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After seeing the shamefully low (55 posts might seem like a lot to some, barely anything to others, but when compared to the previous years it made me sad) number of total blog posts for 2014, I had big plans of blogging more in 2015.

I've missed using this space somewhat regularly as a journal for my thoughts and our life happenings, along with occasional fashion/lifestyle and exercise tidbits here and there.

I figured the dawn of a new year was the perfect time to recommit to blogging (along with all the other re-commitments of cleaner eating, regular exercise, bible study/prayer time, et cetera).

Then two days into the new year I got sick and quickly lost all motivation.

What started as vague aches morphed into sore throat and congestion which soon turned into a 75 year old's hacking smoker's cough (I don't smoke) (I'm not 75, thankyouverymuch ). The kind of cough that can soon escalate into heaves and convulsive seal barks. Scott kept telling me to go to the doctor but since I don't really have a GP and each day I thought I felt slightly better (not really) and I was worried if I actually went to see a doctor they'd say it was just a cold and I didn't need antibiotics and I might as well have stayed home.

I tend to over think things.

This went on for a week.

I know.

Then this past Sunday night Annelise started running a fever.

Great. Cue extra mom guilt.

When Scott came home Monday evening I told him fine, I'd go to the doctor but wouldn't it be great if Annelise and I could both go at the same time and knock this out in one fell swoop instead of trying to coordinate separate appointments. Then I had the brilliant idea of going to one of the nearby Urgent Care clinics. I was all in, let's get 'er done!

The clinic wasn't too busy and we were seen fairly quickly. They saw us both at the same time and swabbed Annelise for strep throat and the flu since she was running a fever, which came back negative (praise!). The doctor was really nice and we could understand what he was saying (yes, that's a problem sometimes). He made me really happy when he said he wasn't opposed to giving antibiotics for upper respiratory infections (praise!).

About an hour and a half after arriving we left with prescriptions for antibiotics (both of us), 'roids (me) and heavy duty knock you loopy cough syrup (both of us but we only filled one because it was a crazy $62.00).

The draw back to my brilliant plan was the difference in co-pay prices between regular office visits and Urgent Care. I had no idea. #clueless

Scott was not amused.

I kept saying, hey, at least we both went to the doctor! And we have meds!

He relented once he remembered he could file all of this on his flexible spending account, which that in an of itself is weird because you pay your own money and then you get reimbursed with your own money that had been set aside from your paychecks, but just whatever, man, he was happy again.
And he had the grace to not say I told you so when I told him how much better I felt the next day.

So there's that.


Due to the plague and all I never posted about New Year's Eve and Day.

We enjoyed our third annual ringing in of the New Year at Pat and Robyn's house (they are so gracious to invite the craziness into their home each year) with the Smiths and Sabs, as per usual.  We feasted on all kinds of appetizers, including but not limited to most forms of cheese, chatted, laughed and so forth. Rinse and repeat. The kids played basketball, jumped on the trampoline, played hide and seek and tag until the wee hours of the morning. We rarely saw them.
There were also many rounds of ping pong, for all ages.

This photo documents one version of Around the World (or ping pong table) where even the lack of extra paddles is not a problem.

That's what books are for, right?
(I think Annelise and Kamri were either playing basketball or chilling out and therefore not pictured. Macy wasn't there because...

she was at a party at Roger Clemens' house.)

What the what?!?!

Needless to say the men all felt a tiny bit cheated.

The next day, once we got ourselves together after crawling home around 4:00 am, we went over to my dad and Peggy's for black eyed peas and cabbage. And football. Lots and lots of football.

For the love.

Happy 2015, y'all!


Christmas Wrap Up 2014

I have quite possibly been the most ambivalent about Christmas this year as I've ever been, although I can't say with certainty as to why. Maybe because Thanksgiving was later and then BOOM here comes the Christmas snowball and I was not prepared.

Not that I ever am.

Scott hung the icicle lights on the house right after Thanksgiving, so the outside of out house was semi-festive, but the inside was oh-so-not (other than the holiday  dishtowels on the oven and changing out my subway art frame). We didn't get our tree until December 13th, which is rather pitiful.

After a long standing tradition of choosing Frasier Firs we switched things up for 2014 and got a Noble Fir, (what?) which we (I) named Norville. He stood naked for a while in the corner before lights and then eventually decor. Norville was a good sport about our general lack of elf-ittude.

(We did watch Elf though.)
In random but still holiday related news, the Girls and I, along with several ladies from church enjoyed a wonderful Christmas Mugs & Muffins brunch at the lovely home of one of our elders. It was perfectly delightful, as always!

Along with our decorating procrastination we also did our traditional loser late Christmas card photo session. Again, I was lacking motivation and felt like we threw together barely coordinated outfits and highly un-creative poses, as we were scrambling to get something before the sun set.

We took a selfie to document the fact that we managed to not kill each other during the grueling photo session.

We then we retreated to Starbucks for treats, as per our tradition.
Annelise got her first ever frappuccino, java chip, needless to say, color her hooked.
One thing that I did manage to get together early (what?) were gifts for Annelise's three main teachers, Starbucks gift card in a to-go cup with holiday kisses and a scarf. Her PE, band and computer teachers got Mrs. Meyer's soap and peppermint bark, which is useful and tasty. We did the same thing for her dance teachers (we don't usually, not sure why this year was different) and put together a little gift for her dance class gift swap (lip balm, nail polish, socks and candy--hopefully the girl that got it liked it, you never really know).
The Girls and I got together for Pink Christmas, the Painting Version, which was fun.  We had planned to eat dinner first at a local steakhouse but did not count on needing reservations (whoops), so we ended up eating pho at a Vietnamese place which was really out of the norm for us but quite yummy just the same.

We painted these monogrammed ornaments which was fun but way more stressful than I anticipated, what with all the straight chevron lines to you know, not smudge up and all.
But they turned out super cute.

From a distance at least.

Christmas day was low key, as per always. Since my dad was (is) still recovering from his surgery we went down there after opening a few presents at our house. Peggy cooked a big country breakfast and I added bubble bread so we feasted and opened more gifts.

Annelise got a new bike and so did I (what?), which is fun. Hers is a black mountain style bike with a touch of pink and mine is a purple retro style. I predict much biking in out future.

(There are no photos from Christmas Day because I am currently too lazy to whittle through them and upload them, my apologies).

She also got purple Beats headphones from us which sent her directly over the moon, so, yay.

Peggy's son and his family came over for a short visit that afternoon, Annelise loved getting to see Cole and Colin, even for just a few hours.
We spent the rest of the day snacking, chatting and doing a whole lot of nothing.

Which is always a favorite.

And that is a WRAP on our Christmas 2014.

I hope yours was blessed and joyful!


On a Monday

(My lame title makes me sing "I Got Stripes" by Johnny Cash & George Jones.)

My sweet daddy had hernia surgery yesterday.

I'm still slightly unclear about what a hernia actually is. I mean, I think I know that it has something to do with some of your parts poking through other parts of your parts and it's uncomfortable.

I'm okay with being vague.

All is well, thank goodness, but any surgery is still surgery and there's usually lots of anxiety and waiting and prayer and pain along with good drugs, possible nausea, and then recovery.

He had met his deductible for the year (apparently this is a thing) (thankfully I don't know much about meeting deductibles due to doctor visits, tests and so forth) and decided to go ahead and get his hernia situation taken care of. 

It was supposed to be outpatient/day surgery with a probable overnight stay (I'm not sure how you classify that). Some doctors do hernia surgery laparoscopically but his must be more old-school so he's got a good ol' incision going on and will most likely stay in the hospital until Wednesday.

After taking Annelise to school and getting myself together, I ventured toward the Houston Medical Center, about 40ish minutes away under ideal conditions. As I was approaching Methodist Hospital I got a call from the school nurse saying that Annelise wasn't feeling well.


No fever but headache slash vague stomachache slash I really don't feel like being at school today thing.

Thankfully Scott said he could pick her up and work from home so I could be at the hospital. 

I got to see my dad for a while before they took him back, so that was good. Two couples from their camping group were also there to keep Peggy company while she waited which was sweet. You wouldn't think waiting would be hard but it can be. I was all prepared with a new book to read headphones and snacks (coffee, apple and cheese) but I mostly just sat there and listened to them tell stories. I really had wanted to start my new book but thought it would be rude to get it out. Hashtag introvert problems.

The room was full of people waiting for news about their persons and I kept wondering what their stories were. I'm nosy that way.

This group of singers came up to brighten things up a a bit with some Christmas carols. They were accompanied by this darling little five year old. She was a hoot!
Sidenote: I really like Methodist Hospital. I mean, I don't know personally, just as a visitor, but from my dad's experiences and I'm really impressed. Everyone is so helpful, polite and friendly. Plus, you know, good at their jobs.

It's like the Chick-Fil-A of hospitals.

We got to see my dad in recovery for a minute and then later up in his room. He was mostly snoozing, which was good.

I left around 4:00 to try and beat the monster known as Houston traffic--and all things considered, (including missing my intended turn and taking Loop 610 home instead of the Beltway, oh well) it wasn't too bad.

Listening to my Merry& Bright playlist on Spotify helped bunches (played on shuffle).

I may have even cranked the volume up and sung along quite dorkily to this song:
I may have even repeated it three or four times in a row.

Whatever gets you through the crazy Houston freeways, man.


Miscellany Monday

A few randoms of late...

I got to hear my little trumpet player perform at a special Christmas chapel last week. Fifth grade band played Good King Wenceslas and Jingle Bells and did a great job, meaning, the songs were not only recognizable they sounded pretty good too, so it was not at all as painful as I feared.
After six-ish months it was finally time to mix up another batch of homemade laundry detergent. I used all of the ingredients pictured below plus three bars of grated Fels-Naptha laundry soap, adding them alternately to my large glass jar and mixing well (I also ended up with a bit of overflow stored in a small plastic container and the empty Oxy-Clean canister).

I use an Oxy-Clean scoop per load (I put it in the bottom of my top-loading HE washer before adding clothes) which is a bit more than 2 tablespoons and it cleans really well while smelling super fresh (but not knock you out fragrance-y). There are tons of variations of recipes on Pinterest (this one is from Edie @Life in Grace on Instagram), even liquid ones (which seem a little too labor intensive for me), so if you've never given homemade laundry detergent a whirl, I'd highly recommend it. Not only is it easier than I thought, it's cheap and makes you feel ever so slightly like Ma Ingalls (minus the hog killing and all that mess).
Scott and I had a breakfast date Friday morning at our favorite place. Again.

We are so predictable.

(Some might say boring.)
Except THIS time I got an egg white frittata (I've never had a frittata before) (it's fun to say frittata, btw). Scott got the Viva la France french toast, as per always, because he loves it and likes to order it with a touch of french flair.

We ventured into downtown Houston this weekend to eat at the Spaghetti Warehouse for an early dinner.
Before making our way over to the Hobby Center to see this...
It was a fabulous show and a great way to kick off our holiday season. The Rockettes are amazing! 

Sidenote: We still don't have a Christmas tree.

We finished off our night at The House of Pies for well, um...pie and such.
Annelise had hot chocolate and a brownie AND a chocolate chip cookie. Scott had Coconut Cream pie, I had Key Lime and we shared French Silk (layered milk and dark chocolate) because we had to have some chocolate too (you have to cut the tart of the key lime and the intensity of the coconut with an alternating bite of chocolate, you know).

It was like our own little pie buffet.


Don't worry, we did not eat it all, maybe half. It's amazing how quickly you can go from YUM to sick, it's a fine line.

Happy Monday, y'all!


Miscellany Monday (The Turkey Edition)

Hello December.


This morning's alarm was rather rude after a week of not having to set one and re-entry into the morning get-ready-for-school-shuffle was a tad rough. But we made it, in fact we were a little early, go us.

Last week was mostly an exercise in laziness punctuated with occasional spurts of activity followed up with more laziness and slothdom. I met The Girls one night for coffee and chit chat and laughter, which was delightful of course, Annelise had a sleepover with Pappo and grandma one night and most of the other days were a hazy blur of nothingness.

Except for Thanksgiving.

My dad and Peggy hosted 20 people (if you count the one currently gestating, which we did) for a Thanksgiving feast. There was way too much food and no vegetable was allowed unless it was coated in cheese or sauce, except for my Big Salad, which has kind of become my thing to bring for every family gathering, usually by request, which is fine, but only a few people really bother eating it because there's always too much other competition from all the beige comfort food, which I totally understand.

After the first round of feasting, during a break in one of the football games, we gathered outside for group photos. 
Daddy and Peggy's dear friends, Jack and Penny (front chair on the left below) spent the day with us too which was nice. Sidenote: They brought a fried turkey which was slap your mama delicious, I'd never had fried turkey before, I might be a convert.

There were also two doggie guests, Snuggles, the teacup Yorkie and Jojo the boxer.
Annelise had a BLAST (as per always) playing basketball, football and hide and seek with Colin, Cole and Cadence. Some of the big guys played basketball too in between their football viewing and naps. The outdoor fun didn't stop until way after dark when we confiscated the flashlights and shut it down due to the cold and the fact some of them had to go home (boo hoo).

We did not, I repeat did not, do any Black Friday shopping.

Not that this is anything new, we've never gone Black Friday shopping because I am not down with that kind of crazy.

I am however down with online shopping in my jammies with a cup of coffee beside me.

Yesterday after church and lunch we did something a little outside of our norm.

We went to see two movies back to back.

I know, we are WILD.

We started out with Big Hero 6, which we all three LOVED and were surprised by how much we loved it since we didn't really know that much about it going in. After that we walked directly over to the ticket machine (we love the ticket machine and hardly ever use the ticket windows) to get three tickets for Mockingjay.

Over the last several months Annelise and I have watched the other two Hunger Games movies on Netflix so she was anxiously awaiting this next installment. I'm not crazy about them milking the last book into two movies, I mean I know a lot happens but I still feel like they're just trying to capitalize on the HG mania and make more money with two movies. But whatever.

We liked it. I probably like the first two better but I kind of expected that going in because Mockingjay in general is just a darker story (yes, darker than teens killing each other in a televised competition) what with the rebellion and all.

We don't usually get popcorn or candy at the movies because I'm a smuggler but we didn't smuggle anything in this time so we all shared a big popcorn and got drinks for eleventy billion dollars. We noticed several people going out with empty buckets and coming back with filled ones and then finally saw the Free Refill note on our bucket. No we did not NEED a refill, a refill was not healthy, but we got one anyway just to stick it to the Man a little.

Subversive popcorn refilling. It's a thing.

We didn't eat it all either.

In other news, Scott finished putting up our Christmas lights over the weekend. We still do icicle lights like it's 1999, but whatever. That's our only nod to Christmas so far. We need to shop for a tree but I refuse to do that until we have colder weather again, because sweating while picking out a Christmas tree sucks my Christmas spirit out faster than you can say The Grinch.

Note to self: Now that the Chrismas lights are twinkling around our house we might should move the scarecrow by the front door back to the garage muy pronto.

Timely. Is what we are.

Happy Monday, y'all!


Gotcha Day: The 10th Anniversary

Every year, at least for the past ten, we celebrate something special on November 14th.

That's the date Scott and I walked out of Orphanage #14 in Moscow, Russia holding an orange and pink snow suited bundle of a baby (she was still a baby at 14 months) (that's a lot of 14s isn't it?) and nobody stopped us.

Don't worry, it was all legit and she was ours (!!) through the miracle of international adoption, but after years of infertility failures I kept waiting for something to snag in our adoption.

But it didn't.

Nada, zip, zilch.

No delays or roadblocks--although the international adoption process itself is, um...rather involved.

From the time we turned in our application to the above described exit from the orphanage it took only 8 months (and yes, those 8 months were filled with dossier reports, home surveys, social worker interviews, numerous bureaucratic hoops to jump through, the agonizing (I know, it's all relative) (from early spring to late August) wait for a referral and don't forget, financial matters to attend to). 

God's hand was moving through all of it.

That little snow suited bundle now looks like this.
I brought her McDonald's for lunch (I know, I know, gag) to kick off a little Gotcha Day celebrating.
Her teacher said Annelise had stood up in front of the class (willingly) and told them about her adoption and why we celebrate Gotcha Day and answered a few questions. I was so proud of her!

We usually celebrate with dinner out at her pick of the place and a gift or two. This year, I guess because it was the 10th anniversary, we went a little overboard. Along with a new infinity scarf (not pictured, but she loves it) and hoodie she got a new James Avery charm for her bracelet (a Texas with a heart in it, like from Russia to Texas with love) and a silver ring with an anchor, cross and heart intertwined for faith, hope and love. She was over the moon excited!

We went out for dinner at BJs where the dinner part was only meh because she was all about getting her very own Pazookie.
I can understand her excitement.

Ever so often she gets out her baby book, which is a labor of love because that thing is a beast to carry downstairs, and peruses for a while, which warms my heart.
(picture from earlier this year one random afternoon of memory lane walking)

Saturday morning dawned earlier than normal (at least it seemed that way) with her last soccer game of the season at 8:00.
It was crazy cold (for Texas) and windy (felt even colder) and her team fought valiantly and lost but she still had a good time.
(Scott bootlegged this off of someone's FB page. Is that stealing? Oh well.)
(I wish my coffee had lasted longer than the first half.)
The team had a breakfast party afterwards in the least windy corner of the pavilion (as if) to celebrate the season, or maybe just to enjoy doughnuts, whichever. 

Loosely Related Sidenote: We were assigned to bring orange juice, so of course I pulled a Holly (wanting to make sure there was enough) so I bought three big jugs not realizing that it would be in the low 40s and only crazy people would want to drink cold OJ. The hot chocolate dispenser was where it was AT. We gave one unopened jug away and still have one and a half jugs cluttering up our fridge. We went to IHOP after the breakfast party for a real breakfast and Scott and Annelise had the nerve to order...wait for it...orange juice. Sigh.


Of Nerds and Pneumonia. And Such.

With only one, count it, one singular, blog post for the entire month of October, we'll just call it a dud and move on to November, m'mkay?

(The month itself wasn't necessarily a dud but in terms of blogging, yes.)

The end of October was something of a crash and burn, read: major dud. Scott went on a short business trip to Rio de Janeiro (yes, as in Brazil) (I know!) and Annelise and I had all these plans (okay, not really, but a few, including a school BBQ where she was excited to play the trumpet on stage and Trunk or Treat at church) so of course she got sick with a fever and congestion/cough.

No improvement along with a fever spike found us here Tuesday afternoon.
Where we soon discovered she had pneumonia.

I know!

Even though the fever eventually left the building her cough and general malaise lingered the rest of the week. So no school, no Trunk or Treat (our church was hosting one on Wednesday night) and no regular trick or treating later.

Believe me, there was a lot of her channeling her inner Sally.
The only Halloween-y thing we did was watch The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown and buy our own candy (and of course eat it).

Thank goodness she got to celebrate and wear her costume (and I use that term loosely) early. A friend from her soccer team invited her to a Halloween party the Saturday before she got sick so at least she did get to do something festive.

(She still feels cheated. And no amount of Reese's peanut butter cups are managing to appease her.)

Here she is in all of her brief nerd glory.
We found the shirt and suspenders at a local thrift shop and the glasses at the Dollar Tree so at least there wasn't too much $$ invested in Dud Halloween 2014.

When Annelise was not on the couch or recliner last week (we've discovered a new show on Netflix to binge on, Heartland, it's a sweet family show about two sisters and their family's horse ranch) she occupied herself with some school work, legos and a newly rediscovered old favorite, Perler beads (you know, those annoying melty beads that end up everywhere).

We also killed some time binging on the awesomeness known as OK Go videos.

(Remember their cool treadmill one from a few years back?)

(And this one might be my all time favorite because it reminds me of the game Mousetrap, but this is more like Mousetrap on crack.)

They are ridiculously creative.

Sidenote: Do y'all adore the new(ish) Rob Lowe commercials for Direct TV? I can't decide which one is my favorite.

Maybe this one. (I also like how each one ends with the theme from St. Elmo's Fire, because 80s.)

(I promise I didn't intend to go so YouTube manic when I started this post.)

I'll leave you with a completely random family photo from a couple of weeks ago.
Because we like Sonic.

And aviators.

Happy Tuesday, y'all!
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