Friday, June 30, 2023

High Five for Friday (6.30.23)


Late last week two of my favorite kiddos accomplished incredible feats. Cullen tested for and was awarded his black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and Carter competed at the US Tumbling Association National Championship and earned fifth place in Double-Mini, second place on Trampoline, and fourth on Floor. Congratulations, boys!


Both kids wanted (with a little encouragement at some points) to build volunteering into their summer breaks. Last Friday Hallie finished up 23 hours of volunteering at VBS, and yesterday Will wrapped up two weeks of volunteering at his high school's youth soccer camp.


Hallie and I also volunteered for (and I organized, alongside my friend Jenn) a service project that partnered the mother/daughter service organization to which we belong with our beloved Six Kittens Rescue. We made toys and blankets for kittens, and thank you notes for families, that will be included in Welcome Home boxes that go home with newly adopted kittens.


In an attempt to prepare as much as possible for our upcoming travels, I took my car in for an oil change and a transmission flush. The technician thought he heard a sound that made him think I might have a problem with one of my hub/wheel bearings. (Are hub and wheel used interchangeably when referring to a bearing?) I made an appointment at the dealership service department - after a good experience working with them a couple of years ago - and while they agreed with the oil change technician's suspicion based on what they also heard, they couldn't officially get my car in for diagnostics until FIVE days later. So I found another service center that let me drop my car off minutes later and had it completely finished (there were actually issues beyond the hub/wheel bearing) by the following afternoon. 

I'm so grateful the oil change technician was paying close enough attention (and had a comprehensive service background) to actually hear the issue and made sure I knew how important it was to get the car more thoroughly checked before taking it on a road trip. And I'm so grateful for the service center who got the work done in such a timely fashion!


Fun Friday Update

Last week the kids and I forgot it was Friday until mid-afternoon. Will was playing volleyball and futsal with friends when Hallie and I remembered, so we called him and asked if he wanted to spin by, pick us up, and go out for Bahama Buck's. He did, so we did. It was unplanned and not all that exciting in comparison to activities we could have done had we been more prepared, but we still had a great time.

We took two cars (I was dealing with my car issues
mentioned above), and it was really fun for me pull up next to
(at a stoplight) and then see them chatting with one another. 

Happy weekend, friends!

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

It Wasn't Me... (An Update from the Cat Whisperer)

A few weeks ago I posted about a cat I met - and immediately became best friends with - while walking around my neighborhood.

Not even a couple of hours after the post went up on Facebook, a friend of mine commented on the post with just one word: "Sherry!" Below that, another woman who I didn't know commented, "😉 the cat that adopted us."

As I texted back and forth with my friend, I learned that this cat (Sherry) had been a true neighborhood cat - in a completely different neighborhood - until she (Sherry) fell in love with one particular family. This family fell in love with Sherry right back, so they adopted her and of course brought her with them when they moved to my neighborhood.

I thought of myself as that cat whisperer that day, but my friend sent me pictures that proved it wasn't was just Sherry being Sherry, the sweetest, friendliest, outgoing, and extroverted cat ever.

I've yet to meet my new neighbors (other than Sherry, of course), but we are friends on Facebook now and I'm looking forward to meeting them in person and saying hello to Sherry again!

Friday, June 23, 2023

High Five for Friday (6.23.23)



Last week we took care of Teaka - formerly Bob, of Hallie's Hairstyle Babes - and her brother, Waffle. For the first time (we've taken care of her quite a few times since our friends adopted her), Teaka actually seemed to remember us and enjoy our presence, which felt like such a win. Waffle, on the other hand, ONLY came out when I offered treats. 

A perk of tending to these sweet kitties is jumping in "their" swimming pool after we've finished our home and pet-related tasks, and we took advantage of this opportunity because it's felt downright awful outside recently. Hallie swam quite a few times and Will joined her twice, but the only picture I took is of Will, stealing Hallie's unicorn float. 


Last year we took care of most of our annual appointments in August. This year, I'm cramming as many as I can into June, just to lighten our load when we'll be preparing to send the kids back to school. In the last two weeks we've knocked out two pediatrician appointments, two vaccines, new epi-pen and inhaler prescriptions, four dentist appointments, and two eye doctor appointments. I'm also on the waiting list to bump a couple of August-scheduled appointments to June, so maybe we'll be able to add to that list.

He doesn't need glasses (yet), but when we
discovered that my dad's glasses from the 80s
are back in style, Will had to try them on.

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 had almost nothing on our weekend calendar, and it was so nice not to be "on the clock." Hallie and I shopped for dresses and ran a few errands, Hallie baked cookie bars, I wrote and worked at Starbucks, Tom and Will disc golfed, Tom worked in the yard, and Will played soccer and volleyball with friends. We also celebrated Father's Day with this spectacular - if I do say so myself - gift. 

We returned to regularly scheduled (summer) programming on Monday morning at 7am, but the brief respite was lovely.


Fun Friday Update

We had a pretty good chunk of time available last Friday, so the kids asked to go to the outlet mall in Cypress. Both picked out a few things for summer, we had lunch in the food court, we stopped at Buccee's on the way home.

Sometimes it's best if they don't
know I'm taking pictures of them.


Happiness Highlights

These four worked their tails off volunteering at VBS this week.

Have you ever seen anything cuter than sweet
Aiden "holding court" with all of his dancers?

Will inherited the ability to sleep anywhere (like at the
dentist) from Tom, who inherited the ability from his mom. 


Also helping.

Brunch to bid farewell to two of this incredible group.

Just a quick bath before lecture, Dad.

Tom's most recent ace!

Happy weekend, friends!

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

8th Grade: Then and Now

I follow my niece's dance studio on social media, and a couple of weeks ago I came across a picture they'd shared of some of their 8th grade dancers preparing for middle school graduation. I was immediately struck by how mature and sophisticated these girls looked: they were nicely dressed and put together, with lovely hair and make up, and they all looked so confident in their skin and happy with their friends. Almost as quickly I was reminded of my own middle school graduation photo...and I couldn't help but laugh out loud remembering how ridiculous I looked by today's standards.

This is 8th grade now: 

Our middle school/school district don't do 8th grade
graduations, so this is a pic of Hallie and her friends
before their RDA Gala a couple of months ago.

And this is a pic of the lovely 8th graders from my
niece's dance studio. I adore their color coordinating.

And this, my friends, was 8th grade in the mid-90s:

Holy shoulder pads, Batman. And those glasses. And those bangs. (I was wearing a french braid, but of course you can't see it which makes my hair look particularly unfortunate from the front.) At least I didn't have to wear my headgear during the day...

Friday, June 16, 2023

High Five for Friday (6.16.23)


This issue of HFFF should probably be called High Five for apologies for the dance overload this week!


Week two of summer dance wrapped after13 hours of classes, including a couple of former Radio City Rockette Brittany Bean. Such a cool experience!

Ms. Brittany

Our beloved Ms. Taylor came back for a day of
the intensive. It was so good to see her, and for
Hallie to dance with her again.


This year's dance pictures - taken by the kind, generous, and talented Ari Jones - are *chef's kiss*. Hallie loves them, and so do I.

📸 Ariana Jones Photography


Dance photos wouldn't be complete without capturing these three. We're so grateful Ari could help us carry on this tradition.

📸 Ariana Jones Photography


Last Friday night, Hallie and I flew to Madison, Wisconsin. On Saturday morning, we drove to Metamora, Illinois. On Saturday night, we drove back to Madison. And on Sunday midday, we flew back to College Station. We traveled more than 2,500 miles in less than 48 hours...for a dance recital.

Yep, we made the journey so we could see Lily dance in her dance recital. Lily didn't know we were coming, and the surprise alone made the trip worth it. 

It was wonderful to see Lily, my sister, their family, and my parents, and Lily did an amazing job in her recital. A weekend well spent.


When Milton's siblings left, we decided the time had come to let Milton out into "gen pop" (the rest of the house beyond the master bedroom, bathroom, and closet). Plié hated him from the moment he crossed the threshold from the master bedroom into the living room, but over time, Popeye - certainly the friendlier of our two feline family members - started playing with Milton. 

Milton leaves us today. Plié is - I'm sure - thrilled. Popeye, on the other hand, will miss him. 

That said, Popeye needs a good, long nap - Milton is a rambunctious, energetic "toddler," and I've been comparing Popeye to an exhausted mother who can't take much more "MOM. MOM. MOM. MOM. MOM." (except it's "POPEYE. POPEYE. POPEYE. POPEYE. POPEYE") before he goes insane.

Bonus Six

Fun Friday Update

We had to split up for our Fun Friday activities last week, but it all worked out! Will chose lunch and trivia at Mad Taco (this isn't organized trivia, but they have a television in the bar that shows trivia so we stayed for probably 30 minutes after we'd finished eating to play), and Hallie "chose" flying on two airplanes and running through DFW so we could both make our connection flight AND get Auntie Anne's Pretzels for dinner.

Mad Taco trivia

Reading the safety manual prior to take off, as she
ALWAYS does. When she was a toddler, she used
to make us "seen" (sing) it to her.

Happy weekend, friends!