Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Office Mates

Well...I had some new office mates yesterday:
 They hauled in four blankets, four bags, and a whole lot of laughter. They spent the day playing in the cave, and I will be forever grateful that I work in a place where people just come in and laugh when they see it.

The highlight of the day was lunch in the dining hall, though:
 Issa had a salad, pasta, and peas.
Evan had cereal and peas.

Both kids finished with the perfect root beer float. Last year at summer camp, Miss Cece taught them the appropriate way to make and eat one, and that is now a must every time they eat in Belk. Miss Cece was so proud.

By some miracle, I was also super productive yesterday, so we are calling it a win all around!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Little Things

We had a lovely weekend. It was nothing remarkable, but it was lovely.

Saturday morning, we went to the farm for the first time this season. We only stayed about an hour and a half because it was 34 degrees, but it was so good to be back. The kiddos collected eggs and said hello to all their farmyard critter friends. Brad and I chatted over rows of greens while we pulled weeds. We missed our Saturday mornings there, and we are so glad to be back!

Yesterday, miracles happened. We took the kids shoe shopping, and they both found tennis shoes that they loved and that fit on the first try. We were in and out in less than 30 minutes. Brad was ecstatic.

Now we are settling into spring break. The kids are going with me at work, which is always an adventure, but the rest of the week we will be home enjoying a little quiet and a lot of family time. I can't wait.

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


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.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

On Time Changes

I do not like time changes. This whole getting up in the dark and dragging children out of bed business is ridiculous. Evan keeps telling me I'm confused when I go in every morning. I understand, buddy, I have the same feeling when my alarm goes off.

I will say this, though: I do love having the daylight a little longer. When Issa and I got home from the studio last night, it was still bright and warm. She and Evan headed directly outside to play, and because Brad loves me more than I deserve, he ordered pizza. I just couldn't face cooking, so I went out to putter in the yard and listen to the kids while we waited for it to arrive. It was good for my soul.

We ate dinner on the deck again, and eventually hauled the kids in from the hammock. It is still a pirate ship and way too much fun. After a few rounds of whack a mole we had them settled into bed a bit earlier last night, and by the end of the week we should be in bed by normal times...or at least that's what I'm telling myself.

Monday, March 9, 2015


This was another one of those blissful weekends. Friday night, Issa went to her first dance:
 As ridiculous as I find a third through fifth grade dance, Issa was so excited. She did announce, "If a slow song comes on, I am just going to do ballet or lyrical because I am not dancing with a boy!" There were no slow songs, and she had a great time for the first hour or so. After that, it apparently got a bit boring.

While she was dancing the night away, the boy and I headed out for cheese burgers:
He just keeps getting funnier and funnier. He wanted to sit on the same side of the booth, and I loved listening to his uninterrupted chatter.

Saturday, we were at the studio bright and early. Thankfully, Daddy took the red eye home and met us there. After two and a half hours of dance, Issa was starving, so Daddy decided to take us out for brunch. We were a little too excited to discover La Place does brunch now, and it was perfection. We spent the rest of the afternoon napping and just playing.

Yesterday, spring arrived, and it was such a welcome warmth. We had a picnic lunch in the front yard before we went to Marbles for the afternoon. The kids had a blast building and exploring, and we came home to soak up a little more spring. The kids played in our backyard, sailing as pirates on the hammock. We had the back door wide open, and I loved listening to them giggle as I made dinner. We ate on the patio, and finally called the kids in when we realized it was time for bath and bed. The time change is a killer, but the extra daylight is lovely.

I'm on break this week, which means a different pace to the work. I still have to go in tomorrow, but that is all. I think this is looking to be a fabulous week.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Career Day

 We had a two hour delay today after an hour early dismissal yesterday for ice. I just can't even. But...the kids did make it in, which was a definite bonus since today was career day. Please allow me to introduce you to our event planner and potions scientist:
I ruined Evan's life when I suggested that the other name for his intended career was chemist. The horror. Somehow, though, event planner seems so right for the girl.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

College Day

Today is college day at school for the kiddos, and our two had a few choices. Wittenberg, Case, UNC, Duke, and Meredith. Here is what they came up with:
In case you are wondering, that would be my sweatshirt Issa is wearing, and Evan is wearing Daddy's hat. Yes...he is wearing the hat over his sweatshirt hood. I can't even.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Happy Ninja

Well...Evan is deliriously happy:
The dojo now has car magnets. Issa's studio has long been represented on her side of the car, and now his dojo is emblazoned on his side...and all is right with the world.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Under Belly of Snow Days

Well...we have made it to school two days in a row for the first time in over two weeks. Evan was not amused by this development. He seems to have forgotten what normal is.

And that is the under belly of snow days. As much as I love the beauty of the snow and making memories with the kids, I'm so over it right. A little whimsy is fun; a lot puts me very close to losing it.

Yesterday, I finally finished cleaning from the snow days. Here is the mean trick for moms on snow days: we are all home all the time. That means the children insist on being fed three times a day. And the first snow day you make a big breakfast because fun! Then it becomes a snow day thing and so your kitchen is wrecked by 7 am. Then lunch rolls around and you mess the whole thing up again, and then there is the afternoon hot cocoa or cookies that makes yet another kitchen mess that gets cleaned up just in time for dinner.

And the laundry. Playing in the snow requires many layers, all of which come in sopping wet and because we live in the South tinged with the blessed red clay. Play wash repeat play wash repeat. And then the cursed snowmen need clothes! And then they need a wardrobe change! I just washed the last of their laundry when their heads fell off yesterday.

So...I am officially declaring myself done with snow days. Period. Which is very sad because we are supposed to get more Thursday afternoon.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Too Much Fun for One Weekend

First: school opened on time this morning. Thank you and Amen. May winter be over and may the return to normal be graceful.

A return to normal may be a little bit more difficult after our fabulous weekend, though. After being home with a week of snow days, we were all ready to get out. Mr. Ryan's birthday was the perfect excuse Friday night. Felicia has spent months planning a huge surprise weekend, and we were so glad to be included in the opening festivities at Defy Gravity, a local trampoline park. The kids had a ball. Issa discovered she is a dodge ball master:  
 And Evan could have spent the entire time running up this ramp, touching the wall, and then sliding back down:
 I must admit, I joined Evan, and it is pretty fun. We brought two exhausted jumpers home.

Saturday, we had hair appointments in the morning and then settled in at home. That much "out" after so much "in" was exhausting. The boys played Infinity and Issa and I crafted pretty much all afternoon. It was lovely. That night, we tucked the kids in bed and then had an impromptu game night with Ryan, Felicia, and his friend Bill who had flown in for the party. The house was a mess, but I truly didn't care. I love having friends who don't care, and I'm so grateful to finally be in a place where an impromptu phone call doesn't send me rushing to clean. We stayed up way too late and I regretted some decisions Sunday morning, but it was so fun I would do it all again in a heart beat.

Yesterday afternoon, we braved some very cold rain to go see the Harlem Globetrotters. Issa's dance company was the pre-game show:
I am so grateful Melanie brought a camera! Issa had a blast dancing in the big arena, and both kids loved the game. I remember seeing them when I was in elementary school, and not much has changed. Brad and I had more fun watching the kids than anything. Evan was truly belly laughing for half of the game, and both kids were relieved the Globetrotters pulled out a last minute win. This was one of those unexpected opportunities that dance provides that the kids will always remember.

And now...we're settling in for what I pray is a normal week!