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.

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.

 

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.

Frozen Fog Aftermath

It was a little baffling when the kids got a second snow day, called the night before, because of a prediction of fog. Other factors played into that, but it was odd when we got the call, especially because not all news stations even mentioned the fog.

Yesterday morning was indeed extremely foggy. It didn’t clear off until closer to 9 am, which is when I got out to take this. It was absolutely stunning. It isn’t often that we get that combination of well below freezing temps and fog. We are more likely to get a coating of ice or snow, but not frozen fog.

While I didn’t get much done that I had planned to do yesterday (kind of difficult to wrap presents when the kids are home), I did get out and take some more pictures. So glad I did because all that pretty coating dropped as soon as the sun started peaking out in the afternoon.

I’ll be back in the kitchen today working on my FIL’s annual food presents. It really, really sucks that Thanksgiving was so late this year as I really feel like there wasn’t my normal time between the holidays to get everything done. Now I’m feeling rushed.

 

Snowy Day At The Pond

Sadly, the pretty snow was bad enough to force the studio to cancel BG’s performance yesterday, something they almost never do because of how difficult (really impossible) it is to reschedule. They will do most of it during the first class period back after the new year, but it won’t be the full thing as they don’t do pointe, just ballet.

I was sad but also really glad because all the roads in the area were a horrible mess and I really didn’t want to attempt to get out in that disaster. Instead, I froze my butt off to go take some pictures as the conditions were perfect for it. Or, mostly perfect. I would have stayed out longer, but the snow was really coming down and it was getting impossible to keep my camera dry, so I wasn’t out too long. Long enough to get a few good shots. I love snow covered landscape shots, but I can rarely ever seem to really capture what I see.

 

It Started With A Rainbow

I was less than 5 minutes from walking out the door to take BG to her assistant class when I glanced out the back window and saw this amazingly bright rainbow. I was shocked because it wasn’t raining and hadn’t been, but the clouds managed to toss enough moisture in the air to create one anyway.

Of course I grabbed my camera, which was the reminder I needed to take it with me, just in case. I am so glad I did (and I really need to remember to take it with me EVERY time as I’m not going to always get a rainbow smacking me upside the head as a reminder).

Red Tinged Sunset Clouds
Red Tinged Sunset Clouds

The start of the sunset tossed some interesting clouds my way, but that isn’t what was so stunning about last night’s sky. It was this phenomenal ombre look to the sky itself after the sun dropped below the horizon.

Ombre Sky After Sunset
Ombre Sky After Sunset

It was such an extreme fade that it made it really difficult to get it to actually register correctly on the camera. Closer to the horizon on one setting would get blown out too bright and another setting would make the darker bluish purple get too dark, so it was fun trying to get it balanced just right for both ends of the spectrum.

Ombre Sky After Sunset
Ombre Sky After Sunset

I think I managed to capture it enough to be worth sharing, though they still aren’t nearly as stunning as what I saw sitting in my car last night. Sitting there with my window down and my camera hanging out the window had to have been slightly concerning for anyone in the offices or restaurant nearby. I kind of looked a bit like a PI stalking some cheating spouse or something. Or, I would have if I’d had my big zoom lens attached instead of my smaller wide angle lens. Oh, well. The people in those business will probably be seeing lots of that over the next several months.

Stunning Striped Sunset

Last night’s sunset has convinced me I need to keep my camera bag with me when I take BG to dance. The entire sky started out in these amazing orange/gold stripes across a vibrantly blue sky when we were leaving the studio.

Blue, Red, Pink, and Orange Striped Sunset
Blue, Red, Pink, and Orange Striped Sunset

I watched those colors shift and darken over the 20 minute drive home and would have pulled over and pissed off other drivers just to get a chance to take a shot of what I was seeing. I was so worried I’d lose all color by the time I got home, but lucked out in getting some of the most brilliant colors of the night, though in a really shitty location, so I didn’t get a good wide shot of the whole sky.

Blue, Red, Pink, and Orange Striped Sunset
Blue, Red, Pink, and Orange Striped Sunset

As soon as I put my car in park, I ran in and grabbed my camera. I managed to get a few good shots from the front of my house.

Blue, Red, Pink, and Orange Striped Sunset
Blue, Red, Pink, and Orange Striped Sunset

I will now have my camera bag with me when I take her to dance. At least the early classes anyway.

My View Today

And it is stupid cold. If it weren’t windy, I could be out trying to photograph frozen bubbles. It is snowing heavy enough that it was a challenge to get a pic of my front Maple that wasn’t blurry. I didn’t quite manage it.

Snowy Fall Maple
Snowy Fall Maple

I’m hoping the snow stops soon and gives the streets a chance to melt off because MC drove to school today and he has never driven in snow. It wouldn’t bother me if he were a few short miles from home, but we live really close to the farthest edge of the district, which means a good 20 minute drive on 50+ MPH highways and a few side roads. We did tell him to take the bus home if it was still bad when school lets out. Now we get to see how well he listened.

Oh, and a bit of a brag moment… MC got accepted into his top 2 colleges. We are now in wait and see mode on any scholarships.