Friday, March 27, 2015

A Couple of Characters

Check out these characters:
Issa is Thea from the Thea Stilton series, and Evan is Dr. Seuss's Blue Fish. Please excuse his face. He did not want his picture taken at all. But, I told him I would only carry his backpack if I could have a picture, and he didn't want his fin to be squished. A mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do.

The kids and I had so much fun making these costumes. It's the end of Dr. Seuss week at school and the day before spring break. Woooohooooo! I'm working Monday but taking the rest of the week off for some much needed rest and time with these kiddos, and I can't wait.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Safe Place

First: Issa is both wacky and tacky today. She and two friends are in it together and all is right with the world.

I'm also hoping the other two remember. Yesterday was a tough one for our girl. Mean girl stuff just sucks, and although Issa handled it better than I ever could have at her age, it was hard. She went from school to the studio where she got all of her judges critiques, which may prompt growth but it's still hard. To say it was not her favorite day would be an understatement.

But...when she finished critiques, I watched my girl put on her dance shoes and walk into an open studio. I tried to talk, but all I got was, "I just need to dance." I watched through the glass as she ran steps. Not little girl twirls and spins, but technical stuff. Watching the mirror. Starting over. Trying again. I couldn't figure it out until I saw her shoulders start to relax. Hurt turned to determination in her eyes. It was one of those moments where I saw a flash of the woman she will become--is becoming. A woman who knows herself.

More and more, the studio is becoming Issa's safe space. No matter what the day held, she wants to be there. She needs to be there.

The past month I have seen Issa really start to grow up in a very tangible way. She's stretching, and I'm trying to stretch with her. Shift my parenting style to match what she needs. Honoring the fact that she is growing up while balancing that she is still so very young. It's a tricky tight rope act, and some days are more wobbly than others.

Yesterday was wobbly. As I sat and listened to Issa's critiques with her, I was the one who got teary. Not because of the feedback from the judges but because of the conversation with her teacher. She offered support and pushed Issa. She echoed what we had already talked about in so many ways. It's not about the score; it's about the growth. It's about the art and the love. And the love in the room was tangible. As I was holding on for dear life there was a safety net--a safe place and a woman who loves my girl fiercely. There is no greater gift than that.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Growing Up

This week is Dr. Seuss week at school. We have worn red and blue for One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. We wore destination shirts for Oh The Place You'll Go!, and today we wore funky socks for Fox in Socks.

Tomorrow is Wacky Tacky Day. For Evan, this is every day that he chooses his own clothes. He is thrilled that I won't be asking, "Really?" tomorrow morning. It used to be Issa's favorite day, too. But this morning, she mentioned she might not do it. She's afraid her friends won't participate, and she doesn't want to be the only one. Last year, I did the be your own person speech, but this year I realized I had to take a different tone. We're growing up. I told her that she should do what she wants. I reminded her of my follow your own path speech, but this year I found myself adding that I knew that was easier said than done. We talked about how sometimes it's worth taking a path alone, and sometimes it's okay to join the group. The important thing is seeing that difference. It's a hard line.

She plans to talk with some friends today and see if they will all be wacky and tacky tomorrow, and I told her I was fine with whatever she chooses to do. And I truly am. But my heart broke a little. It seems like she is growing up so fast. The answers are getting more complicated. The conversations more difficult. I find myself praying for wisdom a little more fervently and speaking a bit more slowly. I am just so grateful that she's still open, and I am determined to stay open, too.

Monday, March 23, 2015

We Danced the Day Away

Saturday, Issa had another dance competition. This time, she not only competed her solo but also her team dances. Bless their Tiny hearts:
 They were wide awake and ready to roll even though we had a 7:15 am call time--in Greensboro. My alarm went off at 4:30. The whole family was out the door by 6:05. Daddy did an awesome job as a prop dad, and Evan declared himself prop brother. We all couldn't have been more proud of Issa and her team:
Their tap won third, jazz second, and they received one of the two high overall awards. Issa danced her solo even better than the last time. This time, she didn't look at all nervous, and she kept that big stage presence the whole time--her goal. She won second over all, and our mantle is filling up!

Issa, my favorite bun head, please don't ever forget it's not about the score. Trophies are fabulous, but they are not everything. We are proud of you for being brave every time you take that stage and dance for yourself. The art is in the joy. Hold on to that with everything you have. Love, The Proudest Dance Mom on the Planet

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Like a Doll in a Washing Machine

I left home yesterday at 7:25, and I got back home at 9:40. That is one long day at work. It was a good day. Hard, but good. That said, I got home, spent 15 minutes looking at school work, thanked God I'm married to the best Daddy ever who handled everything at home to perfection, and then spent another hour triaging email.

When I woke up this morning, it was a little extra crazy because the kids had extra things to tell me and everyone needed a lunch packed. I hadn't done my usual prep the night before, and it was a flurry out the door.

Brad's colleague sent an email this morning saying he felt like a "doll in a washing machine." Yes. That is it. I'm just telling myself that when I come out I will be refreshed and ready to play. Yeah...let's go with that.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Magic Luck

Last week, Issa announced she just knew Buddy the Elf was friends with leprechauns...and the magic began...

Last night, she decided we needed to leave the leprechauns treats so they would be kind instead of ornery:
 Please note the boys got no credit. They were playing a game when we were preparing. Please also note that the thin mints were broken into pieces to make it easier for the little guys to eat.

Rest assured, the leprechauns came, and they brought Buddy along in his finest St. Patty's Day attire:
 I love that Buddy always reminds us to be brave and kind:
 And check out these special treats:
Pretzel rods with green chocolate, rock candy, and gold nestled in mint M&Ms. Delicious.

The best daddy in the world made the kids green pancakes for breakfast, and those treats worked because the leprechauns fixed Evan's fish pump. (It had nothing to do with anything Daddy did to it right before bed.)

I love these days when magic is expected and delivered and we all feel especially blessed:

Monday, March 16, 2015

Spring

Well, my spring break is officially over. I spent last week catching up on work projects that had been back-burnered. There is something so lovely about lots of checks on the list.

I also spent some time recharging. I did a little shopping. I didn't keep the laundry caught up. I was kind to myself. It was good.

And this weekend was the perfect finish. We were supposed to have the farm kick-off Saturday, but the weather did not cooperate. So...we had a lovely pajama day after a huge breakfast. By late afternoon, though, Daddy had the itch to get out of the house, so we went to see Cinderella. It was so good! I cried at several points, and I loved the way Cinderella developed as a character. It was just enough magic. In short--perfection. Although the boys weren't quite as sold.

The highlight, though, was yesterday. Our day started with homemade granola and then a family outing to Home Depot. We are starting to tackle some projects and dreams around the house. Step one: new light bulbs. It was getting a bit dark in our house, and Brad found some new daylight bulbs that I have declared life changing. We also mulched flower bed, disassembled a crumbling deck, and pruned. The kids are super invested in all the work because they are designing a tree house with Daddy. We grilled for the first time this season, and ate our burgers, sweet potato chips, and kale chips as the sun set. Blissful. We all went to be exhausted and probably a little sore, but it was so worth it.

Now...back to reality.