Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Taking a Deep Breath

I haven't taken a planned week off from the blog - at least not that I can recall - since I first started writing A Midwestern Girl in Cowboy Country (which eventually became Chasing Roots) almost 11 years ago. I took a week-long break about four years ago when I had the flu, and then I took another week-long break last February when we didn't have power or internet due to the snowpocalypse, but those brief hiatuses were somewhat forced upon me. This hiatus - the one I've decided to take this week between Christmas and New Years's - is a little different because in reality I could keep the posts coming. But this hiatus is also kind of the same, because it's being somewhat forced upon me...by myself. 

My job isn't particularly stressful, especially when I plan ahead and stay organized. But it's always there. I always have posts to write and share, photos to take and edit, videos to upload and download, deadlines looming. So this week, even though I'll still be writing and editing and organizing, I'm going to give myself a break from the posting part of the job. 

Thanks for understanding, and please, come back and read me in 2022.

~ Erin

Friday, December 24, 2021

Merry Christmas, From the Four Ferri

A tough year, but a good year. 

After a year of attending school via Chromebook from their bedrooms, both kids returned to in-person learning. As a freshman in high school, Will joined the debate team, plays cello in JV orchestra, and can't believe his good fortune that he gets to play soccer during the school day. He works as a soccer referee and loves playing disc golf with Tom when his schedule allows. 

Now a 7th grader, Hallie loves science and takes every single creative arts class available to her; she managed to fit choir, art, and theatre into her schedule this year. She continues to love all genres of dance, enjoys working as a dance assistant, and is looking forward to performing as a party girl - perhaps her favorite role yet - in The Nutcracker Ballet this month.

Tom is on sabbatical this year, and we've both quickly learned that sabbatical in real life looks nothing like sabbatical on television: he is as busy and has traveled more this semester than ever before. One perk to being on the road, however, has been finding new cuisines to try and new disc golf courses to play.

After a year of supervising virtual learning, I'm finding a new balance between paid work, volunteer work, and caring for my people. We continue fostering kittens, which adds a little extra work to my plate but is more than worth it for the tremendous joy it brings all four of us.

As the year comes to a close, we're grateful for health, vaccines, the security to see our families again after so much time apart. We wish the same for you.

Much love, the four Ferri

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

That's A Wrap!

Today's post is another hodgepodge - kind of like last Friday's HFFF post - of experiences and events I want to remember but that don't necessarily warrant their own individual posts. So I'm including them all here, in a wrap-up of the last month of the semester. 

I'm reminded daily that life is short and nothing - no amount of time, no experience, no opportunity - is guaranteed. I'm so grateful for each of these moments with family and friends who are like family. Merry Christmas week!


This year's production of The Nutcracker was as magical as I'd hoped it would be...perhaps even more so because of how hard we'd worked and how lucky we were to be back on the stage after a year away. 

We welcomed for the first time the amazing Kathryn Morgan and Lucien Postlewaite as our Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier, and for a number of reasons - her beautiful dancing, of course, but also her lovely personality, her inspiring journey, and what she stands for now, given the life experiences that influenced who she is today - I hope Kathryn can return to dance with us again. 
Hallie and Kathryn Morgan

Our sweet friend Kaylee danced the role of Clara in one of the three shows, and she was stunning. Exquisite. Enchanting. I love Kaylee dearly, and have since she was just a little bit of thing, and following her journey to that moment when she took the stage...when she transformed into Clara, when she looked like a professional ballerina, when she became everything she's ever wanted to be...was emotionally overwhelming. I cried tears of joy at least twice while taking photos of her from the wings, and...yep, crying again.

My tiny little dancer, who is not quite so tiny or little anymore, danced as a Party Girl for the first time and adored every minute of her scene. "Party", as we call it, is exactly that: a 25-minute party, complete with dancing and acting and magic and hijinks. Ballet has never been Hallie's strongest or favorite genre of dance, but she loves the stage and it loves her back, so Party - with its theatrical additions - is a wonderful place for her to shine...and shine she did.

I worked really, really hard on the days leading up to the shows and throughout the show weekend. It was completely exhausting and totally worth it.  

If you didn't attend the show this year, I highly encourage you to consider attending next year. I promise you won't be disappointed!


Christmas at the Lake is one of my days/nights of the year...even when it's freezing outside and we have to wear all of our winter clothing in order to make it through this six-hour outdoor event. (This is a lot of photos, but Hallie did a lot of dances.)


So far, varsity soccer is fantastic...but for those last two weeks of the semester we were running on fumes. The boys regularly practiced at 6am, which means I had to get up at 5:40am to drive Will to school. (I am not that kind of morning person.) The boys also regularly practiced during seventh period and after school, from 3pm until anywhere between 4:45pm and 5:30pm. Add to that a few nights of club soccer practice to prepare for a showcase they were playing in, and that's A LOT of soccer and not a lot of time for homework or sleep. That said, Will LOVES it. I'm just so excited for him, and I can't wait to sit in the stands and watch him play.

#18, right in the center.
(I wore #17 for club and high school soccer, so it was pretty cool
for me when Will chose #17 for club soccer. I had to wear #18 my
freshman season though, because #17 was already taken, so it was
equally cool for me when Will came home the day high school numbers
were assigned and told me that #17 was already taken so he chose
#18 instead. I'd never told him that I'd worn #18 as a freshman.)

Taking the corner kick.

The Lads (as their South African coach calls them) won their
first three pre-season matches 6-0, 4-0, and 2-1. Games one and
two were fairly easy victories, but the third was tough. Grateful
to have made it out of that somewhat vicious battle (against
quite a few of Will's fellow Cavalry teammates) injury-free...


On the club soccer front, Will played in his first college showcase last weekend. Did you catch that? His first COLLEGE showcase? I'm not ready for this...

I didn't get to watch him play - Tom took Will to Dallas for soccer while Hallie and I stayed in town for dance - but Tom said he did well: "you would be proud of Will. He played bravely and didn't take any crap, but was an honest player and kept his cool". Yep, pretty darn proud. 


Finally, something not about my kids! 😂 Many of my fellow dance moms and I held our first annual Favorite Things Party and had an absolute blast. I feel incredibly lucky to have these women in my corner as we navigate this stage of life. 

Her staircase is PERFECT for prom photos...

...so we took quite a few. 

And I've already started thinking about what I'll bring next year...


Last but not least, these babies are doing relatively well. The process is s...l...o...w but two of the four are making great process (one is making progress but not as quickly as her brother and sister, and one is being reassessed by SKR to determine if she might need to become a barn kitty), and I know that when Bill, Annie, and Molly find their forever homes and have had an opportunity to adjust, they'll make wonderful pets. (Want to know more about them? Let me know!)

Inching closer and closer...

...until he finally let me pet him.

Eventually he let me scratch his tummy, and
since then he hasn't forgotten how wonderful
tummy scratches feel.

I cried when we reached this milestone.

He's such a sweet boy, and he's ready for a family.

Meanwhile, the other three nursed the heck
out of this pillow. Which will likely get thrown
away after these babies move on.

The first time I ever heard Bill purr.

Happy Christmas week, friends. May your days be merry and bright.