Friday, May 31, 2013


*Giant sigh* Y'all, I am crushed: last week I showed up at my Yin yoga class to discover my teacher quit the gym without notice. Jaw. Floor. She was so involved there (also worked in the day spa!) - it's not like she just had one class. I asked the assistant department head if she was really gone; the only reply was, "Yes. She felt this was the right move for her at this time. I do not know any other details." (Of course, my thoughts instantly trend to the department head, hoping she didn't run my friend off...but with no facts, I let that go. No need to let extra strife & negativity enter the picture.) It was just so sudden. We're all stunned; and honestly, I'm a tiny bit hurt that she didn't give just me a little heads-up as a fellow employee who's been devoted to her class since I was hired. The new guy is great; very different - less stillness, more working for active restoration. ...But she was instrumental in encouraging me to commit to this.

I know an axiom of yoga is letting go & not getting attached...but I'm not good at that part. When you give your body over to someone else's care & direction, you build such intimate trust, whether you're jamming to Zumba or lying in Savasana!

Then this week, my sweet friend who teaches my outdoor gazebo yoga announced she's moving to Phoenix! :-O This *was* the last scheduled outdoor class until fall, (it breaks over the summer,) and she had mentioned rumbles of this possibility a few weeks ago, but still. I lost the two women who gave me my yoga foundation in the span of five days. I had never practiced yoga until last October, and these two women showed me such earnest, tender encouragement! I've fallen in love with it. I feel better physically: I have more flexibility now - in just over half a year - than I've had in my entire life, I feel like my immunity has been boosted, I recover more quickly from my Zumba classes, and I'm more in tune with my body overall. Mentally & emotionally, I use the meditation as a time of adoration & thanksgiving prayers - which is healing & fulfilling in & of itself. [My prayer life is full of supplication (I imagine I'm not alone ;-)), but I find it interesting(refreshing) that my brain doesn't go there - to all the "stuff" - during yoga. I just want to keep thanking God for how good He is!]

So yeah, I love yoga, and I'm bummed to lose two gifted guides who started me off on my journey. I know God won't ever leave me hanging :-P and while I miss my Yin friend, I am choosing to focus on the new benefits from the new guy. With the outdoor class, I'll still see my yogi friend a couple times before she leaves, (Annelise wants her to do our henna when school gets out, :-D) and I'll keep praying for God to send someone wonderful to take over by fall...

A few of us went to beloved Sbux with her after the last class this week, just to spend some quality time actually talking (instead of breathing through sun salutations ;-))

She told me: "Keep shining and lighting the whole world, girl!"

OK. I will. :-)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

3rd Grade Celebration of Learning

Thursday was Will's turn to have his Celebration of Learning (like Awards Day).

Again, it was an intimate, personal, in-his-classroom experience - so much better, faster, & more relevant to all in attendance than a giant school-wide assembly. For the performance portion, each student read aloud from their poetry books that they had each written this year. I tried to video Will, but they asked that people not take videos; so I had him reread his "I Am" poem when we got home. ;-) [I couldn't get him to read louder! Jack the volume waaaaay up!]

"I Am"

I am a kid
I wonder if I will win a game
I hear a lot of noise
I see my team every day
I want to have a lot of fun
I am 8 years old

I pretend I am in the NFL
I feel mad when I lose
I touch the ball and run
I worry if I get hurt
I cry when my dad says, "Take a lap!"
I am 8 years old

I understand it is ok to take a lap
I say, "Bring it on!"
I dream of my mom going to the store
I try to eat rice cakes slow to calm down
I hope I will have a great time
I am 8 years old

By: Will Blake

His teacher then read this acrostic that she wrote for him, before closing with a cute slideshow:
W - willing to help
I - imaginative
L - likeable
L - loves learning

In other Will news, his STAAR (Texas end of grade) Test scores came home Wednesday: THANK YOU TO *EVERYONE* who prayed last month for him to relax & be confident in what he knows!!! He *told* us he rocked it, but he's never taken a huge multi-day test like this before, and I know how careless he gets when he rushes. :-P Thank you all for your prayers! They were totally answered: he scored well into "Advanced Performance" - only missing 5 questions (3 reading, 2 math) total!!!

[See Annelise's Celebration of Learning here.]

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Surfside Beach, Texas

I hesitate slightly to write I'm giving away a quietly held secret to the masses. When we first moved here last summer, I was ECSTATIC to be so close to the coast. (I am a beach girl. Beach living is my dream!) We knew Galveston wasn't "pretty", but we still checked it out over Labor Day. The water is just too muddy brown for me to take seriously. Conventional TX Gulf Coast wisdom says the further south you go, the clearer the water. I also, though, wasn't excited about 6 hours to South Padre Island or 3 to Corpus Christi - not that I don't want to visit those, b/c I definitely do; it just seemed crazy to be so close to the ocean as the crow flies and not have a closer decent alternative.

But now we do! Surfside Beach (TX, not SC ;-)) is a surprisingly little-known gem less than 1.5 hours away. When I asked local people born & raised here about it, the overwhelming majority had never been! Craziness. The water is still nowhere near Destin clear, but it's light years better than Galveston brown. I grew up on Atlantic beaches, so I don't mind if it's not Caribbean blue. ;-) The sand was so lovely - soft, easy to play in, very fine grain, not Galveston muddy. New to me: you drive out and park your car right on the beach! This was their 2nd most crowded weekend of the year (other: July 4th) so the traffic was CRAZY; but even as nuts as this one day was, you can see in the pics that we did still have room for ourselves w/o other cars on top of us.

We went down on Sunday the 26th w/ our football BFFs: JB's assistant coach & his fam. (They're the Redskins fans from Richmond, VA we shared Thanksgiving with. :-)) We had a pretty decent set up for having never been before - we had coolers of drinks, snacks, tons of towels, appropriate changes of clothes, chairs for all, a big umbrella, & we even brought the Block Rocker for a special beach playlist JB made. :-) The best part was driving in in the other fam's pickup truck = perfect to hang out in the back & set up the Block Rocker out of the sand up there. Next time, we'll also bring a portable grill for dinner & s'mores!

[Laura & me]

[Kids play! Football throwing & sand digging]

[Packing up & heading out to dinner (I love this shot!)]

We ate at Pirates Alley CafĂ© - loved that it was casual oceanfront dining, (& loved their fries!) We spent almost 7 whole hours out there on the beach - from 11:45 AM to 6:30 PM! And get this: the water was warm enough for me to willingly swim! IN MAY!!! :-D (Everyone knows I won't put a toe in a pool less than 80°F - just looked it up & Surfside water temp reading Sunday was 82.8°F :-)) It's not a pristine beach (I'm sure the holiday didn't help ;-)) but I am excited to have found it and excited to go back as soon as we can! [Just don't tell anyone else, OK? ;-)]

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

1st Grade Celebration of Learning

Annelise had her 1st Grade Celebration of Learning (like Awards Day) on Friday the 24th.

Her teacher took the time to write down & read aloud special thoughts about each individual child:

Sis & her classmates then performed an awesome song about reading to the Black Eyed Peas tune "I Gotta Feeling"

It was adorable - much more personal than a huge multi-hour all-grade assembly where you sit and wait and wait and wait for your child to get a few (if you're lucky) certificates. Another thumbs up for this school! [Will's 3rd Grade Celebration of Learning is this coming Thursday.]

Monday, May 27, 2013

Red & Black: Bring It On

It's finally official from our youth football league: I'm the new head cheer coach of the JV Falcons for fall football! It's bittersweet to leave the Texans (how cool is it to get to cheer for the hometown NFL team?!) but having our family united on one team instead of split in two all week for practices (last year cheer was M & W, football T, Th, F) and for games will be such a blessing! Just like JB's coaching commitment, mine will also be a multi-year stint.

So bring on all of the red & black Falcons spirit wear & paraphernalia you can find! Anything Falcons that doesn't also say "Atlanta" (sounds tough, but there's a lot out there with just the main logo & colors! Trust me - we're having to hold ourselves back! :-D)

I'm so excited, I even found this cheap red, black, & silver glitter polish (Spoiled by wet n wild "Shuffle the Deck") at CVS! :-) GO FALCONS!!!

Speaking of "Go Falcons!", we won another 7-on-7 passing league game last week! Here's the highlight reel:

[Check out one of Will Blake's huge defensive stops 2:55-3:01!]

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Mayfest Gymnastics Recital

Sunday afternoon was Mayfest: Annelise's gymnastics recital. We are sooo proud of her for moving up as far as she possibly could in one year!

Our Comet!

Highlights [along with 2 clips from the week before of round-offs & Coach Luke teaching back handsprings (in the very back middle)]

Monday, May 20, 2013

Vanquished Foe

Last Friday night, our football team scored another major victory: this time against our evil ex-coach from last fall! (This spring 7-on-7 season began before the investigation into him was complete, so he actually has a spring 7-on-7 team; it's rather telling that he didn't contact a single one of our families to ask us if we wanted to be on his team - neither before nor after JB contacted everyone from last year.) The ex's team was awful...and yes, it felt great to shut them out. When it was over, we all clapped & cheered for the ex's son, who used to be our QB = good sportsmanship; JB went through the handshake line...and the ex wouldn't come anywhere close = bad sportsmanship. All par for the course. :-D

Highlight reel!!!

CLICK ON HD & THE ROUNDED-CORNER SQUARE TO WATCH IN FULL SCREEN!!! [If you only have a few seconds, watch 0:39 - 0:51! (And ignore my Casper legs at 1:03 ;-))]



Families celebrating w/ post-game Mexican dinner:

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Sustaining Grace: a Decade in Junior League

I am proud to have spent the last ten years in The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. (AJLI) - an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. After a decade, I have made the decision to become a Sustainer - the equivalent of retiring, but still retaining the connection to JL. It takes quite a while to become eligible for Sustainer status, and I'm proud to have stayed active this long.

I blogged two years ago - Junior League: What do you DO? - explaining what *actually happens* in JL. I began my JL career in 2003 with my provisional year in JLGNF (Junior League of Gwinnett & North Fulton Counties) when we lived outside of Atlanta; I was also a member of JLKD (Junior League of Kane & DuPage Counties) during the time we lived outside Chicago, before transferring to JLA (Junior League of Albany, Georgia).

I have made some of the sweetest friends and had the happiest, most fulfilling connections through JL...

My decision to go Sustainer was kind of a default: the closest JL here is actually JL Houston. It's HUGE; and after all this time, I really don't want to just be a number among thousands. I've met a few other JL ladies who have also been transferred here to the suburbs from other states, and there's been some talk of perhaps founding a new JL chapter for this area, just as The Woodlands & North Houston have done, (and as JLGNF serves northeastern Atlanta suburbs.) B/c I have enough years of service, I was able to go Sustainer instead of Non-Resident Active of JLA while we look into that possibility, I retain my connection to JL, and I'm able to reactivate at any point, if I do wish to get involved with starting something new here. It would be a monumental undertaking, but this area is booming with transfers, and if we can get enough support, it may actually happen! For now, though, I'm happy and proud to have attained Sustainer status. :-)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Big News from Last Month: Part Two

Like I said, we had two really big pieces of news last month that we didn't plaster all over the world right away, b/c we wanted to be sensitive to wait until all parties involved were informed and/or the dust had settled. (This & #1 were also two of the weights my stomach was knotted over until they were settled last month!)

Fire up your flux capacitor and pretend it's Thursday, April 18th, 2013 as you read:

About a month ago, the head of Group Fitness at the closer gym location came to me concerned about my Thursday class numbers. (She is *obsessed* with mega-packing classes, b/c that's how she gets evaluated by corporate. Higher participation = bigger bonuses.) The club minimum to run a class is 15; I was steady at 24. Not enough: she wanted well over 30.

I was so nervous about this mess, that I even rearranged Annelise's birthday party: the gym is having a big public Dance Jam featuring all of the instructors on Sunday the 28th...exactly when we were going to do her party. I felt like I *really* needed to be there to promote this class, so even I switched her party to Friday evening the 26th after gymnastics - *just* to be there to bump this class.

She emailed me Sunday that she was going to team-teach with me this week & next "to draw some of her regular students in to boost the numbers." I was not excited: we are oil & water - our styles are 100% opposite. It just doesn't make for a good class; but I was willing to do whatever she asked, so I swallowed my pride and replied: "How do you want to split the time? I have my playlist set down to the minute - right now it's designed to build up to anaerobic threshold, interval down, squats, heart rate back up, calf/leg toning, & finally abs before cool-down - so I just need to know how many minutes to cut & where. Do you want to start with the warm-up/beginning? I think that would be a great draw!" I wanted to prep, so I didn't look unprepared in any way.

No response. Ever.

I got there to teach today. She said, "I got your email; I like to just tag team back and forth, so I'll bring them up, you bring them down." *sigh* So no real plan, no steady flow, no continuity. I kept my agreeable smile on, and students steadily streamed in. (Exactly 24 people, again, by the way.)

Then she dropped the bomb: "So here's the plan. We'll team-teach again next time, and then this class is going to change formats after next week."
Read: you're canceled.
One minute before we start class.
A class I'm already uncomfortable teaching today with no actual plan, where I already felt under the gun and that I was being tested by her.
And after I even made the effort to change Annelise's birthday to promote this class that won't even exist then.

I plastered on my stage smile and did my best.

It's very hard to work with her. She is a *GREAT* fitness instructor - very knowledgeable and incredibly fit!!! But she's not a dancer. When she teaches "Zumba", it's not Zumba. It's aerobics to Zumba music. 16 counts of lunges, 32 counts of knees, etc. She doesn't do dance choreography to a song and stick with it. She doesn't have routines. She has no dance background, and that's really OK: she has certainly carved out a HUGE niche of other non-dancey people at this location who LOVELOVELOVE what she does, and that's fabulous. But it's not really what Zumba is about, and it's not what I do. I have set dance steps to each of my songs. I have a playlist that is arranged purposely. My classes don't stop to change CDs. I'm not a drill sergeant; I'm your BFF encourager.

We are just night & day, style-wise, and it doesn't make for a comfortable class. My regulars had a weird time switching b/t us...

...And then, in the middle of her set, she announced this Zumba class was going away after next week and would be replaced with something else.

One of my usual ladies beside me froze and said to me, "What?! What is changing? Oh no!" :-/ Yeah. Was that the best way to tell *my* class? I personally felt like I should have been the one to tell them, but she definitely likes everyone to know she's the one in charge.

My core group of ~24 may not have been huge, but:
1) It more than met the 15 people minimum. (BTW - I found out later the minimum is actually 12.)
2) Those ladies were dedicated.
3) They love my style, and they don't get it from anyone else's Zumba. (I'm very good at explaining the steps to non-dancers; no one feels lost or intimidated; I'm the least scary Zumba teacher for newbies you'll ever meet!)
4) The biggest complaint about this gym is that the classes are too overcrowded; I feel this number was perfect for the studio size: able to move w/o mowing down your neighbor.

Two other ladies came up and asked if there was any way to make comments anonymously, b/c they are scared of her, and they are so sad about my class. Yeah.

I wanted to burst into tears...but I didn't.
My friend Carmen had come to class and said, "Do you want to get out of here and get some lunch?" I called JB & told him everything on the way, too.

OK, so now time to flip the script: this is for the best. Yes, I'm still angry and my feelings are hurt, but I have HATED going to teach there for the last month & a half, b/c all I do is stress out over the numbers! "Omigosh, am I going to have more people?!" All of the joy of Zumba had been completely sucked out by that bureaucracy...and honestly, I resent walking on eggshells. I think this was God's way of rescuing me out of a stressball.

Yes, I could have fudged my numbers a little bit, inflated a tad to make them "look better" (*I'm* the one who records them), but I didn't want to lie.

You know, we're not all meant to fit perfectly into every situation, and my puzzle piece just obviously doesn't click there. It's OK. God knows where I'm supposed to go.

My class at the other (more prestigious) location on Mondays is still WONDERFUL: it's growing weekly, and the people are SO EXTREMELY FRIENDLY!!! I would've thought they'd be snobbier, b/c it's a ritzier location, but no way. It's the exact opposite. Another instructor friend of mine is going on maternity leave this week, and I'm taking her Wednesday class at this same happy location, too, so I've still got my two classes, and they're both at the better place.

God will use this for my good. He will heal my hurt feelings, aleviate my anger, and make this be for the best. So yeah, I'm OK (now that I got all this mess out to people who actually care about me! ;-)) and I do already feel the weight of that class & "the numbers" off my shoulders...

Thanks, y'all!!!

One last prayer request: today would have been my Grandmommy's 101st birthday (she passed in Oct) and it's also the 16th anniversary today of my Dad passing away. It hurt a little to take Grandmommy's birthday off my phone calendar today... Her birthday being on the same day really softened the blow of my Dad's death each year, until now... Send a little comfort to me, my mom, & my brother.

Oooo, I'd already repressed that last blow was on the same day... Whew... OK, so fast forward: I talked to the head of Group Fitness at the happy, prestigious location the next week, and she was both disappointed and totally NOT surprised at how it went down! She is my biggest champion, 100% on my side, shared lots of edifying insights, and I am completely transferring my status to her club, so that she will officially be my boss. I've essentially traded the unhappy Thursday stress class for the long-term subbing of my friend-on-maternity-leave's class on Wednesdays, so I never even missed a beat. Thank you, God, for working this out for my best!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Big News from Last Month: Part One

We had two really big pieces of news last month that we didn't plaster all over the world right away, b/c we wanted to be sensitive to wait until all parties involved were informed and/or the dust had settled. [This & Part Two were also two of the weights my stomach was knotted over until they were settled last month!]

Fire up your flux capacitor and pretend it's Friday, April 12th, 2013 as you read:

JB just got the head coaching position for Will's fall football team!!!! I cannot tell you how HUGE this is!!! The coach we suffered through last year was an abusive moron; we've been through LITERALLY MONTHS (since November) of petitioning the Board of the League to remove him. After an exhaustive investigation (this is serious $#!+, y'all!!!) they fired him today, and JB will get the head coaching job.

Yes, it's "just" youth football...but this is TEXAS. People wait *years* to get a volunteer head coaching position in youth ball here - they literally lobby for YEARS. The high school here is the current TX state champ, they are #1 IN THE COUNTRY and have 7 state titles; they guard the grooming of their youth players very seriously!

Despite the horrific coach JB assisted last fall, he fell in love with coaching (JB played youth through college, so he has the experience) and everyone on the team championed him to take over. It fulfills such a passion in him; I don't know if there's been a time in our 15+ years together that he's ever been as excited for something. I'm just so thrilled that after months and months of strife with this terrible last guy and the investigation that it's finally over and that JB *officially* gets one of his ultimate dream hobbies fulfilled out of it!

I am so excited that JB will be their role model. This spring, he's started off every passing league practice so far with a short couple-minute lesson on personal growth: focus, self-control, fear being a choice, discipline, etc. The boys are so encouraged, it's just a different world from last fall. They BEG to get to practice early, and the respect they feel for him is tangible.

The father/son aspect fills my heart (and his) beyond words. I'll take over head coaching our team's cheer squad w/ Annelise, too, so football will be our ultimate "family time" ...and there will be a TON of it! Our lives will revolve around youth football March-May for spring passing league and July-November for regular tackle league the next three years, and I couldn't be HAPPIER!!!! :-D Y'all certainly know how long we have been in limbo before this last move last year, and now that so much happiness has converged here... It almost makes me misty daily. Totally not joking... ♥

I'm the next Tami Taylor, y'all! :-P :-D

In more happy news, we won our first spring game Friday night! The kids are on cloud nine, and the parents are filled with hope, b/c win or lose, our boys are happier, more motivated, and showing strong growth every.single.week.

[Will is #1 in spring ball.]

Friday, May 10, 2013

You Are Peace

Here's me at outdoor gazebo yoga earlier this week:

(I've started keeping my sunglasses on during practice. I did it initially a few weeks ago when it was so windy, they kept my eyes from watering; now I keep doing it, b/c something about having them on keeps me focused inward. No thinking, "Oh, I hope she doesn't think I'm judging anything!" if I catch someone's eye, etc. It's peaceful. I honestly could live in my sunglasses.)

In light of that last post, I wanted to share more good stuff. :-P I thanked my yogi for sharing this pic and said, "Just seeing this sends me back to a place of peace..." She replied, "You are Peace."


Indeed! It is written:

...the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. ~Romans 8:6b

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. ~Colossians 3:15

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. ~John 14:27

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Airing Dirty Laundry...Or My Silver Linings Playbook

Honesty time: I've felt weighed down & stomach-knotted off and on a lot the last month or so. Most people have had no idea, b/c I really try to focus on the positives & count my blessings in the midst of the junk - always looking for silver linings. :-) This is a trait I am very thankful for, but I can't lie: it can be exhausting, and sometimes I just want to air it all out. (Y'all know I function better as an open book!) That's a bit risky, b/c I don't want to sound ungrateful for our myriad of blessings that MORE THAN outweigh the crud or like I'm depressed when we have such happy things going on, too. On the flipside, I also find it really valuable & encouraging when my friends share their trials along with the ways God has brought them through. :-) I promise I'm not about to lose it or anything :-P but trying to shake these things off and/or suck it up on a daily basis piles up, so I ask y'all for the grace to let me vent a smidge...

I am absolutely sick over my friend Terra's daughter Kendall fighting for her life in the PICU (Hope For Kendall). I met Terra at MOPS when we moved to Chicago right after Kendall was born; Kendall fights mitochondrial disease, but this week has been her worst. By far. The things Terra has posted that they are going through rip me to shreds. I'm glad I found a couple ways I can help them, but it's still hard to "shake off" thinking about it all. Please, please cover them in prayer! I was super anxious about officially making some Zumba changes after MAJOR drama that occurred last month, (hmmm, maybe I'll share that story in another post) and I also discovered a few new Zumba requirements I need to make time ASAP to complete; the requirements aren't difficult, but I churn about professional obligations until they are in the books. I can't stand being deficient in ANY capacity!!! Our van is reeeeally stressing me out: the damage from being hit by a flying tire tread on I-10 this past Saturday (yes, it was terrifying; yes, we're fine) is purely cosmetic, so it's not really a smart investment to repair the body when the a/c is out, again, (no a/c in a month; I've been OK w/ the windows down, but that's not going to work when we're steadily in the 90's) so that gets first priority on the van's ever-growing financial totem pole. I've battled my teeth & mouth aching w/ different periods of intensity for about two months now; if (like JB!) you don't struggle with dental issues, fall to your knees and praise the Lord right this instant! It's enough to make you crazy after a while - pain waking you up in the night, your bite being off with new crowns that have to be adjusted over several visits which in the meantime make simply chewing your meals difficult. Even if everything else is all rosy, that can be enough to sully your mood. :-P My 7th (& please God, last!) dental appointment in this current slate of work is May 21: pray for total completion! :-D I also had sinus stuff all last week, and the icing on the cake: I even had a reaction that made my lips painfully puff up for over a week starting on Annelise's bday. Miserable.

None of this stuff (except Kendall!) is life threatening, and God is steadily carrying me through with so much happiness in between!!! But it struck me when a friend asked how I was doing yesterday, and I instantly replied with my Susie Sunshine, "Awesome! :-D" Then I stopped: "You know, I don't know why I said that. I'm not super awesome. I'm OK, but there's some junk weighing me down, so yeah - hanging in there." Talking to her made me actively realize that I need to get this mess out sometimes and that it's OK to *not* be Susie Sunshine 24/7. (Maybe just 23.75/7 ;-)) So thanks to her and YOU for being my prayer partners and sounding board for the junk as well as my praise sharers for the good! :-D

And b/c focusing on the good is my default mode, my FB status is: SOOO BLESSED by the Zumba I'm currently teaching, the hot tub & steam room at the gym = my haven, gorgeous weather, the fact that I could easily trot up 4 flights of stairs in the parking deck, *ALL GREEN LIGHTS* down a busy stoplight-filled road from I-10 giving me time to grab bubble tea before getting to school on time to volunteer for Will's science program, and a sweet friend that drove me over to the auto shop. God always blesses me and shines through the junk!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

ASTROnomical Adventure

We were so blessed Saturday: a friend of ours' parents have amazing season tickets to the Houston Astros Major League Baseball games. No one in their family could use Saturday evening's tickets, so they asked JB: YES!!! We headed into the city (after Annelise had a cheer clinic & won her soccer game earlier in the day) in time to eat dinner before the game at The FiveSeven Grille inside the stadium. I usually feel like those places are such a rip off, but honestly, my meal was DELICIOUS: grilled chicken sandwich with red pepper jelly, Boursin cheese, & sliced apple = heavenly! *AND* super key: they had TVs so that I could still watch the Kentucky Derby! [Yes, I wore my giant monogrammed Derby hat allllll day!]

When I say we had amazing seats, I am not exaggerating in the slightest: FRONT ROW DIRECTLY AGAINST THE ASTROS DUGOUT!!!!!

The players could all talk to us going in & out, and they threw Will THREE baseballs! At one point, Orbit (the Astros mascot) came and danced on the dugout, right in our faces:
[I love that you can see us (& my gianormous hat :-P) on the jumbotron, too! (I'm under the O, Will under the E)]

Now, here's a handy guide on "How to Get Your Family to Appear on National TV": get primo 1st row behind-the-dugout seats, make sure your son doesn't get all the eye black completely off just one eye from his game last night, let your daughter eat blue cotton candy & smear it all over her face, make sure your usually-coordinated children have dressed themselves for the day, and wear a giant hat. You're welcome. [And with that, I requested on FB that if anyone saw us on TV, please pause & take a pic for us! :-P] I do think it's pretty cool that our old MI friends could see us down here in paradise! :-D One friend *did* catch us:
[I guess Will was leaning too far over toward home plate, angling for more balls, to make it in this shot. :-P]

We had an absolute BALL [pun intended! :-D] Saturday night!!!

Friday Night Lights May

Here's what our Friday nights will look like this entire May: 7-on-7 Spring Passing Football League. JB is head coaching, and I just can't tell you how happy it makes our family to be out there! Best family time ever...