Sunday, August 29, 2010

Football Dreams

Last night, we boiled Will's first football mouthguard. What an awesome event for a football-obsessed mommy! :-D (FYI: you boil a new mouthguard to make it pliable and then have the player (Will!) bite down on it while it's still really warm to form it to his own mouth. Think of impressions, for you fellow braces vets.) Today was his first practice - it was a GORGEOUS day to be outside! (Hotter than most would choose = perfect for me! ;-)) My first bit of disappointing news is that Will is not on the Redskins. (And I wouldn't even be truly bummed, except there *IS* a Redskins team in his age group. :'( Sad that my super fan request was ignored.) His team is the Chargers, though, and I don't have any negative associations with them, (THANK YOU, LORD, for sparing us from the Cowboys, Eagles, & Giants!!!) so that's OK. Now we actually have someone to root for in the AFC this year, I guess. :-P

Watching Will play sports fires me up beyond belief! (It's been a spirit-filled day: I sang up onstage at church this morning for the first time since leaving NCC, and it felt AMAZING! There aren't enough words for how good it feels to know that God has given you something & that you're using it the way He wants!!! I'm singing, again, next week, too!) Back to sporting Will: he has a drive & an ambition that will not quit. He NEVER even practices at less than 100%. He's always the first volunteer. He's the only one who keeps playing all the way through until the coach blows the whistle. (...And even then, he often doesn't want to stop! ;-)) I *love* watching him. (And I'm kicking myself for not snapping any pics today!) It was awesome, and I'm proud of how much he learned.

The other bit of disappointing news comes re: scheduling. There's not - like everywhere else on the planet - one cheer squad per football team. This *whole league* has one squad. Annelise's (& my) squad. Yeah. [This is sooooooo not the South, y'all! Apart from no tackle football, yet, they don't have just as many cheerleaders as football players at this age! I am dumbfounded.] So even though a big reason we signed Sis up was so that she could have a special thing *at the same time* as Will with no extra family time commitment, that's not happening. They have separate games every.single.week (except for Oct. 9th - the ONLY time Sissy's squad will cheer for Will!) My dream of Annelise's first year cheering for Will's first year of playing (& for the Redskins ;-)) is kind of down the tubes, :'( but surely God will work this out for our best somehow, too. Maybe it will be a good thing for this to take up our entire Saturdays for two months? It's better than being inside playing hours of Wii. (Not that I want to begrudge my guys that; I know what a genuine bonding thing it is for them. :-)) I'm not going to let Will's awesome first practice weekend and the excitement of Sis working with her pom poms be tainted by any sense of faux loss over the dream scenario I thought I wanted.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Roadkill Resurrected

I finally feel like I'm back in land of the living. In the span of an hour late Sunday afternoon, I felt chills wash over me and my muscles turn to jello. I morphed into a total weakling. I was surprised Monday morning when I actually felt OK, although in hindsight, perhaps it was just the rush of getting the call & appointment with the gas company and the doorbell signifying delivery of my necklace. Yesterday I fell back into the depths of cruddom. I felt like roadkill; thankfully my in-laws came to take us out for pizza dinner! Apparently that (and so many of your prayers from FB!) worked, b/c I think the bug has officially left my being. Whew.

Tonight I feel like a new creature. I went to Praise Team rehearsal at our new/old church and will be singing on Sunday morning. Y'all, I am still racing with adrenaline from practice. It was harmony-o-rama, and I was in heaven. I lovelovelove every song we're doing Sunday, and it felt soooo good to belt them all out into that mic up onstage, again! That's been one of the biggest holes in my heart from leaving NCC with our move, and tonight was a solid step in healing. All summer, I've been tearing up when we sing a song here that I used to sing there; it hurt. A lot. It was like ripping the scab off the wound, even though I've been so much happier here this summer than I ever expected. But tonight was an extra-strength flexible band-aid. :-)

Chris Tomlin's "Our God" is still driving in my heart, along with MercyMe's "God With Us".

Monday, August 23, 2010

Gratituesday: Laundry List

I have a laundry list of things I'm thankful for right now, big & small: I'm thankful for raspberry & cream frozen mochas. :-) I'm thankful God has whipped my outlook into shape this last week. I'm thankful that He helped me not to fall apart over the junk & made His presence known. I'm thankful that as of today, our gas (and thus hot water!) is back on!!! (And I'm actually thankful that being w/o it for a week didn't feel like *that* much of a hardship.)

I'm thankful that our kids' new schools are *FINALLY* set - that had been such a huge weight on me for MONTHS, and to have that constant stressor in the back of my head eliminated is major. I'm thankful for Sissy's first cheerleader uniform. :-) I'm thankful I got to see To Save a Life and will certainly watch it with Will & Sis when they approach that age. I am so thankful for my friends, friends who ask me to pray for them & who pray for me. I'm thankful our beach trip the end of Sept. is officially set in stone! (Yes, we got "our" place!)

I'm also thankful for God working even the tiniest things out for our good: we really wanted a fenced yard for Bonnie when we moved; but if this yard were fenced, we wouldn't have developed the relationship we're beginning to with our (close b/c we have tiny backyards) neighbors. Will & Sis have 3 new friends their ages that they play with ON THEIR OWN (read: w/o me having to go out with them!) almost every day now, and that is HUGE; and Bonnie hasn't had any accidents in this house, so she's just fine with it, too. :-)
 
(Want to share more thanks? Join Gratituesday at
Heavenly Homemakers!)

Monogramorama

My necklace came today!!!


I am so in love! I have wanted a gold monogram necklace like this for over eight years, since we got married. ♥

It's no secret that I'm obsessed with monograms on EVERYTHING initial-able. (I just noticed you can even see JB's & my joint monogram on the hand towel in the above pic that I took in our powder room. :-P) I've mentioned my van monogram before, and everyone keeps asking to see it, so here you go:

(Of course, Will wants to point out the décor he deems more important: the Redskins logo. :-))

"It's a Pillow, It's a Pet..."

Today I did something I said I would never: I ordered Will a PILLOW PET! (What is a Pillow Pet, you ask? Well, certainly you don't have a child who has ever watched even one show on Sprout. Make sure your sound is on and click here.) Will saved his money ALL summer and paid for every cent, including shipping. In his defense, he really does comprehend the value of money now, so he knew what he was doing, and he'd asked for one for months...but I just can't believe that I officially ordered "As Seen On TV" off that obnoxious commercial! :-P

He got the alligator. He wanted the frog first, but he has a green stuffed frog that even has a similar face, so he went gator. (I like the dolphin & the patriotic puppy. :-P) Everyone I know whose kids have them LOVELOVELOVE them, so that's cool; even all of their parents today have been waxing ecstatic over them, hailing our purchase as a best buy. But it is a lot of $$$, and I do HATE how the commercials have completely hypnotized my children.

Will doesn't get a weekly allowance, yet, but we've given him quarters here & there for helping do extra stuff around the house, (more than cleaning his room & the playroom, which he & Sis both need to do, no matter what.) He got half as birthday money from a couple people earlier this month, too, but most was just collecting quarters.

He keeps saying over & over, "Mom, you know what the best thing is about them? THEY'RE MACHINE WASHABLE!" Hysterical, yes; but I can't help but be creeped out that they are so mesmerized by those flippin' commercials!!!

I am super proud of him saving up his money for this, esp. b/c it's been months in coming, not just a few days of begging. And hey - I thought silly bandz were totally pointless...until the kids really got into them this summer, and now I find *myself* scouting the different shapes for them! HA! Watch us end up with a houseful of Pillow Pets, too. :-P

Friday, August 20, 2010

Cheertastic

Y'all, I am dying!!! Beyond beside myself. This is up there with the first time she ever put on her leotard and tap shoes. Annelise got fitted for her first cheerleading uniform tonight, and I could just burst...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Bowled Over

There are sometimes I am just bowled over by how much God loves & takes care of me. It's days like today - where nothing special, wonderful, or huge has happened, but I still feel it - that *really, really* get me. In fact, in some respects, this day could be counted as cruddy: due to some misinformation from our energy company, we officially have no gas and probably won't get it back until the end of next week. I could be a crying mess, but I'm not. I am praising God that: #1, it's not winter. #2, we have an electric stove & oven for the first time in 8 years - a negative when we first saw the house, but a big plus this week. :-P #3, we don't need gas immediately for anything other than the dryer (and I just did ALL the laundry, so we'll totally be fine until next week. I never do laundry more than weekly, anyway!) and hot showers, (but the pool is still open, so we can go swimming after dinner & take hot showers there in the clubhouse before bed! It's not healthy for me to wash my hair everyday, anyway.) Thank you, God, for perspective.

I could be angry over the hoops they're making us jump through to get it turned back on, but I'm over it. We had to drive all the way down to JB's work today, so he could fax copies of our personal info together to the gas company, so they can "investigate" & deem our request for service valid. (I know = insanity.) But you know what? JB has a business dinner tonight, and if we wouldn't have had to do that, the kids wouldn't have gotten to see Daddy today. :-) The "DADDY!" screams in the parking lot were beyond worth it! Thank you, God, for family.

We used to go to CiCi's Pizza at least once a week after picking Will up from school, but there isn't one anywhere close by us here anymore. So after we'd already driven to JB's work, I figured, why not top it off with an adventure to find the far away CiCi's? We won't ever have time to go that far once school starts, and they have a back-to-school promotion for August that all kids under 10 eat free with an adult purchase, so we all gorged ourselves for $6. You know my value-loving-self ate that up!!! (Literally! ;-)) Thank you, God, for deals!

On the way home - a way I'd never been before - we saw a new Walmart and a new Five Guys that's opening soon! Thank you, God, for new discoveries! Also, we were in the car for quite a long time today, and I welled up twice at my kids being *SO EXCITED* when TobyMac songs came on, (b/c they remembered the concert in May and know the words.) "Get Back Up" (our fave!) and "City on Our Knees" - my heart just about burst! Thank you, God, for reaching my kids and filling them up this way!

When we got back, Will wanted to do a "scooter show" (riding back & forth) in front of the house. It's usually hot & boring, but for whatever reason, I was game w/o grumbling. I had music playing on my phone that I hadn't heard in a while that really made me smile, we had Bonnie out with us on the leash, and we made new neighbor friends, including 3 kids (twins & another boy) who are almost 6 & also starting 1st grade like Will. :-) Thank you, God, for musical memories, warm sunshine, & new connections!

I got two phone calls today, and y'all know I *NEVER* answer my phone, but these two calls were worth it. #1 - The Splitz lady finally called me back. They aren't sure if they'll need another dance teacher until they see enrollment for next session (end of October) b/c the first session is always very low; (lots of people don't decide what extracurriculars to do with their kids until after school starts; school starts here Sept 7th, but the 1st session at Splitz starts next week,) but she still wants to meet with me tomorrow, put me on their sub list, and see if they'll need me later. I could be a bit bummed that they don't desperately need me, but I'm not. Honestly, it's the best possible outcome, b/c Sept & Oct are going to be nuts with cheer, football, & soccer, (did I mention I'm going to be a cheerleading coach, too?), the start of MOPS, and we're going on vacay for a week the end of Sept, so this avoids all that craziness, but still makes me available afterwards. Thank you, God, for knowing exactly how much we can handle and working our desires into Your perfect plan!

The other phone call was from a BFF who just needed to chat with another adult. :-) I'm so glad I picked up the phone! Talking to her always makes me smile...even though my kids act like they have become possessed by aliens as soon as I start ANY phone convo. I've hated the phone for years, but they ramp the it's-not-worth-it-to-answer-they'll-text-if-it's-an-emergency feeling up to another level!!! Today they started copying me for the first time: Annelise had her toy Cinderella cell up to her ear and laughed every single time I laughed at what my BFF said; then Will started copying everything I said. It was cute for all of 20 seconds. :-P I tried to hide in my closet; that lasted 3 minutes before Will "just came up for a hug." Uh, huh. So thank you, God, for prompting me to commiserate with a friend instead of avoiding the inconvenience, b/c it was so worth it. :-)

When I checked my email, I had two notices. #1 - from UPS that my birthday monogram necklace is FINALLY made & being shipped!!! (I was getting really antsy that we hadn't heard anything!) #2 - from the youth football association that I have to get a background check to be a cheerleading coach. This sounds silly, but I'm so thankful I could just enter my info for them to run the check online. I had to list everywhere we've lived in the last 5 years in detail. That's FOUR addresses, y'all, in three states (back to Georgia) and I so would not have remembered all those numbers off the top of my head, filling out a form at the coach's meeting. Thank you, God, for answering questions for me and making minutiae easier.

So yeah, nothing spectacular happened today, but I felt like God used it all for my good and made His presence known. Confirmation I'm on the right path, and that feels great. I admit, I totally don't allow myself to rest in His care like this everyday - last week I would've let my hormones ruin every aspect of the day, no matter how many times He would have been ready to ease my mind. But the days I let go, get over myself, & just wait on Him? They always feel extra blessed, even when nothing super awesome is going on. :-)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Peach Passion

I have come across the two most amazing-sounding peach recipes, I can hardly stand it! I'm going to make the pasta salad with my personal edits, (I'm not a big fennel fan,) but does anyone want to make the cupcakes for me??? :-D

Warm Pasta Salad with Peaches, Heirloom Tomatoes and Mozzarella

Ingredients:
1 head fresh fennel, cut into small dice
2 shallots peeled, cut into small dice
Grated zest from 2 lemons
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Peaches, tomatoes and mozzarella:
3 small yellow peaches, cut into small wedges
3 small white peaches, cut into small wedges
6-7 medium-size or small mixed heirloom tomatoes, cut into large dice
1 1/2 pounds mozzarella, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup fresh basil, cut into thin ribbons
1 pound farfalle pasta "bow ties", cooked according to package directions
Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:
Heat a medium-size sauté pan until hot but not smoking. Turn off the flame.
Add the diced fennel, shallots, lemon zest and wine vinegar.
Add the extra-virgin olive oil.
Let it cool down to room temperature.
For the peaches, tomatoes and mozzarella:
Cook pasta, drain well and then place pasta in a large bowl.
Cut peaches just before mixing with pasta.
Add peaches to vinaigrette, season with salt and pepper.
While pasta is still warm, add heirloom tomatoes, mozzarella and basil, then add the peaches and vinaigrette.
Toss lightly, check for seasoning and serve immediately.

Serves 6


Peach Tea Cupcakes
Yield: 18 cupcakes

Tea-Infused Butter Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter [Susie questions using unsalted, b/c there's no other salt in this recipe; what will make the sugar stand out? Thoughts?]
32 grams (about 1/3 cup) whole leaf Earl Grey tea

Directions:
In a small saucepan, melt the butter on medium-high heat until just melted.
Add the tea leaves.
Continue heating the mixture for about 5 minutes on low heat.
Remove from the heat and allow to stand for another 5 minutes.
Pour the mixture through a fine sieve, pressing hard on the tea leaves to squeeze out as much butter as possible.
Let the butter come to room temperature and refrigerate until it is no longer liquid or until ready to use.

Cupcake Ingredients:
1 ½ cup sugar
Zest of 1 medium-sized lemon
2/3 cup tea-infused butter
3 eggs
½ tsp ground ginger
1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup milk
1 cup finely chopped overripe peaches

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a small bowl, mix sugar and lemon zest. Allow to sit for at least thirty minutes.
In a large bowl, cream tea-infused butter and lemon sugar.
Beat in eggs, one at a time.
Beat in ginger.
Beat in flour, one cup at a time, alternating with milk.
Fold in peaches.
Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full.
Bake for 20 minutes or until cupcakes bounce back when lightly touched.

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:
12 oz cream cheese, room temperature
¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
¾ tsp lemon extract
Fresh mint leaves for garnish

Directions:
In a large bowl, mix cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy.
Mix in powdered sugar one cup at a time until well integrated.
Mix in lemon extract.
Spread or pipe onto cupcakes.
Top with mint leaves.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Flips & Feathers

I had to laugh at the faces aghast the other day at the mall when Annelise decided to show off in the play area. They have a giant, plastic "melting popsicle" that functions somewhat as a slide...and Sis decided she wanted to do flips down it. Yeah. When she turned the first one, the grandmaw sitting directly in front almost shrieked and immediately scanned the parental faces to see which one of us was *obviously not* paying attention to their charge. I saw her radar sweeping my way, immediately locked eyes with Annelise, and started clapping & cheering: "Good job, pumpkin! Make sure no one is in front of you at the bottom when you go!" After her fifth flip, MawMaw actually began to believe Sis was worthy of my trust and smiled. :-P

I tried to capture it on my phone, but with no image stabilizer, this was the best I could do:

(Can't wait for gymnastics this fall! :-D)

Annelise is also rather obsessed with feathers. When we were leaving the blueberry patch/bog/field, we found a ton of turkey feathers in one row. [Thinking turkey met fox...] Annelise was more excited for those feathers than the berries! (Gross...) On Tuesday at the zoo, it was two peacock feathers with iridescent green stripes & a bit of ostrich fluff. Last night, as we left the ice cream parlor, she spotted a black flight feather from a large bird in the parking lot, and even though she had her hands full manipulating her drippy peppermint cone, and even though rain was beginning to sprinkle, she (meaning we both) had to stop for it.

Blueberries & Zoo Digiscrapped




(I tiled a picture of all the blueberries in my bucket for the background here!)


(Annelise was such a great poser, and I love that this background paper looks like fur!)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Football Cubed & Positive Movement

Football¹ - Will had his 6-year well-check today, so he can be "legal" for school, soccer, & flag football. :-) He is 47 lbs. & 45.5" tall - perfectly 50th% for both. I was so happy this morning when our old pediatrician absolutely remembered us - she almost squeezed Will's cheeks & said, "You are so big, but your face is exactly the same!" That genuine connection is *such* a confident feeling!

Football² - Grandma & Grandpa Blake really blessed us this afternoon: we met up at the Gymboree Outlet for some Back-to-School shopping! (We all pre-scouted the GymboOutlet as a great place to go; not only are their prices good, but their boy's line theme is FOOTBALL!!! We always like football over rock'n'roll, robots, pirates, western, camping, etc.) I am so in love with the smart, preppy look of the rugbys & T's. We also went to the Skechers Outlet for sneakers: Will now has light-up blue/black & Sis has sparkly "Twinkle Toes" denim/pink.

We(I) made red velvet cupcakes with Ghirardelli chocolate ganache last night (one of Grandma's faves) and also brought them some of the fresh blueberries we picked on Monday (blueberries are one of Grandpa's faves) as a little "thank you" this afternoon. :-) Such a fun "excuse" to bake! I discovered my new *red* Paula Deen apron they gave me for my bday is PERFECT for baking red velvet. ;-) I also discovered that those fresh blueberries were divine dipped in my leftover fresh ganache. :-D I know I was wearing my "Hey Y'all!", but I still couldn't bring myself to bake "full-on Paula", though. I used unsweetened applesauce instead of oil and fat free half & half for my ganache. :-P (I can't help it; I *have* to cut calories where I can, so I feel less guilty eating as much as I want!)

Football³ - Tonight is my beloved Redskins first preseason NFL game!!!!!! I don't care if preseason means nothing. I have missed my Skins for 8 solid months, and I am ready to CHEER!!! We actually have reason for hope this year: a new pro quarterback, a new pro coach, and we're starting with all of our draft picks healthy for the first time in years. (Yes, I care THIS MUCH!) The 1st quarter is over, and they looked GREAT. My fave Chris Cooley has already made some major catches (I'm sure he'll be done now for the night), McNabb did not disappoint, and we even closed the 1st quarter with an interception right after our 1st touchdown which we immediately turned into a 2nd TD. Y'all, I am just beside myself. I don't care if it means "nothing"; it means happiness to me!!! :-D (And thank you, Lord, for NFL Network on DirecTV, so I can actually watch my Skins' preseason!)

Positive movement: nothing concrete, but the dance director of Splitz *did* call me this week, and we're going to set up a time to talk. :-) I also went by our old Montessori this morning, since the option I considered first will *not* offer half-day preschool for Sis; and I'm so glad I did! The one teacher I hadn't been excited about isn't there anymore, they were so excited to see us, and they have both morning & afternoon preschool openings, (so if Splitz works out, we can put her in whichever session is the best fit for that. Plus, Splitz & Montessori are just a few blocks apart!) I feel so good that I can see God working this stuff out for us on His schedule. I've waited for a word & prayed about what the best options are every single day for months, and today is the first day I have any confident peace about what is right for us. There's nothing that feels as good & as safe as being in God's will!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Missing Mommy

We dropped my mom off at the airport tonight. :'( Will & Annelise fell completely apart - hysterical wailing & pitiful sobbing, "LaLa!!!! LaLa!!!!" Thank you, Lord, for the High Seas VBS soundtrack: it was the *only* thing that calmed them down & forced them to breathe. So much for the super cute glitter eyeliner we dolled Sis up with at Sephora earlier today. (Will & Sis wanted to go to the mall to take my mom to the cupcake store, and how could she refuse? ;-) BTW - Toasted Almond rocked! Still waiting to try The Big Oink, Fat Elvis, & Sweet Potato Pie.)

I never feel like we have enough time together or that I always take advantage of making sure every second is quality time, instead of getting irritated over the kids or circumstances. I guess that's the downside to being with someone I feel 100% comfortable & myself with - there's no masking how I really feel with fake Susie Sunshine; and the combo of her with JB & the kids sees me at my most genuine - for better or worse. :-P I love my mommy, & I know she loves me no matter what.

It's weird that her amazing homemade lasagna is still warm on top of the stove... *Sniffle, sniffle*

Zoo Family

We went to the zoo here yesterday. It's perhaps my favorite place in this whole area. We are a big zoo family - anywhere there's a gathering of animals, we are there! My BFF here had just renewed her family zoo membership before she & her children had to suddenly move back to England last month, so she actually had them transfer her membership to our family. WHAT A BLESSING!!! Beyond words...

Before we went in, I reminded the kids that this zoo has no lemurs, (b/c they were our most beloved at Brookfield.) But guess what they've got now? Black-and-white ruffed lemurs! (Not ring-tailed, but lemurs nonetheless!) They also have a new meerkat habitat where you can really see them closely & clearly. We knew we loved the polar bears, giraffes, kangaroos, & prairie dogs. We also spent a lot of time in the reptile museum examining every.single.snake. I was pleasantly surprised at how much the kids have learned this year with their herpetology obsession. We all flipped out that they had TWO Gaboon vipers. :-P Their king cobra was completely stretched out and *shockingly* huge. We also "made friends" (you'll see whenever I get through those pics!) with a rare Aruba Island rattlesnake.

Blueberry Bliss

I *love* u-pick fruit farms. I don't have a very green thumb myself, but I love gathering the fruits of others' labor - esp. early summer strawberries and end of summer raspberries. I love being out in nature, showing the kids where our food really comes from. :-) On Monday, we decided to try our hand at blueberries! I took 100 pictures, y'all. (I'm intimidated to sit down & go through them all! Stay tuned for the inevitable scrapbook pages!) We picked almost 10 lbs., and I have a feeling I'm going to have to get creative with some recipes the rest of the week to use them. :-P (I'm not excited about freezing them, b/c w/o dry ice, they turn to mush when defrosted, and my kids aren't that big on sauces. Plus, I *never* actually use the stuff I freeze. I'm totally not a pack-the-fridge-&-freezer-tight girl. It seems counterintuitive, b/c I hoard everything else, but not perishable food. Maybe it's b/c we've moved so much? No point in stocking up on things the movers can't pack?)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

L’esprit Luxury

This afternoon my mom & I checked out the place I have been dying to try: L'esprit Academy - a teaching salon, so the quality is great (b/c every service gets graded) and the prices are jaw-droppingly low. (Can you believe those?!) I knew they did good work for cheap, but I was interested to see what the atmosphere was like - more salon/spa, or plain & clinical? It was wonderful! My mom & I both got mani/pedis, she also got a facial she is raving about, & I also got a haircut. (Only 4" off - just the ends. ;-) But they also shampooed & dried it! That's actually a load off me for tonight!) I am so in love with the new OPI Swiss collection for fall. I have gold Glitzerland on my fingers and pewter Lucerne-tantly Look Marvelous on my toes. I can already tell I'll probably end up buying the pewter one eventually. Lovelovelove it!

I can't wait to take Sis there one day! :-P If we're still here next spring, she'll have a princess party for her 5th bday there, and maybe now that I've found this cheap-but-quality place I'm excited about, I'll actually pull the trigger on getting her VERY FIRST haircut one day soon...maybe... (No one can hold me to that, though...) I should've asked if they have gift cards... ;-)

Friday, August 6, 2010

SIX!

Today our Will turned 6. SIX!

Six years ago...


And now as a rockstar on his new Razor scooter!



We had his birthday party yesterday (a day early, b/c our BFFs here had to go out-of-town today) at Chuck E Cheese. We had a low-key walk-in party: we only bought tokens with coupons there for all the guests (9 kids from 3 to 7) to play. I made the cake - a red velvet football-shaped cake iced with milk chocolate ganache! - and we brought bottled water, plates, napkins, forks, & cups in with us. (And get this: I just happened to have 20 plates, napkins, forks, & cups from Will's last bday all packaged up in our storage closet, perfectly ready to go!) We brought silly bandz for everyone in lieu of goody bags and passed those out as soon as we were done with the cake, so from then on, everyone could run amok w/o having to check back in with us. It was so cheap, easy, & awesome!





My mom flew up from home (NC) Wednesday night for this whole next week to celebrate, so we are still a pretty happy household! Today we went to Target, so Will could use a birthday gift card. (How many Hotwheels does one boy need?!?!) We went to Guernsey Farms Dairy for Will to get his free birthday ice cream. (He & Sis got Blue Moon - the *least* obnoxious kid-geared blue ice cream ever! It's light blue and gently almond-flavored; I actually like it! But I had an AMAZING flavor today: choco malt chip - chocolate ice cream with these little chunks of chocolate-covered malt! Heavenly!!!) Afterwards, we wanted to show my mom our new downtown, but there was a big festival going on & all the streets were closed; so we parked and got festive! My mom & I fell in love with the scents from the Relic Soap Company's gorgeous bars, and my lips tasted like soap from sniffing so closely for the next 20 minutes every time I accidentally licked them. :-P Will had a ball, b/c we brought his new Razor scooter from Grandma & Grandpa with us in the car, and he - safely & respectfully! - tooled up & down the street in front of us waiting. (Sis was sniffing with us. :-)) We ended our tour for the day with Will & Sis showing LaLa their new beloved library...and now we're all wiped out for the night.

Birthday success!!! And the excitement can keep on rolling into next week! :-)

PS - Sissy & her BFF got hair-do's before the birthday party, so they would look extra special for Will!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Two Prayers

Two awesome prayers from d365:

Hello, God. Thank you for working in my life when I am at my best. Thank you for knowing I’m there even when I feel invisible. Whether I am most popular or most likely to fall on my face, I know that you love me. So clothe me with what matters. Dress me up in your compassion and grace. Amen.

Hello, God. Today, I will place my dreams for myself in your hands. Carefully consider them, God. Are they up to your standards? Are they worthy of someone who wants to follow Christ? Let there be more of you and less of me in the dreaming of my dreams. Give me the courage to share in your dream for me. Amen.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Demoted

Let me preface this by saying *I AM NOT UNHAPPY!* This is not a post about sadness, depression, or discontent. It's just about the weirdness of change.
 

Last night I had my first new/old MOPS group steering (leadership) meeting of the year. It was good, but...weird. The oddest sense of déjà vu - when we left for Naperville, I never expected in a million years to be back here, much less back in my old job and going to meetings back in the same places. For this group, it's almost all new people on steering, but everything else format-wise is exactly the same. It's like the time I was gone has been erased & was just a tiny blip on the radar here. I've only been away from this group for a year & a half, but for me? WHAT a year & a half!!!
 

I am such a different person. Tougher. More hopeful. Not depressed. (That last one may have some of y'all scratching your heads, but truly, I was at my lowest when we were here last.) When I took over my Naperville group last summer, we were pretty much starting from scratch. It was SO. MUCH. WORK... but so incredibly fulfilling! I know the intricacies of running a charter of this organization now. I'm an overachiever, and I took the best aspects of my new/old group to put into our Naperville group and then, with the help of that new team of awesome women & their fresh ideas, ramped it up to another degree. It was my baby, and it broke my heart to leave. I *liked* being in charge. I liked running the show. I liked that responsibility.

Back here now in my new/old group, I'm back to my old positions: Publicity & Discussion Group Leader co-chair. And whereas I felt like an obnoxious broken record in planning meetings last summer saying, "In my last group we did this...", last night I felt like I said, "In Naperville we did this..." about 10 times. :-P That part is cool - the coming full circle. But it does feel like a step back, as well - not only going back to old jobs, but going back to an old format. I'm not looking to change the situation - this group is a well-oiled machine that's been running for over a decade; it works & is comfortable here. But I can't help that it still feels a bit like regression to me now.

I absolutely *LOVE* the two girls who are the coordinators here, and I can genuinely say I'm not jealous of their position. It just feels weird to be "demoted". Again, I'm not looking to change the situation - I think God has orchestrated it this way on purpose. #1, I'm going to be a lot more busy this year with all the kids' activities, even if nothing happens with Splitz; and #2, the way things are now, it would be very easy for us to be able to move, if another job opportunity came up at any point, w/o me really leaving this group in the lurch.

The point of this post is that I just needed to vocalize for myself how weird this change feels. Everything here feels the same for the most part...and I am soooo not.

I'm OK, and honestly, I already appreciate not being the head honcho in some respects. (It felt liberating to *not* have to volunteer to do all the left-over tasks myself last night! I had a twinge of Braveheart: "Freedom!!!" ;-) :-P) But it still feels weird... You can't ever go back to the way things were before, b/c you will always be colored by the experiences you've had since.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

God At Work

I am really seeing God at work for us right now! Remember how I said our Isle of Palms place had been rented & I was scouting others? Guess which vacay rental suddenly has 4 DAYS OPEN the last week of September? (And those are the ONLY available days until DECEMBER!) I hope no one beats us to the request, but I feel like God opened it up for us!

More: after stressing last week over thinking I was late to register Will for soccer, not only are we positive now that there will be no conflict b/t flag & soccer games, but we found out that Will and his BFF Jason have been put on the SAME TEAM!!! (There are at least 8 teams!)

Thank you, God, for orchestrating all this and working it out for our best! (I feel confident that He'll sort out school & Splitz for us, as well.)

I also feel like He's working in the kids' lives. For those of y'all who did High Seas VBS, remember "God sightings"? [The kids told us group leaders about their "God sightings" - some moment when they felt like God helped them (not be scared, do something new, etc.) or they experienced His presence/love (in a rainbow, a hug, etc.) - and we wrote them down on stickers & put them all on a big mural.] Well, Will is *STILL* piping up with his God sightings, completely unsolicited! Every time he says out of nowhere, "Mom, I have a God sighting," my heart almost bursts!!! Then Sis will add one, too. :-) I *love* that this has stayed on their minds. I've also noticed Will really paying attention to the words I pray before bed at night. He's started saying "Yes, God" during my prayers when I say something he wants to agree with. It just fills me up beyond words...

Tooting My Trivia Horn

Y'all know one of our fave family traditions is BWW after church for lunch, trivia, & NASCAR or NFL (REDSKINS!!! Soon...so soon...) Today JB & I played two rounds of trivia where we were ranked 9th and then 4th nationally! (Out of thousands!) I've always been a font of useless knowledge, and that was certainly reaffirmed today. :-P (Now we must drag my mom with us next Sunday when she's here so she can help us with all the obscure early 70's music questions we have to guess at! :-D)