Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Project Runway Birthday Party

We celebrated Annelise's 10th birthday this weekend with a Project Runway: Birthday Edition party! It was FABULOUS!

Initially, we couldn't decide what kind of party to have: she wanted to invite too many friends (20-30) to have a sleepover or a party somewhere they charge per child with a hard count up to 20, (like skating.) I wanted the flexibility of not stressing over exact RSVPs, (why has RSVPing become so laissez-faire?) so we wanted to come up with an idea we could do on our own at the little park pavilion by our neighborhood where we've been having Will's bday parties. I totally admit, I have a bit of an inferiority complex with party planning: hospitality is not my natural gift. I wanted it to be something fun, special, & creative - not boring or the same old, same old. I had seen this story about a 4 year old who makes paper dresses with her mom and thought that if a 4 year old can do it, surely 10 year olds can! :-D It would honor Annelise's love of fashion design, without being as expensive, skilled, or unforgiving as using fabric would, and we could theme it after one of her favorite shows! (Her favorite not on Food Network. :-P ;-))

It was so easy to prep, (key for me!!!) For the backdrop & runway, I bought a 40"x100' roll of plastic tablecloth, ($9 with 40% off coupon ;-)) which we duct taped to the pavilion roof, unrolled down, secured, and then rolled out the length of the pavilion floor. We also used more of the same roll to cover our four picnic tables. We have a friend with a printing company who printed two high-quality outdoor banners for us! (This guy: I told him just the black & white logo on plain paper; that I only needed him to do it, b/c my home printer just does 12" & I was hoping for 36" across...and he came back with these, which Annelise can keep forever! What a prince!) We had her friends sign the colorful one after the party:
And we used the sleek black & white one as the runway backdrop logo.

For the outfit-making materials, I bought a plain 24"x100' roll of white all-purpose easel paper, thinking that could be the base material (a la muslin) for everyone. (Even if we had 30 girls show up, that could be 3' each = plenty.) We already had huge gorgeous rolls of trendy red & white chevron and green & white Moroccan trellis print wrapping paper from Christmas, along with giant spools of wired ribbon from old MOPS craft projects, tons of old gift bows, and an enormous supply of Mardi Gras beads I would be THRILLED to use up!!! :-D We already had 6 pairs of scissors, so I didn't buy any extra of those, either; the only additional d├ęcor I bought was a roll of metallic purple wrapping paper to round out the color schemes and two rolls of clear packing tape - one for each pair of tables to share to tape the creations into place.

We set up the pavilion, turned on my Block Rocker for music...and just as people arrived, the rain began to pour! (The weather had said just a 20% chance of sprinkles! I was horrified - my #1 fear re: outdoor parties coming true!) The deluge *did* last the ENTIRE party, fully until we packed up to go home...but quite thankfully, the rain never blew sideways into the pavilion, and no one was grumpy or had a bad attitude about it! (Maybe it even helped the girls stay focused on their creations? :-D)

They were so creative! Some of the moms had stayed (to avoid going back out in the rain :-P) & helped. I wish I had better pics!!! I MCed the runway show with my Block Rocker mic while my friend took pics with my phone, but the girls moved SO FAST, and many wouldn't slow down to pose! (Who are these people?! :-D ;-)) The dampness in the air and the fact that some girls made their dresses super duck-waddle tight was a recipe for them not staying on long after the runway, (which breaks my heart! Y'all KNOW how psycho I am about pics, & I can't believe I don't have just one of everyone posing in their fashions!!!) But the main point was served: everyone had an absolute BALL and said it was the coolest bday ever!

Best of what we could catch on the runway:

A collage from a mom friend:

And finally, everyone and CAKE:
(I made another fondant pom cake. :-))

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Flood Week

First off: we're completely safe, our street has excellent drainage, and our house never flooded; but we got over 10" of rain (some areas 20"!) Sunday night through midday Monday. No school, no work, no Zumba, but also no sleep - I wanted to turn the flood alerts off my phone, but then I worried that would be irresponsible. :-/ We got a break in the rain, though, early Monday afternoon, and our streets were dry by 4:30. We went out for BBQ dinner, and then Annelise, Bonnie, & I took a loooooong, hour & a half nature walk along the bayou nature trail close to our house. Sooo lovely! I didn't get pics of the lush, rainforest-esque parts, but the bayou was raging super high, (we can usually walk at least 10'-15' under that bottom right bridge down the ramp!), we saw a gator (we LOVE seeing as many creatures as possible!!!), sang with the frogs, and had the best girl talk:

I'm pretty sure my Dad sent the gator sighting. ♥ Monday marked 19 years since he passed away. I was 18 when he died, (it was the year before JB & I started dating), so he's officially been gone for over half of my life... That seems odd... It also would have been my Grandmommy's 104th birthday. ♥ They both loved being outdoors more than anything, so I guess it's fitting we had a weather & nature adventure. :-D

So that brings us to the rest of this week: no school. ALLLLL WEEK. :-O Why? Because even though our side of town is completely clear & safe, many people on the north side of town (all still in our school district) have been trapped in their homes by the flood waters since Sunday night. One of my Cheertators just got out of their house for the first time yesterday:
The cheer gym was closed until Wednesday, as well, b/c several coaches were stuck in their homes and couldn't get out. (THANK GOODNESS it's reopened!!! School, we're really ok missing, but cheer? :-P) Will wants everyone to know that "God has answered his no school prayers!" He's feeling very close to the Lord right now. :-D

I will say, it feels so odd to have our lives completely back to normal by Tuesday morning, just without school, while so many people just a few miles away are still needing assistance from the National Guard. Our community has whipped into action to help each other, though, and THAT is beautiful!!! Keep praying for them!!!

Sunday, April 17, 2016


#1: This past Wednesday was my & JB's 14th wedding anniversary!

It looks like Annelise is actually getting the chance to fly in her new cheer program!
(Just playing around with different bases & transitions Thursday night to get different feels. :-))

Our 7-on-7 Football is back in action: we won our divisional game 26-13, and Will scored 2 touchdowns Friday night!
(Yep, we're the Mud Dawgs a la The Waterboy, since we combined our Falcons with some Giants. :-D)

I got to connect with TWO precious friends, here just to visit for the weekend! Sangeeta, my first yoga teacher & friend who moved to Phoenix:
(Ha! That's *my* arm in between them! :-D Annelise was SO EXCITED that she could get henna, too! It lasts a week or two.)

And Stephanie, my college roommate, whose band's southwest tour brought her to Houston Saturday night! Getting to sing harmonies with her, again, fills my heart with so much joy, and I so appreciate the effort she always makes to stay connected with me & our fam:

This last one is really huge: two of my first three cheerleaders who are old enough to "graduate" from my Falcons cheer squad tried out for their Junior High Saturday morning...and BOTH MADE IT!!! BOTH OF MY GIRLS!!! I got chills. I am so tremendously proud of them - they have no competition experience, just our awesome Falcons family for the last 3 years!!! Talk about feeling validated in what I'm doing... #success

Sunday, April 10, 2016

God Lesson Through Zumba

I had opposite spectrum experiences at Zumba this past week...

On Monday, I went out for sweets at Sweet after class with one of my members:
She had invited me several weeks ago, just saying she'd love to get coffee and talk - so nice. :-) To be honest, I was a little nervous - it was like going on a date with a new friend! :-D But I'm so glad I went - we actually talked for over two full hours. She's such a faithful regular attendee, I'm glad I made the effort to further connect with her.

So then Thursday... I was asked to sub at my normal, happy club for the Thursday class. It's kind of stupid, but my confidence was shaken a little bit. I had two women walk out of the class before I even started teaching, because they don't like me, they like the regular lady at that time; then half the class straight up gave me the stink eye for the first 6 songs. :-O I was so shocked that I could feel actual negative judgment! I've NEVER felt that subbing another Zumba class before. EVER. By the end, it was definitely happier, but whoa... I like being known as the harder teacher that you can't be lazy with, (this regular lady has the reputation of being lower impact & easy) but I can't stand it when people don't love me. It's one of my biggest character flaws. I know it's completely impossible to be everyone's cup of tea, but I guess I was just so shocked at actively receiving so much negativity. It was stupidly hard to shake off.

...But God swooped in with the best reaffirming love - not only did I receive this word from someone I trust, but I then got to pass it on to my BFF who not 2 hours later needed the same loving counsel!!!
Whatever that unresolved negativity you encounter is, it's all THEM - it has nothing to do with you, because you've done your best here. That's what God asks of us, so we have to give the rest to Him. We can't heal their attitudes or hearts. It's so hard for us not to be able to fix a situation, but I think God lets us experience things like these sometimes, to purposely refocus our faith in His action, instead of on anything we can do ourselves to fix it.

I know I'm gifted for what I do. I don't have to take their negativity. I trust that God has me where He needs me, and I'll keep doing my best. :-)

Saturday, April 9, 2016

All Star Cheer Tryout

Annelise's all star cheer tryout was AWESOME!!! I was extremely pleased: it was so low key & positive. They stretched, warmed up jumps, then tumbling passes. They went into the back gym away from parents for the real deal in scheduled groups of about 7 at a time, but Annelise came out beaming. She put together running front walkover, roundoff, back handspring; and then back walkover back handspring. They did let her try out to fly, and with one adult male coach basing her, she flew in her heel stretch & said she "almost" got her hands back to scorpion, but not quite. She was so excited! I was most impressed with how no-pressure they made the atmosphere; everyone was so happy, relaxed, & joking around - such a good vibe! She had to pose on the way out:
(That hair bow was a tryout gift from our sweet family of friends who helped us settle on this gym - they left it as a surprise on our door the day before. How sweet is THAT?!?! Their daughter will be a freshman in high school this year, and their son is actually on Will's 7on7 football team.)

They announced placements in practice groups several days later - the precursor to setting the official teams for the whole year. They have a pretty solid idea of who needs to be where, but for one month (until the 2nd week of May) they'll have the flexibility of potentially moving people around to form the strongest teams. I'm ecstatic with Annelise's placement!!! She has passion, strong stability flying, & a level two back handspring...but her jumps are so low, (I'm an awful jumper, too, so I don't push it much in our rec squad! :-P) she can't do a scorpion, (required level two flying skill) and she's never done choreo this fast before. I wasn't sure where they would stick her...but she's in a level one/two practice group, and get this: it's by far the smallest in the gym (yay, more focus!!!) AND (the BEST part!) this would be a Junior (14 & under) team, instead of Youth (11 & under)!!! She works so well with older kids, and maybe if she's one of the smaller ones, she'll get a chance to fly? We'll see! No matter what, she's excited, and she honestly doesn't seem to care what position they put her in...which is extra confirmation that we're doing the right thing! ;-) :-)

Friday, April 8, 2016

Poster & Party Girls

You know my youth cheer program's registration has ramped up when I get even quieter than normal around here! :-D I have so much to share...but every time I get online, I have all of these cheer issues I have to take care of, ("Will you make an exception for this? For that? What about for this? What do I have to do to register? Can you explain this? That?" No. No. No. And everything else is so self-explanatory on the website, if you'd take the time to look. :-P) Y'all *know* I looove being the queen bee, but after I handle all that stuff, I just want to get offline! :-D So the next few days we'll play a little catch up...

There's one huge awesome thing that happened last week [teaser! sorry!] but I can't talk about it for another week or two, so hang onto your hats until then. (I know, that's so cruel! But it's super happy, and NO: it doesn't involve moving or babies. :-P) Suffice it to say, a loved one FINALLY got the BIGGEST answer to prayer, so join me in nebulous rejoicing!!! :-D

In more concrete celebratory news, Annelise entered a poster contest about a month ago for the National Weather Service Severe Weather Awareness Week. They were challenged to pick a severe weather event and make an awareness poster for it. She was adamant about doing this extracurricular project!!! She picked floods and totally ran with it. She worked on her poster for several days:
The day the winner was to be announced...ended up being Good Friday :-P so obviously no one was at school. (She was so irritated! :-D) It was worth the wait, though, because last week she found out SHE WON!!! It was a pretty decent prize, too: $100 of school supplies for her class. :-)

Last weekend was all about cheer, both my rec program and all star. [Dedicated all star tryout post tomorrow!] We had *TWO* Cheertators' daughters' bday parties! (My cheer committee calls ourselves the Cheertators, and we call our kids the Tator Tots! HA!!! :-D) Can you believe two Tots have the exact same bday?! One had a sleepover:
And I helped give the 2nd one, which was a dinner & craft party...with a photo booth! Tators + photo booth = perfection:
[This may be my fave pic of half of us EVER! :-D]

Yes, Annelise's bday is in just two weeks. No, we don't have a thing planned. This weekend's mission...

We ran our first walk-up registration & uniform fitting event all day Saturday, and 3 of my new girls came to get fitted - they are SOOOO enthusiastic! It will be so good to have their fresh energy this fall. (And super tall big sis is going to be one of my assistant helpers. :-))

Finally, our cheer program got published, again! This time talking about us donating 500 surplus cheer uniforms to a charity cheer organization when I updated the design last year. I was so happily shocked when I opened up the magazine out of our mailbox & saw my own face! :-D Here's the online version. :-)

Coming next: all star cheer tryout and a God lesson through Zumba...