Friday, July 29, 2011

Hair Horror

Y'all, I had a Shelby Eatenton Latcherie-esque breakdown this afternoon, complete with sobs for my mommy. [No! No one needs a kidney transplant, thank God!] Annelise had her 1ST significant haircut EVER (6" off!!! She's only had 2 tiny trims before in her life) and the lady went waaay shorter than I envisioned. :'( Annelise seems to like it, so that's fine; but *I* am FILLED with regret for chopping off those luscious locks!!! :'( [I already warned everyone on FB: don't ANYONE dare say, "It's just hair." I'm not an idiot; I know it'll grow back. That's not the point. Girls with long hair find this stuff traumatic; I cried for 2 weeks last time I did Locks of Love when it ended up too short - this is not unprecedented. :-P] UGH!!!!

We only did it, b/c I thought we should cut off what was damaged from the pool & summer, but it ended up not really being as damaged as I thought & had originally told the lady to cut! :'( I just want 2" back. That would make all the difference in the world. The other thing killing me is that it's NOT naturally curling at the bottom now, and if we just had the LAST bit of her natural barrel curls whacked off, I am going to beat myself up even harder.

Her hair is "cute" now; earlier today, it was jaw-dropping, head-turning, people-stopped-us-on-the-street gorgeous. Having 2" back would be sooooo less upsetting... She's not Rapunzel, anymore... :'(

Here it is: the too-dramatic 6" haircut that I completely regret.


Yes, OF COURSE she's still totally gorgeous, but her hair doesn't look BETTER than it did before. Blur out her stunning face in a yesterday and a now pic, and you can't tell me this hair is better. THAT'S what's upsetting.

[PS - she has NO IDEA I hate it or that I'm even the tiniest bit upset, NOR WILL SHE EVER!!!]

After the kids went upstairs to play, I hid in my bedroom closet, called my mom, and burst into uncontrollable tears, [which BTW felt AWESOME to release! I hate having occasion to cry, but a giant boo-hoo is so cleansing after you get it all out!!! Yay, catharsis!] I felt exactly like Shelby after she tells Truvy to chop off her amazing head of hair & then gulps with horror at the results. It takes her mama to reassure her that it will be fine. My mama knew EXACTLY how serious this is, wanted to cry with me, didn't make fun of me for crying over something stupid or tell me to suck it up, and said she knew exactly how awful it feels when stuff like this makes you feel so bad with your kids. ♥ ♥ ♥

We *know* it's "just" hair, and we *know* it'll grow; but that's not the point. I don't make fun of the people who cry when they send their kids to preschool; *I* didn't get upset sending my kids, (I danced for joy :-P) but I can empathize. I don't make fun of the people who cry at their kids' birthdays; even though it doesn't [yet ;-)] make me sad, I can empathize. I guess maybe if you've never had really long, healthy hair, you can't understand; I didn't have long hair until I started growing it out junior year of college, and only now do I feel this deep emotional connection to it. I don't know how to explain it...

Anyway, I don't have a time machine to go back and stop myself or the professional extension skills to go back to the salon, get her chopped locks, & hot glue them back onto her head :-P (yes, I daydreamed... ;-)) but now that I've gotten this out, I can exhale and move on tomorrow. Pray for FAST GROWING hair, y'all!!!

Thronateeska

Today was Annelise's last weekday of summer vacay, and we finally made it over to Thronateeska Heritage Center - another local museum complex downtown. (Seriously, I've said it before, but for as small town as this place is, it really has some great little attractions!) They have a science museum & planetarium, local history museum, and a transportation museum all housed in the old refurbished area train depot.

Trains make my kids happy:

Perhaps my children do NOT have a future as co-anchors... (Or do they? :-P)
[I LOVE what my dearest Linds said: "They are indeed 'Mostly Sunny!'" :-D]

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dancing Perfectly into Place

Y'all, I must be living right! [Side bar: I don't actually like that phrase. God loves me ALL the time, and even when I don't deserve His favor, He still gives me His grace every day. How "good" I am has nothing to do with it; His love is unconditional. *stepping off my soap box* ;-)] Seriously, everything has fallen so perfectly into place the last two days, I just want to shout praises of thanks for God working everything out!!! And to think, I could have thrown wrenches into every aspect... (Can't we all always???)

I have been stressing over getting all the kids' activities scheduled. I LOVE being an on-the-go mom, from activity to activity - I was MADE to be this kind of busy mommy. Once everything is confirmed, I am as happy as a clam chauffeur; but I *do* stress until we have a set schedule.

Football & cheerleading are going to take up a TON of time - at least 3 nights a week, (but both at the same times, which is the bonus of me being the cheer coach, so I can schedule my squad practices beside Will's! ;-)) Of the dance schools for Annelise that I have been able to get a schedule for, all of their Kindergarten dance classes run sometime between 5 and 6:30 PM = *not* OK when we'll have to be 15+ minutes north for football & cheer those same nights certainly no later than 6. Eeek! Dance is Annelise's #1 passion; I'm not going to have her miss out, again, but how would I swing this? *prayer prayer prayer*

There is ONE other dance school here that is supposed to be "the best" - the oldest & most established, the one that literally every other studio owner in the area grew up & learned in, the one most like the studio *I* grew up in. Problem? They have *ZERO* online presence - no website, no email, no FB, no hours, no nothing. Only a phone number - and we all know how I *don't* call anyone, ever. Well, I broke down a few weeks ago and called. I wanted to know how they compared to the other top contenders with websites who actually have their class schedule & tuition fees posted online. I left a detailed message; no reply...

I called, again, last week; no reply...

I was thisclose to huffily leaving one final message yesterday to the effect of, "I have called 3 times now, and if I can't get a response, I'll have to take our business to another dance school." Yeah, I was THAT peeved to be ignored. But, my manners (or my cowardice? or God saving our future! ;-)) couldn't let me go through with it. I called - for what I swore would be the last time - and got a real, live person on the line! Their open house is this week & next week, where all their dancers come in for shoes and to register; so we went over there today. After everyone is registered, they make their schedule; *BUT* b/c they are so established, they already have a solid idea of how it will run: they are the ONLY STUDIO who will offer an earlier class for Annelise!!! Like at 3:30 PM!!! I almost cried with joy. That was selling point #1.

#2 - For just $10 more a month than the other top contender, she gets DOUBLE THE DANCE: 2 classes a week: 45 min of ballet and 45 min of tap, instead of one split class!

#3 - For $20 more, she can also add a tumbling class that will be scheduled right after one of her normal classes! This means: no worrying about finding a different gym after cheer is over, no having to buy all different leotards or whatever the new place would require, and no complete additional registration & tuition at said gym!

She's going to get 3 classes all in the same spot at the best times I could possibly imagine for our schedule for less than it would cost her to take half as much dance at another studio and gymnastics in a whole different place. [It also works out to be the same amount we were paying last year for her dance/gym combo class - essentially the same thing, but now we also have double the dance for the same price!] I mean, it could not get any better for us there...

Or could it???

I mentioned I wouldn't mind being on their substitute dance teacher list, if they needed anyone, b/c while I couldn't commit to teaching full-time, it would be wonderful to be in the studio now & then...and they acted like that was the biggest godsend EVER! Apparently, they have an awful time finding subs!

THEN I asked if they offer any adult classes? Yes. Do they offer Zumba? No, but they would be *VERY* interested!!! :-O :-D I told the director I was planning to get certified this fall, and she said to let her know right away, that they would offer my class to all the parents & see if it would generate enough interest to run.

Joyous ALL AROUND!!! Every single class we wanted for Annelise at the perfect time and even potential teaching jobs for me! THANK YOU, GOD, for working all this business out for our best!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ultimate List of Cheers

So, who's the sucker mom who has volunteered to coach cheerleading, again, this year? Yeah, don't pretend any of y'all are the least bit surprised. ;-) I talked to the director today and was really encouraged by his answers to my scheduling & program questions, so I'm in. My BFF Jackie made the best point re: coaching - I would be horrified if Annelise got a sub-par mom for a coach. At this age, what's important is learning teamwork and spirit, and I know I can deliver that, maybe better than a younger champion stunter who would love to do more with these little girls physically than they're quite capable of.

Am I trying to relive my old glory days? What, you mean these?
[Boy's Club cheering, circa mid-80's]

Oh, sooo glorious. :-P

Well, yeah - actually they were. It was such innocent fun - not very competitive, great bonding with girlfriends, and it made us feel like little rockstars. That's my M.O. - I am all about super spirit! ...And I also want to ensure - in this day of Toddlers & Tiaras and Dance Moms [I admit, 2 of my most guilty TV pleasures, but only b/c they make me feel so incredibly rational & with it! :-D] - that *my* kid is not going to be out there provocatively shaking her pre-lady bits like a tart when she has no idea what it means to the adults who will be watching, you know? I love the idea of having control over the cheers that she'll learn; there are some trashy ones out there, and no - they are NOT "cute" for little girls who don't get the double entendre. Am I alone thinking little girls have enough attitude & sass on their own? :-D

The director actually mentioned that they were going to revamp their cheer list, and I jumped on that like white on rice! I spent hours pouring over cheers last year and came up with what I think is an awesome list, so I told him I'd email it over. He responded within 5 minutes that it was fantastic, and they may use the whole thing. (Gold star for me! :-P) When I made this list last year, we wanted a lot of shorter ones, so the youngest girls could learn them quickly, we wanted NO questionable/suggestive words or movements, and we didn't want them to focus a lot on specific team names, since the squad was always cheering for a different team each game.

Do any of you "retired" cheerleaders remember some of your old cheers? (I put a couple of mine back on this list! :-D) Current cheer moms, what are your girls' favorites? Do a hurkey down memory lane with me, and give me MORE!!!


CHEER LIST 2011
[x = clap]


TO OPEN:
We're up for the challenge and glad you're here.
We wish you luck; now ready, set, cheer!


Hey everybody, the battle has begun, Lee County Football, two thousand and eleven! [“uh-leh-vun” to rhyme “begun”]


Roll it [roll poms in front], shake it [shake poms out to the side in a T], victory [high V], let’s take it! [arms in]


Hey, Hey football fans, Yell it out and rock the stands,
Go red, go black, go red, go black



Who rocks the house? Our team rocks the house,
And when our team rocks the house,
We rock it all the way down.


Big G! Little O! Go team, go!


Split the V, Dot the I, Roll the C, T‐O‐R‐Y


T‐E‐A‐M, Teamwork, Teamwork


1‐ We are cheerleaders [or the team name],
2‐ A little bit louder, 3‐ I still can’t hear you,
4‐ More, more, more (repeat)


Let’s go players [or team name]. Let’s go!


Players! xx Dig in! Go Fight Win!


L-E-T-S-G-O! That’s the way we spell let’s go! Let’s go! Hey, hey let’s go!


We’re dynamite, we’re dynamite, and if you play with dynamite, it goes tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick BOOM, DYNAMITE! xx BOOM, DYNAMITE!


T-A-K-E, Take that ball away.


Go! Go! G-O! Go team go!


Hold! Hold that line! Defense, do it!


What do we want? TD! What’s that? Touchdown!


First and ten, xx Do it again!


Let’s score, Let’s score, We want six more!


A‐W‐E xx S‐O‐M‐E xx awesome, awesome, awesome are we


Be aggressive, be-ee aggressive B‐E‐A‐G‐G‐R‐E‐S‐S‐I‐V‐E


Hey hey, What do ya say?, Let's go team!


Action, action, we want action, A‐C‐T‐ xx I‐O‐N!


S‐C‐O‐R‐E, Score Team Score!


Spirit is the key, We're pumping it up for a victory!


A‐T‐T‐A‐C‐K the boys are back,
A‐T‐T‐A‐C‐K and ready to attack


Push em’ back, push em’ back, Way back!


We are T-O-U-G-H...tough! Tough!
We are R-O-U-G-H...rough! Rough!
We are tough and rough and had just about enough!


Hey, let's fire it up! Say hey let's fire it up! xx


We've got the power to, we've got the power to, we've got the power to, push through! [or “beat you”]


We’re big, B-I-G, We’re bad, B-A-D, we’re big, we’re bad, we’re victory bound, gonna stomp that team right to the ground.


Hey (insert a cheerleader’s name) Hey what?
Hey (repeat name) Hey what?
Show us how to get down. No way.
Show us how to get down. Okay.

D-O-W-N and that’s the way she gets down.
D-O-W-N and that’s the way she gets down.


When we say number, you say one! Number, one, number, one!
When we say victory, you say now! Victory, now, victory, now!
When we say spirit, you say got it! Spirit, got it, spirit, got it!
When we say go fight, you say win! Go fight, win, go fight, win!


TO END EACH GAME:
We are proud of you. Say, we are proud of you! xx


*Let me say, I realized I have cheer to thank for me being able to spell "awesome", "aggressive", "attack", "victory", and "Let's go!" Not that I [probably ;-)] wouldn't have figured it out on my own eventually, but to this day, I still chant these out cheer-style in my head when I have to spell them. :-D

Monday, July 25, 2011

Happy Bday to Me!

I had a sweet family bday weekend! I woke up to snuggles on Saturday morning and getting to open a box that contained:
this replica of Jackie Kennedy's tanzanite bracelet that I fell in love with when I saw it in Charleston! ♥ I will be so glam!

I got my nails done [let's skip that part: worst Axxium application ever. Big bummer! Making it more painful, a group of BFFs also there were all getting pedis & having a big girls' weekend, which made me miss & long for all of my BFFs :'(] but then we had family swim in the backyard. :-)

Laura - BLESS HER! - offered to have the kids over while JB & I went to dinner & a movie Saturday night, so we jumped at the chance!!! Innovative dining experiences are, shall we say, limited (that's nicer than nonexistent) around here. [I have actually heard multiple people exclaim they love going on vacay to "get to eat at an Olive Garden." *shudder*] But we LOVE exploring, and we will almost always find something more than the same old same old. Enter Henry's Fine Edibles - it may be as top of the line as you can get around here, but it will certainly do just fine!

[Side bar: I totally don't mean that there's nothing good to eat out here! My goodness, y'all have heard me go on & on about our beloved lunch spots, there's abundant barbeque, we have a good pizza place, yummy Japanese, and we have better Mexican than we had anywhere up north - including Chicago. I only lament the lack of amazing, innovative, unique eateries, which seem to only make it in bigger metro & resort areas. I absolutely appreciate simple, good cookin'; but I also looove fancy flavor combinations, gourmet foreign dishes, and I'm fascinated by molecular gastronomy. I. LOVE. EATING. QUALITY. FOOD. (And I do despise most chains.)]

Henry's was delicious, though! We've wondered about this place for months: it never seems to be open, the hours on the door just say "Mon -Fri 3 PM, Sat" which is no help, and it's in a dumpy, run-down looking strip mall. Yet it's called "Fine Edibles"? Yes - yes, it is and they are. :-) We had fantastic crab cakes [that *almost* rivaled Hyman's in Charleston! WHAT?!?! I know!], baked potato soup, fried green tomatoes, sweet potato chips, perfectly cooked steak, and buttermilk pie! We got NOTHING at the movies - even JB skipped popcorn for maybe the first time EVER!!! It was the most full either one of us had been in ages... We hurt. :-P

We then saw Horrible Bosses - it was really raunchy...but hysterical! If it had been a vulgar comedy about people trying to hook up, no thanks. But this? The raunch was not the focus - it was these three friends and their relationships with their evil superiors = SO FUNNY!!! The cast absolutely made this movie work - they were perfect.

Sunday morning, JB made a Krispy Kreme run (we have a real, fresh KK bakery right down the road! KK's are the only doughnuts I'll waste calories on) and I actually ate one in bed. Decadent... HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! :-D

Owling Away the Blahs

I woke up in a royal funk Friday. Even Zumba didn't perk me up. We had lunch & pool plans with my friend, Laura, and I pre-warned her we had some major cheerleading work to do.

Sooooo, what better way to shake your blahs than to be RIDICULOUS in PUBLIC??? The girl (ahem, *me*) who recently said, "That planking stuff is SO DUMB," laughed her derrière off playing around like a kid Friday. Silly fun that totally brightened my day!!! Special thanks to Sissy's adoptive baby, Sparkle - a downtown Albany turtle on display in front of the county government building, for letting us roll & perch all over her.

[Annelise wanted to plank, too!]

[My fave owling shot :-P]


The fun continued at our house in our backyard...
[On our REEEEEALLY HIGH backyard pool wall!!! An owling feat!]

Then the kids wanted to jump over our heads:
And by the end of the afternoon, I was THAT happy! :-D

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Butterfly in the Sky

(Didn't you always LOVE that theme song?! Ah, my childhood!) So our butterfly adventure that started two & a half weeks ago has come full circle! The caterpillars grew so fast, and the first two spun their cocoons six days in on Thursday, July 7th:

By the 12th, they had all been encased for a few days:

So I performed the transfer into their mesh habitat:
[Photo Credit: Peach Pie. I wasn't mad, :-P just really concentrating, so I didn't kill them en route!]
[The two that weren't attached to the paper at the top of the initial cup were just supposed to be placed on a paper towel on the bottom...]

...And those were the two who emerged FIRST the very next day on the 13th! (So glad I didn't put off that transfer another day!)

Sis has had the most wonderful time watching them:

They had all emerged by the 15th - exactly two weeks to the day they arrived as teeny tiny caterpillars! The only formal care they required was sugar water-soaked bits of paper towel to drink/eat from, and I have to say, I *LOVED* the way they flew around excitedly and tickled my hand as I replaced the old with fresh each day. :-) [Why are butterfly wings so ethereal & make me feel like I'm being touched by magic...while any other insect would gross me out & certainly NOT have me waxing poetic? :-P]

We kept them in their mesh habitat to observe for about five days and then proudly released them into the wild yesterday evening.
Their accompanying instructions noted that they could hang around the area in which they're released for a day or two; our eyes will be peeled...

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Few Days in My Life

Friday evening, I dragged my friends Laura & Jamie to my first Zumba Party! [OK - so the "party" part was sneaky: it was actually a super-long Zumba class with a little décor & some refreshments, (but barf - who wants to eat a brownie before or in the middle of jumping around? No, thank you. Laura & I hit Chick-fil-A for peach milkshakes afterwards ;-)) In my defense, I had no idea how much Zumba we were actually going to do ...and if I had, I probably would have used it as an excuse to skip my morning class! :-P] I was CRAZY PROUD of myself for essentially taking the equivalent of almost 3 Zumba classes in one day and NOT wanting to die the following two days!!! I could definitely feel my muscles, but I never actively hurt, like I anticipated. [This really boosts my confidence re: getting certified; endurance (or my lack thereof) is my one point of intimidation.] Oh! One more way it *was* a party: prizes! I won a nice Zumba beach towel for bringing two friends, and Laura won an awesome metal Zumba water bottle! :-) After an hour of regular Zumba and the prizes, we did a little Zumba Toning with hand weights, too - so glad this instructor is now certified to teach that, as well.

When I pulled into the garage about 8:15 PM, Will gingerly opened the door & asked if I would mind staying downstairs a little longer; he said they were doing a project upstairs. OK... but after about 45 minutes, I was fairly certain that their "project" was just Wii & that Daddy was asleep up there on the couch. ;-) I even posted on FB: "Now the REAL dilemma - do I go up & force beddy, or keep enjoying TV & FB down here on my own?"

Y'all, I had to post a retraction 15 minutes later! It *WAS* a REAL project!!!! :-D JB & the kids built this amazing 700-something-piece Lego fire truck - the ultimate Daddy project. So awesome!!! [And PS - I didn't even know the Wii has been dead for well over a week. Yeah, I'm such a gamer. ;-)]

We spent most of Saturday going through more boxes in our office area upstairs. We did a ton when we first moved in, but honestly, that's been awfully low on JB's free-time priority list the last few months, you know? We're much more about family time in the pool, etc. during his time off! We did hit some keepsakes, though:
Annelise has now commandeered my old school Cabbage Patch Kids sleeping bag!!! Holy mackerel, was I excited to sport this thing at sleepovers! The couple sleepovers I went to before I got this, I had to use my cousin's: it was a picnic theme with LITTLE BLACK ANTS on it. Ewww. I was sooo embarrassed; when I got this one, I was over the moon and rolling in cool points! ;-) Now it's totally VINTAGE! :-D Yay for recycling!

I also came thisclose to chucking all of my old cassettes & mix tapes...
...but they received a stay of execution in the 11th hour; there was just that much room left in my final sentimental keepers box. I'm going to get a USB cassette-to-MP3 converter to see what I can save on my computer, and THEN they'll feel the ax next round.

Yesterday, we went back to church at Sherwood. [I am STILL praying for some major peace or sign either way, if this is where we're supposed to be. Part of me thinks it's a waste of life to debate: every church we've visited has things we like & things we don't. They ALL WILL. I just want to give my heart & settle in. The end.] The sermon on Habakkuk 1 was great: give Jesus control over everything, rest in Him knowing you don't have to worry about working it (or HOW it will work...) out yourself, and be amazed when He uses even tragedy to build you up & rescue you. God ALWAYS hears your prayers; you may not get the answer you want or have your situation changed, but if you are HONEST when you talk to Him, you will always deepen your relationship with Him. We closed with a favorite song of mine that I (happily) CANNOT get out of my head, "Came to My Rescue". [I wish they did a few more songs like this; I *LOVE* the old hymns I grew up with mixed in, but a lot of the more modern songs they do I totally don't know, which is hard for me when I get SO MUCH spiritual fulfillment from congregational singing. :-)]

On the polar opposite note, we flipped through the channels yesterday afternoon and fell on Talladega Nights...not so family friendly, but so stinkin' hysterical! :-P Will said, "STOP!!!" b/c it looked like NASCAR; it was the race scene where Ricky wrecks & then runs around like crazy, thinking he's on invisible fire. I have NEVER heard Annelise laugh as hard in her life as she did when Will Ferrell ripped off his not-really-burning clothes & rolled around on the race track in his underwear to put out the faux fire. She was dying. It was about the cutest thing ever!!! ...And then we quickly changed the channel. ;-)

Last night, a tsunami of nostalgia washed over me - maybe it was all the memories stumbled upon unpacking boxes Saturday? I don't know what possessed me to open & *start* pouring over every.single.page of my last scrapbook when I should have gone to bed, but wow, have the last 2.5 years been a whirlwind of blessings! I can't believe how many amazing people have come into our lives, & even though we've moved away from most of y'all, please know how much I still treasure our together times...even on random days post-midnight. ;-)

My bleary eyes paid for my late last night this morning, but we still managed some awesome summer fun! It was chicken noodle (Will's fave there) day at Cafe 230, and after our ultimate downtown lunch, we checked on Sissy's turtle, Sparkle. (Annelise takes care of her; she's Sparkle's adoptive mommy and makes sure she takes her vitamins.) We moseyed over to the RiverQuarium for a bit...oh yeah, since we're now MEMBERS! [I know, like we need to be members of anything else; but when we booked Will's bday there, it worked out to be $35 for a membership that's usually $80 - too good to pass up when we're downtown a lot for lunch anyway, we live for animals, and unlike the zoo, it has lovely A/C for those too hot or stormy days.]

Speaking of Will's bday, yes - we DID decide on the RiverQuarium, and everyone's thrilled!
[Invite with pics of his growth & life from the last 12 months:
sports, snakes, sushi, summer :-)]

As we exited the RiverQuarium today, we heard a noise. A noise that stops everything else for our family: train whistle! A CLOSE one! We saw the engine peek out from b/t the trees right beside us as it began to cross the rusty bridge that goes over the river, (hence RIVERQuarium. ;-)) We ran down to the river's edge to watch:
I don't know what made this feel so idyllic - the childhood joy of the train, how massive the bridge & river felt up close, the picture-perfect summer day, the Spanish moss in the trees, my kids balancing on rocks like my brother & I used to do... It was just a sweet moment I wanted to bottle.

We got our final surprise of the day when Daddy walked in the house early! We had a post-dinner swim, [now THAT is luxury!] and JB even asked as we bobbed around, "How are we ever going to live anywhere else?" :-) Not a question that needs further ponderance today... ;-)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Repeat

We cannot get enough of these two songs. We just repeat them overandoverandoverandover in the car. I already mentioned NEEDTOBREATHE's "Slumber"


And the other is MercyMe's "Move"


They make me SO HAPPY!!! I even have little dance routines choreographed to them in my head. :-D

Pandora-Style

I am extremely late to the Pandora-style bandwagon. I didn't think they would ever be for me, b/c #1 - I don't like silver on me. #2 - I don't wear lots of different jewelry; I wear things either obsessively or never. #3 - It's a rare bracelet that won't get caught in my Lady Godiva hair. #4 - I have my old school silver charm bracelet from growing up that I feel "too old to wear" :-P but so why do I need something else like it? And #5 - I am too stinkin' cheap to pay that much per bead or, heaven forbid, for gold charms! :-D

I *did* fall in love with the idea of them, though, this spring at Love Letters Monograms & Gifts, when I explored their Trollbeads (another brand just like Pandora, Chamilia, & Biagi) up close. I really liked the idea of having colors that compliment my wardrobe, being able to offset the silver with touches of gold, and that the smooth, round (read: won't snag my hair) beads could have special meanings - a prerequisite of all my jewelry.

The thought of a bracelet like this grew & grew on me. I kept researching & thinking, (b/c I can never *just buy* anything) and realized, if any place would give me what I wanted accessory-wise at a price I would actually be willing to pay, it would be the Charleston Market! Enter my & my mom's awesome girly day trip last month!!! I spent - I kid you not - an hour & a half at one of the stalls designing a bracelet for myself. :-D I absolutely LOVE it!!! It goes with everything I wear, it doesn't rip out my hair, and it's trendy but personally unique to me. I chose every bead with meaning: I esp. love my three beads made from real seashells, the purple pearl, and gold starfish for my love of the beach, (& they're from my beloved Charleston, which makes it even better!) I got my Southern hospitality pineapple, too. ;-)

Since they were so relatively inexpensive, I started one for Annelise, too! (She's been asking about "nice" jewelry ever since she got a beautiful engraved silver ballerina jewelry box for her birthday this year.) I'm giving her hers next week as her prize for finishing the Summer Reading Program at the library; I just started her out with six charms, so there would be room for lots of future gifts: a purple crystal dragonfly (she saved a dragonfly's life in our pool - a surprising summer highlight that keeps garnering mention), a green & pink flower bead (green was her 1st fave color), a horse-drawn Cinderella carriage (princess!), a pink purse (the girl loves bags!), ballet shoes (she says dance is her #1), and a silver giraffe (b/c she loves animals & zoos maybe more than I do! I swear, she may become a zookeeper! :-D) She has mostly charms, while I have mostly beads - seems perfect for a little girl! BTW - for her whole thing - her silver bracelet, six charms, and a silver stopper bead? $32. Mine has nine more beads, but wasn't exponentially so much more. Take THAT, $30-60 PER GLASS BEAD! :-P ;-)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Help, My Nails

My friend, Michelle, shared this article by Vanessa Gregory in Food & Wine magazineThe Help: Southern Food. As if I needed anything else to get me excited about the movie version of one of my two favorite books of last year! (Sarah's Key = my other fave.) I am SOOO GLAD they went completely authentic, b/c y'all ALL know we'd notice if the food didn't look right. A Southerner's life revolves around FOOD! Mmmmmm...

Speaking of food, did y'all notice any airborne pork today? Well, I am sure there were some pigs flying around, b/c I actually spent almost all day CLEANING HOUSE!!! :-O I *never* clean, unless guests are about the ring the doorbell, (and we don't have any due for 3 weeks!) [Disclaimer: I do not abide food messes = UGH. But dust bunnies really don't bother us a bit.] I don't know where it came from, but I rode that fleeting mojo for all it was worth. :-P The whole house smells of bleach, the kitchen counter is clear like you see in magazines ;-), the bathrooms are fresh, and our king mattress is even flipped with clean sheets! Shut the front door!!! (And don't expect this to happen, again, until probably 2012... :-D)

Speaking of cleaning, it absolutely tore up my nails. :'( The bleach, the scrubbing...yeah, there's more than one reason I hate cleaning with every ounce of my soul. :-P [PS - I do have gloves somewhere, but shhhhyeah, right: like I'd remember to use them! ;-)] Busting out the Nail Envy after I post this to see if I can salvage them. (I don't do fake nails.)

Speaking of my nails, I want to Cherry Blossom them:
I like Glitterati, too, b/c I like ANYTHING that looks like a glitter bomb went off, but I wouldn't go through all those steps for that. :-P

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Dreamy Marriage

I *ADORE* this idea of "God blessed synergy" in a marriage from Laura's husband, Matt:

Dreaming together demonstrates how two become one in marriage. The concept of two becoming one, as stated in Genesis 2:24 and quoted by Jesus and the Apostle Paul, incorporates more than a physical union. You are uniting numerous facets including your ambitions. Instead of two people going in different directions only pursuing their own goals, a merging occurs. Your combined abilities, experience, and passions create an incredible God blessed synergy. The two of you, empowered by God, produce more than the sum of your work individually. God’s math equations look like this:
Two become One 1 + 1 = 1
Synergy 1 + 1 > 2

Beauty Product Quest

I got my first birthday present (for myself ;-)) this week. Every year around your bday, Sephora gives you a present (last years' here) and this year's is a nice sized bottle of Philosophy's "Happy Birthday, Beautiful"
I was worried I wouldn't get to pick up mine this year, since there is no big Sephora anywhere comfortably near us, (we don't even have Bed Bath & Beyond, people :-P) but guess what just opened in our tiny mall's JCPenny? Excited! I don't wear makeup regularly (apart from my omnipresent metallic brown eyeliner) but I love playing in it! :-) [Tried this on in "3D" = gorgeous!]

And SO DOES ANNELISE! She is completely obsessed. She loooves the idea of makeup; her NC highlight was going to Ulta whenever we went to grocery store. :-D (They're beside each other there. ;-)) She was actually pretty pouty as we left Sephora, b/c everything she wanted was $22-$38, and she had only saved $6. Sorry, sweetie. I told her I have to save for things I want, too; I wasn't buying that lipgloss. Plus, sometimes when you wait, you find something way better!

"Way better" ended up being just a few stores down: enter Bath & Body Works' little hand sanitizers. Annelise loooves hand sanitizers - not in a germophobe way, (please - we are the anti-germophobe household!) more like in a lotion way that's reinforced at school as "a good thing." B&BW has these cute little travel sizes in fabulous girly scents, (a few even have glitter, too!) She acted like she was making the purchase of the century and completely wrapped all 3 salesgirls around her little finger. They were falling all over themselves to show her this scent & that scent, and of course I kept blushing every time they said, "She is soooooo adorable!!!!"
I'm nowhere near the mall rat I used to be; I actually put off going these days :-P but this trip was FUN!!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

FLIPping Over a Swimmingly Sensational Saturday

Saturday morning, we set off on an impromptu road trip! (When was my last one of THOSE?! :-P) My longest & first BFF, Amy, (our moms were BFFs & pg with us both at the same time :-)) and her two boys were down from Washington D.C. visiting Atlanta, so we drove the 3 hours up to meet them for the day!
I requested we meet for lunch at FLIP Burger Boutique. I am a Top Chef junkie, and Richard Blais is one of my ultimate favorites! FLIP is *his* restaurant, and with a menu like this, I have been obsessing over getting up there to try it for ages. It did NOT disappoint!!! So fun, chic w/o being the least bit stuffy, a total blast! I had:
warm bacon potato salad, zucchini fries (my FAVE!), the butcher's cut burger w/ caramelized onions & red wine jam, and a beet salad with dates & goat cheese along with a nutella + burnt marshmallow liquid nitrogen milkshake!!!!!!!!!
I also had half of Sissy's Krispy Kreme shake, again: made with liquid nitrogen - AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!

Afterwards, we headed over to the Georgia Aquarium - the LARGEST aquarium in the WORLD! It opened two weeks before we were transferred away from ATL five years ago, so this was our first visit. :-)

The kids' favorite part were the touch pools where they could touch rays, baby sharks, starfish, & urchins. We couldn't drag them out of there!!! They were all really sweet together, acting like no time had passed (much less over THREE YEARS!) since we'd all been together. They picked right back up, just like Amy & I have done our whole lives. :-)

We finished our visit with dinner at Pura Vida, a shot-in-the-dark choice that turned out to be a fun tapas adventure! The yucca tostones were FANTASTIC, Amy discovered she likes empanadas, and the fresh salty/sweet peanut butter ice cream was to die for!!!

We had the most wonderful (albeit too short) reunion. Amy is one of those friends with whom I never miss a beat, no matter how long it's been ...although we always swear that next time, it won't be as long!!! ;-) She & her family are my family, and I am so thankful for them!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Wag a Tale

Will & Sis read to helper dogs Friday afternoon for "Wag a Tale" at the library:

[Will & Belle]

[Annelise & Happy Jack]

I actually thought I wouldn't be able to tear the kids away, but after one book/dog each, they had no problem giving up their spots in favor of computer games (which they don't play at home - they're NOT touching my laptop!) :-P It was still the sweetest thing!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Zumba vs. Dance ...or Priority Juggling

My friend, Stacy, watered the seed in my head this week that I should get certified to be a Zumba instructor. She wants to do it in the next year just for fun as a personal goal; if I were going to do it, I'd definitely want to teach, (to recoup the certification cost & so I don't have to pay for my own classes anymore! :-D) But she is so fired up about it just for fun, it really got me thinking... I am having a hard time with the idea of teaching dance here. There are TONS of classic, non-competition dance schools in this area = perfect for us. The problem is, NONE of them open to run classes during the school day for younger students, which is what I would want to teach. The whole point of me teaching is to fulfill my passion WITHOUT taking away from my own kids, and with them BOTH in school until 3 PM this coming year, there's no way I'm putting them off for any of the 4 or 5 waking hours a day I *do* have with them.

Plus, at this point I want their extracurriculars to take priority over mine, and I've already got Junior League and hopefully some church singing in the future which will occasionally be in the early evenings that JB will have to get home for. Will's going to play football, which we've discovered is almost every weekday, (games M,W,F & practices off days; glad we had t-ball to break us into this schedule! :-)) and Annelise is going to cheer. (They want me to coach cheer, again - I haven't committed, yet.) Annelise also CRAVES dance & gymnastics, so after 2 years in a row of moving & getting snubbed out of recitals, you better believe she *will* get one this year!!! :-D So that's another thing to add to the list of what we want to do in those precious 4 or 5 post-school hours. [I'm figuring we can put gymnastics on hold until after football season, and then she can replace cheer with that, since they don't have recitals for which you need to be enrolled the complete year. Gym moms - is that a bad call?]

So yeah, even though everyone keeps saying, "You should totally teach dance here!" and my mornings are free, it's not that easy. I'm *not* free when ALL 5 dance schools that I've looked into schedule their classes, and in fact, we are totally (although HAPPILY! :-)) swamped for those hours. [BTW - I would so appreciate any prayers of ordering our schedule you could offer up, that God would make it clear which dance class & school I should enroll Annelise in and whether or not I should coach cheer, and that the cheer & football schedules would be perfectly compatible.]

Soooooo then, this morning I had the most blah Zumba class ever. [It was a sub - our instructor is at convention; but for realz - HOW did she make Zumba BORING?!] ...And that may have just solidified my motivation to get CERTIFIED! If she can call that a class, I'll be a rockstar! :-D Seriously, if certified, I could teach Zumba classes (still getting my dance on! ;-)) in the mornings on my own terms, just like my friend Melissa taught in MI. [I already have an AMAZING plan for a location in need...but I don't want to spill all my ideas, yet! ;-)]

Buuuuut, I'm taking it as a sign that I'm not supposed to hop on this RIGHT NOW, though: there are NO training sessions I can attend that have been scheduled from now into October. :'( The ATL in July is sold out, and the 3 close enough to drive to in August are literally the *ONLY* days I'm busy: Hoover, AL is on Will's birthday and both ATL & Tallahassee are while JB & I will be in Savannah on our *FIRST* adult trip (other than our house-hunting to move down here, but that wasn't vacay-ish) w/o the kids EVER. The hotel is paid, & we're going for a work conference for JB, so we can't go a different weekend.

I'm not discouraged, though - I know I'll get in at the perfect time, and maybe I'm supposed to give in & coach Annelise's cheer squad, again, this fall, anyways and then Zumba afterwards? Thoughts?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Summer Reading

Our library doesn't have a traditional summer reading program this year. They've got a few storytimes & activities, but they don't have any "read this many books, get this reward" incentives. No prob: we still picked up the official reading logs, and I told the kids that the library is having the parents get their own kids rewards that they will *really* like this year, instead. This provides me with the PERFECT excuse to give Annelise the Pandora-style [but waaay less $$$] bracelet I started for her in Charleston at the Market! (It's too big of a deal to just say, "Happy Thursday, Honey!" but I can't wait til Christmas! :-D) She got a beautiful silver jewelry box for her birthday, and since then, she's talked about "nice jewelry" to put in it. :-) Will won't be left out - he's got a list a mile long with his bday on the horizon. :-P They are so proud of their reading logs!

Will's:

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

ÜberSouthern

Annelise was so excited today: we picked up the quilted damask bags we bought in Charleston almost 2 years ago, that I finally just had monogrammed. Apparently her Southerness is genetic, [or else I just did a stellar job keeping her ASAP (As Southern As Possible) while we were up north :-P] b/c she acted like this was Christmas morning!!! She wanted us to pose for a photo with them for me to share with everyone:
I mean, could we get any more Southern? I'm even wearing my Lilly pants! :-D

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Baby, You're a Firework!

We had a quiet, sweet 4th of July. I pulled something in my neck/upper back on Sunday, so I was (& still am) trying to take it a little easy. We opted to light 200 sparklers in our own [gorgeous, Spanish moss-covered!!!] backyard (& get the kids to bed on time ;-)) instead of going downtown for big, late-night fireworks, and they LOVED this!