Saturday, August 30, 2008

American Girl Trip

Several months ago my mom had a brilliant idea. She discovered that one of only 4 American Girl Doll stores in the USA was in Atlanta. So, we made plans to go. The girls have asked for a couple of years for one of those dolls but we've been making them wait until they were old enough to appreciate it.

Last week I found a Marriott hotel online that had an American Girl package. My mom was all over it. The girls and my mom are in the American Girl room...complete with pink sheets, towels, lamps, bean bag, and cookies and milk delivered each day. They also had robes for their dolls and themselves waiting on their beds with an American Girl doll bed, compliments of the hotel. The screams were deafening.

By the way...Sam is being a very good sport. :)

Here are some pictures of our weekend so far...

The American Girl room!


Sam digs the bean bag...even if it is pink!

This morning we had an "American Girl Breakfast" downstairs


My mom and the girls pose outside as they are literally about to wet their pants with anticipation!


Maddie fell in love with Elizabeth.


Ella fell in love with Samantha!



The girls pose with Nonnie and their new dolls

The mall had an awesome carousel too!




Sam's prize this weekend was his dream...becoming a red Power Ranger. (Thank you Disney Store!)

Here are some video clips from today--

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Tonight we are headed to the Cheesecake Factory and then some indoor pool action. It's been so fun seeing the kids' excitement. I think this is one of those weekends to remember.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Some Old Clips

I was searching through itunes and found some of my favorite old clips. These first two were were recorded by Sheryl and me for our wedding 10 years ago...

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How Could I Ask Fo...


This one is off of one of the ZOE records a while back...Sheryl's version of the Allison Krauss song, "Living Prayer"

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We have a very fun weekend ahead...more on that soon. And, I was really excited by Obama's speech last night. I also love that Donald Miller, author of BLUE LIKE JAZZ offered the opening prayer. Sweet!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Early Morning Fun With Bear

Right after Sheryl and I married 10 years ago our first baby came into our lives. She was a fuzzy, adorable, gentle puppy named "Bear". Thanks to Hainey Price Staley she was saved from the pound in Fort Worth, Texas. She rode all the way back to Nashville in the floor board of our Honda. We were in love.

Over the last ten years Bear has helped raise our kids...literally. Each of them learned to walk by holding on to her fur and pulling on her (she never snapped once but patiently tugged them along). I could write a book about the sweetness of "Bear" and how much she has meant to us. She is truly a part of our family.

We're not really sure when she was born but we know it was around this time. So, I'd like to dedicate this blog today to "Bear" and our 10 wonderful years with her.

I snapped this picture this morning...you can see how loved she is! :) Happy Birthday, Bear!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Updates

Over the weekend Sheryl and I made a trip south of town about 25 minutes to Arrington Vineyards. Kix Brooks (of the country group Brooks and Dunn) and the husband of one of our friends from the William Morris Agency started this winery several years ago. It has really become an amazing place. Sheryl and I LOVE Napa Valley, California and the vineyards out there. This had the very same feel. It was such a cool place! People brought picnics and ate out under the night sky by candle-light. There were wine tastings as well. It was such a fun outing and for those of you from Nashville, or anyone else planning a trip, put this on your MUST visit list.






Sunday morning I was finally able to go back to Fellowship (I've been out of town and have missed the last few Sundays). It was wrap up of Nehemiah. It was probably the most incredible Sunday morning I have ever experienced. I loved it. The worship was awesome (Ronnie Freeman led). Everything about the morning was fantastic. I cried from start to finish. Again...such a confirmation that it is right where we should be right now.

After church we headed up to the studio for a run-through of the Broadway show so I could take notes and work with the cast. This show on the Infinity includes sections from West Side Story, Phantom of the Opera, Les Mis, and Chorus Line.

Phantom
Les Mis
Chorus Line
I recorded a few moments from our run-through yesterday. Here is a scene from West Side Story... With Mitch and Sarah.

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West Side Story...continued


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Phantom...This is Holly Whited (ACU grad). She sounds awesome! Our Phantom isn't here yet. He's just finishing another contract. The man working with her is Bruce Stegmann...our head choreographer. If what he's doing looks creepy, it's supposed to...he IS the Phantom of the Opera, you know. :)

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There is a lengthy section in this show from Les Mis. It's really incredible...complete with the barricade on stage. What you'll see below is a well-known song from Les Mis called "Bring Him Home" sung by Roger Wright. Roger is from London and was the original Simba in "Lion King" on the West End in London. He stayed with Lion King for 3 years before touring with several other shows. Roger is a great guy!

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This is a scene from the end of Les Mis...At the end of this section the cast marches forward and as they are singing the final chord they are on lifts and are going down into the orchestra pit as they sing. It's an awesome moment. Obviously, it's still rehearsal and there are some rough spots here and there but we're making lots of progress.

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The cast sits, exhausted, ready for notes from Bruce, Claire, and me.

After rehearsal Sheryl met with the Musicks to talk through flowers for their daughter's wedding and the kids and I played. It reminded me of when I was a kid and would go to the school where my father was principal and would play and sing on the stage while he worked in his office. (Little did I know that he always turned the monitor on in his office so he could hear me.)

They danced around and played in the studio and then I took them up to the costume room. Their eyes were HUGE! It was like a wonderland! I was able to snap some hilarious pics...



Sam has quite the performer gene in him. I love this picture!!


We had a great day rounded off with dinner at Rosepepper with the Musicks. I love weekends!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

More Spirit pics and Multi-cultural-isms

We call this... "Shane Live". Hilarious Spirit cast member from Liverpool.

BST and Zoie
Jeff Pettit
"Wicked"

"Movin' Out"
"Swing"

"Hairspray"

My mind is swimming in multi-cultural thoughts right now. I remember when I first performed on ships YEARS ago. I hadn't been around that many different and varied cultures--ever. I was raised in West Texas by parents who, as far as I know, had no prejudices. I never heard derogatory remarks about people in my house. BUT, even still, it was eye opening.

Watching the Olympics has been amazing. There's clear competition and rivalry, but it's also nice to see the interaction of the competitors at times. It's also been cool working with my new cast and seeing how these performers from different parts of the world are coming together.

Along those lines...Sam was really cracking me up yesterday. For one thing, as he left my mom's house he turned and wished her a "Happy Kwanza". HILARIOUS! Then when he got home Sheryl and I overheard him singing "Dradle, Dradle, Dradle" a Hanukkah song. (it's on some random Christmas CD that the kids play over and over all year round)

It's a big world out there. Not everyone sees things the way you (or I) do. That's a really good thing, in my opinion.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Celebrity Infinity Cast


Today we dove into rehearsals with the Infinity cast. They are really great! The voices seem to perfectly compliment each other. I am SO glad I have another good cast. I can't even tell you how happy that makes me. It was also Holly's birthday so we celebrated after lunch. The picture above is of the cast--Russia, Ukraine, Italy, United Kingdom, Canada and USA all represented. It's like our own sub-set of Olympians! :)

We are finishing up some vocals on the ZOE record tonight. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am really liking this project. I hope you all will as well.

I'm glad to be home but praying for my spirit cast out there heading into bad weather and a possible hurricane. Praying safe travels for all of you!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Broadway

Now that I am back on land I can post some short clips from the shows. Here are some clips from the Broadway stuff.

These begin with the end of the Wicked section (I got so into their opening that I forgot to record any of the rest of it!!). This first one is of the end of "Defying Gravity" which completely rocked.

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Above is a section from "Movin Out" a Broadway musical all built around Billy Joel classics.


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Above is a section from "Swing" which absolutely ROCKS! The dancers were amazing!

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More "Swing"

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And even more "Swing"

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"Hairspray" clip

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More "Hairspray"

There are more clips below from "Radio"...keep watching! :)

Farewell to the Spirit

Here are some video clips from Radio. The cast rocked!!

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We had a great night out after opening night and then again the final night of the cruise. The cast presented Claire, Gary and me with gifts. SO SWEET! This cast has been such a dream. They will be missed around here. But we're SO thankful that they are out there representing us. I know audiences will love them!


Jeff, Zoie and me


The boys persuaded our choreographer, Claire, to pose with all of us. Everyone loves Claire!


The cast minus Carissa (who was doing her job as wardrobe supervisor)

Jeff, Topher, Megan, Amy and me

It was a wonderful install and I wish this cast all the best. You are in my heart...all of you! I will be praying for a wonderful contract out there. I miss you all!

Meanwhile, life doesn't stop. I flew back from NYC yesterday and had the best reception ever from my kids screaming "Daaaaaddyyyyyyy!!!!!!" I loved it! We had a great night last night and I got to take them to school this morning and meet their teachers and see their very cool classrooms. Maddie's teacher has a cruise ship theme in her class room (the whole "Welcome aboard" kind of thing) so we had a great visit about that and I might have some things for her to use! :)

Right after dropping them at school I sped to the studio for orientation with my new cast. I am teaching the Celebrity Infinity cast (my 3rd Infinity cast). It's a very cool group...very international. We have cast members from Italy, the Ukraine, Russia, England, Canada, and the US. One of the singers was the original adult Simba in Lion King on West End (London's Broadway). Another singer is Holly Whited...ACU grad who worked or us on the NCL Gem last year. I am excited about working with her. She is also a Lake Highlands Church alumnus (my church in Dallas). This cast is extremely mutli-talented. I will have more stories about them soon.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

NCL Spirit Opening Night #2

Last night the cast opened "On The Radio"...a very fast paced show with songs ranging from Motown classics to Tina Turner to more recent pop hits. It was a huge success. The crowds loved it. This cast is spectacular and I know they will have a great contract out here.

Now it's time for Claire and I to let them spread their wings and fly. We arrive in NYC tomorrow and then fly home. We're both so thankful for this great install and for their hard work and professionalism and pray many blessings for them over the next 6-7 months. I have some video clips that I will try and upload once I am back on land.

In family news...it appears that Maddie has her first loose tooth! COOL! And, in true Thomas form, at the end of my phone conversation with my 3 year old (Sam) on the phone yesterday he ended by quoting the movie "Elf" (one of our favorites). He said in a low funny voice "Byyyye Buddy...hope you find your dad!" I laughed so hard. If you don't know the movie, that quote won't make sense, but I loved hearing him inject some humor into our conversation. I can't wait to get home and see everyone!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

I do!


Happy anniversary to us! We are celebrating 10 years of marriage today. Even though we are a couple of thousand miles apart, we're celebrating!
I am so thankful for Sheryl and all she means to me. It's been such a fun ride...full of excitement and heartache. We're on this ride together and for that I am grateful!
Happy Anniversary, Sheryl! I can't wait to be back home!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

NCL Spirit Continued

I got Blogger to be my friend this morning...here are a few more pics.

The cast photo for the marquee for the Broadway

Showing their true colors...I love it!


Gary, Claire and I enjoyed dinner together one night in the dining room. (Rodney...Claire loves and misses you!!)

Graham, Shane, Zoie, Amy, me, Megan, India and Jeff on our day off in San Juan.

Amy, me, Jeff, and Graham on White Hot Night.

Opening Night pic with the cast and Claire and me. I love these Hairspray costumes!


Rehearsals continue today as we prepare for opening the Radio show this Friday. Have a great day, everyone!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Cast Update

We had our first dress/tech run of Radio today. The cast did such a great job and we still have two more days before they open! we are so proud of their very hard work!

Two nights ago at dinner they made me laugh harder than I have laughed in a very long time. Over the course of their rehearsal time as they've gone out to eat they've secretly elected one of them to have a birthday and informed their server. They were very sneaky and I was completely caught off guard as all the servers brought a birthday cake to the table in the main dining room two nights ago and sang Happy Birthday to me. I came close to throwing up I was laughing SO hard. I seriously don't know when I have laughed that hard.

It all just made me think...I'm so grateful to be in a job that I love. This is a great cast. I feel so blessed to be working with them. Those of you who are their family members who are reading...thank you for allowing us the honor of working with your family members. Every once in a while a cast comes along who just clicks. It's a real thing of beauty!

Tonight we are somewhere between the British Virgin Islands and the Dominican Republic. It was a beautiful day here but my mind is in Nashville with my family. I miss them. I just saw pictures on Kevin's Facebook account of the girls' first day to school. He posted them for me since the files were too big to email. THANK YOU, Kevin!! I loved them!

Have a great night everyone!

NCL Spirit Update

Blogger isn't allowing me to load pics for some reason. The only picture it allowed me to upload is one of the cast after the opening night of Broadway. The cruise director had roses and sparkling wine for everyone. It was very nice. They did a fantastic job opening the show. THANKFULLY, Amy is much better and was spot on that night!

Now we're on to Radio. We've been in the theater rehearsing all week except for yesterday. We gave the cast the day off in San Juan. It was a fun day! I will post more pics as soon as possible.