Wednesday, August 27, 2014

First Day of 3rd & 5th

After "Meet the Teacher" last Thursday night...

...the kids began this Monday:
Annelise was THRILLED to get to wear her new Lilly dress from the sale - it arrived Saturday = perfect timing! Will was...less than thrilled about the whole morning. :-P Chief amongst his woes were 1) summer's over and 2) mean mama made him wear a polo instead of an almost-too-small graphic tee. (Sorry, babe - you'll never win that first impression battle against me. ;-))

I won't lie: I was sadder for the 1st Day of School than I've EVER been in their lives. When they were little (& exhausting!) I sent them into class with happy hugs...but now? They are (mostly) easy, fun people I enjoy hanging out & having adventures with. I felt nuts being sad for the 1st time "so late", but my BFF Mimi (& licensed therapist!) confirmed it's NORMAL to get sadder as they age, b/c they're getting closer & closer to being out of your nest. Validation! ;-) I was cheerful - nay, giddy!!! - for preschool, Kinder, & early grades to begin! NOT b/c I wanted to get rid of them, but b/c I was soooo excited at what they'd learn & esp. the friends they'd make! ...But as they get older, it's more about independence (SUCH A *GOOD* THING...even when it naturally pulls them away from me; it's like the dentist - not fun, but healthy & good :-D) It was Will's last 1st day of elementary school... No more walking in with him ever - *not* that he didn't try to run away from me, b/c he totally DID:
(There goes that polo & black backpack! :-P)

But my Pumpkin Pie let me walk in with her & take a couple pics at her desk! ♥

They both came home happy...and esp. Will! ♥ ♥ ♥ They love their teachers, and for the very first time *EVER*, they begin the year having friends they already know in their classes!!! (Last year, neither had anyone they knew from the year before; 2 years ago, we were new here; 3 years ago, we were in south Georgia; 4 years ago, Michigan; 5 years ago, Chicago; 6 years ago, Michigan... This is SUCH a blessed relief!!!) Will loves that his homeroom teacher is his science teacher, so he'll get to do all of the experiments first. :-) [Our school has "switch classes" in 3rd-5th. In 3rd & 4th, they have 2 teachers - one for reading/language/social studies & another for math/science. In 5th, they have 3 or 4. I love how it allows the teachers to focus on their quality specialties and preps the kids for changing classes in Junior High.]

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Last Day of Summer Vacay

We spent our last day of summer vacay on Sunday in Galveston at Moody Gardens! We enjoyed Palm Beach in the morning, (I swam laps in the "lazy" river for two hours straight with Annelise! :-D) and after noon, we finally went to see the Real Pirates exhibit on loan from National Geographic, just through September, in the Discovery Pyramid.

It was fascinating!!! I learned quite a bit!

"Real Pirates, is a one-of-a-kind exhibition that features more than 150 authentic items recovered from the Whydah – real treasure last touched by real pirates. Ranging from canons and coins and the replica of the Ship’s massive bell to personal items that the pirates wore, visitors are given an unprecedented glimpse into unique economic, political and social circumstances of the early 18th-century.

Real Pirates tells the compelling story of the Whydah, the first authenticated pirate shipwreck in U.S. waters, and the stories of the diverse people whose lives converged on the vessel. Sunk in a fierce storm off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts in April 1717, the Whydah was located in 1984 and is still actively excavated today."

We finished our Galveston day at Olympia Grill - more breezy deck dining, this time Greek overlooking Galveston harbor:

Monday, August 25, 2014

Football Opening Weekend

This was our opening weekend of youth football, with Opening Ceremonies (team introductions) on Friday night:

And our first game on Saturday:

Coin toss & run-though banner:

During this "Yell" cheer, an opposing player was so caught up in watching us that he completely missed his play!!! CHEERLEADERS FOR THE SCORE!!!

Our first halftime dance:

I can't lie: I was not excited for this number. It's the only dance we're doing this year that I didn't choreograph, and I hate the song...but it's one of the ones we did at Cheer Camp, and the girls loooved it, so I put it in. I still don't like the song...but I LOOOVE how good we made it look! (I changed it just a bit, by having them in a V formation and during the middle interlude adding the cartwheels & jumps. :-)) Not bad for missing their last regular practice for "Meet the Teacher" Night and the temp at 3 PM being almost 100°F.

We ended up losing, but it was an interleague game against a team from a different organization (our league agreed to play a few games with them this season) so it doesn't count against our record for the playoffs; and my cheerleaders were FANTASTIC!!! Even better than I expected!!!

After a long, hot football day, we casually fine dined on a breezy deck - so perfectly Texas ♥

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Soto: The Houston Penetrable

My mom arrived for a short visit on Wednesday! We went straight from the Chinatown for bubble tea & bánh mì! :-) While Will & JB were at football practice:
me, my mom, & Annelise took advantage of "girl time" at Ulta & Five Below. ;-)

On Thursday, we decided to take advantage of The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston free admission day, especially to see Soto: The Houston Penetrable exhibition before it leaves September 1st.

"Jesús Rafael Soto’s signature series of Penetrables is one of the great marvels of contemporary art. The Houston Penetrable—the iconic Venezuelan artist’s final, and most ambitious work—is the only one Soto (1923–2005) designed as permanent or semipermanent, and it is one of the few he created as an indoor piece.

A vast, floating sea of plastic strands suspended from the ceiling, the
Houston Penetrable is completed only by the viewer’s participation. Intended to be touched, handled, and waded through, the strands compose a floating yellow orb on a transparent background. The 24,000 PVC (polyvinyl chloride) tubes, individually hand-painted and tied, hang two stories high from the ceiling to the floor in the Museum's Cullinan Hall." (More here.)

It almost felt like walking through rain without getting wet...

When Will couldn't take any more art ;-) we headed to Tiny Boxwood's (check it out!!!) for an idyllic lunch:

Such a quintessentially Houston day!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Gelish: Marbled Accent Nail

I finally took the time to try a marbled accent nail with my Gelish, and I love how it turned out! I used to do my own marbleized manis almost 20 years ago at the end of high school, dropping a few dots of normal polish colors on each nail & swirling with a toothpick; but Gelish is thinner, and I wasn't sure how it would work. I envisioned lots of color dripping down the sides of my fingers & the colors flowing together too much. Plus, b/c each layer is so transparent, would it even show up? (It takes ~3 layers to get a solid, vibrant, opaque color. Each layer alone is very sheer.)

I did a normal mani on my other 8 fingers with You Glare, I Glow - not only the color I'm complimented on most often, but by far the best quality color formula Gelish has ever released. The "recipe" for this one is the most durable I've ever used. On my accent nails, I used one layer of Sleek White (the same pure white I use to do French tips) to make a more solid base. I winged it & dropped a few dots of You Glare, I Glow, Radiance Is My Middle Name (teal), & Mali-Blu Me Away (royal blue) on top of the white and delicately swirled with a marbling tool. (It was cheap - Sally Hansen I Heart Nail Art Tool Kit; you could still use a toothpick, though.) I definitely mixed the blue & purple too much at first on one edge, but live & learn. :-P B/c the polish was so thick, I doubled the curing time, and they turned out great!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Summer Reading Trophies

Cutting it a bit close this year for summer reading program trophies (school starts Monday), but they still earned them!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Lilly Pulitzer Passion

Oh, the frenzy! Oh, the thrill! After last year's Lilly Pulitzer summer sale debacle, I was prepared: I set my alarm to be ready the second the sale began this morning, and - no joke - I honestly did pray over it: I prayed that God would let me get the deals that I should have and fill me with peace, not allowing me to mourn anything I miss out on. This thing happens ONCE A YEAR. (Ok, so really twice, but THIS is *THE* best; the January sale isn't much to get excited over.) I had several prints (Resort White Sea Soiree + Iris Blue Mai Tai - both with a hint of purple = rare!) that I've been completely in love with that I *knew* would be in this sale, and most happily, I actually "need" new Lilly!!! Everything amazing that I got two years ago is waaaay too big on me now! :-O I still wear the shorts...with safety pins cinching in the sides! :-P (I can't help it - I love them! :-D) I am tickled pink that most of my Lilly is too big for me now...but I so miss wearing my signature style, so I have been stalking the Lilly site for the announcement of this date...

As soon as 7 AM CDT hit, I felt like someone on the clock in a shopping spree contest! :-P I kept hitting refresh like a crazy lady, so worried the site would crash and error out over & over like last year... After 3 scary minutes of it not working, the sale appeared!!! *ahhhhh!* Major kudos to Lilly for fixing all of last year's bugs & glitches! Will actually sat with me on the couch, fascinated at the process. He equated it with trying to get the football players you reallyreallyreally want in each round of the fantasy football draft = exactly!!! :-D (The Lilly site actually advocates recruiting your "husband/boyfriend/neighbor/bestie/child/mother" to also shop for you during the first minutes of the sale, b/c the best stuff goes so fast! I didn't employ help...but I did consult Will a couple times. ;-))

I hit the dresses first! Of course, their fanciest are amazing (like $89 down from $378!) but I honestly don't need any fancy dresses. I don't need fancy anything. I need everyday stuff. Last year, I was crushed that I didn't get Lilly prints. The prints are what make Lilly worthwhile to me. I can buy solids at Old Navy & Target, so I would ONLY consider prints this year. Super score:

Eliza V-Neck T-Shirt Dress in Spa Blue Lets Cha Cha (ultimate in versatility!)

Marlisa Strapless Maxi Dress in Bright Navy Behind The Gate (this print is truly inspired by the ornate iron gates in Charleston! ♥)

Anastasia Dress in Aqua Trippin And Sippin

And b/c Annelise loves Lilly & still being my mini-me (enjoying it as long as I can!!!) the Little Lilly Classic Shift also in Aqua Trippin And Sippin

Next up: shirts!

Michele V-Neck Top in Resort White Sea Soiree

Michele V-Neck Top in Searulean Blue Rhode Island Reef Small

Arielle Top in Iris Blue Mai Tai (sooooo excited for a long-sleeve option!!! & the only thing I scored in this fab print)


Chipper Bermuda Short in Resort White Sea Soiree (excited for this longer length!)

Middleton Palazzo Wide Leg Pant in Resort White Sea Soiree (the *only* item I have a bit of regret over - I just missed getting these in Iris Blue Mai Tai; I'm still thrilled for them - they are super lightweight, easy to wear in summer heat - & this is my other fave print...but I had already gotten those shorts, too. I think they'll be enough different, though)

Last grab:

Skipper Printed Popover in Spa Blue Lets Cha Cha (Lilly for when it's chilly! ♥ :-D)

I am *STILL* so giddy over this stuff!!! I keep scrolling back through to look at it all over & over. :-) This was truly my Christmas morning! And speaking of, BIGGEST THANKS to JB's parents, who gifted me with the best Christmas present EVER - a Lilly gift card that I've been hanging onto. (I was ready to use it in the January sale, but nothing made my heart dance like today; I *knew* it would be best to save it for this!) It made the final bill total even sweeter!!! ♥

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Cheer Camp 2014

Cheer is back in full swing! I have 19 girls (6 new girls + 13 returners) on my squad this year - again, the biggest squad in the whole youth football league. (Average squad size is ~6-8!) We began practices last week, and I was so excited at how my returners blew through our old cheer list. I thought, "This year is going to be CAKE!!!" ...And then the usual suspects started acting up a bit. *sigh* There's ALWAYS that girl who then drags her chatty BFF into not paying attention. And then there's always that other girl who is out in left field (sometimes literally) about 98% of the time. If the squad were 6 or 8 girls, I would try to reign them in...but with 19, it's like herding cats; you really just have to soldier forward. Their parents are standing right there watching (chatting) the whole time, so hopefully, they'll speak to them, if they are disappointed in their behavior/focus. (I know I would w/ Annelise!!!) The 6 new girls are doing surprisingly well, but I'm having a hard time deciding how much time to spend on the old cheers. I don't want the returners to get bored (bored = disruptive!) and I did tell everyone to learn last year's cheers over the last 3 months via our YouTube channel (every single girl has been registered since March)...but I don't want the new girls to feel like they're being left in the dust, either. (I totally see why the one other coach with a big squad wouldn't accept any new girls this year; it's so much easier not to!!! I was too nice. :-P Next year... ;-))
The pressure is a little higher this year, b/c our first game is also two weeks earlier than it was last year (starting next Sat, the 23rd instead of the weekend after Labor Day) - which I LOVE!!! Last year, it felt like we practiced for years before we got to do a game...but this is literally half the time. We did 17 cheers (12 old, 5 new) & started a dance last week, b/t 2 practices & Cheer Camp, so we've got a great start...but we still haven't had a practice with everyone there, yet. (*rant* I get summer vacays, but I can't lie - it does bug me when you KNOW you signed up for a time-intensive activity that begins in August. PLEASE vacay in June & July!!! */rant*)

Cheer Camp was HUGE this last Saturday. I ran the entire thing with the coach of the one other mega-squad. (She's WONDERFUL! We are very much on the same wavelength re: our cheer program = makes it very easy to collaborate!) We had over 200 girls in two sessions (younger girls in the morning, older afternoon.) It was so much fun!!! Exhausting to be "on" for seven hours straight, but quality. :-)

My post re: last year's camp content got so many hits, I'll share this year's, too, We did the same basic jumps, cheer arms, & stunts. We spent more time on warming up, esp. arm circles to strengthen our arms for motions & holding poms and - my fave - Jumping Jills: jumping jack, kick, jumping jack, quarter turn; jumping jack, kick, jumping jack, quarter turn; repeating all the way around in a circle, and then again in the other direction.

We talked a lot about spiriting: what to say after the cheer that's *NOT* "woo!" Apparently after the 80's, "woo" became 100% taboo. :-D Wooing is strictly forbidden in Jr High & High School cheer, so we want to get the girls out of that habit and have them do what the higher levels do to prep, in case any of them want to try out down the road.

We taught them our new 2014 Hello Cheer (our league does a new Hello Cheer every year that the girls do when they cross the field at halftime for the opposing side), four other new cheers that one of our local Jr High's do, and I taught them all a simple halftime dance I choreographed to Aloe Blacc's "The Man". It had to be easy enough for 4 & 5 year olds, but interesting enough that the 5th graders wouldn't get bored with it:

Cheer Camp took a ton of work & energy...and even though I had to give a couple of my girls *THE* stink eye in the afternoon session for not paying attention, they still looooooooooooove me! :-D (Thank goodness! ;-)) I *am* proud of them - it was a long session & a ton of information. Now, to retain it!

[Y'ALL!!! I HIT A *FLAT SPLIT*!!!!! Whaaaaat?!?!?! :-D]

[My girls ♥]

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Will's 10th Bday Party

Will's 10th bday party on Sunday the 10th was full of old school fun & games - basketball knockout, giant blow-up hamster ball roll, & 2-hand touch football before cake time, all at a park right around the corner from our house. We brought our Block Rocker for Will's fave music, and I made the football cake. Thunder canceled the swimming portion, but I honestly don't think the kids missed it! Everyone went nuts over the giant ball; my mom actually ordered it online & sent it to Will this past Christmas! It's called something like "inflatable jumbo fun ball". We got big gold medals for the winner of each competition - really cute. I love simple parties like this that focus on the kids having fun - not how much $$$ you can throw into an event. :-)