Makeshift Dance Floor Project

Absolutely amazed at how impressive this turned out. Seriously didn’t quite expect it to look this good. And.. it was relatively cheap to do!

I used the most inexpensive wood laminate flooring I could find for the surface. Normally, if you were actually installing this as a permanent floor, you would use an underlay material. Since this wasn’t intended to be permanent, my only concern was making sure the flooring didn’t slide or attempt to separate, so I found some, also inexpensive, rug gripper mats to put underneath the flooring. I ended up using 2 different pieces to get to the size I needed, but it works.

Gripper Mats for Floor Base
Gripper Mats for Floor Base

Also because this wasn’t intended to be permanent, I didn’t need to worry about any cutting. Just put the pieces together and done.

Start of Dance Floor Project - First Rows
Start of Dance Floor Project – First Rows

The first couple of rows were an absolute bitch to get together. BG helped as she had already finished up all her school work for the day and we did some trial and error on the best way to get this going before we got into a rhythm. Once we figured out the basic trick, the rest of the project flew together in no time.

Dance Floor Project - Half Way Done
Dance Floor Project – Half Way Done

I went down around 12:30ish to get the floor cleaned up and mopped then had to wait for a little bit for it to dry before I could get started. I finished up around 2:45. That is how easy this was.

Wood Laminate Dance Floor Area
Wood Laminate Dance Floor Area

The really cool thing about this? As long as the edges don’t sustain too much damage, I will be able to take this apart when she no longer needs it and put it together in my craft area so I have an even nicer space to work in than I do now. I even have another box of flooring that didn’t get opened that I can use to cover more area.

As with any construction type of project, it cannot be done without at least a little injury. FYI… don’t be leaning on a seam when you knock it together. It really doesn’t feel all that great. (Skip the following image if you are even a little bit squeamish as blood blister pinches aren’t very pretty) Of course it is on my forearm in the area that I normally lean on and keeps hitting on every single damn thing this afternoon. Oh, well. Project done and it is a HUGE success! I’m a happy momma today.

Construction Injury - Blood Blister Pinch Area
Construction Injury – Blood Blister Pinch Area

So Many Changes

Today is our first day of a completely new normal.

Over the weekend, our mayor put our city on a shelter-in-place order, so all non-essential business are shut down. We were already pretty much treating it like that, so it won’t be a massive change for us, though I’ve heard/seen a lot of people complaining or stressing over this order. For us, we are just going to keep doing what we have been and doing our best to not be a part of the problem.

The kids are starting to learn their new routines for their online classes. It is going to be interesting for my kids as they are both so self motivated, they will probably have the week’s worth of assignments done by the first day of the week, depending on how the teacher posts assignments. It is going to be an interesting process for them. I joked with BG that with the online stuff she could get the rest of her high school finished before MC graduates and they could graduate together (not that that is an option, just a statement about how quickly she gets her stuff done).

We also got more information from BG’s dance studio. They have opted to do what they could to shift their classes to online. I’ve got to say, with what I’ve seen so far, I’m absolutely blown away with what they’ve managed to put together. I’ve always liked her studio and how they do things, but this goes so far above and beyond. They could have just as easily said we are just shutting down, but to keep these kids going and to ensure that all the staff at the studio still gets paid, they are doing everything they can to make sure that the “show must go on” while keeping everyone safe at the same time. I’m a little in awe at their dedication and determination.

As part of that, I’ll be working on getting BG a safe space to dance. It is something that I promised her a while ago since trying to dance on our concrete floor in the basement is too slick. She has come close to falling a couple of times in the past. Now, I get to build a makeshift dance floor. I have all the stuff, I just need to get it done, so that is on my project list for today. I’m hoping like crazy that it works like I think it will.

I should have some daffodils to photograph soon. The buds are on and getting bigger, but they aren’t quite open yet. My hyacinths managed to hold on through two freezes over the weekend. We absolutely need some color and beauty right now.

 

Constantly Changing

This time yesterday, our city had only implemented a ban on certain size gatherings with our state having followed not far behind with the same as a suggestion. Within a few hours, that gathering size number had reduced for our city. A few hours later, our city mayor closed schools, restaurants, theaters, and bars and put in place a ban on gatherings larger than 10. The mayor. Our county and state government has not.

Have I mentioned that our city doesn’t have a single confirmed case? There are a few in surrounding counties, so a part of the metro area, but not our city itself. Some of those surrounding counties are following our mayor’s lead. Other cities in our state do have cases, yet they aren’t implementing these measures and our governor isn’t doing anything other than suggesting the earlier limit on gathering sizes (that does not include businesses or schools). A suggestion, not a ban.

I’m thrilled our mayor is being so aggressively proactive. His stance forced our kids’ school to move to an online program after spring break because of the closure even though the district itself isn’t in the city, but part of a cooperative of districts in the area.

We got word this morning that Hubby’s work is moving to a work from home model for all employees that are capable of doing so. Even BG’s dance studio is implementing classes via a video app so they can learn the remainder of their routines. While there is still a very real chance that the recital will end up canceled or, at the very least, postponed, the kids will be ready to go however this pans out.

I am just extremely relieved all the way around. It all looks very different, but life is still going on. I will be utterly heartbroken if recital and MC’s graduation end up canceled, but I would much rather see those things canceled if it means we are flattening the curve and if it keeps anyone from being put at risk.

Beginning To Open

These aren’t quite open, though they are getting so close. I have a couple that are still deep into the new bud phase that will take even longer. It is kind of nice as it will keep something blooming in that front bed for a while.

I got confirmation that the prom that MC was still hoping to go to is getting canceled or postponed and I’m relieved. I hate that he is disappointed, but I’m also glad that this is settled. I can do what I’ve known for a while is the right thing without a lot of extra stress.

Hubby and I have been talking also about whether he is going to choose to work from home after he goes back to work. He had taken the first few days of the kids’ spring break off so we could spend time together as a family. After a few things that happened last week that bothered me, I’m really concerned about him going back into the office.

My concern is that I may be at a higher risk than your average healthy person because of my winter bronchitis. I’m still coughing, so the concept that he could be exposed and bring that home with him is frightening, especially if you have spent any time at all reading some of the stories. I know that I’m nowhere near at risk as some, but I’m still worried.

As of right now, our state hasn’t closed schools, something that I’m really pissed off about. Granted, most of our state is on spring break, but again, this is about a massive lack of leadership from those in the position to make those decisions and their unwillingness to actually take proactive measures to ensure the well being of others.

Talk about one nasty mixed bag of emotions going on right now.

Rain Kissed Crocus

It is cold and rainy today, which made for some phenomenal photos, even if it is more crocus. I would have gotten more, but it was actually still misting and I really wasn’t in the mood to get drenched, so I only got a handful. I WILL have some hyacinths for you soon as they are almost open.

As I’m sure many of you are in a similar situation, my state declared a state of emergency. This is a full day after my city did so on its own, without any guidance from further up the government chain. Sadly, my city is doing a better job of actually trying to make a difference in banning certain number of gatherings (though still probably not enough), whereas my state has only made the declaration to free up funding. They have not imposed any restrictions or canceled schools, leaving it up to local heath departments.

Honestly, I’m frustrated by the whole thing. The people at the top that should be guiding the rest of this country in best practices aren’t doing squat, leaving it to those downhill to clean up the mess, but the people downhill aren’t doing any better.

I do my damnedest to keep anything political off my blog, but this is just too much. Where I live, there are no cases in the immediate area, but a few on some of the outer lying areas with more popping up every day. We are in a perfect position to stop or at least slow down this spread, at least in our area, but the people that should be making the decisions to close down schools or other major centers that are basically petri dishes are passing the buck to someone else.

The kids’ school has a plan in place to go online after spring break, but they aren’t making the decision themselves, waiting for someone to tell them they have to. I get that they may not actually have the authority to make those kinds of decisions at the district level, but someone should be stepping up and making the responsible decision.

I really try not to jump into the panic and hysteria, but this isn’t something that people are going to be able to fix or even improve on at an individual level and those that are at high risk shouldn’t be considered disposable because no one wants to step up and make the probably unpopular move to say we should shut all these things down as best we can.

Can we please just be concerned about our fellow humans for a change?

Sunny Crocus

I love it when I’ve worked out a plan for a day or even the weekend only to realize at the last minute that, Oops! You have something else to do!

I had planned on getting groceries while BG was at dance today, which is a long one, and leaving open the rest of my day today and tomorrow to try and get caught up on some things. It wasn’t until this morning when I was getting ready that I realized it was a watch day and I’d be at dance with BG and my grocery run would have to be put off until tomorrow.

Seriously… love the old age brain.

While it feels like I’m never going to get all my stuff done that is on a massively long to do list, I actually did make a lot of progress getting things crossed off that list this week. Even with the hiccups and flat tires. I still have a massively long list, but it is now a slightly shorter, massively long list.

And… I have pretty flowers coming up, so that makes everything better.

 

Last Of The Snow?

It is still way too early to tell. As of right now, we don’t have any more in the forecast. It is one of the reasons why I hauled MC out yesterday afternoon to try and get a few more photos for his senior pictures because he was adamant he wanted some done in the snow (because that is SO him, the gamer guy that rarely leaves his lair to venture into nature).

We’d had a beautiful, if cold, perfectly clear sky, sunny day. All day. I’d been watching the light trying to figure out the best time to try and get my shots. Just as we walked out the door, clouds came rushing in from the west and killed the light. Of course it did!

I still managed to get a few good ones, but I need to do some editing on them as they aren’t quite good enough. MC said he wants to do some with a range of backgrounds like sunset or even in the spring when the flowers are in bloom. I actually think it is a brilliant idea as I’ll have been taking pictures of him all throughout his senior year. Talk about putting together a true senior portrait package!

They won’t look all perfect and professional, because doing portraits is so not my thing. But… I have several that are really good already. I’m going to have a hell of a time trying to decide which one(s) I’m going to want to print to hang on the wall. I may have to come up with something really creative and do something like a large collage with all of them. I don’t know yet, but something.

On a side note, I’ll be editing my private post with the most current update on that situation for those that chimed in.

Sunset Geese

It is bitterly cold today. Funny, it is also sunny for the first time in a while. The cold and the bit of snow we got late yesterday caused school to cancel today. The timing is such that it gives my kids a 5 day weekend because there were in service days planned for tomorrow and Monday.

I would say that with the sun, it is a perfect day to get out and get pictures, but we are looking at low single digit temps and sub-zero wind chills (the biggest reason why schools closed). I really don’t like the snow enough to freeze bits of myself right off my body, so I’m just going to sit here in my chair and enjoy the snow on the ground against a sunny, blue sky day through the window while enjoying a nice hot cup of coffee, burrowed under my blankets.

If there wasn’t a breeze, I’d risk it to go play with bubbles, but not only is that wind COLD, it makes it impossible to do bubbles. Almost always seems to work that way. Finally get temps low enough and sun, but it always comes with that wind.

Northern Lights Cake

I finished!

Northern Lights Cake
Northern Lights Cake

Seriously glad it is done, though. It was a blast and, for the most part, it came out really well. I was hoping to add more color, but with that base teal, it didn’t work out. I had several of the issues I kind of expected to have with some color bleeding and in not being able to use the pink or purple because it changed the color too drastically when I attempted to paint it on the base (looked more muddy than pretty).

Northern Lights Cake - Base Paint
Northern Lights Cake – Base Paint

I started by painting the whole thing a lighter version of the sky color I was going for. I realized really quickly that this ended up working in a similar way to my favorite drawing method, the eraser technique, where you put a base color down and either add more to go darker or remove color to go lighter (you can see a tiny bit of that on the left edge of the above photo).

Northern Lights Cake
Northern Lights Cake

I don’t love the tree silhouettes, but they aren’t total garbage. One of the issues I ran into is that my base fondant started to bubble on the bottom tier making my cake look like it isn’t level or that I jacked up the alignment on the top tier. It really isn’t. I didn’t notice until I was taking pictures, so it wasn’t something I could go back and fix.

 

Mostly, I’m thrilled with how this turned out. Even more so after BG finally got a look at it and saw what it was. She is kind of crazy over the northern lights like some teenage girls are over the latest boy band so when she saw this she went nuts. As far as she is concerned, I knocked this one out of the park.

Northern Lights Cake
Northern Lights Cake

It’s That Time Again!

I’m in full on cake mode, working on BG’s birthday cake. She still has no clue what I’m doing yet. This is going to be so fun if I can manage to pull it off.

The cake got baked yesterday along with getting the icing mixed up. I have to make my fondant and start putting it all together today. I am limited to working on this while BG is at school so she won’t see it until it is completely done. That means I have to get off my butt and get busy!

Keep your fingers and toes crossed for me that this doesn’t turn out to be one of those projects where my creative ambition outstrips my actual ability. Pictures of the finished cake will be posted tomorrow after BG gets home to see it for the first time.

Snow & Ice

I am hopefully wrapping up my work on a graphics project sometime today and will have the amazing finished project to share soon. I’m really excited about what I’ve been working on and that I got the chance to do it.

I had honestly thought that things wouldn’t really start getting crazy around here until at least next month, but things have popped up and seem to be just cramming themselves into my schedule. I’m going to be a giddy mess in a few weeks if things work out because I’ll get to take BG to see Swan Lake performed. I have never seen it and thought it would be a perfect time since their pointe performance this year is to one of the songs from Swan Lake. I’m just waiting on confirmation from her dance friend’s mom that they are going with us.

I also have MC’s scholarship awards ceremony coming up in a few weeks. I’ve shuffled things and made arrangements so I actually get to go. There was a conflict with dance, but our dance friend will be taking BG to class for me that night so I can see MC being rewarded for all of his hard work and determination.

I may complain left and right about feeling like crap with this stupid cough, but… when I stop and look at all that is going on and what my kids are doing, the amazing guy I pulled on all the lucky stars to get, I’m one seriously happy girl and I’m surrounded by some incredible people that keep the joy flowing all around.

Peeking Through

It is kind of fitting that my Hyacinths are starting to poke through the ground today showing the first signs of spring. I will probably still need to cover them some as they are calling for a little more snow later in the week. For today, it is going to be sunny and in the 60s and I’ll be spending it with BG doing some birthday shopping for her.

Epicness And F-Bombs

It isn’t always clear on here, but I tend to be a huge potty mouth. Granted, I’m also a courteous and polite potty mouth and I don’t cuss around people I don’t know or aren’t certain they are okay with cussing and is why I tend to keep it mostly clean on here. I also don’t cuss at people unless they are idiot drivers and even then, they aren’t the ones to hear it.

I do cuss around my kids and they know my rules around it. I’d be fine with them cussing as long as it followed those rules, but they think it is funny to NOT cuss. At least around Hubby and I. We know they do it. They know we know, but they still won’t cuss in front of us. It has become something of a game for them. And yes, we all have a twisted sense of humor that not everyone can appreciate.

Yesterday, MC gets home from school and tells me he nearly got into a head on collision with a bus in the neighborhood. It was in an area where there is kind of a blind curve, at least when you have several large pickup trucks parked in the street. MC was on his side of the road and didn’t see the bus (who was driving WAY too fast for a residential area) and lucked the hell out in that they came up on each other when MC was right in front of a small cul-de-sac and was able to swerve. Otherwise, it would have been one hell of an ugly wreck.

He was obviously a little shaken up, but okay. We talked about it a bit and went on with our afternoon. While I was at dance, Hubby sends me a picture of how close he came, reminding me that we have a dash cam in the car that MC drives. It was kind of freaky to see how bad it could have been in that shot.

When I get home, Hubby is all excited (weirdly) and all “You’ve got to see this!” He shows me the video and I can see exactly what happened, which is even more disturbing, but also kind of shocking at how smooth MC handled the whole thing. I’m still not understanding Hubby’s attitude. Then he’s “now you have to HEAR it.” Apparently our dash cam also records sound. We did not know this.

He turns the sound back on and replays the video, but it is silent. I’m giving him the eye and he just tells me to listen. I see the bus come along, deep into MC’s lane to avoid the trucks and what look like several workmen that were near the trucks. I see MC swerve into the cul-de-sac to avoid the bus and keep going. All still silent. I’m seriously impressed at how cool MC is through the whole event.

Again, I give another side eye to hubby. Then, about two houses after MC passed the bus, you start hearing sound.

He is about a block away from home and he just lets go in these epic bursts. What puts the icing on it is that he has somehow developed this deep, country drawl in his voice that I’ve NEVER heard from him before (he is now blaming his girl, saying that he must have picked it up from her after talking to her so much). It is so much and so different, I almost don’t even recognize it is MC talking.

The first burst is a little mild, then it gets quiet again. I think we are done. Nope. Another couple of houses and we get another burst that is a little longer and a little more colorful before it gets quiet again. Again, I think he is done as it is quiet until he pulls into the driveway.

That is when he lets it ALL come out. All the best, most colorful words are flying from my kid’s mouth. It is this over the top, epic curse fest rant at the bus, the trucks and the guys around the trucks. Hubby, BG, MC and I are all laughing so hard we can hardly breathe. I think we listened to it half a dozen times before we had enough.

His reaction to the whole thing has now given us material that we will never let him live down. “Fucking lumberjacks” said in a deep country drawl will live on for all eternity here and will come back to haunt him over and over again.

It may make me a bad parent, but I was beaming proud of my kid in his amazingly creative use of the F-bomb. I’m also crazy impressed with how ridiculously calm he was during the actual encounter. If I’d been in the driver’s seat, the dash cam would have had a boat load more F-bombs and then some from the very first sight of that bus and there might have been a bit of a wet spot on the seat.

In all seriousness, I’m just thrilled to death that this is something we can laugh about and it all turned out okay.

*The photo is an old one and has nothing at all to do with this post. I just liked it and felt like posting it. We haven’t seen that much snow on the ground here for several years.

 

Powdered Sugar Tree

Okay, so not really powdered sugar, but it reminds me of what it looks like if you dusted something with powdered sugar. Can you tell my brain is shifting into cake mode?

BG’s birthday is coming up soon. My girl will be 16! Ugh! Another driver and way too soon and not soon enough. Anyway… since she is the only one that lets me make an actual cake anymore, I spend a lot of time trying to come up with a great idea that she will love and I get to play the way I want.

For a little while, I thought I’d do another costume inspired cake since her point costume this year is a really simple, but elegant white with black accents (they are doing a piece from swan lake). I didn’t want to do a full out costume, just a small layered cake that mimicked the black applique from the costume. When I mentioned this idea, she didn’t seem thrilled as I’ve done a couple of ballet costume cakes now.

I went back to brainstorming and I came up with an idea that, if I can pull it off (which is always a question), she is going to absolutely squeal over. When I told her I had an idea that she would love and asked if she trusted me to just make it without her actually knowing what I had planed, she gave me the go ahead. I love that she has no clue what I’m going to do and it will be a surprise for a change.

I won’t say specifically what I’m going to do yet in case she decides to get nosy and drop by here, but I’m so excited about working on this. I won’t really be doing anything new as far as basic design or technique really, but it is also unlike anything I’ve done so far from a finished project standpoint. I’d say the chances of it turning out like I imagine are on the high side.

I still have a little over 2 weeks to get the design planned out and I need to find a few reference photos to help with some details, but I’m so excited and can’t wait to work on this.

Still Frozen

We started the day with negative wind chills and me on edge because it was the first time MC ever really drove on anything that wasn’t just wet. The roads weren’t horrible, but there were still patches of snow and some ice here and there, so I was kind of a wreck until I got his text that they made it to school.

I’m very much deep into hermit mode right now. It is kind of a downside to being a SAHM, at least for me. Outside of getting BG to dance, there aren’t a whole lot of things that I HAVE to get done. When it is bitter cold and dreary and I’m still feeling cruddy, it is way too easy to opt to just stay bundled in some blankets with a book. I haven’t even felt like writing a review I’m so deep into that mode. I love that I can do this when I need to, but I hate that it is so easy to do outside of those need to times. I feel like such a slug.

One of the few things I’ve gotten the energy to do (mostly because it is one of those things that really needed to get done) was update my calendar with all the upcoming events, mostly the latest rehearsal schedule for BG. All of these don’t start until April, but with this year being so different for her, it is the first time I’ve seen how much extra time the girls that assist have to spend at the studio when it gets closer to recital time. My four days a week at the studio is going to explode into almost every single day. There are a few times that her entire Saturday is going to be spent at the studio. When I say her entire day, I mean from something like 3 until almost 10pm. If Saturday had been one of her assist days or she was a ballet assistant (only juniors and seniors, so maybe next year), it would have been even longer.

When BG and MC were talking about snow days and how they would impact the last day of school and BG’s recital dates, the topic of MC’s graduation came up. I had a moment of panic that I hadn’t put that date on my calendar yet and thought there would be a conflict with one of those rehearsals. Turns out that is one of the very few days I have on my calendar that didn’t have BG at the studio. Such a relief!

I knew this was going to be kind of a crazy year, but I had no idea that I was barely going to have a moment to breath this coming spring. Maybe I shouldn’t feel so bad about taking this time to be a hermit.

Frosted Cherries

And… one more to try and push the scale from rain to snow. I’d really prefer to not get ice. I’m also hoping like crazy the mess doesn’t transition over before everyone is home safe this afternoon. MC has yet to drive in anything more than rain. I have a feeling this may just be one of those “be careful what you wish for” kind of events.

Last night was my first time getting to see the costume and song reveal for both the opening tap routine and the assistants performance for BG’s dance recital this year. I cannot get over how excited I am that BG is now in the older girls group and gets to do all these things this year. There is something very different about being in that older group and getting to see this part of that tradition.

It also drove home how insanely privileged she is to be dancing at the studio she is because of who is on the staff and the unique experience of getting to learn from them. I always knew that one of the teachers was a former Rockette, but getting to hear a bit more about her time as a professional dancer was just… wow.

A lot of the teachers at the studio have some really impressive backgrounds, but getting to learn from a former Rockette and being a part of a massive tap routine that has Rockette choreography and elements in it isn’t something many dancers can say they got to experience. What makes that even more impressive is the fact that this studio isn’t some high pressure, high profile, competitive studio. They are so laid back and focus on the kids having fun.

Even though BG has no desire to make dance a career, her being a part of all of this will always be a huge part of her life and will leave a massive impact on who she is going to be as she grows up. She gets to be a part of something really unique and amazing. I will forever be grateful for getting to go and watch my friend way back when I was in grade school when she danced in recitals with this studio because getting to see that and be a part of that, even from the outside, is what made me decide to go with this studio for BG when she decided she wanted to dance.

I have a feeling this is going to be a really emotional recital this year. I already cried at the ballet Christmas program, both because one of the songs they chose and the routine was so emotional and because it is just an emotional program for the Seniors since it is their last.  It is also going to be a ton of fun and watching those girls see their costumes last night was awesome.

Back On Track

Today is the first day that everyone is back to a normal routine after the holidays. Hubby is back to work. The kids are back in school. And it is so quiet in the house.

Well, at least it is in between the moments when I’m desperately trying to cough up a lung (thank you so much my old friend bronchitis, I thought you’d decided to leave me alone this winter), something I’ve been trying hard to do on an off since around Thanksgiving. It is hard to try and get back into any kind of normal routine when you feel like crap.

The longer than normal break has allowed MC’s birthday to sneak up on me. He will be turning 18 and that is such a mixed bag of emotions. We keep joking that we are kicking him out now that he is an adult. He just keeps laughing at us.

Because of his birthday, Death by Chocolate is in my future. The fun of having birthdays so close to the holidays (both MC’s and mine) is that it feels like the holidays don’t just stop, but trickle away slowly. That goes for all the food and goodies.

I have a day to try and get up the energy to do everything I need to for that and I’m going to spend it with my nose buried in a book, eating cough drops like candy and trying not to nap with the hope that I’ll actually be tired enough to sleep through the coughing for a change.

Looking Forward

I’m not really big on setting major goals or resolutions. I’d rather focus on just noting the things that are important to me to maybe focus on or to try and the things to look forward to. It is part of my need to focus on the positive things rather than the negative.

This is going to be one of those really big, notable years for me. So much of that focus will be around MC because he will graduate from high school in the spring and then will start college in the fall. BG will add her smaller but still important events by getting her driver’s license and by being in a much larger part of her dance recital by being in the oldest group of girls for the first time and as an assistant. Hubby will turn 50 this year. All major changes, but all things I’m mostly excited about.

I really want to continue to try and focus on the good and the things that bring me joy. While many of the major events this year will be amazing, they will come with that bitter sweetness that most major changes bring, so that positive focus will sometimes be easier said than done. My plan is to add some things to that list of events that help tip the balance.

While there will always be lots of books to read, I really want to spend more time this year doing more creative things. I’ve started playing with one aspect to see if it is going to work for me. I have a few other ideas, but I still need to see if they will fall into the “I’m doing this for fun” side of things or “This is more work than fun” side. Since the goal is to focus on the positive and the joy, it needs to stay on that fun side.

I really want to spend more time out taking photos. Partly for the photos and partly because I really need to be more active than I am. I didn’t spend nearly enough time walking and reading this year as I have in years past, so I need to make some changes to that.

Really, other than the things that are happening this year, this isn’t a whole lot different than what I’d looked to focus on this last year, finding the joy and the things that make me happy.

 

Best of 2019: Moments

Outside of photography and the books I read this last year, I thought I’d note a few of the bigger moments and highlights of my year, things that I did or experienced that I was really proud of or stuck with me as important moments.

There will always be tons of those when it comes to my kids. Yes, I’m hugely biased and think I have the best kids ever, even when they are being little shits. There are a couple that really stick out, though.

BG stepping WAY out of her mostly introverted comfort zone to be a dance assistant. Just the few months that she has been doing this, she has really gained a lot of self-confidence that I haven’t seen in her before. It has been amazing to watch. I’ve also seen her really grow and mature this last year with how she has handled friendships and dating and high school.

This has been MC’s year to really drop the proud mama moments on me. I’m over the moon proud of his accomplishments and getting not only accepted into his school of choice, but winning a top scholarship because of all the hard work he put into is school work. The biggest mush moment from him though is one I never posted about. I never could quite find the words to describe how he made me feel, but… for a project in one of his classes, he had to name the smartest and the wisest people he knew (separate people). His obvious choice, to me anyway, would be my Hubby because he looks up to him so much. He did name his dad as being the smartest, but he said that I was the wisest. When all the other students were naming famous people and other people of note, he picked me. When he told me all the reasons (which I have now forgotten because I’m still blown away by the fact he even considered me) I just almost bawled. I am not, and never have been, the person he really looks up to. I’m just mom. The fact that he feels that way about me, enough to include it in a school project and then tell me about it… talk about feeling like you’ve done something right as a parent! My 17 year old son thinks I’m wise. Just… wow.

There were a few creative projects that I’m still really proud of. While it wasn’t my best cake, by far, but BG’s birthday cake this year was still insanely challenging and turned out pretty well.

Pointe Costume Cake Side By Side
Pointe Costume Cake Side By Side

That costume really hit me in the creative nerve because just doing it in cake wasn’t enough, apparently. I had to paint it as well. Again, far from being perfect, it was something new for me and I’m thrilled with how it turned out.

2019 Pointe Costume In Acrylic
2019 Pointe Costume In Acrylic

I was also really pleased with the first piece of jewelry I’ve attempted in a few years. It reminded me how much I love working with stones and silver.

Of course I think one of my proudest creative endeavors this year was publishing my book, An Unexpected Turn. Considering I never planned, expected or even dreamed of writing a book, I’m still a little astonished that I actually did it. It has been this insanely difficult, emotional roller coaster of an experience. I’m even more proud of the fact that it really seems to be received well by most readers. It is selling and getting mostly positive reviews. I still sometimes struggle to believe it has all actually happened.

An Unexpected Turn - Christmas Ad Image
An Unexpected Turn – Christmas Ad Image

Even though I definitely had some rather low moments throughout the year, 2019 was a pretty good year, especially on the creative and mom front. With MC graduating in the spring, BG starting to drive, and my creative muse chafing to get my hands busy, I know 2020 will probably bring a lot of the same.

Absolutely Epic

Normally starting my day cleaning up cat puke would set the tone and the rest of the day would be full of not fun, but I ended up having one hell of a day yesterday.

I finished my gift baking. Got all my presents wrapped and under the tree except the couple that hadn’t arrived yet. Got the kids to wrap their gifts to each other. Heard from the people that I shipped gifts to that they got their packages early. So, in all, it felt like I’d accomplished a lot, which was really good.

I was stressing the hell out trying to finish getting my pizzas assembled knowing I didn’t have a ton of time left as the kids were due home and I still had to work with the kids on their gifts, start baking the pizzas, take a shower and fix BG’s hair all before we had to leave for her Christmas program.

MC gets home as I’m rushing around and tossed out that he has to call his college choice back as they’d tried to call him while he was in school and left a message for him to call them back. I honestly didn’t think about it when he told me as I was too focused on finishing everything in time, but he comes down only a few minutes later with a kind of stunned look on his face.

He was officially offered the scholarship with full tuition and is the runner up for the tuition with room and board scholarship (he will get it if either of the top candidates choose another school). That means he was third out of all of the applicants for the competitive scholarships. He frickin’ did it! All his hard work over the years, all his dedication to getting those amazing grades and doing so well absolutely paid off in spectacular form. I’m so damn proud of my kid. He is still a little bit in shock over it all and I think it may take a little bit for that to sink in.

After all the crazy and the excitement, I then got to go watch BG do her Christmas program for tap and jazz. This is something like the 9th one I’ve sat through, but it was a little different because of the class she is now in. Being the older girls (sophomore, junior and seniors) the program is a bit more intense, with harder choreography and steps, plus it is treated with a little bit more import as the girls aren’t those cute little girls anymore. It is still full of fun, but it is just that little bit more mature. The difference is subtle, but still noticeable.

It was so much fun to watch her. I mean, it always is, but this year she has put so much more effort into it than she ever has and it really shows. Being an assistant has made her look at all of this a little differently and it has become even more important to her. For the first time ever she agreed to let me take group shots of her and her friends after the program and damn! The smiles I got! She was absolutely glowing.

I could not be more proud of my kids. They are growing up in this amazing way that shows how amazing they are going to be as adults. I think I won the lottery when it came to kids with these two.

Careful What You Wish For

You just might get it. Apparently Mother Nature was listening to me moan about not getting snow and decided to be generous. Sadly, of all the days (and there really were only a total of 2) that this really need to NOT happen, today is one of them as it is BG’s ballet Christmas program.

What you see here is only the beginning of what is already proving to be extremely nasty with area highways shut down and accidents all over the place. Predictions are for multiple inches today and then again tomorrow. We still have a few hours before we have to leave, but it will be snowing the entire time. I have my fingers and toes and pretty much everything that is crossable crossed that it tapers off in enough time for the roads between here and the studio to get clear, but I don’t think I’m going to get that lucky.

This would be the second ballet program we will miss since BG started pointe if we can’t get to this one. The last time was her first year in pointe and we had a nice ice rink outside our house.

Seriously Mother Nature? You couldn’t postpone this just a day? Okay, I get it. There are programs for different classes all week, so if it isn’t ours today, it will be someone’s. Maybe just hanging on to this until Christmas would have been best.

That said, the conditions are perfect for getting out and taking some amazing photos, so if I can’t get to watch my daughter do beautiful, impossible things, I’ll go watch Mother Nature do it instead.