Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Happy Fall, Y'all!

Happy Fall, Y'all!

(This may be my favorite pumpkin pic of the kids EVER! Would you believe I just snapped it on my phone out in front of the grocery store as we ran errands yesterday afternoon?! :-D)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Zombie Cheer

This weekend was the last of our regular youth football season. Grandma & Grandpa (JB's parents) were here visiting for the weekend from Florida and got to see Will play his last game with the Falcons:

My & Annelise's Texans had to dress up as zombies for our special Halloween halftime dance. [I *hate* zombie stuff, so I was less than thrilled...but I do admit, it ended up pretty cute. :-P]
[Annelise far left at the front of our "Bang Bang Choo Choo Train"]
[Annelise in the middle of our zombie group after halftime]

Annelise also had one more special guest: her 1st grade teacher, Mrs. Everhard, made it a point to come to see her cheer! (How sweet is that?! She emailed all the parents, for us to send her 3 game/performance options if any of the students are involved in extracurriculars, and she would try to come. ♥ She said she loves doing that, and it makes the kids feel so special!) She stayed for Annelise's entire game!

Playoffs for the Texans begin this week, so Annelise & I still have our same practice schedule. [Slightly jealous that JB & Will are done... ;-) Here's to being a united family all on the same team next year!!! :-D]

Dewberry Farm

I got to chaperone Annelise's 1st grade field trip to Dewberry Farm on Thursday. It's a great pumpkin patch & Christmas tree farm chock full of country fun attractions. The kids rode the zip line, flying bouncy balls...
giant mountain slide, pedal cars, the bouncy balloon...
rope swing, playground fort, cow train...
and the hayride out to the mini pumpkin patch...
where Annelise chose a white mini - a princess pumpkin for a pumpkin princess!
We ended the trip in the sunflowers - so sweet...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Thankful, Rescheduled, and Mismatched

I am thankful for God giving me the desires of my heart, fulfilling opportunities here - specifically today: I had my first night rehearsing with my new Praise Team that I'm singing with at our new church on Sunday, and I also found out today I'm getting the chance to sub Zumba at the prestigious new gym next week for the first time! Things I have so missed and am so thankful to get to do, again!

More busy blessings: I haven't stopped going since I got back to TX from NC a week ago. I got recertified in CPR/AED as a[n awesome] requirement for teaching Zumba at the gym.

I had both kids' (rescheduled) parent/teacher conferences: Annelise is a genius; Will is still the Math King, he is officially reading above grade level, and I pushed to get him extra help with his spelling struggles, [which I believe mostly stem from the fact that we have moved so often. He missed his last month of Kindergarten, b/c we moved from Chicago to Michigan; then we moved from Michigan to south Georgia in the middle of his 1st grade year. As we moved, the different schools were at different points in their curriculum, (the middle of 1st grade being the most dramatic - GA was so far ahead) and he really missed out on so many basic spelling rules he should have been taught. The Michigan school he began that year in was so far behind, but we didn't know that until we got to Georgia; they caught him up on his reading level (which he has now jumped out even further ahead of! :-)) but I'm not comfortable waiting any longer "just to see" if he will catch up on the spelling on his own through more reading. It's still not happening, and he's just too bright to have this ever hold him back.]

Today was (rescheduled) flu shot day. It was so horrific, the screams of terror are probably still ringing through the halls of our pediatrician's office... No amount of rationalizing or bribery will calm them (esp. Will) down when a shot is involved. I have tried it ALL. But focusing on the positives: thankful that they were covered under insurance, and thankful that the total time my kids were checked out of school was only 30 minutes! I love having our ped quick & close by!

After returning them with their vaccinated arms back to school, I went to Target for my own flu shot (since I don't have a PCP here, yet) and it was also free (well, insurance-covered) with no wait! And I DIDN'T scream my head off or terrify everyone in the building! :-P Honestly, shots don't bother me one tiny bit. The dentist...now THAT bothers me... *shudder* [Ugh, remembering I need to find us a new dentist here, still... :-( *pause, readjust attitude* Thankful we have some dental insurance! :-P]

Finally, today was also Mismatch Day at school:
[With Will's buddy who came home w/ us to play]
I'm so thankful that we live in such a fun, spirited place!

Tomorrow: chaperoning's Annelise's class field trip, and thankful that I can! :-)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Family Chalkboard

There were so many things in Grandmommy's house. Mom kept asking if I wanted to take anything; well, of course, I'd love this antique desk and that gorgeous table, but how on earth am I going to get them back to Texas & cram them into the [purposefully] smallest house we've had in 10 years? Just not in the cards for right now...

But I did come across an old chalkboard. I remember playing on it at her house when I was little, and I know it's OLD. This chalkboard just spoke to me, and luckily, it was small enough to fit in my carry-on suitcase. :-)

I'm crafty & a great designer on the computer, but I don't have a creative bone in my body for home décor & accessorizing. A large part of that is b/c I'm too cheap to buy décor that doesn't have personal family meaning. I've always thought a tablescape with a message plate would be so cute, but I never wanted to splurge on one. Then I kept seeing make-your-own-with-chalkboard-paint projects on Pinterest...but again, no motivation. Enter: family heirloom chalkboard!

The kids are excited to change the message and share their own family notes whenever they want, and I love having my cute decoration that has true family meaning!!! ♥ Thank you so much, Grandmommy.

Friday, October 19, 2012

School Pics 2012

Will's 3rd Grade school picture:

Annelise's 1st Grade school picture:

I think they're both good, but Annelise's blows me away. There must be something about 1st Grade; remember how wonderful Will's was, too? ♥

Thursday, October 18, 2012

How Do I Deal: Nostalgia vs. Decluttering

I feel very blessed that I got to spend the week after Grandmommy's funeral in NC, helping my mom go through alllll the stuff in Grandmommy's house. It wasn't easy or fun, per se, but it was *good*. Since I'm the only family who isn't local, it meant a lot to me to feel truly involved. It was good to get to see so many old family pictures & cards (& smile rereading the ones *I* sent); outfits I remember her in; hats, gloves, & scarves I grew up playing dress-up with; her college memory book (she was her high school valedictorian & she went to college late 1920's, early 30's :-))

When it comes to waging my personal battle b/t nostalgia and decluttering, I find I can always donate & throw more away, if I'm winnowing down my piles with a loved one: if I have someone there who cares about me, and I can share the history, ("I wore this to... We used this for... This was special, b/c...") I can let more go. The bottom line for me is sharing life, not hanging on to "stuff". If my happy memories are acknowledged, I'm good moving on. :-) Being able to go through Grandmommy's house w/ Mom accomplished that for both of us: history sharing & acknowledgement of good memories made it easier to donate & throw away a TON. (And I do mean quite literally weight-wise at least a ton!)

Even though it doesn't quite seem 100% real (I'd honestly have no problem believing she was just still at assisted living; I felt the same way for *years* w/ my dad, b/c we weren't living in the same place when he passed, either) going through her house with my mom brought a lot of closure. Not that there aren't & won't still be sad moments, but I'm good moving forward...which is pretty big for this self-proclaimed-but-maybe-slowly-reforming? nostalgia queen! :-D

[PS - For the record, I am *not* available to handle any more "stuff" for the foreseeable future. :-P B/t two over-one-thousand-mile moves and now Grandmommy's in just over a year & a half, I am DONE DONE DONE with boxes & sorting! #boycottbeginsnow]

3 Random Funny Bits

On Monday, I hauled at least 700 lbs (14 giant contractor bags - each at least 50 lbs) down & out from Grandmommy's upstairs! Lesson: I will never *not* burn another candle or not use a decorative soap, b/c "it's too nice to use." :-P Funniest quote - from my mom: "How come everyone else's parents squirreled away money in their homes...and mine just hid Kotex?!" :-D (We seriously found a vintage Kotex box in 3 different rooms, but not a dollar. BEST comic relief!!! :-P) We were sooo painstaking - checking the hems & sleeves of every outfit, trying on every hat & pair of gloves, opening every.single.greeting.card & envelope (tons back thr/ the 1950's)... But that meticulous detail was what made the silly finds even sillier :-D

Hershel re: a TV show: "It's devarted."
Me: "Devarted?" (Am I missing a gas joke?)
Hershel: "D. V. R. ed. Devarted."

Happiness is: getting an email from Land's End about their snow suit sale...and being able to LAUGH & DELETE!!!

Laughter Through Tears

"Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion." ~Truvy

Friday, October 12, 2012

Paradoxal Superstar

After sorting through a good portion of Grandmommy's glassware (oh, the vases!), stemware (& I thought *I* was a cup junkie!), and silver serving pieces, Mom & I slipped off this afternoon for a thanks-to-Groupon mani/pedi session at Jon Ric Hair Spa. It was my first spa mani since I started doing my own Gelish at home; I don't take the time to do the lotion hand massage, etc. for myself, so this was luxurious. :-) [And I know my mom reeeeally needed this after the stress of this last week.]

I went super fall, color-wise. [Y'all! It is COLD here!!! Like the 60's! ;-) I'll be glad to get back to standard Texas October 80's! :-D Sure, it's nice to see the leaves turning, but really - I'm chilly.] So, colors - on my toes, I got Chanel's Paradoxal - a purple grey with a tiny hint of iridescence:

On my fingers, I got Deborah Lippman's Superstar - a dark metallic brown copper that's total glitter bomb...but as subtle(:-P) as glitter bomb can be... (I know - so *me* :-D)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Flying In the Nick of Time

I have more praise to shout re: the travel blessings God has granted: JB & the kids flew out from CLT standby this morning at 6:40 AM, landed in Houston at 8:30, and made it to school in time for Will's Student Council Induction at 9:30!!! They only missed 2 total days of school! It still amazes me that they woke up here in NC this AM and still made it to school, just an hour late...

Will receiving his Student Council Induction pin this morning! :-) [And not looking too shabby after waking at 3:45 AM (adjusted central time) and flying 3 hours :-P]

Special cheers of thanks to Daddy for his ultimate driving skills to get them there!!! I have the most koala-ty husband ever! :-D

As for me, Mom & I spent a long time today going through just one of the many rooms in Grandmommy's house. It was really cool to come across so many old photos - everything from the early 1900's to all my old school pics she kept :-) Sorting here tomorrow & back to her house, again, Saturday...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


This whole Grandmommy thing just doesn't quite feel real, yet, for either me or my mom. We talked about it this morning: both with Grandmommy & my dad, we were very prepared - it was time; it wasn't a shock; and we knew what the next logical steps would be: visitation, funeral, cleaning out their rooms. I know for me, my brain deals with these things very logically at first: I know they knew Jesus, I know they're in Heaven, I know God's plan & timing for us is perfect, so there's no point in wallowing in grief. They're safe, healed, & happy; I've got to go on here; and we'll be reunited soon enough, in the eternal scheme of things. I hope no one thinks I'm emotionally detached for not breaking down into an uncontrollable weeping mess at the funeral, but as my mom keeps saying, "If we really believe what we say we believe, then there's nothing to be sad about." That's how I feel, and esp. when it's not a sudden tragedy or a younger person, you know?

That's not to say we don't have our moments - going to the assisted living home this morning to clean out Grandmommy's room was not pleasant. :'( Going with my mom to go through her big house (a family friend is renting) over the next week is going to be even less pleasant. :'( But still, mostly on autopilot: I'm glad to take & wear a few of her sweaters, and I'm *so* honored to wear her garnet opal ring that I always adored on her finger as I was growing up.

We really are fine for now. It's even easier for me, b/c 1) I *never* passed up a single opportunity I had to visit her - every single time we were home (I've been gone fr/ NC for over 12 years now!) I always got to spend time with her; and as soon as the kids were born, I made sure they did, too = no regrets. 2) B/c I haven't been local all this time, her passing seems less "real" yet, b/c it doesn't change my daily routine. Does that make sense? It was the same when my dad died: I was a freshman in college, so I wasn't living at home; it doesn't mean I loved him any less deeply, but it wasn't such a shock to my actual days, b/c I hadn't lived with him in months. It softened the blow...

...And delayed the grieving. With my dad, I didn't *truly* break down until two years later. I was in Rome; my mom had come to Europe to visit while I lived in Germany, and we were at the end of our Italy trip...when my brother called her from home that our beagle, Lizzy, had died. Lizzy was my dad's BFF - she was the last bit of him, and when she passed, I mourned him. Hysterically. In a hotel in Rome.

I'm sure the same will be the case with Grandmommy - moments of tears now, but really overall OK, on autopilot...and we'll see when the grief trigger strikes down the road...

For now, we'll keep celebrating life & thanking God for every second we have together here as a family. :-) I can't tell you how thankful I am that I can be here this next week for my mom!!! The only thing I refuse to let myself think about is when my role will be hers & Annelise's mine...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Grandmommy Gone Home

My Grandmommy went home to be with the Lord early Saturday morning. She was 100.5 years old, and what a life!!! Of course, no one wanted it to be time...except her. She was ready. She told my mom she was ready. She had over 100 years of amazing health and service to everyone around her; it was time to hear God say, "Well done," and be reunited with her husband after over 34 years. (Grandaddy passed the month before I was born, which actually solidified my bond with Grandmommy, since my birth gave her something positive to focus on, instead of mourning. :-))
[My Daddy took this photo the first time he met my Mom's parents. :-)]

We used a portrait of her at my & JB's wedding for the newspaper; she never aged! (I hope those genes are in play with me! :-D)

The circumstances are obviously crushing, but we have personally been so blessed when it comes to all of the travel logistics to get us home to NC. On Saturday morning, I *NEVER* thought we'd be able to fly SATURDAY EVENING, but we were blessed by a BFF w/ airline connections to get us out on standby! ♥ I had a Sbux chai and an ENTIRE ROW to myself on the flight, w/ JB & the kids all together across the aisle ;-) More sweet friends are taking care of our Bonnie Blue beagle, and my BFF Jackie picked us up in ATL (the only standby flight was to ATL instead of CLT) and housed us overnight:
This was such a bonus blessing, b/c heaven knows when we would have otherwise been able to come together; and now I've gotten to see her gorgeous new house (they moved back to Georgia literally THE DAY AFTER we moved to Texas this summer - so bittersweet!!!) and have a night of girl talk into the wee hours...

My cousins drove down to ATL to retrieve us Sunday morning for NC, and we were safe & sound with my mom by lunchtime. God answered all of our travel mercy prayers - praise!!!

I focused on the positive at her funeral on Monday: I was so happy to hug on & see so many precious people I haven't seen in years and be surrounded by family & love. ♥ We celebrated an amazingly blessed life with assured salvation!!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Mommy or Me?

My mom was going through a few of her old things at my Grandmommy's house, [BTW: Grandmommy is under hospice care, very weak, mostly sleeping, but in no pain & clear the few minutes she's awake ♥ ] and when she found this picture, Hershel and our good friends Jan & Shana thought it was *ME* - they couldn't believe it was my mom in college at Wake Forest homecoming, (circa ~1970). Mom says she just cannot see the resemblance (we've always joked how we look nothing alike) but I think it looks JUST like me with dark hair! What do y'all think?

Over 60 friends commented on (& almost 70 "liked") it on FB, and they all agreed: "Omigosh! I thought it *was* you!" :-D

I love having this photo!!! :-)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Yoga & Empanada Bliss

I went to my first yoga class Tuesday morning: outside, mid 70's, in a gazebo over a lake beside a fountain...
Perfect breeze... Tranquility beyond words... I didn't expect to feel so relaxed afterwards...

Even though I'm a licensed Zumba instructor (more on that slow road here in another post soon) and dance teacher, I'd never actually taken a real yoga class before! It's exactly what I want - more flexibility ending in relaxation with greater focus.

After yoga, I got a fab surprise: an impromptu lunch date with a new BFF. (They moved here from Birmingham, AL the same time we did; kindred monogramming & Lilly spirit; her girls = Annelise's friends; new 10-week-old twin baby boys, courtesy of whom I get a lot of new mom attention for the first time in 6.5 years when we go out. :-P) We are all about finding the local gems around here, and today, we hit a true treasure: The Original Marini's Empanada House! AMAZING *not greasy* empanadas: I had a barbeque chicken & a tomato basil for lunch and a pumpkin with Ghiradelli chocolate & marshmallows and an apple pie for dessert!
Holy heaven...

PS - Last week while the girls were in gymnastics, we found Araya Artisan Chocolate. I don't have enough accurate words to describe the way that place smells: not sickly sweet at all, but fresh, clean, floral CHOCOLATE!