While We Were Out

Do you remember when Scott and I went to New York City last month? (Every time I type NYC or say it I immediately see the Pace Picante commercial in my brain with the cowboys exclaiming NEW YORK CITY? followed by, "Get a rope." Do y'all know what I'm talking about?)

Do you remember how I blogged obnoxiously extensively about our adventures in an effort to make the experiences *live on*? (By the way, in case you missed them you can still catch up with Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and last, but not least Part 5.)

Well, somehow I neglected to blog about the trip from Annelise's point of view. I know, the shame. Now that the end of March is crushing down upon me I feel bugged to finally document this so I can tie it all up with a pretty bow and call NYC 2011 done. (Wait! I still need to print out pictures and scrapbook it all too. Um...better not hold your breath on that.)
We were so grateful for her to be able to stay with my dad and Peggy while we were gone. It was our first time to be away (and that far away) from her so needless to say there were a few tears at our departure. They ferried her to school and such, took her to their *senior* game night, to see the Justin Bieber movie, church and the dollar store, and gave her their undivided attention at all points in between, so she hardly missed us. Smirk.

Along with phone calls we set up a free texting app (the one Scott and I also use, Text Free) on my dad's iPhone so we could text Annelise and she could text us back, of course (which she was SO into, what 7 year-old isn't?). We both texted her off and on each day and usually sent photos of some of the sights we saw.
We also came home with a few souvenirs for her (like the I Heart NY t-shirt and little messenger bag above), the biggest one being a new addition to our family. Sort of.
Remember when I said I went a little crazy in the American Girl store? It's true, I did. I still don't know what came over me. That said, meet Kit:
I have a soft spot for Kit Kittredge, I just love her spunkiness, creativity, and the Great Depression, so it was not hard at all for her and a few of her accessories (along with one outfit for Carly, A.'s just-like-me AG, because we couldn't let her feel left out) to find their way into our suitcase and make the long journey from NYC to TX.

And she made a certain seven year old quite happy.

And that, my friends, wraps up our NYC adventures for good.

I think.


It's Not Easy Being Green

Don't let the looks of this frighten you, remember looks can be deceiving.
That, my friends, is a spinach smoothie, of which I have become quite a fan.

As in almost daily.

As in making emergency runs to HEB for spinach instead of Double Stuff Golden Oreos and Ben & Jerry's.

Which is probably a good thing on so many levels.

Here's how I usually whip up a batch of yummy green goodness:

*Pour 8oz. plain almond milk into blender
*stuff in a few handfuls of spinach
*blend until smooth (be patient, it might take a minute unless you have a supersonic mega blender)
*assess level of green and possibly add a bit more spinach, blend
*add banana, fresh pineapple and 2T ground flaxseed
*blend again until smooth

You can add any fruit you like (fresh or frozen). Smoothies are great for using up any bruised or almost too ripe fruit, instead of tossing it, blend it up into a healthy drink.

I realized I've now been vegetarian(ish) for three months and really couldn't imagine going back to the way I was eating. I mean, it could happen if I get lazy and stop making good choices, but I don't plan on going back. Am I a perfect vegetarian(ish)? Um...NO, not at all. But overall I've made some big changes in my food choices and habits and that's what counts. I still eat a LOT of salads and a LOT of fresh fruit, but have also struggled with bad nibbles too. Have y'all noticed all the pretty Easter candy on sale? Yeah. Why can't I just be Dione Warwick and walk on by?After eating *cleaner* for a while I'm much more quick to notice an ICK feeling after eating junk/fast food or refined sugar/sweets, as in I feel sluggish, more irritable or get a headache.

Clearly it's true why they call it junk food. Duh.

This week I am trying to add in more some exercise (because while I made food changes I certainly didn't add in consistent exercise these last 3 months). I am curious to see how I feel, as in will I be hungrier and what will I choose to satisfy an increased hunger. We shall see. I also want to shake things up a bit since my body has probably gotten used to what I've been eating and I may have hit a plateau as far as weight loss goes.

I'll keep you posted.


Picture Day: Or Fins, Fishnet Gloves and Stage Make-Up

Scurrying off to dance class right after school each Monday is always an adventure, not only in time management (a skill in which I'm sorely lacking), 20 MPH school zone navigation, snack distribution and overseeing quick-fire wardrobe changes in the back seat all while keeping my cheery disposition. Ahem.

And that's just on regular dance days.

Imagine picture day.

I never thought I'd hear myself utter, "Pick up your fins and hustle!" between my clenched teeth, but I did yesterday as we speed walked toward the studio, juggling a tote bag, jazz costume, purse, dance bag and camera while also holding my mermaid's hand as we crossed the street.
The second act of the recital this year will be the play Peter Pan and Annelise's class will be dancing a ballet routine, well...as mermaids. In sparkly fin-pants and a faux bikini top jumpsuit no less.
Her second dance number will be a jazz routine to "Hit Me With Your Best Shot".
Which she was highly excited to perform.
But I don't think her hat was supposed to be that far to the right. Oops.
But can I just get something off my chest?

What was up with all the young girls sporting full-on, stage performance worthy make-up for picture day? Annelise's class has girls in mostly first and second grades and several of them had on more make up than I ever wear. I mean, I don't think a seven or eight year old really needs smoky eyes.

I found it highly creepy.
Annelise was just thrilled to get to wear sparkly pink lip gloss.

Which made me feel much better.


Weekend Glimpses

Our weekend started early when the school called Friday morning with the news that Annelise was running a fever.
Thank goodness for PJs, children & family movies on streaming Netflix, medicine and the novelty of eating her packed lunch on a TV tray.
Did you know that if you go to a banjo & fiddle concert you might come home with blinky teeth? They're highly creepy but of course Annelise loves them.
And? This weekend? She perfected the underarm *noise* (you know the one) followed by collapsing into a heap of hysterical giggles. We are so proud.

Baked a batch of these yummy (and oh so easy) blondies. Try them. Soon. You Must.

(Did I just morph into Yoda?)
Scott did another version of The Never Ending Weekend Yard Work and he and my dad got our teensy weensy garden ready to be planted (no photos yet).

Can you guess what we did Saturday evening?
At first Annelise didn't want to play, since it was our first time and she wasn't in the mood to try new things I guess.
Annelise was the car (Speed Racer), Scott was...wait for it...the Scotty dog and I was the old boot. I know.
Once she got into the groove, meaning she started making money, buying property and hotels, she did not want the game to end. Like ever. I guess when you are seven you do a lot of 180s. We left our game in situ, she's probably winning, Scott is in second and I'm almost bankrupt. So maybe the old boot is appropriate after all.
After church and lunch today Scott found more Never Ending Yard Work to fiddle with, Annelise played outside (today it was *golf* and biking) and I finished my latest book, The Widower's Tale by Julia Glass, which was quite enjoyable.
How was your weekend?


Five for Friday

Since it's Friday me thinks it's time for another short list. Join me won't you?

1. I said I wasn't going to get sucked into American Idol this season, having broken up with it several seasons ago. It was dead to me. But then JLo and Steven Tyler are announced as judges and they actually have constructive and quirky things to say and I get to see how Steven and JLo do their hair, outfits and make-up each week? Count me in, sign me up, pass the cheeseball with extra nuts, I am so there.

I think America in all it's collective voting wisdom (sarcasm implied) got it oh so wrong this week, but at least the judges stepped up and saved Casey (as if they wouldn't?!?!).

2. Last night after supper we tried to play Apples to Apples (Junior).
I say tried because while it seems like a very fun game it might be better suited to a crowd larger than say, oh...three.
Annelise loved it because she ended up convincing The Judge twice so she ended up with two cards to my one and to Scott's none. So there's that.

3. Is it wrong to say I am dreading Mother-Daughter tap class tonight, donning the ridunkulous costume next week for pictures and that there is a pit of extra dread in my stomach about trying to tap dance on stage in front of you know, actual people, in 1.5 months? The teensy tiny good news is that now we are practicing with our daughters, Miss Jane is breaking everything down into more manageable sections each week to learn so it's slightly less blur like. We're even going to the extra practice session before the real class tonight because, well, there's no way to soften the brutal truth...I stink.

4. This time last month we were in New York. Sigh. Thinking about it makes me happy and a bit wistful at the same time because I'd love to go back, like in the blink of a heartbeat. And yes, it's fun to make up new phrases, why do you ask?

5. Finally, Annelise and I have been be-bopping, clapping and na-na-ing ourselves silly thanks to this fun song. The video is quirky and rather random, in other words perfect. Enjoy!

Happy, happy weekend friends!


To Lie or Not to Lie

"Mama, does my eye look red? At lunch some cleaner got sprayed in it," was the question posed by my anxious, yet still exuberant daughter when I picked her up from art after school yesterday. Using my mad on-the-spot Dr. Mom skills I told her it was a little red, dabbed a bit of gunk (eww!) from it with a scrap of kleenex from the depths of my purse and told her we'd flush it out with water when we got home.

After much water splashing, dabbing and more talk about how it happened and how her eye felt (basically fine) she disappeared upstairs to change clothes. A short while later a sobbing mess descended our stairs with wails of confession about how she'd lied about cleaner being sprayed in her eye at lunch, truth be told she was the culprit when she was tempted by a can of air freshener in the restroom and accidentally sprayed herself. Then, for some odd reason (or perhaps because she's seven) she decided to lie because she was worried I'd be mad at her.

It actually took some effort to decipher all of this through her gut-wrenching sobs.

Her confession was followed by many hugs, wiping away her tender tears, reminders about how she should always tell the truth first and assurances of forgiveness and love.

Once I processed everything I pondered: 1.) Have I freaked out over things one too many times to cause her to feel the need to lie? I don't think so, but...well...maybe a little because not only am I human, I am a woman and a mom; b.) Is her lying becoming a pattern and if so, WHAT do I do? Or is this normal growing-up stuff, testing things out and so forth and not a reflection of her developing character? (but let's not forget the spelling test incident last fall); and 3.) At least her guilty conscience kicked in quickly and she couldn't bear the burden of her lie for longer than 20 minutes.

I don't have answers to my questions and am not quite sure what to do.

(But don't tell her that.)



What I Wore Wednesday (Vol. 14)

Hey there y'all! I missed last week's WIWW due to spring break (re: general sloth like behavior around here = very few presentable outfits), so this edition covers 1.5 weeks (but don't fret, it's still fairly short and sweet).
Peach polka dot tank & navy cardigan: old navy; denim skirt: downeast basics; silver flats & necklace: target; bracelets: sam moon.grey boyfriend cardigan: target; yellow striped ruffle top: stein mart; boyfriend jeans: lucky; clark mary janes: dillard's.
dress: downeast basics; cardigan: target; red flats: payless; necklace: sam moon; bracelet: kohl's.black ruffle polo & burgundy tank: target; olive boyfriend khakis: old navy

also pictured: trusty, no-nonsense Comet: because I needed to clean the bathroom sinks (and mirrors, but not with Comet) & blur in lower right corner: sweet but nosy seven year old daughter popped in to see what I was doing.

And? Did you notice my Charlie Brown Christmas tree of a ponytail? (I know you can't really see it, but imagine its existence) I haven't worn a ponytail in over four years! Even though it's not much, it's progress and proof my hair is ever-so-slowly growing.
top: downeast basics; jeans: lucky; zebra flats: target; necklace: sam moon (I also added a few chunky pearl bracelets later).

And this is what I tossed on to run to HEB after taking Annelise to school:
grey boyfriend cardigan: target; white flower & grey tank: old navy; skinny jeans (rolled): banana republic; grey Chucks (um...LOVE them): dillard's

Be sure to pop over to The Pleated Poppy to see more WIWW goodness.

Happy Wednesday y'all!


Tuesday: A Short List

1. Thanks y'all so much for your thoughtful and supportive comments on yesterday's post. I almost didn't hit publish on that one since I was worried how it might be perceived (complain-y or pity partyesque), yet it did convey some feelings that have been stewing over the last week or so. I try not to wallow on those mixed emotions but truth be told, they do raise their pointy little heads from time to time, so thank you for listening and for sharing your thoughts.

2. With the time change and mostly lazy, slow-to-get-moving mornings due to Spring Break last week Annelise and I are struggling with re-entry to our regular school morning routine. You know, the whole getting up thing. Maybe tomorrow will be better?

3. Did y'all watch the return of DWTS last night? Or am I the only one who likes the cheese, the glitter and the spray tan? (I know, I need to get a life, but Scott and I enjoy it and we like to poke fun at them too.) Was it just me or did y'all not know any contestants other than Kirstie Alley and Sugar Ray Leonard? Oh, and a 49 year old Ralph Macchio with a highly disturbing comb-over (rug?). It's strange to see him all grown up. And dancing. But the boy's got some moves. I was also highly surprised how well (and fast) Kirstie Alley could dance--she kept up with Max really well (I love him, by the way) and I might just be rooting for her 60 year-old self. And? Not really a surprise, but could the former Pboy girl be any Capital T-Trashier? I think not.

4. I bought a pair of Chuck Taylors today and am beside myself with glee. (I know, get a life, again. And hurry.)

5. What better way to wrap up this random post than with this?
Life is silly.
And oh so fun.
Especially if you are seven.
Or even 42.


But on the Other Hand

On one hand I enjoy baby showers. Whether it's the blessing of a first baby or the celebration of the arrival of a sibling, baby showers are an opportunity to rejoice with friends over their much anticipated precious bundle of joy.

But on the other hand, baby showers hurt. To ooh and ahh over the cute little clothes, to watch the assortment of baby themed paraphernalia being opened with such happiness carries its own sting. A jolt of emptiness, a wave of longing, a feeling of exclusion from the birth experience all wash over me as I nod and smile at the darling onesie that is held up for all to see.

On one hand I want to share in the the expectant mom's joy.

But on the other hand I feel jealousy, sadness and confusion. Along with a hefty dose of guilt over my dark emotions.

On one hand I feel I should want to go to baby showers. I should put on a brave face, rise above my feelings (re: it's not about me) and go.

But on the other hand that rarely happens.

On one hand I wish Annelise could be a big sister someday. When people who don't know our story glibly tell us to have another one (or go get another one) I smile and make some inane reply while inwardly seething or crumbling depending on the day.

But on the other hand having only one child has its own benefits.

On one hand being an adoptive mother fills a basic need within me.

But on the other hand, the barren one, I feel damaged, unworthy and incomplete.

On one hand I am an adoptive mother.

But on the other hand I grasp my seven year old daughter's hand and look at her in a mix of love and sudden loss for words when she announces over lunch today that her first real mom is in Russia and I am her second real mom.

Clearly, my hands are full.


Of Cereal and Art (Or it's late and I can't think of a clever title to save my life)

If you've been a faithful reader of my li'l ol' blog for a while (and by the way thanks ever so much, muah) you know that we go all out for St. Patrick's day around here. If you are new to my blog, prepare yourselves, you might not be able to handle this much celebration all in one sitting.

Are you ready? Okay...here we go...
Annelise got to eat Lucky Charms cereal this morning.

In a chartreuse Fiesta bowl no less.

And there you have it.

Don't feel bad, I like to set the bar pretty high.

In other news, Annelise and I decided to embrace our artistic side with a trip downtown to the art museum today. Would you be surprised if I told you that at 42 years old, and living in the Houston area all my life, today was the first day I'd ever darkened the door of the Museum of Fine Arts? It's oh so sad and oh so true. I think our recent visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art sparked an interest in art within me that I didn't know I had (sad and true, again).

When I saw that several paintings from the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C are currently on exhibit here I knew it was something I didn't want to miss and I wanted to share it with Annelise.

But how do you sell a visit to an art museum in the middle of Spring Break to a seven year old, especially when Peggy's grandsons are visiting and there are balls to bounce, trees to climb, creeks to explore and tag to play?

You call it a mother-daughter date, promise a yummy lunch and to be home by 2:00.

Annelise and I wandered around a bit first, pausing for a self portrait in this cool light tunnel.
But it's never fun to wait in line, especially when you are seven and there are no rollercoaster or water rides as a reward for your patience.
Thankfully we didn't have to wait too long before our turn to enter the galleries.
I couldn't take photos inside these galleries, so you'll just have to imagine all of the beautiful Manets, Monets, Degases, Renoirs, Van Goghs, Cassats, Seurats, Cezannes, etc.

These galleries were the most crowded but Annelise was a trooper. She liked the paintings of children and dogs the best, lingering at those a bit longer than landscapes or still life.

After viewing the impressionist masters we explored the other European galleries where we soon found the nice volunteers who handed out free sketching materials. Annelise was SO excited and immediately knew what she wanted to sketch.She said she chose this bird because it was almost a flamingo and wanted to draw it for me. Isn't that so sweet?
I've never *gotten* abstract or more modern art, but I did enjoy trying to *get* it. I really liked this Kadinsky (and Annelise liked the fact he was Russian).
This later Monet...
and even this Picasso. I think.
I even liked the Pollack's and de Koonig's too (but I couldn't take photos in those galleries).

It took me quite a while to decide which work I would try to sketch, finally deciding on the third time walking by to try my hand at The Corn Poppy.
I don't know why, but I just loved her. A lot.

Don't laugh or anything but here's my sketch.
It was actually quite fun to do although I felt awkward having others walk by, possibly peeking over my shoulder as I self-consciously sketched.

I think I should probably keep my day job.

(Wait a minute, I don't have one.)

All in all we had a delightful mother-daughter date and hopefully absorbed a bit of culture along with a snippet or two of art appreciation.


Sk8tr Grrl

Thanks to the generosity of an older neighbor girl Annelise is now the proud owner of her very own gently used skateboard.

Or perhaps it's sk8tbrd?

We're not really down with the sk8tr lingo. And I only know sk8tr because our local sk8t place changed its name to FunSk8t a few years back in what I can only imagine was an effort to attract the hip sk8tr crowd.

(Is there even a hip sk8tr crowd?)

Or maybe they just forgot how to use vowels properly.


Since we are knee deep into the middle of Spring Break this new-to-her toy was a welcome sight. Of course she immediately declared she knew everything there is to know about sk8tng and thought she was hot stuff rolling up and down our driveway.
Her favorite thing to do is pop it up with her foot eleventy thousand times in a row, because that's cool. Or awesome. I forget.
Shh...don't tell anyone but there is a picture of Barbie on the bottom of her new sk8tbrd.

Or is it Brb?

Most of the time as she sk8td by she acted like she was too cool to smile. See?
But I was patient and knew one would eventually break free.
'Cuz sk8tr grls r nvr 2 cool 2 :).


12 on the 12th {march}

01. Did you know jumping rope is the best way to start your Saturday? Well, Annelise certainly thought so.
02. Look! Our car is clean again! Woo to the hoo! (And thanks to Scott and Annelise for taking it to the magic car place this morning.)
03. I enjoyed a little coffee and book time while they were gone.
04. Time to turn this stack of flannel and chenille into something cute (I hope!)
05. Sew, mama, sew...
06. My dad called and told me to look out the back to see Annelise driving the tractor (she had gone over to Pappo & Grandma's house earlier today). It's hard to see in the photo, but she was driving his tractor with a vacuum attachment to pick up leaves on their back property and having the time of her life, I'm sure.
07. Lunch time: my big salad and some 30Rock on Netflix.
08. My finished sewing project: burp cloths for a baby shower later today (nothing like doing things ahead of time, eh?)
09. Finally got myself showered up and ready for the baby shower.
10. Annelise's day at her grandparent's house turned into a sleepover so she came home for a bit to pack her bag.
11. Shh...don't tell anyone, but this is waiting for me in the freezer. (Butterfinger and M&M is my go-to flavor, what's yours?)
12. Grrr....we lose an hour of sleep tonight for ridunkulous daylight savings time. I'm not sure why or how, but this one small change can throw off my circadian rhythms for the next several days or even a week.

There you have it, 12 snippets from our 12th. What did your 12th look like?

Be sure to visit Amy's blog to see more 12 on the 12th posts.


Broncs, Bull Rides and Tweenyboppers...Oh My

We reached a milestone over the weekend.

Our sweet little seven year old attended her very first concert.

The fact that there was a rodeo attached to it barely softens this blow.

I think I thought I was ready for this milestone, but as it turns out I have mixed feelings.

(Really, are you surprised?)

Annelise of course was tickled pink to the very tip of her pink cowboy boots to get to see Selena Gomez live in person and the rodeo was just a means to that end (but she was excited about that too).
Once we parked (which in and of itself was a challenge) she was beyond ready to move along little doggies and get inside, having no patience to pose for pictures in the bright sunshine.
Even though we sat up in the rafters of Reliant Stadium and most of the rodeo action resembled teeny cowboy hat bedecked ants unless we watched the Jumbotron screens, we enjoyed the events, especially the bronc riding, bull riding and barrel racing. The calf scramble was fun too and for some reason Jimmy Fallon and his sidekick were there in the midst of it too, so watch for that on his upcoming shows soon. Annelise's favorite event was at the end when they had a mutton bustin', which involved several helmeted youngsters (5 & 6 year olds?) trying to*ride* sheep for 8 seconds (much like the bull riding but much cuter and safer).
She also loved the popcorn.
Finally, after all the Ro-De-O-ing, came the highlight of the day (at least for Annelise and thousands of other pre-tweeny girls filling the stadium).

Enter Selena Gomez and cue the pop music.
Honestly, I don't know a whole lot about Selena but I've listened to a few of her songs and--so far--she presents a bubbly, cute and fairly squeaky clean image. Annelise L-O-V-E-D her in the Ramona & Beezus movie (but doesn't watch her TV show) but it wasn't until another little girl in her class started obsessing about Justin Bieber and Selena that Annelise jumped on the SG bandwagon. And of course she's over the moon about Justin too.

And Scott and I caved.

But we won't make things like this a habit because I'm just not ready for her to enter Tweenybopperville.

But Selena put on a cute show, there wasn't anything that made us cringe or anything except when she dedicated a song to all the moms and dads and broke out in Pat Benatar's Love is a Battlefield.

Scott and I felt so old.
It made me feel good though to see Annelise in the midst of all the concert action and random little girls (and their moms) dancing in the aisles like this...
boots up, elbows on knees (or crossed in front of her) just listening to the music and keeping her eyes glued on Selena.

Not quite aware of Tweenybopperville.

Just the way I like it.
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