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Wow! It was an exciting and exhausting weekend at the UPA Competition this past weekend. The MVC All Stars competed as part of two teams at the event (the younger girls formed the “purple” team and the older, including Anna, formed the “gold” team). Anna and I got there in the afternoon on Friday and watched the cheerleading competition. Lots of super stunts and tumbling. Friday night the girls had a pizza party with girls from other teams. Anna went home with her friend, J, on the team since I had the Engineer’s Week dinner to attend. Saturday the team got together to watch some of the cheer and the dance competition and to practice. MVC coach, Tami, came by the practice to offer the girls words of encouragement.



gold-day-before2-webgold-day-before3-webpurple-day-before-webThe team had to be ready to go early on Sunday morning. They were meeting at 7:30 am. One of the mom’s helped the girls with their hair while coaches Katie and Stephanie stretched and warmed up the girls and had some last minute practice.


warmups2-webThe girls waited in the “chute” backstage while the anxious parents watched the competition while we waited for our team’s turn.

Competition was tough, but the MVC All Star gold team held their own. They were confident (despite being on a huge stage in front of a few thousand people), showed a lot of energy and wore huge smiles. It was their best performance and both coaches were absolutely beaming at their efforts. Unfortunately they were disappointed with their scoring which placed them 6th out of 6 teams in their category. I am so proud of Anna and her team. Here is their performance:

You have to see Anna in action in this next layout. Look at that amazing smile and that awesome high kick!



God is righteous. God is just. God is love. God is faithful.


Anna’s MVC All Star dance team has been preparing for the UPA National Competition which starts today! Last night they treated the parents to a preview and dress rehersal. I am so proud and excited for her and the rest of the team to have this opportunity.

Here’s my girl:

anna021909web1And here is the entire team–don’t they look awesome:

allstarteampic-webFinally a sneek peak at the Gold group (the older girls) routine that will be performed at the competition on Sunday morning:

project52bannerAfter yesterday’s post all about the Valentine’s Ball my photo of the week just had to be Ellie dancing with her “prince”:


Every little princess dreams of going to the ball and my little princess, Ellie is no exception. Funky Minds (local kids group) hosted a Valentine’s Ball at the senior citizen center last weekend. Ellie was so excited all day and it was tough waiting until dark (because that’s when balls start). She picked out a fancy holiday dress and debated about wearing her princess crown. For Anna the attraction was the promised chocolate foutain. I even convinced Prince Daddy to meet his girls at the ball.

Everyone’s Grandpa Bill was there (he doesn’t live at the center, but is a fixture at Funky Minds activities) and Ellie gave him a big hug. Of course, he always has a treat in his pocket. A local swing dancing group provided the entertainment–oh they made it look so easy (but I know better) along with a singer. Jeff even got into the act. He was such a good sport demonstrating how to do the chicken dance from his chair like the old folks.



Ellie was determined to find a little boy to dance with (her Daddy would just not do). Her first option turned out to be a little young for her and after one dance she quickly found her “prince”. He was wearing bobbing hearts on his head and his name was Caleb. She was in awe for at least 6 dances. And when I say “dances” I mean they held hands, feet firmly planted, alternately looking at each other and the other dancers and swinging their arms in time with the music. After that they were all kids again running and jumping around, literally having a ball at the ball. Anna and I had fun trying out our moves.



Somewhere in there I got to dance with my prince too. I even met him the next day for a dinner without the kids.

And here’s another Valentine Card I gave to Anna:


Happy Engineers Week! Most of you probably didn’t know such a recognition existed, but it does and it’s happening now. Started in 1951 by the National Society of Professional Engineers to highlight the achievements of the engineering profession and to stir public awareness of engineering, it’s celebrated the week of President’s Day in the United States. So here is a little bit of public awareness on my blog. As an engineer, I am celebrating two ways this week. First with a card to all my friends that have helped make my 10 years in my own consulting business possible (such a great excuse to digi-scrap for business!):


And to wrap up the week on Friday with the annual E-Week Awards Dinner. Individuals and companies will be honored at the dinner. I get the role of official “hand shaker” and “congratulator” as chair of the planning committee. It’s a job I love! A long time ago I was on the other end of the “handshake” when I received the Minnesota Young Engineer of the Year Award in 1999 at this same dinner and then went on the win the National Society of Professional Engineers Young Engineer of the Year Award that July. Yep, 10 years ago they still called me “young”.


It was winning this award that gave me the push to start the consulting business I call LATZ Engineering. So if you’re an engineer or not, Happy Engineers Week.

To all my family and friends that I love so dearly on this Valentine’s Day!

valentines-webI had a little help from Ellie in creating this.

Made a special Valentine for my special man:

love-webHe loved it!

Week 6 has come and gone. Here it is:

week-6-webAnna’s All Star dance team at the end of practice. The team is preparing for their first national competition that will be held the weekend of February 20-22. The team is sponsored by the Minnesota Viking Cheerleaders. Coaches Katie and Stephanie are MVC alumni (although much more recently then me). They are both awesome.

Lots of work on the routine and formations. Lots of nervousness as the date gets closer. I remind Anna that attitude goes a long way. Keep smiling girls! Here are a few more shots from a recent practice:

allstarpractice-webAnother practice tonight and we’ll get the details of what to expect at nationals. I’m so proud of Anna’s hard work leading up to the competition.

…fourth photo. That is the rule for this game of blog tag. Amy tagged me so here it is: brandon-4x4-web

My oldest, stepson Brandon playing piano at last spring’s recital. I don’t take many pictures of this kid well because at 16 he seems to lead his own life and much of his life these days is not at home. I love that this happens to be one involving his music. That is a constant in his life. From playing one of his many instruments (piano, french horn, guitar), to singing, to composing, to being constantly (well almost) connected to his ipod–music is one of his defining qualities and passions.

First is the 2 pager for December 2008 (only a month behind in her book now–I can relax):


Once I completed this one I started printing and putting these in her album. But that created more work since I realized I didn’t have a cover page! I was inspired by the challenge at creative inspiration blog copy cat Wednesday this week:

Funny thing was that I had already noticed this wonderful layout to copy and I even included it in my personal inspiration file.  So here is my version and Ellie’s cover page: