Friday, October 29, 2021

High Five for Halloween 2021

Would you agree with me that Halloween should never fall on a Sunday? Or a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday, for that matter? Thursdays aren't ideal for Halloween, but they work. That leaves Fridays and Saturdays, which are of course the best possible days of the week for dressing up, trick-or-treating, and staying up late eating candy and watching scary movies. 

Unfortunately, this year Halloween falls on a Sunday. We have soccer in Austin in the morning, a multi-hour dance rehearsal in the afternoon, and school the following morning, but we're going to make the best of this year's holiday!

I love looking back on what the kids - and Tom and I, when we on occasion put together themed family costumes - wore on Halloweens past.
















Have a fun and safe Halloween, friends!

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Friday Night Lights

Will has been less enthused about attending high school football games than I expected him to be (and quite frankly, than I wanted him to be), but when we found out Hallie would be singing the National Anthem at one of his high school's games, I bought tickets for all of us and told him he was going. Thankfully, he didn't object.

Disclaimer: when I started writing this post I'd forgotten both that we attended a high school football game our first or second fall in Texas and that I wrote about it here. But I decided that Friday Night Lights is a big enough deal in Texas that I could write about experiencing it a second time, 10 years later.

There's a reason a book was written and a television series was created about high school football in Texas. Spending Friday night with a few hundred - or even a couple thousand - of your "closest friends", cheering on the hometown team while watching everyone's kids, from the football players to the band members to the dance team and cheerleaders, show off the skills they've worked on for weeks, months, and even years... There are few experiences more unifying and uplifting. When you walk into a high school stadium on a fall Friday night, you can feel the reason "Friday Night Lights" is a phrase we all know and understand. 

Hallie and I arrived early so she could warm up her vocal chords, so I spent a good 45 minutes watching from the stands as game preparations took place around me. Football players warming up under the direction of their assistant coaches. Head coaches talking through (what I can only assume were) game plans and strategies. Paramedics parking their ambulance and prepping their equipment. Student athletic trainers gathering their supplies. Managers laying out towels and water bottles. Audiovisual team members setting up and checking microphones and video cameras. Cheerleaders and dance team members preparing for halftime performances. Concession stand volunteers firing up the popcorn and hotdog machines. As fans began to file in, the anticipation of the excitement to come swept through the stadium in palpable waves. 

And then, from off in the distance, the drums. They started off so softly that I wasn't sure if the beat I could feel as much as hear was real or imagined, but then they grew louder and fuller, until there was no question that the band - in all its coordinated, synchronized glory (something beautiful to those of us who thrive on organization, structure, and symmetry) - was nearing the stadium. 

I was nearly giddy when Tom and Will finally arrived so I would have someone to "be excited at" about all of the activity going on around me. Thankfully, my boys humored me, and eventually they both started to feel the Friday Night Lights effects themselves. 

He willingly took this picture with me.

Hallie and her fellow choir members did a beautiful job singing the National Anthem. Our football team won the game. Both schools' marching bands offered up incredible halftime performances. The other school's drill team performed an excellent halftime routine. (Much to our dismay, our drill team didn't perform because they were worried that the particular dance they had prepared couldn't be performed safely on the wet field.) Everyone who had a job to do that night did their job well enough that the rest of us could - for a few hours - forget about that which weighs us down and instead come together in support of our community's kids. 

Front row, blue shirt. Next to the tall kid in the light pink shirt.

We lost Will to his friends.

I know I sound like I've downed a little too much of the Friday Night Lights Kool-Aid. And maybe I have. (I haven't consumed nearly as much as some Friday Night Lights fans though - I can promise you that.) But I didn't have these experiences in high school, and while I certainly don't need to repeat high school or live vicariously through Will, and I am going to enjoy the excitement surrounding these high school - and traditional Texas - events.

Friday, October 22, 2021

High Five for Friday (10.22.21)



Last Wednesday Will took the PSAT for the first time. (Yes, he's a freshman, and no, freshman don't usually take the PSAT. But his choices were 1) take the PSAT or 2) take practice EOC exams, and Will opted for the former.) It's kind of fun having a kid who likes - and has always enjoyed - taking tests, as it means neither he nor I stress about them the way Hallie and I inevitably stress about them each time her turn rolls around. 


My mom came to visit! She spent a few days with us back in late July, after she helped me and the kids drive home from Wisconsin, but it was nice to have a few more days (you know, to work on our projects) this time around. I'll share more on our projects and activities next week!


Both kids crushed their first concerts - Hallie in choir and Will in Orchestra - of the year! I wasn't sure what to expect with either, what with this being Hallie's first time in choir (and the fact that she told me they were terrible) and Will's jump "up" to high school orchestra, and I was pleasantly surprised by both groups. 


Harry was adopted - along with another SKR kitten named Timberlake - midway through last week, Ron left us on Wednesday for his forever family, and while Hermione is pending adoption, she's still with us. Ron and Hermione were/will be the toughest to say goodbye to so far, out of all 39 (?!) kittens we've lived with and loved on, and while I know they're going to make two families incredibly happy, it's so hard to be preparing to say goodbye. 

In case you can't tell, these two are world class snugglers. 

This was taken the exact moment Hermione logged
Tom out of his Iowa Advisory Council Board meeting.
And yes, he was attending with the camera ON.


Happiness Highlights

I LOVE that Old Navy has extended inclusivity in
sizing and models to its dog models. (This dog has three
legs and is featured modeling multiple different dog outfits.) 

If we get to soccer games early, he sleeps while I walk. As he
gets older, there's something special about just having him near
me, even if we're not talking or interacting. 

Fall is coming!

I love the transition to yellow practice jerseys because I
can always find Will's team on their practice and game fields.

When I need a reason to smile, I look at
this picture of a little girl trying to teach her
cat how to write. His face is everything.

Mother Nature has finally gifted us a few mornings that have been
cool enough for me to sit outside on the back porch with my coffee.

Another week, another River pic. She's a doll.

I wish they could stay this "little" forever.

Hallie's the one at the top of the lift!

Hallie's friend bakes and sells the most amazing 
scones! These are pumpkin pecan, and were *chef's kiss*.

The cutest latte art!

The space station passed by above College Station,
and thanks to a friend of Tom's who actually helped
build it, I knew when to go outside and look up! 

My and Hallie's newest batch of masks - Happy Halloween!

Happy weekend, friends!