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11.26.2014

Gotcha Day: The 10th Anniversary

Every year, at least for the past ten, we celebrate something special on November 14th.

That's the date Scott and I walked out of Orphanage #14 in Moscow, Russia holding an orange and pink snow suited bundle of a baby (she was still a baby at 14 months) (that's a lot of 14s isn't it?) and nobody stopped us.

Don't worry, it was all legit and she was ours (!!) through the miracle of international adoption, but after years of infertility failures I kept waiting for something to snag in our adoption.

But it didn't.

Nada, zip, zilch.

No delays or roadblocks--although the international adoption process itself is, um...rather involved.

From the time we turned in our application to the above described exit from the orphanage it took only 8 months (and yes, those 8 months were filled with dossier reports, home surveys, social worker interviews, numerous bureaucratic hoops to jump through, the agonizing (I know, it's all relative) (from early spring to late August) wait for a referral and don't forget, financial matters to attend to). 

God's hand was moving through all of it.

That little snow suited bundle now looks like this.
I brought her McDonald's for lunch (I know, I know, gag) to kick off a little Gotcha Day celebrating.
Her teacher said Annelise had stood up in front of the class (willingly) and told them about her adoption and why we celebrate Gotcha Day and answered a few questions. I was so proud of her!

We usually celebrate with dinner out at her pick of the place and a gift or two. This year, I guess because it was the 10th anniversary, we went a little overboard. Along with a new infinity scarf (not pictured, but she loves it) and hoodie she got a new James Avery charm for her bracelet (a Texas with a heart in it, like from Russia to Texas with love) and a silver ring with an anchor, cross and heart intertwined for faith, hope and love. She was over the moon excited!

We went out for dinner at BJs where the dinner part was only meh because she was all about getting her very own Pazookie.
I can understand her excitement.

Ever so often she gets out her baby book, which is a labor of love because that thing is a beast to carry downstairs, and peruses for a while, which warms my heart.
(picture from earlier this year one random afternoon of memory lane walking)

Saturday morning dawned earlier than normal (at least it seemed that way) with her last soccer game of the season at 8:00.
It was crazy cold (for Texas) and windy (felt even colder) and her team fought valiantly and lost but she still had a good time.
(Scott bootlegged this off of someone's FB page. Is that stealing? Oh well.)
(I wish my coffee had lasted longer than the first half.)
The team had a breakfast party afterwards in the least windy corner of the pavilion (as if) to celebrate the season, or maybe just to enjoy doughnuts, whichever. 

Loosely Realted Sidenote: We were assigned to bring orange juice, so of course I pulled a Holly (wanting to make sure there was enough) so I bought three big jugs not realizing that it would be in the low 40s and only crazy people would want to drink cold OJ. The hot chocolate dispenser was where it was AT. We gave one unopened jug away and still have one and a half jugs cluttering up our fridge. We went to IHOP after the breakfast party for a real breakfast and Scott and Annelise had the nerve to order...wait for it...orange juice. Sigh.

11.04.2014

Of Nerds and Pneumonia. And Such.

With only one, count it, one singular, blog post for the entire month of October, we'll just call it a dud and move on to November, m'mkay?

(The month itself wasn't necessarily a dud but in terms of blogging, yes.)

The end of October was something of a crash and burn, read: major dud. Scott went on a short business trip to Rio de Janeiro (yes, as in Brazil) (I know!) and Annelise and I had all these plans (okay, not really, but a few, including a school BBQ where she was excited to play the trumpet on stage and Trunk or Treat at church) so of course she got sick with a fever and congestion/cough.

No improvement along with a fever spike found us here Tuesday afternoon.
Where we soon discovered she had pneumonia.

I know!

Even though the fever eventually left the building her cough and general malaise lingered the rest of the week. So no school, no Trunk or Treat (our church was hosting one on Wednesday night) and no regular trick or treating later.

Believe me, there was a lot of her channeling her inner Sally.
The only Halloween-y thing we did was watch The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown and buy our own candy (and of course eat it).

Thank goodness she got to celebrate and wear her costume (and I use that term loosely) early. A friend from her soccer team invited her to a Halloween party the Saturday before she got sick so at least she did get to do something festive.

(She still feels cheated. And no amount of Reese's peanut butter cups are managing to appease her.)

Here she is in all of her brief nerd glory.
We found the shirt and suspenders at a local thrift shop and the glasses at the Dollar Tree so at least there wasn't too much $$ invested in Dud Halloween 2014.

When Annelise was not on the couch or recliner last week (we've discovered a new show on Netflix to binge on, Heartland, it's a sweet family show about two sisters and their family's horse ranch) she occupied herself with some school work, legos and a newly rediscovered old favorite, Perler beads (you know, those annoying melty beads that end up everywhere).

We also killed some time binging on the awesomeness known as OK Go videos.

(Remember their cool treadmill one from a few years back?)

(And this one might be my all time favorite because it reminds me of the game Mousetrap, but this is more like Mousetrap on crack.)

They are ridiculously creative.

Sidenote: Do y'all adore the new(ish) Rob Lowe commercials for Direct TV? I can't decide which one is my favorite.

Maybe this one. (I also like how each one ends with the theme from St. Elmo's Fire, because 80s.)

(I promise I didn't intend to go so YouTube manic when I started this post.)

I'll leave you with a completely random family photo from a couple of weeks ago.
Because we like Sonic.

And aviators.

Happy Tuesday, y'all!

10.21.2014

Lately. Ish.

Hi.

(She says as she blows dust off her long neglected blog.)

It's been far too long since my last post, like, almost a month. What? That's seriously poor bloggy behavior on my part for sure.

Not that I've been insanely busy with all of the life-y things or anything, just lacking motivation I guess (cue playing of 1D Story of My Life).

(Jumps into the random feet first.)

Last Friday was a school holiday (teacher inservice or something) so Annelise and I celebrated with sleeping in until 8:00 ish (for her) and then breakfast out at our favorite place, The Egg and I. She got eggs, bacon and toast and I got an the Vera Cruz (egg white omelet with chicken, green chiles and cheese) (I'm taking a break from the Athena scramble (eggs, asparagus, mushrooms and feta, just fyi).
She was all excited about the toast and jam, which I didn't really understand. I mean, yes, jam is the jam, but I'd much rather have an english muffin than plain toast. So I did.

Two weekends ago we had the privilege of witnessing a precious young (!!) couple start their lives together. Everything was delightful, from the lovely ceremony to the reception filled with so many personal details and beautiful touches.

Plus I got to hang out with my favorite girlies.
And the dudes and the kids had a great time too.

I know this probably sounds weird but this was Annelise's first wedding to witness. Most everyone in my family is already married or only my dad (as an uncle) gets invited (cousins don't always make the cut) and there haven't been that many weddings happening locally for friends from church, at least that we've been invited to.

Now we sound like social outcasts.

We really aren't.

So anyway, Annelise was highly excited to attend her first wedding and was totally soaking up all the details (filing certain things away I'm sure for later reference). She was also excited to get to pick out a new dress and she let me curl her hair (which by this photo had faded into loose waves).
Who would guess just a mere two hours prior she looked like this?
That's right, it's soccer season again! 

This year (so far) she's been playing goalie, for half of the game and then forward (or something, I'm never quite sure of the positions) for the second half.  She likes playing goalie, although she does feel like it's a lot of pressure (she says) but she also likes running, so this way she gets a bit of both. Her team is getting stronger and their skills are improving, but they've had a rocky start and only one win so far. Whatever. Several of the kids have been playing together for a few years now so they know each others strengths and work together pretty well as a team.

But back to her hair.

We, and I say we because her hair takes a village, have been trying different hair styles this year. Last year she was all ponytail pretty much all the time but this year she has more of a rotation. The most involved (read: sweat inducing for me) is wearing her hair straight. It requires blow drying, flat-ironing, products galore and patience (for both of us).

But the end result is nice.
At least for a short while before the humidity and P.E. kills it.

Other days she'll wear it down and naturally curly (not pictured). There is a fine line though between her natural curls enhanced with styling products and frizz (think Rosanne Rosannadanna) and sometimes that line is blurred.

For the wedding she let me curl it with my 1 1/4" curling iron which helped smooth out her hair and gave her loose waves, yet it wasn't as hard to do as flat-ironing.

Apparently ALL the girls in 5th grade (actually about four in her class) are wearing scarves with their uniforms, which I don't really understand but am yet still supporting by loaning her a few from my stash. She's hoping to start a bun trend in 5th grade too, but I don't think it's really catching on yet.
So far she's sported grey stripes, green and white stripes, blue with white polka dots and let's not forget, owls.

I even broke down and ordered her a navy chevron infinity scarf--monogrammed with her initials in hot pink (surprise!) no less--from an etsy shop. She's already worn it twice and it just arrived last week, so I'd say it's a hit.

I fully support her addiction.

After all, our ability to accessorize is the only thing that separates us from the animals.

And in closing I leave you with two final thoughts...
Annelise and I like big buns (and big sunglasses) and cannot lie.
Apparently Scott and I like to dress alike when we go out on lunch dates.

xoxo

9.23.2014

A Sleepover Party (Minus Most of the Sleep)

This weekend was greeted with much anticipation.

And with coffee (for me).

We celebrated Annelise's birthday (again) with a slumber party Friday night. Do they still call them that? Okay, sleepover. Whichever. She invited four girls from school and three were able to come, which made a total of four tween-y girls taking over our house for approximately 15 hours.

Oy vey!

She didn't have a *theme*, just a few favorite colors, so we kept things simple with the decor.
Of course, with me being me, I decided I absolutely had to make a fabric garland the night before, because I am timely like that. 
I think it turned out cute. In fact, I really don't plan on taking it down any time soon. 

(Better yet, I think I absolutely need to make one for fall.)
I even had enough strips left over to make a flouff for the light fixture.
The lanterns were a bit iffy, I didn't really know where to hang them, so there they stayed, well, except for the handful of times they fell down because they were expertly hung in front of an air vent.

I covered the table with a plastic table cloth and then used a roll of wrapping paper as a runner to add a bit of pizazz down the middle. We used our Fiesta dishes instead of paper goods, because Fiesta is always a good idea.
This was our first time to host a sleepover (ack!), so I was kind of winging it to the best of my limited ability. We planned a few activities and had a loose schedule and kept our fingers crossed.

One of the activities was decorating pillowcases, so I had everything for that bundled up in a cute wire basket (picked up on our recent girls' trip, stay tuned for that).
After the girls arrived and played for a bit we gathered them in for pizza, which served as the ideal time for Annelise to open her presents because they were sitting right. there. on the dining room table and she couldn't wait a minute longer. Her sweet friends spoiled her with gift cards and fun treats from Justice. She was over the moon excited, of course.
After pizza they started in on decorating their pillowcases while jamming to some tunes. Everything started out smoothly with the markers and stencils.
Then they broke out the slick paint, which in my mind (ha!) would be used for outlining their stencil creations. And they did some of that.

Then one free spirit decided to try her hand(s) at fingerpainting resist and another little free spirit followed in her footsteps, er, handprints and their pillowcases quickly took on an abstract flair.

It was fine, no major messes or anything, it just wasn't turning out how I imagined it, but that's okay. Annelise lost interest in hers about 1/4 of the way, her plan of making rainbow bursts at all four corners with the goal of them meeting in the middle was quickly abandoned. Another little girl pluckily finished her creation amidst all of the silliness surrounding her.

After we cleaned up and washed hands (some hand washing took much more effort than others, ahem) we played a version of Toss and Talk with a beach ball that I had written different questions and challenges on. They seemed to like that game, based on their giggles, but it went faster than I had thought.

The last planned activity was Spin the Bottle with nail polish, which they only semi-liked. What?
By 9:00 all of our planned activities were a memory but they managed to busy themselves upstairs with lots of Nerf battles. And such.

Scott kept asking if it was normal for there to be so much noise from only four girls.

I think so.

Later, they made their own ice cream sundaes and watched a movie, Despicable Me 2, except they didn't really ever settle down to watch it. After the ice cream there was a brief drama resulting from unrepentant Nerf shooting and a bit of pairing off (I didn't think that was supposed to happen with an even number!) followed by tears (only from my daughter, thank goodness). Thankfully the drama was short lived and soon all four were back together up to something else.

A big bowl of popcorn can cure most ills.

Around 11:30 I went up to give the 30 minute warning (ha!) and found myself scooting around on my knees picking up popcorn off the bedroom floor while they prepped themselves for an upcoming music video recording (they had a backdrop and everything).

A little after midnight I went back up to get them to lay their sleeping bags out and settle down for the night. I don't know how sleepovers usually go, since this was our first, but I felt obligated to at least remind them to brush their teeth and lie down. Earlier, one of the girls had taken a shower but the other three, mine included, ignored my mention of that activity (I even set our extra towels and washcloths!). I hope their parents didn't expect them to, you know, bathe, I mean, I did try, but I felt like I was fighting a losing battle, so one out of four isn't too bad I guess.

Just so you know, I never really slept that night.

And three out of four girls barely did either (the responsible one that took a shower and brushed her teeth actually slept all night--no it was not my daughter).

My mind kept swirling with crazy thoughts and worries that someone would get sick in the middle of the night or I'd wake up to find one of the girls by my bed holding a knife. After a while things got quiet upstairs (yay!) but then around 3:30 I woke up (I guess I had dozed off in between neurotic musings) to voices and stealthy movements above me.

I busted three out of the four (guess which ones) on their iPads/iPods playing Minecraft. Call me Lame Mom but I forcefully whispered that all i-things had to be off and they had to get some sleep. 

I know, I am no fun. But at almost 4:00 in the morning I'm kind of done.
Saturday morning the girls enjoyed a breakfast of pigs in blanket and their pick of sugar-y cereal and then it was time to pack up and be picked up.

Annelise declared it the best sleepover birthday party ever.

I'm glad.

I'm still recovering.

*Do you try to make kids bathe/brush/sleep at a sleepover?*
*Loose schedule, strict schedule or free for all?*
*How do you avoid girl drama?*
*Any tips for future sleepovers?*

xoxo

9.17.2014

Hair Matters

Last Wednesday was a really good day.

If for no other reason than I was finally getting my color and highlights updated.

My last hair fix was waaaayyyy back in June, like, the start of summer.

I had mile long roots of dull swamp water brown with plenty sprouts of grey.

Nice. Is what I'm saying.

Thankfully, my hair lady is a miracle worker.
And you know I had to take an annoying car selfie to document her mad color and round brush skills.
And I'm sure Carly Simon's famous song is playing somewhere in the background.

Oh well.

Now call me lazy or call me a genius, or maybe both, but my plan was to make this blow-out last for as long as possible.  Not having to fully fix my hair saves me a crazy amount of time, and since I was headed out for a girls' weekend (more on that soon) I really didn't want to fiddle with my hair.

Cue my BFF, dry shampoo.

Here are my three faves, all drugstore brand.
My favorite is probably the Batiste, I really like its coverage but I switch it up with the Clean Freak and on the rare occasion, the Suave.

I spray the roots of my hair along my face, underneath at my neck and sometimes a little at the crown if needed, let it sit for a few minutes then brush it through or use my blow dryer to fluff it all up. Then I touch things up with either my flat iron or curling wand depending how I'm wearing my hair.

I was able to stretch my salon hair all through the weekend and Monday.

Although I did resort to a trucker cap on Monday.

A girl's gotta do what a girls' gotta do, right?
My salon streak finally came to an end last night, that's right, I shampooed.

Almost six days.

That's either awesome or gross.

Or maybe both.

I'm okay with that.

xoxo

9.10.2014

What I Wore

Only three outfits to share this week, two of which are semi-repeats.

I love the ease of throwing on a basic white tee or top and changing up my accessories a little.

Obviously, since I wore a similar version of this last week.

Hush.
white sweatshirt tee : loft (lou & grey sale) // boyfriend jeans : big star, zappos (sale)
leopard flats : sam edelman, nordstrom // necklace : kendra scott // earrings : gorjana, nordstrom
watch : michael kors

Annelise and I were semi-twinkies at church in our maxi skirts/dresses and denim jackets. We love them.
my dress : stein mart // denim jacket : nordtsrom // wedges : kork-ease, zappos
necklace : kendra scott, last call // hoop earrings : gorjana, nordstrom

her outfit is all from target & payless

Yeah, I wore this top a couple of weeks ago, but I love it.
top : free people, nordstrom (sale) // distressed boyfriend jeans : gap (sale) // nude flats : nordstrom
leather cuff : farmgirl paints // watch : michael kors
layered engravable necklaces : stella and dot
chain necklace & earrings : twisted silver
I know, I know, it's kind of a lot of jewelry happening, but I really like the layered look, mixed metals and dainty pieces mixed with heavier ones to jazz up a simple outfit.

I'm linking up with The Pleated PoppyBecause Shanna Said So and Get Your Pretty On again this week, be sure to pop over there for tons of fashion inspiration.

Happy Wednesday, y'all!
xoxo

9.09.2014

Eleven

We celebrated Annelise's 11th birthday last Thursday, pretty much all day.

As you do.
Before school she got to open a present, a new pair of earrings. They're little dangly butterflies, which she loves, but something about wearing slightly larger earrings than she usually did (she always wears the same silver heart studs) made her look so much older.

WAHHHH!

But what can you do? Time keeps on ticking and birthdays keep on coming.

She also got to wear her new red Chucks, which she was thrilled to do after having to wait since the Friday before when we bought them (I am so mean, I know).
A few hours later I brought lunch to the birthday girl. Yum!

Then she passed out mini cupcakes to fifth grade (the rest aren't pictured). Normally we'd just share with her class but since she has friends in other classes and all of fifth grade eats together we decided to go big or go home.

As you do.
After school she had dance, which she wanted to skip because it was her birthday (???), but I wouldn't let her (I know, I'm so mean). After that we went to one of our favorite Tex-Mex places (really, are you surprised?) (but really it was her pick) for fajitas. 

My dad and Peggy came over after supper for cake and presents. In something of a whirlwind (really, are you surprised?) she opened her gifts in approximately three minutes flat. Or less. (Well, she had been waiting ALL day, what's a girl to do?)

Pappo and grandma gave her a hot pink plush blanket, which is her love language, and a fishing pole, because, every girl needs one of those. Aunt Jerry sent her a lovely sentimental gift, an old-fashioned fountain pen that uses ink in a jar (???) that her grandmother had given her when she turned 11 and that her grandmother had gotten herself in 1897. That's so cool! We need to get some ink so she can try writing with it. We gave her a James Avery charm bracelet with two charms, the letter "A" and a soccer ball to get her started. She loves it! We also gave her something in her other love language, clothes, a maxi skirt and tanks to mix and match.

Every year she gets to pick her birthday cake and this year she surprised me by asking for a lemon bundt cake.

Well, okie dokie.
Y'all can just go ahead and slap me because I didn't take any photos of the present opening or the cake enjoying or any family shots, that makes me sad but at least I snapped a few throughout the day with my phone (my DSLR is crying).

It had been a few years (okay, maybe more than a few, hush) since she had birthday party with friends and last year we went to the Big Apple on her birthday (can we go again, puh-leazze?), so this year is going to be a party year.

Just a few weeks later than her actual birthday. Whatever.

(Takes deep breath)

She's having a sleepover birthday party, nothing huge and crazy, because Mama don't play that way, but she's inviting four friends from school (for a potential total of five girls, that's manageable, right?). Yesterday I made the invitations, just a simple washi tape bunting, because washi tape makes me happy (the party info is on printed on the inside).
They went in the mail yesterday too, so I guess there's no turning back now.

It'll be our first time hosting a sleepover.

(Takes another deep breath.)

I can do this, right?

xoxo