Thursday, March 16, 2017

True Texas: George Ranch, RODEOHOUSTON, Horseback Riding

My mom came to visit for a few days over the beginning of the kids' Spring Break = great timing, b/c it's one of the very few weeks (other two: Thanksgiving & Christmas) where not only is school out, but Annelise also doesn't have cheer, so we didn't have to rush back from fun for practice. (Cheer is YEAR ROUND! The last competition for this season is next Sunday, March 26th, banquet is Friday, March 31st...and placement for next season is the next day: April 1st. :-))

We filled her visit with true Texan adventures! She came the day before Break to help me chaperone Annelise's 5th Grade class trip to George Ranch Historical Park. (The weather was nicer this time, but to be honest, Will's class trip here two years ago was way better - the groups were smaller then, the info at each exhibit was more in depth; we just had an easier time & learned more on his trip. Slightly disappointed, but it was STILL a lovely day & totally fascinating!!!)

ICYMI last time: The George Ranch Historical Park is an internationally recognized living history site that authentically preserves and interprets the four generational storyline of a remarkable Texas family beginning in 1824 and spanning more than 100 years. Just 30 miles southwest of downtown Houston, we are located on a 20,000-acre+ working ranch featuring historic homes, costumed interpreters and livestock. The Park aims to educate people of all ages about Texas history and our region’s unique heritage through programming that connects and inspires learners of all ages.

And cute from AMAZING dinner at Anthonie's that night:

On Sunday, we took her to experience RODEOHOUSTON - the largest livestock show and rodeo in the world!

On Monday, we kept fostering the Texan vibe by going horseback riding! Cypress Trails Ranch was fantastic!!! We went on a 1.5 hour trail ride, and their trails were some of the best we've casually ridden! They were interesting - not just going through fields; there were hills, lots of shade, we rode by a swamp with lilies, along a huge creek, etc. The best part for Annelise was that our guide would stop and then let us trot to catch up with the group. ;-) We can't wait to go back sometime!!!

Friday, March 10, 2017


Y'all, I *TAUGHT* a Yin yoga class last week!!! It was AMAZING! I think I may have to get serious about certification...

How did this happen? No, I'm not certified for yoga, but I'm an employee, so when the Yin teacher didn't show, everyone looked at ME. (It's super rare for an instructor not to show up. I've seen it twice in 4.5 years.) I got permission from the Department Head, (b/c I'm not certified, I wouldn't do it without approval) & it was the most beautiful surprise!!! I pulled up all my fave yoga music on my phone, gave everyone the freedom to follow or do their own thing, and felt the flow. God totally gave me the grace to form a logical class on the fly, making sure the next pose was a good compliment to the rebound of the last, even my music made sense. Our hearts were so full at the end of savasana, we couldn't help but radiate smiles! I know that sounds cheesy & crunchy, but it's true. :-P I definitely felt the weighty responsibility of guiding the practice of all those people, but I also know exactly how bad they each needed that class, b/c I needed my Yin practice, too, and their gratitude that I could do this for them, so they didn't have to miss out, filled me to bursting! Surprising fulfillment!!!

Getting certified is a big deal - it's not like Zumba, where you pay $300 & earn the license in one weekend. It's like going back to school: 200 hours and every avenue I've looked into has been ~$3,000. It's definitely not something I can jump into without some major budgeting and planning. I had always thought in the back of my head that this was something I would do when the kids leave for college, but maybe I'm not supposed to wait that long? Pray for God to make it clear when He wants me to do this and for Him to provide the means when it's time.

Basketball & Choir

Will's basketball season did not end well. After starting out 5-0...they lost their last 4 in a row. It was kind of a brutal way to go out, and no, he did not take it very well. At least he was on a team with a few friends...

On the flip side, Will's Tenor/Bass Choir earned STRAIGHT 1's at their UIL Contest this week! It's super rare to get straight 1's onstage AND in the sight-reading room. They have come so far since their Fall Concert. Their performance Monday night for all of the parents & families was really impressive, and it takes a lot to move me when it comes to grade school choral standards. Their sight-reading using their solf├Ęge blows me away...

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Dallas: Hypnotic Donuts & JFK Museum

After our amazing NCA adventures, we made a Dallas pilgrimage to Hypnotic Donuts. We had seen them on Unique Sweets on the Cooking Channel. Their fritters completely lived up to the hype, and their peach pesto fritter (yes, PESTO!!! with a white balsamic drizzle!!!) changed my life!
I still can't even get over this one. The peach pesto is a revelation! Fresh pesto - basil, garlic, Parm - mixed with peach, then fried, glazed, & swirled with that sweet white balsamic... It's heaven.

After indulging Annelise at Hypnotic Donuts, she indulged me by letting me fulfill a bucket list item: visiting The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. She was respectful, interested, not freaked out, & didn't rush us through. It was so powerful to be *right there* in a shockingly historic place I've learned about for years...

Friday, March 3, 2017

NCA Nationals Action Pro Pics

I definitely have the post-NCA blues! I'm not gonna lie – I wish Annelise & I were still there, competing on Power & Extreme and esp. just enjoying the time together. (We absolutely missed JB & Will, but they stayed home for his big basketball game.) We were our own family team for the weekend: figuring out the rail system, making sure we would be early for every check in & event, going with the flow, exploring wide-eyed & taking in the spectacle of 30,000 cheerleaders & their families, spending time with our teammates & friends, along with enjoying our singular mother-daughter adventures [like deciding to hit the hotel gym at *10:30 PM* when we were too pumped to sleep after finals! & the successful city search for a REAL Sbux with my chai & her bacon Gouda sandwich (not just a kiosk with "Sbux brand coffee" :-D) in between performing & awards!] Competing at NCA is such an honor, and I'm so proud of how she rocked FOUR performances with Power & Extreme without caving to the pressure, how she rose up & performed with more passion & intensity than ever! I just can't wait for her to do it, again, and neither can she!!! #NCAnationals #theworkisworthit

Until next time, check out these awesome pro pics from Extreme!!! Y'all - there are OVER 500. This is me desperately trying to pare down. :-P There are so many that show the whole team in clear action:

And these that show exactly what I meant when I said she had upped her showmanship to a whole new level! These expressions... One of her coaches pulled me aside Day 2 and said, "She blew us away! She is going to be something GREAT!" ♥