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.

Snowy Start

I don’t think it is supposed to amount to much, but we are getting some snow today. I did a quick test and it is cold enough to freeze bubbles, but they aren’t freezing fast enough and it is just a tad too breezy, so they don’t last. I’ll be watching the weather all day hoping I might get a chance to get out and play for a bit.

Iced Over

What a blah day. We are getting all kinds of nasty, but mostly freezing rain and everything is getting coated. It may turn pretty for a brief period, but it is supposed to warm up later, so I’m not holding my breath for any good pics today.

I didn’t get any bubble shots yesterday. By the time I was able to get out and try, the temps had gone up too far for them to freeze and a big enough breeze kicked up that they didn’t last.

Bubbles In Ice

Seems like all I have the energy for right now is to share photos. I didn’t even get out the other day when we had another freezing fog. Granted, it wasn’t quite as nice as the last one, but still.

Pretty sure I’m at the peak of this stupid cough and it is kicking my butt. I’m at that point where everything hurts from all the coughing. The muscles your body uses to cough are so much more than you ever realize until every single one of them are screaming at you to just stop already.

Having my week feel condensed because it is going to be bookended by nasty winter storms isn’t helping at all. It’s still a little early yet, but they are calling for a potentially nasty ice storm this next weekend. Any errands that I would normally do over the weekend, like a grocery run, need to get done in the next couple of days. Knowing I have to do it while coughing the whole time makes me want to throw a toddler tantrum, complete with kicking and screaming. Except, that will just hurt and make me cough more.

 

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.

Interesting

Coincidence? They are now calling for a potential for significant snow the next couple of days. Guess we will see.

I’m still trying my damnedest to cough up a lung and haven’t managed to do much else. I haven’t gotten out to try and take any new pictures because the cold air kicks that effort up into high gear. Granted, any movement does that. So does breathing. And… I think blinking.

If it does snow, I’m loading up on meds and cough drops and heading out anyway. I want snow pictures, dammit!

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: Photos

This is a look back at some of my favorite images from this year. I have so many, it was really hard to choose. Not all are here because they are the best quality, but because of what I managed to capture and is an image I’m kind of amazed came out of my camera.

Did any of you have a favorite? Are there any that you thought I should have included in this list that I missed? There have been times I’ve been surprised that photos I don’t think are that great are well liked and others that I LOVE seem to not be as popular. I’m always fascinated to see how other people see art and photos and what appeals to them. It would be amazing to see if there is a reader favorite.

If I had to pick a favorite (which I always balk at doing), I’d have to say it is that high contrast black and white iris. I loved that image so much, I had a large print made and framed. It is now hanging on the wall in my living room and holds pride of place as the background on my tablet.

*click any image to bring this gallery up in a slideshow of larger images.