Friday, March 29, 2024

High Five for Friday (3.29.24)



The Lads won their first round playoff match! My boy earned himself an assist, and played all 80 minutes of the game - he declared it one of his best performances on the field.

We go again tonight at HOME! Kick off is at 7pm at Tiger Stadium - message me if you'd like more information, and if you're local, join us in the stands to cheer for our Lads!


On both Saturday afternoon and Wednesday evening, Hallie and her Ballet Brazos friends performed Carnival of the Animals for young audiences at the College Station and Bryan libraries. This is such a cute and quirky show/story, and it was fun for our dancers to get to bring it to the "stage" once more - especially for such enthusiastic little kids - before putting it to bed for the season.

After Carnival of the Animals on Saturday, Hallie attended our dance studio's annual awards ceremony to watch one of her besties win an award (surprise, Kara! 😂) and then we gathered at Bahama Bucks to celebrate Kara's birthday. 


Meanwhile on Saturday, Will was playing in a high school chess tournament. After five rounds (the length of the tournament) and a pretty epic comeback by the team as a whole, Will's team and another team were tied for first place. The tournament organizer decided that the tournament champion would be determined by a five-minute blitz game between one player from Will's team and one player from the other team. Will was selected as his team's representative...and he got the job done, bringing home the first place trophy!


Hallie's spring choir concert - a "dress rehearsal," if you will, for their upcoming UIL Concert and Sight Reading Competition - went well. Hallie's had mixed emotions about choir this year, but she just decided, after going back and forth a few times, that she enjoys singing enough to stay in choir next year.


Last summer I told Tom that for our 20th anniversary, I'd like a duplicate of my wedding band for the other side of my engagement ring. (Most of the time he prefers that I just tell him what I'd like for gifts - this works best for us because I receive something I love and he doesn't have to shop.) Over winter break and just ahead of our January anniversary, we visited the jeweler from which Tom bought my rings decades ago - Borsheims in Omaha, NE - to inquire about our options. As it turns out, my line of rings isn't made anymore, so we had them custom make a ring to match (and fix a few prongs on my existing rings). This last week I finally got my engagement and wedding rings back, along with my new ring - I love them! 

I tried really hard to take a good picture
of my hand and the ring. I didn't succeed. 😂

Happy weekend, friends!

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Will's Mom

I remember as a new mom having a hard time adapting to people - mostly administrative staff, nurses, and doctors at Will's pediatrician's office - calling me "Will's mom." It wasn't that I didn't like the title, but that the title felt foreign and I couldn't recognize it as mine. I imagine that if you're a parent, or if you're married and changed your last name, you've experienced feeling something similar.  

Eventually I adjusted, and over time "Will's mom" (and Hallie's mom) became the title by which I was referred to more often than almost anything else. The kids' close friends and teammates eventually learned "Miss Erin" or "Mrs. Ferris," but the classmates and friends we didn't see as regularly stuck with "Will's mom" because it was easier and more accurate for them. 

I actually still get called "Will's mom" a lot, despite the fact that the kids are teenagers. For example, a couple of years ago I went for a walk in a neighborhood near our house. As I neared two kids who looked about Will's age, one of them sized me up and then tentatively inquired, "Will's mom?" I stopped, surprised he knew me - I thought he looked familiar but couldn't place him - and responded in the affirmative. He went on to explain that Will had been in his second grade class (MANY years earlier) and I had been the class room mom. This kind of thing happens to me every few months, and it always brings a proud smile to my face...because the reason they "know" or remember me is almost always because they know or remember Will fondly.

As I'm sure you, my regular readers, know, I never miss a Lads game. I love watching my boy play, of course, but I also love helping coordinate our special events, socializing with my soccer mom friends, talking with Tom, explaining soccer to Hallie, and getting to know the students who come to support the Lads. Earlier in the season I met two students (in kind of a funny way, but that's a story for another time) who I really liked - they were polite but also fun and funny, and they were solid fans to boot. I chatted with them that first night and again at multiple games throughout the season, and once I shared my extra Lads treats with them.

What an awesome surprise it was to show up at a game later on in the season to this:

Can you read that? It says, "only here for Will's mom."

I mean, I know they were there for the Lads, but it was still pretty awesome to be Will's mom that night. Actually, it's pretty awesome to be Will's mom most nights.

Oh, and they let me keep the poster. 😉

Friday, March 22, 2024

High Five for Friday (3.22.24)



Big update... Your Lads are DISTRICT CHAMPIONS! They took down their final district opponent 6-0 to clinch the top spot. 

The Lads' last four regular seasons ended in disappointment (2020 - cancelled, 2021 - didn't make playoffs, 2022 - missed out on playoffs by 1 point, 2023 - missed out on district champion by 1 point), so what a gift it was to see them get to end this regular season with a massive celebration.   

Kind of a weird shot - he was 10 feet below me and had to
jump up and grab the rail, do a pull-up, and then hold himself in
that position while I got it together enough to take our picture.

The Lads scrimmaged 6A Stony Point High School in Austin this past Wednesday - a "tune up" game - and came away with both the regular time win and the fake shootout (so both teams could practice and prepare for possible shootouts during the playoffs) victory.

Another weird was windy and really dark, and the "live"
function, which I use to grab his best smile, doesn't work in the dark. 

#wegoagain in the first round of the playoffs on Tuesday against Chaparral in Killeen. 


Just seven hours after we got home from the above-mentioned district champion victory, we were on the road heading for the airport to catch our flight to Arizona. Despite a few mishaps, we had a great trip, which I'll share more about next week!


I planned our trip so that when we returned we would still have a few days of spring break left to recover and relax. We all, as planned, recovered and relaxed (or at least we tried to, while adjusting to the stupid time change), but Tom and I also worked in the yard and around the house while Will played soccer and disc golf with friends and Hallie fit in a little dancing. (You know they love what they do when they go immediately back to it after just a few days away.)

A little before and after of an area in our backyard that we'd kind of "let go" over the course of the last year. It was driving me CRAZY, so Tom cleared out the junk (not pictured) that was piling up (one of us is a bit of a hoarder), I weeded until my fingers bled and my hands cramped in the shape of claws, Will bagged leaves and brush, and then Tom went shopping at Lowe's, planted a few new bushes and flowers, and layed bags of mulch. The yard still needs so much spring-time TLC (the weeds just never stop and I can't keep up with them), but this was a step in the right direction!


We said goodbye to our prison babies right before we left for spring break. They (specifically Belle) were one of my more challenging litters, at least for the first month, but we loved those little criminals dearly and are so happy they found their forever home. 

Anne is just so cute - I could eat her up.

Every day, once they'd figured out how to climb on our bed,
they rearranged the throw pillows to make themselves a little nest.

They found "Duke's spot." 😍


Happiness Highlights

The little matchbox marshmallow roasting kits Santa
gifted the kids in their stockings turned out to really fun. 

Hallie's St. Patrick's Day cake.

She wasn't happy with it, but the rest of us through it was
delicious and exceptionally bright and cheerful on the inside!

When I moved away from home, my mom bought me
a Winnie the Pooh measuring cup. I used it regularly until
very recently, when the markings became so worn that it
could no longer measure anything correctly. A few days
after she visited me last, a new one arrived. 

Love her.

I am DEEP down the "where is Kate Middleton"
rabbit hole, so that, coupled with my love for cats,
has made this my new favorite photoshop effort.

Will is learning to paint. I think he was excited
we could all (well, most of us) identify this effort.

Just a tiny little project of mine and Hallie's.

Tux's new tree is showing signs of life.

Happy weekend, friends!

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Did We Do It? Did We Save Time?

I had another post planned for today, but because of Daylight Saving Time - yes, I'm blaming it on Daylight Saving Time - I just can't quite get it together. 

I know we technically "sprung forward" last Saturday night/Sunday morning, but because of where our spring break falls, we don't usually have to fully adjust until a week later, on the Monday morning when the kids go back to school. 

We had a unique time change experience this year. On Saturday the 9th, we fell back an hour when we flew from Texas to Arizona. And then, instead of springing forward an hour that night, we - along with the rest of Arizona - stuck with standard time...because Arizona is one of only two smart states in the United States and doesn't change times twice a year. (Insert choirs of angels singing "Hallelujah!" here.)

We adapted quickly to Arizona time (falling back is always easier), so when we flew home to Texas we had to spring forward two hours instead of one. Let's just say we didn't handle it well, especially yesterday and this morning.

5yo Hallie, struggling with Daylight Saving Time on vacation.


I know I'm in the minority here, but I can't stand Daylight Saving Time and I also can't seem to let this calendar event pass without expressing and explaining my discontent. Maybe one of these days I'll accept what is and move on...maybe not.


So first, why doesn't Arizona observe Daylight Saving Time? Because Arizona is so hot, shifting daylight later in the day would increase the need for air conditioning, which would translate to an increase in fuel consumption.

"By not adding one more hour of daylight in the evening, Arizona lawmakers helped keep energy consumption down and reduced the strain on the region’s energy grid. This helps residents keep energy costs down. A 2008 report from the U.S. Department of Energy estimated that sticking with the same time year-round saves 0.5% of the energy consumed per day. Nationwide, that equates to enough energy to power 100,000 homes." 

This is actually kind of funny, because while Daylight Saving Time was originally created to decrease fuel consumption (when the majority of our fuel consumption was in the form of lighting), it likely does the opposite now (as the majority of fuel consumption is in the form of air conditioning). Seems like something for Texas to consider, given our sweltering summer weather and ongoing energy grid "challenges"...

Second, Daylight Saving Time - both the initial shift and the long-term  - has been shown to have a negative impact on health markers. There is an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, mood disturbances, and car accidents in the days immediately following the shift, and the extra light late into the evenings alters our natural circadian rhythms, which decreases the amount we sleep and translates to a host of negative health consequences. 

I should add that there are certainly some positives associated with Daylight Saving Time; for example, I was surprised to recently learn that during Daylight Saving Time there is a slight decrease in certain crimes, likely due to fewer hours of evening/late night darkness. I don't think these positives outweigh the overwhelming negatives though, and I'm ready to be done with this nonsense. 

I'm also ready to be done complaining about all this...until next March! 😉

Thanks for hanging in there with me until the end of blog post rant. 😂  In case you're interested, here are a few of my sources: source 1source 2source 3

Friday, March 8, 2024

High Five for Friday (3.8.24)



Last Friday night the Lads won over Rudder. I was incredibly proud of Will for stepping into a challenging and "high stakes" position - center back - for his team, and of the Lads as a whole for handling a little late-in-the-game chaos with poise and by supporting one another.

Turns out Will's picture was in the newspaper after the previous
Tuesday's game. Thanks to my friend Kimberly for spotting it for me!

On Tuesday night the Lads ended up with a tie, but again I was so proud of them - they went down 0-2 early after two flukes/errors, but they came back to take the lead 3-2. Another fluke/error with just a few minutes left allowed their opponent to tie the game at 3-3, where it ended despite an amazing goal-scoring attempt with less than five seconds left on the clock.

Our last home game is always Senior Night. It'll be hard to say
goodbye to this year's MANY (14 players, two managers) seniors
when their season comes to an end.

Little Lad, Big Lad

The Lads go again tonight, in their final district match of the season. 


I asked Will if it was hard for him to switch gears, from a team sport like soccer on Friday evening to an individual sport like disc golf on Saturday morning. He told me it wasn't, and then put an exclamation point on that statement by winning the Throwing Down the Gauntlet Platinum Tier tournament in the MA2 division. This win confirms that he'll move up to MA1, the highest level of amatuer play. (Turns out that with his score, Will actually would have won the MA1 division had he been entered there.)

I watched a couple of holes from afar, but since it appears Will plays his best when neither of his parents are nearby, I ducked out earlier than I would have liked... 


...the next day, though, Will asked me if I wanted to go disc golfing with him. Even though I'm not great, I don't like disc golf courses (bugs, snakes, thorns, poison ivy, etc.), and I had just gotten out of the shower, I immediately and enthusiastically agreed to go. When your teenage son wants to spend time with you, you say yes, you go, you do it. And you never regret your decision.


Tom spent the weekend in Nebraska (he left Saturday morning, after the Friday night game, and got home late Monday night before the Tuesday game - can't miss the Lads), celebrating his dad's birthday and our puppy nephew's birthday. We discovered that if you factor in "dog years," Tom's dad and Fabio turned the same age on their birthdays...I'll let you do the math and figure that one out. 😉

The birthday boy picking up Uncle Tom at the airport.

Tom made light-up bow ties for both his dad and
Fabio for their birthdays. They were pretty excited
about their new formalwear. 

Checking out downtown Omaha. 


Spring Break starts this afternoon! (Or maybe spring break starts this evening, after the Lads' final district game comes to an end.) We have some fun adventures planned, but we also hope to tackle our yard (why is outdoor spring cleaning so tedious and difficult?), prep for upcoming spring and summer travel, and, if we're lucky, fit in a little rest and relaxation. I'm taking the week off from posting here to spend as much time as I can with my kiddos and Tom - see you on Tuesday, March 19th!

Flashback Friday: Spring Break 1997. My friends and I went to Clearwater, FL during our senior year of high school. I'm still not sure how I convinced my mom - or any of us convinced our parents, for that matter - to let me go... 

Happy weekend/spring break, friends!

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Monthly Medley: February 2024

January lasted for 428 days but February pass by in just a little over in four hours, am I right? I feel like I blinked and the month was over, so my offerings for February are little sparcer than they've been the last few months. Hopefully March will feel like a normal month!


Throughout the last year I've become a huge fan of Jodi Picoult, and my most recent read of hers lived up to what I've come to expect. Leaving Time centers around a young daughter's search for her mother, from whom she was separated 10 years prior while living at an elephant sanctuary with her parents. The story shifts between past and present events, weaving together the mother's doctoral research on elephant grief and mysteries surrounding multiple tragedies with the daughter's quest to find answer with the help of a psychic who seems to have lost her gift and a retired detective-turned-private investigator with his own connections to the previously-referenced tragedies. Just like every Picoult novel I've read, the story gripped me from the beginning and the plot twist toward the end was 👏 . But what I loved the most about this novel was how Picoult's in-depth elephant research allowed her to share - in story form - incredible information about how these beautiful and intelligent animals behave and think and celebrate and grieve and live. 


I'm struggling to find a new show to "replace" Suits, so until I do, I'm working my way through seasons of shows in which I'm already invested: Queer Eye, The Lincoln Lawyer, and Virgin River. Any suggestions on a good follow up to Suits?

As a family, we started watching Avatar: The Last Airbender. I wasn't excited about this series at first, but it's not nearly as bad as I expected and we're all having fun not taking it too seriously. Particularly cool to note: one of the show's younger stars hails from College Station and used to do Tae Kwon Do with Will!

Listening To

I finished The Bakersfield Three, and moved on to Swindled, a true crime podcast about white collar crime, corporate greed, and con artists. The content and production are excellent, however in the beginning I wasn't a fan of the host's voice, as it seemed far too monotone and unfeeling for a podcast. I powered through because the stories he tells are that good, and I just recently learned that the host is unknown - he goes by "A Concerned Citizen" - which makes me think that his voice might be slightly modified for anonymity. 


I didn't find any new pages to follow this month...


It's a little late for this (Valentine's Day) red heart sweater, but if you can find it on a Target clearance rack, grab it immediately. It's incredibly comfortable, and I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that every time I wore it, multiple people tell me how cute it looked. 

It was time for new shoes, so I picked up a few pairs of every day, casual sneakers to take me from the cooler evenings into the warmer spring days. I LOVE this Adidas pair and this Keds pair, and I'm giving this Keds pair a try as well. Note: the Adidas pair runs very large - I ended up in a full size smaller than what I usually wear.


While I don't like this boot holder quite as much as my first one (which I can't find the link to - sorry), I needed an option for more than three pairs of boots and so far it's gotten the job done. 

After watching an influencer I follow wash her make up brushes, I decided I should do the same, since I've literally never done so. 😬 The make up brush cleaning mat she used cost a little more than what I was willing to pay as a first-time brush washer, so I went with a smaller, simpler, less expensive version and it did a great job!


It feels like all I do in the kitchen in February is bake for the Lads. 😂 (I wouldn't have it any other way though.) 

  • This Soft & Chewy M&M Cookie Bar recipe was a hit with the Lads and at home. I decreased the sugar by about 1/8 of a cup, mostly because I feel like I need to decrease the sugar in everything I bake, and I used mini M&Ms (sprinkling a few on top of the dough before popping the pans into the oven) because I think they're cuter than full-size M&Ms. If you happen to make this recipe for a crowd, I found that tripling the recipe - which calls for a 9 x 9 pan - works well for two 9 x 13 pans. 
  • With the family, this Beef Shawarma Wrap was a HUGE hit. I made a lot of adaptations because of what I had and didn't have on hand at home, and I won't change a thing when I make it again soon. First, I used about a pound and a half of flank steak (rather than just one pound), and I was glad I did because I cut off a lot of the fat prior to cooking (decreasing the amount left to cook) and the four of us completely finished all of it. Second, I didn't whisk the first grouping of ingredients in a bowl first - I just dumped everything for the marinade into a plastic bag and shook it up - easier, and fewer dishes to wash later. Third, I didn't have coriander, turmeric (which I HATE), or cardamom so I just increased slightly the amounts of the other spices. I also skipped the parsley and pickles as toppings. The only additional edit I'll make next time is to make more sauce - I wanted a little bit more to match the amount of meat.

Feeling Good About

Hope your February was fun!