Friday, October 22, 2021

High Five for Friday (10.22.21)



Last Wednesday Will took the PSAT for the first time. (Yes, he's a freshman, and no, freshman don't usually take the PSAT. But his choices were 1) take the PSAT or 2) take practice EOC exams, and Will opted for the former.) It's kind of fun having a kid who likes - and has always enjoyed - taking tests, as it means neither he nor I stress about them the way Hallie and I inevitably stress about them each time her turn rolls around. 


My mom came to visit! She spent a few days with us back in late July, after she helped me and the kids drive home from Wisconsin, but it was nice to have a few more days (you know, to work on our projects) this time around. I'll share more on our projects and activities next week!


Both kids crushed their first concerts - Hallie in choir and Will in Orchestra - of the year! I wasn't sure what to expect with either, what with this being Hallie's first time in choir (and the fact that she told me they were terrible) and Will's jump "up" to high school orchestra, and I was pleasantly surprised by both groups. 


Harry was adopted - along with another SKR kitten named Timberlake - midway through last week, Ron left us on Wednesday for his forever family, and while Hermione is pending adoption, she's still with us. Ron and Hermione were/will be the toughest to say goodbye to so far, out of all 39 (?!) kittens we've lived with and loved on, and while I know they're going to make two families incredibly happy, it's so hard to be preparing to say goodbye. 

In case you can't tell, these two are world class snugglers. 

This was taken the exact moment Hermione logged
Tom out of his Iowa Advisory Council Board meeting.
And yes, he was attending with the camera ON.


Happiness Highlights

I LOVE that Old Navy has extended inclusivity in
sizing and models to its dog models. (This dog has three
legs and is featured modeling multiple different dog outfits.) 

If we get to soccer games early, he sleeps while I walk. As he
gets older, there's something special about just having him near
me, even if we're not talking or interacting. 

Fall is coming!

I love the transition to yellow practice jerseys because I
can always find Will's team on their practice and game fields.

When I need a reason to smile, I look at
this picture of a little girl trying to teach her
cat how to write. His face is everything.

Mother Nature has finally gifted us a few mornings that have been
cool enough for me to sit outside on the back porch with my coffee.

Another week, another River pic. She's a doll.

I wish they could stay this "little" forever.

Hallie's the one at the top of the lift!

Hallie's friend bakes and sells the most amazing 
scones! These are pumpkin pecan, and were *chef's kiss*.

The cutest latte art!

The space station passed by above College Station,
and thanks to a friend of Tom's who actually helped
build it, I knew when to go outside and look up! 

My and Hallie's newest batch of masks - Happy Halloween!

Happy weekend, friends!

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Teal is the New Black (Plus a Giveaway!)

I talk about the Teal Pumpkin Project each year around this time, so for those of you who read Chasing Roots regularly, this post may feel familiar. The topic is an important one however, so please give the post a quick read and consider either participating yourself (if you plan to welcome trick-or-treaters to your home this year) or sharing the post so others can jump on board the teal pumpkin band wagon! 

Three years ago, Will trick-or-treated like a "normal" kid for the first time. He didn't have to gently sift through bowls of candy looking for a piece he could safely eat, or say "no thank you" and walk away with nothing at all if the candy offered contained or might contain peanuts. I didn't have to read the labels on or look up the ingredients in any piece of candy he brought home. He sampled anything and everything without fear.

This wasn't always the case for Will and our family. As my regular readers know, Will has a peanut allergy. Three years ago he completed a months-long peanut desensitization, and he just recently entered his fourth year of maintenance during which he eats 12 peanuts every single day (without issue) to maintain that desensitized state. Sadly, not all kids with peanut allergies are so lucky, which is why, after participating for the first time in 2014 when it officially hit front porches nationwide, we continue to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project.

For those who haven't yet heard of this Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) project, here's the background information and a quick summary. At least one in 13 children (perhaps as many as one in 11 children) have a food allergy, and many more suffer from Celiac Disease, eat a restricted or special diet, or receive their nutrients via tube feeding. For these children - those who can't consume any of the items received while trick-or-treating or who can't trick-or-treat at all - Halloween doesn't have the same sparkle. The Teal Pumpkin Project began as a local awareness activity in Eastern Tennessee and grew into a nationwide campaign to "raise awareness about food allergies and promote the inclusion of all trick-or-treaters" and aims to ensure every child can experience a safe, happy holiday.

Participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project is easy.

  1. Pick out a pumpkin, paint it teal, and place it on your front porch on Halloween.
  2. Provide non-food treats - pencils, erasers, stickers, bubbles, and plastic vampire teeth have been popular at our house - for trick-or-treaters. 

The goal here is not to exclude candy; FARE suggests simply putting candy in one bowl, and non-food treats in a separate bowl. And if you don't have time to buy and/or paint a teal pumpkin, you can buy one online, order a fun sign for your front yard, or print out and hang up one of FARE's signs!

Painting a pumpkin teal or putting out a teal pumpkin on Halloween won't cure Will or anyone else of their allergies. But doing so is a step toward increasing awareness and making the world a safer place for people with life-threatening food allergies.

Let's paint the town teal!

Every year I consider using a different picture, but I just can't
look away from that sweet, toothless grin nor can I forget about
how seriously she took her responsibility to paint that pumpkin for
Will. I've since purchased a reusable teal pumpkin, but she still takes
responsibility for putting it out and gathering our non-candy goodies. 


Would you like to win a Teal Pumpkin Project paint kit? Enter by commenting here or by liking or commenting on this post on Facebook. Will will randomly choose a winner on Friday, October 22nd and we'll mail or deliver your paint kit on Saturday, October 23rd.

I have no affiliation with nor have I received any payment - financial or in-kind - from the Teal Pumpkin Project in exchange for this post. I just happen to be a big supporter of their work!

Friday, October 15, 2021

High Five for Friday (10.15.21)



Both kids had last Friday and this Monday off from school, and what a gift those extra two days were for all three of us! (Tom was traveling on Friday and still had to work on Monday, so his weekend looked kind of like every other weekend, poor bloke.) We tried to catch up on sleep, played with friends, watched movies, snuggled with our sweet kittens, and baked chocolate chip muffins, chocolate cake, and multiple batches of banana bread. We also had a quite a few dance classes/rehearsals and soccer games, but with buffer days bookending the weekend, those activities felt almost leisurely! Who do we speak to about making these four-day school weeks a regular part of our schedule? 


I mentioned last week that for his birthday Will asked for "an experience" with his family. (When a 15-year-old boy to do something with his family, his family responds with an immediate and enthusiastic "YES".) I planned an overnight getaway for all four of us at Margaritaville Lake Resort on Lake Conroe, and we arrived Sunday late afternoon - after Will's soccer game in Houston, of course - and stayed through Monday mid-morning. We had a wonderful time celebrating Will, but also just being together, which felt like a gift not just for Will but for the rest of us as well.


These little babes are the absolute best. I desperately wish I could keep them all (especially Hermione and Ron), but I continue to remind myself that if they become part of our family, we can't make our home available for the next babies who need us. They're up for adoption now, so if you're interested in meeting them, let us know!

I call this series, "Will You Be My Friend?"

Tux said "no". 

And here are their official adoption pics:

Of note: Hermione is our first ever "shoulder" kitten (like Tux), and Harry is our first ever "climb (to the top of) the curtains" kitten. They all three keep us on our toes, but in the sweetest of ways. 


Look at these sweet kiddos. 😍 (Thank you, Ari, for these amazing pictures!)


Last Thursday night Tom's grandma passed away. We are grateful for her long and full life, for her peaceful passing, and that Tom was able to travel to Nebraska to be with his dad, mom, and extended family members and to play the piano for her funeral. Rest in peace, Grandma Aloise.

This was the first picture of the two of us - it was taken 
the day before Tom and I got married, at my bridal brunch.

Happy weekend, friends.