Friday, February 28, 2020

High Five for Friday (2.28.20)

My grandma - my mom's mom and my last living grandparent - has survived 88 years of life, but tomorrow she celebrates only her 22nd birthday. The kids think her Leap Day birthday is the absolute best; I think living to see 88 years is the absolute best.

Happy birthday, Grandma Geri!

Our friends came back from Oklahoma to visit! We spent Saturday afternoon celebrating birthdays and catching up over laser tag, carnival games, assorted appetizers, and adult beverages.
I took zero pictures of any kid or mom friends, so I
borrowed this one of all these smiles. (Except for Will's,
who for years has been - and continues to be - friends
with lots of these girls but also who, as the only boy
attending the party, didn't want to be in their picture.)

I forgot to mention last week that my brave girl survived getting this tooth pulled:

(look away if you don't like teeth or mouth pictures)

No, it was not loose. And yes, its entire root structure was still intact.

This baby molar has had structural issues for almost as long as it has lived in Hallie's mouth, to the point that two or three years ago the dentist filled it as if it had a cavity even though it actually didn't have a cavity. A few weeks ago a piece of the tooth broke off (Hallie has no idea how or when it happened) and the tooth started to hurt. The dentist tried filing the tooth down in hopes that doing so would lessen the pain, but when the pain didn't decrease, the next/best option was to remove the tooth completely.

The process was painful and a little traumatic, but Hallie hung in there and we're both so grateful her mouth doesn't hurt anymore!

Monday night brought yet another orchestra concert, this one in preparation for the upcoming UIL competition. No small children ran on stage during any of the songs, but we still enjoyed the show. 😂

This is going to sound silly, but this video brought me to tears as I watched it the following morning. I feel incredibly lucky to live in a community with a strong public school system. The opportunities afforded to our students to learn and grow and succeed in all areas - academics, arts, athletics - are amazing and would not be possible without an unbelievably committed administration and truly dedicated teachers. These 13-year-old KIDS, preparing for their middle school's first-ever UIL competition as a full, symphony orchestra, CRUSHED it. As representatives of their school and district, as musicians, as their teachers' students, as their parents' children...they should be proud.

And per our tradition, we finished up our evening with a late dinner at IHOP.

Happiness Highlights:

One more of me and my boy. 
Will has started passing my friends... 😂😭
Thank goodness for soup and applesauce!
She ate her body weight in both last week. 
This is how Hallie and Kara came home from school last week.
These two spent made strawberry shortcake with chocolate ganache
completely on their own. And they (mostly) cleaned up the kitchen!

Happy weekend, friends!

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

That Day Isn't Today

After checking the weather - and because we know that Orlando frequently experiences brief but intense rain showers and storms - we packed ponchos for our trip to Disney World.

Well, Sara packed ponchos. I packed poncho. I ordered a pack of 20 ponchos on Amazon, but when the package arrived it contained just one, singular poncho. Not much help, Amazon. Not much help at all.

When the nasty weather hit, we suited up and ran from the show where we had been when the storms rolled in to where we had planned to eat lunch. We were all wet from the knees down, but Sara's stash of ponchos kept us mostly dry. After lunch and while waiting for the rain to leave us alone, we popped into one of the 17,639 gift shops on the Disney property. And when we came across these ponchos, we absolutely, positively, could not turn them down. 

So despite the fact that the rain had mostly stopped, Hallie and Lily rocked their matching ponchos for the remainder of the day.

Funny thing though...this wasn't the first time these two rocked matching ponchos. Seven or so years ago and while shopping at a nearby outlet mall, we found ourselves caught in the rain. The mall had a partial roof, but the girls were getting wet and cold each time we moved from store to store so when we came across these ponchos, we absolutely, positively, could not turn them down.

I know the day will come when they won't want to match and won't want to wear polka dot ponchos with Minnie Mouse ears on the hoods. Thank goodness that day isn't today.

Friday, February 21, 2020

High Five for Friday (2.21.20)

Last week was Dad Dancer Week at Hallie's dance studio. The ballet program of which Hallie is a part doesn't participate in Dad Dancer Week and Hallie recently swapped out Modern in favor of a new ballet class, so Tom's calendar included only Tap, Jazz, Company, and Contemporary. He made it to Company and Contemporary, where both he and Hallie had a wonderful time and he didn't injure anything!

The bigger high five related to Dad Dancer Week, however, belongs to Will. When Tom came down with a short-lived stomach bug, Will graciously agreed to step in and go in Tom's place. He participated fully, and actually enjoyed himself a little.

The following morning, as Hallie was heading out the door for school, Will yelled goodbye to her from the other room. She stopped, turned around, ran through the living room, and gave him a big hug while thanking him for coming with her the night before. He told her he'd actually had fun (but that dance couldn't replace soccer), and that he was glad they were able to go together.


Learning the basics in tap class. I'm sure Will was
thrilled Hallie insisted they dance in the front row.
Working on their tap routine.

Wrapping up jazz class.
Showing off what they learned. Not too shabby!

After a six-day break from middle school sports (but not a break from club sports - during those six days "off" Will had seven soccer practices/games), Will transitioned from basketball to track. As of right now he plans to compete in the 800 meter, 400 meter, and 4 x 400 meter relay races, but I wonder if he might start gravitating toward the longer distances - the 1,600 and 3,200 meter races - after he settles into the season. I'm less excited for track than I was for cross country and basketball, primarily because track meets last for HOURS, but I'm proud of Will for hitting the ground running 😂 with this new sport!

We don't go overboard, but we still like to celebrate Valentine's Day in our own small, special ways.

Hallie and I wore matching shirts and stopped for Sonic slushes after school and on our way to dance. In honor of Galentine's Day, I enjoyed a prosecco and charcuterie board lunch with friends. Tom accompanied Hallie to contemporary as part of Dad Dancer Week. And once we all arrived home for the evening, the kids and Tom took on my annual Valentine's Day scavenger hunt to find their holiday gifts and we enjoyed our traditional spaghetti, salad, french bread, and skillet chocolate chip cookie dinner.

On the hunt.
Tom with his Valentine's Day present. Every year I make him a photo
book looking back on the events of the previous year, and every year he
forgets that I do this and is gleefully surprised when he opens his gift. 

Happy belated Valentine's Day, friends. I hope you were able to spent time with the ones you love.

This buddy:

This is where he sits and how he looks at
me when he wants me to turn on the fireplace.

He's slowed down a little, now that he's all grown up. But he still spends his nights with Will (or roaming around the neighborhood) and his days sleeping on Will's bed or on the chair in our room, pees and poops outside unless he's mad at us and/or we're out of town, and loves to ride on my and Will's shoulders.

He winds around my legs, meowing loudly and repeatedly, until I squat down. Once I do, he jumps on and makes himself (somewhat) comfortable. He may make me get up and let him out at 5am, and he may pee on Tom's pants when he leaves them on the floor of the closet, but we really do love him.

A bonus high five: this sweet boy - the caboose on the train of Mueller cousins - turned seven years old this week. We love you, President Carter!

Happy Friday, friends!

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Carrying the (Swimsuit Snow Angel) Torch

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 my swimsuit.

When we lived in Wisconsin, Iowa, and then Michigan, 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 the Midwest, we make snow angels; if she doesn't, we don't. And unfortunately, this year she dropped from her oppressive, ominous clouds not even the smallest dusting, which meant no snow angels.

So a few weeks ago, my dad - just as he did last year - carried the torch for the rest of us.

The tradition lives on.

After missing out on swimsuit snow angels two years in a row, I'm in search of a new tradition - not to replace the swimsuit snow angels but to "sub in" when Mother Nature doesn't cooperate. As of right now my best option is a polar plunge into a friend's unheated swimming pool, and while I realize the water wouldn't be nearly as cold as the water is supposed to be for polar plunges, it may have to do!

Friday, February 14, 2020

High Five for Valentine's Day

Today is my parents' 44th anniversary. Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad!

Today is also my sis-in-law birthday. Happy birthday, Chands!

A couple of weeks ago, Hallie's bestie Kara found out she had been invited to begin dancing en pointe this spring. Pointe - and eventually becoming a professional ballerina - has been Kara's dream for as long as I can remember, and listening (secretly, outside the door) to Kara tell Hallie about her dream come true and Hallie celebrate Kara's accomplishment brought me more joy than I ever expected. Thankfully Kara's pointe shoe fitting took place in between Hallie and their other bestie's dance classes; they wouldn't have missed this moment for anything.

On Friday night we attended - and Hallie performed in - one of our favorite annual events, Night of Worship. After hurrying home from school, Hallie changed clothes and we quickly took care of hair and make-up before heading to the theater in Bryan. After the girls warmed up and ran their dances, we had a brief break during which we - per usual - indulged in an ice cream treat. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't been thinking about my chocolate malt for at least 10 days prior...

But back to the dancing! We had comfortable - cool, but not so cold that snuggling under a blanket didn't do the trick - weather, and the girls did a lovely job on stage. Fall is light on company performances, so to see them perform again was fun, uplifting, and reinvigorating.

On Saturday night, Hallie's friend Tessa - who moved away last year - spent the night at our house and Hallie threw her a miniature (just the two of them) birthday party. Long distance friendships are tough, but these two are trying their best!

Happy Friday - and Happy Valentine's Day - friends!