Odds. And Some Ends.

I was so looking forward to today, the day that schedules returned to normal after the Thanksgiving holidays. It's not that I don't adore my people and love being around them constantly, because I do, but I also adore some quiet alone time. It's just programmed into my DNA. So I was ever so excited to watch Scott drive off to work and take Annelise to school this morning.
But I had a headache.
Thankfully it was not quite a migraine but it was still a migraine's red-headed step-child and required me to crawl back into bed, shutters closed until well after lunch.
I guess I got my alone time.
I'm happy to report that fall has finally been packed away. I'm actually quite giddy about that because looking at my pumpkins and fall leaves was making me want to vomit.
No, we don't have a morsel of Christmas up yet, but I'm trying not to let that get me down.
I'm feeling a strong urge for a simpler Christmas season this year, less focus on the fluff and tinsel and more focus on the important stuff. I'm not exactly sure how this feeling will manifest itself but I will tell you I'm looking forward to starting our Jesse Tree thanks to Ann Voskamp's free devotional.
Last Wednesday, Scott had his first pain treatment, which was a sedated cortisone injection, for his neck/shoulder issues. He's supposed to have another injection this week and possibly a third one the following week if needed. Thankfully, this treatment seems to be working and will hopefully provide long-term relief.
Annelise was invited over to Pappo and Grandma's house for a sleepover during the week since she was out of school last week. She started packing her bag at like 9:00 am because she was so excited.
Scott and I went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows (!!) and then to eat fajitas (!!). It was the first HP movie I'd ever seen in the theater (remember, I got to the Harry Potter party quite late) and really enjoyed it.
It seemed to follow the book fairly close and since there will be two parts it didn't seem rushed at all, which I liked. I will say I thought the, ahem, slightly mature scene with Harry and Hermione, was really unnecessary though. Not crazy, boycott worthy, but not for young kids either.
Over the weekend we went to see Tangled and gave it six enthusiastic thumbs up.
If y'all get a chance go see it. Really, really fun and family friendly.
I guess those are all my odds and ends. Oh, except for one more. I broke up with sugar (again) yesterday, and lasted the whole ding-dang day (!!) until Scott mentioned he was thinking of going to Dairy Queen and wondered if I wanted my usual (a small Butterfinger & M&M Blizzard).
How do I resist that?
I am a weak, weak woman.
Here's to fresh starts and new mercies.

Hope your CyberMonday has been outstanding!


Gobble Gobble In Review

For the last, oh, five or six years we have had more of what you might consider non-traditional Thanksgivings than traditional ones, so maybe they are becoming traditional.
Are you following all that?
Eating out for Thanksgiving has almost become our tradition.
In 2004 we were barely home from a whirlwind trip to Russia and were still suffering from jetlag and brand new parenting so our whole family went to Luby's. And it was quite good and there were no dishes to prepare or wash after and so a trend was born. The next year we trooped down to the Cracker Barrel and then trooped back to our house for desserts. 2006 was a Turkey Trot followed by the Black Eyed Pea and desserts at my dad's house, 2007 was my birthday and a bird in a crockpot, in 2008 my dad's new bride cooked a yummy Thanksgiving feast and last year I missed it completely thanks to a migraine.
This year, for several reasons, no one felt up to preparing a big meal so the Black Eyed Pea came to the rescue again.
We were still able to eat a yummy traditional meal together and no one had to wash any dishes or stuff a turkey's most private parts with anything. It was delightful.
We spent the rest of the day with my dad and Peggy at their house where Annelise divided her time practicing casting her fishing rod in the yard (and antagonizing the neighbor's dogs in the process) and climbing the walls. Literally.
Just as I ushered everyone outside so we could take family pictures in natural light it started to sprinkle rain. We tried to brave it but gave up and scurried back inside once it began to rain in earnest.
So we tried to make do inside.
We finished up the day with a few rounds of Skip-Bo and Go Fish,
concentrated football watching (while I longed for my book), and of course dessert. Annelise L-O-V-E-S Peggy's fruit salad and ended up eating three bowls of it.
While we enjoyed pumpkin cheesecake and coffee.
Maybe our Thanksgivings have been a little non-traditional over the last few years, but thankfully no one seems to mind. We're flexible. The most important thing, no matter where or what you eat is that you are with your loved ones and I'm thankful to have been with mine.
I hope you had a blessed and yummy Thanksgiving too!


On My Birthday

Today I turned 42.
I feel okay about this.
But I also kind of say harrumpff and whatev to turning 42.
Just a little.
(that's my whatev face, can you tell?)
Since Annelise is out of school this week for Thanksgiving we had a lazy morning hanging around at home drinking coffee and painting fingernails.
Well, she didn't actually drink any coffee, which is for the best because she is seven and naturally caffeinated.
She drew me the cutest picture/birthday card of our family (and pets!) and gave it to me two days early because she just could not contain herself. I'd take a picture and show it to you but that would require me to get up, and, well...sorry. Annelise crawled into bed with me this morning at half past dark thirty to wish me HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAMA and her little face was so sweet and her smile was so exuberant that I restrained myself from asking her to come back in a few minutes after I had my coffee.
I am a giver.
Scott took the afternoon off from work and we drove into Houston to eat at The Cheesecake Factory in The Galleria.
And hush yo' mouth, because yes, that is exactly what we did last year because we are fresh and original and always like to stretch our birthday boundaries.
Or maybe not.
We tried several times, and I do mean several, to get a fair self-portrait with most of ourselves represented in front of the huge Christmas tree that encompasses three levels. I may have had a small anxiety attack when I saw that their tree was already up because that means that Christmas is truly fast approaching.
On a whim, after lunch, we decided to seek out some hoity-toity cupcakes since we were close by and it was my special day after all.
Right next door to the snooty cupcake place was paper nirvana, otherwise known as Paper Source.
As sad as it sounds, at 42, I had never been inside a Paper Source.
And I still haven't.
When I broached the possibility of me, The Birthday Girl, popping inside to my people I was met with...
concerns of time, Houston traffic and the increasingly urgent need for someone to find some, um...facilities.
And my browsing might put a damper on someone else's climbing and jumping parade.
So I sighed the mournful sigh of the Paper Source deprived and joined my people in the car to journey home.
My people quickly redeemed themselves though when we arrived home and the showering of presents began.
Well, showering might be an exaggeration, but I did have two sweet cards to open, gift cards to Sephora and Forever 21 (my people DO listen to me after all!!) and...drum roll please...Season 4 of the best television show ever, otherwise known as Friday Night Lights.
I love my people.
And they love me.
I am blessed.
Maybe turning 42 isn't such a bad gig after all.


Five for Friday

Because 1.) It's Friday and b.)I find myself with five completely random things to share with y'all.
1. Annelise was very excited to fill up a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child this week. Of course we were shopping for the items the afternoon before the boxes were due because we are nothing if not timely. This year she really helped me choose the items instead of only incessantly begging to go to the toy section at the dollar store, so that made it much more enjoyable for both of us.
2. Today was first grade's Thanksgiving Feast, that is if a box lunch containing 2 chicken strips, one cheese stick, frightfully orange macaroni and cheese and a juice pouch from KFC can be categorized as a feast. I guess in first grade it can. After feasting, and enjoying a cookie, we all went into the sanctuary to watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. I was all pumped to see Snoopy battle the ping pong table and prepare popcorn and toast like only a beagle can, but I quickly realized I had been mistaken. We watched Charlie Brown's Mayflower Adventure or whatever it's called instead. Not quite the same, but I suppose more educational and still entertaining.
3. The last couple of days I found myself in that disturbing literary waste land where I'd finished a pretty good book and then couldn't commit to what to read next. It was awful. I had several possible candidates sitting on my shelves and even a few perfectly enjoyable others I had left dangling unfinished but none felt right. I craved a cozy, curl up read, some comfort food for my brain so I debated which beloved book to reread. That's a hard decision too. A desire for laughter (even though her story is also bittersweet) won out, I happily pulled A Girl Named Zippy from the shelf. My heart is telling me I made a good call.
4. Now that we are actually enjoying some cooler weather I am feeling the urge to knit. Again. Except I fear I have forgotten how since I set my last unfinished project aside last winter. I was making a short scarf, kind of a cowl like collar with a button--I can't even remember what it's called. I pretended I was like 85 years old and carried my bag-o-knitting with me where ever I went, but I still never finished. So of course I'll probably just have to start over since I have no idea which line of the pattern I was on and knowing that I'll have to makes me somewhat disappointed in myself. I'm sure I'll be scouring YouTube for remedial knitting tutorials ASAP.

5. If you have not heard of Mumford & Sons (don't feel bad, I just recently crawled out from under my rock and discovered them) then I feel a responsibility to share their goodness with you.

Don't you love them? At least a little? Kind of folksy, kind of blue grass, kind of funky. (Disclaimer: one of their songs does have a bad word, not this one, it's another one called Little Lion Man, like repeated a few times. I'm sorry. I felt I should warn you if you check out any of their other songs.)
Hope y'all have a fabulous weekend!
P.S. What are y'all reading or listening to these days? What's your favorite comfort food book to reread?


What I Wore Wednesday {Vol. 7}

I almost skipped this week.
When I did manage to get myself together last week everything I put on was either a repeat (or a three or four-peat) and kind of made me yawn.
That's why I came this close to not showing up for this week's What I Wore Wednesday.
I know, the nerve, right?
So I dug around my closet and tried to come up with something in a Hail Mary attempt to participate today.
And this is what happened:
Plaid dress: Target
Grey Tank: Old Navy
The necklace I'd take to a desert island: Allora Handmade
Orange cardigan, capri leggings and silver ballet flats: Target
Bracelets: Sam Moon (otherwise known as paradise)
Honestly, I have a fickle relationship with plaid. I try to like it, but it really doesn't like me back. It's just not that into me I guess. I only bought this dress because it was on dirt cheap clearance and I thought it might be good to wear with leggings.
So there you go.
Short and sweet this week.
And plaid.
Be sure to pop over to The Pleated Poppy to see oodles of more WIWW goodness.
Happy Wednesday y'all!


Down on Dewberry Farm

For the first field trip of first grade this year we did not mess around. No short jaunt to the local supermarket or fire station (not that there's anything wrong with that) for us, no sir, no way, NUH-uh.
We threw caution to the wind, loaded up our various and sundry first graders in lots of cars and took a road trip (1+ hour drive each way, by the way) to Dewberry Farm last Friday.
Because that's how first grade rolls.
Imagine the pent up energy and sheer excitement of 12 six and seven year olds bounding out of the cars and having to wait for the rest of the caravan to arrive (apparently our group believes in putting the pedal to the metal). There was this other school group waiting patiently to enter and then there was our group who could have easily been mistaken for monkeys hepped up on Red Bull. Sweet.
Soon enough though the rest of first grade arrived and we started our adventure with some rollicking duck races.
Then made our way over to feed the goats and see the other animals.
I'd say these goats are pretty spoiled, wouldn't you?
A great thing about Dewberry Farm is not only are there educational demonstrations and hands-on experiences, there are tons of fun things to play on from rolling slides,
to hay bale climbing and rope swings,
to pedal tractors, zip-lines, a huge fort play area and more. Our little hepped up monkeys LOVED it all!
Soon it was time for lunch, which was a welcome respite from all the activity. I was a HOT MESS after retrieving the cooler from the car and was so looking forward to my Diet Coke and Subway sandwich. Side note: if forced to bring a sack lunch I try to make the best of it so I treated myself to Subway the night before, thankfully it wasn't too soggy.
After lunch, and a brief restroom break for me, and I tell you that only because it struck me as funny that as I was exiting my stall I felt the need to announce several times to the little girls waiting their turn that my potty wouldn't flush. Like I didn't want them judging me or something. I'm mature, that's me.
After lunch we loaded up for a wagon ride to the outer acres where there were honey bees, Christmas trees and pumpkins.
Annelise found her perfect little gourd.
I had to snap this photo of Annelise and one of her friends in the other class. He was such the little gentlemen and was almost always by her side, his little arm guiding her this way and that. It was cute.
Thankfully we didn't lose anybody in the corn maze, I was a little worried.
We finished up the day with a barrel car ride,

and giant pillow bouncing.
Soon it was time to load up several sweaty, dusty and tired first graders and start the journey home.

(Annelise with her class)
I'd say the first field trip of first grade was quite a success!


It Was Monday After All

Monday morning got off to a bit of a rocky start around 1:00am thanks to the skittishness of one of our cats.
While in the midst of a deep sleep I kicked one of my legs out from under the duvet and apparently right on top of a kitty who was also in a deep sleep. I think it was Spooky but I have no proof.
What quickly followed was a loud hiss, a feline leap straight into the air which landed her on my leg which she used to propel herself off of the bed in a hair-raising huff.
I was left with three scratches on my knee and a large rip in my PJs.
Good morning to me.
Scott's Monday started with a trip to the hospital for his MRI. His neck/shoulder/back/nerve/disc issue has not gotten better these last couple of weeks and after no relief from chiropractic adjustments and massage therapy he went back to see his orthopedic doctor who ordered another MRI. Last time Scott tried to do one he couldn't lie flat on his back at all so he opted for a stand-up open MRI. This time his doctor told him those images aren't as reliable and he really wanted Scott to do a lie down MRI and then uttered the magic words: sedated MRI.
Who knew?
My dad dropped him off at the outpatient area early this morning and then I went up to the hospital after taking Annelise to school. With the help of two volunteers and one nurse I was finally able to find the right place I was supposed to be and was able to see Scott right before he went in to be put to sleep.
Um...maybe sedated would be a better term?
I sat outside this door with this big warning sign about radiation being in use for the next hour and read my book and sipped my vanilla latte and tried not to feel radiated.
Do you see that sliver of GOLF magazine sitting there amidst my stuff? Well, you'd think it was a collector's edition or possibly printed on gold because the two times I saw Scott pre and post procedure that was the first thing he asked me, "Do you have my stuff? Do you have my GOLF magazine?!?!" I was all, "How are you doing? How are you feeling? How's your neck?" and he was all, "Guard the GOLF."
That's okay, I'm blaming the drugs.
Finally, after what seemed like a shade past eternity, he was released and we grabbed some lunch and headed home. On the way we saw a man with a cast on his leg hobbling his way along the sidewalk, Scott and I both commented on the poor guy's situation but the man in the truck in front of us rolled down his window and said something to Mr. Crutchey. Lickety-split the truck did a u-turn and stopped to pick him up, which was a really nice thing to do.
I couldn't stop wondering what if Mr. Crutchey was a scammer (or worse) and had a knife squirrelled away inside his cast and was going to truck jack (or worse) that Good Samaritan that gave him a lift.
My overactive imagination often gets the best of me.
And I can't blame the drugs.


November 14, 2004

The brrring...brring...ring of the telephone broke the silence in a hotel room half way around the world one crisp Sunday morning exactly six years ago today.
For two nervous new parents the wake up call wasn't really needed since they had hardly slept the night before out of sheer excitement.
The new mom anxiously checked and rechecked the contents of her brand new diaper bag, which was stuffed to the gills with clothes, a snowsuit, diapers, toys and formula and was about to be carried with purpose for the very first time. The new dad double checked the charge on the video camera.
They took a deep breath together as they exited the elevator and walked through the lobby and out of the hotel for the last time as a family of two. They settled themselves into the back seat, of a car driven by Anatole and listened to the schedule of the morning described in heavily accented English by Natasha. The new parents paid attention as best they could but could really only concentrate on one thing.
One very important thing.
In a few minutes their little party of two was about to change to party of three.
After a whirlwind trip to a Russian market for baby essentials and treats for the nurses, the nervous parents entered Orphanage #14 for the last time. In what can only be described as a surreal moment when time sped up and slowed down simultaneously, the new parents fumbled their way through getting their 14 month old daughter dressed from diaper to snowsuit and then walked out of the front door with her a few minutes later.
Their lives were changed forever.
For the better.
Happy 6th GOTCHA Day Annelise!!


What I Wore Wednesday {Vol. 6}

Well hello there friends! Welcome to another installment of What I Wore Wednesday. Let's take a look at some of the outfits I've donned recently shall we...
Striped drape-y sweater: Forever 21
Green ruffle tank & grey tank: Old Navy
Weekender jeans: Old Navy
This was my Shades of Grey outfit with a splash of color for church:
Grey ruffle cardigan: Down East Basics
Black flower tank & grey tank: Old Navy
Long grey skirt: Old Navy
My favorite necklace in fuchsia: Allora Handmade
Zebra flats: Target
Are y'all sitting down?
Because I wouldn't want y'all to fall down in complete shock when you see my next outfit. The top half is pretty much my normal style, with a drape-y sweater and long tank, but...prepare yourselves for the lower half.
My lowers were encased in a pair of skinny jeans. Gulp.
And and I'm still not sure how I feel about all of my lowers showcased in skinny jeans. Can I say that I liked my calves? And that the jeans were comfy (stretchy, but not so jegging-ly sausage like, which is a good thing). I'm thinking they will be great with boots and longer tops/dresses/sweaters BUT am still unsure if a curvy woman should wear skinny jeans. What do y'all think?
Black drape-y sweater: Forever 21
Beige striped tank with flower details: Marshall's
Skinny jeans (gulp): Target
Leopard flats (squeal!): Target
This week I also wore my running skirt again for the first time in, well, too long, and remembered that I was am a runner (plus I own a pair of skinny jeans now).
Gym Girl running skirt: Skirt Sports
A running skirt will change your life people, I promise. They make running much more swishy and fun.
My last outfit didn't quite turn out to be as cute in the real world as I had imagined it in my head. The floral print made me feel kind of ridiculous and like I had time warped back to 1987. Or maybe I was hoping to be an extra in Places in the Heart with Sally Field. And I really need to invest in a full length mirror because I seem to have lost my head.
Floral print dress(can something that short really be worn as a dress?): Forever 21
Black drape-y sweater: Forever 21
Black tank: Target
Skinny (gulp!) jeans: Target
Yellow necklace: Forever 21
Red flats: Payless
Thanks for popping by my blog for another edition of WIWW! Participating in Lindsey's challenge each week to fight the frump and make an effort to be more stylish as I go about my normal stay-at-home mom routine has not only been fun, it's held me accountable and inspired me to try new fashion-y things.
Hence the skinny jeans.
How about you? What have you been wearing lately?
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