Posts Tagged ‘things I love’

Dance Mom

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Caroline had her first ballet recital on Friday night. She’s taken 13 weeks of classes and she’s only three and half, which means about 75% of the performance was her staring into the wings to watch the teacher and 25% was her screaming the words to “Deep In The Heart Of Texas” with a giant, dramatic point at the audience for every “Texas!!!!!!!”

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That was pretty standard for the entire class, although there were a couple of girls who you can imagine on So You Think You Can Dance in 15 years (or whatever the 2030 equivalent is – So You Managed  To Not Let Technology and Common Core Ruin Your Life And Are Capable Of Expressing Emotion With Your Movement Directly Into Our Brains??). They’ll say things like “I’ve always loved being on the stage” and “I can just feel the music and connect with it naturally.”

Caroline will probably not be that girl. I mean, this is a really early prediction and far be it from me to crush her dreams in any way and if she wanted to spend the next decade in dance classes I will be NOTHING but supportive. But I do not thing dance is going to be her thing.

Dress rehearsal was…long. And a little stressful. The class is through a local town’s parks & rec department but the instructor REALLY wants the kids to do a good job so she can be capital-I Intense. There may have been some yelling because the 3 year olds didn’t have the laces on their ballet shoes tucked in. There was some public scolding about an improper hair clip. The teacher is basically a SAINT for dealing with. like, 100 kids whose parents don’t care enough to pay for fancy dance but want a recital anyway, but even saints lose their shit a little bit right before curtain.

By the end of rehearsal, when all Caroline had left to do was the Hokey Pokey with the rest of the little kid classes, she lost it. She was the kid – the only kid – who ran off stage crying that she wanted her mommy and didn’t like dance anymore. I left Evan to misbehave in the audience while I tried to coax Caroline back on stage.

When I say “coax”, I mean I tried every single thing I could think of that didn’t involve physically dragging her on stage and leaving her there. I told her she needed to be a big girl. I told her she could quit if she wanted to and we could go home. I told her she was being ridiculous. I promised her ice cream if she would JUST STOP freaking out. I told her everyone got scared before they went on stage and it was totally OK and I loved her no matter what. I told her dancing was FUN and she LOVED dancing and why didn’t she want to do some FUN DANCING on the stage?

I don’t really know what my parenting style might be called, but it is definitely not “consistent”. I have no idea what I am doing.

The next night, before the actual performance, she threw a fit again. I was supposed to drop her off with her class back stage but every time I tried to leave her eyes filled with tears. There was an incident with her hair bow (apparently it was on the wrong side and needed to be moved despite the fact that no one had EVER said ANYTHING about WHICH SIDE it needed to be on before WHATEVER I DON’T CARE) and she started crying again. I went back to comfort her (mistake!) and she started the clinging/crying/yet insisting she DID want to dance cycle all over.

I left. I sat in the audience with all my crossables crossed that she at least WENT on stage, even if she just stood there.

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And she did great! Once she was out on the stage under the lights she performed and hammed it up and blew kisses. She loved the applause and the cheering and being the center of attention. She did both routines as perfectly as I could have hoped from a 3 year old. It was adorable.

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But even though it ended well, I’m not sure how I feel about signing her for more classes. I don’t want to be the mom who pushes her kid to perform when she doesn’t want to. I didn’t like snapping at her not to mess up her hair or smush her skirt. I am embarrassed that I was embarrassed when she was upset and even though she knows I am SO proud of her I don’t want her to feel disappointed in herself if she messes up. I loved dance class when I was a kid but never really loved the recital part. To this day I have that nightmare where you show up backstage and realize you have NO idea how the routine goes.

I am probably (definitely) overthinking this. Caroline is 3. If she says she wants to take ballet again in the fall, she can take ballet again in the fall. If she DOESN’T want to do the recital next June, she doesn’t have to do the recital. I do not have to have a philosophical discussion with myself over Intro Ballet or Beginner Tap and whether or not I am turning into a crazy Dance Mom after ONE recital. If you ask Caroline right now if she liked performing she will say “YES!” and shout at you about the stars at night and their largeness and brightness. That’s really what matters. But I think I learned something about myself and my parenting I am not sure I’m totally sure I like what I learned.

Let’s ignore my poor parenting and just squee over how adorable my daughter is instead.

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Adorable cowgirl themed finale costume handmade by me…HAHAHAHAHA NO, I bought it on Etsy. I could have tried to find her some jeans and a bandanna but this was easier to do from the couch.

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No One Puts Plus Size Maternity Photos On Pinterest

Monday, June 9th, 2014

While I was at Mom 2.0 at the beginning of May, I ended up in a bunch of photos. And since this is 2014, some of those photos ended up on Facebook. And because it’s Facebook, I ended up tagged, which meant all my friends – from my 4th grade classmates to the girl who lived on my floor in college to my mother’s second cousin who lives in Sweden – saw them.

I did not like it. They were not flattering. They were candid, and that is what I look like in candid photos, but they made me sad.

**insert literally 1000 words I wrote then deleted about how being fat sucks here**

You know what’s a huge waste of my time? Being sad about being fat while pregnant. I feel a compulsive need to mention my doctor is unconcerned – I don’t have high blood pressure or gestational diabetes or any other weight-related complications – so all my sadness is purely vanity-related right now.

I do a lot of maternity photo sessions and my clients are always GORGEOUS. Because that’s who wants maternity photos – people who look adorable even at 8 months pregnant. People who look like me spend 5 minutes on Pinterest and realize no lacy dress and oversized sun hat will ever change the size of their arms or shape of their face. But this is what I look like. This is what I look like right now while growing baby #3 and walking around in the world and there is nothing wrong with wanting photos of myself OR with showing those photos to other people.

It’s like that meme about how to get a bikini ready body: Buy a bikini, put it on your body. Done.

Here’s how to take plus size maternity photos. Be pregnant in front of a camera, get someone to press the shutter button. Done.

Plus-Size Maternity Photos

Plus-Size Maternity Photos

Plus-Size Maternity Photos

Plus-Size Maternity Photos

Plus-Size Maternity Photos

Plus-Size Maternity Photos

Plus Size Maternity Photos

Plus Size Maternity Photos

Plus-Size Maternity Photos

Plus-Size Maternity Photos

Plus-Size Maternity Photos

Plus Size Maternity Photos

Plus-Size Maternity Photos

I owe my husband a huge thanks for helping with these. He very patiently posed for all my pictures so I could adjust the manual camera settings and then I had to explain exactly what I wanted – “The sun should be shining behind us to make haze but not TOO much haze and don’t get the sun actually in the picture and try to get the focus point right on the kids and tell me if my bra is showing [it was ALWAYS showing] and does my arm look OK like this or should I hold it differently?” – and he did all of it standing in the buggy, snakey orchard without complaining. He doesn’t really understand WHY I wanted 400 photos of myself standing in an orchard, but he knew it was important so he helped. He’s a good guy.

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Five Is Not My Favorite

Thursday, May 1st, 2014
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His hair looks lopsided because his hair is lopsided. He trimmed it himself.

Someone at Evan’s school taught him a good way to annoy people is to repeat everything they say. So now he can take anyone in the house from calm to BLIND MURDEROUS RAGE in approximately 6 sentences.

Me: Evan can you please put your shoes on?
Evan: Evan can you please put your shoes on?
Me: Ha ha very funny. Knock it off.
Evan: Ha ha very funny knock it off.
Me: STOP DOING THAT RIGHT NOW.
Evan: Stop doing that right now.
Me: I SWEAR TO GOD I WILL THROW EVERY ONE OF YOUR TOYS IN THE TRASH AND YOU WON’T EVEN SEE AN IPAD FOR A MONTH IF YOU DO THAT EVEN ONE MORE TIME YOUNG MAN.
Evan: I…ok Mommy!
*Skips off oblivious to how close he was to being left at a the fire house*

At least once a week when his bus driver pulls up she has The Look on her face and I mentally add $5 to her end-of-the-year Dunkin Donut gift card. This week he was mad he had to sit next to someone and spent the whole ride home trying to push him out of the seat. They were buckled together, which made the pushing useless, but lead to a fair amount of screaming. “Pre-k bus driver” might be the worst job in the world, but being the parent who is constantly apologizing for their kid’s horrible behavior sucks too.

The other day I asked Evan if he wanted a turkey sandwich for lunch. He said “No thank you”. I made one for Caroline and put everything away. Less than 5 minutes later he was practically climbing the walls, wailing about how he would DIE if he didn’t get a turkey sandwich right now. I’m not even sure what I’m SUPPOSED to do in that situation. It was lunch time, he was definitely hungry. A turkey sandwich is a reasonable lunch request. But he said no! And I told him if he said no he didn’t get another chance! So which is the more important part of parenting here: following through with what I said or feeding my hungry child?

I made him a turkey sandwich.

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Five is basically the same as a teenager, but with way less impulse control and emotional maturity. He has SO MANY FEELINGS and deals with a lot of complicated social situations – friends and best friends and who can sit with who at school and whether or not they wear pink on Wednesdays – but for the very first time. It’s hard to even watch, it must be super hard to try to navigate as a little tiny person.

In the mornings, before he gets on the bus, we sit together on the front steps. Most mornings he still wants to sit on my quickly-disappearing-lap and snuggle a little, which is TOTALLY FINE with me. But it only takes one wrong question (Do you think you’ll have fruit for snack? Isn’t that flower a pretty color? Would you like your very own pony??) for him to go from cute and cuddly to the mayor of Grumpypants Town. I don’t even like driving through Grumpypants Town, let along socializing with its elected officials.

Luckily the times he’s not being impossible he’s amazing and super fun and likes me to play the radio loud in the car so we can both sing along badly. But five is not my favorite.

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Five Ways to Celebrate Military Spouse Appreciation Day {and an iPad Mini Giveaway!}

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014
five ways to celebrate military spouse appreciation day

I took this at the boat homecoming I attended last fall – Homecomings are magical days for milspouses.

While our 10th wedding anniversary isn’t until August, E and I broke the decade mark on our relationship last year. He’s been in the Navy the entire time I’ve known him. That’s 10 years of planning everything from vacations to oil changes to babies around someone else’s not-s0-flexible schedule.

I planned our wedding from the East Coast while he was deployed in the Pacific. We moved one week after the wedding to a city I had never seen. If you check the mortgage documents for our current house, you’ll only find my signature – a change in his boat’s schedule meant he was at sea we when bought it and I did the whole thing with a power of attorney. Right at this very moment, E is supposed to be gone (he is not). He was also supposed to be gone for Christmas (he was not). And we planned this next baby’s birth to fall in the “safe” summer window, where he was supposed to be done with sea trials (nope) and home (it is looking more and more likely he will be gone).

But I’m not thinking too much about that right now, because it could change again in the next breath. If there was one word to describe what it takes to be a military spouse – without giving yourself an ulcer – that word would be FLEXIBLE.

May 9th, 2014 has been officially designated as Military Spouse Appreciation Day. Since I’ve been a milspouse for 10 years now – and part of a military family my entire life – it’s nice to know we get a specific day to be appreciated. At any given time only 1% of Americans are serving in the military so you might not have a lot of military spouses in your life or social circle. (That seems crazy to me, since it’s always been such a HUGE part of my world, but I am the exception not the norm.) If you do know a milspouse, here are 5 ways to celebrate Military Spouse Appreciation Day. Although you could start with a hug and a “thank you for your sacrifice”. That always makes me cry.

1. Watch the kids. Or the dog. Or volunteer to water the plants. Whatever thing she (or he) is responsible for, take it off their hands for a few hours. There’s a lot of life-juggling involved in being a milspouse and having just ONE less ball in the air can make a huge difference. Plus during deployments or separations there’s one grown up managing 2+ lives, so a couple of hours to get a haircut or visit the dentist can be a total sanity-saver. (While we were engaged, I got a call from E’s San Diego apartment complex saying his rent check hadn’t gone through and they were going to pack up his stuff and evict him. He was unreachable under the ocean. While I was trying to straighten it all out it would have been AWESOME to have someone come and feed my cat so I could focus. For real, one of the most stressful weeks of my life.)

2. Provide a meal. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Heck, it doesn’t even have to be healthy. When E is gone we eat more fast food or hummus-for-dinner meals than I like to admit. But just like doing some free babysitting, feeding someone is the ultimate in kindness and one less thing they have to worry about.

3. Take care of some yard work. In the winter you can shovel their walk, in the summer you can mow the lawn. I assure you that it’s not a matter of “poor milspouse doesn’t even know how to start the lawn mower” but a case of “do I dare leave the kids in the house alone for 45 minutes while I do the yard work or will I find them swinging from the ceiling fan again?”

4. Learn about organizations that provide support. There’s a great website called Military OneSource that provides everything from legal and tax advice to confidential crisis counseling. For members of the Navy or Marine Corps, the Relief Society can provide emergency loans or financial support (would you believe I didn’t even know they existed until a few weeks ago?). The Army has a version too. Check out Joining Forces and the USO to learn about volunteer opportunities and ways you can help. If you know a military family that is struggling, having a website or phone number to access real, tangible help can be the lifeline they need.

5. Listen to them. Some days I just really, really need to complain about all the ways military life makes me crazy. I am very lucky to have plenty of people in my life to go to when I need to vent without having to start with a ton of qualifiers. There are a million ways my life could be worse, a billion ways we are very blessed, a zillion things that could go wrong and we could experience real tragedy. But dammit, some days I just want to whine about how I’m supposed to be going out of town NEXT WEEKEND and E’s job STILL can’t tell him whether or not he can have the days off to watch the kids. Or the whole maybe-giving-birth-while-he’s-on-a-submarine thing. Which I am still not thinking about. Nope, not thinking.

You know what else makes me feel appreciated? Presents. Who doesn’t like presents? To celebrate Military Spouse Appreciation Day, AT&T has very generously given me two gift bags – one to keep and one to give away to a reader. It has a hat, a t-shirt and -oh yeah!- an iPad mini! To enter, just use the Rafflecopter widget below. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

AT&T reached out because they wanted to do something nice for me and my readers as a #milspouse blogger. You can learn more about what AT&T does to support our troops and their families here. No monetary compensation was provided for my participation. I have the iPad mini for the giveaway in my possession RIGHT NOW and will send it to the randomly drawn winner.  

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A Moroccan Infusion in a Connecticut Winter {Giveaway!}

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

I know it’s not actually that stupid groundhog’s fault – an overgrown hamster can’t actually change weather patterns – but right now I’m dreaming of a groundhog skin hat to keep my head warm. I don’t actually HATE snow days. Staying home and building snowmen and watching movies isn’t the worst. My kids LIKE the snow and never seem to get cold and sending them out back to throw snow on each other always means we get an early and easy bedtime. But I am a wimp and have a strong dislike of being cold so I like the coming back inside part the best. It’s marginally warmer inside, most of the time. Unfortunately my house is ancient and has steam radiators, so running them full blast also means sapping every ounce of moisture out of the air. When we had the carpet down I couldn’t walk across a room without flinching any time I touched something. I’ve shocked myself with my iPod headphones a dozen times in the last couple weeks (I’m not even sure how that happens). And the poor ginger’s hair stands on end all day. It’s adorable, but they keep shouting “Mommy, you zapped me!”

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This is his hair on a good day

The dry winter air is especially rough on my poor expanding baby belly. I’ve just reached the point where “popped” is the appropriate word to describe my stomach, rather than “Man, she really needs to lay off the burritos and do a few sit ups” (although those are also good ideas, considering how weak my stomach muscles are). Pregnancy always makes my skin super dry and I scramble to find something that helps. So when BlogHer offered to send me the new Suave Professionals® Moroccan Infusion skin care products I said “OMG SO ITCHY!” And then I said “Uh, I mean yes” because telling the people you work for about your dry, itchy skin is kind of gross.

suave professionals moroccan infusion

Moroccan argan oil is one of those ingredients popping up all over beauty blogs and commercials and known to be rich in nutrients and antioxidants. Suave took the same ingredients from more expensive brands and put them in their Professionals® line so women everywhere have access to premium products infused with authentic Moroccan argan oil. They sent me both the Body Lotion and the Dry Body Oil Spray and while I like them both the spray is my absolute new favorite product. It’s hard to dump oil out of a non-spray container onto your skin without making a huge mess and getting way too much, so the spray bottle is genius. It only takes a couple of squirts and the oil absorbs really quickly (I wouldn’t say INSTANTLY, but by the time I grab my clothes I can put them on without any stickiness). Once you rub it in it’s isn’t oily at all, just soft and moisturized (and not itchy!). My skin feels amazing all day and I smell like a million bucks.

Find more information about the Suave Professionals® Moroccan Infusion Body Care products at www.Facebook.com/SuaveBeauty and get tips for radiant skin, style advice from celebrity stylist Brad Goreski and enter the “Radiant Wishes” sweepstakes for a chance to win Suave Professionals® Moroccan Infusion products, a spa day or a trip to Los Angeles.

Giveaway! For a chance to win a $1000 gift card, let me know which of the Suave Professionals® Moroccan Infusion Body Care products you would most like to try.

 

Sweepstakes Rules:  No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here. This sweepstakes runs from 2/11/2014-2/28/2014. Be sure to visit the Suave Professionals® brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

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