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He Is Risen, Indeed

Sunday, March 27, 2016
Happy Easter from our family to yours. I hope you had a wonderful day celebrating our risen Savior! Jesus did it all on that cross and in that grave. All we have left to do is live, for Him.

We had a sweet day of worship at church followed by brunch with family at the Westin.

Sweet cousins! <3 p="">
The day started super early since we had to be at church at 7:15ish to start making coffee. With expected 1900 people in attendance we had to get a jump start on our 4th Sunday hospitality duties with the lifegroup. It is so fun to serve alongside these people. It was crazy...seriously could not keep the coffee made fast enough.

Before we headed off to church we spent a couple minutes letting Perry explore his loot from the Easter bunny in his basket. He got a new bath and beach towel, a dinosaur egg that hatches in water, several new legos, and some Mickey Mouse sunglasses for our trip in May. And this precious bunny cookie has a big bunny and all kinds of cookie accessories to dress him up with. Perry was so excited. Way too excited to get anything that resembles a posed picture with all his "treats" as he calls them.

That dinosaur egg didn't last long in the box. We had to break that bad boy out tonight and get him dunked in a pitcher of water. Apparently we will have a baby dinosaur in a few days time. lol. I will keep you posted on dino watch.

And tonight we stayed in and had a gourmet dinner of leftovers and bagel bites. For anyone who was at Rivertree this morning you will understand why. Ross used bagel bites in a sermon illustration and apparently he needs to get paid for product placement advertising. Because we couldn't resist buying a box at the grocery store this afternoon. And for anyone who wasn't at Rivertree...go listen to the recording from this morning to know what bagel bites have to do with Easter. lol.

Hope your day was filled with fun, family, friends and most of all Jesus! And maybe a more sophisticated dinner. 

Leading up to Easter

Saturday, March 26, 2016
This week has been about getting ready for Easter; ready to celebrate our risen Savior! We have been dying and hunting eggs, baking cookies, and visiting with family and friends.

On Tuesday night at lifegroup we did a super simple little egg hunt in the living room with the three lifegroup kiddos. Found these sweet and simple bunny ears at Target which were perfect.

In the next installment of "learning to decorate cookies" I did some carrots in honor of the Easter holiday. I think they turned out really cute.

Thursday night we dyed eggs. Also at Target (I promise I am not paid to say their name...they are just rocking the seasonal stuff right now) we found this amazing pirate easter egg kit. It had colors of course, but also foam stickers and other accessories to turn simple eggs into swashbuckling pirates. Perry loved it and it was spot on for a 3 year old's skill and interest level!\

Friday night we made a pilgrimage to the mall for dinner and to buy Perry some new shoes (don't get me started on the fact that the previous shoes only lasted 1.5 months. While walking downstairs Perry got a glimpse of the Easter bunny and wanted to go in and see him. We figured if Perry is asking to do it then we should indulge him. The picture turned out pretty cute as Easter bunny pictures can be.

Sips and Scripts: Handlettering 101

Last Monday night after work I got a night away to go get my creative on. I have pretty terrible handwriting naturally, so when I saw a workshop to learn handlettering...aka writing pretty...I was all over it. The workshop was taught through Encourage Huntsville by Jacki Gil who I knew back in my Westminster days. She is a local small business owner (of Salt and Paperie) and has spectacular handlettering skills. The class was taught at Stem and Stein and along with the instructions, pens, paper, and other materials to take home...the event came with a glass of wine. Which is perfect for taking the edge off and anxiety down when learning a new skill.

It was so fun. And the whole handlettering process is not nearly as hard as I thought. It is pretty intuitive really. At the end of the class we were given a blank piece of paper and instructed to practice making a lettered work of art. I did "throw kindness like confetti" which is one of my favorite quotes of all time. It makes me happy and keeps my heart focused on blessing others.

Didn't turn out too shabby for a first attempt at anything like that. Not sure where it will end up at home...right now it is hanging proudly on our magnetic chalkboard in the kitchen...right beside Perry's preschool artwork. lol.

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Our little leprechaun

Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Happy (a few days late) St. Patrick's day from our little Irish lad. Last week got a little pear shaped with a diagnosis of the flu for Perry on Tuesday. Word on the preschool halls...the vicious virus was spreading like wildfire around there. Perry did get the flu shot (that makes him getting the flu 2 of the last 3 years, with the shot) which made the whole ordeal way less severe than it would have been otherwise. He spiked a fever late Monday night and felt really crummy all of Tuesday. Fever was gone by Wednesday morning but we hung low and stayed away from preschool until Friday.

So I spent some extra time working from home last week. Sorry to the coworkers who had to tolerate video calls to the background noise of Octonauts on the TV.

Despite not feeling great, Thursday was St. Patricks day and we celebrated with some Lucky Charms for breakfast and were looking super cute in our best green clothes.

Happy belated St. Patricks Day!

Preschool Easter 2016

Monday, March 21, 2016
This week is spring break in Huntsville so preschool is down to a skeleton crew of workers and kiddos. So the big preschool Easter festivities happened last Friday.

The day started with an egg hunt outside on the playground. Perry had a little tumble at the beginning when he got tripped up with another little one running off to find the eggs. But he brushed it off and got a bunch of eggs in his basket. All the kids looked so cute in their Easter clothes.

Then we went back inside and the kids went back to their regularly scheduled preschool programming for a little while before the class party at 11:00. The day's schedule made me feel a little schizophrenic between work and mom life. I went to work for a meeting, then to school for the egg hunt at 9:30, then went and got a little work done at panera before heading back to Mayfair for the party at 11:00, then it was back to work for the rest of the day. Whew.

The party was fun and the kids had lots of yummy goodies to eat. Preschool holidays are the best. Until the end when it is time to leave and go back to work and Perry is clammering to go with me. Breaks my little working mom's heart. But it was just for a couple hours and we had a fun weekend in Auburn ahead of us.

Looking forward to some more Easter fun this week, celebrating our risen Savior!

Genetics takes over Tampa

Sunday, March 13, 2016
I made it home yesterday from nearly a full week in Tampa for the the American College of Medical Genetics Meeting. It was a great week but I am glad to be home with my people. Florida was beautiful and a perfect sunny and breezy 70-80 degrees each day. Didn't feel one drop of rain.

The convention center was right on the water so we had lots of opportunities for sitting outside and enjoying the views between sessions about DNA, genome sequencing, and the pros and cons of letting people have direct access to such things.

It was awesome having other HudsonAlpha people there this year. I have been going to this meeting as the lone ranger from the Institute for a number of years. All three of the HudsonAlpha Genetic Counselors were there along with our medical geneticist, several scientists and our communications director. I also got to meet up with Kristen and Whitney there as well and catch up on life. Missed the other 5 grad school classmates though.

Based on pictures you would think we did a lot of sitting outside and eating. But that was just the most interesting things to photograph.

We had a lot of representation at the meeting too. I gave a talk on a panel discussion Wednesday morning about patient directed genetic testing (see middle tweet below) and Whitley and I both had posters on some of our developmental delay genome sequencing data. It was a full week.

The most fun I had all week was a little surprise Kristen and I had planned for Whitney on Friday night to celebrate her recent 30th birthday. The three of us took an Uber to Busch Gardens to go on a Serengeti Night Safari. Totally underrated and unknown event that I found searching the internet desperately for "fun things to do in Tampa." It was awesome. The park was closed so it was just us (and the other 20 people on the tour) in the park. It included appetizers, drinks and desserts and a couple really entertaining tour guides (who knew a surprising amount about biology and genetics...and made jokes about going to "jail electrophoresis"...oh yes they did). We got to walk around the park and come face to face (through a thick sheet of glass) with a hippo, alligator and some lions and boarded the back of a truck for a ride out onto the plains to see giraffes, zebras, rhinos, and other assorted african critters. It was amazing and such a fun (and perfectly random) way to celebrate Whitney.

Another ACMG is in the books. Now it is back to actually doing genetics tomorrow at work and not just talking it. 

Kites and Cake

Monday, March 7, 2016
It has been such a nice, fun weekend. It is sad to see it come to a close. Sunday nights usually end on the couch with my laptop trying to prepare for meetings and getting ready for the work week ahead. That is what I have been doing for the past 3 hours or so. But before I totally succumb to the work week, lets go back and relive a little bit more of this weekend's fun.

Saturday we had a little family outing to John Hunt Park for the Community Kite Festival. We were not really prepared and did not take a kite (much to Perry's dismay) but it was super cool to see all the kites others were flying in literally all shapes and sizes. Perry got a kick out of trying to figure out what all the kites looked like or had on them. There were lots of other things to see and do like firetrucks and food. And lots of community organizations giving out information...with a diverse set of interests...given the event was themed "soaring for social justice." We didn't stay too long but it was a spectacularly beautiful day and so we enjoyed meandering a little bit.

Then we went and grabbed lunch and I was off to my afternoon cake-decorating class. The class was through Encourage Huntsville and was with Heather at Slice at a Time. Also known around here as "our cake lady." I will never ever be able to do cakes like she can...but I will happily take any tips and training she will give. In the class we learned how to apply and smooth out buttercream icing and color it to look like water colors. We also got to play with wafer paper and make a flower out of that. The final result was beautiful. And yummy.

Today was spent doing lots of very unglamorous housework and potty training. No one needs to see pictures of those unavoidable things like cleaning toilets and doing loads (and loads) of laundry. I am off to Tampa on Tuesday for the week for the American College of Medical Genetics meeting. Looking forward to some Florida weather, genetics learning, and getting to see some new and old friends. It should be a great week of nerdy fun. Meanwhile, Andrew and Perry will be holding down the home front and having some good daddy/son time.

All the World's a Stage

Saturday, March 5, 2016
Whew. Happy Friday y'all. This week has been filled with lots of busyness and work with a little fun in the form of our favorite nephew's 9th birthday. Which we celebrated Tuesday night by the flame of the Hibachi grill. No Chucky Cheese for those kids...they have good taste.

Our week ended with a bang and a very late night out at Andrew's old high school stomping ground. We had a fun little family night out with dinner and going to see the Wizard of Oz put on my Grissom High School's musical theater. The show started at 7:30 which meant it would be over...well past bedtime. Perry did awesome though. He loved the show (though the thought the wizard was excessively loud and the tornado part was a little sad) and every time the room went dark he would look up and say "are they coming back?!?" He was quiet and watched the whole thing intently, sweet boy.

The show was amazing. The students on stage did an awesome job singing, dancing and acting...and sometimes at the same time. Would have never guessed many of them were high school students. The sets and effects were super cool as well. Good job Grissom!

We are all glad it is Friday for lots of reasons. One being that we can sleep in a little bit tomorrow!

Tonight was actually our second theater adventure in the last couple of weeks. We took Perry a couple weekends ago to go see Winnie the Pooh at the Fantasy Playhouse Theater. It was also really cute and well done. Perry loved that show too. Especially Piglet.

Spring Fever

Tuesday, March 1, 2016
This past weekend was so amazingly beautiful outside. The high 60s, low 70s temps were flirting with spring, the sun was shining and it just about feels like spring. We tried to take advantage of it and have some extra time in the great outdoors.

Saturday morning we did a little family consignment sale shopping. Ok I shopped while Perry and Daddy wandered around. Then we went to do some Target browsing for spring/Easter goodies and decided to grab the makings of a picnic and head to the park next door to eat our lunch al fresco. It was a fun little impromptu picnic thanks to the target grocery section. And another sweet family was there and shared some bread with Perry so he could feed the local ducks and geese too. At least the few who are still hanging around here during the winter.

Perrys little sweatshirt reads "throw kindness like confetti." Such a sweet message and reminder to be kind and extra generous to everyone around us and try to be sunshine in a dark and fallen world. You never know when that smile or random act of kindness is going to be just what the recipient needs in that moment.

Like sharing your bread for the ducks with another child at the park. :)

And when your shirt talks about confetti, what do you do? You play with confetti of course. Speaking of the wonders of Target...their dollar isle had these awesome confetti poppers recently and I could not resist picking a couple up. Never know when you might need them. lol.

Perry had a little backyard confetti throwing fun and swingset playtime when we got home from our errands and picnic.

Sunday was another spectacular day. We went to church and came home and went for a long walk around the neighborhood and up to Pollywog Pond, and took some pictures of our boy playing on the pier. 

Now it is back to normal late winter weather and temperatures. Burr and ick. Hopefully spring is just around the corner for good. The groundhog said so a few weeks ago at least.

Cookie Creativity

I have been saying for several years that I really want to learn to bake and decorate pretty sugar cookies. It seems like such a fun (and yummy) creative outlet and a really useful skill to have for parties and other events.

I have dabbled a time or two but usually ended up frustrated at having cookies that spread and got disfigured when baked (talking about you gingerbread man turned michelin man) or weird icing consistencies. I had a win a couple weeks ago with some super bowl football cookies where I finally found a good (and easy) cookie recipe that keeps it's shape, that made me start to think that maybe I can figure this thing out.

When "my cookie lady" Telah announced she was offering cookie decorating classes I jumped at it. A night learning from the pro? Yes please. Ann went with me and we had a fun girls night out learning the basics of royal icing art.

She taught us lots of different skills and we got to play with some of her fancy tools like stencils and an airbrush. So fun. 

So now I find myself coming up with reasons to make cookies because well, practice makes perfect. This weekend was the Oscars and we had the Towry's over to watch. So I played around with some movie themed cookies. I have to continue to have patience and turn down my perfectionist nature....but I think they turned out pretty cute. My icing writing needs some work. 

Perry requested some "mickey" cookies so while I was using red and black I did a couple mouse heads for him.

We will see where it goes. If anyone wants to give me a reason to practice...just let me know. :)

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