Archive - 2013

Looking Back at 2013
A New Start
One More Dream Fulfilled
Worth the Wait
One Last Look
Happy Sigh
Dreams, Postponed
Dreams, Fulfilled
If You Give a Mom a Call
Halloween 2013

Looking Back at 2013

It was a very good year.

But we started on a sad note when we lost my grandfather in January.

In February I admitted I have a yarn stash.  Even though sock yarn doesn’t really count as stash.

After nearly 20 years of beige military housing and 4 years in our very own home,  in March I started welcoming color into our lives in the form of Fiestaware!

fiestaware table

I got a knitting injury in April, because I’m talented like that.

May was a very important month, with Boo being Confirmed and Bip making his First Communion. So very proud of my boys!

June was tough.  Just days before the first anniversary of last year’s devastating fires, our city burst into flames again, and this fire took over as the worst fire in state history.

I created my own personal planner pages in July, and in doing so, unexpectantly launched a business selling them!

planner open

Bip turned 8 in August and Boo became a member of the Order of the Arrow.

I didn’t post much in September.  I don’t know why.

We went on a cruise in October!!

In November Pumpkin Girl danced the role of Clara and I cried.


After a weather delay, Boo passed his Board of Review and became an Eagle Scout! Pumpkin Girl then danced the role of Fritz and rendered me speechless with her acting talent.


Yes, it was a very good year.  I hope 2013 was good one for you, too and that 2014 is even better!  What was the highlight of your year?

A New Start

Are you excited for a new year? Each December I come up with the usual good intentions of being more organized in the house, with homeschooling and life in general.  This year it’s happening!  No really, it is!

100DaysI found an ebook called “100 Days of a New Year” which is getting me really motivated! I like that each day’s assignment is actually something attainable, rather than telling you to clean out the garage in a single day.  You can get a copy of “100 Days of a New Year” here: ListPlanIt.  (disclaimer: it’s an affiliate link) Take a look around the rest of the site, too.  She’s got a lot of good stuff there.


And don’t forget Pumpkin Girl Designs 2014 Planner Pages!  We’ve got weekly and monthly printable calendars in full page, half page and Filofax personal size.  I also added menu planning pages and an add-on set that includes daily pages, contacts page, year at a glance and dates to remember.

Add-Ons Overview 2014

I’ve been using my own planner for about 5 months now and it’s made a huge difference in my life.  Just having a single To Do list in one place keeps me from going off the deep end. I also added a section where I kept notes on all our holiday preparations.  Over the next few days I’m taking those notes and turning them into the beginnings of my holiday planner for next Christmas.  That’s my plan, at least.  I’m hoping for the calmest, lowest key holiday season yet.

One More Dream Fulfilled

Pumpkin Girl has danced in her ballet school’s pre-professional company’s Nutcracker for the last three years. She’s been a tumbler in the Mother Ginger scene, a party girl, a battle soldier, and a ribbon girl. CharlotteSoldierAnd for the first two years, the role of Fritz was actually played by an actor. He did a great job until last year when they decided to use a dancer – a girl- in the role, and that started Pumpkin Girl thinking.

In her company’s Nutcracker, Fritz is a big role. He doesn’t disappear after the party scene, but follows Clara back to the family room and they both fall asleep near the Christmas tree. He helps her fight off the rats in the battle scene and then accompanies her to the Land of the Sweets, staying with her through the entire show. The role requires good acting skills, as Fritz provides the comedy relief for the whole show. And with a dancer in the role, Fritz now dances  in the Winter Scene, as well as the whole Russian variation.

Pumpkin Girl set her sights on being Fritz and thought about it all winter long and through the spring. She couldn’t figure out how to let her artistic director know she wanted the job, because part of being a company dancer (in any company) is that you accept the role you are given and do your best. And yet, this was a role that not every girl would even want. Plus, she knew that the previous girl Fritz had been given the rare chance to turn it down. So maybe, just maybe, it would be OK to ask. Because wouldn’t it be sad for the role to go to someone else because the director didn’t even know Pumpkin wanted it? She asked the advice of her favorite ballet teacher, who also happened to be her Broadway dance teacher. She was the one who’d cast Pumpkin as both Sebastian in “Under the Sea” and as The Artful Dodger in “Consider Yourself.” She understood Pumpkin’s love for acting, knew her ballet skill and worked closely with the artistic director. With her guidance, Pumpkin wrote a letter letting the AD know that if she needed a new Fritz, Pumpkin would love the job.

And then we waited. All summer we talked about it. Was her dancing good enough? What if last year’s Fritz wanted to be Fritz again? What if they brought in an actor again? What if they gave it to another dancer?

It was a long summer.

And finally, early in August, the day came. A dancer/parent company meeting was held, with the casting list to be posted afterwards. I swear that meeting took forever and I was a tense mess the whole time. The meeting ended and I did a great job of not tearing down the hallway with the rest of the dancers.

I’m sure you know where this is going.

Pumpkin Girl was indeed cast as Fritz and I cried, because that’s what moms do. I even made the moms of her friends tear up because I was so happy.


Her company’s Nutcracker was two days before Christmas. They sold out two shows, a total audience of over 3,000 people. And she was amazing, absolutely amazing. Every person who talked to me afterwards told me what a wonderful job she did. She was a lovably naughty Fritz and laugh out loud funny.

Clara and Fritz in the same year! That girl never ceases to surprise me. This was the best Nutcracker season

Five days later, she turned 13 years old.  It was a banner year for her.

(And incidentally, I will have a teenager in the house, without a break, for the next 19 years.)

Worth the Wait

Boo passed his Eagle Scout Board of Review.


He was visibly nervous beforehand and more than one person told him to breathe.  But he did it and he is an Eagle Scout.  His Court of Honor will be early in the New Year.  I have to admit, I teared up a bit on the ride home.  I sure am proud of my boy.

One Last Look

Just one last look at Pumpkin Girl as Clara.  I can’t help it.

Here we are, after the first show.  She is holding the flowers we bought her.  Pipsqueak loved the show, but fell asleep during the Waltz of the Flowers.



She also made an appearance at a local Barnes and Nobles store.  First the Sugar Plum Fairy danced, then Pumpkin danced, then she read the story of the Nutcracker to the children.  She was wearing the Clara costume from her ballet company for their performance later this month.




Happy Sigh

It was an amazing weekend.

So many memorable moments from backstage, but they are Pumpkin Girl’s stories to tell.  As for me, I was an emotional mess in the final 10 minutes before the show and the long, long overture.  And then she ran on stage to see the Christmas decorations in her house and it was nonstop from there.  She was amazing in every way and I just sat back and enjoyed every minute.  Two hours later and it was over too soon.

Then on Sunday I was offered the chance to sit backstage and watch the whole show – and I did! It was equally as wonderful, but in a different way.  I had my camera ready for the moment it was all over.  I took this picture of my beautiful girl at the close of her first major leading role.  My Clara and her Nutcracker Prince.


Happy sigh.  I am so proud of her.

Dreams, Postponed

Boo is a Life Scout.  He has 27 merit badges, 6 more than required for Eagle Scout.


His Eagle Scout service project was completed in October.  His team worked at a local, non-profit preschool, clearing their sandbox of wood chips and building a retaining wall to keep more wood chips from getting in.


He held the required leadership position as the Senior Patrol Leader.

He passed his Scout Master conference.

He is just one, fairly short Board of Review away and he will be an Eagle Scout.  It was scheduled for November 21 at 6:00 pm.

He’s been prepping, reading and answering potential BOR questions that he found on the internet.  He washed and ironed his uniform.  He combed his hair.  He *shaved*.

As his mom, I was excited for him, but anxious to get it over with because he has been wound pretty tightly for a while now.

We had a game plan.  I would drop Pumpkin Girl off at dance and return.  Philip would come home early.  The weather was pretty yuck – snow and ice – so we would leave 15 minutes early to allow for traffic and road conditions. And then we would take all the boys out for a celebratory dinner with our newly minted Eagle Scout.

I left with Pumpkin Girl and I wasn’t even a mile down the road when Boo called me.

“Hi mom.  They cancelled all Board of Reviews for tonight because of the weather.”

Poor guy.  It was the right thing to do. The roads were bad and the last thing they needed was a scout and his family getting injured. (Ballerinas are apparently made of tougher stuff since none of Pumpkin’s classes were cancelled that night.)  I came home to a very deflated, very sad, young man.  Worst of all, the Board of Review cannot be rescheduled because of logistics.  The next opportunity will be the regularly scheduled Board in December.  The 17 boys who got cancelled are guaranteed a spot.


Boo has dreamed of being an Eagle Scout for a very long time now.  He was an hour and 15 minutes away from achieving his dream.  But he has only been postponed – he will be an Eagle by Christmas.

Dreams, Fulfilled

The first time I ever saw “The Nutcracker” I was about 8 years old.  My imagination took over and I spent the next several days dancing around my living room in my white nightgown, pretending to be Clara.  I never really wanted to be a dancer, though.  We went to see “The Nutcracker” at least once more during my childhood and that was that.

Years later I find myself as the mother of a dancer.  When we moved to Colorado she had the opportunity to audition for the local production of  Nutcracker.  Like so many other young girls, she had dreams of Clara. Maybe, someday, when she was just a little older.

She was a sheep in the shepherd scene that first year.  Nothing cuter than a line of dancing sheep, linking arms like they are little swans.  The next year she was part of what is called the “mini variations” – smaller versions of the Chinese, Arabian, Marzipan and Russian dances.  Mostly they just run around in the finale, looking cute.


The next couple of years she was a party girl, one of the most sought after roles.  The party scene is the longest one that the children dancers participate in and the girls wear pretty dresses and boingy fake curls.  The party scene is a lot of fun, but I really don’t remember much of it because I was mostly watching Pumpkin Girl.

Actually, I’m kind of a nervous wreck right before she goes on.  And Nutcracker has the longest overture ever.  EVER.  Seriously, cut to the chase and let’s see my girl! I knew exactly which family she was a part of and when she was coming on. Poor Boo, who usually sits next to me, has to deal with the death grip I have on his arm and me whispering, “There she is!  There she is!  Do you see her?”


It’s tough as a mom, having to sit back and watch and wait.  I’m so glad none of my kids are Olympic level competitors.  I don’t think I have it in me!  I remember the first time Pumpkin had a lead role.  Her Broadway class was doing “Under the Sea” from “The Little Mermaid,” which is Sebastian’s song.  And Pumpkin was Sebastian.  Her number was first in the show and since the kids were actually singing as they danced, she had the only speaking part in the whole show as she told Ariel that “the human world is a mess, life under the sea is better than anything they’ve got up there!”


I was a wee bit tense as the lights went down and the stage was lit with a dreamy, ocean backdrop.  I knew she was standing riiiiight there, behind the curtain, waiting to side-walk on.  I think Boo’s finally getting feeling back in his arm, two years later.

And then last year, she was asked to join the Beginning Broadway class as The Artful Dodger in the song “Consider Yourself.”  That just happens to be the Artful Dodger’s song, by the way.  And due to an administrative mistake, her tap number was right before “Consider Yourself.”  She had to leave tap a few seconds early, stage left, in this costume…

tap (3602)

And reappear, stage right, in time to take the lead in this costume…


I don’t think I even breathed from the moment she left the stage until I saw her pop out and I quickly checked to see that she’d gotten the whole costume on correctly.

Seriously, dance momming is not for the weak of heart.

Anyway.  Back in August she trudged off for yet another Nutcracker audition.  She thought she did well, but who really knows with these things?  Casting took forever – forever!!!- to be posted.  The wait nearly killed me.  It was far worse than waiting to see if she’d remember to exchange her tap shoes for jazz shoes before reentering the stage.

And I convinced myself of all sorts of things.  Or tried to.  Yes, she has wanted to be Clara for a couple of years now, but most girls will not be Clara and they all go on to live normal, healthy lives, right?  And really, Clara is a lot of work.  And she needs to use her own curled hair, not fake and wow, I don’t want to even attempt to get her hair to curl like that.  And seriously, I am never going to be able to sit in that audience and wait through that interminably long overture and not burst into tears.  No, don’t really want her to be Clara, it would be much easier on me if she isn’t.

You know what happened right?

Pumpkin Girl is Clara.

Next weekend.

It takes me 2 1/2 hours to curl her hair.

Boo refuses to sit next to me.

If You Give a Mom a Call

If you give a mom a call asking her to bring her daughter into rehearsal half an hour early, she’ll probably offer to put her daughter’s hair in a bun for her to save time.

If she does her daughter’s bun and saves time, they will probably arrive at the ballet studio early.  Since they are there early, the mom will suggest they buy new shoes for the upcoming show.

While buying shoes for the upcoming show, she will pass by one of the studio windows and see that the Nutcracker Prince is there from out of town and she’ll decide to stay and watch rehearsals.

Since she’s staying to watch rehearsals, she’ll pop into the costume room to see if they need help.  And while she’s there, the Winter Fairy will come in needing alterations to her costume.  So mom will stay to make the alterations.

Then she’ll remember rehearsal.  She’ll put down the work, and go watch her daughter rehearse with the Nutcracker Prince.  When that rehearsal is finishing, she’ll remember the Winter Fairy and go back to the costume room.

As she’s finishing the Winter Fairy’s costume, she will hear the request for a pink leotard for one of the dancers.  So she’ll go into the storage room and find the pink leotard.  When looking for the pink leotard she’ll find one of her daughter’s costumes from when she was a tumbler in the Mother Ginger scene.

Thinking of the Mother Ginger scene will remind her that the Land of the Sweets rehearsal is going on.  She’ll go watch.

And the next thing she knows, it’s time to go home.

Halloween 2013

Halloween just about killed me this year.  It was supposed to be all so easy and yet…it wasn’t.  Story of my life, right there.  The children cooked up plan for another set of theme costumes and this year it was Peter Pan.  Ok, no problem.  We needed a Captain Hook costume for Boo, Mr. Smee for Pumpkin Girl, Peter Pan for Pipsqueak and a crocodile for Bip. Just a quick internet search, order them with a couple of clicks and sit back watch it all come together.

This is what really happened.

Mr._SmeeTurns out, there are no Mr. Smee costumes to be had.  Anywhere.  At any price.  You have to put it together yourself, piece by painful piece.  We lucked out and found the right kind of blue and white striped shirt at Land’s End.  I got the smallest size I could, which was still too big for Pumpkin Girl, but the bagginess ended up looking good since Mr. Smee wears a baggy shirt to cover his belly.  It also allowed Pumpkin to put 2 layers under it to avoid freezing.  We found blue basketball shorts at the Nike outlet, striped socks at Marshals and she crammed her feet into a pair of brown sandals I am giving away.  I had prepared to make her hat myself but I found just the right one on Etsy and for $20 it was bought and done with.  A pair of fake glasses from Claire’s and that was one costume finished.  I am carefully glossing over the hours of shopping and searching in thrift stores and digging around my own closet.  Some things are best forgotten.

Captain_Hook2Captain Hook should be a breeze, right?  Well, it wasn’t.  Capt Hook costumes only go up to about a boy’s size 10.  Then there are generic pirate captain costumes available in men’s sizes, regular or large.  They are not cheap.  Well, some are, but the nice ones are not.  And Boo is not man sized yet.  So the nice costume we bought needed extensive alterations.  Fortunately I’ve been working in Pumpkin’s ballet studio’s costume room for the last few years and I now know how to make those alterations quickly, invisibly and able to be removed.

1085519-peter_pan_782_superPeter Pan should be easy, too.  You’d think.  The Disney Store online does not carry them.  All the knock-offs had stupid looking hats.  The best looking one I could find was a Disney one from previous years, but in a size too big for Pipsqueak.  More alterations.  Sigh.

crocodile01And then the alligator/crocodile.  There are several styles available for toddlers. And then nothing in larger sizes.  Nothing at all.  Finally I found an alligator from the “Where’s My Water” app, complete with shower head coming from the hat.  Whatever.  I ordered it and found, to my delight, that the shower head was held on by hot glue and a few stitches.  Ten minutes of careful work and the shower head was removed in a way that I can replace it.

So, here they are, in all their Peter Pan themed glory.  What do you think?



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