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Easter: Version 2K14

Sometime during my upper elementary childhood (or possibly even earlier, I'm fuzzy with the details), my mom rather arbitrarily decided I was too old for easter baskets filled with treats.

And that was that.

No more chocolate bunnies or plastic eggs.

I'm still a little bitter.

Maybe she truly thought I was too old or maybe she just didn't feel like shopping that year, I don't know.

Based on my cruel experience (yes, I'm exaggerating) I am in no hurry to rip treat filled easter baskets from Annelise hot little hands any time soon.
She was thrilled to wake up to a basket filled with candy and books (she's been obsessively reading the Percy Jackson and The Olympians series and is on the final book, she was very excited to get the first book in Rick Riordan's new series, The Lost Hero, she was only marginally excited to get two Newberry award books Hatchet and Catherine, Called Birdy but I'm hopeful her fickle feelings will shift).
Sadly though we didn't make Resurrection Rolls this year like we've done here and there and the ten-year old was upset, yet not upset enough to get up extra early in order to make them before the mad dash scramble to leave for bible class and church.

After church we posed for the requisite porch pictures.
Annelise was a mini-me this year in her new maxi dress and denim jacket.

Love. That.

And. Her.

We spent the afternoon at my dad and Peggy's house with her family where there was too much good food, of course. We had BBQ and sides, I made my Big Salad (of course) and her daughter-in-law Mary made this beautiful coconut cake. It kind of stole the thunder from the banana pudding and the other coconut cake dontcha think?
My dad tried out his new Craigslist steal, a bike, and was pleased as punch with it. He had found another one, also off Craigslist, for Peggy a while back and now they can ride bikes together. How cute is that?

Sidenote: I'm scared of Craigslist (you know, creepy murderers and all) but I feel like I'm missing out on some good stuff at the same time. Hmm...life vs. bargains?
After lunch, during a break in basketball (Annelise, Cole and Colin played pretty much non-stop all afternoon) we had the Egg Hunt 2014. Cadence, age 4, got a slight head start while the big kids chomped at the bit out of fairness, but then it was game on.
Followed by the Opening of The Eggs quickly followed by Comparison and Negotiation, for example, Cole gave Annelise one of his money filled eggs ($1) for some warheads.
Most of Annelise's candy disappeared as fast she could stuff it in her mouth. She cast the hard boiled eggs aside declaring them pointless, give her candy or money or nothing.

She is her mother's daughter you know.

How was your holiday? Do tell.


She's Cutting Loose...Footloose, That Is.

Last week Annelise had her annual dance picture day, otherwise known as one of the seven circles of you-know-what.

At least that's how it's always been in the past, so I've conditioned myself to dread it and suffer through as best I can. For whatever reason this year was not too terrible. WHAT? This year there weren't as many classes jammed together waiting for their turn so it was strangely calm.

Annelise actually likes all of her outfits this year (WHAT?) so that made changing and so forth much more pleasant.

First up is her tap outfit, which is adorable, and this year she'll be tapping to...

wait for it...



(Brace yourselves, she looks like an almost teenager.) (My heart hurts!)
Jump back!
Annelise is in the back row but does get a turn up front in part of the dance, so that's good. The dance is really cute with some partner moves and fast pace. I think it's Annelise's favorite this year.

Annelise LOVES her outfit for ballet, since it's more like a grown-up dress, so that's the one we ordered for pictures.

Truth: I only order one set of photos, because I'm cheap that way, and usually let her choose which one she wants her individual picture in.
Unfortunately, the dress seems a little short waisted, at least to her, so she feels compelled to tug at the straps constantly.

They're dancing to a song called Bed of Roses (or something like that, I didn't recognize it).
Ballet has always been her least favorite style, I guess because it's slower paced and requires a modicum of grace and balance, so it can be challenging. We keep telling her that athletes take ballet to balance out their skills and make them stronger in different ways. She still balks at ballet, at least a little.
Her last routine this year is jazz, to We Built This City (on rock and roll), so of course she has appropriate 80s attire to go with that. It's cute with a splash of crazy.
Now, I don't mean to sound like a dance mom, because I am so not, and I know that someone has to be in the back, it just seems that every year in jazz Annelise gets stuck in the back corner AND never gets at least a brief turn up front (sometimes they swap lines from front to back, which is, you know, FAIR). 

Okay, whatever, rant over.
Her recital is only a few weeks away, mid-May. I'm hoping that the recital plus getting her 8 year award soon (it's a pretty big deal) will fire up her slightly simmering dance love.

Fingers crossed.



I took a little detour yesterday on my way to pick up Annelise from school.

I went to visit my mother.

And my grandparents.

I kind of hate that I had to visit them at the cemetery.

It's just not the same.

I had to drive around the loop at least twice before I found their spot.

I mean, I knew where they were, generally, but hadn't seen the family headstone since my dad ordered it (in 2006) (I know) and was looking for DIEHL facing the road when I should have been looking for JOHNSON (my grandparents).

So, um, yeah...it had been a while.

I've always had mixed feelings (obviously) about visiting cemeteries. Some people visit all the time, some only on special days and others, like me...well, not so often. Maybe it's still a touch of denial with a splash of avoidance, even after all these years, but I think about my mom almost every day in some way for some reason and don't feel like visiting a patch of ground and some granite really does that much for me. She's not there.

But then sometimes, like yesterday, I do want to visit.

I know, I don't know what to do with me either.
My grandparents, Archie and Sue, are on one side.
And my mom is on the other side. There's a spot for my dad someday and then my sister (that still sounds weird, she was born very premature and back then they just couldn't do as much as they can today) is on the other side of my mom.

For years we only had these foot markers, I'm not sure why. I guess we thought they were fine for the moment and would get a bigger marker eventually and then eventually waited until 2006.
I also kind of hated that this was the only way to take a selfie with my mother.
I apologize if I sound bitter.

Maybe I am. A little.

I've been missing my mom for 31 years now.

And in some ways the hurt is just a whisper and in other ways it still screams.

Truth: it freaks me out regularly that I have outlived my mom by three years and that I've been without her longer than I was with her, like, by almost double.
And for whatever reason, maybe it was the time crunch of looming school pick-up or the ridunkulousness of getting sort of lost, but yesterday's hurt was only a whisper.

But I still miss my mama.


Six for Saturday

01.) I finally caught Annelise smiling during her soccer game (third of the season, in case you're keeping track) this morning. 
She's usually all business, keeping her eyes on the ball and much too cool to throw her mom (and hence my camera) a bone over on the sidelines in the form of a smile.

I'm chalking this ear to ear grin on the fact she had just scored her second, that's right her second, goal of the game.


She also did her signature *dance* but I wasn't fast enough with my lens to catch it.

I'll settle for her sincere smile.
She usually plays the whole game but the other team was short a few players so she had to take her turn on the sidelines (the horror!) until she could get subbed back in.
Soon enough she was back into the thick of the action, which is exactly where she wants to be.
02.) In unrelated news, have I told you I quit drinking half and half in my coffee?

It's true.


Is where it's at.

Who knew?

When I gave up those flavored creamers (aka flavored chemicals) a few years ago I thought I'd never survive the switch to half and half and agave nectar. Then, in a further shock to my system, I stopped putting sweetener of any kind and just used cream.

I survived.

Now I'm down to just the coffee. Black.

And it's good.

03.) I've also tried to limit my soda (I'm a Diet Coke girl) intake to only once a week.
Cue Sonic Happy Hour!

(Diet Coke with lime for me, lemonade for Annelise.)

We pass Sonic everyday on our drive home from school, and it's ALWAYS tempting, but  we try to only stop occasionally.

04.) I'm almost finished with my second week of P90X3 and am loving it.

Now that most of the soreness is subsiding, of course.

For the first three weeks of the program you rotate through the same 6 workouts, each only lasting 30 minutes. The fourth week is a transition week with cardio and yoga/isometrics, that's Phase One. Phase Two involves new workouts to keep your body confused and challenged.

Tony packs a LOT into 30 minutes, he's not messing around, yo'.

It's tough. It's sweaty. It's humbling.

But it's also fun!

Did I tell you that Scott is doing P90X3 too? He is, he is! We don't do the workouts at the same time, mainly because of floor space/logistics but we're still pushing each other along encouraging each other.

05.) Last weekend I took some photos for a friend from church. Her daughter's quinceanera is this summer and she wanted photos for a save the date kind of thing. I don't have a lot of experience posing people other than my own family or taking photos at casual events, so I was a little nervous.

We met at a local park that has gardens and a lovely water feature and basically played around with lots of different poses, sort of winging it. She was a great sport! We got a ton of beautiful shots, they might have a hard time making up their minds which one to use.

I realized (again) that I love taking photos and I need use my big camera more often. I don't have plans or aspirations (at least right now) to be a *real* photographer, but I'd like to get more practice posing people (non-family) for casual portraits and life style type shots.

06.) I don't have a #6.

I even left his post hanging while I did my workout (what?) (it was CVX, which is a weighted cardio, it might actually be my favorite so far in Phase One) hoping that something would come to me while I huffed and puffed, but alas, nothing did.

Now I must shower and finish cutting a few things for bible class in the morning (4 year olds).

Because I'm so timely that way.


Five for Friday

01.) I'm afraid my #46milesinmarch running streak may be screeching to a halt, seeing as I've only run once this week.
But that's okay.

I'm not totally throwing in the towel, maybe I'll rack up a few more miles before March waves her goodbye.

That said, I have managed to fit in three P90X3 workouts this week (Total Synergistics, Agility X (wow!) and Yoga X) and must confess I am highly impressed with the program so far. Tony Horton and his team pack a LOT into 30 minutes. I'm talking Serious. Sweat. People.

The workouts incorporate lots of multiple muscle group moves along with moves that target your balance and core, so you're working hard all over, more than you might think (see above, serious sweat note).

And just when you think you can't take any more you realize you only have three minutes left, so YAY! Time flies.

02.) Yesterday marked my eighth dance recital meeting.
And no, my tolerance for dance moms has not gotten better over time.

At least certain bossy or know-it-all types. 

But speaking of dance, it's getting harder each year to force gently encourage Annelise to continue. The spring recital followed by a summer break usually revives her flagging spirit, but right now we're in the trenches. She loves jazz and most of tap but barely tolerates ballet, no matter how much we remind her how dancing helps strengthen her skills for other athletics (the whole yin-yang thing I guess). Of course I don't want to force her to go if she truly hates it, but I don't want her to quit and regret it later. So I'm sticking my head in the sand and ignoring her whines of woe.

At least for the foreseeable future.

03.) Scott and I had a breakfast date this morning at one of our favorite places.
I got the Athena scramble for the third time in a row because I am nothing if not predictable. Who can resist scrambled eggs, asparagus, feta cheese and mushrooms? Not I, said the fly.

04.) I had a conference with Annelise's teacher this week, not for any particular reason or issue (thank goodness!) but I guess it's a required thing in the fall and the spring. Each time we've met, Mrs. Beaty has said the most beautiful prayer before our chat. I love that! What a blessing! I've found myself a little teary (what?!) after listening to her thoughtful, grace filled words. I wish I could pray like that.

It was encouraging to hear her thoughts about Annelise's strengths, her learning style, her independence and vibrant personality (which can often result in demerits). This has been a challenging school year in some ways (new school, more rigorous curriculum) but under Mrs. Beaty's  firm but loving wings Annelise has thrived.
(random bunny photo op, you know how it is)

05.) Okay, I know this is so last Friday by now, but I don't care. 

I mean, it's KEVIN BACON paying homage to Ren, dancing, acid washed jeans, cassette tapes and teenage angst all in four minutes of awesomeness on the Tonight Show thirty years after Footloose.
Kevin, you had me at jump back.


You've still got it.

Happy Friday, y'all!


The Short List

01.) Last week I got a little closer to my #46milesinmarch goal, which feels good. I managed to run/walk five days and have racked up 30 miles so far.
I didn't run over the weekend like I had hoped and also skipped yesterday but I'm planning to get back to it later today. Even if I can't fit in 16 miles between now and the end of March (which, let's face it, is a stretch) I'm not going to beat myself up because working toward something is better than doing nothing at all.

02.) Last week also yielded some awesome mail.
I've been using Shakeology fairly regularly but had run out. I've always gotten chocolate but this time I'm trying the vanilla, which is quite yummy.

I usually have a shake for breakfast or mid-morning snack but had gotten waaayy out of the habit over the last couple of months. It feels great to get back in the habit.

Y'all know I'm a true blue fan of the Beachbody home fitness DVD programs (at least the ones we've tried). P90X is awesome but a drawback is the time factor as most of the workouts are an hour or more. We were thrilled to hear they were coming out with P90X3 which compacts new challenging workouts into only 30 minutes.

30 minutes!

That's awesome!

I did my first workout (Total Synergistics) yesterday and loved it. It was a total body workout that was challenging but I enjoyed the variety of exercises packed into just 30 minutes. The time flew by, plus Tony Horton is a hoot!

03.) We had a fun night at the Kemah Boardwalk Friday evening thanks to the generosity of our sweet friends.
04.) Annelise had her first soccer game of the new season bright and early Saturday morning. They changed the age divisions (again) so she is back with the 9-10 year olds. There are several kids on the team that she's played with before and we love her coach (he's the epitome of calm), so all is well.
(She's #8)
We celebrated her return to soccer (and ignored her team's defeat) at IHOP after the game.
05.) And finally, there's this...
Annelise had been saving her money (a generous portion of which came from pet sitting for our neighbors) for a while for a new guitar and Saturday she pulled the trigger.

Now we must get her some lessons muy pronto before my ears bleed out.