1.27.2014

miscellany monday

a few randoms of late…

the girls and i are starting a new bible study. 

i'm sorry to admit that we abandoned mercy triumphs: a study of james, by beth moore after letting it drag on just this side of forever. we only had two lessons left, but had pretty much lost our mojo. no offense to james.

hangs head in shame.

but sometimes you just need a fresh start, you know?
we decided to try one of priscilla shirer's studies and it is proving to be quite thought provoking so far.

(one week in.)
sonic selfie.

you know how it is.
what is your position on heavily distressed jeans?

i guess people either love them or hate them.

i, of course, love them to pieces.

(hee, hee… see what i did there?)

this is my most distressed pair.

and it's my favorite.

but then i wore them to church last week (wednesday night) and wondered if maybe i was being disrespectful with all my ripped-ness. 

i still think they're cute.

i may or may not have worn them four days in a row last week.

shut it.

this happened thursday night:
we all loved it!

a perfect blend of laughter, memories, tears and bigger than life personalities.

now i want to learn more about p.l. travers' life and read her mary poppins books.

we tried to take a selfie in the sleet as we left the theater.

then the ice-pocolypse hit later that night which led to chaos on our houston freeways friday morning.

we don't do ice.

or snow.

yet we think we can.

big mistake.

thankfully scott was able to work from home and avoided the icy overpasses and such.

annelise had late arrival two hours later than normal, which made for a bit of a sleep-in but not much and actually threw our morning routine off. we thought we had all this extra time and then still found ourselves rushing around like crazy to not be late at 9:50.

friday evening called for cozy comfort food in the form of taco soup and catching up with american idol on the dvr.

sidenote: we broke up with idol last season because of all the weirdness and drama but now all is right with the world because j lo is back, keith urban is a dreamy doll with incredible hair and my guy harry, well, is totes ma goats.
is it just me or are y'all in love with harry connick jr. too?

i've always, always loved him, both his music and his acting (hope floats, anyone?) (but not creepy guy harry in copycat), and just his general cool guy style, but now i love him even more as a judge on american idol.

he's got just the right amount of wry humor and straight-shooting music advice.

love. him.

what's some of your miscellany of late?

1.22.2014

{Insert Witty Title Here}

Somehow almost an entire week passed between blog posts.

It's very unlike me, I know.

Last week shall forever be remembered as The Saga of Annelise's Twisted Ankle: A Drama in Five Acts.
(Even girls with a sore ankle must study their Texas history.)

In a nutshell, she turned her ankle running up the back steps last Sunday afternoon. We iced it, elevated it, Motrined her and sat vigil. As you do. It was a little bruised but barely swollen the next morning so off to school she went, without the crutches she relentlessly begged for. 

Every day she negotiated going to the doctor for x-rays because she's never had them and thought they sounded fun. 

By Tuesday her ankle was not swollen or bruised but she continued to hop and lurch around for emphasis and sympathy until Friday when it became clear to her we were not going to the doctor after all.

She then confessed how running in PE (even though she had a written excuse) must have loosened everything up and she declared herself healed.

In other news, I've been cooking more and we've been eating almost all meals at home, except for the obligatory Tex-Mex excursion and lunch out after church (italian) over the weekend. I know that in most homes this would not be worthy of notice because it would be the norm, but that hasn't been our norm for, well, far too long. We had gotten in the habit of eating out or getting take-out way too often so it's been great getting back to more home cooked meals, not only for saving money but time. Scott's been happy about taking leftovers for lunch the next day which saves him money and clears them out faster so they're not left forgotten to slowly decay in the fridge.

I've been a fan of soups lately because they usually only dirty up one pot. Last week I made Edie's broccoli cheese soup, which I thought was perfectly delicious and not just because I got carpal tunnel grating a whole mess of cheese for it. Scott and Annelise were only so-so about it, maybe because it's a creamier type soup without meat. I did add half a bag of frozen shredded hash browns to make give it a bit more oomph. Yesterday, I made this Skinny Crockpot Tortellini Soup, except I didn't use my crockpot, used full fat cream cheese because that's what I had and that's what tastes better, so it's not really skinny soup. I also added fresh sliced mushrooms and San Marzano style tomatoes. All three of us gave it our three spoons up approval!
Coffee and nail polish.

Two of my favorite things.

This one is called Cashmere Bathrobe, a grey with shimmery specks.
I seem to be in the midst of a chocolate chip cookie baking spree.

Every couple of days or once the we realize the jar is empty, whichever comes first.

I'm only slightly embarrassed to admit that.

Currently, my go to recipe is the Toll-House bag classic, with milk chocolate chips, using only 1/2 cup sugar and adding vanilla instant pudding when you cream the butter and sugars and then adding 2/3 cup oatmeal with the dry ingredients.

And if you listen to Johnny Cash while baking, that's even better. 

(It was time for Annelise to be indoctrinated in classic country.)

(Although I am also a fan of his late in life American Recordings IV, namely The Man Comes Around and Hurt.)

Here's my Johnny & Friends playlist, if you're interested.


My girl and her BB gun.

What can I say?

Finally, this has got my creep-o-meter revved up.
In a good way, as only Stephen King can.

This is a follow-up to The Shining, which, you know, is one of his classic creepies.

Happy Wednesday, y'all!

1.16.2014

United

Since the new year is the time for fresh starts and renewed commitments it has been the perfect time for Scott and I to take a marriage class through our church.

Okay, truth, any time you decide to work on improving your relationship is the perfect time, not just the new year.

The class will meet for eight weeks and we are starting our third week. There's also homework that we do independently and together.
Now, just like the first rule of Fight Club, you don't talk about Fight Club, meaning I'm not going to be blogging about the class in specifics, but I might share my personal perspectives from time to time.

Scott and I took another marriage class based on Love Busters and His Needs, Her Needs somewhere in the ballpark of ten or twelve years ago, which was not only wonderful, it helped strengthen and grow our relationship on so many levels. Of course that was before Annelise and ten or twelve more years of marriage and life in general.

Somewhere along the way a general marital malaise set in.

And now the time has come for us to shake it off.

So I (we) am (are) quite excited and I  (we) am (are) enjoying the class so far.

We are talking more about more important things than we have in years.

We're both more aware of what we say and how we say it to the other (you know, like (my) facial expressions and body language, and general sighing and emoting).

We're really trying to listen to the other person without distractions and without interrupting (huge).

We are praying together.  What? Well, at least we're trying. To tell the truth, it's crazy awkward right now, but I'm sure it will get better. (We pray before meals and occasionally together as a family but Scott and I are more used to praying alone.)

Our home is calmer.

Happier.

NOT perfect.

But better.

1.15.2014

My Word for 2014

Well, I did it.

I chose my one little word for 2014.

It's not something I do every year, in fact I've only chosen one once before. Don't get me wrong, I love the idea, I just always over complicate the matter by over thinking things to death and then it's the summer and I realize I never picked a word so I give up until next year so I can start the whole process anew.

But not this year, baby.

I didn't stew and hem and haw and second guess and wish and wash.

It's like my word chose me.

(Is that New Age-y or what?)

But whatever.

Drum roll please…
Yep. That's my word. Open.

Once I started swirling possible words around in the soup of my brain I kept coming back to open.

Have I told you that I am a major introvert? Or have you pieced that together on your own?

While I am quite comfortable in my introverted tendencies I realize that in some areas of my life I may have crossed over to the extreme and I've become rather closed off in physical, emotional and sadly, even in spiritual ways.

Enter my word.

Open.

Let's see what happens in 2014.

1.13.2014

miscellany monday

a few random happenings of late…

annelise balked a little, because she's ten and that's her job, but finally sat down to write her thank you notes for christmas. there may have been a little coercion involving hot chocolate, but whatever. maybe one day this will come more naturally to her but right now expressing written gratitude seems to be a chore. and speaking of written gratitude or hand written anything, i used to be much better at sending notes fairly regularly but fell hard off the wagon a couple of years ago and now it's a rarity, which makes me both sad and mad at myself.

sidenote: annelise and i have this thing whenever we talk about feeling sad or mad or bad we sing a few lines of larry the cucumber's i love my lips (veggie tales) song. you should try it, instant mood lifter.

so here's to 2014 being the return of the handwritten note!
i'm much more willing to grocery shop in the mornings after taking annelise to school because the store is much less crowded (i've also had to switch to kroger from heb which annoys me but not so much as to drive farther). 
i was so proud of myself last week for getting actual food to cook (yes, i know, hush) and then i got home and realized i had forgotten the yeast. of course.
i made edie's cheeseburger in paradise soup last week and it was double d, dee-lish. annelsie was skeptical at first, because she's ten and that's her job, about the kale and gruyere cheese (she's a stalwart colby jack girl) but ended up liking it a lot, as did scott. of course, the side of fritos probably didn't hurt.
sock buns are probably so 2010 and all, and i am in no way a ballerina, but i'm lazy and my hair is finally long enough for me to wear them so…i am. i've been trying a messy bun/top knot with just a hair band and bobby pins but there's just something about the sock that gives your bun more shape and you know, pouf. pouf is important, at least here in texas.

it got all cinnamon roll-y up in the house friday night, yo'.
i made a batch of the pioneer woman's cinnamon rolls (and by batch i mean truckload, her recipe makes a ton) for our first mugs and muffins of 2014 ( a monthly devotional for the ladies at church), which was saturday morning.

those rolls are dangerous (for your hips) but double d, dee-lish just the same.
since it was the first mugs of the new year and kristy and kim were talking about forgiveness, this verse from isaiah seemed apropos.

we kept the decorations very simple with just burlap, cake stands for the food, this ribbon plate with a scripture and my changeable subway art frame with new year sayings. simple is always good!
both kristy and kim's messages were so encouraging and each had very important reminders from god's word about forgiveness. it was a wonderful morning!

that's enough of my miscellany for now.

what's some of yours? do tell.

1.08.2014

All of the New

Over the weekend we packed away Christmas.

As you do.

We didn't have a lot out to begin with so thankfully this task wasn't too daunting.

Good bye Frasier Fir 2013, you were a good little tree.
It makes me a little sad to see him lying beside the road waiting for the trash.

Sniff.

But not so sad to leave Christmas up for one hot minute longer.

After the clearing, in a flurry of fed-up-ness, I declared we must rearrange the family room furniture.

Because of the layout of our room we don't have a ton of options, so we threw it back to the set-up a few years ago with the couch facing the TV armoire and the chairs on either end (we previously had the couch to the side, not that you care but I feel the need to explain).

It feels new, even though technically it's not, and therefore I am satisfied. It also feels a tad cozier. So there's that.
Annelise spent the last afternoon of her holiday break jumping her heart out on the trampoline. I think all the recent New Year's Eve trampoline shenanigans inspired her. She's obsessed with doing flips, which scares me, but keep my fingers crossed she lands right. She's also talking about wanting to join a tumbling gym, which sounds fun but also slightly scary. I don't know if we're up to adding one more thing a week either, but maybe.

Monday morning was a rude awakening after the general sloth like state of our holiday break.

For both of us.

Annelise was excited though to see her friends and even more excited to get to use her new Vera Bradley backpack (Cocoa Moss pattern) and lunch kit (Lola pattern) that she got for Christmas. We weren't going to get her a new backpack mid-year since her plain old plaid one was still perfectly fine, but then I got an email of a local shop offering 20% off so, in a nutshell, we caved. 

She's had a good return to school so far, you know, for the whole two days, and seems to be getting back into the swing of things, as am I.

I'm thankful for the return of routine.
There's also something refreshing (yet intimidating) about the start of a new year, shaking off the sludge from the old and starting things over. 

I decided it was the perfect time to revisit my sorely neglected 10 year journal. And when I say sorely neglected, I mean most of the daily five lines for 2013 were left empty due to my own apathy. Even though I blogged regularly I missed journal writing, even just five lines a day. So here's to no more, or at least very limited, blank spaces in 2014.

I also started reading The Daily Walk Bible, which I've had for a few years, and have barely used. Of course. There are usually two or three chapters to read a day along with a bit of commentary or devotional type thoughts. I think it will be a good way to have some daily quiet time and get the entire bible read throughout the year. Or at least try to.

In other news, I've finally gotten back to the morning green juice, daily Shakeology and my workouts, which after a two week break filled with very little self-control when it came to sweets and junk is a MUCH needed thing.
I'm doing Shaun T's Focus T25 (again) because the workouts are challenging yet only 25 minutes. After two days (Cardio & Speed) my calves are so sore but I'm determined to stick with it and get my third workout (Total Body Circuit) done later today.

Here's to getting past the first week!*

(I'll keep y'all posted.)

*I've started T25 several times and always fall off the wagon around day 3 because Total Body Circuit is from the devil or never make it past the first week and go back to TurboFire. I'm fickle that way.

1.02.2014

Ringy, Ding, Ding for 2014

First of all, we are not New Year's Eve party people. Given my druthers I'd choose to be in my pjs (big surprise) at home. However my people would choose to be social, so whatever.

The Flamingos and their respective offspring and spouses had so much fun ringing in 2013 together last year at Pat and Robyn's house, we decided a repeat performance was in order to welcome in twenty-fourteen.

I even wore sequins. What?
I think we had every form and state of cheese available, which is important.
But hey, there were some veggies for balance.
The kids occupied themselves for hours upon hours with trampoline jumping, hide and seek, Wizard of Oz viewing while the moms chatted and laughed for hours and the menfolk could be found gathered around a few iPhones intensely watching the A&M football game on ESPN.
Sparklers were lit a little early because a few of the littles were getting sleepy.
We watched the ball drop in NYC then broke out the party hats, noise makers and party poppers a little later on Central Standard time.
We finished up the night (morning?) with Catch Phrase and more laughter before scooping up the sleeping kids (actually Annelise, Kamri and Kaci (though she had a mid evening nap) were the only kids still standing) and heading home a little after 3:00 a to the m.

What?

Of course I had shouted from the rooftops to my people that we were NOT staying late and no way no how were were going to top last year's record (2:30ish) because last year had ruined me the next day.

Of course I had to eat crow.

Annelise slept until 2:00ish on New Year's Day (what?) and was still feeling sluggish later.

My dad and Peggy invited us over for football viewing and a late lunch of yummy black eyed peas, cabbage and so forth which was a treat for sure.
Here's to plenty of good luck and wealth for 2014!

(Either way, I love black eyed peas.)

Happy New Year, y'all!

1.01.2014

2013: A Quick Look in the Rear View Mirror

I don't always do these reflections in my rear view mirror type posts. I've done them in the past (I blew the dust off my bloggy archives and found my first, only only year in review Q&A)  but I've skipped them these past few years. Not that I don't ever feel reflective, I do, but I am usually too lazy to document said reflections.

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before? We went to Boston in July.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I didn't make any official resolutions or goals except for the ones that always seem to carry over by default every year  like be better, be more disciplined, lose weight, blah, blah, diggitty, blah.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Nope.

4. Did anyone close to you die? Nope.

5. What countries did you visit? No international travel this year. Pity.

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013? Contentment with what I have (this is one of those carry over things from year to year). And more self-control (in lots of areas).

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? Our vacation in July to Boston and Maine and then our trip to New York City in September, spending time with family and exploring together.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? This isn't huge but over the summer I participated in a few monthly running challenges through Instagram to run/walk a certain number of miles each month. I think I only reached my goal one month but working toward a goal each month kept me focused.

9. What was your biggest failure? Not a specific or huge failure but I wish I stayed more consistent with my exercise and healthier lifestyle, I tend to fall off the wagon and then struggle to hop back on.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Thankfully no.

11. What was the best thing you bought? My Clarisonic Mia.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Hmmnot sure.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Certain celebrities. The media.

14. Where did most of your money go? Clothes/shoes/make-up and travel.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Going to NYC for Annelise's tenth birthday in September. Our girls' getaway in September and seeing Mumford and Sons live in September. Yes, September was my favorite month.

16. What song will always remind you of 2013? Why did Blurred Lines immediately pop in my head. Ugh.  But I can't lie, it's catchy.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? 
b) thinner or fatter? 
c) richer or poorer? Hmmmarginally happier, about the same for the last two.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Organizing/De-Cluttering and Project Life (sigh). Sending handwritten notes. Being more intentional. Sharing more random acts of kindness. You know, the usual.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Casual spending. And time wasted online/television.

20. Did you fall in love in 2013? No.

21. What was your favorite TV program? I love the twists and turns and general soap opera-y-ness of Scandal. Please don't hate. I'm also attached to The Walking Dead (yes, I'm one of those people), Parenthood, Mad Men and I hated to see Breaking Bad end but am at peace with Walter White's last hurrah.

22. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? No. Plus hate sounds really harsh. But I still strongly dislike a few.

23. What was the best book you read? No huge life altering, standout favorite this year but I loved discovering JoJo Moyes' books The Girl You Left Behind and Me Before You; Where Did You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple and Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris were both laugh out loud funny while making you think too; Life After Life by Kate Atkinson was the most unusual style of story and Donald Miller's A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life and Quiet by Susan Cain were the best non-fiction books I read.

24. What was your greatest musical discovery? How going to an outdoor concert with a majority of hipsters can either make you feel cool and hip just like them or the oldest fuddy duddies. Either way, I LOVED getting to see Mumford and Sons perform live in September. 

25. What did you want and get? A new iPhone5s. 

26. What did you want and not get? To get rid of my muffin top (although there were moments--a few--when it was less pronounced).

27. What was your favorite film of this year? It's really sad to have seen several movies, which I'm sure I did, and not be able to have a solid standout favorite. Maybe Frozen?

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 45 (gasp!). Scott and I went to see Catching Fire then to Annelise's school for their Grandparents' Day program with my dad and Peggy finishing up with linner at The Cheesecake Factory.

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Just one? Really? I have no idea. 

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013? Casual comfort, trendy and wannabe edgy  but moving toward simple basics with fun accessories. Also leopard and faux fur make everything more fun.

31. What kept you sane? When I did it regularly, exercise. Also talking and laughing with good friends.

Okay, enough reflecting.
Here's to a fresh start with a bright and shiny 2014.

Let's do this!

Happy New Year!!
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