Saturday, June 21, 2008

Dancin' fools

Due to our "situation" this year, I decided that routines were a must for our household. I also thought it would be a great idea for my older two to have an outlet. However, because it was entirely on me to drive them to and from their "outlets" I also knew it had to be fairly simple (I firmly believe in one activity per child.) Therefore, I was thrilled to find a dance school that had a class that both of my girls could participate in together, and it taught beginner ballet, tap, and acro.

My girls loved it from the start. It was a little pricey but still reasonable, and a few of my friends also joined with their daughters. Every Monday afternoon we went to the dance studio for an hour, and while my friends and I chatted our girls learned the basics of dance and some coordination (which if they are anything like their mother they need all the help they can get.) Also, it was a great thing for their grandparents to give them as gifts as opposed to more clutter, I mean, toys.

From when I signed up I knew there was a recital in our future. I paid for two costumes each (one for tap and one for ballet), and I was pleased with music selection ("Personality" and "Give the Girl a Hand"). I wasn't pleased with a rehearsal on Mother's Day weekend, and I really wasn't happy that the recital was scheduled for the evening of Father's Day. Not sure why it was planned that way other than we had to use a high school auditorium. However, I knew the experience would be good for my kids, and my oldest had been pining for the day when she could dance on stage.

We were blessed that my husband was able to be present for the recital (he wasn't supposed to be back until July), and my in-laws came to watch their only granddaughters dance their little hearts out. Long story short, this particular dance studio offers many classes from little tots to teenagers and participates in competitions. Therefore, ALL of their dancers participated in at least two dance numbers, and the show went on for over 2 1/2 hours with no intermission. I also cringed as I put make-up on my babies faces- just seemed too grown up AND I didn't want them to get any ideas about hitting Mommy's stash of cosmetics. But that wasn't the worst part of it. No, several of the older age groups had, well, rather mature dances. Lets just say that it wasn't really the classical aspects of the dance, and some of the girls just lacked a pole, if you know what I mean. Seriously, one of the ending numbers was "Moulin Rouge," and the girls, beautiful teenagers, wore something out of a "Fredrick's of Hollywood" catalog including thigh high pantyhose. I was very embarrassed to be sitting in between my husband and father-in-law, and SO thankful that my girls couldn't see the show.

My little ones did a great job, and now they can play to their hearts content with their costumes. IF we decide to take dance classes next year it won't be with this same studio- although I really loved their teachers, and I'm debating whether or not to write the director a letter nicely explaining why we won't be returning next year. However, in order to help foster well-rounded children I think playing soccer might be a fun thing that won't require make-up or a fancy costume.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Summer Fun

I meant to be better about this whole blogging thing, really. The last two weeks have been rather hectic, not the laid back summer days I had hoped for. We had family visiting, the girls' dance recital, and then daily swim lessons for both the girls. Also, I managed to volunteer to help with our church's vacation Bible school each evening this week and juggling swim lessons, nap times and all the other "stuff" life throws us. Today I finally uploaded almost 200 pictures from my camera, and I took a breather, reminiscing on the fun that happened just before things got hectic.

Those in the South and other hot, humid areas would probably laugh, but earlier this month we were sweltering in the 90's. For those of us in the Northeast, that's not the norm. We're usually in the mid 70's. Being the mom of three young children, I decided we needed some respite from the heat. I'm not one to enjoy going to a water park with my little kids- too stressful. Trust me, with a 5, 3, and 1 year old I would not get my "money's worth" out of an overpriced water park that they can only play in a small area. So I got the bright idea that I would bring the water park home for a fraction of the price. On a very hot, sunny afternoon I picked up a sprinkler at Wal-Mart and I hooked it up with our slide set.

Perfect, right?

The kids were thrilled and I envisioned exhausted children going to sleep early while my husband and I relaxed and enjoyed an evening with no interruptions. I got them all dressed, lathered up with sunscreen, and out the back door. I turned on the water, and listened to the screams of joy that lasted until my five year old asked me, "Mommy, is there ice in our water?" Apparently even though it's horrendously hot here, the ground is still not thawed out. I even stepped in, and she was right. The fun lasted for about 30 minutes, but they did sleep pretty well, albeit they were rather cranky.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Time Flies

On a much lighter and happier note... ELEVEN years ago today, on an unusually chilly and rainy Charleston, SC, afternoon (I called it our showers of blessings) I married my best friend. Three kids, a cat, a dog, and five moves later, I feel like the same girl, just a bit older and wiser. I know that it's cliche, but it seems like it was only yesterday that I opened the door for him at the Charleston Baptist Association building and introduced myself. After working together that summer I returned to college with a gut feeling that he was "the one" but not having a clue how it would work out since I was in Arkansas and he was in Virginia, starting his career in the Army. Sure enough, less than a year later we were married, and 10 days after the wedding we took off to start a new life in Germany. Our life together has been an adventure, and looking back on it all, I wouldn't change a thing. I love you babe!!

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Waiting Place

That's where we've been the last few weeks/months. I don't "do" waiting well. I'm the type who will take a longer detour just so I don't have to wait in traffic, and if I'm stuck in the waiting room at a doctor's office, my blood pressure WILL go up if I don't have something to do- give me a magazine PLEASE!!!

What are we waiting on? Decisions to be made about my husband's career in the Army. If things had gone the way we had planned, he would be coming home in a few weeks and we would take off for most of the summer and just have family time. However, I mentioned it a few months ago, but my husband had some health issues that prevented him from returning to Iraq after his two week R&R- a mixed blessing of sorts. It's a very long story, but he had blood clots in his lungs (could have been due to a variety of things) and had to go on blood thinner. Blood thinner and war zones don't mix. This is not the first time, so many questions have been raised and what it boils down to is that he is having a medical board done which will decide his future with the military. In the mean time, we have to hurry up and wait, lots of speculations and no real answers. Plus there is a grey cloud hanging over my head in that he could potentially have to go to a base (the nearest one being 5 hours away) for about 8 months while the medical board is being done. We've already endured a year of separation as a family- is that really necessary to go through another one?

In spite of all of this, I consider us blessed. That realization came when hubby was told by a very well qualified doctor (several degrees from both Harvard and MIT) that he should congratulate himself on being alive. This was after the doctor had reviewed his CT scans and saw how bad the pulmonary embolism (blood clots in lungs) were. I don't want to imagine what would have happened had hubby not gone to the hospital.

Dr. Seuss calls the waiting place a most useless place, but that is where I will disagree with him. Although I don't like it, it is a necessary place. My faith and trust in God is being tested and strengthened. I believe He holds our future in His hands and I trust that ultimately He will work all things together for the best (Romans 8:28). Whether that means we stay with the Army or not, well, that remains to be seen (and not apparently any time soon either.) Isaiah 40:29-31 has been my comfort during this time: "29He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. 30Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, 31Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary."