Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Falcons Win #3!

We did it! On Saturday, we won a 3rd game this season! ♥ ♥ ♥

Halftime cuteness: I *LOVE* it when they just do this stuff on their own! They're always getting into the cutest piles!!

(Yes, some of them have RED hair! We got red color spray, b/c it was the last game before Halloween...but we ran out, so half the girls just had gold glitter spray. :-P It was such a hit, though, that I went to Sally Beauty for more & bought them out. :-D)

They show the best spirit - always taking the initiative to do fun poses at every break!

3rd Winning Game Huddle:

So now we can finish no worse than fifth place! We have tough opponents for the next three weeks (the last two regular season & first playoff games - we can pretty much guess whom we'll face first in the playoffs) - we've played these teams before; they beat us the first times, but they ARE winnable games for us! Y'all send us your Falcons spirit this Saturday at noon!!!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

French Lunch & Mismatch Day

I just have to share these two gems...that have nothing to do with each other, apart from happening the same week. ;-)

This Thursday was Mismatch Day at the kids' school as a part of "Red Ribbon Week" to promote staying drug-free. Mismatched clothes = "Drugs & I Don't Mix" (Other days: dress as what you want to be when you grow up = "My Future is Great Without Drugs", college shirts = "Educate Yourself", etc.) How's *THIS* for mismatching?!?!

(Annelise is *always* ready to strike a cheer pose...and even enlist her brother to assist ;-))

This Friday, JB got to come home early for a surprise lunch! Our impromptu date was A.MA.ZING! We sat outside on the lovely La Balance Cuisine patio and enjoyed exquisite French food: la crème de chou-fleur (cauliflower soup w/ white truffle oil), tomato tart in puff pastry ringed w/ pesto & topped with mixed greens & prosciutto, fresh homemade baguettes, and two desserts: la gianduja (chocolate hazelnut mousse cake roll) w/ caramel ice cream, hazelnut, & passion fruit and chocolate soufflé w/ chocolate hazelnut ice cream & crème anglaise!!!

I am SO THANKFUL for God's provision and blessings! Life is oh so sweet... ♥ ♥ ♥

Friday, October 25, 2013

Fall + Football in the South

I saw these earlier this week, and thought, "YEP!"

It's so true... While in other places we've lived, people are flipping over the first snowfalls & freezing at Friday night football, we have perfection: chilly upper 50's at wake-up time, 80°F by afternoon. Impossible to ask for a better fall!!! (Hey, these highs & lows are fully 20° lower than summer on both ends! It's a change! :-))

More gorgeousness?

Final practice huddle tonight before tomorrow morning's game... Fall + football + Texas sunsets = bliss

Thursday, October 24, 2013

I'll (Not) Be Home For Christmas

I mentioned earlier that our family is going to Disney World over Thanksgiving Week instead of going home to NC for Christmas; and some of y'all are wondering, "Why?" There are a few factors:
#1 - My brother's BFF (my virtual little brother) is getting married that following Saturday in Florida, and we couldn't justify the (15 hour!) trip for *only* that afternoon. We don't want to miss it, but we needed to take further advantage.
#2 - The kids actually have Wed-Fri off that week, so it would only be them missing two days of school. [Our school system sends parents TO COURT for missing more than five days a semester. Truancy is SERIOUS BIZ here! :-P Two friends of ours had to go last year; they didn't get in official legal trouble, but still! I fear getting in trouble with the law! :-D]
#3 - It's our only football-free week b/t July 8th and December 7th!
#4 - We've been trying to go to Disney for over two years. Every single attempt has fallen through, so when my mom said, "Let's do this!", my heart leapt! ♥

But this last reason is the kicker: I told my mom back in May that it felt so stupid to spend such a ridiculous amount of $$$ to fly home for Christmas when any other time would be so much cheaper with better weather and any other place would be a new fun family adventure together.

Yes. I really said we don't want to go home for Christmas. (Yeah, she didn't believe me for a while, either. ;-)) It's *NOT* that we don't want to be with family! Not at all!!! But the holiday airfare last year was bonkers, the weather was disgusting, (we had flight delays & Annelise had to be wrapped like a mummy with her cold urticaria), and in all honesty, there wasn't much to see or do apart from Christmas Eve & Day. When it comes to our hometowns, we've really seen everything, and our special family places are summer sights. We'd rather meet up somewhere new, exciting, fun, and warm.

We do not travel ANYWHERE EVER other than to my fam in NC & JB's in MI or FL. We've taken exactly 5 non-fam vacays together elsewhere since we've been married: our honeymoon in April 2002, 2 days in New Orleans for our 1st anniversary, Italy in 2003, 2 days in Vegas January 2004 (ALL BEFORE KIDS!) and *ONE* since kids: a weekend in Savannah, GA in 2011. THAT'S IT. The kids are old enough now that they are *FUN* to travel with - hotels are finally easy, no longer a nightmare of trying to get them to sleep, feeling trapped in the room & that we can't even turn on the TV for fear of waking them. :-P They would enjoy it now, and travel is my passion: I want to show them the world...or even just America...or even just Austin & San Antonio!!! It's time to branch out!

The last decade, it *was* our choice to always go home: from the time Grandmommy was 90-something, she couldn't travel to us, and I never wanted to take for granted that "this might be our last holiday with her." But she's in Heaven now. When the kids were babies, it *was* easier to go home, not only for them to see Grandmommy, but they have their own rooms at my parents' house, and it means the world to an exhausted young parent when your parent will just take over for a little bit...and cook you dinner...and run out for diapers at the last minute. That IS a vacay! :-D (We've never lived anywhere near my family.) In those years, it was definitely easier to go home.

But now it's travel time. Time while the kids are old enough to be fun and young enough not to hate being with us. ;-) And there's no reason our families can't travel with us, too! It's not that we don't want to spend time with them AT ALL!!! But we just want to use the same vacay time to show our kids - & ourselves - more of what's out there together. :-) JB & I both agree we are not going to a latitude further north than Houston in winter ever again, if we can help it :-P, so we'll see what the holidays bring! And we certainly don't have to have Christmas just in Houston. We have that block of school-free time - we want to take advantage!!!

Off My Wall: October

Random shareworthies on my mind and off my FB wall:

* There's nothing like watching the excitement & joy drain out of your kids' faces when you check them out of school early...for surprise flu shots! :-/ On the bright side, they may never dream of being checked out early, again. ;-) I will say, they asked for it like this. They FREAK OUT over shots, and I had them go with me for mine the week before to see it wasn't scary. They didn't buy it, and they said they *didn't* want to know when theirs were going to be, so they wouldn't worry ahead of time. Smart kids. [No, they can't have the flu mist; they both have reactive airway (asthmatic reaction to infections; but nothing exercise-induced) so they have to get the needles.]

* TRIUMPH!!!!!!!! I am so proud of Will, I could almost cry. His explosive tantrums over shots are legendary in four states; he always requires two extra nurses to hold his thrashing body down, and he terrifies every child within a two-mile radius with his wailing... *UNTIL THIS TIME!!!!!!* (Annelise was a mess, but) Will sat on my lap and didn't UTTER A SQUEAL OR SHED A TEAR!!!! I still can't believe this just happened. I keep telling him over & over, "You just conquered a MAJOR fear! I am soooo proud of you!!!" He has no idea how much anxiety HIS shots have caused me! Sis was never as bad as Will...until last year. She started freaking almost like he did, and then this time, she was bucking like crazy. She didn't get actually paralyzed w/ fear like he used to (he literally couldn't walk the three steps over to my lap after Sis would go) and I was strong enough to hold her down for the nurse (unlike him) but she pitched such a fit, Will closed his eyes tight & put his fingers in his ears to block her out. :-P Ahhhh, over until next year... ;-)

* New favorite YouTube in our house: Halloween Light Show 2013 - The Fox (What Does the Fox Say)

* Heiße Milch mit Honig (hot milk with honey) is so very soothing to sip at night! It's a German cure-all for colds, sleeplessness, etc. I just find it comforting. :-)

* Tell your family you love them, and pray for a friend of mine: last Friday was the painful 2-month anniversary of her father losing his battle with esophageal cancer; her dog [2 days older than our Bonnie :'( ] passed away 3 days earlier after living for ages with a large abdominal tumor and just being diagnosed with brain cancer & having horrific seizures earlier last week. THEN also last Friday...her mom suddenly passed away!!! Her mom!!! Hard to process... Lord, please have mercy. Lift her & her family up...

* Voted early this Tuesday morning! Got to the library 10 minutes before it opened to pick up the kids' books waiting on hold; but surprise: early voting was there & already open, so YAY for easy civic duty & not wasting time! Don't forget, Texans: TX now requires you show ID, so bring your drivers license.

* Intrigued: Savory Stuffed Pumpkin Recipe

* Went in for my iPhone upgrade today: cause for cheers (I only upgrade every 2 or 3 years, & even then, I always cheap myself down to the 2nd-newest model :-P ...until today!) and cause for freaking out (b/c I do NOT like "my stuff" changing! But I'm breathing, again, b/c my calendar transferred seamlessly; now to get used to iOS 7.) Yay for a better camera (my phone is my primary = worth it for me) and no more cracked screen (although I'm getting that one fixed (a la Groupon) for the kids to use as an iPod Touch).

* At praise team rehearsal tonight:
I posted this on FB, captioned "We are 'WAITING HERE FOR YOU'" - 1) b/c I'm singing that song on Sunday, and 2) the title is perfect, b/c our worship pastor & his wife are on their way home RIGHT NOW from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with their NEWLY ADOPTED SON! ♥

Monday, October 21, 2013

Going to Disney Reveal

We have been trying to make a Disney World trip happen for our kids for over two years...and my parents are making it a reality!!! ♥ (The footage is quiet, so I added captions. ;-))

I love their synchronized responses and that sweet Annelise initially thought they had already gone & were calling to tell her about it. :-P

No, we've never taken them before. We have spent almost every single hour and dollar budgeted for vacays in the last decade to go home to NC & MI. (BIG post on that in the works. ;-)) When I told my mom back in May that it felt so stupid to spend the ridiculous amount of $$$ to fly home to NC for Christmas when any other time would be so much cheaper and any other place would be a new fun family adventure together, her wheels started spinning. My little brother's BFF (another brother to me) is getting married in St. Augustine on the Saturday after Thanksgiving; we just could not invest that much for all four of us to go for one afternoon...but since it's a holiday week with no football or kid conflicts, my mom agreed it's the perfect time to add Disney and make the trek worthwhile! The kids are the *perfect* ages; we really wanted to be able to give them this experience while Annelise still cares about princesses (she's teetering on the edge of being over them!!!) and Will still gets wide-eyed with wonder. ♥

I only went once growing up - my brother & I were almost their same ages! - and it was pure magic. I vividly remember my dad going on & on about "how magical" our trip was...and let's just say, he was NOT a particularly ebullient man. ;-) It was one of the happiest family weeks we ever had! I don't see us becoming "a Disney family" (I have tons of non-Floridian friends who go at least once or twice EVERY year) just b/c there are so many other places we want to see and explore now as a family, (again, more on that soon) but I have always dreamed of experiencing the magic I remember my parents feeling with me with my own children, and we're all ecstatic that it's finally really going to happen now!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Falcons WIN, Again!

Our youth football team won our 2nd game Saturday! And we didn't just win... It was 53-0!!! Now before you say, "Oh, Susie - that doesn't sound like good sportsmanship, running up the score," - we didn't try to! After the first twenty points, JB pulled our main players and shuffled everyone around. Boys who never get a chance to shine got their moments on Saturday in a big way! SIX different players (instead of just our one superstar) scored touchdowns...including - get ready for it - WILL BLAKE!!!!!!!!!! He scored on special teams by running back a punt on the last play of the game!!! My heart almost burst out of my chest... (You better BELIEVE video is forthcoming! :-D)

This game was monumental for us. Our poor team has had a tortured history: it was formed as an expansion team in our league two years ago; they won zero games, and that 1st coach was out. Last year, we moved here and JB got to be an assistant; but they only won one game, and that coach was a nightmare. When JB took over this year, there was relief, excitement...and pressure. I can't tell you how many times he's had to talk down stressed parents, (& we all remember the one time he couldn't get through.) We also have two players who are constantly recruited by other teams: "Don't stay with the losers. Come feel what it's like to win!" Yeah. (Youth football in Texas, y'all! :-P) So for our boys to get to feel this win was well-deserved and a long time coming! They're growing every week; now we've already doubled our wins from last year ;-) and the season isn't even over! We're in 5th place in the standings (not 8th!) and we are finally *competitive*. It feels so good to know all of the hard work & dedication is paying off!

And not just with football, but with cheer, too! I had another cheer coach come up to me Saturday, go on & on re: what a "great job" I've done with my squad, and thank me profusely for posting all of our cheers online for everyone to use. She said they only had five or six cheers (really???) until she got my channel, and she is just so grateful. I was bowled over! I know a lot of coaches keep their cheer lists to themselves; it *IS* a toooon of prep work!!! But I like sharing, b/c I want people to be willing to help me, if I need it, too! :-D

I actually brought my camera with me for the first time this season on Saturday, so I'm thrilled to have lots of pics from our big day!



Defense in action:
[Will: far right]
[Will: far left, already rushing the QB, causing a fumble! Will Blake yelled, "JJ SWATT!!!! :-D]

Silly break & sparkle pile:

Annelise flying with "Fight":

Winning team post-game break-down:

Surveying their sweet victory...

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Body Image Issue Recovery + Shopping Becomes Fun

I have never really enjoyed buying clothes before. I'm not kidding. I love clothes; I just never felt like they looked as good on me as they did on the mannequins, in ads, or even on the hangar. Every try-on was a little let down. I don't mean to blow this out of proportion - I didn't think I was ugly; but I was *never* "the skinny girl", and I always battled weight-related body image issues. Again, nothing clinical or even abnormal for 99% of young women; but it's a fact that I was always disappointed when I tried on "that perfect outfit"...and it looked dumpier on me than I had envisioned. Clothes were a necessity I tried to make the best of; they weren't "soooo fun"...

...until now!!! :-D Three years ago, I was 20+ lbs. heavier with no muscle tone. I didn't look unhealthy...but I wasn't fit. Zumba changed that. ;-) [Remember the 1st class I ever took? I seriously thought I may pass out & drown in my shower afterwards. :-P Never did I dream I'd become a licensed instructor nine months later!]

For the first time in my adult life, I started to get excited about finding cute clothes, and I relished defining "my style" (monograms, Lilly Pulitzer, sparkles, yellow gold, navy = neutral, casual sweater- & sundresses, etc. :-))

In all honesty, ***it wasn't until I was put in charge of shaping others' body images (via Zumba) that I began to truly love my own.***

There is nothing more powerful than positivity!!! I am living proof. :-) I'd say the biggest change in my life in the last few years has been trying to ignore/eliminate as much negativity I encounter as possible. I feel weighed down when people complain ad nauseam, esp. about themselves. My favorite "quintessential Zumba Susie" quote I always end up cheering when I teach is, "You can't mess this up! You can't do this wrong! If you are moving and smiling, you are perfect!" Because they are. Every single one of them. And they need to believe it like I have.

So yeah. :-) I'm thrilled that even some things I bought last year no longer fit well, and since it's actually *FUN* now to shop...I have! :-D Old Navy (a fave of mine for inexpensive basics) had a 40% off everything sale this past Monday, so I got each of these for under $20 (except the cable knit = $22. The shoes were also $11.) The ultimate icing on this shopping cake? (Positive body image firing up:) every one of these looks better on me than in these ad pics!!! :-O #dreamcometrue I was actually *bummed* to see these, b/c I don't want y'all to think I picked blah, boring outfits! :-D [No worries - you'll see in them in action on here as we're out & about! ;-)]

Navy Stripe Terry-Fleece Shift Dress:
This dress feels nothing like terry nor fleece. (I was surprised that's what it's called. :-P) It's a thick knit - *perfect* weight for fall!

Navy Cable-Knit Sweater Dress:
If my mom could only dress me in one outfit ever, I think it would be cable-knit navy. :-D She's right: it looks great on me! ;-) Timeless & appropriate for everything: lunch with friends, picking up the kids, even church.

Heather Charcoal Button-Sleeve Ponte-Knit Dress:
It looks boring here, but esp. for singing in church, I needed a black-toned (read: not navy ;-)) non-print option. This one is also a tad longer on me than pictured.

Mid Tone Chambray-Shirt Dress:
This pic does not do it a bit of justice! I have always loved the look of shirt dresses, but they never looked good on my frame before. This one is *THE* CUTEST EVER! In my mind, I think of it as my Texan dress (even though Houston is the least "country western" place in the state, except for during Rodeo; and the dress really is not denim or country-style at all ;-)) but I can't wait to rock it with my boots!

Scrunch Ballet Flats:
So I am really hard on my feet, and since my job requires me to take care of them: for the first time in my life, I have chosen ultra flats. :-/ I would have *NEVER* been up for even trying them on, had my legs not shaped up first. :-P The bonus to these (other than being $11 on sale) is that they are soft - not rigid - over the cuneiform bones in my foot (base of the big toe.) The fact that they won't rub hard there when I step was the #1 selling point. (Bunion surgery for me in about 20 years! :-D)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Former Cheer Glory

Look what my mom found in an old box today!!! (Click on it to see the whole thing ;-))

*ME* circa 1986, winning my first league spirit award! (I won two more years, too! ;-)) How funny is this?!?! I remember that morning so clearly... The lady whom the award is named for (back row, right) had on the puffiest, floofiest white 80's sweater that was ever made. She looked like a cloud (not in a rude way! :-P) and I remember thinking it was a "big deal" to get our picture made for the newspaper with her. :-) I also remember consciously putting my poms in my right hand, so they wouldn't cover me up in the pic; and the funniest thing? That is still my natural standing go-to pose to this day. :-D

Yes, I had short hair my whole young life until I started growing it out in Germany; and yes, those uniforms were hideous in color, too:
We hated those neck ribbons... :-P

I'm so excited to share this with my cheer girls, so they can see what Coach Susie looked like at their same age! :-D

Monday, October 14, 2013

Back to Taste of Texas!

When our old neighbors from south GA came to Houston this weekend, we knew we needed to take them to Taste of Texas for dinner Saturday night! (See my last restaurant review for details!)

Will was thrilled to get sparklers in our desserts this time, and we had an absolute blast hanging out there for over THREE HOURS!

I always feel so blessed to hang out with friends with whom it feels like no time has passed... ♥

Paint the Field Pink + Aerial Camera Views

This Saturday was "Paint the Field Pink" Day for Breast Cancer Awareness for our youth football league, so the girls wore their pink "Cheers for the Cure" shirts, black/pink ribbon socks, and used our awesome sparkly pink poms.

The girls did our FAVORITE dance of this year at halftime. I think it's our fave, b/c 1) it's marching band music, so it feels like they are "real" ;-) high school cheerleaders! 2) It starts with two stunts for a total of 10 different fliers, so there are LOTS of "I'm a superstar!" moments. :-D [Annelise flies in the very center of the 2nd stunt. ;-)] (I'm a tiny, tiny bit disappointed that the rest of the dance looks kind of sloppy. :-/ Annelise was one of the worst offenders, too! :-O But overall, I still love it! :-D)

I have two different views to share. #1 from a parent on the sidelines - very hard to hear the music, but a closer view of the girls:

#2 from our *AERIAL CAMERA* that the team uses to film the game action! The music is loud & clear, and you get a better overall view, although the girls' faces aren't close at all:

Can I tell you how much I *lovelovelove* having this aerial camera? I love seeing the game footage of our boys and another view of the girls. Last week, it was angled correctly to catch our run-through banner break we do to open each game:

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Friday Surprises

I got a brilliant surprise on Friday: JB was *home* from work when I got back from strength class! I asked if everything was ok? :-P He had just finished everything that needed to be done, so his boss said he could go on. (!!! Have I mentioned before that I love our life here? ;-)) So, since we were both home and child-free until school got out, we decided to go on a midday date: we went to Alamo Drafthouse for lunch + a movie!!! I love the places that serve full meals to your seat during movies. I had a delish beet/goat cheese/chicken/arugula wrap with fries and an ancho chile chocolate shake. :-) We saw "Captain Phillips" = Tom Hanks is amazing. I was bowled over by the last 10 minutes... It was one of the most honest performance sequences I've ever seen on film. Oscar-caliber.

Sidenote: we also got to go last Saturday night (two dates in one week?!? Our last date before that was...ummmmm...yeah...) and they played "What Does The Fox Say" during the movie preshow. We took a pic, b/c we knew the kids would FLIP! (It's their fave! :-P)

Friday evening felt almost as dramatic as our earlier-in-the-day movie! ;-) #1: Our long-suffering van totally died after football/cheer practice. Our football BFFs live in that neighborhood and drove back over to help us. It wouldn't take a jump or anything. :-( #2: Our former neighbors from south GA flew into Houston Friday, and we had dinner reservations together for right after practice. EEEK! So, THEY came and rescued our stranded selves. :-P Hysterical that they came all the way from GA to give us a lift to dinner. ;-) We didn't wallow in van misery, b/c we were dining on Antonia's Italian Ristorante's finest & catching up on Leesburg news like no time had passed. :-D I hate that this happened with the van; but honestly, it was the best possible scenario for it: in a safe neighborhood where we have many friends, together with JB, not raining, at the start of the weekend where we could do with one vehicle, (instead of me, by myself, somewhere in the middle of Houston, in the pouring rain, when no one could get me, I'd miss picking up the kids from school, etc.) God is always looking out for us!!!

Postscript: we did have to leave the van where it died overnight. After our early morning football game Saturday, AAA came to tow it to our auto shop... I *hate* that there's a place I call "our" auto shop, b/c we're there so often. They seem to keep garnering every extra cent we save, b/t JB's engine & my van's a/c earlier this year. *sigh* But still so thankful they do an honest, fair job very quickly, and that it's back in our driveway as I type. :-)

Thursday, October 10, 2013


I mentioned volunteering for the kids' school's Eureka science program before, and yesterday was my first chance this school year:

Will & his buddies were fascinated to make it rain inside a bowl. ;-) Water cycle: hot water in the bottom evaporates, turns back into condensation when it hits the ice cold "ceiling", and "rains" back down into the collection point in the bowl. (There was another experiment with pipes, where we had to figure out if the pipes were leaky or if they were dripping condensation; but this pic was better. ;-))

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Can't Hold Us

Here's our halftime performance from this Saturday's winning game to the song "Can't Hold Us"!

I am just so proud of these girls. They've learned a new dance for every week, and they already have next week's prepped! (I'm *SUPER* excited for next week's!)

We had league Picture Day this afternoon, and even just in waiting around for our turn, they showed such sweet team spirit with each other. #cheerlovefest

Saturday, October 5, 2013

First Win of the Season!!!

Too excited to keep y'all in suspense: OUR FALCONS WON!!! It was awesome: 25-20 (us: 4 TDs, 1 extra pt; them: 3 TDs, 2 extra pts.) We led the entire time, but it was never a runaway; the other team was always on the verge of pushing ahead, so the boys really played their hearts out. It was wonderful to *FINALLY* get to cheer, "Mark it up, on the board! We just scored!" In all honesty, my voice was about to go on our 4th touchdown. :-P There are two "best parts" of this win: #1) it was clean! The other 3 teams we've played have been dirty bullies - literally throwing punches (one Cowboy last week got EJECTED for it! In YOUTH football!!!), using foul language, stepping on our players w/ their cleats when they're down, etc. We finally got to play against another clean team with integrity (we really like the opposing head coach - quality guy!) that doesn't engage in garbage football, and b/c of that, there were fewer penalties = just a better overall flow & good sportsmanship. #2) This other team was...the Texans! My old team from last year, when our family was split with Annelise & I cheering for the Texans, while JB & Will played with the Falcons! :-D It was a very sweet victory to beat their squad...and to have my cheer girls look AMAZING in front of our former fans!!! ;-)

The players getting ready to run through one of our team banners:

Yes, we have switched to pink sparkly poms & black socks w/ breast cancer awareness ribbons for the whole month of October! (B/c we have to be just like the NFL! ;-)) We looooooove these poms! They were pricier than I hoped for an extra cost, ($15.50 a pair) but they really sparkle, and they are professional grade! Oooo & ahhh! :-D

Winning huddle:

Celebrating our win with a pool party at one of the team families' homes:

Coach JB gets swamped:

Coming soon: halftime dance video! :-)

Friday, October 4, 2013

Pumpkin EVERYTHING: Compulsive Fall Disorder

My friend, Heather, shared a video about "Compulsive Fall Disorder" (language warning: last few seconds) with me, b/c...well, let's face it: I may be a victim. If I liked coffee, I'd be posting selfies at Sbux on the 1st day of PSL. (Don't worry: I get my fill of Sbux venti 8-pump no-water chai lattes - modified to be extra spicy. I believe my mom said upon tasting, "That tastes like I just drank a spoonful of pumpkin pie spice." Yes, exactly! ;-))

I've had a slightly bipolar relationship with fall the last decade. It was ALWAYS my favorite...until we had to move up north for a few years to a region where fall meant *real cold* instead of 70's. (Hey, 70°F is down right chilly when you've been in the upper 90's for over 4 months straight. A 30° drop! It's my PERFECT fall temp!) Now that fall no longer ushers in snow coats or erases all hope of seeing my cold-as-I-prefer 70°F, I have re-donned my crown as the Pumpkin Queen. ;-) [Note: the one symptom of CFD I don't exhibit is sweater-weather obsession. Y'all can have your sweaters; I prefer not to need to take mine down from their high shelf in the closet. I'm fine with jeans-and-long-sleeved-tee weather! Brrrrrr! :-D]

I lovelovelove apple picking, hayrides, FOOTBALL, and PUMPKIN EVERYTHING!!! Why yes, I *did* just pull another batch of my fave easy, healthy(ish) Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Muffins out of the oven. And yesterday, I hit the pumpkin jackpot at Aldi! [Aldi is a German-based grocery chain with EXTREMELY LOW prices! Depending on where you live, it's either considered kind of slummy or super trendy. (My #1 fave Trader Joe's & Aldi are sister-stores!) We are in the super trendy camp! You cannot beat their produce prices or their Simply Nature organic line. Period.]

I had to take a pic of my cart yesterday to give Heather a good laugh:

Yes, even pizzelles!!! Not shown: pumpkin spice bagels (I hadn't hit the bread aisle, yet) and pumpkin pomodoro pasta sauce (b/c we have too many sauce jars I haven't opened, yet, in the pantry. ;-)) Yes, those are two big carving-size pumpkins in the bottom. Guess how much they cost? $2.99 (I know, right?!?! They'd be at least $10 at a "pumpkin patch"!) I'm really excited for the sparkling pumpkin cider: the kids & I are going to share it together in our BOOT MUGS! :-D

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Student Council Induction

Annelise had her first Student Council induction ceremony today! Let's hear it for an elected official we can champion! :-D

Getting pinned by the principal:

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

School Lunch

I volunteered at the kids' school for a couple hours after yoga Tuesday morning and stayed to eat lunch with them. Confession: school lunch is boring ...but visiting makes them feel sooo special! Worth it. ;-)