Friday, April 29, 2016

High Five for Friday (4.29.16)

1. Long story short...every word I wrote about our chosen family in Texas rang incredibly true for me throughout the last two weeks. Find your tribe. Love them hard.

2. This crew of daddies and daughters had a blast at the Daddy Daughter Dance.
All smiles!
Ready to dance!
Another (related) long story short: these four daddies filled in when
one sweet little girl's own daddy had a family emergency. Beautiful.
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!

While the other half of our family danced the night away, Will and I headed to Chuck E. Cheese (his choice) to play carnival games. After an hour and a half of spending the $50 in tokens I accidentally purchased, we picked up pizza at Little Caesar's (neither of us wanted to eat at Chuck's) and headed home to devour it while watching Garfield cartoons on Netflix. A perfect evening all around.

3. In Texas, swimming season starts in April! We went swimming twice last weekend, baking in the sun on Saturday afternoon and freezing in the rain on Sunday afternoon. Both kids were thrilled to get back into the pool with their friends, and I thoroughly enjoyed lounging in a lawn chair and chatting with my friends. Summer, here we come!

4. In an attempt to cure - or at least partially alleviate - the severe plantar fasciitis in my left foot, I have significantly adapted my workouts. I used to do lots of upright cardio (treadmill, elliptical, Zumba, step-based classes), but because that kind of exercise tortures my foot, I have started swapping it for the stationary bike, rowing, and core yoga.

I usually avoid posting pictures of me in my workout attire on the internet, but because I'm kind of proud of how strong I feel when I leave my core yoga class, these two pics are making an appearance. (I didn't know they were being taken, and had no idea they were on Facebook until my sister texted me seemingly out of the blue to ask if I had worn pink pants to the gym that morning.)
Sara: "um, were you doing headstands
in pink workout pants this morning?"

My foot is in no way healed, and I am in no way a yoga expert, but I appreciate the fact that without my injury I would never have attempted - and come to enjoy - something so completely outside of my comfort zone.

If you live near me and want to attend the best yoga class with the best yoga teacher EVER, let me know!

5. Happiness Highlights:
These two "bigs" have such a special friendship.  
As do these four cheers-ing "littles".
The family that treats plantar fasciitis together stays together.
Dancing girls!
Poor Tux...Will was certain he wanted to listen to the radio.
My Hunger Games DVD went missing THREE YEARS ago,
and on Wednesday I found it. In the "Best of Saturday Night
Live: Will Ferrell" DVD case. As punishment for holding my
movie hostage, the Will Ferrell DVD is going to the garage sale.
Happy Friday, friends!

Linking up with High Five for Friday here:

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

"I Love Texas", From Lily

My five-year-old niece, Lily, has visited us in Texas at least once a year since her birth. But when she made the trek from Illinois with Grandma - just the two of them on an airplane - three years ago, a special tradition began.

In preparation for this year's trip to Texas, Lily wrote a book called I Love Texas. Over the course of her six or seven visits, Lily has gone swimming in April, eaten at the famous Dixie Chicken, toured Kyle Field, and helped watched us catch a lizard or two, all activities at least somewhat unique to life in Texas. But surprisingly, none of these adventures made the book:
"I going to Texas. From Lily. We are at the airport."
She jumped right into the action on the title page.
"We're flying to Texas."
I'm not sure what ocean she's flying over on her way
from Illinois to Texas, but I like her airplane drawing.
"Picking up from school."
Lily loves walking to pick Will and Hallie up
from school, especially on the day she arrives.
"Playing outside."
Left to right: Erin, Will, Lily, Hallie,
Grandma, and Tom. Obviously.
"At the park."
I think the illustrator had started to
lose focus by this point in the book...
"I love Texas."
I may associate Texas with summer temperatures in April, Aggie football, and lizards, but Lily associates Texas with traveling with grandma and enjoying the company of her cousins. Fine by me.

Now if Lily could just bring her parents onboard her Texas love-boat, maybe they'd move here!

It should be noted that during her visit Lily willingly touched a lizard. She refused, on the other hand, to touch an adorable, fluffy chick. She also prefers weather in which she can wear "up sleeves" (short-sleeves). Perhaps Lily and Texas are a perfect match...
She'd have preferred Grandma offer her a lizard.
This one loves the chicks. The lizards, not so much. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Wise Words

Over the weekend I helped Will clean out his desk. I found, among other strange odds and ends and partially shoved into a workbook, a note I'd written for myself months ago. I must have carried the note into Will's room and accidentally left it sitting on his desk, where he happened upon it and used it as a place to store his ABC gum.

As I carried the note toward the trash can, I happened to notice that back side - as well as the front (gum storage) side - had been written on. The handwriting didn't belong to me though...

When life is rough, just keep on going and you will make it. Never stop trying because you will always get there.

I hope these wise words - courtesy of my wise-beyond-his-nine-years little boy - help you start your Monday morning off on the right foot.

Friday, April 22, 2016

High Five for Friday (4.22.16)

1. I'm a little late to the celebration here, but I think it's important to high five in honor of the Wisconsin Cheese that recently won the World Championship Cheese Contest. (It was the first victory for an American-made cheese since 1988!) Looks like the happiest cows come from my home state - affectionately known as America's Dairyland - after all!

2. We survived this year's dance dress rehearsal! Up insanely early to fit in breakfast, hair, make-up, costumes, and driving clear across town for an 8:30am call wasn't exactly how I wanted to spend (the first two and a half hours of) my Saturday morning, but seeing these smiles made it all worth it.

3. I've mentioned before that my sister and I (almost) always dress our daughters in matching outfits. In the beginning we went this route because we liked to dress alike as little girls and we thought they looked adorable; now, more than five years later, we continue down this path because they insist on it.

Side note: aren't those coordinating Elsa and Anna outfits fabulous?! Elsa's shirt reads "let it go" (of course), and Anna's shirt reads "a girl worth melting for". Love.

And then last weekend my mom and I discovered that the tendency to dress like other women in our family spans generations as well...

4. On a related note, I want to send out a high five to/for my mom, who while visiting last weekend cheerfully attended all of the events we had on our crazy busy calendar, helped me prepare for both the dance dress rehearsal and Hallie's birthday party, and when her flight was cancelled (because of flooding) and she ended up stranded in College Station for an extra day, she helped me clean my entire house. She spoils me with love and kindness, and on occasion, a new pair of shoes.

5. Happiness Highlights:
I certainly wouldn't use a hot tub in 75+ degree weather,
but our warm spring temperatures didn't bother these three!  
I wanted to "serve" Garfield a piece of cake, but Hallie insisted
he'd prefer a slice of lasagna. In the end it looked delicious!
This boy slept on his trundle so Tux could have the bed.
Happy 7th birthday party, Hallie Claire!

Happy Friday, friends!

Linking up with High Five for Friday here:

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Kyle Field Good Enough to Eat

It may not be made of actual gingerbread, but this gingerbread-esque model of TAMU's Kyle Field - impressively constructed using graham crackers and royal icing - puts every gingerbread house I've ever made or seen in person to shame. (Including the "the Biggest Gingerbread House in the World".)

Tom and I came across this masterpiece in an Aggieland clothing store while on a date. (Yes, clothing stores in College Station display edible Aggie-themed 3-D art. And yes, Tom and I stop at clothing stores on dates.) I've always wanted to bake, shape, and decorate a cake to look like a football stadium...with this masterpiece as my guide, how could I go wrong!

Scroll to the bottom of this post to see how it absolutely could go - and has gone - wrong...

Monday, April 18, 2016

Do One Brave Thing Today...and Then Run Like Hell!

I didn't realize that taking bluebonnet pictures was "a thing" until after we'd lived in Texas for quite a while. Midway through our first spring here, photos of kids, dressed in their Sunday best and nestled among the bluebonnets, started popping up in my Facebook feed. When I asked around, most parents described bluebonnet photo sessions as one of their most time-honored and highly-anticipated annual traditions.

It wasn't until two springs later that the kids and I happened to drive past a field of bluebonnets. When I noticed I had my camera in the car, I swerved to the side of the road, parked on the grassy shoulder, and helped Will and Hallie climb out. Since we hadn't planned on stopping, the kids had on scrubby weekend clothes (I think Hallie may have actually slept in her outfit the night before) and a little dirt on their faces courtesy of the yard work we'd tackled earlier that morning. They also hadn't eaten for a few hours, so in terms of moods, neither were even close to 100%. We survived the photo shoot though, actually ending up with a few decent pictures.

The following year I made plans to do bluebonnet pictures right: as the sun was setting, in coordinated outfits, with lots of treats on hand to coax out the best possible smiles. But the day before our scheduled photo shoot, this picture came across my Facebook feed.

And so, because I am terrified of snakes (all kinds, but especially those of the large, venomous variety), since that day I have refused to set foot in a patch of bluebonnets.

Until this year. No one I know has ever seen a snake in the bluebonnets (or if they have, they wisely chose not to tell me about it) and I had the perfect outfits picked out, so I decided to put on my big girl pants and go for it. I walked on my tiptoes the entire time we were in the field though, and I cringed every time I asked Will and Hallie to pose among rather than standing in the flowers. The kids, on the other hand, hadn't a care in the world.

And they failed to notice my nervousness until we climbed back into the car and I let out an audible sigh of relief. "What's the matter, Mama?" Hallie asked. I fumbled through an answer about how I was grateful they had cooperated so well and relieved we'd finished our photo shoot before sunset.

At least my answer was partially true...

I certainly won't frolic through the flowers on a regular basis, but it seems I have now built up enough bravery to venture out into the bluebonnets once a year.

And finally, a bonus picture for those of you following Hallie's journey as a "stay true to yourself/show your true colors" photography subject:

Luckily for Hallie, Will blinked, making this photo unusable...otherwise I would have already framed and proudly displayed it somewhere in my house.