Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pre-Party at Nana & Boppy's

After the softball tournament and an evening of skating, the girl was exhausted so we let her sleep in on Saturday morning. Tonto and I both got a work out in while she was sleeping and then I made these...

...because we were heading to a pre-Memorial Day BBQ at Nana and Boppy's house.

This little guy came along for the fun. Forget happy feet - he has a happy face, doesn't he?

Boppy was already hard at work on the grill...

...but Tonto go in on the action as well.

Seriously, y'all, there were ribs, sausage and corn on the regular pit while there was a brisket and whole turkey in the smoker. Loads of food. Not to mention potato salad, baked beans and amazing garlic bread. It was a feast!

And she kept us entertained...

...with cartwheels, round offs and some water bottle trick that ended up in her trying to kick it and almost losing her footing. She thought it was hilarious. :-)

There was lots of story telling going on...

...and these are expressions I see from these two on a daily basis. Cracks. Me. Up.

After a bit, Donny's cousins - Beth and Bobby - joined us. I have not met two funnier people in my entire life. They. Were. Hilarious.

We laughed, joked, talked and ate for hours. Unfortunately, the girl wasn't fully rested yet and was getting very sleepy so we headed home about 9pm after a full and fun day.

When I went to sleep that night, my heart was seriously so full. Most people don't know the history - and I won't recount it for you - but let's just say that family gatherings (and fun!) like this weren't always the norm for us. In fact, there was a time I would have bet you every cent I would make in a lifetime that it would never happen.

But God is good. And He can work all - really, ALL! - things for good.

And I'm incredibly thankful.

We all crashed pretty quickly once at home because we had big plans for the following day: Hawaiian Falls Waterpark!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

6th Grade Softball Tourney

The sixth graders at Taylor's school have a softball tournament at the end of each school year. Basically, they play each class throughout the day and the one with the best record then plays the teachers.

That's nine softball games in 90+ degree heat. Not exactly my idea of fun but they thought it was amazing. And, because I realized this time last week it would be my kiddo's last "field day" type of activity, I took the day off to attend.

As you can tell, they all took it very seriously....

...ok, maybe not, but one thing they did take seriously was cheering on their fellow teammates.

Love. Her. Even if she did try to act like she didn't know me for a bit.

It's hard for me to fathom that she's so grown up and, though I do miss Baby Taylor, this Tay is a barrel of laughs and brings such joy to our lives.

Eventually she even decided to use her glove. She'd loaned it to the first baseman because "he forgot his and couldn't catch anything otherwise." That's one of the things I love most about her - she has a seriously sweet and compassionate heart. Will do anything for her friends.

And this morning I took her to get her 7th grade athletic physical along with the required immunizations for middle school. She is perfectly healthy and I am so incredibly grateful. She did get four shots and wasn't wild about that but she persevered.

We also learned her vision had changed somewhat significantly so we hopped in the car, grabbed breakfast at Shipley's, and headed to get her eyes checked. She's much more nearsighted than she was and is now wearing contacts. She was amazed at how much better she could see and both the nurse practitioner and eye doctor felt it would help immensely in volleyball. Who knew?

As we were driving around Waco and she sat in the backseat dancing to music on her phone and proclaiming that she felt "like a gangster riding around during the school day listening to music," it struck me once again that they grow up all too fast. 

Really looking forward to a fun, memory-making summer. Just a few more pesky school days to get out of the way first. :-)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Purple Crush

So...I sort of dropped off the map last week. Why? Well, mainly because I only had pics to accompany one post and never got around to uploading them but also because there just wasn't much going on. The girl went to the waterpark with friends on Tuesday and had a softball tourney on Friday (more to come there) but, other than that, school is winding down and so are our activities.

Last week was much quieter now that volleyball season is over. While we do have our Monday and Thursdays back, it's somewhat bittersweet as Taylor will never play at Woodway Family Center again. She'll be going to two volleyball camps this summer and doing some weight training in hopes of making the middle school team in August.

This is really the only sport she cares about so I'm praying with all I have that she'll get a spot on that team. I don't even care if it's the B team...just don't want it to be over. :-)

After a lackluster last game (though T and a couple others did well), we had a pizza and cupcake party in one of the party rooms at WFC. You'll notice that my daughter smiles for other parents' pics...

...but not so much for her own. Guess that's typical, huh?

She has been #7 every season she's played...

...and I've gotten poses like this just about every season as well.

Coach Jane was really good and we appreciated her time so much. T really improved under her tutelage.

Back to the party - we were in charge of dessert so I thought a cupcake cake in the shape of a volleyball would be fun. T wanted a purple volleyball. And then couldn't understand why it didn't actually look like, because it's purple? :-)

Regardless of looks, they were delicious despite what you'll hear from my family. They aren't fans of buttercream icing. No, I don't understand it either.

T and friends enjoying pizza and surrounded by tons o' end of season sweet treats.

The evening concluded with Coach Jane handing out medals.

And saying goodbye to some sweet friends.

It was a great season, Purple Crush! Here's to more volleyball in the future...

...I hope. :-)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

And Things Slow Down...

So it's the next to last week of school and you know what that means - field trips! Yep, my girl is at a new (well, revamped with new ownership) water park today. It's the Panther Pride celebration party. Think service projects. As in each student needs to complete 10 projects/hours to be able to attend.

T really thought this was fun because it meant she could hang out with her friends even more often. While she already had her 10 out of the way by Christmas, she continued to volunteer. Regardless of her main motivation, she does enjoy helping people and that made my heart happy. ;-)

Rambo is at school today. He was wishing time away last night just begging the clock to say it was "time."

We had such a calm evening last night it was almost odd. Tonto had dinner (chicken fajitas) cooking when I got home and we didn't have a volleyball game or practice to attend. Bittersweet. The girl's allergies still have her tuckered out by evening so she spent most of the night in her room resting, which meant we were left with all sorts of free time.

And had no idea what to do with it so we caught up on the DVR and flipped channels from wrestling to NBA playoffs to some show about motorcycle clubs.

I'm attempting to eat a bit healthier these days (hello, swimsuit season!) and part of that plan is bringing my lunch. Yesterday I recreated a salad from McAlister's (Savannah Chopped, I believe) with mixed greens, feta cheese, dried cherries, sliced apples and (not pictured) grilled chicken. 

It. Was. Delightful.

Also, who say I don't cook? :-)

Because of T's allergies and a long day in the water, I'm thinking she will not be up to tumbling this evening. Know what that means? Another quiet evening. Time to stock up on rest before the busy season of camps, trips and fun in the sun is upon us.

It's right around the corner, after all.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Weekly Top 10 - Recovering from Allergies Edition

1. This weekend was low key, even for our standards, because the girl was suffering from exhaustion and an allergy exacerbation. Not a good combination. She was allowed to go skating on Friday only as her classwork indicated last week that twice is too tiring. Sometimes it stinks being a grown up. :-(

2. Because T was relegated to hanging out with me while Tonto worked on Saturday, we went to see The Avengers. Really awesome movie, even for someone knows less than nothing about comics. Also, Robert Downey Jr. is hysterical.

3. While grocery shopping after church yesterday, I realized that Benadryl has a weird side effect for my girl. It removes her 'tween snarkiness and leaves a sweet and charming young lady in its wake. Awesome.

4. This has become my absolute favorite snack. Ever. Could eat my weight in them, which is why I have to make myself buy the 100 calorie packs.

5. This week the girl has a field trip to Hawaiian Falls Water Park and then a softball tournament on Friday. I took off so I could watch her last "field day" type activity. Sniff. Sniff.

6. On the bright side, that means I have a four day work week followed by a four day weekend. Score.

7. We're hanging out at my parents' house on Saturday for Memorial Day (early because Tonto is on call for the actual holiday) and I'm in charge of dessert. They have a fire pit. We're making s'mores. It was sort of a no brainer, right? :-)

8. The end of season volleyball party was a success even if the last game was not. T played amazingly well but I think most of the team was just ready for it to be over. They ended the season at .500 so I guess that's ok...the favors T gave her were cute!

9. I realized this morning we leave for New York in 2.5 weeks. So much to little time...

10. Asked T what she thought about trying shrimp tacos for dinner one night. She told me they should be "outlawed." Guess we'll stick to chicken, ribs, brisket and steak for the summer...

Happy Monday, y'all!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Year of the Bear

Because I don't ever want to forget... magical this year truly has been for Baylor University.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Weekly Top 10 - The Weeks Fly By Edition

1. The weeks just keep flying by as the end of school - and beginning of what I hope will be a fun summer - begin. The girl will be busy with several camps and VBS again but there are a few trips planned as well. Busy but fun. I hope. :-)

2. I picked up our ceramic creations from Practically Pikasso last week and T's literal piggy bank turned out super cute. I made her a light switch cover for her closet door (last time we were there I did her main cover) and I think they both turned out great. Much better than some of our previous pieces. 

3. When we went to Golden Corral on Friday evening, Tay requested we grab her some cotton candy since she was going skating. I did. And I even photographed it but she wasn't hungry when she got home so it was left in a tall glass overnight. Know what happens when you leave cotton candy overnight? It disintegrates into a sticky, sugary mess on the cabinets.

4. Took this one Monday evening. Rambo goes to "school" every Tuesday and it's like he knows, y'all. Normally he cuddles with his dad but I get the honor every Monday night. Perhaps he thinks his chauffeur won't report for duty if he ignores her?

5. She makes me laugh. And she loves that "Rock, Paper, Sic 'em" t-shirt. Why? Because it's one of RG3's favorites.

6. Though my knee isn't the most troublesome one in the fam, I do actually have a bum one that goes all the way back to middle school. Most of the time it only bothers me when a storm is rolling in but a week or so ago I tweaked it getting into my (tall) SUV. And then, before it rebounded, slammed it into the side of the marble tub which, judging from the bruise that appeared, was somewhat traumatic. All that to say that I'm taking a week off of working out. It's both awesome and makes me feel like a slacker at the same time.

7. Side note: how is it I can do Zumba 4-5 times a week and then injure my knee getting into my car and stepping into the shower?

8. Side note #2: not working out apparently makes me super conscious of my diet. If I ever actually put diet AND exercise into place at the same time, I will be dangerous. The odds of that happening consistently, though, aren't likely. I mainly exercise so I can eat ice cream on the weekends. Just being honest.

9. I saw on someone else's blog that the front facing camera on their phone took some pretty grainy pics compared to rear facing. To find out if this occurred with the Droid Bionic, I tried a little experiment yesterday. Results: the front facing camera in my phone stinks as well. Big time.



Please note: I generally do not accessorize t-shirts with chunky turquoise jewelry. I had just gotten home from work :-)

10. Tonight is the last volleyball game of the season. While our hopes are that Taylor will make the team in 7th grade (and we have lots of summer instruction lined up to that end), I can't help but think that if it doesn't happen (last year they cut 75% of those who tried out) this might be the last time I see her play.

That's a depressing thought so I'm just going to focus on making cute favors for the team and coaches. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

80's Hipster

This girl, with her psychadelic wardrobe and absolutely hilarious personality, makes my world go round.

Her love for life, compassion for friends, and penchant for always being the life of the party inspire you  to jump in with both feel as well.

As the last days of intermediate school come to a close and a new adventure - middle school, oh my - begin, there's no doubt in my mind my 80's hipster will rock at whatever she sets her mind to achieve.

Be assured, my daughter, that you will forever be my baby girl. Regardless of how many years go by...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Signs of Summer

School almost out, the weather has been beautiful (we've even gotten Texas) and summer plans are in full effect. All these things together got me in the mood recently to spruce up our outside space.

Now, I'm an admitted brown thumb though the majority of that issue stems from the fact that I end up forgetting to water my plants so I decided to take baby steps this time. For starters I bought two new chair cushions and used a couple chairs from our old patio set. We have four more in the garage for the day that we truly have a patio again. Hoping that will be sooner rather than later. :-)

Usually cushions are really expensive (for a cushion anyway) but I found these on W*lmart's website for $15 each. Score! My mom was finished using this candelabra so it became a nice accessory. Just need to get a small side table and we'll be set.

As for flowers, I only have three pots right now. To make a little more impact, I went with three large planters instead of putting a bunch of tiny ones in every nook and cranny. And - to my astonishment - they're surviving and thriving more than a week later.

Miracles never cease, y'all!

And while you might be tempted to say it's only because of all the rain last week, the hibiscus below is the only one that's not on the porch so I can absolutely take credit for the other two, right?

It was also time to tell our Easter decorations goodbye for another year so the ever-changing apothecary jar is now sporting fruit. But we have big plans for it come Memorial Day so, you know, there's that to look forward to...

...and, because I bought too much grout and need to return a tub, there may be another plant at our home come Saturday. Maybe these will survive past can hope!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day 2012

Our weekend began slowly as Tonto and I had dinner at Golden Corral (hello, chocolate fountain!) while the girl went skating (are you beginning to see a trend with her?) Friday evening. Saturday found us buying the girl new shorts for summer and me wondering where the chid with the long legs came from but that's another story entirely. :-)

She went skating again for a bit on Saturday and, before we knew it, Mother's Day was upon us. Tonto made pancakes while we got dressed for church and then we just hung around the house doing chores (ie laundry, mowing the yard, etc.) before heading to McGregor to meet my parents for dinner.

Our first choice for dinner apparently closes at 2pm on Sundays so we went to Plan B - Luigi's. It was sooooo yummy. But, then again, how could homemade Italian food not be awesome? And the cannoli at the end of the meal was delightful beyond words.

I am thankful for my mom and grateful to be a mom. And we, of course, had to snap a few pictures. Unfortunately, I learned that the diagonally striped blouse I'm sporting looks great in person but does not photograph well. At all. :-)

I cannot get this man to smile at me. He always gives me some type of funny face.

And my peeps.

And now it's Monday and we're looking at another week filled with volleyball games, the end of season party and a field trip for the girl. May is the month that just will not quit, friends. But it's always this way at the end of the school year, I suppose.

In an effort to let my bum knee heal (you're glad I've saved you the story...), I've decided to lay off working out this week. Because I generally do said work outs in the morning before work, that means a bit more sleep is coming my way. Suddenly the week is looking up!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Finally Got It!

For a year now - 12 solid months - I've lived a dual life. On one hand, I'm incredibly grateful for my sweet family and the many blessings with which we've been bestowed. None of which, mind you, we deserve.

If you had any idea that depth of the pit from which He pulled us five years ago, you would realize just how far our lives have come. It's not too far a stretch to say that who we are and the life we live bears hardly any resemblance to that pit.

And, y'all, I'm so thankful. Truly. I am.

But there's the other side of the coin. You know, the one where - no matter how good life is - there's a hole in my heart where a baby should be. And I've lived through all of the one year anniversary dates and, with one exception, did so remarkably well.

But that doesn't change everything that's happened and the fact that my heart was ripped to shreds this time last year.

I've received emails from so many friends - far and near - who have prefaced their messages with "it's obvious you have faith and trust Him but I want you to know I'm praying for you anyway." And while it's true that I have faith and I do trust Him, being completely honest compels me to admit that my heart has just grown hard the past few months.

I suppose this phenomenon shouldn't be all that surprising because this has been my way of dealing with - or not dealing, so to speak - things I really don't care to think about or spending time on. It's sometimes just easier to block memories out, refuse to give into emotion and move forward.

Sometimes, I can attest, it even helps. 

What's different in this situation is that it can't just be blocked out. It must be dealt with...and as I've wondered the past few weeks where He is and why I can't hear Him anymore, I've often believed it's just one of those seasons in which He withdraws for a time.

And I'm not so certain that isn't exactly the case. But when He does so, there's always a deeper reason why...

And, today, I think I got it. 

My Bible study today centered on some of my favorite verses that go something like this:

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me    to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn
Isaiah 61:1-2

What the commentary pointed out is that "poor" doesn't just pertain to financial means. We can be poor - and even destitute in many different ways. I have, quite frankly, been pretty poor in a number of areas this past year but here's what Beth Moore (you know I love her) says about that:

"...God is far too faithful to let anyone make it through life without confronting seasons of utter helplessness."

Let me be clear - I'm not feeling helpless or hopeless though there were moments of that in the beginning. But the intent of the statement is still rather clear, right?

In keeping with the same portion of the verse, the poor depend on others for sustenance and life. But we can also depend on others to be our life. To give us a reason to keep on going. But that's no one else's job but His. Also from Beth:

"Sooner or later, God will make sure we confront the poverty of living on the alms of others so that we may learn to feast on Him."

For instance, there are so many people who have cried with/for me, sent me cards, gifts, scriptures, love, support and the list goes on...but none - let me repeat, NONE - of those well meaning friends and family have any ability at all to soothe the soul of one who's in despair. Only One.

In another portion, Beth discusses repairs of the heart. Specifically, how it request the attention and focus of God to stitch our hearts back together. And it takes time. TIME - one of the words I've come to loathe during this season. But it's so true...

And, finally, this statement hit me like a ton of bricks:

"Perhaps there is no time when the enemy attempts to cloud our vision like our fiery trials. His job is to keep us blinded to the One who walks with us through the fire."

Oh, y' many times have I called out and wanted to know 'where are You?' Because at times it certainly feels like I'm all alone.  The truth, though, is it does not matter whether we see Him there or not - either willingly or unwillingly - the fact remains that He is there because He has promised not to forsake those who love Him.

And, after digesting this portion of the study, it's like a newfound freedom was mine. Because all of this 'where is He?' and 'why am I all alone?' is nothing but hogwash. Hogwash from the 'prince of the world' who is nothing but a master of deception.

Life goes on. And it will culminate in something so absolutely amazing that it cannot be imagined. Until then, let's not fall into the trap of believing the enemy's lies. Because nothing makes him angrier than knowing you're onto him.

I hope he's really irritated today.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Weekend Rewind

While I am aware it's already Wednesday, I tend to do some type of weekend recap each week and I'm out of additional material today so here we go. Besides, who knows that I won't want to remember exactly what we did in May 2012 when I'm 80 years young and reminiscing about the good ol' days. ;-)

Friday was kind of a was after the Style Show, to be quite frank. You apparently cannot send me to a charity brunch and then expect me to be productive the rest of the day. Tonto and I did manage to hit the grocery store and then the girl went skating with friends that evening. As a nasty storm rolled in, Dave woke me up (yes, you read that correctly) and indicated I should probably go ahead and pick Taylor up. So I did. And she grabbed Whataburger on the way home. 

Riveting. That's what you call this post.

Saturday was lazy with a capital 'L' but the girl and I did manage a trip to Practically Pikasso where we painted masterpieces that I'll pick up later today. The girl's fascination with piggy banks continues but this time she went with a more traditional pig. Granted, she painted it blue but still...

After a trip to Home Depot and Souper Salad (exciting life we lead!), the girl skated with friends for a few hours during the afternoon before Tonto picked her up on the way home from work.

Rambo was so disturbed by her absence he could hardly rest...

...but he managed to overcome his sense of loneliness. :-)

Sunday was filled with church, lunch at Mazzio's, grouting (me) and cleaning (Tay in her room). And though these may not be the most exciting ways to spend one's weekend, sometimes you just need a bit of down time!

I'll try to remind myself of that when we're running around like chickens with our heads cut off during the upcoming weekend....

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Weekly Top 10 - School is Winding Down Edition

1. We've reached the odd time of every year when Baylor has wrapped up the semester but the girl still has a few weeks left to attend school. Between field trips and special parties I'm not exactly sure how much work she'll do but, nevertheless, she will be there with bells on.

2. Rambo was so tired last week after his visit to Dogtopia that he reverted back to his puppy ways and slept in Dave's pillows. He apparently forgot that he's a bit bigger now but looked adorable all the same.

3. This sweet girl looked rather precious as well.

4. Started a new Bible study last week and I'm absolutely loving it. There have been several times I've thought about beginning this specific one but the timing never felt right. This time it did and I'm looking forward to the journey.

5. The girl's official volleyball pictures arrived last week. The typical 'tween look and pose cracked me up. Love it!

6. Summer plans are coming together and, although it's going to be crazy busy, I'm really looking forward to a different pace. Sometimes a change of pace is desperately needed. That's how I feel right now!

7.  Someone's been posing lately...

8. Though Perkie isn't pictured because she still has a phobia of cameras, she's actually been a bit less neurotic lately. For that we are all incredibly thankful. Bless her little heart...

9. I planted three pots of flowers over the weekend. Instead of buying way too many (like I usually do) and then being sad when I kill all of them at once, I'm trying a new tactic. See if you can keep a few alive and then we'll talk about more :-)

10. Rambo and I re-grouted the hallway on Sunday afternoon after church. This is how both of us looked and felt after that fun project.

Happy Tuesday, y'all!