Tuesday, February 26, 2019

The Tradition Lives On

For those of you follow Chasing Roots regularly, you know that every winter I - along with any family members brave enough to join me - make a snow angel...in my swimsuit.

When we lived in the Midwest, swimsuit snow angels happened every year, no matter what. But since we moved to Texas, keeping the tradition alive depends not on our desire to do so but on Mother Nature almost entirely. If she sees fit to send snow during our week-long visit to Wisconsin, Nebraska, or Illinois, we make snow angels; if she doesn't, we don't. And unfortunately, this year she dropped from her oppressive, ominous clouds only the smallest dusting, which was no where near enough in which to make swimsuit snow angels. (There are few things as painful as making swimsuit frozen dirt and dead grass angels, which is what ends up happening when there isn't enough snow.)

So a couple of weeks ago, my dad...he carried the torch for the rest of us.
Apparently he also carried a beer.
He is from Wisconsin, after all.
Rock star.
The tradition lives on.

Friday, February 22, 2019

High Five for Friday (2.22.19)

Happy belated Valentine's Day! (Also, happy belated anniversary to my parents and happy birthday to my SIL, all of whom share their days with St. Valentine.) We celebrated at home in between dance and soccer and more dance on the 14th, and then Hallie celebrated at school - on "Friendship Day" - on the 15th.
Will and Hallie still LOVE our
Valentine's Day treasure hunt tradition.
Hunting is serious business.
No one received a hot tub this year, but Tom,
Will, and Hallie enjoyed their goodies none-the-less. 
Hanging with my girl at her Friendship/Valentine's Day party.
Tessa and Hallie

Tom and I had a lovely night away. (Our weekend away turned into just a night away when Tom realized TAMU doesn't celebrate Presidents Day and he had to teach on Monday morning.) We hit the road on Saturday with only the vaguest of idea of where we were headed and what we wanted to do, but we made the most of our 28-hour trip, visiting three places on our Texas Bucket List. More to come!

My parents did a fantastic job of holding down the fort while Tom and I escaped, and they were lots of help throughout the remainder of the week. My dad dug up multiple palm tree stumps in the backyard while my mom and I finished the (second? third?) playroom makeover, fixed up the laundry room after I swapped out my washer and dryer, and tackled a couple of craft projects with Hallie.
Out for breakfast at the Hullabaloo Diner.

We also went to karaoke at a local Irish pub and I took my parents to the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum for a bit of sightseeing. I don't know how we've lived here for eight years and failed to take them to this College Station gem, but at least we made it happen this time around!
They sang "You're Welcome" from Moana and
Hallie crushed it. The professor and the nine-year-old
were huge hits with the college students in attendance.

On Tuesday I went on my last elementary school field trip 😭 to Inner Space Caverns. Because of space issues, each class is only allowed to bring two chaperones, and to make the chaperone selection fair, the teachers draw names from the list of parents who have expressed an interest in going. I wasn't selected to attend with Will's class, but I was selected this time around. We had a wonderful time on the field trip itself, and I thoroughly enjoyed the drive home from Austin with just my girl - lots of quality time to talk and sing our hearts out.

A special thanks to my mom, who handled Will's trip to the orthodontist while I was on the field trip. 

Happiness Highlights
Before the rains returned, we fit in a
few intense badminton competitions.
These two recently discovered the wonder that is a Shirley Temple.
We were nearly attacked by a lizard at dance, but
Jenn saved us and the lizard while I stood on the
couch and took pictures. (This isn't the first time
she's saved me from a wild anima
Mother Nature gifted us 80 degrees, partly sunny skies, and a light
breeze last Friday afternoon. Hallie and I sat outside in lawn chairs
with popcorn and Spark and had ourselves a fabulous chat.
When Will got home, he and Hallie had themselves
a fabulous noodle sword fight...which reminded me
an awful lot of their first real sword fight below.

"I'm doing it!" 😍

Happy Friday, friends!

Linking up with High Five for Friday here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Way Back Wednesday: Take the Stage

After I wrote about the Newman Singers - the choir in which Tom and I met 20 years ago - a few weeks ago, a friend who used to live in Iowa City and had a close connection with the group and the students in it, sent me a few concert photos. I thought they were worth sharing, if for no other reason than to show off Tom's long hair and Tom dressed as Elvis Presley.

Yes, we regularly wore sunglasses and costumes for skits and dances. Good times and good memories.

Monday, February 18, 2019

The Gardens at TAMU

Back in December we discovered a new "diamond in the rough" here in College Station: The Gardens at Texas A&M University.

The Gardens is a place where creativity sprouts, knowledge flourishes, and Aggie roots run deep. A place made for discovery – where we take research further and understanding wider. Where inspiration and spirit bloom.

This 27-acre expanse grew out of TAMU's desire to broaden research and outreach related to horticulture and its direct impact on life on earth. Creators of The Gardens envisioned a peaceful sanctuary where students and community members could learn about ever-connected ecosystems, plant growth, food production, and water conservation while also enjoying nature's beauty.

While not yet completely developed - from what I understand there is still work to be done on the children's garden and outdoor classroom, rose garden, savannah, and amphitheater - The Gardens has already begun helping all those who visit better understand conservation, preservation, and how to repair and sustain natural habitats.

We visited at the perfect time of day and year: about 5pm during The Gardens' Festival of Trees. We had 30 minutes of daylight left to take a self-guided tour through The Gardens, and then, as the sun slipped below the horizon, the lights - Christmas and otherwise - came to life.
Hallie, admiring her favorite piggy-themed tree.
Butterfly Garden art
Fruit Orchard
Kitchen Garden
A quiet, peaceful water feature nestled
among the many gardens and walkways.
Mexican Heritage Garden
Plaza in the Mexican Heritage Garden
Working in the Rain Garden
Birdwatching in the Bird Garden
Leach Vineyard
Three different varieties of grape are being grown to
promote the blossoming wine grape industry in Texas.
Pumping water and filling up her watering can.
Watering in the Children's Garden.

We all loved the experience, and wished we could have stayed longer. (Side note: plan ahead, as there was not, at least when we visited, a restroom available.) We plan to return in the spring though - I can only imagine how beautifully in bloom The Gardens' 27 acres will be come March and April.

Friday, February 15, 2019

High Five for Friday (2.15.19)

I've written it once, and I'll write it again: these High Five for Friday posts truly make a difference for me. After I write about something frustrating and anxiety-inducing, I think it's incredibly important to refocus on and write about something positive and uplifting. High Five for Friday posts "require" me to do so, and therefore remind me about all the good. Find the good. Focus on the good. Be the good. Happy Friday, friends.

I didn't get a chance to edit and upload my photos from Daddy Daughter Week at dance before last Friday's High Five post, so I bumped the photos of Tom attending four of Hallie's seven weekly dance classes to this week's High Five post. My favorite (and laugh out loud) moment was hearing a friend of Hallie's - who is also a dancer and was watching through the window - describe Tom as "having a good grasp of the fundamentals of dance". 😂

I wouldn't choose to spend every afternoon preparing for and every evening attending an elementary school disco dance, but last Friday's event went well and we all had fun flashing back to the 1970s.
You only need a few hundred balloons to build a balloon arch!
When you're a PTO kid...
...you get to help build the balloon arch, even if you would
rather be eating snack and playing outside on the playground.
Stayin' Alive at Studio Rock Prairie!
Fun in the photo booth.
The star of the disco.

February turned around, folks. Tom recovered (twice), Will recovered, my car has new tires, my car has a new battery, Will caught up at school, I caught up on work and around the house (at least enough to leave town for a weekend), and my carpal tunnel flare-up is (I hope) on the mend. Bring on our short and sweet Christmas/anniversary/Valentine's Day trip!

My parents arrive from the Great White North this evening! They're staying with the kids for a couple of days while Tom and I go out of town, and then once Tom and I return, they'll help me tackle a few projects around the house in between watching soccer practices and dance lessons.

Happiness Highlights
This one made me laugh.
The first buck ever spotted at the Lincoln Lodge!
My favorite!
This girl made her second Raddish meal - chicken
parmesan, garlicky green beans, and chocolate and caramel
fondue with fruit and pretzels - on Tuesday night. Yum!

Happy Friday, friends!

Linking up with High Five for Friday here.