Friday, January 29, 2021

High Five for Friday (1.29.21)

Before we get into this week's High Fives, my thoughts on 2021...

I had high - soaring, even - hopes after last Wednesday, y'all. But then things took a turn, and then things started to go downhill, and then things - after picking up far too much speed - crashed into a giant heap at the bottom of this slippery slope. Mamas of kids old enough to have dealt with heartbreak know that when those kiddos' hearts are breaking, your hearts are breaking too...Hallie receiving two of the harshest blows she's felt in a long time (all within the span of 48 hours), was tough on me and even tougher on her. The phrase "why don't you just twist the knife a little" seemed very apropos. 

Sometimes I wonder, as I know many mamas do, when will it be too much? Where is - or what will be - her breaking point? I hope and pray her resilience is strong enough to carry her through.   

And so now we're moving on, because we need to search for and acknowledge our high fives even more during weeks like this!

Dance moms get a bad rap. And while I know a few who deserve that reputation, most in my life are the kind of people - the kind of friends - we all deserve to have. The kind who will step up and step in whenever another mom or daughter is in need...the kind who truly wish happiness and success for every dancer, not just their own. The silver lining to the above-mentioned heartbreaks is seeing and experiencing the genuine love these dance moms feel for one another and each others' girls. It's awesome, in the truest sense of the word. 

I'm SO grateful our glorious snowfall happened when it did and not two weeks later. I can't imagine the devastation Hallie would have felt if her broken foot bone and accompanying boot would have kept her from being able to play in this winter wonderland.

Our weekend was a live action version of the agony and the ecstasy. While Hallie's world was crumbling, Will and his Cavalry teammates were CRUSHING it on the soccer field. After a tough 1-2 loss in their first game, Cavalry fought their way to strong wins in both their second and third games and managed to secure a spot in the tournament final. And in that final, as luck would have it, they faced the team to which they had lost the previous day...and walked away with a 5-0 redemption victory.

This picture makes it look like they don't like their parents or
each other, but this was a compromised social distancing pose.

So wet, so dirty, so smelly, so happy.

The Bernie photos, y'all. They have been bringing and continue to bring me so much joy. 

Club Pilates 

Lambeau Leap

My Front Yard

Happiness Highlights
She'll gladly go to Will's soccer games if it means
she gets to wear her Minnie Mouse rain poncho. (When
the torrential rains started she was less enthused.)

Hallie was pretty proud to document that I'm still flexible
enough to put my shins on the ground over my head. 

Will, Tux, and I are always up at 6:30am for basketball
practice. Two of us take naps to catch up on sleep.

Sports on television - specifically the US women's national
soccer team - make me happier now than they ever did before.

Our Hawkeye banner made it on the wall!

This is so my sister and her husband. 😂

Happy Friday, friends!

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Best. Day. Ever.

Many of my best childhood memories revolve around snowy, wintry weather. Sledding, ice skating, ice boating, building snowmen, having snowball fights, making snow ice cream. (I even enjoy shoveling.) Bundling up in snow pants and scarves...and then removing layer after layer as our bodies warmed. Playing outside for hours, even after our mittens dripped wet from melted snow and our socks slouched down into the toes of our boots. F...i...n...a...l...l...y coming inside to thaw our fingers and toes by the fire and warm our insides with hot chocolate. I have done my best to help Will and Hallie create these kinds of memories during our holiday visits to Nebraska, Illinois, and Wisconsin, but until our first real snow in Texas three years ago, I could never have imagined how happy it would make me to see them creating these memories in - or outside of - their own home. 

Three years ago we experienced one of our best nights ever here in Texas. A sudden and unexpected snowstorm turned into that most amazing night, and when we woke up the following morning I thought to myself, "well, that's it. Mother Nature will never again gift us such an incredible experience here in Texas". Turns out I was wrong - Mother Nature would again gift us such an incredible experience here in Texas. 

Two weeks ago we experienced one of our best days ever here in Texas. A slightly less sudden and slightly less unexpected - but just as glorious - snowstorm turned into that most amazing day, and even spilled over into the next day, giving us our first legitimate snow day.

Northerners, don't come at me with your "how can five inches of snow result in a snow day?!" You're preaching to the choir. (And to someone who used to regularly walk a mile to school in a foot of snow - my mom can vouch for me on that.) But down here we have no resources or tools - NOTHING - to combat bad weather and its impact on the roads: no plows, no salt trucks, no sand trucks. And because it only snows every few years at best, no one knows how to drive in it. 

A few weeks ago, I shared Hallie's letter to Santa here on the blog. She asked for 1) Tux to have a good Christmas (he shared his space with A LOT of kittens this year), 2) a 3D pen, and 3) snow. (She also asked Santa to help life return to normal, but acknowledged that this might not fall under his jurisdiction.) Santa delivered for Tux and on the 3D pen, but couldn't come through for Hallie on either fixing the world or covering the ground with a blanket of white. After seeing Hallie's disappointment when she looked outside on Christmas morning and saw only brown, dormant grass, the pure joy on her face when she finally saw her Christmas present falling from the sky was enough to make anyone believe in Santa.

For two days straight (and into the third day) she played outside, coming in only for me to dry...and redry...and redry...her coat, snow pants, hat, and mittens and for an occasional mug of hot chocolate. As I type, we're on day three - the snow is melting rapidly in the midday sun - and she's out there again, building a snow cat by herself and occasionally chatting with the elderly couple walking around the block. (One of the benefits of virtual school...)

We made snowmen and snow angels, built snow forts and had snowball fights, went for walks, attempted sledding, and made snow ice cream.

Perhaps most importantly (and what I imagine long-time readers might be wondering)...yes, we made snow angels in our swimsuits. 

Yep, I said "2020" in the video. I of course meant "2021".
Also, my apologies for the quality of the video. Turns out 
it's pretty hard to make swimsuit snow angels and film the
activity at the same time. 

Best. Day. Ever. For Hallie, but for the rest of us as well. Thanks, Mother Nature. 

Friday, January 22, 2021

High Five for Friday (1.22.21)


I had planned to write about Wednesday's events, but then I stumbled upon this, written by my sister's good friend, Elizabeth Carr Whitmore:

Groundbreaking for women and people of color, redemptive for our environment, precedent setting for the awesome diversity of the group of people who will form the full executive branch, solemn in remembrance of those 400,000 we have lost, heavy in the awareness of how far we have fallen and how much needs to be rebuilt, but hopeful - finally hopeful once again.

Liz graciously allowed me to share her words here, and because she perfectly summarized the thoughts that had been swirling around in my head, I'm going to leave it at that. 

Liz is an incredibly talented artist - check her out here!

Will's middle school orchestra took their annual individual and group photos last Friday. For the session, rather than ask them to dress up in their formalwear, the director let them wear jeans and bought them all this shirt:

I'm stealing it from Will as soon as this orchestra season is over.

Like so many teachers, Will's orchestra director has worked tremendously hard to make this year a good one for all of her students. Will loves working with her from a musical standpoint, but he also really enjoys her as a person - they share a love of cats and she also fosters kittens, so they frequently spend a few minutes as class is wrapping up and after the bell rings (Will isn't in a rush to get to his next class since he's a virtual learner) chatting about and sharing pictures of the babies each currently has at home. I'm grateful for her, and wish Will wasn't less than a semester away from moving on to a new school and orchestra director...

Happy (extra special) birthday, Mandi!

After a false start on the 10th (thanks to the snowstorm that hit Texas that afternoon), Confirmation officially began for Hallie last Sunday evening. She's incredibly excited for this process, especially because we decided to let her attend in person (thanks to an updated mask policy and a commitment to social distancing), and had a great first experience with her group. We're looking forward to a semester of spiritual growth for Hallie, and us, by extension, as well as a opportunity for her to connect even more deeply with her AJ, who graciously agreed to serve as her mentor.

Happiness Highlights
They have an understanding. If Will lets Tux lick the lid
of the empty Chicken Salad Chick container, Tux lets Will
balance his cutting board and apple slices on his back.
Tux and I do NOT have the same understanding.
He was mad at me because I wouldn't turn on the
fireplace, so he laid on my hands and glared at me.

Every morning at 6:35am. "Don't
leave me, Will. What if I go with you?"

Hallie's 3rd grade teacher decided to cover one of her classroom
walls with college and university pennants to inspire her students.
I decided our Hawkeyes should be represented on her wall. 

How it started... it's going. 😍

Happy weekend, friends!