Monday, September 29, 2014

Grandma & Grandpa Blake Visit + ...Houses?

JB's parents came to visit this weekend, to be here for one of Will's football games. (They picked a GREAT one! ;-)) The weather was surprisingly preferable: it was drizzling rain the whole time, but there was no burning Texas sun. :-P Here we are, in all our damp, post-game glory:

We cleaned up pretty nicely :-D and drove out to Dekker's for another delicious dining experience! This time, we spent a while chatting with the chef/owner:

We spent the rest of our afternoon...actually checking out a potential neighborhood to buy in!!! :-O What?!?! I know!!! We want to finally buy here sooo badly, but we're trying to wait until the smartest financial time for us personally. B/c the market is so different here (unlike ANYWHERE in the country: houses stay on the market 3-4 *DAYS* here - not months!) we haven't bothered looking at all, yet, b/c nothing that would be available now would be an option when we're ready... But this was so exciting...even if we're not pulling the trigger quite yet... [Pray for God's perfect timing & provision re: this, for contentment in the wait, and for us to be confident in His plan for us. This is HUGE!]

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Falcons Flying High

Can't get enough cheer + football + blazing Texas sunsets!!!

Those gorgeous practice evenings got us ready for the Giants (in nonstop drizzling rain) this Saturday, the 27th:

Most of our halftime dance (the best I have, so far, from one of my cheer moms - thankful!)

And check out my superstar Annelise as the highest flyer!!!

We won 26-12! Ah, yes...

Thursday, September 25, 2014

How Great Thou Art

I was so honored to get to sing "How Great Thou Art" in church Sunday before last. I only have video of the first verse (it got better, as I got going! ;-)) but I just thought I'd share. Singing fills my soul...

Will's Stiff Arm

We finally got highlight video of Will's stiff arm from our rainy win on the 13th:

That's our boy!!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Blake Family Scrapbook ~ July 2012 - Nov 2013

So, I actually finished this 3rd family scrapbook back last December on my laptop in the car on the drive home from Disney!!! [How do I digiscap? Tutorial!] BUT I was waiting to publish for *3* super cute group pics from Halloween from one of my friends to add to that single page; and then - to be honest - I kind of slacked on digiscrapping. Instead of keeping up with my pages right as events happened, I would do nothing for ~3 months...and then digiscrap 18 to 23 pages all at once. (Hey, at least I didn't quit! ;-)) In May, I remembered to remind my friend about those Halloween pics, finally finished that last page, and then set about waiting for the *BEST* Shutterfly photo book deal. (It's not like publication was an urgent matter. :-D) It came this week: 50% off + free shipping!!! My huge, 12x12, 93-page hardcover custom book = less than $100. I'm also extra excited, b/c I thought to use a Lilly print for the cover - and not just any print, but the Lilly "Fresh Cut" Texas bluebonnet print that was released right when we moved here, which is exactly when this scrapbook begins.
Here are my first two family books: Sept 2008-Oct 2010 and Nov 2010-Jun 2012.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fly Girl

Freeeeeaking out over how AMAZING our cheer practice was tonight!!! One of my cheer moms coached competition cheer & taught the girls how to properly load & lift Annelise in the center! It was the 1st moment I've gotten to stand back & just be proud mama for a minute this season...

I love this squad so much!!! PS - from this past weekend's game:

Monday, September 22, 2014

Favorites Are My Favorite! (1,000th Post!)

Welcome to my *1,000TH BLOG POST*!!! And what could be more fitting than a big list of favorites, inspired by my friend, Emily, and her friend, Lara, whom I actually do know, b/c she spoke at one of our MOPS meetings when we lived in Chicago! ♥ Check out Lara's post on the importance of knowing yourself. Self-admittedly, I don't really have a problem in this department. Lists of favorites are one of my favorites!!! (Can that be "a thing"? :-P :-D) I think it's because we've moved around so much in my adult life; always having to start over from scratch and make new friends has forced me to be clear about who I am & what I like, and I've always been very open with sharing these preferences, b/c 1) I'm a total ENFP extrovert, and 2) I feel like I can make deeper connections more quickly when I do share all of me ASAP. That's been key, when I've only had on average ~1.5 years in each of our last 4 states before moving, again. That said, we are STAYING PUT IN TEXAS!!!!! :-D But that doesn't change that I'm an open-book, oversharer who loooooves favorite lists, so the people I want to connect with can know me more genuinely.

Beginning this list has me feeling like Buddy the Elf: when he talks to his Gimbel's manager, "I just like to smile! Smiling's my favorite!" When he answers the phone, "Buddy the Elf, what's your favorite color?" ;-)

*MY* favorite color: purple

Favorite obsession: monograms (I will "sBs" *anything*!!!!!!!)

Favorite sport: football (Washington Redskins NFL, fantasy with my family, local & hometown high school, our youth football team - my husband is the head coach, my son plays, I'm the cheer coach, & my daughter cheers = ultimate family time!!!)

Favorite travel: EUROPE!!! It breaks my heart that it's been 11 whole years since we last went to Italy, and my year living in Germany was one of the most important of my life!!! I absolutely cannot get back there soon enough.

Favorite drinks: bubble tea (what is it? my fave place to get it!) and chai lattes

Favorite bubble tea order: almond milk tea with tapioca & agar jelly

Favorite Starbucks order: "venti 7-pump no-water chai latte" (yes, hot year-round) [no water = all milk as the liquid; 7 pumps of chai concentrate = makes it super ginger spicy]

Favorite way to treat myself: bubble tea or Sbux (honestly, either of these teas ALWAYS makes EVERYTHING BETTER!!!)

Favorite season: when we were in exile up north, it was summer; but in the South, it's fall - I CANNOT STAND weather under 68°F, but Southern fall is still safe temp-wise, and it heralds football season & pumpkins

Favorite way to plan my day: around what I'm eating next (I. Love. Food. I cannot comprehend people who say, "Oh, I just forgot to eat!" What?!?!?)

Favorite way to relax after kids go to bed: watch TV - I loooove TV!!! Esp. reality competitions like MasterChef, SYTYCD, Amazing Race, etc.

Favorite music in the car: Christian on Air1 and the news in Germany via my phone app at the top of the hour (No, not Zumba music - maybe b/c Zumba is "work"?)

Favorite date nights: out to the movies where you order & eat dinner in your seat (fave here: Alamo Drafthouse)

Favorite movie genre: World War II (I also love Southern, football, & mafia movies; but WWII will hook me every time.)

Favorite ice cream: chocolate malt (Blue Bell Malt Shoppe or Guernsey Choco Malt Chip)

Favorite makeup: brown eyeliner (it's the only makeup I wear every day)

Favorite finish: as much shine, shimmer, glitz, & glitter as possible!!!!!

Favorite metallic: yellow gold

Favorite clothing brand: Lilly Pulitzer

Favorite hair care: Moroccan Oil

Favorite outdoor activity: cheering football games

Favorite weather: violent thunderstorms (obviously I don't want anyone hurt or anything damaged, but I can't get enough of big, booming storms!!!)

Favorite flavor profile: salty-sweet (teriyaki, sweet barbeque, kettle corn, salted caramel, mango salsa, etc.)

Favorite crafting tool: Silhouette (I'm crafty with a computer, but that's IT. *Not* super crafty otherwise. To be honest, Pinterest & "DIY fun" kind of stress me out.)

Favorite brand of nail polish: Gelish

Favorite friend interaction: getting Sbux or bubble tea & chatting for hours (better than going to someone's house: if it's your house, I feel like I need to bring something for us to eat; if it's mine, I have to clean; Sbux = can't lose! ;-) This is a change from when I had children home during the day = houses were better then.)

Favorite place to be: beach

Favorite workout recovery: sitting in the hot tub + letting the jets massage my muscles, and sitting in the steam room

Favorite pet: beagle - we are just beagle people!

Favorite pizza: either pineapple or fresh mozzarella di bufala

Favorite shoes: Crocs sandals (no! not ones with holes!!!)

Favorite books: not many. I'm not gonna lie: I don't often enjoy leisure reading books, & I'm over feeling sheepish about it. ;-) Two faves, though: The Help and Sarah's Key

Other favorites that don’t necessarily have a category:

Singing on Praise Team in church on Sunday mornings

Singing tight alto harmonies

Yin Yoga

Grocery shopping (I know it's many friends' *LEAST* enjoyable chore; but I loooooove it! Shopping with a purpose for my favorite items = win/win!)

Vibrant purple/pink/orange sunsets

Photography (if I didn't get a pic, did it really happen? :-D ;-)) And in the same vein...

Documentation (blogging, digital scrapbooking, FB - I'm a great personal historian! ;-))

Southernness (perhaps having to live several years of out the South has made my Southern pride even more zealous?)

Teaching Zumba = getting paid to DANCE & improve others' quality of life!!!

Coaching cheer

Being a leader

Being on stage


Funky fusion food & flavors (but no seafood)

So just as I love sharing my faves, so that my friends can honestly know me, I want to genuinely know YOU, too!!! Leave your faves in a comment here or share in your own blog post!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Rain-Soaked Revelry

Our youth football team won our first game of the season a week ago Saturday on the 13th!!! 31-0. In the pouring rain. (We *all* know I despise getting rained on...but I can't lie: winning made it totally worthwhile! :-D ;-))

Will normally plays defense, but when we pulled ahead by so much, the coaches gave all the boys chances to try out different positions. Will got to run the ball, and he actually laid a MUCH bigger kid out with one of the BEST stiff-arms EVER!!! (Video coming... That's why this post has been on hold! But our next game is this afternoon, so I'm posting now anyway.)

My girls did this cute halftime dance to "Can You Do This":

The best part was the stunt at the end:
It's called "Swedish Falls" (no clue why :-P) and it's the most difficult (interdependent + with no parents spotting them) thing we've ever done. VERY PROUD!!! (And now scrambling for a way to top it... ;-))

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Writing Journal Collage

Annelise brought home a generic composition book, assigned to cover it with pictures, etc. that represent her & her family. Making personal collages? One of our most favorite things EVER!!! I had a few small photos printed at Costco (American Girl, with Bonnie Blue, sewing, on the beach, at Tweetsie & gymnastics), and she used our last Christmas card (with our fam at football & Disney on it.) She cut up a cheerleading catalog, she used some Frozen stickers, she found the side of one of our Lilly packages, and she even found a few Redskins logos in a brochure I had. She wanted to show her pom bday cake I made, along with a pic of a tower of Blue Bell ice cream. :-D She found the little "Minecraft" strip on her Scholastic book order sheet, she found the dolphin & blue macaw in her National Geographic Kids magazine, and she was adamant about including the kale (yes, kale!) from the garden section of my Southern Living, b/c "we love eating our favorite kale salad together! It's so good!" ♥ Sweet girl, it's true!

Lilly Pulitzer Fashion Show

All my amazing 2014 After Party Sale items arrived in 3 to 5 days!!! :-O Shocking with the volume they had to deal with - I was fully expecting 3 weeks!!! Annelise was ecstatic to sport her Little Lilly Classic Shift on the 1st day of school, and she wanted to take pics of me in *my* Lilly for a fashion show - heehee! :-D She's a pretty good photog! :-) Ignore all the hanging tags & my knee wrap before I remembered to take it off... :-P

(These Bermuda shorts are the only item that really doesn't fit = too-big waist! I'm shocked! I would've never guessed I needed smaller than this!!! Has Lilly moved more towards vanity sizing? I hope not :-/)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Full Football Weekend

Last weekend was literally football from start to finish:

Our Falcons played their second game of the season, again against another league (interleague play; 1st game within our league that truly counts is this Saturday) & definitely showed improvement.

Run-through banner:


Annelise's game face, ready to begin the halftime dance:

This sooo captures me during games - intently watching the boys in b/t cheers, so I can make sure I explain to the girls what's really going on:

Our halftime dance to "The Man":

After our game, JB & I worked field duty for our league, as part of our board member obligation, for four more hours. I wore *his* shirt! :-D Who says it's too big??? The kimono-look was kind of fun! ;-)

On Sunday, JB & I took our friends to the NFL Redskins vs. Texans football game = my bday present. ♥ This was a dream-come-true experience for me: my 1st Redskins game EVER. ♥ We breakfast-tailgated for REAL in Skins shirts & Texans hats:

But the actual game...was not fun. It broke my heart. :'( I thought I couldn't lose, since I *do* love the Texans any other day of the year...but no. My Redskin bums shattered me. They looked terrible. Every other Sunday, I cheer JJ Watt...but my heart did not want to cheer him tearing up my most beloved sports passion live in front of my face. It's hard to be cheering for the away opponent on the first home game of the season with tons of other-team hype & energy, to then play awful & lose, and to finally have to walk out of the stadium as a loser IN THE POURING RAIN. Yes. Pouring rain. And we *all* know that getting rained on is one of my biggest irrational irritations in life. It was the rancid icing on the rotten game cake. :-P

But that's football. And that's long-suffering super-fan Redskins football. ;-)

Next week will be better...

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Two Weeks?!

Has it really been two weeks since I blogged? It seems like two days...

School. Zumba. Tumble. School. Yoga. Cheer. Football. School. Zumba. Church Singing. School. Cheer. Football. School. Barbell Strength. Football. Cheer. Church. Football. *repeat*

And I love it! :-)

Highlights & lowlights:

* Electronics have been banned in our household before school. They just make everyone late & stressed at the last second. ;-)

* A new friend with cancer is way worse than I thought: stage 4, breast spread to liver & ovaries, given a year to live back in Feb, has a young son, & totally rocks my Zumba class twice a week. She is still in chemo & NEVER misses class... She says it's her therapy. She makes me cry with humbled wonder. #perspective  Lift her up. Pray also for her stress levels & for a friend of hers that she can't stop worrying about who may be involved in a domestic violence situation. :-(

* We had no football games over Labor Day weekend, so a lot of our team went to the movies together that Saturday afternoon to see When the Game Stands Tall = perfect team bonding!!! Funniest: the boys were whispering back & forth and running for refills during all the human interest parts, but they were riveted during every bit of football! :-P

* Our sunsets have been gorgeous like this almost *EVERY NIGHT* the past few weeks:

* Hit some snags last week - Tuesday morning, Will had forgotten to do a huge assignment over the long weekend, got his 1st tardy ever b/c it took so long to finish, & I couldn't even drive him to school late b/c I had left my keys in JB's truck. Wednesday morning produced the worst traffic I've ever battled to get to teach my class - but *NEITHER* day was ruined! :-) It doesn't always happen, but positivity, grace, & deep yoga breathing actually prevailed! ;-)

More to come! (Sooner than in 2 more weeks ;-)) Time to jump back in: Church Singing. School. Cheer. Football. School. Barbell Strength. Football. Cheer. Church. Football. *repeat*