Category - Family Life

One Last Look
Happy Sigh
Dreams, Postponed
Dreams, Fulfilled
If You Give a Mom a Call
Halloween 2013
A Month of Instagram: October 2013
Summer Projects with Bip
A Month of Instagram: August ’13

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?



A Month of Instagram: October 2013

How can it be the end of October already? Gah.

Oct 13

1.  Helping me decorate for Fall
2.  Just last week (at the time) we were on the Dream…
3.  Requirement for early morning Eagle Scout Projects
4.  Double cheesy Mickey cracker.
5.  Arr!  Me pirate!
6.  Found her Daddy’s tanker boots!
7.  Clara Curls, Trial 1: rag curls, slightly damp, no product
8.  Eyelash envy!
9.  Clara Curls,Trial 3: sponge rollers, damp hair and mousse
10.  Halloween friends
11.  My new Origami Owl necklace (birthstones of me, Phil and the kids)
12.  Clara Curl win!
13.  Harvest Snack Mix – equal parts M&Ms, peanuts and candy corn.  Display fallishly.
14.  Happy Birthday, Pipsqueak!

Did you actually read all the captions?  There are hints to Major Announcements next month!

Summer Projects with Bip

According to my summer plan, I had three weeks set aside to work on projects with Bip.  My plan was more of a guideline so I wouldn’t waste away too much of my summer.  You know how it goes, though.  Things come up and plans get pushed aside. Still, I did manage to do quite a number of things with Bip.  He loves to spend time with me and do craft type stuff.  And build Legos.

We’ve been working on the Death Star for ages.  He’s pretty amazing.  The set is recommended for ages 14 and up, but Bip does most of it himself.  Sometimes he needs a little help with the tinier pieces, but mostly my job is to look ahead and locate the blocks for the upcoming stages while he builds.

Bip Death STar 2

We also did some sand art.


Bip Sand Art 2


Let me tell you a little about the sand art.  Last summer I found a few craft kits while cleaning out the basement.  I thought they might be something that Bip and I could do together.  He was really excited to see them and wanted to get started right away.  It was June 26 and it was hot and dry and the Waldo Canyon fire was raging.  It wasn’t a good time to play outdoors at all.  So I crafted with Bip.  Later that day we evacuated when the fire entered the city and in the urgency to leave, Bip’s sand art projects were left behind.  It wasn’t even a deliberate decision.  They were just left sitting on the table, waiting to show his daddy when he got home from work.  For some reason, those little art projects tugged at my heart as much as the other things that were left.  I’m sentimental that way.  But there they were when we returned a few days later.  I was glad to see them.  And we’d had so much fun that day, before everything went wrong, that I searched high and low and found him another set for Christmas.

So back to this summer…

We also started building a paper R2D2 model that is way harder than it looks.
Bip R2D2

We didn’t get a ton of stuff done, but we had several afternoons with just the two of us spending time together.  Time I will always treasure.

A Month of Instagram: August ’13

Whew, a busy week to end a busy month.  We are back to school, but here is a look back at August through my iphone camera.


1. A good hair day.
2. Saying goodbye to our favorite soda shop.
3. First tomato
4.  Doesn’t it look yum?
5.  Asian store haul
6. Our Cat of the Month Club subscription is coming along nicely.
7.  Helping to bake a cake.
8.  Supervising the cooling cakes.
9. Scarf made by Nana.
10.  One of these things is not like the other.
11.  Opening birthday cards.
12.  He had a Man Cold and the rest of us were his servants.
13.  Escaping from nap time with my exercise ball.
14.  Something new for our shop – a double sided pendant.


logo_125“For more than 90 years, the Order of the Arrow (OA) has recognized Scouts who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives.  This recognition provides encouragement for others to live these ideals as well.  Arrowmen are known for maintaining camping traditions and spirit, promoting year-round and long term resident camping, and providing cheerful service to others.  OA service, activities, adventures, and training for youth and adults are models of quality leadership development and programming that enrich and help to extend Scouting to America’s youth. ”

Even though he needs to work on “cheerful service to others” at home, Boo was elected to become a member of the Order of the Arrow.  He attended the induction ceremony called “The Ordeal” last weekend.  During said Ordeal, he was to remain silent, was given small amounts of food and worked on camp improvement projects.  The very thought of the first two amused me to no end.  Boo was born screaming and he’s never been quiet since.  He even talks in his sleep!  He is the ultimate extrovert, preferring to spend time with anyone, talking on and on, to spending even the least bit time alone.

Of course, I teased him mercilessly in the weeks leading up to the Ordeal.

Secretly, I knew he could do it.

And he did.  He got home late Saturday night, exhausted but excited. (I didn’t even edit his red eyes so you could see just how tired he was!)


Way to go, Boo!  We’re proud of you!

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