Friday, June 21, 2024

High Five for Friday (6.21.24)



My boys made it home safely after their cross-country trek from Texas to Tennessee, Tennessee to Michigan (with a stop in Cincinnati), and finally, Michigan back to Texas. Upon returning, they had the sweetest of reunions with our kitty babies, who we miss tremendously and who we know miss us too. Today Hallie and I start our journey home as well, which means that tomorrow evening we'll all be under the same roof once again!

PliΓ© has known how to open drawers for a while, but in recent
weeks she's also learned how to open cabinets. So now she likes to
leave a few open every day, just to let us know she's been there.

So happy to see her boys!

Tom needed a good cleaning when he returned.


Speaking of Michigan, Will loved - and both he and Tom were impressed by - their tour of the University of Michigan. He's felt really good about all three campuses he's visited so far, which is great in that he can see himself fitting in at each university but is less great in that he isn't narrowing down the list of schools to which he plans to apply. (These are the only two pics - of Will with the cube - Tom took on campus.)


People ask Will all the time whether or not he wants to play soccer in college, and his answer is almost always "I don't know." It's not that he doesn't know if he likes soccer enough to keep playing - he absolutely DOES like soccer enough to keep playing. It's that there are so many other factors involved (related to soccer, but also related to academics, money, etc.), and he just doesn't feel equipped to make a decision yet. The high five here is that recently becoming a part of Cavalry's UPSL team is helping him get a feel for yet another league, level and style of play, and coaching style, which is always a good thing in competitive athletics. If only I hadn't missed the last two games... (But a double high five to Tom, who always keeps me in the loop with his patented "Dadcast.")


Last week, friends of ours from College Station - who we've known for years through Cavalry and Lads soccer - traveled to Madison to visit the University of Wisconsin. My dad, who loves hosting guests to Madison and the UW, offered to pick them up from the airport and deliver them to their hotel downtown...and then before I/they knew it, an airport pick up turned into hanging out at my parents' house. It's bizarre but really fun when completely different parts of your life collide like this!

While we're on my dad... A few months ago he got ordained on the internet and last weekend he performed the (his first) wedding of his best friend's son. I wasn't in attendance, but I heard he did a great job, and he looked pretty spiffy too!



In keeping with the dad theme... Happy belated Father's Day to my kids' dad, my dad, my FIL, BILs, and all the other awesome dads out there. We love you!

The Mad Scientist

Grand-PAUL + his four grandkids

My FIL + my SIL and me, on one of the more epic and most
memorable nights of my life - we're forever united by this
Hunger Games-esque experience! (A story for another post...)

My BIL (who is 6' 3") + Will in a tiny train tent -
definitely one of my favorite pictures of the two of them.

My BIL + his fam in their award-winning
(Simpsons, of course) Halloween costumes.

Happy weekend, friends!

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Monthly Medley: May 2024



I finished two books this month: Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult and The Love of My Life by Rosie Walsh. Vanishing Acts wasn't my favorite Picoult novel - it just wasn't as gripping as some of her others - but I still enjoyed it. The Love of My Life started strong, tapered off a bit, and then REALLY picked speed with a steady stream of twists and turns - I highly recommend this one!


Tom and I started Fargo, but because the seasons take place in different eras and locations with only VERY slight overlaps, we actually watched season five first, followed by season one. Both were excellent, and I can't wait to move on to the remaining three seasons. (We're watching on Hulu - I had no idea this show originally aired on FX a decade ago.)

Hallie and I are knee deep in How I Met Your Mother, and when we need something different, we pop over to Glee. When Glee first aired 15 years ago, two-year-old Will LOVED watching the songs and dances with me. (He couldn't have cared less about the rest of show, of course, given that he was a toddler.) I remember hoping that someday I would be able to watch Glee again - but all of it, not just the songs and dances - with Hallie, who was brand new at the time but who I suspected would follow in her mama's footsteps and adore musical production numbers. πŸ˜‰

Listening To

I took a brief hiatus from my regularly scheduled podcast programming to listen to Believe in Magic, a short series about "Charity, celebrity, illness and control...the extraordinary story of a teenage girl and her charity Believe in Magic, which ends up challenging the very nature of sickness itself." It reminded me of Scamanda, a podcast I listed to a few months ago about an illness-related scam, but came complete with its own unique and disturbing facets.


I regularly add to the list of clubs, organizations, businesses, and influencers I follow, but I very infrequently cull that list. As a result, over time that list gets longer and longer and includes fewer and fewer posts that align with what I'm looking for from social media. So I've now instated a weekly practice - which I believe I learned about first from Mel Robbins on Instagram - called "Unfollow Friday." It's pretty simple: on Fridays, chose (at least) one page/person that doesn't bring you joy, inspiration, entertainment, or verified/educational information and unfollow. Try it - I promise it feels good. 


About three months ago my curling iron and straightening iron broke within the span of four days. My hair did NOT look good that week. I'd be dragging my feet on trying this L'ange Le Duo curling iron, but I felt like this - along with the fact that a friend was considering one as well and they were offering a discount on two or more - was a sign. My initial hope was that this one product could replace both my curling and straightening irons, but in reality, it didn't exactly replace either. It can create curls/waves like a curling iron, and in a pinch can function as a straightening iron, but because it works differently, it ultimately produces different results. I feel like I still need both a curling iron for tighter ringlets, which Hallie occasionally needs for dance, and a straightening iron for getting the rubber band lines and weird kinks out of my hair. That said, I love the L'ange Le Duo, and consider the price worth it, especially if you can get it on sale.

I've shared about Buff City Soap before, but this is your friendly reminder to jump on the bandwagon if you haven't done so already. I like these soaps enough that when we traveled to Nashville, I brought my own soap with me from home, which I've never done before. 

This bath/shower caddy is my favorite Amazon purchase in quite a while - it's inexpensive yet doesn't look or feel that way, and the color combo is so cute!


I have nothing new to share here, but I do have recommendations from both kids!

Will doesn't care a lot about clothing, so when he put these swim trunks on and asked me to purchase him a second pair, I knew they were worth sharing. (The size chart was a little wonky, but Will ended up in his "regular" size for bottoms.)

Hallie recently tried these fake eyelashes (she doesn't wear fake eyelashes every day, but regularly wears them for dance) and has become a fan. The application process is much easier and less messy that regular fake eyelashes, and she can handle it all by herself which is a win in my book!


At the recommendation of an influencer who's almost always spot on with what she shares, I gave Wildgrain a try. We've had three orders delivered thus far, and we've found multiple different products we love (and a couple we didn't love quite as much). I appreciate that there's no commitment or regular schedule you're required to adhere to, they communicate regularly about orders (so you're not surprised with an order you didn't intend to place, which has happened to me with other food subscription entities), and everything goes from freezer to table in 25 minutes or less. I'm not an influencer so I don't have a code for you, but if you're interested in giving it a try, let me know and I'll direct you to someone who has a code. 

I thought this could make my beloved "cold brew with soft top" from Dutch Bros with this cold foam, but - spoiler alert - I couldn't. My kids LOVE topping their coffee with it though, so it's a win with two out of four Ferri. (I actually think it tastes good too - it just didn't replace my favorite Dutch Bros drink.)

Feeling Good About


Until next month...

Friday, June 14, 2024

High Five for Friday (6.14.24)



We kicked off our second year as members of SheServes - Brazos Valley (and mother/daughter service organization) with a fun evening at volunteering at the food bank. I appreciate that being involved with this organization allows us to learn more about the MANY different ways one can give back to the community while also actually giving back to the community and spending time with each other and friends.


Will went from a few debut minutes in his first UPSL game to playing the full 90 in his second UPSL game, and they won! Unfortunately I was on the road and missed the game, but Tom provided me with a great voice-to-text play-by-play and this picture.


A quick shout out to our local dance store - Attitude Dance Boutique - and its fabulous owner and employees, without whom we would not have arrived in Nashville prepared for Hallie's summer intensive. They went above and beyond to get her the pointe shoes she needed, and they everything else I needed each time I popped in (yes, it was multiple times) in the days prior to our departure. 


Speaking of Nashville, Hallie and I made it! Our road trip was pretty uneventful, thankfully, and within a couple of days we felt like we had settled in and figured out the lay of the land...meaning we've found Target, Trader Joe's, Starbucks, and a few of our favorite restaurants that we don't have in College Station!


Will "borrowed" my phone for about a half hour on Monday night and left me, as a parting gift, with 18 minutes worth of video and more than 700 images of...him, most of which were discretely taken while engaged in a conversation. I saved a few, and I'm sharing my favorites here.

I sure do love that kid...

I usually run by him photos I want to share here, but I didn't do so this time - if you're going to take 18 minutes and 700 photos on my phone, I'm going to assume you're ok with me sharing them. πŸ˜‰


Happy weekend, friends!

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

A Day (Few Hours) Late and a Dollar Short

Sometimes things don't go exactly like we'd planned, and today's post is one of those things. 

Hallie and I spent all day Friday packing our bags (laundry baskets - my newest packing trick that I can’t believe I didn’t try sooner) and loading the car. At 10am on Saturday morning, we hit the road, bound for Nashville. We made it about two-thirds of the way, to Forrest City, AR,  that evening, and then we finished the drive on Sunday. 

The reason for our road trip? Hallie’s summer intensive at Nashville Ballet. She started yesterday, and day one - while not without a couple of snafus - was as successful as I could have hoped for, all things considered. 

I had plans to write Friday night at home, then Saturday night on the road, then Sunday night in Nashville, and then yesterday while Hallie was dancing…but none of those scenarios played out. I’m hoping to find a coffee shop and crank out a few hours of writing and work tomorrow, and then I should be back on track for Friday. Until then, here’s an early glimpse into our adventure!

Friday, June 7, 2024

High Five for Friday (6.7.24)


Late last week I was able to have coffee or lunch with multiple friends, a few of whom I hadn't seen in quite a while. I think the kids - who were home each time I headed out the door - were surprised at how often I leave the house on a normal day. πŸ˜‚


On Friday night - more than six weeks late - Hallie "celebrated" her birthday (and by celebrated, I mean used her birthday as an excuse to plan an extra fun sleepover) with friends. I'm so grateful she has these three in her life.


Will was recently added to Cavalry Soccer Club's UPSL roster, and on Saturday night he dressed for the first time. He wasn't sure if he'd play at all, but he ended up with 10-15 "debut" minutes at the end of the game during which Cavalry came back from a two-goal deficit to tie the game at three all. Will didn't directly influence either goal, but it was really cool for all of us to see him take his game to the next level. 

UPSL, or United Premiere Soccer League, is the largest and most competitive pro-development league - for players 16+ - in North America. There are more than 400 teams across the United States and I believe the league has now expanded to Mexico and Canada as well.

Halftime nap for Tom. It was one MILLION degrees
with one THOUSAND percent humidity outside, so his need
to doze was understandable - it felt like we could barely move.

Add to the heat and humidity that they played at dusk, so the
mosquitoes were out in full force. (I realize I've made it sound like
we didn't have fun, but we always have fun watching him play.)


After a week off, Hallie returned to dance - with a week-long intensive at the new Elements Academy of Dance - on Monday. You know your kids love what they "do" when a few days rest just makes them want to get back into the studio more. 

Hallie loved learning from her usual teachers, but she also had a great time with guest teachers Dominick Oliver and Gary W. Jeter II.

Mr. Dominick

Mr. Gary


We've made tremendous strides with two of our three Lion King 2 babies - Kiara and Kovu are completely delightful and are going to make wonderful additions to a family as soon as they've finished all of their veterinary care. Progress with Vitani has been s...l...o...w, but these last couple of days we've seen noteable progress - she's still scared, but she has started allowing us to be near(er) to her, she will now eat while I'm in the same room as her (as long as I don't stare directly at her), and she's now playing with her siblings. We're getting there!



Vitani, solidly under the bed...

...Vitani, at the *edge* of under the bed...

...Vitani, out from under the bed and in the bathroom!

Happy weekend, friends!