Tuesday, August 30, 2022

You Know What Happens to People Who Keep it All Inside?

They get old and they get sad and they get weird.   ~ Jessica Day


Hallie and I have been watching New Girl, so when I was looking for a quote about sharing information with other people and this one from New Girl's Jess popped up, I knew I had to use it.

So, without further adieu, today's post...in which I share a little about myself so as to not get old, sad, and weird.


I generally gain a few new readers around this time of year, and since I've started writing for a couple of new publications that share my bio and the blog web address at the end of my articles, now seemed like as good a time as any for a quick update. 

I've completed this kind of questionnaire before, but when I saw this one - which included a few unique questions - shared a couple of weeks ago, I decided to use it as my introduction. Here we go!


1. Dream Job

What I do now: Wife, Mom, and Writer...and someday I'd like to add Author to that list. 

I also think I'd be good at helping people organize their lives - not in a "The Home Edit" way, but in a "we can reasonably maintain this level of organization in our home" kind of way. I'll probably never pursue this line of work though...the first step in the organization process is to purge, and since I'm a ruthless purger, I'd don't think I could behave as sensitively as would be necessary (to be successful in the job) when working with people for whom purging is difficult. In past lives I wanted to be a doctor, a PA, a Child Life Specialist, and a Speech Pathologist, but none of those jobs interest me much anymore.

2. Hobbies

Exercise, soccer (watching Will), dance (watching Hallie), reading, baking, singing, volunteering, and organizing. 

3. Favorite Dessert

Strawberry shortcake, chocolate chips cookies, and brownies. 

4. Dream Vacation

It depends on the time of year...right now I'd love to visit anywhere cooler than Texas. 

I'm lucky to have visited a lot of the United States, but I've never been to the Grand Canyon, the Hoover Dam, Seattle, Northern California, or Maine so those places are on my list. I'd also love to go back to northwest Oregon, upstate New York, Park City, and San Francisco. Ultimately I'd like to vacation in a place that isn't too hot, with hotel accommodations, where I can enjoy both touristy activities and outdoor adventures that fall into the "not too dangerous" category. Suggestions? 

5. Favorite Class

NOT English, interestingly. Probably algebra or biology, along with choir.

6. Favorite Piece of Clothing

JEANS. I have favorite brands or styles in other categories of clothing, but jeans are an easy overall winner for me here.

7. Dream Date

Sports bar for beer, appetizers, and assorted sporting event watching. Movie theater for popcorn, soda, and a clever mystery or heist movie. Hiking somewhere new (in an area where there aren't animals I'm afraid of and the weather is nice). Getting dressed up to go to an event (likely something we don't really want to attend in the first place)...and then sneaking out to go to dinner just the two of us. I love to dress up from time to time, but for the most part we're just not that fancy...

8. Weird Fact You Know

It's impossible to hum while holding your nose. (You just tried it, didn't you?)

9. Least Favorite Food

Split pea soup, beets, and weird things - oysters, clams, mussels, caviar - from the sea. 

10. Comfort Show/Movie

Friends on television. Anything sports related (Cool Runnings, The Rookie, Miracle, McFarland USA, etc.) on the big screen.

11. Most Used App

Messages, Instagram, and Facebook are probably tied for first (because I use Instagram and Facebook messaging for some of my regular communications), followed closely behind by my email and clock (my alarm goes off close to 20x/day) apps.

12. Coffee or Tea


13. Bedtime

11:30pm. Ish.

14. Favorite Restaurant

This is too hard... But if I had to choose, I'd go with Josie's Spaghetti House and Andy's Restaurant, both in Madison, Wisconsin, and both long ago closed. 

15. Blood type


16: Do You Like Museums?

Yes, but not all kinds of museums. I like interactive museums, and museums through which I can move at my own (relatively quick) pace. 

17. History or Math?


18. Languages You Can Speak

Besides spoken English, a little signed English and a little French. 

19. Favorite Thing about Yourself

Personality trait: I'm good at helping. It's the Girl Scout in me: "On my honor, I will try, to serve God and my country, to help people at all times, and to live by the Girl Scout Law" and "leave every place cleaner than you found it." I try to recognize when people need help and reach out. 

Physical trait: the color of my eyes.

20. Most Played Video Game

I don't like video games at all now, but back in the day I ruled at Tetris.

21. Sports You've Played

Recreationally: soccer, swimming, diving, volleyball, tennis, baseball, dance

Competitively: soccer, swimming

22. Ever Been to a Concert?

Yep. My favorites were James Taylor, Sophie B. Hawkins, and The Chicks.

23. Instruments You Play

The piano and my own voice. I wish I knew how to play the ukulele.

24. Pens or Pencils

Pens, specifically Emily Ley's Simplified Pilot Precise V5 pens and Pilot's gel pens.

25. Favorite Animal


26. Pet Peeves

I know I have more, but in this moment, the only one I can think of is insensitive and inconsiderate drivers. I'm sure my mom, husband, kids, and besties will remind me of what my other pet peeves are as soon as they read this post and then I can report back. 😉

27. Horror or Comedy

Comedy, but I love suspense/mystery/heist movies even more.


If you're new here, welcome! 

I spent far too long trying to find a picture to share at the end of this post.
Finally, I randomly picked one of the 20 I'd considered...this is that one.
But looking at it now, I feel ridiculous for even throwing it into the mix so
I'm also sharing the one below, in which I look better and you can see
my family instead of just three foster kittens napping on me.

That's a little better, right?

Friday, August 26, 2022

High Five for Friday (8.26.22)


They're so old and big. I wish I could stop the hands of time.

Will HATES taking first day of school pictures. I had to bribe him to participate in this photo session, and to allow me to share one agreed upon image from the morning. Hallie, on the other hand, is still happy to have her photo taken. 

She's also wearing my shoes, so I guess we've reached that stage of life...


My camping cousin got married last Saturday, and while I wished I could have been there, I so thoroughly enjoyed the many photos my mom and sister sent to keep me connected throughout the day. Congratulations, Adam and Angie!

My dad is temporarily using a cane because he had his hip replaced
two weeks ago. He's ROCKING his recovery and will be back on the
soccer field, the disc golf course, and water skis in no time!

My sister and BIL ALWAYS look cute and coordinated
at weddings. Meanwhile, I think both Tom and I have
forgotten how to truly dress up...

Sad to have missed the fun, but happy so many from the
camping family were there to celebrate Adam and Angie.  


Nutcracker auditions were held last Saturday, and the cast list came out on Monday. For the first time ever, Hallie received two roles, both of which she was pleased with. (She'll be in the Party Scene and the Spanish Corps.) We're thrilled for this Nutcracker season to get underway, and we hope to see you at one (or more!) of our three shows the first weekend in December!


When I mentioned in Tuesday's post that Tom is Plié's favorite, I wasn't joking. And since I wrote that post, she's become even more enamored with him. She only snuggles and sleeps with him, and she constantly grooms him (which is generally considered one of the ways cats show affection). She stays nearby when he works from home, whether he's in the playroom or on the back porch, and she cries at the screen door when he putters around the backyard and won't let her out with him. It's adorable and sweet.

I keep forgetting to take pictures of the grooming, but here they are napping and attending a conference call together.

And because I just can't quite get over it yet, here's a friendly reminder that I was the one who kept her alive through MANY struggles during her first three months of life...and Tom gave her one gentle butt bath.


We've started letting Will drive Hallie (with one of us in the car, of course). This picture felt almost as surreal to me as the one of Will driving for the first time. He did a great job behind the wheel, and she was a model passenger!

Happy Friday, friends!

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

The Adventures of Plié and Popeye, Episode 1

When Tux was young, I regularly wrote about him as part of his own series called "Tuesdays With Tux". I decided that Plié and Popeye should have their own series too, but since there are no days of the week or cute words/sayings related to storytelling ("chronicles", "tales", etc.) that start with the letter "p", I chose - at least temporarily, while I wait to see how I like it - "The Adventures of Plié and Popeye." 

I'm still considering "The Adventures of Pleeps and Pops", since those are Tom's nicknames for them as a pair.

In today's episode, brief introductions.

Foster Fail

Foster Fail. Again.

Plié definitely behaves like the older sister she is: she takes charge of playtime, and because she's still bigger, stronger, and slightly more able-bodied than Popeye, she usually wins their wrestling battles. She doesn't care much for actual cat toys, but she LOVES rubber bands - specifically the more expensive ones I keep in a drawer in my bathroom. Every time I go into the bathroom, she joins me. She sits on the bathroom counter, waiting patiently for me to open the drawer for something else, and then she swoops in, grabs one of her favorite rubber bands, and takes off. Her second favorite toy is a plastic mask "expander" (something you'd wear over your mouth and nose but under your mask, one of which we have but never used from the beginning of the pandemic) - she can bat it around for hours...if I'm unwilling to open the bathroom drawer for her to get a rubber band. Plié also loves cabinets and drawers. If one of the kids leaves a cabinet or drawer open, she WILL explore it; no matter how high the cabinet or drawer is off of the ground, she will find a way. One evening Hallie was in the kitchen baking with a friend, and when they opened the (rather small) drawer where we keep the ziplock and trash bags, they found Plié sound asleep inside. 

Despite my months-long efforts to keep Plié alive, Tom is her favorite person...all because of those gentle butt baths, I guess.

Butt baths.

Popeye definitely behaves like the younger brother he is: he's full of mischief, and while he likes to rile his sister up, he usually loses their wrestling battles and then comes to cuddle with me...it feels a little like he's tattling on her. He isn't much of a jumper, given that he only has one back leg, but what he lacks in jumping ability he makes up for in climbing ability. While I frequently find Plié on the counters, I frequently find Popeye climbing his way up pieces of furniture, drapes, cat trees. Most of the time he can make it to his intended destination without help, but when he can't, he just hangs there and cries for me to come rescue him. Popeye prefers toys he can chase or bat around on the floor, and when he's tired from playing and settles in to rest, he still "scratches" his head with his phantom leg, which is adorable to us and confusing for him. Popeye's absolute favorite thing/place in the world is on someone's shoulder. He doesn't so much sit on our shoulders like a perch or lay across our necks like Tux did though - he likes the front half of his body to be hanging over our shoulders, and the back half of his body to be supported by our hands or arms. And he wants to stay like this for...well, for forever (or until his next meal)...which is actually kind of exhausting (see two of our solutions in photos below). When Popeye wants "up", he sits down next to us and nuzzles our legs, ankles, or feet with his nose. And once he is "up", he IMMEDIATELY begins to purr and snuggles in. 

I think I'm currently Popeye's favorite, but the kids are a close second. He's not Tom's biggest fan though...I suspect he senses that Tom - as Plié's favorite - is already taken. 😂


We still miss Tux terribly, but these sweet babes have helped us transform some of our passive sadness into active love.

Friday, August 19, 2022

High Five for Friday (8.19.22)



Last week we visited our community's new Big Shots Golf for the first (and second) time. As a non-golfer I wasn't all that excited to go, but it was Will's last "please can we fit this in before we go back to school" request so the other three Ferri agreed to make time for the outing. And I'm so glad we did, because it was a blast. The boxes/booths are as comfortable as they can be, given the fact that they're outside...in Texas...in August. The technology is impressive, and the interactive games you can play (I mistakenly thought we'd just be hitting balls off a tee and into a giant field) were fun for everyone, regardless of skill level. And they were still offering their summer/grand opening pricing, so we played for an hour for a ridiculously small amount of money. 

Will had such a good time that he begged to go back, this time with friends, later in the week. So I transported a bunch of teenage boys (discovering along the way that while my car feels decently sized when driving 13yo girls, this is not the case when driving 15yo boys) to Big Shots and then sent them out to play while I worked in the air conditioned bar for three hours. Another plus? The bartender kept my Diet Coke full - and didn't charge me for it - while I worked. 😉


Out with the old, in with the new! We sold almost all of our bedroom furniture and purchased a new bed, dresser, and nightstands. The dresser and nightstands arrived this week, and so far we really like them. 

Our bed will arrive...in late November. (More pics when the room isn't in shambles...)


Speaking of "out with the old, in with the new"...my girl is in her second pair of pointe shoes! It's been fun - and challenging, in a good way - for Hallie to adjust to a new pair of shoes. I can't seem to remember to take a picture of her in them though, so instead (and in honor of Nutcracker auditions taking place tomorrow), here's my ballerina at six years old and on her way to her very first Nutcracker audition.

New seasons of dance and soccer are already underway, and both kids (and me, as their driver) are trying to get a handle on our new extracurricular schedules. I miss the relaxed(ish) pace of summer, but I'm not upset about our days feeling a bit more routine and predictable...our days WILL feel more routine and predictable once we figure out this new semester, right? 

Just for fun, zoom in on his left
leg. Holy quad muscle, Batman!


Hallie's friend Tessa, who Hallie hasn't been able to connect with nearly as much as she'd like since COVID (and as they've both gotten a little older and busier at school and with sports/dance), was able to come for a sleepover. 

Tessa has had an especially difficult year, and in different ways Hallie has had a tough few months herself. It was really lovely to watch them come together and work on their friendship... to see them just be there for each other, even if they didn't talk about the really hard topics. My hope is that they can stay friends as they get older, despite the physical distance that separates them.

2019 (I think)

2022 (Maybe next time Tessa comes over we'll
order something other than pizza for dinner...) 


Happiness Highlights

New glasses!

Disc golf with the kiddos. I only embarrassed myself a little bit.

The blow-up tent has reappeared. It's SO easy to set up,
SO easy to clean up, and legitimately fun to hang out in. 

Everything beautiful reminds me of Morgan.

Both Hallie and Avery assisted for Miss Emma, and she taught them
so much about teaching young dancers. "Miss Candy" and "Miss Ladybug",
as Miss Emma calls them, will miss her when she moves away this fall! 

Happy weekend, friends!

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Ready or Not

Tomorrow is the first day of school. Will will start tenth grade, and Hallie will start eighth grade. TENTH grade?! EIGHTH grade?! What in the world is happening here?!

It's mind-boggling to think about how the last "normal" school year our kids experienced was 2018-2019. 2019-2020, 2020-2021, and 2021-2022 weren't all bad, but each has a bit of a cloud hanging over it and I'm hopeful that this year, while perhaps not necessarily easier, will at least be kinder on our hearts and souls. Less anger, less fear, less anxiety and stress, less uncertainty. And along with that, more flexibility, more generosity of spirit, more forgiveness and compassion.

I'm not ready for Will and Hallie to go back to school. Now that they're older, summer just isn't long enough and I'm sad to close the door on yet another one, knowing I only have two more with Will before he graduates from high school. Two is a heartbreakingly small number when counting down... I'm thankful, however, that neither kiddo is returning to in-person learning after a year of virtual school. I'm thankful neither kiddo is starting at a new school or academic level. I'm thankful both are fully vaccinated and boosted, and that another booster is coming down the pipeline.

So here we go again...I'm not ready, but they are.


This brings me to what I'm about to share: an edited and abbreviated version of a post that has appeared here multiple times before, always around this time of year.


During Will and Hallie's baby and toddler years, I found the commonly uttered phrase "enjoy every moment" both frustrating and disheartening.

You've been there, right?

It's 10am. You've been awake for five hours, and in that time you've fed your children three times, been thrown up on three times, cleaned smashed banana out of the cat's fur, changed four diapers, wiped pee up off the playroom floor, rescued a Power Ranger action figure from the toilet, unclogged the toilet, and mopped up the flooded bathroom. You haven't eaten, showered, gotten dressed, or even brushed your teeth.

How many of those moments did you enjoy?

Telling parents - especially new parents, whose days feel like weeks and whose nights require superhuman strength to endure - to "enjoy every moment" often comes across, no matter how well-intentioned, as insensitive and disconnected. These new moms and dads love their babies tremendously, but they simply aren't enjoying every moment.

And telling new parents that kids grow up so fast and time goes by so quickly? Well, those lines sound like great big lies, because in their reality, the kids aren't growing up so fast and time isn't going by so quickly. If they're anything like me when I had an infant at home, new parents are wondering how it's possible their (according to the calendar) five-month-old won't head off to kindergarten in the fall because it feels like they've been caring for that baby for five years.

Tomorrow Will starts tenth grade. TENTH grade. And Hallie - my BABY - starts eighth grade. Holy smokes...they DO grow up so fast. Time DOES go by so quickly.

This is all quite difficult to wrap my head around, considering it seems like just yesterday I quietly stewed - and then later cried in my car - when a woman at the farmers market tousled six-month-old Will's curls and exclaimed, "what a big boy! Enjoy every moment with him!"

Where am I going with this? To be honest, I didn't know the first time I shared this post and I still don't know now, years later.

What I do know is that telling parents - of children of any age - to enjoy every moment often makes them feel worse rather than better. I know that telling new parents that kids grow up so fast or time goes by so quickly often comes off as a cliche or even a lie. And I know that while the minutes feel like hours, the hours like days, and the days like weeks when those babies are teeny tiny, at some point the clock speeds up and you can NEVER slow it back down.

Don't worry about enjoying every moment. But try to enjoy as many as you can, because kids DO grow up so fast and time DOES go by so quickly, whether you're ready or not.

Friday, August 12, 2022

High Five for Friday (8.12.22)



At the end of July, Hallie volunteered for the summer music/theatre camp at church. She attended as a camper (and played Noah's wife in an adapted version of Noah's Ark) last year, but because she had aged out as a camper this year, she decided to volunteer instead. She had a great time, and truly enjoyed both the freedom and responsibility that came with being on the backstage side of a production and the other side of seventh grade. 

The only pictures I have from the entire week are of Hallie and Avery in the "super cool snack room where only the volunteers get to go and where they keep the really good food"...so that's what you get to see.


Earlier this summer, Will decided he wanted to play in a disc golf tournament. Generally he has/we have a fairly full schedule, but I agreed to let him participate if he could find a tournament that fell on a free(ish) weekend and he took care of the registration process himself. So he found a tournament that fell on a free(ish) weekend, signed himself and Tom up for PGDA memberships (which are required in order to play in the tournaments), and then signed himself and Tom up for the tournament...in the Amateur Advanced Division. Tom should have been in 40+ and Will should have been in Amateur Intermediate, but Will decided to take a chance. Their only goal going in was to NOT finish last, and they didn't! In the end, Will had a great time, Tom had a good time (Tom only participated to support Will - he wouldn't have entered a tournament on his own, as he doesn't need/want disc golf to become something he does competitively), and they tied with each other. So overall, the experience was a win! 

The video below is of Will's "announcing" and his first ever PDGA throw.


Hallie's last (and first) in-person intensive with Ashley Laracey - a soloist with the NYC Ballet and often our guest Sugar Plum Fairy for Ballet Brazos' production of The Nutcracker - was in 2019. 

In 2020, Ms. Ashley taught the intensive virtually from New York while the dancers were masked and together in the studio here in Texas, and 2021, Ms. Ashley was unavailable so our annual August intensive was taught by other instructors. 

But last week, after three long years away, Ms. Ashley returned and Hallie was able to spend the week learning from and dancing with her.

Something shifted in Hallie last year. I think finally connecting with her ballet instructors and beginning pointe work ignited the fire, but since then the flames have been fanned and the fire has grown; where there was once indifference toward ballet (and even dislike, when she was in early elementary school), there is now a slowly growing passion and a strong desire to improve. She's been working SO hard at a genre that doesn't come naturally to her, and I'm ridiculously proud. 

She'd want me to tell you that she can do harder skills than those demonstrated in this video, and that her shoes were completely dead by this point in the intensive, meaning they weren't working as well for her in terms of stability. She's since gotten her second pair of shoes.


✔ Schedules and IDs have been picked up and scheduling and ID issues have been ironed out. (Bless all of the counselors out there, who are desperately trying to make every student's schedule work for them in as many ways as possible.) 

✔ All of Will's medical paperwork has been filled out, signed, copied, and along with his multiple emergency medications, turned in to his school nurse. (This task - or series of tasks - takes me HOURS every summer. I'm not complaining about helping the nurse be prepared to care for Will in case of an emergency. But I regularly think about how this process could be completed more efficiently and in a way that didn't require me to print 15 pages of blank documents, fill out 15 pages of documents exactly as I'd filled them out the year prior, make two trips to the allergist, make two trips to the pediatrician, copy 15 pages of completed documents, make two trips to the pharmacy, and finally drop everything off with the nurse. I worry that the amount of legwork required keeps some parents/families/caregivers from actually doing the paperwork, which leaves their kids vulnerable and unsafe at school.) 

✔ Both kids have enough clothes and shoes to get them through the first couple of months of school.

✔ Both kids have enough basic school supplies to get them through the first couple of weeks of school. (School supply lists aren't generated for older kids - once classes start the teachers let the kids know what they'll need for that specific class.)

So, I think we're ready...


In the last three weeks, and between me and both kids, we've fit in the following:

  • 4 blood draws
  • 1 physical appointment
  • 1 pediatrician appointment
  • 3 eye doctor appointments
  • 2 glasses appointments
  • 1 orthodontist appointment
  • 4 dentist appointments
  • 2 mammograms
  • 1 ultrasound
  • 1 allergist appointment
  • 1 dermatologist appointment
  • 1 COVID test (required to attend the ballet intensive, and negative)

Thankfully - "high five" - everyone and everything is fine. I share all this 1) because everyone and everything being healthy-ish is something to high five about, and 2) to remind you, should you or someone you love need the reminder, to make and keep your regular/annual preventative and/or maintenance health-related appointments. Stay healthy, my friends.

We have other appointments throughout the year, of course, since we go to the dentist twice annually and the orthodontist every few weeks, for example. But I intentionally cram as many of our health and wellness appointments into the end of July/beginning of August so everyone knows they're coming and everything can be taken care of ahead of the school year.  

Happy weekend, friends!