Milli saved the day. She had this costume that she brought with her from years ago when she did CATS. It fit good enough so they said yes. And there you have it. This was when I first tried it on.

We do our own make-up for the show. During our rehearsal weeks, we each sat down with Caroline (our make-up designer) for an hour and a half make-up apointment. She step by step walked us through how to do our make-up. She's super fabulous and I wish I had a picture of her! Oh well.

 

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These are the pictures of the process so we could look back and follow them in case we forgot. They actually came in handy the first couple of times.

 

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In the end, she decided I was too faded and subtle so when you see later pictures you will see differences in the yellow and red. 

 

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Close up of the eyes.

 

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Finished product.

 

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This is what she loosely based it off of. I wish my wig looked like this though…

 

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Brenton's make-up. He is scary looking!

That is all!

Laura

Up Goes the Junk Yard

So on Monday, after a long day of rehearsals trying to put Nick in as Munkustrap, we decided to go to the theater to check out the progress on the set. Samantha also needed to double check to see if everything was looking like they had discussed and that it was all going to work with our choreography.

 

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This was us outback making our way to the back door. This is their scrap yard for the shop. It always looks like this! =)

 

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This is the shop room for building the pieces. It does NOT always look like this. Building CATS made a mess. It has started becoming messier as they have begun working on the Christmas show set. Fun times!

 

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More shop.

 

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This was our first view of the set from backstage. Pretty impressive!

 

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From backstage: Josh practicing on the trapeez. I was supposed to be the other cat that used it but in the end they decided that they weren't able to attach it properly and the ropes would eventually rip and they would have to rehang it every two weeks. So they just took the entire thing down. Sad times! I was looking forward to it!

 

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The scaffolding we use in the show. This is our Heavy Side Layer. Since Karen is short, I got to be the test dummy to test climb on it to make sure she would be able to reach all the steps. Yay!

 

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Discussing the trapeez.

 

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The Jellicle Moon!

 

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The beginnings of the sewer pipe and the trunk of the car. The car ended up having to be moved. Boy was that fun! That sucker was heavy. Took all the guys in the cast I think!

 

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The entire stage that night.

 

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Action shot! I don't know how I managed to get this shot with my iPhone in a dark theater, but I am so glad I did. I love it. Yeah!

 

That is all!

Laura

Taking Down the MoTown Set

After the last performance of every show on Sunday, the cast helps strike the set so they can begin building the next set that night. Technically, we weren't required to go help with the MoTown set since we weren't in the cast but we were just sitting around at the house not doing anything. So naturally I went to help. Josh did as well. The rest are all MoTown people. Hard to believe we will be doing this for CATS in two weeks! Time sure went fast! The back drop up is CATS, MoTown wasn't nearly so tripy 😉

 

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Josh had the same job as me, catch and pick up screws. It was very exciting, let me tell you! That is Matt using the screw gun and John (who was not in CATS) on top of the stairs. These were actually staircases they left fully assembled and used from show to show and the guys dutifully took them apart without realizing. Hilarious!

 

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Josh working lasted a long time 😉 Just kidding. He got back at it.

 

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Keith moving big pieces. He is our Macavity.

 

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CJ. Also not in CATS but what a nice and funny guy. He's in IL doing Smokey Joe's with Kiarri and John Roth.

 

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Samantha was having none of it. Matt and Samantha are both obviously in CATS.

 

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Our set designer/builder giving everyone directions for what to do and what to do with the pieces.

 

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So intense.

 

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Kiarri… being Kiarri.

 

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Jess working on the floors. It was a little dark back stage!

 

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Jill doing the same. There is a lot of glow tape put down!

 

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Matt watching everyone work.

 

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Matt still watching everyone work 😉

 

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Almost finished!!!

 

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We knocked that out fast! I was excpecting to be there for a lot of hours and I think I was there for less than two hours before we finished! We had the easy part though because then the guys had to work ALL NIGHT for two nights to get the set built so we could rehearse on it for 2 days before we opened! Yikes! Talk about a challenge. Woohoo!

That is all!!!

 

Laura

Around the cast house…

So here are just a bunch of random pictures I've taken around the cast house here in Wytheville. Some are fun, some are boring. Deal with it. These first few, well, I was just playing with my nice camera. It's amazing how great these look compared to pictures from my iPhone. Yeah.

 

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Feet!

 

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Silly face!

 

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My feet!

 

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Josh is very intense on his phone!

 

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So, this isn't at the house but this is when the CATS cast went to see MoTown. Technically Brenton and I had already seen it but we didn't eat before. 

 

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The MoTown set. 

 

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Breakfast at the cast house!

 

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We take our work home with us… Working on painting props and set pieces.

 

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Silly cats.

 

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Being illegal and sleeping on the couch. =)

 

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Nick and his crazy smoothies.

 

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They were intense!

 

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Brenton deep cleaning our bathroom. 

 

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One of my salads. I ate these a LOT during the rehearsal period.

 

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Right outside our room. This is what it always looks like with clothes drying.

 

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Nick trying to memorize all of the songs in a couple days… Poor guy. He didn't sleep for a very long time.

 

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We also have bunnies that live at our house and they are cute. So I took a picture.

That is all!

Laura

 

Back Home…

So, it is a little strange being away from home for so long. Even in college I don't think I had been away from the house for such a long amount of time. My parents have been hard at work though, doing lots of work on the house! I cannot wait to see everything in real life but it's nice seeing the process in pictures. They are wonderful. My parents I mean. And I love them. Here are the pictures I've recieved!

 

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First, the sidewalk to the front door was torn out. 

 

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Pouring the sidewalk. Let me just say, I am so glad my mom has a smart phone now because that means I get these pictures! Yay for technology!

 

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Finished sidewalk. 

 

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They bought a new table and chairs for the bar area downstairs. Look at them being trendy. =)

 

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Dad putting in the new front door. The only one had broken glass for a REALLY long time. If anyone was wondering why there was ALWAYS a wreath up, that would be why. It covered the broken parts. I'm pretty sure I broke it during a temper tantrum when I slammed the door… Maybe not? Let's go with it definitely wasn't me.

 

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Look at that! My dad has set the standard high for guys because he is such a handy man. He can do anything. I don't know if anyone can live up to the standards he has set. Love him so much.

 

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The old parts. Next up- putting in the new post!

 

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The new door at night.

 

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The new door from the inside. Apparently mom REALLY wanted me to get a good feel of it 😉

 

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And here goes the driveway! I am so excited about this!

 

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Not only is it not crumbly but they also made it curve! Gonna make back out SOOOO easy!

 

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My dad is the hardest worker! 

 

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Love it! He did such a good job!

 

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Again, thank you for all the pictures, Mom!

 

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Getting ready to a little landscaping.

 

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The new post.

 

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Did you think I was joking? The hardest worker. Hands down. We are all so lucky.

 

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How beautiful did all of that turn out! You two did SUCH a good job!

 

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I even love thier bad attempts at taking thier own picture. Too cute! 

That is all!

Laura

Just Dance

When you have a house full of dancers and a Wii, you obviously get copious amounts of Just Dance. Usually it is at night which means with the iPhone the pictures are quite horrible, but hilarious none the less. So I am going to share some of them with you. If I can ever figure out how to post a video, I will share some of those with you as well. =) I am SO glad no one took any pictures of me while dancing.

 

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This is Gage. He actually doesn't live in the house but he works for the theater. In the shows where they have a pit band he plays the drums and is actually in charge. Go Gage. For CATS (since we use tracks and not a live band) he runs one of the spot lights for us. Our spot lights are awesome. Seriously.

 

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This is Kiari. He isn't in CATS. He was part of MoTown and therefore is no longer here. Sad times. He's actually in IL doing a production of Smokey Jones. He was funny.

 

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Go Kiari!

 

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This is Jill, another MoTown cast member. She will be back soon though because she is in the Christmas show. 

 

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Strike a pose! 😉

 

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Josh has entirely too much fun with this game.

 

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Hehe, look at Milli. She's having fun!

 

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Get it!

 

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It's always fun to get silly poses in pictures. I'm sure they are going to love this.

 

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Muscle man!

 

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Jennifer was walking through and decided she wanted to join.

 

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So serious….

That is all! Talk soon!!

Laura

I’d Tap That…

Disclaimer: Family members, please note that these are probably very offensive. Sorry in advance.

So there is this fun little app on iPhones that my sister and father introduced me to and it is called I'd Tap That and it provides much entertainment. You take a silly picture and it inserts a caption of it's liking. You never know what it is going to put. Hilarious. Usually… Case and point:

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Yes… That is all.

Laura

King’s Produce

In our fair little town of Wytheville there is a lovely little groceries store called King's Produce. 
I'd heard many tales of the wonders it held and one day I decided to go and take a look for myself.

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I got to wear my hat I got in Omaha! Made of hemp! It supposedly floats in water too ;)

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From the outside, it doesn't look like much. And I originally went down the wrong street so it took me a while to find it.



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The products they sell, for the most part, are hand packaged it looks like. It's quite a breath of fresh air. 
They have a surprisingly large and strange selection for such a small and local place.


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This picture is for my dad. These are all the types of licorice they have! I will have to take him when they 
visit this weekend!


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They had some very interesting things canned that could be bought. I'm not sure that I would trust pickled eggs.



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I was a HUGE fan of the pickles though! I may have to get a jar when I'm about to head home. Yum.



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But really, there was pretty much anything you could think of that was locally made. Pretty neat.



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Some more sketchy stuff. Do people really buy these?! And eat them?!



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They have entire corner of canned goods. Tons.



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Tiny but very cute! And the prices weren't bad either!



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Best part? They have a little ice cream bar! Home made flavors. SOOOO good! Nice little treat for the walk home.


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And when I got home I had a nice little lunch of yellow tomato with some pepper. It was delicious!

So that was my little King's Produce adventure. That is all.

Laura

The Rock Wall

So at the Rec Center here in Wytheville, they have a really nice rock wall. It's actually a super awesome gym, which is funny considering the town is technically smaller than Excelsior. Whatever, we'll take it. Anyway, Hannah and I decide that we want to go do the rock wall. So after one of our matinees we did just that. We even took a few pictures!

 

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Before we had actually attempted. She is just too cute.

 

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Apparently I thought I was a super hero. Dork.

 

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Here we go. She actually made me go first but she did awesome. Made it all the way to the top on the first try! Although it was harder than she thought it would be. Her words.

 

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Second course we went up. A little more difficult.

 

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Scary no face. But I think I was already temporarily stuck. This is one of those things where being short is NOT in your favor. I made it though.

 

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We did a third course. I made it to the top but Hannah didn't quite. We are going back though! Soon hopefully! Such a good workout and fun to boot! The end.

Laura