Monday, May 4, 2015

Rockin' Relay

This weekend was a blur of activity, but each day deserves its own post.

Friday night, we set off to Relay for Life. Issa's Company had been invited to perform, and the girls were awesome! The night, however, was a comedy of errors. 

It had been raining off and on all week and most of the day Friday, but it cleared up just in time for Relay. It was chilly, but not terrible, so things were looking up. When we pulled into Relay, we were directed to park along the road. Unfortunately, the ground was very soft and there was just enough of a ditch for our van to get stuck when Brad was doing the three point required to park where we were told. In a moment that made me love our TTP Family even more, many dance dads were on hand within moments to try to help push it out. Another mom took Issa up for call. I got a bad case of the giggles. Alas, it was stuck. So Brad waited for AAA while Evan and I ran up to get Issa her shoes which were still in my purse.

I arrived to discover the ground was a muddy mess and the stage was tiny. The highlight of my night was watching the senior girls try to figure out how to dance with so little space. Poor Issa started to have a melt down because things were so sideways until she remembered we were there to support a good cause and Uncle Todd. She danced in his honor--her favorite survivor. And boy did she rally.

A volunteer fireman happened by and pulled the van out just in time for Daddy to make it for the performance, and all of the girls rocked it! Another family snapped these photos:

Issa had a blast performing just for the love of dance, and we were all so proud of the minis, the last group to dance. They kept going even when the skies opened up.

We went home to hot showers and warm cookies, and it was a great start to a fabulous weekend.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Follow the Path

Whenever I am asked my expectant mothers what my biggest piece of advice is I always give the same answer: assemble a team of three. You need three good mom friends: one who is a few years ahead of you, one who is right there with you, and one who is a couple of years behind. The one who has walked the path will save you when the baby is making no sense and you are clueless. The one who is right there with you can cry and laugh with you and make you feel less alone. The one who is a few years behind helps you remember that parenting is all about phases and makes you feel like you might possible have your proverbial stuff together. If you have this team, everything seems to work itself out.

Yesterday, I was reminded how critical this team is. Doing homework with Evan is often a bit of a challenge. It's not that he struggles with the work; he struggles with the motivation. Last night, we were trying to work on homework at the studio. All he had to do was draw and label a spring pattern. You would have thought I asked him to cut off his arm and leg to make the pattern. I was two seconds away from melt down when Ms. Paula chimed in. (She is one of my few years ahead village when it comes to boys.) "Hey Evan, how do you feel about circles?" Evan conceded circles were a good deal. He made a whole row. "Now, if you add some lines and moons, you have suns and flowers. Problem solved."

He happily finished the pattern, and I looked at Paula in awe. "Sometimes with boys, start small and get them going. It gets them over the hump." Everyone with older boys agreed, and I have a new strategy for homework.

Clearly brilliant advice. And this is why we need our team, and this is why sometimes its best to just follow the path already made before you. There is wisdom on that path.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015


Issa has had a Claire's gift card burning a hole in her pocket, so we braved the mall Sunday so she could use it. You know what's worse than a child with $35 to spend at Claire's? Arriving to find they are having a buy two get one sale. I mentioned that she didn't need to spend the whole $35 in one day, but that was clearly crazy talk. So she shopped.

She found a hair bow that has every color in the rainbow, matching necklaces for she and I, a set of friendship bracelets for her friends, a locket, and these babies:
 Fake glasses:
She has worn them since Sunday as though they are real. She takes them off right before her head hits the pillow and put them on while she makes her bed. It's hysterical. I must say, though, she does look fabulous.

Monday, April 27, 2015

End of the Season

This weekend, we closed the dance competition season:
The Tiny Company ended the year well, and we couldn't be more proud of Issa. For the first time, she got super nervous before her solo, and at one point she wasn't even sure she could go on. In a moment that will be engraved in my heart forever, one of the older dancers came over and just started rubbing her back and chatting. She is the one who got Issa on stage. Issa danced better than the last competition, and she came off smiling.

When she competed with her team, she genuinely had fun. They danced their little feet off and scored well. Most importantly, we won top studio, which is a combination of performance, team spirit, and character backstage. For us, that is the highest award there is.

And...the icing on the cake is Ryan and Felicia were waiting for us at home with dinner. They made spring rolls and what Brad has deemed beef candy. It was lovely.

We still have a performance at Relay for Life and the recital, but the competition part of the year is over. Now we just celebrate with our little dance family, which is always my favorite part of the year.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

One of the Big Kids

I have gotten used to Issa being one of the big kids. Aside from the tween eye roll she is working to perfect, I have seen her be the cool big kid to littler kiddos. I have watched itty bitties follow her through the studio. I have seen her polish tiny toe nails and play baby dolls when she truly has no interest any more because a beaming little face is looking up at her. I have come to love those moments.

Last night, though, my poor heart was thrown a bit of a sucker punch. I was sitting at ninjitsu watching Evan. They were doing some partner sparring, and I was lucky enough to have a seat closest to him and his partner, a little boy a couple of belts below him. For the first time, I saw Evan as the big kid. I watched him correct his partner's form and encourage him to try again. I watched him walk him through it several times until he had it. I saw them both beam when his partner got it, and I choked back happy tears when Mr. Brian complemented his coaching.

How did this happen? When did my baby become one of the big kids? They just keep growing up, and I'm so grateful to be along for the ride.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Stripe Week

This is stripe week at the dojo:
 And our little ninja got the first stripe on his candy cane belt:
 Which required the traditional Mr. Justin picture:
Oh how I love seeing my boy this happy doing something he loves.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Angel Dog

We all made it through yesterday. By all accounts the kids had a good day at school, and I will be forever grateful for the fairly steady stream of emails from teachers in the building letting me know my kiddos were okay. One of my friends had put the word out, and every one was on watch and ready to hug. I sure do love our little school.

Issa was able to go to her happy place for a solo lesson, and I could watch her relax. Evan talked with Mr. Chris about his angel dog, Viv, who now watches over him from heaven just like she did on earth. Oh how I love that image.

And Neela, well Neela has a new mission. Viv loved raw hide bones, but she never actually chewed them. She was more of a raw hide hoarder. We now know how substantial the hoard was because Neela has made it her mission to retrieve them all. We were all in hysterics last night as she kept coming in with yet more rawhide. I thought at first she was just taking it in and out, but then we saw the piles inside.

Evan has decided Viv gave her permission to dig it up and told her where it all was. We do find it so funny that Neela never once touched it until yesterday, and now that pile is making her absurdly happy. Thanks, Viv.