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Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Five: It's Back!

Wow, it's been awhile since I wrote a Friday Five post. I haven't been on a regular blog "schedule" this summer just because it simply hasn't been a priority, but as the summer is winding down, it's time to get back on it. So without further ado...

1. I'm taking Avery swimming today with her friends Abby and Kaelyn (and my friend Kyndra). The pool is hit or miss with Avery, so we'll see how she does today, haha. The first time I put her in her elephant floaty she slept the entire time (like 45 minutes) in the pool. The next time we tried to play in it she screamed every time she got near it. Oh well, it'll be fun regardless.

2. I'm an addict. To Words with Friends. But it is a frustrating game! There are people who I know cheat because they play words that there is no way that they know, and the game accepts "words" that Scrabble never would. Argh. But until I find a good Scrabble app, it will have to do. Anybody want to play?

3. My parents come home from Venezuela today! I haven't talked to my mom since the 20th, and it feels like an eternity! I can't wait to hear about their trip.

4. Vacation Bible School comes to our church next week. As the children's director I should be way stressed about this fact. However, when I took on the position, I said up front that I couldn't do VBS because of a scheduling conflict, so it's not my responsibility this year. As an outsider I've observed some things that really bother me. When did VBS become a competition between churches? When did it become a means for contention within the church? I'll have to examine this when it comes time to plan for next year. Things that make you go, hmmm.

5. We leave for campmeeting in THREE days! Eek! I'm so excited, and for those of you who don't know what that is, I'll blog about it after we get back on the 7th.

Happy Friday-- have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I'm wondering...

...if it's wise to refinance our house right now. It'll save us $300 a month but will cost $2,500 up front (for a one-time mortgage insurance payment)

...if I should audition for the Grand Prairie Arts Council's production of Little Women. Auditions are tomorrow, show is in September.

...when I should stop Avery's monthly update posts. I mean, it'll be a little ridiculous if I'm still doing them at, say, 37 months. I do like looking back at them to see how much she's grown each time.

...how to keep a one year old entertained on an eight-hour road trip. We leave Monday.

...why I keep getting letting myself get distracted by the computer when I have so much to do.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Inspiration

Our guest bathroom slash Avery's bathroom is blah. Boring. Bland. Lifeless.

The walls are still white (well, White Duck to be precise), the rugs are cream, the shower curtain is all kinds of neutral, even the towels are just brown.


But wait. The plunger is yellow. And it has been used a total of never. And I threw a colored Kleenex box in there for kicks and giggles.

Kleenex and plunger aside, the bathroom is screaming for color. Or something. I just couldn't decide what to do with it.

My go to color has always been red. I love red. It's vibrant and full of life. It makes me happy. My living room and kitchen are both red-based.

But recently I'm loving greens. They're fresh and clean. Our bedroom and Avery's room both are green and brown. Our study is zebra print and lime green. Man, I'm predictable.

And I've always loved blue but have never attempted to use it in home decor.

So I told Matt that I want color in there, and I want it to be sophisticated but kid-friendly. Not that Avery even cares what her bathroom looks like, but she will. I think.

Enter my inspiration piece. Love.

The lighting is bad since I took the picture in the hallway and had to turn off the flash because of the glare (duh). But you get the idea.

Light blue + sage green + coral + cream = revelation.

I'm thinking blue on the walls with coral accents (i.e. towels), and I'll keep the existing shower curtain and add some other accent pieces as well to tie in the other colors. The picture will go where the worthless existing towel rack is hanging. I'll spray paint the other towel rack, and I'll paint the cabinet over the toilet. The ideas are going berserk in my head, but at least now I have some direction.

Ah, I feel better already.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Astonishing

Ah, to have my life back. Whatever that means. The musical is over, I'm back from preteen camp, and we have a whole week at home before we head out for vacation.

Hanging out the night of our final performance

This is my first opportunity to sit down and write my official Little Women post, hence the reason it's a week overdue. After debating whether or not I should even write this post, I decided it was too big of a chapter in our lives to leave out. Plus it was awesome. There, I said it.

Our simple but effective set. I had several scenes in the "attic" (the platform). Scary!

Kendra, Matt, and I got the crazy notion almost three years ago to start up a community theater ministry through our church, and we presented You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown in the summer of 2008. It was a huge undertaking (to say the least), but the church leadership and congregation rallied behind it, and it was a smashing success. I have a feeling this post will include many cliches. You've been warned.

Kendra (Sally), Me (Lucy), and Matt (Charlie Brown) in YAGMCB

Our director, Kendra, who also played Sally in YAGMCB, did Little Women with her high school kids (she's a theater teacher), so she had some set stuff, props, a fully orchestrated soundtrack (which translates to no dealing with orchestra rehearsals) and lots of costumes. I've loved the show since I saw it on Broadway (um, Sutton Foster, hello, can you say amazing?!?), and it doesn't require a huge cast so it seemed like the perfect choice for our next endeavor.

 Pre-show warm-ups. (L-R: Steve (Mr. Laurence), Mom (Marmee), Chris (Braxton), Michael (Laurie), and Katherine L (Meg)

And it was. After opening up auditions outside the church, God brought together the best cast we could've imagined. Eight of the 13 were from the church, three were from DTS, one was from DBU, and one was Matt's former student (who will be at DBU next year). The group just clicked from Day One, and it's a good thing since we only had five short weeks to put the production together.

 Director Kendra with Allison (Beth) selling tickets after church

The actors are the ones who end up getting all the credit, but our director is fantastic. She has such vision and passion for the creative, and she challenged us every single rehearsal to get outside of ourselves and become our characters. We also had a stellar crew of techies who mastered the details like nobody's business.

The four March sisters...FOREVER! (after the preview the Sunday before opening)

I can't overlook the fantastic babysitters who helped take care of Avery while we were rehearsing. Shout out to Debbie, Holly, Chelsie, Uncle Vernon and Aunt Tina, and Brooke! You guys are amazing! I know it was a sacrifice of your time to help us out, and we appreciate you more than you know.

Haley (Amy), Mom (Marmee), Shalimar (Aunt March), and Katherine R. (Clarissa)

I'm not gonna lie, I was a little skeptical of whether the show would actually come together, but I never should've doubted. The show went smoothly all three performances (well, with the exception of the freak power surge on opening night that left me singing the climactic song a capella; talk about not breaking character-- yikes!), and the post-show feedback was glowing. I never made it through a performance without bawling during my song with Allison. Oh well, the tears were appropriate. We had great audiences every night, and it was just fun.

Sisters on stage and off

Side note: When people say they're going to be somewhere and then just don't show up, it's hurtful. Especially when it's something you've put countless hours into and were really proud of. I'm so thankful that I had so many family members come and support the show, but my friends were really a let-down. I know people have lives, and I don't expect them to just drop everything, but it was very, um, telling when all was said and done. I miss having close friends (and I'm sad that my closest friends live so stinkin' far away). Now I sound like a loser. Rant over.

Backstage with the brunette March sisters. Haha, we kind of look alike. :) 

I'm so thankful that we had the opportunity to meet such great people and work together to create something that was so beyond our capabilities but not the Lord's.

I truly believe that the goal was accomplished: To glorify the Creator by being creative. The arts can be performed well in a non-secular setting, and I think people are starting to see that.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Things past and things to come.

I rocked my baby to sleep tonight for the first time in over a week, and it felt good. I didn't even care that it took a whole 45 minutes before she would stay asleep when I laid her down. I love love love the way she just slips her arms underneath mine in a big hug and lays her head on my chest as she slowly drifts off. Sigh. 

And now I have a kajillion things to do, but I feel guilty spending time on the computer when Avery's awake and Matt's home. He's not home, she's asleep, so here I am.

Little Women had a fantastic run this weekend. More on that later. There's lots to tell, so I'm thinking a full post is forthcoming.
Three of the March sisters backstage (I can honestly say that I don't miss that wig).
I love Babe's. I couldn't even eat dinner tonight because I was so full from our lunch there.

Avery has a huge bruise on her nose, and I'm already anxious to get her out of bed tomorrow out of fear that it will expand into a black eye. And it was my fault. So much for letting her explore her surroundings. Oops.

I have tonight and tomorrow at home, and then I'm heading out to take our 5th and 6th graders to preteen camp on Tuesday. We come back Saturday, and as excited as I am for the kids (who are beyond ecstatic, mind you), I'm already dreading leaving Matt and Avery for four nights. The camp's only an hour away, so I'm hoping they can come visit a couple of days. It's gonna be an awesome week though, and I can't wait to see how God works in the kids' lives (and mine!).

I'll have a week at home, and then we head out to campmeeting! Words cannot express how excited I am. Last year I felt like I was pretty much confined to the cabin since I was nursing and Avery was a slooooow eater. Not to mention that she was also only four weeks old and we were sleeping in a tent. Something tells me that this year will bring a whole new set of challenges though: trying to keep her "clean" while she crawls around an unenclosed cabin and gets into more messes than I'd like to imagine. It'll be totally worth it though to spend a week in the mountains of west Texas (yes, they do exist) where the high is in the 80s and we go without computers and TV and other mindless distractions in favor of sitting around talking, playing games, going to services in the Tabernacle, hiking, napping, reading, eating, and just resting.
This was how Avery spent her first year at Bloys.
My attempt at hiking four weeks postpartum. Ahem, I am much skinnier this year.
Where has the summer gone? I'm loving every minute of it. Hope yours is just as amazing.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Rangers, Bath Products, Brilliant Saturdays, and the World Cup

Life is a whirlwind! It's a good whirlwind, but it's windy nonetheless.

Lately, we've pretty much been working hard around the house, running errands, and spending time with Avery during the day because we've had rehearsal every. single. night.

On Thursday night, Matt got a small reprieve because he was able to go to the Ranger game with our church's men's ministry. One of the guys has a "suite" hookup (haha, I'm so punny), so a bunch of guys got to go hang out for the evening. Matt doesn't take pictures, so here were a couple he managed to snap (not of himself, of course!).

Friday was my reprieve. I got to spend the morning and early afternoon with my mom, sister (Allison), and sister-in-law (Chelsea). We went to a store called Bath Junkie, and it was so cool! You get to mix your own scents from their huge list, and they even have "recipes" that you can test out to see if you like them. Then you just tell them what product you want, which scent you chose, and what color they should make it. And voila! You take home personalized bath products. I got a face wash (to hopefully clear up the ridiculous redness that has made its home on my visage) and shower gel. Love it! After we left, we went next door to Central Market because 1) I needed to get some fruit for the rest of the week, and 2) it's just fun to walk around in there. And then the best part was that there was a Cafe Brazil right across the street! YUMMYILOVETHATPLACE! I ventured out and got chicken fried steak and eggs. Now that's a heart attack just waiting to happen. :) It was so much fun just hanging out though; I wish Chelsea and Aaron didn't live so far away! Okay, so it's only a little over an hour to their town, but still.

On Saturday morning, Matt went and met some guys from the church for breakfast (7:00 in the morning?!? no, thank you!), and then we met up again at the church for the Little Women tech rehearsal at 9. After rehearsal, Matt took Avery shopping so he could get some Professor Bhaer shoes, and I stayed at church to get some children's ministry stuff done. I get so much accomplished when I work up there (vs. working from home)! I'm so thankful I'll have a couple days a week to be there next year while Avery goes to her awesome MDO. Then we met up at home in time to get Avery fed and down for bed, and we enjoyed the rest of the evening with chips and queso and guac while we watched a movie. Ahh, it was a fantastic day.

Speaking of Little Women, we did a preview song during church today to help advertise the show, and tickets are already going so fast! You should come see it-- we open this week and have performances Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night. If you're in the DFW area, leave a comment with your e-mail address and I'll send you the rest of the info!

And I know I should be watching the World Cup final right now. I've been a huge soccer freak my entire life, so it just seems like it'd be natural for me to follow the biggest soccer event of the quadrade. (Haha, I'm pretty sure I just made up that word, but there really needs to be a word for "every four years.") Anyway, I've just been so busy that I can't even bring myself to care. And that makes me sad.

Tomorrow begins a new week. I'm SO excited about the show next weekend, and as sad as I am for it to be over, I'm really excited to have some down time. Whatever that is. :)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Growing Up.

Today was Avery's one year well check-up, and boy has she grown! She's a whopping 24 lbs 12 oz and is 32 inches tall (still off the charts for her height)! Her pedi was so impressed with her verbal and physical development. Avery's vocabulary is already triple the norm for a 12 month old. She has 10 words already: baboo (which means "puppy" and the pedi said counts as a word because she assigned it meaning), night night, mama, dada, moo, book, uh-oh, door, nose, and bubba (which means "belly button"). Isn't she smart?!? Not that I'm biased or anything. :) The two shots invoked only minimal crying; oh, and Avery did okay with them, too.

If you have the time, I encourage you to head over to MckMama's post on today's parent. I couldn't agree with her more, and I definitely couldn't have said it better. Disclaimer: it's long and probably controversial, but it's well worth your time. Check it out!

I've been thinking a lot about growing up, specifically my own childhood memories. I don't really have time to write a thoughtful post about all these mind-ramblings right now, but Matt and I frequently have conversations about being intentional with our kids' childhoods and making sure that we're giving them quality life-experiences. I'll come back to this topic later because there's lots to explore.

But now it's play time, and these are times I can't get back. :) Happy Tuesday!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Celebrate Good Times...

To say this was a full weekend would be a drastic understatement.

We started off the action by attending my baby brother's graduation from the police academy. He's been employed by our police department for a few months already now, but he officially gets to start as an officer tomorrow. We're so proud of him! After the ceremony, family and friends went to Spring Creek Barbecue and ate our weight in hot rolls (okay fine, maybe that was just me).
After Matt dropped Avery and me off at home, he went and picked up our brand-spankin-new mattress!! I'm so tempted to add more exclamation points because that is just how excited we were to get it. We've been talking about getting a new mattress for months now, and after a few years of hand-me-downs, it's the first good bed we've had since we've been married (not that we weren't grateful for those hand-me-downs!). Ahhh, I've slept SO soundly the last two days; poor Matt has had to get up with Avery and/or the dogs in the mornings because I just don't. hear. a. thing. And we got a rockin good deal: a $2,000 mattress set for under $500. Thank you, Mattress Giant for clearing out your floor models during a massive July 4th sale!

Matt's parents and sister came in town on Friday night, so we just chilled at home that evening because Avery was already fast asleep by the time they made it in (stupid traffic!).

Saturday was Avery's first birthday! We had lots of family and friends join us, and Avery got her first taste of cake. And not just any cake-- the best cake ever. A sweet mom of a student Matt and I both taught last year made it for us, and I was just in love with it! Avery didn't think it was too bad either. :) Matt's parents brought a blow up water slide and a bouncy house with a ball pit attached to it, but Avery would have none of it. I was so surprised because she is usually all about that kind of stuff! We asked that people not bring gifts to the party (mostly because Avery just has so much stuff, but we also just wanted everybody to come and hang out without having to worry about bringing her anything), but since the request was largely ignored, we let Avery open her gifts while everyone was there. She's a very blessed little girl!

Saturday night Avery just crashed. I guess a sugar high and overstimulation will do that to ya! As for us, we got pizza and chilled in front of the TV (okay, so I worked on church stuff, but it was relatively relaxing).

The Fourth of July is my very favorite holiday (although I do love Christmas and Thanksgiving). I love fireworks, grilling (or, uh, having other people grill for me), eating outside, and just hanging out with friends. Just overlook the humidity and the bugs (and this year ash falling from the sky during the fireworks show-- eek!), and it's the best day of the year. We spent the Fourth at the Talleys with lots of people from our church, and Avery adored the fireworks. As long as we were holding her, she wasn't scared at all of the loud noises, and she just watched with her eyes filled with wonder as the sky lit up in brightly colored explosions. It was perfect.

I hope your weekend was just as enjoyable. Congratulations to Nick, and happy birthday to Avery and America!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy Birthday, Avery!

Where did this year go?!? Last year at this time I was so completely frustrated at being almost two weeks past my due date because we were BEYOND ready to meet our sweet girl! After being induced, getting an epidural, having nothing go according to "the plan," and spending almost 19 hours in labor, you finally made it to my arms at 3:03 am on July 3. All of the frustration and stress of a traumatic delivery melted away when we saw your gorgeous face. I'm not even just being biased; all the nurses kept saying, "She is just such a pretty baby! We haven't had a pretty one in awhile!" But pretty is as pretty does, and there is so much more to you than an adorable face! Here's what your up to at the ONE YEAR mark:

You're still a big girl! Well, tall anyway. We'll get your stats at your check-up on Monday, but you're still wearing size 3 diapers and size 12-18 month clothes.

I haven't bought baby food in a few weeks now because you just eat whatever we're having for dinner. And you really do eat anything. You scarf down your fruit and vegetables, but you like meat and bread too. And we can't forget those Cheerios! You also started drinking cow's milk this past week, and you love it! We just quit the formula cold turkey, and it's been a seamless transition. You drink three 8 oz bottles of it a day, and now we just need to think about moving past the bottle. You do love your sippy cups though, and you use those to drink water during the day.

You talk a lot. You know what sounds cows, puppies, and pirates make. You say uh-oh whenever anything falls, and you call your puppies "baboo." (We thought it was just a random word until we realized that every time you said it you were pointing to Nutmeg or Sadie.) You can show us your belly button and how big you are.You know that I'm "Mama," and you say "Dada" but don't seem to recognize that as Daddy's name yet. You love music and dance all. the. time. You love cell phones and getting into bags, and you get angry when you don't get what you want! I have no idea where that temper came from! (Oops...)

You love to walk holding our hands and cruising on the furniture. The only solo "steps" you've taken so far are to fall toward us, but you're getting there! You are a super-fast crawler though. It's hard to keep up with you these days!

You have four teeth now, one on the top and three on the bottom. Hehe, it's so cute! Your hair's getting longer too, but you just hate bows now. I'm lucky if I get one in your hair but even luckier if it stays there longer than two minutes.

We finally got you a big girl car seat! It just came in today, so you'll have to test it out later. It looks stinkin' comfortable though! You've been pretty fussy in the car lately, so I'm hoping this solves the problem.

This past year has been the best year ever. You bring so much joy to our lives, and we can't imagine our lives without you. Happy birthday, Avery Grace!