Monday, January 29, 2018

What a Difference a Year Makes

Yesterday we celebrated Company Showcase--the official public launch of the 2018 dance season. What a difference a year makes...

For starters, we are not wearing a low pony, which has given me back years of my life. And, our dancer started doing some of her own make-up:
 The production theme is School Days this year, and Issa looks a little too grown up:
 I can't believe the growth in her poise. She was cool as a cucumber as we were getting ready, and it lasted all day.

And this team of hers:
 Them trying to get a selfie was hysterical. And they are just the sweetest group of moms and dancers:
 I have never laughed so hard in a dressing room. And their cuteness and huddle was almost too much:
 I want credit! I got pictures of every costume!

 Issa can work that fringe, too!

This costume is an absolute beast to put on in all it's pleather glory, but it looks awesome one stage!

Musical Theater:
They are doing "Fathoms Below" from Little Mermaid, and Issa gets to be Grimsby, the advisor to Prince Eric. She actually emotes! She has never been huge for big faces, but she is rocking it this year!

 This is Issa's favorite group dance, and it made me cry. They are dancing to "The Rose," and it's a beautiful piece.

And her solo:
She is dancing to "This Little Light of Mine" this year, and she shines on stage. It is so lovely to see her calm and ready to do her solo--no nerves, no self-doubt. And she nailed her turns, so she was one happy camper.

With a Showcase this phenominal, I can't wait to see where we go from here!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

We Always Said She Could Run a Small Country....

...and now she's running a business:
Yep. Ellie and Issa have officially founded Slime Sisters.

Ellie spent the night Sunday, and while I was at work Monday morning, they made a ton of slime. Brad mentioned they should go in to business since they've created some unique recipes. He said we funded the initial round, but from here on out supplies needed to come out of the business. That's all it took; they were off.

By the time I got home, they wanted help developing a marketing plan and creating a business page on Instagram. Done.

By Monday night, they had a logo and a price and had made their first sales.

Tuesday, I helped them actually do a cost of good analysis, and they did all the math to be sure they were at the right price point and started planning their first slime workshop. They plan to charge a fee to learn how to make basic slime and then sell some of their premium products on site.

Yesterday, they started a company binder with inventory and sales sheets. They also have their first investor. Evan Shark Tanked them in to his whole spend jar of $11 for 10% equity. They are working on an investor contract.

It's hysterical. Brad is over the moon proud, and I'm thrilled to hear my daughter talking about price points and business strategy. I have no idea how long the business will last, but I do know what they learn while it's open will serve them well.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

A North Carolina Blizzard

The children are with me at work today. They have not been to school since last Tuesday! I think they are beginning to forget what their teachers look like. Yesterday and today are planned teacher work days, but last week was filled with snow days!

The forecast had been all over the place last week. At one point we were supposed to get 7 inches, then 1, then 2, then six, then two. Basically, it was a meteorologists nightmare. Wednesday morning, it started to snow, and it just didn't stop! I've never seen anything like it in NC. By the end of the day, we had 12.5 inches and two very happy children.

Tuesday night, I brilliantly put a bowl on the deck to collect snow for snow cream. By lunch time, we had to dig it out! After the first batch of snow cream, the kids and I headed out to try out the sleds for the first time this season:
 It was no good. There was so much soft snow the sleds just kind of sunk:
 It should not be this easy to get sledding pictures:
 After two times up and down, we decided to turn for home, where we encountered this on the road out of our neighborhood:
 If there was any doubt, we were not going anywhere.But, we did have a great snowball fight! And I caught this picture where my little man still looked little:
 And I swear the kids ate their weight in snow:
 By day three of the snow days, we were running low on layers, so Evan improvised. When all else fails, use your footies for the bottom layer:
He is nothing is not creative.

We were finally able to make it out, although a little treacherously, Friday afternoon, and by Sunday the roads were clear. It was a great snow while it lasted, though!

Monday, January 22, 2018

A Momentous Day!

Twenty years ago today, Brad asked me out.

We joke all the time that getting married was the best worst decision we never made. We just knew we wanted to get married. Period. We didn't think about it. We just jumped in and figured everything out as we went.

Deciding to date him, though, that was quite the decision. We had been friends, but that was it. And I had just decided I wasn't going to date anyone until college. I was over high school boys. And then he asked. And he lived an hour away. But he was really nice. And he wasn't like the other boys. But we were going to two different colleges. This wasn't the plan.

It was the first time (of many)  he completely wrecked my perfect plan, and I'm so glad he did.

Two decades, babe, and you're still putting up with my plans and helping me be more spontaneous. Here's to the next twenty...

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Good Friends

Uncle Tim and Aunt Amy came to visit this weekend! It was even more excited this trip because it's the first time we got to hug them since they announced they were expecting!

There is just something special about friends you can see every few months but pick up like it was yesterday. It's even more special when you don't have to do anything special. We did go out to eat a couple of times, but mostly we cooked and played board games and talked.

This will be one of those special weekends, though. Often, we find ourselves nostalgic when we are together--and there was certainly some of that. This time, though, we spent more time talking about the future. I feel like we actually watched the baby grow; they stopped for maternity clothes on the way home. And the kids were old enough to hang out with us more. They help their own in games, and I love to watch them chat.

I can't wait to see what the next visit holds!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Look What I Found

I volunteer at Issa's school every Wednesday morning, and I usually see her at her locker on my way out. I say a little prayer of gratitude every Wednesday because so far she has waved me over to talk with her. I really try to stay out of her lane, but I am always so grateful when she invites me in. 

Yesterday, she mentioned that I should check out the display case beside the library on my way out. That was it. No explanation. Look what I found:
 That is Issa's work in the top right:
She is loving art class, and her project was selected to be on display. I'd say she makes a darn good Egyptian queen.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Back to Normal

We are finally back to the normal routine at our place! Last week, the kids had a grand total of one normal day of school. Tuesday, they were delayed for cold temperatures, and Thursday and Friday we were closed for snow. It wasn't the fun snow, though. It was too cold to go outside for very long and not enough snow to do much of anything. We did manage snow cream, though!

Yesterday, the kids had one more snow day because of the rural roads, but we had nothing at our house! I came in to work just for my meetings and then rushed home to spell Brad. I hate those kinds of snow days.

Today, we managed to make it to school on time! We had almost forgotten how, but we made it!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Another Season Begins

This Sunday we had Issa's dance dress rehearsal:
We are very excited about the new company hair do! I'll take a low pony any day!

I loved watching Issa dance. I can't believe how much she has grown in a year:

And I love watching her with her dance friends:
I can't wait to see them on stage at the end of this month!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018


I officially packed up Christmas yesterday. The snowmen are still smiling around the house, but the tree is out and the Santa hats have been packed away until next year.

The whole family helps with the decorating, but I undecorate alone--by choice. Every decoration we have is a memory, and I love reliving those with the kiddos every year. They love unboxing their collections of Nana ornaments and finding just the right spot for the little kitten from Aunt Beth. We remember family vacations as we hang the ornaments on the tree, and I tell stories of students who have given me decorations knowing how much I love the season.

When I pack up, though, I enjoy a quieter nostalgia. I chuckle at Evan's baseball ornament from the year he was so excited to finally be old enough to play only to discover he really doesn't like baseball. I smile at the tiny faces smiling back at me in daycare ornaments, covered in glitter and tiny fingerprints. I hold ornaments that belonged to my grandmothers a little longer, picturing their trees and holidays in their homes. I wonder where some of those students are now. Inevitibly I cry, but it's not from grief or sadness. Somehow packing up inspires an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the life I've been gifted. So many memories and so much love is captured in the season's decorations, and I never, ever want to take that for granted.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

A Very Merry Christmas

Today, we are slowly returning to reality after a truly lovely Christmas. 

Since it was the first Christmas since Nana moved down here, we started our celebrations a bit before Christmas. Aunt Shannon and Uncle Jeff flew down, and the kids could not have been more thrilled. They are always excited to see them, but this Christmas they started a new tradition: the girls go shopping and the boys go jumping. Issa loved the one-on-one time with Aunt Shannon, and I don't think she's taken her new boots off unless it's to sleep! Evan loved going to the trampoline park with Jeff, and I think they have almost recovered. 

Issa had to do a wardrobe change for Christmas at Nana's:

 We had a lovely evening together, and then we all drove to Napoleon on the 23rd! We spent Christmas Eve eating appetizers and just enjoying being together before all the crazy of Christmas day.

Santa still came to 440 since Tyler was kind enough to let us stay there:
 We loved hanging out at his house. He's made some really gorgeous updates, and it was humorous to cook in a kitchen I used to know so well. The whole family had an ugly sweater Christmas, and the kids were very proud of their selections:
 The stockings were opened and Santa had delivered Evan's Chromebook with a subscription to Tynker:
 And Issa's Polaroid:
 After enjoying their gifts for a bit, we headed across the street to the Slights. It was probably the most fun Christmas morning we've had in a while. Shannon and Becca set up a photo booth to catch all the ugly sweater goodness, and the littles were happy to try it out:
 And we managed to get a picture of the whole crew:
 The traditional trio picture:

 My crazy boys:
 Please note Brad won the ugly sweater contest!

Our happy family:
 And the man of my dreams:
And all of those pictures are courtesy of my sister, because I fail at pictures! I took none the rest of the week, which is sad.

On the 26th, we drove to Grandma Pat's. We spent the day shopping and baking cookies. We also got to see all the cousins, and I realized my nephew is grown. He is planning on becoming a teacher, and he is just amazing.

The 27th, we drove on to Papa Don's, where we spent the day resting and cooking. We colored and generally just enjoyed being together.

We drove home on the 28th, and spent the rest of vacation settling back in! The kids rooms are reorganized, and we are ready to take on 2018!