Friday, September 30, 2022

High Five for Friday (9.30.22)



Second fall vaccine: ✔

Recovery from this one was a little tougher... After our flu shots we had sore arms and nothing else. The day after COVID booster shots I felt completely fine, but Hallie felt a little yucky and Will felt poorly enough to stay home from school. Thankfully, everyone was back to normal the day after that! 


Will's first musical event of the year was the annual Orchestra Ice Cream Social, to which intermediate and middle school orchestras from the district were invited to enjoy ice cream treats and a short performance by the high school's Varsity Orchestra. Hallie and Tom were fans of the ice cream, and we were all excited to watch and listen to Will play the cello again!

Yes, we usually go out for a late dinner at IHOP after orchestra concerts. But Hallie's middle school was hosting at McTeacher Night that same evening, so we opted to get carryout burgers, fries, and cookies from McDonald's instead.


Speaking of McTeacher Night... I'm so happy that school spirit nights at restaurants are happening again! I love having dinner (planning and prepping) taken care of for me once or twice a month...and it's even better that we're supporting the schools with our dining dollars. 


The final training component on Will's Driver's Ed checklist: backing. We went to a nearby parking lot after his last soccer game so he could log the hour, but since there were basically no cars in the parking lot, I had to pretend to be a car that Will had to navigate around while backing into parking spots. It was a hot and rather unpleasant task, but he's now finished the checklist! 


A family we know through dance suffered a horrible loss last week. There are no absolutely high fives in situations like this one, but there are small moments...simple gestures...of kindness and support and love. And in my experience, dance moms and daughters are some of the best at uniting in the face of tragedy to support those whose hearts are hurting.

The town in which the family lives chose to wear pink in honor and memory of the sweet girl lost, so our studio's ballet students chose to wear pink scrunchies for their Friday night classes last week and their Wednesday night classes this week, as a way to show this family and dancer that they were with them in spirit and love. (The dance moms united in other, less photo-worthy ways.) Dance brings people together, in good times and in bad.

Happy Friday, friends!

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

"How Do You Get a Driving License?" (Conversing with Four-Year-Old Will)

Will turns 16 just one week from today. So in honor of that milestone (and in preparation for him taking his driving test a few days after his birthday), here is one of my favorite conversations - I've been waiting for 12 years to share it again. 


Will: Mama, when will I get a driving license?

Erin: When you’re 16.

Will: (defiantly) Ha! I’m going to get a driving license when I’m 15!

Erin: Actually you can get a learner’s permit when you’re 15. You can’t get an actual driver’s license until you’re 16.

Will: How do you get a driving license?

Erin: You have to take two tests – first a written test, and then a driving test with an instructor.

Will: What’s a constructor?

Erin: An instructor is a teacher.

Will: Will you come with me with the constructor?

Erin: No, you have to take the test with just the instructor.

Will: (with tears beginning to well in his eyes) I don’t want to go with the constructor by myself!

Erin: Then you don’t have to. We won’t make you take the test to get a driver’s license. But you can’t get a driver’s license without taking the test. It's the law.

Will: (with tears streaming down his face) But I want a driving license!

Erin: Will, this isn’t something you need to worry about right now.

Tom: Will, how old are you?

Will: (bawling, holds up four fingers)

Tom: So you don’t have to worry about getting your driver’s license for at least 11 years.

Will: (still bawling) Mama, how do you get your kid back after the test?

Erin: Well, I’ll take you to the DMV –

Will: (through sobs) What’s the DMV?

Erin: The Department of Motor Vehicles. (At this point I couldn’t hold it in any longer and I started laughing because the conversation was just so ridiculous, and I had to take a moment to compose myself.) I’ll take you to the DMV, you’ll take your tests, and then we’ll leave together.

Will: Did you have to take the tests?

Erin: Yes. Grandma Brenda took me to the DMV and waited while I took my tests; then we drove home together.

Will: How do you find your kid after the tests?

Erin: Moms wait in the lobby for their kids.

Will: What’s a lobby?

Erin: A room where people wait for other people or to be called for appointments.

Will: Are there chairs?

Erin: Yes, there are chairs.

Will: Look Mama! I’m buck naked!


Those 11 years went by in a flash. I hope he's ready... 😂

Friday, September 23, 2022

High Five for Friday (9.23.22)


Last week was "Bring a Friend Week" at dance. Most of Hallie's friends - and all of her close friends - dance with her, so she usually doesn't have very many options when this week rolls around. This year, however, she brought Irma one day and Bertha another day, and they all had a great time.

In case it's not clear, Irma and Bertha are both Hallie's friend, Cayla, with whom she's danced for probably eight years. Tom was so pleased to see his decades-old wig back in action.


Late last week the kids and I got our flu shots - one fall vaccine down, one to go!


After what feels like 74 years of traveling to Houston every single weekend for every single one of Will's soccer games, for the first time this fall our home games are actually being played AT HOME. IN COLLEGE STATION. Our away games are still in the Houston area, but not having to make that drive half of the time has been life-changing. 


Eight grade has been accompanied by a significant uptick in homework, quizzes, tests, and (late night) studying. Late last week I was helping Hallie with math when Will heard what we were working on and decided to join us. He confessed that Algebra I had been his favorite math class of all time, and then he starting working problems for fun. When he realized that I didn't remember how to do some of what was coming up in Hallie's current unit, he decided he couldn't go back to his own homework until I had relearned this unit. So here we are, at 10:30pm on a Thursday night, "studying" together. 


Happiness Highlights

11 days and counting until this cutie turns 16 years old...

Enjoying coffee with my boy on our way to an
early morning high school training appointment.

The kind of photos you end up with when
you let a one-year-old play with your phone.

So many hours of work - but it's fun when we can work together!

Cheers to Friday, friends!

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

The Adventures of Plié and Popeye, Episode 2

Today's episode is about Popeye, or as he's affectionately known around here, Pops, Popsicle, Chicken Pot Pie, and "I've Got Chicken from Popeyes". 

I'll admit, I was a little nervous about Popeye at first. I was worried about how well he would adjust to life with Plié, about caring for him post-amputation, and about developing the same connection with him as we had with Plié. 

Fast forward a few months...we needn't have worried. 

He loves Plié - he's adored her since day one - and after a few rough days and a couple of weeks of getting to know one another, she adores him back. I think. 

He was SO easy to care for post-amputation. He came to us on day five (so I didn't care for him immediately following his surgery), and by then he was already bouncing and bounding around as if nothing had ever happened. We gave him pain medicine for two days and that was it. 

He loves us and we love him more than I ever thought possible. And he loves all humans, which is so fun for everyone who comes over to visit him. (His ability and willingness to love all humans is the result of the care given and the compassion shown to him by his first human mama, who I know still loves and misses him.) 

When I think about love, I think about feeling safe and free to be yourself. I'm pretty sure Popeye feels safe and free to be himself with us... 😉 (And with our people - our friends Kaylee and Kara can be seen in the "holding Popeye while he feels safe and free to be himself" series.)

Can you spot him?

There he is!


We love you, Pops!

Friday, September 16, 2022

High Five for Friday (9.16.22)



PUMPKIN returned to Starbucks on August 30th. I held out until September 1st. 

See you in December, Dutch Bros - you make a better cold brew than Starbucks, but until you can match the perfection that is a pumpkin cream cold brew, I can't visit you between September 1st and November 30th. 


One of our favorite wine bars recently relocated from downtown Bryan to the southern side of College Station, making it much more convenient for us to visit. A few friends and I have started a tradition of popping in for a glass and an appetizer every Friday after we drop off our girls for their 4:30pm ballet class. 


Football season has arrived! Our Hawkeyes, Wolverines, Badgers, Huskers, and Aggies haven't necessarily gotten off to great starts in the college realm, and my Packers aren't doing so hot either, but I'm still excited that football has returned. 

We're watching on Fubo now that we've dropped cable, and so far we've been happy!


Speaking of Fubo...after a couple of months of being unable to do so, I can finally watch The Today Show again! I missed Savannah and Hoda, and I missed getting a quick snapshot each morning of what's going on in the world and across the country. 


Last week/end, Tom 1) replaced the struts that hold up my trunk (it had been slowly closing on me - and the Kroger Clicklist delivery personnel - for weeks) and 2) brought me a surprise "charcuterie board" when I texted him and asked him to bring my computer charger to me while I was working at the dance studio. He's a keeper, that one!

Happy weekend, friends!

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Every Great Story Begins With a Snake

But does it? 


These last few weeks have included a few less-than-desirable drives (check out the strangest one here), but my walks haven't been, well, a walk in the park either.

I found a new-to-me path, one that wove through both grassy and wooded areas but was also close to major roads and at one point circled around behind a few homes. I parked near the trail head, with plans to walk for two miles away from my car, turn around, and walk two miles back to my car. All was going well (other than the heat, but that's a different post for a different day) as I cruised along, chatting with my mom. And when my Fitbit vibrated to notify me that I had reached two miles, I spun around to walk back the way from which I'd come...and right in front of me - probably 10 feet or so feet - was this guy.

The path was fairly wide, so I'd estimate he was
nearly three feet long. Also, I backed WAY up before I
took this photo - sorry I wasn't willing to get any closer. 

I think I yelped and used a few inappropriate words (in my mom's ear - that can't have been fun for her) as I stumbled backwards away from him. I quickly realized just how close he and I had come to meeting one another even more intimately; he hadn't been on the path when I'd walked by that spot, but when I turned around 10 feet later, there he was. He must have slithered out RIGHT after I'd passed by. 

Another realization - that he was blocking my way home - came moments later, so then I just stood there, w...a...i...t...i...n...g as he took his sweet, sweet time crossing the path. When he finally made it to the grass, I - under my breath (and again in my mom's ear) - eked out, "ohmygoshohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh" as I hurriedly started the second two miles of my walk. 

I realize that I came out of this experience unharmed (physically, at least), but for a few moments it felt like the end was near.


A couple of weeks later, I was walking through my neighborhood at 8am - once again on the phone with my mom - when something caught my eye. I glanced up and to my right and saw this guy's beady little eyes staring back at me from probably only eight feet away. 

He's on top of the fence post. Again, my apologies
for being unable/unwilling to get closer for a better pic.

For reference, so you can see how close the sidewalk is to
the fence and therefore how close he and I were to one another.

Again, I think I yelped and used a few inappropriate words as I scurried away from where he was (proudly? Confidently? Intimidatingly?) perched on a fence post. When I pulled out my phone to take a picture for my mom, he stayed put but he glared at me like it was his job and OH are opossum eyes CREEPY. 

I once again came out of this experience (physically) unharmed, but it took quite a while for my heart rate and breathing to return to normal.


When we were trying to decide which job Tom would take and where we would move after Tom finished his PhD, critters (lizards, snakes, and quite a few others that people had warned me about) were one of the cons on the TAMU/Texas list. Ultimately the pros outweighed the cons and TAMU/Texas came out on top, but the critters are still one of the three things I strongly dislike about our current state. 

So Texas, if you please, I've had about enough of your critters for a while. I'd like to return to my regularly scheduled and animal-free walks. (Except for kittens and puppies. Bring me all the kittens and puppies.) 

Friday, September 9, 2022

High Five for Friday (9.9.22)



Nutcracker rehearsals are underway and tickets are on sale! If you're interested in joining us for one of the three performances offered, call the MSC Box Office at 979-845-1234 or visit  to buy your tickets. Questions? Don't hesitate to email me at


On Friday night Hallie started her second year with Encore, the ballet company of The Ballet Academy at Suzanne's School of Dance. She had one decent rehearsal and one good rehearsal, and we wrapped up the evening with a birthday celebration for Mr. John, their ballet instructor extraordinaire. 


The cake, which Mr. John took home to share with his family, and the chocolate cupcakes for the dancers were courtesy of yours truly. The recipe wasn't my own though - it belonged to a friend's great aunt, and deciphering this woman's handwriting on her original recipe card was half the fun of making the cake. 


On Sunday we made the trek to Houston for my girl's third pair of pointe shoes. Her second pair isn't quite dead yet, but she's putting in the hours and going through the second pair MUCH faster than she went through her first pair. The trip was lots of fun, especially because we went with friends!


Speaking of friends... Sunday marked exactly 10 years of friendship between these three. I'm so tremendously grateful for their relationship as a trio, for the individual relationships each shares with the other two, and for the relationships that developed between their mamas. What a gift.

Yes, this is too many photos. I narrowed it down to 100 first, and then from 100 to this group... 

I'll close with one last photo, taken on the eve of their 10th "friendiversary". There had been tears of frustration and sadness earlier that evening, but these...these were tears of joy. This picture marks a decade of being there for each other through all kinds of tears, through the ups and the downs, through the good times and the bad.

Happy weekend, friends. Spend it with someone you love and who loves you back.