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12.16.2014

On a Monday

(My lame title makes me sing "I Got Stripes" by Johnny Cash & George Jones.)

My sweet daddy had hernia surgery yesterday.

I'm still slightly unclear about what a hernia actually is. I mean, I think I know that it has something to do with some of your parts poking through other parts of your parts and it's uncomfortable.

I'm okay with being vague.

All is well, thank goodness, but any surgery is still surgery and there's usually lots of anxiety and waiting and prayer and pain along with good drugs, possible nausea, and then recovery.

He had met his deductible for the year (apparently this is a thing) (thankfully I don't know much about meeting deductibles due to doctor visits, tests and so forth) and decided to go ahead and get his hernia situation taken care of. 

It was supposed to be outpatient/day surgery with a probable overnight stay (I'm not sure how you classify that). Some doctors do hernia surgery laparoscopically but his must be more old-school so he's got a good ol' incision going on and will most likely stay in the hospital until Wednesday.

After taking Annelise to school and getting myself together, I ventured toward the Houston Medical Center, about 40ish minutes away under ideal conditions. As I was approaching Methodist Hospital I got a call from the school nurse saying that Annelise wasn't feeling well.

Oy.

No fever but headache slash vague stomachache slash I really don't feel like being at school today thing.

Thankfully Scott said he could pick her up and work from home so I could be at the hospital. 

I got to see my dad for a while before they took him back, so that was good. Two couples from their camping group were also there to keep Peggy company while she waited which was sweet. You wouldn't think waiting would be hard but it can be. I was all prepared with a new book to read headphones and snacks (coffee, apple and cheese) but I mostly just sat there and listened to them tell stories. I really had wanted to start my new book but thought it would be rude to get it out. Hashtag introvert problems.

The room was full of people waiting for news about their persons and I kept wondering what their stories were. I'm nosy that way.

This group of singers came up to brighten things up a a bit with some Christmas carols. They were accompanied by this darling little five year old. She was a hoot!
Sidenote: I really like Methodist Hospital. I mean, I don't know personally, just as a visitor, but from my dad's experiences and I'm really impressed. Everyone is so helpful, polite and friendly. Plus, you know, good at their jobs.

It's like the Chick-Fil-A of hospitals.

We got to see my dad in recovery for a minute and then later up in his room. He was mostly snoozing, which was good.

I left around 4:00 to try and beat the monster known as Houston traffic--and all things considered, (including missing my intended turn and taking Loop 610 home instead of the Beltway, oh well) it wasn't too bad.

Listening to my Merry& Bright playlist on Spotify helped bunches (played on shuffle).

I may have even cranked the volume up and sung along quite dorkily to this song:
I may have even repeated it three or four times in a row.

Whatever gets you through the crazy Houston freeways, man.

12.08.2014

Miscellany Monday

A few randoms of late...

I got to hear my little trumpet player perform at a special Christmas chapel last week. Fifth grade band played Good King Wenceslas and Jingle Bells and did a great job, meaning, the songs were not only recognizable they sounded pretty good too, so it was not at all as painful as I feared.
After six-ish months it was finally time to mix up another batch of homemade laundry detergent. I used all of the ingredients pictured below plus three bars of grated Fels-Naptha laundry soap, adding them alternately to my large glass jar and mixing well (I also ended up with a bit of overflow stored in a small plastic container and the empty Oxy-Clean canister).

I use an Oxy-Clean scoop per load (I put it in the bottom of my top-loading HE washer before adding clothes) which is a bit more than 2 tablespoons and it cleans really well while smelling super fresh (but not knock you out fragrance-y). There are tons of variations of recipes on Pinterest (this one is from Edie @Life in Grace on Instagram), even liquid ones (which seem a little too labor intensive for me), so if you've never given homemade laundry detergent a whirl, I'd highly recommend it. Not only is it easier than I thought, it's cheap and makes you feel ever so slightly like Ma Ingalls (minus the hog killing and all that mess).
Scott and I had a breakfast date Friday morning at our favorite place. Again.

We are so predictable.

(Some might say boring.)
Except THIS time I got an egg white frittata (I've never had a frittata before) (it's fun to say frittata, btw). Scott got the Viva la France french toast, as per always, because he loves it and likes to order it with a touch of french flair.

We ventured into downtown Houston this weekend to eat at the Spaghetti Warehouse for an early dinner.
Before making our way over to the Hobby Center to see this...
It was a fabulous show and a great way to kick off our holiday season. The Rockettes are amazing! 

Sidenote: We still don't have a Christmas tree.

We finished off our night at The House of Pies for well, um...pie and such.
Annelise had hot chocolate and a brownie AND a chocolate chip cookie. Scott had Coconut Cream pie, I had Key Lime and we shared French Silk (layered milk and dark chocolate) because we had to have some chocolate too (you have to cut the tart of the key lime and the intensity of the coconut with an alternating bite of chocolate, you know).

It was like our own little pie buffet.

What?

Don't worry, we did not eat it all, maybe half. It's amazing how quickly you can go from YUM to sick, it's a fine line.

Happy Monday, y'all!

12.01.2014

Miscellany Monday (The Turkey Edition)

Hello December.

Really?

This morning's alarm was rather rude after a week of not having to set one and re-entry into the morning get-ready-for-school-shuffle was a tad rough. But we made it, in fact we were a little early, go us.

Last week was mostly an exercise in laziness punctuated with occasional spurts of activity followed up with more laziness and slothdom. I met The Girls one night for coffee and chit chat and laughter, which was delightful of course, Annelise had a sleepover with Pappo and grandma one night and most of the other days were a hazy blur of nothingness.

Except for Thanksgiving.

My dad and Peggy hosted 20 people (if you count the one currently gestating, which we did) for a Thanksgiving feast. There was way too much food and no vegetable was allowed unless it was coated in cheese or sauce, except for my Big Salad, which has kind of become my thing to bring for every family gathering, usually by request, which is fine, but only a few people really bother eating it because there's always too much other competition from all the beige comfort food, which I totally understand.

After the first round of feasting, during a break in one of the football games, we gathered outside for group photos. 
Daddy and Peggy's dear friends, Jack and Penny (front chair on the left below) spent the day with us too which was nice. Sidenote: They brought a fried turkey which was slap your mama delicious, I'd never had fried turkey before, I might be a convert.

There were also two doggie guests, Snuggles, the teacup Yorkie and Jojo the boxer.
Annelise had a BLAST (as per always) playing basketball, football and hide and seek with Colin, Cole and Cadence. Some of the big guys played basketball too in between their football viewing and naps. The outdoor fun didn't stop until way after dark when we confiscated the flashlights and shut it down due to the cold and the fact some of them had to go home (boo hoo).

We did not, I repeat did not, do any Black Friday shopping.

Not that this is anything new, we've never gone Black Friday shopping because I am not down with that kind of crazy.

I am however down with online shopping in my jammies with a cup of coffee beside me.

Yesterday after church and lunch we did something a little outside of our norm.

We went to see two movies back to back.

I know, we are WILD.

We started out with Big Hero 6, which we all three LOVED and were surprised by how much we loved it since we didn't really know that much about it going in. After that we walked directly over to the ticket machine (we love the ticket machine and hardly ever use the ticket windows) to get three tickets for Mockingjay.

Over the last several months Annelise and I have watched the other two Hunger Games movies on Netflix so she was anxiously awaiting this next installment. I'm not crazy about them milking the last book into two movies, I mean I know a lot happens but I still feel like they're just trying to capitalize on the HG mania and make more money with two movies. But whatever.

We liked it. I probably like the first two better but I kind of expected that going in because Mockingjay in general is just a darker story (yes, darker than teens killing each other in a televised competition) what with the rebellion and all.

We don't usually get popcorn or candy at the movies because I'm a smuggler but we didn't smuggle anything in this time so we all shared a big popcorn and got drinks for eleventy billion dollars. We noticed several people going out with empty buckets and coming back with filled ones and then finally saw the Free Refill note on our bucket. No we did not NEED a refill, a refill was not healthy, but we got one anyway just to stick it to the Man a little.

Subversive popcorn refilling. It's a thing.

We didn't eat it all either.

In other news, Scott finished putting up our Christmas lights over the weekend. We still do icicle lights like it's 1999, but whatever. That's our only nod to Christmas so far. We need to shop for a tree but I refuse to do that until we have colder weather again, because sweating while picking out a Christmas tree sucks my Christmas spirit out faster than you can say The Grinch.

Note to self: Now that the Chrismas lights are twinkling around our house we might should move the scarecrow by the front door back to the garage muy pronto.

Timely. Is what we are.

Happy Monday, y'all!

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 Related 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