Thursday, October 30, 2014

"Shake It Off" Cheer Dance

For our final regular season halftime dance, we did something new. Most halftime dances in our league are just a two-minute dance with maybe one simple stunt. We did five! And it was awesome!!! By the girls' request, to Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off"...



Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Dominate and Devastate(d)

[Title Cheer] We dominated our football game on the 25th, and the legitimate score *should've* been 18-6. Thanks to 2 blown calls by the refs, we lost by 2 points. Am I still upset? Working on that. Am I disappointed? Yes. Is it going to work to our benefit? YES!!! Now we get to play a fun game this coming Saturday and don't have to worry about a bye-week making us lazy. (Had we won, we would've gotten a bye to the 2nd round.) We will have much better, more productive practices, b/c we *HAVE* to ...and we'll be ready to set this straight when we meet this same team, again, in 2 weeks. We like playing the spoiler & earning bigger trophies over this exact same team during the playoffs, anyway. (Remember last year?!) FALCONS, RISE UP!!!!

Even though we're still feeling stung by the ref flubs, that doesn't take away from how tough we (esp. my precious #24 tearing it up at defensive end!!!) played.

Will pushing past a kid three times his size:

Will right before taking their superstar to the ground:

Head coaches' kids going head-to-head:

My girls & our spirit-sprayed red hair rocked, too!!!

Stay tuned for the next post re: our stunt spectacular halftime dance! It. Was. AWESOME!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

HTTR Yoga

What's better than morning yoga? Yoga the morning after the REDSKINS BEAT dallas!!! ‪#‎httr‬ ‪#‎beatdallas

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Extravaganza

Trader Joe's pumpkin extravaganza! I purchased maybe 1/8th of their pumpkin items...

Everyone's raving over this Trader Joe's Honey Roasted Pumpkin Ravioli, and kind of surprisingly, my kids LOVE the Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Salted Caramels! (They are very dark choc + very salty - I thought they'd be way too sophisticated for my kids, but nope! Still can't decide, though, if this is good or bad: good = yay for their palates! bad = I have to share now! ;-)) I'm excited to add the Pumpkin Croutons to the Pumpkin Soup and the Pumpkin Spiced Pumpkin Seeds to general salads & my roasted sweet potato salad.

Do you get into the fall pumpkin hype? What are your favorite seasonal pumpkin purchases?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

FULL Football Family

When I say that our whole family is into football, I mean *EVERYONE* - proof:
(Sleeping on our run-through banner in a pile of practice jerseys! :-D)

Shots from our Oct. 18th game:

School Pics 2014

Here are the kids' 2014 School Pics (Annelise had scraped her head playing football at a friend's house the day before. Lovely. But *she* likes her pic, so that's what matters. :-))

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Miracle of Sight

PRAISING GOD FOR MORE OF HIS MIRACLES!!!

Annelise got a rather strong eyeglass prescription three years ago. We were shocked her eyes were so bad with no signs from her whatsoever. (A Georgia school screening discovered it!) She got glasses to wear while doing schoolwork (not all day) and honestly didn't wear them vigilantly. This April at her 8 year well-check, the nurse mentioned some improvement; I was pleased, but didn't think too much of it, b/c it wasn't in-depth. Last week, she mentioned her vision being blurry while wearing her glasses in school. My stomach dropped: had her eyes had gotten so bad now, her glasses didn't even help?!?! I scheduled the quickest OD appointment possible - yay for the kids having this Monday off school!

We went back to the same OD from when we first moved here, since she had a record of Annelise's eyes. She had Annelise read lines of letters with her glasses on. She struggled. It broke my heart. I pretended she had done well, but my insides churned...

She then read the lines with her glasses off.

And she got *every* letter right. I was stunned...and a little confused. What did the OD do to those letters to make them different?

Nothing. Annelise can't see clearly with her glasses B/C SHE DOESN'T NEED THEM!!!!! Her eyes have improved to 20/20 in her left eye and 20/30 in the right!!!!!!!!! ♥ AMAZING!!!!!!!!! ♥ The OD was shocked & thrilled with us, too! She's going to have one last pair of schoolwork-only glasses now for that light correction in her right eye, but she doesn't even really need it. Thanking God for healing my Peach Pie! ♥

And since this is a post of joy, let me also share that before our OD appointment, the kids had to come with me to teach my Zumba class. Will went to Kids Play, but Annelise wanted to do my class with me! (She never wants to miss Kids Play - I was honored! :-)) ♥ I let her up onstage with me after class was officially over:

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Rolling 3-1

We won our third game over an in-league opponent this weekend, bringing our playoff contention record to 3-1! It stormed all morning, and the skies threatened again at 2 PM...but God bounced it just south of us, giving us a gorgeous game day.

Pregame prayer together with every team playing on all the fields in our time slot:

Let's go!!!

"Can You Do This" halftime dance (Excuse my bopping derrière the WHOLE song!!! This is the only parent video I got...but I wish she would have avoided getting *me* in the shot! :-D :-P)


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Practice Piglet: This Is My Life

Always something interesting at football & cheer practice! Last Tuesday after practice ended at 7:30, we watched the International Space Station fly over our practice field at 7:31. [Find when it flies over you here!]

Thursday, a football mom brought their new family pet piglet!!! It loved me!

This last pic is my life in a nutshell. I absolutely love it. Blurry, red-eyed, fun & happy, in a pile of football players & cheerleaders, mothering & balancing something unique & special... ♥

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Tumble + Fly

I looooove watching Annelise tumble...

I think the fact that I'm terrified to attempt even a cartwheel enhances my wonder. :-P This is nothing that "mommy can do, too." Unlike singing, dancing, or even schoolwork, I have no personal experience from which to share tips or critiques. I got nothing...but awe! :-D

Running round-off back handspring:

I also love that she's such a solid flyer on our cheer squad! I can't show nepotism & pick her for every stunt, but when the competition cheer coach picked her to fly highest in our big stunt a few weeks ago, it was clear that she's the best for the job: she has her 3rd grade maturity in a 1st grade-size body. Being a peanut is a big bonus! Stunting in the moonlight:

Friday, October 10, 2014

Mini Zumba Crises + PRAISING GOD!

So, a few things...

< mini confidence crisis > Another instructor came to take my class Wednesday. I should just be honored. Period. It's wonderful that she chose to spend an hour of her day following me, instead of leading! And here's the thing: a beautiful part of Zumba is that every instructor is SO VERY UNIQUE - some are super Latina grinding hip-shakers, some are slower & smooth, some are crazy hip-hop-heavy. I am like an all-American cheerleader on crack. :-P :-D My routines are very fast, lots of jumping around, and less intricate Latin ballroom footwork. This is on purpose, b/c even though I've got moves, I know that 90% of my class does not have a dance background; this is not the "watch how amazing Susie looks dancing for an hour" show. I like to make my teaching moves a little more basic & less stylized, so that everyone can learn & follow; if you can't follow my steps, I'm not doing my job.

...But Wednesday, I caved a bit under the pressure. This visiting instructor is a total model-esque hip-swiveling Latina goddess, and she danced FULL OUT front & center all class. I don't blame her a bit: I would do the *exact same thing* as a class participant, (& I have. It's how I almost died at my first Zumba class ever almost 4 years ago! :-D) But I felt myself the whole class thinking, "Do any new people think she's way better than the teacher??? Ramp it up!!! Wait, don't compare, don't compete - smile & trust yourself! ...But dance HARDER!!!!!!"

I *did* dance harder. And thanks to her, I burned almost 100 more calories than I normally do, :-P but I hate that her looking amazing & video-worthy made me second-guess myself so deeply. I don't want to be an intimidating instructor; I can show off on my unpaid time. ;-) I know God brings the right people to my class for the right reasons, and I trust that He's got us all where we need to be. < / end mini confidence crisis >

< boss crisis > My boss is the best boss I've ever had in my life. Hands down. I've never been given as much breathing room while still being 100% supported like this. She doesn't bother with stressful, nitpicky personal evaluations; she KNOWS that if your teaching quality slips or if your class isn't up to par that the members are going to pour into her office and let her know. She doesn't need to employ duress to make us successful (unlike...other locations) because she trusts that she's hired the best. She doesn't have to keep us under her thumb, and we thrive! She is also the first to go to battle for us: the lady from where I left actually tried to get me fired from my current club this summer (I've always known she's out to get me; I don't know why I scare her so, but apparently, I do - even from afar) and my current boss would have none of it. She stood up for me 100% and wouldn't even let me worry about that nut. :-P For her edifying encouragement, loyalty, & wonderful management style, I am so grateful...

...and now so heartbroken, because she has been given a new job in Raleigh, NC! (She's originally from Columbia, SC - another way we bonded.) She's leaving in November, and I can't lie: I am terrified as to who will replace her. Please pray that whoever comes to take over is just as confident in us as she has been, that they will trust us, and that they will bring positivity & encouragement, instead of fostering a culture of coercion & intimidation. I don't want to go back to praying the boss's office light isn't on when I have to walk by... < / end *worrying* about boss crisis...even though it's not done >

< PRAISE TIME!!! > A few months ago, a new lady starting taking my class. She came up afterwards one day and thanked me, saying how even though she has CANCER & was currently going through more chemo, this class helps her so much, that it's like her therapy. [*THAT* is God, right there!!! ♥ Only He could work like that! ♥ That is the whole purpose of these classes to me.] We kept chatting, and a few weeks later, she mentioned that she wasn't Stage 1; she was actually STAGE 4: they had first found the cancer in her breast right after she had her little son, and - as if that weren't heart-wrenching enough - it had since spread to her liver & ovaries. In February, her doctor gave her MONTHS to live...

I felt like I had been punched in the gut. This precious woman weighed so heavily on my heart... I kept thinking, "There's going to be a day soon when she's no longer here. I'm going to be teaching, look over in her spot, and she will not be there. She won't run in late. She'll be dead." I just kept praying. I asked my FB friends to pray. I sat down several time to blog & ask y'all to pray, too, but I just couldn't stand to write it all out in more detail.

She recently went in for scans. She had been under a great deal of extra stress (stress = super bad for cancer!) because she was so worried about a friend of hers in a possible domestic violence situation (!!!!!) so she wasn't sure how much advancement the scans would show.

Nothing.

ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

And when I say "nothing", I don't mean "no advancement". I mean NO CANCER. ZERO! It's GONE!!!!! I screamed when she came into class & told me!!!!! How amazing is God, y'all?!?! She' s still finishing out her treatment and will keep getting monitored, in case it returns...but she is CLEAR!!! It gives me chills to type it out. It's the best news I've ever heard at Zumba! :-D < ...never ending praise! :-D >

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Football Sat + Picture Day Sun

We are *VERY* serious - real scouting reports & everything:

Here we go...

Get it, #24!!!

Go, girls:

"F-A-L-C-O-N-S! We're the Falcons, and we're the best!"


Halftime dance - "The Final Countdown" (ugh re: quality, but it's all any parent had to share - I'll take it!)


We had Picture Day the next day, Sunday afternoon. The boys were nuts; the girls were all business. :-D

Sure to be our coming Chirstmas card pic... ;-)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Sunday Singing, Choir Style!

Two Sundays ago, our little choir sang in church for the 2nd time. This church is contemporary, and thus, so is the choir, [so if your ears can only bear to abide the choral likes of Mozart's Requiem (my favorite performance from my classical college concert choir ♥) or John Rutter (my fave from high school ensemble days ♥) you can skip playing the video clips below. ;-)]

Choir at our church is a big commitment - six weeks of Wednesday night rehearsals for one Sunday of performance. Unlike our Praise Team (which you audition to join) anyone can be a part of the choir! :-) That makes it wonderful, b/c everyone there has a true heart of praise they want to share, and also a lot of work, b/c not everyone is a trained musician. For Praise Team, we each get our music (via this awesome app - Planning Center) to review on our own before having one rehearsal together the Wednesday night before we sing that following Sunday morning. It's also easier, b/c we have one soprano, one alto (me :-)), one tenor, and one bass each week. I pick out my own harmony part by ear, we put it together Wednesday night in person, (surprisingly, very rarely does the blend need much tweaking!) and we're set. You can't do that with a choir: multiple altos can't pick out their own slightly varying alto parts. :-P Everyone needs sheet music, and everyone needs to learn the same notes for their parts. That takes rehearsal time and quality repetition for those who have been out of stage-singing for awhile. It's sooo beautiful to have all these voices come together!!! ♥ But it just doesn't happen often, b/c it *IS* such a time commitment for many people who only occasionally want to be in the musical groove. For our Easter choir, we had around 50 members! This time, we had just over 20. But they were 20 who truly wanted to be there & share their gift!!! It was a lot of work, but it was precious...and we made it fun! ;-)

We sang four songs: God Be Praised, Revelation Song, The Victor's Crown, and God of This City. [Sidebar: God of This City was the only complete choral start to finish; all the rest were solos with the choir coming in later. It seems like this is how most non-classical choirs work now. Is this b/c of Glee? (I remember thinking how bizarre it was, when I first saw Glee - a show about "choir", that they really weren't a choir; they were just backing up solos. :-P)] We also found that no matter how the stage was mic'ed, we often needed extra part support on mic in addition to the choir; so I was pulled down in God Be Praised to hit the alto harder, and my friend, Cheryl, did it during my solo, since I couldn't leave the melody. It didn't stand out; it just made the blend much fuller. :-)

I only have two videos, but here you go! Here's my solo song, The Victor's Crown:


And God Be Praised - the soloists are our worship leader & the senior pastor's wife; the choir comes in at 2:48:

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Fave Things: Stovetop S'mores

We're kind of obsessed with making s'mores for dessert...almost EVERY SINGLE NIGHT lately. We don't have a trendy outdoor fire pit, we don't use the microwave (gross! it makes the grahams soft! :-X), & we don't even turn on the grill. The stovetop is just fine! We stick marshmallows on the ends of kabob skewers, roast them over the range, and assemble on the counter = easy peasy! We also use chocolate chips instead of milk chocolate bars = cheaper, smaller, always on hand, + better tasting! Mmmmmmm...

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Gelish: Football Mani

I did this over a week ago, and it's already started to grow out (sorry!) but here's my Gelish fall football mani:

I used 2 layers of Stand Out red with a top layer of A Pinch of Pepper for the black & white confetti. For my accent nail footballs, I did 2 layers of Sweet Chocolate (metallic brown) & drew the white laces free-hand with a little brush (you can use a toothpick!) dipped into Sleek White (the same white I use to do French tips).

I love team spirit nails!!! GO FALCONS!