Thursday, January 31, 2013

ANSWERED PRAYER!

I *KNEW* today would be AWESOME when it started with a hot air balloon flying over our heads on the way to school...

So y'all remember how disappointed (and, yes, plain old mad) I was when I didn't get the Zumba class I believed I would this month at the gym location right here by our home? Well, I was asked by that new girl to sub *the* class today, b/c she had a school thing. ABSOLUTELY! And I made sure to tell her, "Anytime you need a sub, just let me know! This is a perfect time for me, so I can always cover you." Another instructor (my friend who's expecting) needed me to sub for her yesterday, as well, [YES! I have definitely gotten my fill this week! :-D] and she made a point to tell me our "boss" told her the new girl is having a time conflict with her college class & *the* Thursday Zumba class. Hmmmmm... I told her to feel free to tell our "boss" (in quotes b/c we're teaching equals; she just sets the schedule) that I would be thrilled to take over *the* class, if the new girl needs to give it up!

That was last Thursday. I didn't ever hear anything else.

I got a little nervous. Not b/c I expected to get a call handing me the class on a silver platter...but b/c I know I have whined & complained about this whole situation, and now I worried I was trying to manipulate what God wasn't ready to give me. *THAT* is a scary prospect. I prayed on my walk to pick the kids up from school Tuesday; I asked God to please NOT let me have this class, if it's not right for me. Please do not let me mess up my dynamic & place in the gym organization with any bitterness. I only want this class if it's from God - not from me thinking I can make something better than His plan happen on my own.

*deep breath* OK, feeling better. :-) Yay, peace!

Subbing for my pg friend ROCKED yesterday: I had two ladies tell me it was the *BEST class they had EVER taken* at the prestigious gym!!!

This morning, I went to my fave Yin/Restorative yoga class for an hour at 8:30 before subbing *the* Zumba class at 10. I wondered if I'd be too blissed out to go my normal nuts in my Zumba :-P but nope - I think the yoga just made my body more receptive! (The yogi, Cindy, told me that's the case for her - she loves cardio after yoga; I was only skeptical, b/c it's such a calming class - all slow poses lying down on the floor for relaxation. I am serious: Cindy is an angel. I want to record her saying, "Slide your shoulder blades down your back," in her soft, hypnotic tone on my phone, so I can just replay it anytime I'm stressed and want to instantly relax! :-D)

So *the* class: I thought our "boss" was going to participate, so she could evaluate me to finish the final step of the 5 Star Instructor Training I began early in January, but I didn't see her until the very end. She was in her office, which is attached to the studio room, but I couldn't see her. Oh well. I just let it rip, completely natural and comfortable doing what I do. I had 35 students, and everyone seemed to love it! Afterwards, I stuck my head in her office to smile and say hi. I told her how much fun I had and...

From there, she launched into my evaluation! Apparently she *was* evaluating me from her office: she said I had wonderful musicality & song choices - a great mix, and (the kicker) she was getting fantastic member feedback about me. Turns out, she was pulling participants into her office door at the end (I thought they were just leaving!) and asking them what they thought about me & my class. :-D At this point, I said, "Oh, that's so great! Well, I'm available anytime [the other girl] needs a sub for this class! It's a perfect time for me, and they were a blast!"

Then it happened.

She furrowed her brow and looked...serious. She said what I already knew through the grapevine - that the other girl was probably never going to be able to do this class now, with her school schedule. I gave my honestly genuine [b/c finding subs is STRESSFUL] sympathetic "oh, that's tough!" face. Then she asked, "Could this time work for you? Would you be interested?" ARE. YOU. FLIPPING. KIDDING. ME?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! I honestly hope she was just trying to save face and that she hadn't completely blocked out of her mind that *I* was the one who originally asked to add a Zumba for me in this time slot back in November and that I had asked, again, when the January schedule came out a few weeks ago. :-P "OF COURSE! I would LOVE it!" :-D

So it's mine now. Effective immediately. I am so thankful I prayed for this to only come from God! Now I can revel & enjoy getting the local class I've wanted since August, and not worry if perhaps my scheming stole it in bad timing. :-D God will ALWAYS work everything out for your good when you believe, [but I *am* surprised at how fast He delivered! ;-) :-P]

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Flying Carpet Yoga

Outdoor gazebo yoga was sooo windy yesterday morning! Our mats were literally flying :-D (but thankful it was a warm wind :-))
It really *was* like trying to balance on a flying carpet! Where's my Princess Jasmine crown???

Yet again, I am so thankful to live here! On the fitness front, I'm subbing Zumba both Wednesday & Thursday this week, (after my regular Monday class was so stellar: three new students thanked me profusely for being the first Zumba instructor they could easily follow :-)) so pray for stamina. :-P

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Wonderful Weekend

We had a sweet weekend! I was a good wife & willingly agreed to go to the Houston Auto Show down in the city. ;-) :-D
Oh, adorable Jeep! One day you may be mine...

We even ran into two friends there! I've heard it said that Houston is the biggest small town in America; I absolutely believe that. ♥

After the auto show, JB took us to a gem he found: Resie's Chicken and Waffles - holy heaven! I loooove chicken and waffles, and these were divine! They always have a special waffle of the day: Saturday's was pound cake. Yep, pound cake batter poured in a waffle iron. Mmmmm... But honestly, their regular waffle (what I got) was even better! Outstanding - slightly chewy (not crumbly cakey) under a perfectly golden, firm crust. [OK, now I'm craving!!!]

When we got home, the kids & I went out back to lounge under the 77°F blue sky:
(Sorry that bottom right pic caught a cloud :-P) BACKYARD BLISS!!! I cannot believe Bonnie Blue jumped up on the hammock w/o a bribe! :-D She jumped down to watch the guys do football drills; I finished my bubble tea & perused Southern Living Ahhh...

We went to one of Will's football friends' birthday parties Sunday afternoon at a new bowling/laser tag/arcade place here. They have a high ropes course up in the ceiling above part of the arcade area:
and Annelise rocked the whole course in high heeled wedges! :-D She is our daredevil, for sure! The kids are thrilled to get to go back next week for Annelise's friend's bday.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Mr. & Mrs. Faux Fix-It

Get ready to not pin this post to your DIY boards! Prepare to be underwhelmed!

I fixed first: our printer has been broken since September. When I finally unpacked it after our summer move and plugged in, it printed exactly one document and then decided it didn't want to work anymore. Even though I have it set to just print in grayscale with black ink, it would only keep flashing "cyan empty" & "magenta near empty". Would that seriously make the whole printer unresponsive?! Surely not, right? Esp. since it printed that one B&W document just fine. Why not keep on pressing random buttons for four months trying to wake it up first... And only then finally break down and price out ink on Amazon. (It's an ancient-but-very-nice Brother model with the most expensive ink ever. I didn't want to invest big bucks in a possibly futile gamble here.) I ended up getting a great "add on item" price deal, and since we were already ordering our fridge's water filter, the ink was a steal... except they shipped the wrong model cartridges. After Sunday afternoon playing tag with Amazon customer service, they made it right (& then some) and by Tuesday, I had the right ink in hand. Would this cheapo, knock-off ink really make the whole printer suddenly whip into action and truly work? Actually, yep. I fixed the printer with new ink. No more emailing everything we need to JB at work for him to print there & lug home! #rockstar

JB fixed next: when the kids & I came home late from Christmas travels three weeks ago, JB told me he had some bad news - the dishwasher was broken. It absolutely would not turn on. Not even a tiny squeak of power. In a glorious display of procrastination, I decided not to bother the lady who owns the house about it, yet, until we had some additional reason to contact her, b/c #1) she's not even here - she's in Florida; and while she is attentive, she's Chinese, her English is painfully difficult to understand, and the local handyman she has (whom we've already had over once & could barely communicate with) is a pain to schedule. Plus, #2) I handwash all my dishes first, anyway; I pretty much just use the dishwasher to sterilize things, (it's the *ONE* cleaning thing I truly care to do! :-D) so going w/o the dishwasher was kind of no big deal for a while. (It may be the only kitchen convenience I could do w/o. :-P) Last night while standing at the sink, JB flipped a switch behind our family line-up of Tervis tumblers by mistake - meaning to run the disposal...and suddenly starting up the dishwasher. Yep: after 3+ weeks, he fixed the dishwasher by flipping the other switch.

If only all fix-its were that easy... :-P

Which also leads me to think: Great goodness! We have been leasing (b/c of all of our quick transfers, so we wouldn't get stuck in a home we couldn't sell; sold our last in 2009) for so long now, we really need to get our brains back into home repair mode, if we're going to buy here in the next year or two! :-D Shoot, we used to be so handy...and now look at what constitutes a household triumph?! ;-)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

January Lull

This time of year always seems so quiet to me: post-holidays, in between sport seasons, no big trips or productions. I used to hate this time of year; it was hibernation-o-rama for me and the ultimate manifestation of seasonal affective disorder...but - praising God! - not the last two years!

Dear Texas, I love you so much! Thank you for making my ideal January a reality. (And for being much sunnier today than this forecast admits! ;-))

I will never, never forget how panic-attack-inducing those northern winters were for me! But even though we have been delivered back South, somehow January life still seems quieter...even out of hibernation. Even with exquisite school vacay holidays like Monday:
The kids came with & had a blast playing while I taught Zumba, we got macaroons & bubble tea at Sweet and lounged (in this pic) in the gorgeous 70°F+ sunshine, we hit up beloveds Costco & the newest Trader Joe's, and we enjoyed free pizza (yay, coupons!) for dinner. "To God Be The Glory" indeed!!! (Read the inscription on the park stones :-))

Hmmm...what else has been happening in this January lull?

I went to the dreaded new dentist. The Good: I actually love this guy & his practice! He's the first dentist (& with all of our moves, he's my #6 since 2005!!!) that hasn't instantly tried to upsell me on whitening or pressure me into cosmetic treatments. The Bad: My back teeth are a horrific mess...but I have known that. The work I need is extensive and terrifying, but it's really what I thought I would need - no shocking surprises. This guy has definitely established some major trust with me right off the bat = invaluable, esp. when I have had some extremely negative dental experiences that have left me beyond gun-shy. D Day #1 [of 3 :-(] is February 7th. Mark it on your prayer calendars! :-D

I sang in church on Sunday - so lovely, so fulfilling... [but is it blog-worthy w/o a pic or video clip to share? (I always wonder that; pics truly are worth more than I could ever type!)] I got to sing a song - Charlie Hall's Mystery - from one of our past churches that has meant a great deal to me. "Sweet Jesus Christ, my sanity. Sweet Jesus Christ, my clarity," was like a meditative mantra for me for quite a while. Another one of the five we did was completely new to me - and from my googling, appears to be very obscure, since there is only *one* YouTube version! - but it really touched me: God Be Praised. [Our version was a little different: I sang an awesome harmony with the lead on the first two verses, and then we had gorgeous tubular bells come in at the repeated chorus (2:34) instead of the clapping :-P]

I'm working on a new Zumba routine to Taylor Swift's I Knew You Were Trouble. The choreography has a boxing vibe - punch & kick out any frustration! :-D

...Which is amusing, b/c I'm probably the least frustrated I've ever been about anything before in my life. :-P I truly mean that. I'm glad I don't believe in jinxing, b/c I'd be terrified to type this, but I just don't have enough words to shout about what an awesome place I'm in - not just physically, but contentment-wise, with great new friendships, full of positive hope and a feeling of stability here and security I've never felt in my adult life. God bless Texas.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Obsessed: Bubble Tea & Escapada

Annelise totally caught me in the act!!! :-D
Yes, I confess: I went to bubble tea, again, today... :-P

This gotcha pic makes me giggle; but it does capture two of my current obsessions:

There's a *NEW* bubble tea spot here, and not only is it now the closest, but it is also the BEST quality!!! Kim's Teahouse & Tapioca has usurped Sbux as my ultimate liquid pleasure source. I'm still getting my favorite cream tea flavors - almond, taro, and plain milk tea - with tapioca; but I love that this place blends whole fresh fruit with ice for its slurpies & smoothies - no fake mixes, a la Island Oasis. :-P I don't feel the least bit bad about letting the kids get a blend of fresh mango, ice, & a squirt of honey as a dessert treat when we're out! We discovered Kim's was finally open last week...and I admit I've been there more days than not. ;-) It makes me sooooo happy!!!

And *I promise* I am not cheating on Lilly Pulitzer...but y'all, I have found Escapada Living. It's a boutique brand based in Charleston, SC. I am absolutely in love with their prints and styles! I have one of their dresses - the "Everyday Dress" in Pink Morocco Geo in the photo above - and I am dreaming of more pieces...
The sad thing is that they do not sell online (yet?) and the only boutiques around here that carry it are in Galveston & Lake Jackson. I will definitely be hitting up their Charleston locations, if we go back to the Carolinas sometime this summer!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

2012 Digiscrap Catch-Up

I haven't posted any of my scrapbook pages since I had our last complete family book printed in August! OK, so that's mostly b/c I just now caught myself up all the way back to September. :-P Yep - I just recently scrapped twenty pages. I *reallyreallyreally* don't want to let myself get that behind, again. (Although, I had all sorts of valid extenuating circumstances - like wanting to wait out cheer & football seasons to do those complete pages, blah, blah, blah... ;-)) On the flipside, this makes a nice little review now of 2012 since Labor Day to start the new year! :-D [If you want to know HOW to digiscrap, (or at least how *I* do it) click here for all my details. (You can see these pages below a little bigger by clicking on each one or more so by going here and clicking on each.)]

September:

October:

Fall 2012 Texans Cheer:

Fall 2012 Falcons Football:

Annelise's 1st Grade Class Trip October 25th:

Halloween:

November:

Christmas Prep:

December:

MI Christmas:

NC Christmas:

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Getting Over It

So, I've been quiet for the last week... Not b/c nothing was happening...but more so b/c something *was* happening, and I was doing everything in my power to resist the temptation to complain & gossip about it here. I didn't want to let myself go off in print this time, b/c #1 - I prayed about this and needed to get serious about letting God handle it, and #2 - I already vented in person to a few friends, so writing it out wouldn't be as much of a release valve as it would be me blowing it up even bigger.

Now that I have peace, I feel like I can share from a point of praise instead of bitterness...

I teach Zumba at a prestigious gym about 20 minutes away. They also have a location that's only 5 minutes away, but there were no class openings, even though they hired me there in August. The group fitness department head kept telling me ad nauseam to wait until January. The January schedule came out, and not only was I not on it, but someone new with less experience was given the slot I had requested. (See, this is where the smoke started billowing out of my ears. ;-)) I exchanged communication with the group fitness department head, expressing my hope to teach at this closer-to-me location and asking if that would be possible...to which she replied, "not right now." I was filled with...many not-nice thoughts and questions. I wanted to stew in my pot of anger & bitterness...but I sucked it up and prayed for God to work this out for my best. Honestly, folks - there is NO BETTER OPTION. If God wanted me to have that class, I would have that class. Period.

The day after I gave up my rage, another Zumba instructor called me in a slight tizzy. She just found out she's expecting and was freaking out over how many subs she'll probably need this year. I was the first person she told out loud that's she's pg - even before her husband! (that day was their anniversary, & she was telling him when he got home ♥) - and the first Zumba person she thought to call. :-) God knows my heart: I don't Zumba for the paycheck (HA!!! :-P) and I don't need 15 classes on my permanent schedule to validate me; I just want to jump around, dance, and have fun with people! This is going to be a wonderful way for me to get a bunch of extra classes and not have to be on the hook for more days that *I* would have to get subs, if - by the grace of God - we get to go on a vacay or two. ;-) Plus, I'm truly helping a friend! (Finding subs is a major point of stress for most instructors - esp. for daytime classes.)

To top off the week of Zumba drama, my class size yesterday for my Monday morning class DOUBLED!!! This is *hugehugehuge*, b/c it's really a struggling time slot, and I did NOT want to get canceled! Thank you, God!!! I also got peer evaluated (for the 5 STAR training) yesterday and totally rocked that, too! So I'm reveling in Romans 8:28 and waiting to see what He's got for me next that's even better!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Off My Wall: Back to Texas Hodgepodge


Random shareworthies on my mind and off my FB wall:

* I was so relieved to get back to Texas after two long weeks away. And that actually surprised me. I've always been the Travel Queen...but this was the first time we've had to fly multiple places over Christmas...and it was...just a lot. (Of ticket cost. Of holiday & bad weather airport stress. Of crazy bulky winter clothes. :-P) I looked over at my mom on the morning of Wednesday Dec. 26th and said, "I feel like this is the first time I'm getting to really talk to you!" And then we got sick! I'm so very thankful for everything our families did to accommodate us - picking us up, dropping us off (4 hrs away in ATL for my parents!), feeding us, and even shipping our big Christmas presents home to Texas for us! ♥ We are so blessed!!! But yeah...it was a lot. For everyone. [I'm up for reevaluation of Dec. 2013. ;-)]

* As soon as we got home, I resisted the massive urge to collapse in my still-sick state. I confirmed the kids' new pediatric dentist I'm excited about *is* covered with our insurance, and I also found a new dentist for me - an anxiety-inducing necessity, but I am so proud I didn't put it off longer. [And this guy's website mentions paraffin wax hand dips amongst his "comfort amenities" - yes, please! :-P] I also had my suitcase unpacked & put up first thing Friday morning!!! Now THAT is a HUGE one for me!!! I've been known to let them just sit open so I can grab what I need for months. Literally MONTHS. :-D

* My beloved Redskins broke my heart on Sunday. Shattered... :'(

* Also on Sunday, I had a required group fitness instructor training at a facility about 30 minutes away. It was called "5 STAR" - elevating my instructor skills to an even higher level! I got paid for taking the class - excellent - and it actually wasn't boring. :-) Now I have to peer evaluate two other instructors who took the training by going to their classes, and two must come evaluate my Zumba, to document which aspects (hopefully all!) of the 5 STAR training we are actively implementing in our classes. I'm not intimidated to be peer evaluated - I actually can't wait!!! Now *me* having to take my fellow instructor's cycle class??? EEEEK!!! [Why couldn't there have been more dance fitness people in the training?! :-P All my friends seem to be cycle = UGH! I HATE bikes; I have 5 coccyx bones (most people have 3) so anything involving sitting on my tailbone - biking, sit-ups, etc. - is extremely painful.]

* The training *did* have me invigorated for my Monday morning Zumba class, and my attendance was up, which was a big boost! :-) The kids were still out of school, (they went back today, Tuesday the 8th), so they were thrilled to get to go to childcare at the gym. It's not a nursery - it's a full-on play program! When I picked them up, Will was in the middle of a basketball game, and Annelise was in a climbing structure. :-)

* We hit hallowed Costco and scored by it being VitaMix demo day! I *love* getting new recipes for ours. ♥ I was excited for the quick soup recipe:


* "God does not love a future version of you any more than He loves you right now."

* I finally saw the Call the Midwife Christmas Special :') Now if I can catch up on the Downton Abbey premiere by Friday...

* I have been blessed two days in a row with hand-delivered gifts from BFFs: yesterday my Louisiana-native friend Sherryl brought us fresh, homemade pralines & cookies! DIVINE!!! Today, Donna brought me a taro bubble tea from the NEW BUBBLE TEA house that *finally* opened close to us! (It was supposed to open Dec. 1st; I was so disappointed it wasn't before Christmas!) It is SOOO MUCH BETTER than the other few bubble tea places closest to us! (The best ones have all been ~20 min away. :-P) I LOVE LIFE HERE!!! Such quality friendships... ♥

Friday, January 4, 2013

This Old House

Fall 2002

This Old House was the first one JB & I ever bought as husband and wife - new construction in 2002. This Old House was the first home I ever got to make my own. This Old House held the first & last almost-an-acre yard our first "baby", Bonnie Blue Beagle, ever got to run free in. This was the first yard we ever landscaped & first HOA we ever navigated when JB designed a deck & porch swing we had built out back. (I saw that the pergola over the fence is still there!)

October 8th, 2003

This Old House is the reason I got to become a dance teacher. [It's about the 5th house in off a backroad; when you turn right out of the neighborhood, there's a small church that also houses The Studio School of the Arts. (You could even kind of see it from our yard, which is really why we went nuts planting leyland cyprus. ;-)) I took a chance calling to see if they needed an assistant for dance almost ten years ago...and did they EVER polish my skills up right!]

This Old House is where both of our children were made, incubated, and where we brought Will home from the hospital. His (& our first) nursery. We painted it Thoughtful Spot blue & sponged white clouds on the ceiling. JB & I also built our own built-in shelving system around his huge window. (Geeze, we were handy... We've been renting b/c of our quick moves so long now, all those home enhancements seem a world away!) The staircase in This Old House taught Will to climb.

This Old House has even given me one of my best Houston friends! (Our old next-door neighbor there moved to Birmingham, AL after we left, and she met Donna. Both Donna & I announced on FB we were moving here to the same neighborhood in TX at the same time, so my old neighbor connected us. :-))

I lived in This Old House longer than I lived in any other house, except the one I grew up in in my hometown. This Old House would still be perfect for our family today, with the addition of a pantry - its only flaw. ;-)

The day we moved away in 2006, with Will only 18 months old and me 8 months pg with Annelise, was one of the worst in my entire life.
The one other time we came back for a dance studio friend's wedding (Will was ring bearer :-)) & drove by This Old House, I bawled hysterically. It cut my heart to shreds.

I wasn't sure if I'd get misty this time...

January 2nd, 2013

Nope. :-)

My BFF, Jackie, has moved back to ATL. We became BFFs when I lived in This Old House & she lived just up the backroad. We joined Junior League together, both got pg with our first children within two months of each other, learned how to mother together, and generally did life together. It broke my heart that she moved back to Georgia literally two days after we moved away this summer; but it helps now that I can see the bigger picture: I never dreamed we'd love Texas as much as we do. I'm finally in a place where I no longer mourn or long for This Old House & the life we led there. It felt so good to have Jackie drive us by on our visit with her Wednesday and me finally be able to smile at it, instead of weep.