Friday, October 28, 2022

High Five for Halloween 2022

Halloween should never fall on a Monday...or a Sunday, a Tuesday, or a Wednesday, for that matter. I can get behind Thursdays, but Fridays and Saturdays 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, Halloween falls on a Monday this year. We have school, soccer practice, and three dance classes (and we'll skip a fourth dance class, because if we didn't, Hallie would miss trick-or-treating completely), but we're going to make it work!

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.

















Last year Will still trick-or-treated for a bit with friends, but for the first time he intentionally avoided the camera. Made me a little sad...

Have a fun and safe Halloween, friends!

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Paint the Town Teal (and My Halloween Soap Box)

I talk about the Teal Pumpkin Project each year around this time, so for those of you who read Chasing Roots regularly, the first part of this post may feel familiar. (The topic is an important one though, so please give the post a quick read and consider either participating yourself - if you plan to welcome trick-or-treaters to your home this year - or sharing the post so others can jump on board the teal pumpkin band wagon!) The second part of this post is new this year, and stems from an experience Hallie and her friends had last year. Here we go!


Four years ago, Will trick-or-treated like a "normal" kid for the first time. He didn't have to gently sift through bowls of candy looking for a piece he could safely eat, or say "no thank you" and walk away with nothing at all if the candy offered contained or might contain peanuts. I didn't have to read the labels on or look up the ingredients in any piece of candy he brought home. He sampled anything and everything without fear.

This wasn't always the case for Will and our family. As my regular readers know, Will has a peanut allergy. Four years ago he completed a months-long peanut desensitization, and he just recently entered his fifth year of maintenance during which he eats 12 peanuts every single day (without issue) to maintain that desensitized state. Sadly, not all kids with peanut allergies are so lucky, which is why, after participating for the first time in 2014 when it officially hit front porches nationwide, we continue to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project.

For those who haven't yet heard of this Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) project, here's the background information and a quick summary. At least one in 13 children (perhaps as many as one in 11 children) have a food allergy, and many more suffer from Celiac Disease, eat a restricted or special diet, or receive their nutrients via tube feeding. For these children - those who can't consume any of the items received while trick-or-treating or who can't trick-or-treat at all - Halloween doesn't have the same sparkle. The Teal Pumpkin Project began as a local awareness activity in Eastern Tennessee and grew into a nationwide campaign to "raise awareness about food allergies and promote the inclusion of all trick-or-treaters" and aims to ensure every child can experience a safe, happy holiday.

Participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project is easy.

  1. Pick out a pumpkin, paint it teal, and place it on your front porch on Halloween.
  2. Provide non-food treats - pencils, erasers, stickers, bubbles, and plastic vampire teeth have been popular at our house - for trick-or-treaters. 

The goal here is not to exclude candy; FARE suggests simply putting candy in one bowl, and non-food treats in a separate bowl. And if you don't have time to buy and/or paint a teal pumpkin, you can buy one online, order a fun sign for your front yard, or print out and hang up one of FARE's signs!

Painting a pumpkin teal or putting out a teal pumpkin on Halloween won't cure Will or anyone else of their allergies. But doing so is a step toward increasing awareness and making the world a safer place for people with life-threatening food allergies.

Let's paint the town teal!

Every year I consider using a different picture, but I just can't
look away from that sweet, toothless grin nor can I forget about
how seriously she took her responsibility to paint that pumpkin for
Will. I've since purchased a reusable teal pumpkin, but she still takes
responsibility for putting it out and gathering our non-candy goodies. 


Last year, Hallie and her friends spent weeks (months?) planning their Schyler Sisters (Angelica, Eliza, and Peggy) Halloween costumes. On October 31st they dressed up, did their hair and make-up as authentically as possible, and headed out with their treat bags to enjoy what is usually one of the best nights of the year for most kids.

One of our neighbors answered the door and asked the girls how old they were. When they politely answered that they were all 12, she launched into a speech about how 12-year-olds are too old to trick-or-treat and that she didn't "allow" her 12-year-old grandson to trick-or-treat.

The girls were dressed up, incredibly polite, and 12. TWELVE. There's no way that 12 is too old to trick-or-treat. 

Side note: I trick-or-treated through my senior year of high school. That might be pushing it, but my friends and I were always dressed up and polite, and for our junior and senior years we prepared a little harmonized song so that if people were grumpy about us coming, we had something in our back pockets to make them smile. 

There are so many unsafe activities kids could be partaking in on Halloween, and they are only little for so long. Please, don't take the joy of trick-or-treating away from kids who are hanging on to their childhood.


Let the countdown to Halloween begin! 

And if you live in BCS and would like to stop by our driveway and experience Tom's candy cannon, email me and I'll share our address!

Friday, October 21, 2022

High Five for Friday (10.21.22)


Will took the PSAT last week. I love that he doesn't stress about tests like this - he's always been a calm test taker (he actually really enjoys having the amount and quality of his knowledge evaluated) and it's so nice not to worry about him feeling stressed or anxious ahead of or after this kind of life event. 


My parents came to visit us last weekend. My mom drove, stopping to visit my grandma in Arkansas on her way here, while my dad flew (he's a couple of months post-hip replacement and sitting in the car for such a long period of time isn't great for recovering hips) but they arrived at almost the same time on Saturday afternoon. The boys spent the afternoon disc golfing while my mom, Hallie, and I unwound from the drive (my mom) and a day of Nutcracker rehearsals (Hallie and me). 

We headed to Houston for two soccer games on Sunday, and on Monday we did a little shopping, ate lunch at my mom's beloved Chicken Salad Chick, and enjoyed Hallie's first choir concert of the year. It was a short trip - they hit the road back to my grandma's house on Tuesday morning - but a good trip!

A cool pic of Will levitating after taking a free kick
to commemorate the weekend. (Thanks, Kristen!)


Speaking of choir concerts... Hallie and her 8th grade choir did a lovely job at their first performance. I should have videoed more of the songs, but I was so nervous waiting for Hallie's solo that I forgot until it was actually time for her solo. 


I survived - just barely - my 10th Parent Participation Week at dance! This year I only attended hip hop and jazz (parents don't come to ballet classes, and I couldn't make it to contemporary or tap), but jazz definitely exacerbated a foot problem I've been dealing with for a few weeks. Getting old stinks, but going to dance class with Hallie sure doesn't.


She loves to watch him practice. She'd love watching him even more if he'd let her out of prison the screened-in porch...

Happy weekend, friends!

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Uplifted Wellness

This fall I took two classes - Stress Busters and Mindful Eating - from a friend of mine who also happens to be a Master Certified Health and Wellness Coach. I won't go into great detail here, but I will say that I desperately needed both classes, not just for the education, guidance, and toolkit of coping mechanisms offered, but also for the camaraderie I found in the other attendees. 

Julia received her certification through the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute, has a background in Psychology and Counseling, and is also a certified fitness educator. She focuses on whole health and functional, purposeful living, believing strongly that all of her clients can reach their health and wellness goals by making small, simple, and manageable changes.

Under the umbrella of Uplifted Wellness Coaching, Julia offers sessions of all kinds: individual/private, group, or organization-wide sessions; in-person or Zoom sessions; and either single sessions or sessions packaged together. She provides fitness classes (Pilates as well as SoulCore, which is a workout accompanied by the Rosary), integrated health classes, and mindset and behavior health coaching. Julia's goals for her clients, though they may vary depending on each client's individual goals, include the following:

  • Build strength and flexibility with fitness guidance.
  • Reduce inflammation in your body through nutrition guidance.
  • Clarify your purpose and goals through mindset coaching.
  • Gain more knowledge about your body with health science.
  • Improve your quality of life and how you feel and function with your OWN motivation!

Perhaps most important to note, however, is that Julia is one of the kindest, most compassionate people I have ever met. It came as no surprise to me that (as a class attendee) I could feel just how invested Julia was in making sure every one of us walked away from our sessions feeling stronger, more competent, and more prepared with regard to our own individual challenges. 

I share all of this today because right now it seems like almost everyone I know is struggling with something. Life (still) feels particularly heavy, and I truly believe that people like Julia - those who are helpers at their core - and the programs, classes, sessions, and coaching she offers can lift some of that weight. So I'm just throwing this information out there, in case you (or someone you love) were waiting for that "nudge" to reach out for help becoming your healthiest self physically, mentally, and/or emotionally...visit Julia's website, and send her a message. 

I am friends with Julia, but I have no affiliation with Uplifted Wellness Coaching other than as a satisfied coaching client and fitness class participant. I have not received compensation of any kind for writing this post. (I actually contacted Julia and asked her if I could write about Uplifted Wellness simply because I think it's important for people to know that resources like hers are available.)

Friday, October 14, 2022

High Five for Friday (10.14.22)


I love that our soccer club maintains a strong partnership with the Aggie Women's Soccer Program. Last Thursday night was Cavalry Night at Ellis Field (where the Aggies play), and while Will and his friends were a little too old to walk out with the Aggie players and high five the women when they ran back onto the field after halftime, they did have a great time showing their support. I couldn't attend the game, but a friend snapped a picture of Will and friends on the big screen.

Will is wearing a red jersey and
sitting down next to the kid in green.


Tom had two work trips - Friday through Sunday and then Monday and Tuesday - this last week, and I couldn't have covered all of my responsibilities and gotten both kids everywhere they needed to go without the help of friends. Sometimes it truly takes a village. (Thanks for your help, Jenn and Joy!)

Looking for her daddy. (Or is he her boyfriend?
We can't quite figure out Plié's passionate adoration
of Tom...) She missed him while he was gone.


Oh, how I love long weekends. The kids didn't have school last Friday or Monday, and it was glorious. Our afternoons went as they usually do (the kids still had dance and soccer), but we were able to sleep in both mornings, on Friday the kids and I went to brunch, and on Monday Hallie and I went shopping while Will played disc golf with a friend. I know it won't happen during my kids' tenure as middle and high school students, but I desperately wish we could have four-day school weeks...


Another Six Kittens Rescue kitten has found a home with friends of ours!

Meet Hazel! (With her big sister, Callie,
who has been a friend of Hallie's for years.)


Will's first official orchestra concert of the year was held on Tuesday night, and it went beautifully. (No videos this time - some of the songs were the same as the Ice Cream Social performance a couple of weeks ago, so this time I just listened. No pictures this time either - Will is not a fan of having his picture taken on stage so I agreed not to share the photos I took.) We were also able to return to our tradition of dining at IHOP post-concert, though we cut it pretty close - arriving at 9:35pm after soccer practice (which was after the concert) ahead of IHOP closing at 10pm!

Happy weekend, friends!