Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Smells Like Pre-Teen Spirit

How is this little guy TWELVE today?
He's turning into such a teenager - some good, some bad {grin}!
He's sleeping LATE, eating like a horse, starting to smell...
But also picking up responsibility and maturing before our eyes.

I can still remember these first moments with him brand new.
I will never forget how awed I was that he was HERE and I was a MOM.
Love him more than words can say!

Monday, June 28, 2021


Current Book

Started both of these over the weekend.

Current Song

I introduced the girls to Wicked, and Drew is LOVING it!
Lots of Defying Gravity in our house lately.

Current TV Show

I just finished Atlantic Crossing and it was AWESOME.
One of the characters was also in The Last Kingdom, 
and I only watched 1 season of that, so I want to start it again.
Plus, the same friend who told me about Atlantic Crossing told me about Sanditon {which is based on Jane Austen's unfinished novel}, and I want to try it too. 
Plus it has Theo James in it, who I love!

Current Podcast/Audiobook

I've listened to one episode of this and am really enjoying it already!

Current Drink

I would say 95% of the time I get my chai lattes hot.
But I got an iced one {without ice, ha} on Saturday, and it was delicious!

Current Food

Got Chipotle for dinner last night with the kids.
It continues to be one of my FAVORITES!

Current Shame-Inducing Pleasure

In addition to the 2 books mentioned above, 
I'm also doing a speed-read of one of my favorite romance series.
And to clarify, it isn't the fact that I'm reading romance novels that is shame-inducing...more that I've read this series too many times to count!

Current Outfit

Post Jazzercise workout in a super old tank top. 
Had to change into my glasses after I finished because my eyes were burning!
Maybe this awful garbage tank top should be my shame-inducing moment?

Current Celebrity Crush

Tobias Santelmann -
pics from him in The Last Kingdom and Atlantic Crossing-swoon!

Current Mood

SO READY for some time off - 
my company is giving us a 5-day weekend for July 4, and I am PUMPED!
[And yes, I did send this to my boss. {grin} She laughed.]

Current Anticipation

Somebody turns TWELVE on Wednesday!
How is this possible??

Current Wishlist

I've been shopping for fun 4th of July tank tops.
I am really excited for a more normal holiday weekend!!

Current Movie

I just read this book - now I want to watch the movie on Netflix!

Current Picture

My sister and I took our mom out Saturday to celebrate her 70th birthday.
I'm not sure when the last time was the 3 of us were together without kids.
We had A BLAST!

Thursday, June 24, 2021

When Work Trips Involve Best Friends

We had a fun few days last week with friends because of Brent's work! Well, the beginning part of the fun wasn't because of Brent, so we'll get to that first. {grin}

On Sunday we had a baby shower for our friends who are having a little girl later this summer. This is a friend we never thought was going to get married, so we are SO HAPPY for him and his wife!

We can't wait to meet baby Sparrow!

THEN we got on the road for Brent's work event! So he works with 2 of his best friends, and their wives are 2 of my best friends. Usually when you have to go to a spouse's work event, it's NOT something you are excited about. That is NOT the case when you get to do it with some of your best friends!!

Brent's work event was on Monday evening, but we all went up Sunday afternoon and had an amazing dinner Sunday night and got up on Monday and moved over to the hotel where the event would be and spent a big chunk of Monday at the hotel pool.

The wives at dinner on Sunday night!

Our AMAZING hotel Monday night - maybe the nicest hotel I've stayed in EVER!

Couldn't you just spend all day at this pool? We tried!

All dressed up for dinner!

Neighbors and work wives, I love her!

It was so cold that we all stole our husband's jackets.

LJA wives

It's really such a joy to get to do life with these friends!

Monday, June 21, 2021

Summer 2021 Bucket List

Today is the first official day of summer! So even though we've been out of school for a few weeks, I just now got around to talking to the kids about a list of things we want to do this summer. I am SO excited for this summer - it feels so normal {so far}, and I am RELISHING it!

  • Take a road trip
  • Eat snow cones {I'm surprised we haven't already done this!}
  • Make crafts
  • Rent a water slide
  • Camp outside
  • Make s'mores
  • Take a river trip
  • Go to the lake
  • Make homemade pizzas
  • Watch a movie in the park
  • Participate in the neighborhood 4th of July parade
  • Have a water balloon fight
  • Volunteer in our community
  • Go to the Waco zoo
  • Make homemade ice cream
That's what we've come up with! What are we missing? What's on your summer bucket list?

Friday, June 11, 2021

I Spy Week 22

I'm late to this week's link-up with Lysha, but better late than never! These were fun prompts to do, I hope you enjoy!

{Floral Print}

What's more floral print than actual flowers?
These are from my parents' yard and are so pretty!


I don't know if I've shared on the old blog that I hurt my shoulder/rotator cuff.
It's been about 6+ months, and ignoring it and continuing to work out almost every day has NOT, in fact, made it get better. {grin}
I started PT this week, and I get to do exercises every day with this lovely lacrosse ball.

It's funny because I don't really like the color orange, so when I saw these prompts, I was then on Tuesday I bought this beauty!


Drew, my little artist, drew this for me!

{Starts with F}

My tennis Friends are coming to my Body Pump class!

{Your Choice}

The girls painted rainbow paintings with my mom yesterday.
Love these girls!

Thursday, June 10, 2021

10 on the 10th

We are getting super close to the official start of summer, but we've been enjoying summer vacation for 2 weeks now. I thought it would be fun to share 10 Things I Love About Summer for today's 10 on the 10th!

1. Pool Time

We all love swimming! We are so lucky to have a great pool in our neighborhood and we spend so much time there all summer. It's a great way to enjoy the sweltering Texas heat, get the kids' energy out, and just PLAY!

2. Lazy Mornings

I love that our mornings are stress free! The school year morning rush is so hectic, and by the start of summer I am so drained from it. I love that everyone can sleep in and wake up when they want.

3. Late Evening SUNSHINE

Similar to #2, it's so great to have so much sunshine. In the height of summer, we still will have light at 9 PM. It's so great now that the kids are tied to strict bedtimes as much to be able to relax and enjoy the outside in the evenings...when it finally cools down ha!

4. Trent's and Babs' Birthdays

We love birthdays in this family and love celebrating our peeps.
This year Trent turns 12, and Babs turns 70!!!

5. 4th of July Fun

The 4th of July is becoming one of my favorite holidays. We spend it in our neighborhood - participating in our little parade, swimming at the pool, eating with our friends, doing sparklers. It is such a fun day. It's also great that this year my company is giving us 3 days of holidays around the 4th, so I get a 5-day weekend, yay!

6. Lake Adventures

For the last few years, we've gone on a weekend lake adventure with Brent's mom. The kids and I have had a blast every time. I'm looking forward already to ours for this year, and it's not until August.

7. Lots of Family Time

I love how much stuff we get to do as a family!

8. Snow Cones

My FAVORITE summer treat!

9. Time with Friends

We have such great friends that I love doing life with. Especially our neighborhood crew. I love that in the summer we get to do even more together - I have a generous vacation policy at work, and I love using days in the summer to go on adventures.

10. My Birthday!

Saving the best for last! I love celebrating MYSELF every summer. {grin}

What do you love the most about summer?

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Movie Review: Raya and the Last Dragon

I took the girls to see Raya and the Last Dragon over Memorial Day weekend, and we had a great time together. The girls haven't seen a movie in a theater since Frozen 2 in 2019, so it was long overdue. You might also be reading this thinking 'Allena. Seriously? You are reviewing a kids movie?' I am just so happy to be going to the movies again, I can't help myself! {grin}

Plot: In a realm known as Kumandra, a re-imagined Earth inhabited by an ancient civilization, a warrior named Raya is determined to find the last dragon.

Review: This was pretty darn good and really cute! The girls and I enjoyed it and stayed entertained the whole time. The plot was not too detailed where Paige got lost but enjoyable enough for me. It was a little bit scary at times - I did end up with Paige on my lap - but it was manageable. I liked the theme of working together, developing trust, etc. There were times it felt a little tedious because a million things went wrong along the way, but it wasn't Armageddon level, ha. {I remember watching that movie and just thinking 'This is literally the most intense case of everything-that-could-go-wrong-is-going-wrong.' and having lots of eye-rolling moments.} I also got irritated that in my head I always said her name Ray-uh {you know like it's spelled} instead of Rye-uh {how it is apparently pronounced}. That drove me nuts! But really, I think this one is a good one for the whole family from late toddler upward. 

Sunday, June 6, 2021

What Are We XX-ing?

Linking up again with Anne for her version of Currently. It always seems like something like this should be easy, but it isn't. Sometimes I spend a lot of time thinking about what I want to blog about, ha.


School is out and summer is here!
Our spring has been unusually mild and wet, 
so we are excited for it to hopefully soon FEEL LIKE SUMMER,
but we are 100% enjoying the lazy days right now.

Pool time at Brent's brother's house!
{Still too cold for me though, ha}


I am not a collector of anything, so I was really struggling with this. I thought about it for a second...
I realized I currently have 10 electronic books checked out!!!
Even for me that's a little excessive, but it sure seems like a collection.
There's no way I'll get through all of them before their due dates, 
but I'm going to give it my best effort!

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
Untamed by Glennon Doyle {for a work book club event}
The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton
White Tiger by Aravind Adiga {Blog Friend Book Club}
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult {old school book club, this Friday!}
On the Way to the Wedding by Julia Quinn
Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
Motherhood So White by Nefertiti Austin
So Close to Being the Sh*t, Y'all Don't Even Know by Retta {audiobook}


BIRTHDAYS! FATHER'S DAY! June is a big month in our family!

My mom turns 70 on June 21 this year, and Trent turns 12 on June 30.
Then it's time to love on the dads in our lives, and we've got some great ones.
And I am the WORST gift giver in the world, 
so I have a ton of anxiety about what to get everyone in this list, sigh.


We're working on lining up some vacations this summer and fall.
It is so exciting to think about travel and normal life again.

Our fall staycation when Costa Rica couldn't happen - our last 'trip'


I'm really trying to get back on track with my weight loss.
If you've been here for a while, you might have noticed I've been silent about it.
The spring was not my friend and I slipped back into bad eating habits.
I am still KILLING my exercise routine though so at least there's that!
But I'm really working to get back on track
 and hopefully have a good update later this summer.
I keep reminding myself this is a marathon...but it's been more like an Iron man!

Friday, June 4, 2021

Good Riddance 2020-2021 School Year!

We have officially been out of school for a full week, yay! The last few weeks of this year definitely felt like we were limping to the finish line - we were all tired and grumpy and READY to put this school year in our rearview mirror.

We went into this year with pretty low expectations - we had no idea what to expect and just wanted to survive. Well, the good news is we did more than survive! Overall, I would say we had a pretty darn good year even with multiple quarantines, masks every day {yuck!}, teacher turnover, and all sorts of confusion.

Let's start with the head of our trio. Trent finished 6th grade which is the end of Lower Elementary. He has 2 more years at Goodwater in the Adolescent Community {7th-8th grades}, and I'm already sad that we are nearing the end of Montessori for him.

Start of the year vs. End of year {during his zoom graduation}

Trent surprised us a lot this year with how well he handled all the uncertainty. He had 3 teachers - and they were all new - and a lot of changes. We only had 1 small rough patch {with one 3-day suspension...after all, it wouldn't be Trent without a LITTLE trouble}.

He did struggle a little in the middle of the year with some regression in his skills, but I *think* we've mostly got him caught up. He took the STAAR test in May, so we'll see how that went for him.

He has some good friends in his class that he's excited to have in Adolescent with him, and he's looking forward to the new opportunities and freedoms that will bring. We think he grew a lot this year and are very excited to see him continue to grow!

Silly Kindergartener vs. Mature 6th Grader

Next up - our Drew Baby! Drew had a wonderful year - you would never have known anything was different for her. She should have been in the same class as last year, but with half the school virtual, her guide from last year became a virtual guide, and she changed classrooms. Well, this change put her back in class with her kindergarten bestie and a soccer friend, and she was in HEAVEN.

August vs. May

Academically, she has BLOSSOMED. She maintained consistent growth throughout the year, and we saw her skills really grow - her reading jumped leaps and bounds, she is doing so much more in math! She will take the STAAR tests next year, and based on how she's doing now, she should ace them, yay!

She was actually sad for school to be out - she is a social butterfly, she loves to learn, and loves her teachers. I'm really excited to see how she will do in her last year in Lower Elementary as a leader of the class and in a much more normal year.

Kindergarten {in the same dress ha} vs. 2nd grade
[Why do my kids want to be silly in their Kinder photos?]

And goodness, let's wrap up with our little ball of sunshine. Paige had her first year at Goodwater, and it was a pretty tough start. She spent 6 months at home, then started at a new school with a new teacher and all new students, had to wear a mask all day, it was brutal. For over a month she cried every day at drop-off!

August {with no clue about what was to come} vs. May {she survived!}
It took a little while for her to get settled, but she eventually got there and then it was smooth sailing! When I had the spring conference with her guide, she commented on Paige being so different now vs. the fall. I told her she was finally getting the real Paige, that the one in the fall was NOT our Paige. She is happy, happy, happy at school! She LOVES her guides and friends, she loves everything they do - they sing, they color and paint, she is obsessed with maps, she loves working on her writing/reading {she is starting to read!!!}. Her little best friend, Lucy, will be moving up to elementary next year, but Paige doesn't seem to be too upset - she is thrilled she gets to stay with her beloved Ms. Liliana and Ms. Maria. I think Pre-K4 will be a great year for her!

I'm really looking forward to the next school year - our Governor has already stated masks won't be mandated, and I'm excited for what is in store for our kids. They are all SO happy! But first, I hope to enjoy a great summer!

Peace out, 2020-2021 school year - we won't miss you!

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

May 2021 Reads

Another month has gone by - I can't believe school is out {post coming soon about how school ended up} and our summer break is starting. So let's start our official first week of summer off with some discussion of BOOKS!

May was another solid month of reading - I read 10 books this month bringing my total to 52. Well ahead of where I need to be for my goal of 100, yay!

The Wicked King/The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black - I read The Cruel Prince back in February. It was the first book in a trilogy set in a world of faeries, elves, magic, etc. but the main character is a human girl growing up there. I liked the first book enough to keep going in the series {and the ending was a big part of that - talk about saving everything for the end!}, and I'm so glad I did because the 2nd and 3rd books were excellent! They were action-packed with some good twists, turns, and intrigue. I really ended up loving the 2 main characters {one of whom we hated at first!}, and this series stuck with me a little longer than others of this type have.

Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai - This story continues with the best friend from The Right Swipe which I read last year. This was a chick-lit rom-com but one that covered some meatier topics with mental health and family relationships. I liked it but didn't love it. 

Code Name Helen by Ariel Lawhon - WW2 Historical fiction alert! Yes, I do keep reading these books and loving them! It's amazing how no matter how many of this genre I read, I continue to learn something. This story jumps from right before WW2 started to further in the war {and nearing the end} and the part one woman plays in it. I was very vested in this story and loved the characters. It kind of reminded me of The Secret Life of Violet Grant where the main character just captured my interest right away, so good.

Big Friendship by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman - I read this for a work book club. To me, it read more like the autobiography of the 2 authors vs. a self-hep book {which is what I assumed it was from the title}. So I can't really figure out what the *point* of the book was? I enjoyed reading their story and the challenges they faced, how they grew apart, and how they worked to bring themselves back together. Did I really take anything away from it? Not really.

Early Morning Riser by Katherine Heiny - This was such a quirky little read that snuck into my heart. Probably the first 10-15% I was really unsure of whether I would like this one - the characters are goofy, I wasn't sure I could get behind the boyfriend, etc. Then the next thing I knew I was loving everyone in this little town! I like how the story jumps ahead - each section is a different year and sometimes there are years between sections. It was fun to see how the characters had changed and what had happened as the time moved around. It ended up being charming and fun and I loved it!

Heroine by Mindy McGinnis - BFBC read this one this month and WOW. It's the story of a star H.S. softball player who gets into a really bad car accident and gets addicted to Oxycontin after some major surgeries. I was very stressed out the whole time as she kept making terrible choices, and I knew eventually everything would implode. It was interesting to discuss with our little club because one of the parts of the storyline is that the main character was adopted and adoption is a big part of 2 members' lives, so it was really thought-provoking to hear their perspective on the way the author had adoption factor into this character's life. I really couldn't put this one down and would recommend to anyone, SO good.

To Sir, With Love/When He Was Wicked by Julia Quinn - Another month and 2 more Bridgerton stories. What am I going to do when I get through them all? I'll be so sad! I mentioned last month that one of the 2 I read wasn't my favorite. Well, I think Francesca's story made up for that one last month! I really liked both of these but especially enjoyed When He Was Wicked.

Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man by Emmanuel Acho - I've been really intrigued by this book after seeing some of Emmanuel's YouTube videos with the same title. I thought it was really interesting that each chapter began by a question from a white person asking a question related to race/racism that Emmanuel would then dive into. Every chapter he gave a little bit of a history lesson, some great food for thought, and ways to put those thoughts into action. I think this is a book everyone should read - it was quick and the way the book was structured made it really easy to understand and think about - while giving room for further learning with great references.

Not much new to report for the kiddos this month - Trent is still working his way through the entire Manga section of our local library, and Drew and I are still reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I can't remember if I mentioned that she has also gotten into graphic novels in the last couple of months. She has read everything just about by Raina Telgemeier {and loved it all}!

She also read When Stars are Scattered {which Trent read last year} which is about 2 refugee brothers and their story. It is co-written by one of the brothers. I read a few sections as Drew asked me to, and gosh, it is so sad and so hard, and I'm very glad both of my big kids read it! Drew finished it at school and said she just cried and cried at the end! I think it's so great for our kids to read stories outside of their everyday life and love that this one touched both Trent and Drew.

So that wraps up May reading. I'm about 2/3 through an interesting story right now about the 6th century and have some holds I'm very excited about. Here's to a great June full of great books!