Friday, February 27, 2015

High Five for Friday (2.27.15)

1. This week was a tough one. I've been sick since last Friday, Tom missed a day and a half of work in the middle of the week because he felt under the weather, and Tux threw up so many times between Friday night and Monday afternoon that he needed a trip to the vet, blood work, fluids, and three different medications. I skipped four days in a row at the gym, which I've never done before other than when we've been traveling. My kids ate hot lunch four days in a row at school, which I've never let them do before but they loved. I'm behind on everything around the house and work-related, which I find particularly frustrating because I was behind on everything around the house and work-related last week and this week was supposed to be my catch-up week.
At least Hallie made me this sweet card.
But…we seem to be on the mend. Tom, Tux, and I are feeling better. I finally made it back to the gym yesterday morning, my kids carried homemade lunches to school with them today, and I hope to make a least a little progress around the house and on my writing this weekend. High Five!

2. Last Saturday morning, before I connected my body aches and pains to illness rather than pushing myself hard during my workouts last week, I attended an excellent Zumba master class at my gym. Our four instructors teach differently than one another, and this variation makes Zumba special events even more fun than regular classes because you never who or what to expect next. Shake it!

3. I don't usually post pictures of my boy's midterm karate graduations (when students pass from "recommended" to "decided" within one belt color) because they're less exciting than true karate graduations (when students pass from "decided" in one belt color to "recommended" in the next belt color). This picture is worth high-fiving over however, so it made it into today's post.

The height of Will's jump front kick shocked Tom and me, as did the fact that I actually managed to capture the kick on camera. It helped that Will did his routine twice, so I knew when the kick was coming the second time around. Awesome though, right?

4. You guys, this little buddy is just the best. (I'm referring to the cat, but I think the world of the little boy too.) Especially when he's not vomiting all over the house in the middle of the night when I'm sick. Throughout the last 30+ years I've "parented" four cats, none of which behaved as sweetly as Tux.

I worry that I post too many pictures of our newest family member in my High Five for Friday posts, so I've decided to consolidate my Tux photos into "Tuesdays with Tux" posts on - you guessed it - Tuesdays. I can't decide if going this route makes me more or less of a crazy cat blogger...

Anyway, if you like cats, pop on over on Tuesdays. If you don't like cats, skip Tuesdays. But really, why would you want to skip Tuesdays? Just look at that face...

5. Happiness Highlights:
Me, Tom, Will, and Hallie. When I asked Hallie why my torso was
larger than everyone else's she explained that I had a baby in there.
To be clear, I don't. But it's cute that she has babies on the brain. 
Next Hallie wrote a book about a baby in my tummy
(and a boy wearing a mask). Maybe this has gone too far...
While she was supposed to be tidying up the bathroom, Hallie used
everything not nailed down to build a "summer fun" scene that included a
swimming pool, double-decker diving board, water slide, water fall, sandy
beach, and lifeguard stand. Her creativity never ceases to amaze me.
The kids and I had plans to see McFarland, USA on Sunday afternoon,
but we bailed when I wasn't feeling well. Instead, Will and I watched
one of my all-time favorite sports movies, Miracle, at home.
Apparently Will's need for physical contact during tense real-life
sporting events
 surfaces during tense movie sporting events as well. 
While Will and I watched Miracle, Tom and Hallie painted their
toenails. Poor Hallie, her feet look EXACTLY like her daddy's,
and I'm not just talking about the polish colors and patterns.  
After he'd finished reading through his March issue of SI for Kids,
Will offered it to me in case I needed to "brush up" on my NCAA
basketball before the tournament starts in a couple of weeks.
In addition to that lovely Get Well Soon note above, Hallie also
made me a crown with flowing, blond locks.  It suits me, clearly.
Happy Friday, friends!

Linking up with High Five for Friday!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Changing My Tune

On Sunday night, after finishing up Monday's post, I shared with Tom a brief summary of what I'd written about: that one time snow actually forced me to remain indoors - "snowed in", if you will - for a full 24 hours, the bad-by-Texas-standards weather forecast for Monday and Tuesday, and my wishin' and hopin' and thinkin' (about) and prayin' for a snow day.

He chuckled, and gently pointed how dramatically my tune had changed over the course of the last 12 months. It took a little searching through last winter's blog posts before I could admit how accurately he'd hit the nail on the head.

I considered sending a copy
of this book - anonymously, of
course - to the school district.
By the time February rolled around last winter I'd grown tired of the cold and rain, but my biggest beef was with the kids' schools for regularly messing with school start times and not allowing kids to go outside for recess. My kids and I needed their regularly scheduled school days, and the delays, especially those enacted the evening prior, before the predicted severe weather actually came to fruition, made both our mornings (and afternoons, for that matter) surprisingly challenging. 

Fast forward a year...

I've grown tired of the cold and rain again this year, but as Tom pointed out, my tune is different now. As I mentioned on Monday, instead of needing regularly scheduled school days, we all need an unexpected day off. An excuse to stay inside, cuddled up in front of the fireplace, and do absolutely nothing except read books and watch movies while drinking hot chocolate and eating popcorn.

A cruel twist of fate ended up giving me exactly what I thought I needed - unexpected days "off" (at least while the kids were at school) and an excuse to stay inside and do nothing the bare minimum - on both Monday and Tuesday. No, we didn't get snow days or even snow delays…I got sick. And Tom got sick. And Tux got sick.
Poor buddy sat in front of the fireplace
and cried until we turned it on for him.
"Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you, tomorrow. You're only a DAAAAY…AAA…WAAAAY!" That's my newest tune. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Snowed In

Ok, so we're far from snowed in here in Texas. But with rain in the forecast and temperatures not expected to climb out of the 30's, today is nearly as bad as it gets in our neck of the woods.

When you live up north, out east, or in the Midwest (and despite what we regularly saw on the news last week), getting truly snowed in doesn't happen very often. I've mentioned previously that between kindergarten and 12th grade we had a grand total of five school snow days, only three of which actually had to do with snow; cities that receive such massive amounts of the white stuff know how to deal with it and do so in a way that impacts citizens as minimally as possible. I used to wish, while lying in bed on winter nights, for the plow that cleared our alley to break down or run out of gas so that my mom couldn't get her car out of the garage to drive me to school. And then the one time the plow actually did break down (or run out of gas - I don't know what exactly happened to it, only that it didn't arrive at its regular time), my mom made me walk to school.

Now that I think about it, the snow has only forced me to remain inside - "snowed in" in the true sense of the phrase - one time.

While spending the Christmas holiday at the Lincoln Lodge, which lies on picturesque Booth Lake about 10 miles outside of Minocqua, Wisconsin, we found ourselves with plenty of snow to play in but not quite enough to keep us from taking our daily trip into town for shopping. You know, just 20 or so inches.
Will's made-from-a-plastic-tub sled.
He loved it and found it extremely comfortable,
so much so that he eventually took a nap in it.
I was on the other end of that vicious snowball throw.
Me and my "Christmas Story" boy. Will could barely
move, let alone walk in snow, in his snow pants and coat.
When an additional foot of heavy, wet snow fell in the early morning hours, the Minocqua plows successfully cleared the city roads but couldn't make it out to the county and lake roads until the following day. Because the county and lake roads remained covered with snow, the man who plowed the Lincoln Lodge driveway couldn't do his job until the following day either. We were unable to leave the house, not only because the roads weren't plowed and the long driveway wasn't plowed and the cars were buried, but because we the front or back doors had been barricaded shut with snow.

We had everything we needed: a stocked refrigerator, running water, wood for the fireplace, an assortment of DVDs, good books, new Christmas toys for Will to play with, plenty of wine, and multiple boxes of Bertie Bott's Beans. Back then we didn't have internet nor did our cell phones work at the Lodge, so the Red Cross and the University of Michigan - my and Tom's employers at the time - couldn't contact us with even the most basic work- or school-related questions. Tom's dad is a doctor, and I knew he could handle any health issues Will, who was only 15-months-old at the time, might develop.

Other than occasionally feeding Will and changing his diaper, I had very few responsibilities to worry about…and it was GLORIOUS. *

As I lay in bed last night I found myself wishing that a forecast of rain and temperatures not to climb out of the 30's was enough to keep me snowed in today. I could really use another glorious day "off"...a day to spend curled up on the couch with a good book…a day without places to go and work to be done…a day with very few responsibilities to worry about. And I'd have fewer responsibilities this time around, seeing as my kids can pull their own snacks out of the refrigerator and pantry and are almost fully potty trained.

So if anyone out there has pull with or a connection to Mother Nature, won't you please let her know I desperately need a snow day?

* I readily acknowledge that if we'd been snowed in for more than a day or two I'd have gone stir crazy. Sorry, Boston

Friday, February 20, 2015

High Five for Friday (2.20.15)

I replaced last week's High Five for Friday post with a Valentine's Day post, so this week I'm covering a couple of weeks worth of high fives.

1. This sweetheart - my nephew, Carter - turned two years old yesterday. He is, without a doubt, one of the most delightful children I have ever met. Despite regularly dealing with a variety of uncomfortable medical conditions since birth (like his older sister and Will, Carter has a number of food and environmental allergies; poor buddy also suffers from terrible eczema), he smiles all the time and gives genuine hugs, sloppy kisses, and serious fist bumps to everyone he meets. You can tell, after spending even just a few minutes with Carter, that he is, above all else, happy.

Happy birthday, President Carter!

2. Hallie has yet to figure out how to produce a natural smile on cue, so when the time comes for me to take her picture (like right after she lost her first tooth but before her new tooth comes in), I ask her to make faces and just snap continuously until I finally capture her beautiful, toothy grin.

3. I've used this tactic for years (check out these two adorable examples - here and here) and I had to pull it out of my bag of tricks yet again in order to capture Hallie's smile before the Daddy Daughter Dance. She certainly has a flare for the dramatic!

On the night of their date, Tom came to the door - flower in hand - to pick Hallie up.

They had a lovely time at the event, taking pictures in the photo booth, coloring t-shirts, decorating picture frames, dancing, dining on Chick-fil-a, and decorating cookies. They performed their "special move" more than once, but it didn't land them on the cover of the newspaper this year.

While Tom and Hallie danced up a storm, Will and I played arcade games at Grand Station, dined on Mexican food at Rosa's, and played Wii at home. I abhor almost all video games, but I couldn't say no to Will after he batted his long eyelashes and told me "he would be honored" if I would play Wii with him.

4. On Valentine's Day, after all the digging and planting and watering, I organized our annual Valentine's Day treasure hunt. (The kids LOVE this activity, so even though I've been cutting back on Valentine's Day traditions, this one will stick around for years to come.)

The final clue led the kids to the oven, in which I'd hidden their small Valentine's Day gifts. As you can see from the look on Hallie's face, they had absolutely no idea that you could put things other than food in the oven… (Oops?)

5. Happiness Highlights:
Our friends Mike and Kristi (holding itty bitty Will) have
had a tough week. I'm throwing up the biggest high five
ever that Kristi survived a terrible accident, but I'm also
asking for thoughts and/or prayers for these wonderful
people and their two precious girls as they move forward. 
I discovered that the second hole in my left ear (my sister and I "split
a piercing" as teens), despite going earring-free for 15 years, remains
open. Hallie believed I'd performed magic when I put in a stud - she
mistakenly thought I'd forced a metal post through my solid ear.
To be clear, I have no plans to start wearing a second earring...
After dropping Will at karate and before the high school dance team
practice competition we had plans to attend, Hallie and I ate a "picnic"
dinner in the car. My girl cares very little for eating in traditional
environments/circumstances, but let her eat on the floor, in the car,
outside, buffet-style, out of a paper bag, etc. and she can put it back.  
My parents celebrated their 39th anniversary on Valentine's Day.

Also on Valentine's Day, my sis-in-law celebrated her birthday. 
The highlight of our most recent basketball game excursion may
or may not have been the halftime chicken wing eating contest.
(Tom has a long history of participating in - and winning - eating
contests so we always get a kick out of this kind of event.)
Happy Friday, friends!

Linking up with High Five for Friday!

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