Sunday, March 15, 2009

I still got it!!!

Well, I did it! And I didn't pull anything, although I'm a little sore. It was a great reunion, with a few former teammates and many who graduated before us. My very first dance teacher, who taught in her basement and put on a recital where I wore my first tutu and danced to "Lets go fly a kite" and got my picture in the paper, was there! She is the reason I wanted to be a voyager or dance at all! It was great hearing parenting stories. One thing I have to say about us is that we hold up well. Some of these graduates, from 86, still dancing, doing toe touches and shaking their stuff!

And it felt so good. We were the last routine of the night, and the energy for us from the crowd and from us on the floor was outstanding. Someone did say performing would be just like riding a bike, and it was! The smile, the head, the beat, the kicks and spins. And our mid level kicks, in our pride and love, were higher anyway. My husband said we were the highlight, and I think maybe he was right. That love of dance and of the team and all those great memories just came flooding back.

My dad video taped it, the whole team, and just me! I'm in the very back in the center on the black line. Go to his blog to check it out.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


At the end of my 8th grade year, I tried out and made our high school dance team, the Vinton Voyagers. We had a top notch reputation at State Dance Team competition, often taking first place in Pom, Jazz and Kick (we only did high kicks... my husband claims this is what got his attention in the first place and then he discovered I had a great personality too... yeah, right).

Our signature colors were hot pink and black, we were so much better than the cheerleaders, and you could find us practicing our dance moves in the lunch line, hall ways between classes, and for 2 hours every day after school in the elementary gymnasium. We were dedicated to the team and you couldn't find a closer bunch of girls. We performed at every home basketball game, State competition, and summer camp. We also had Spring Show, which is the finale to the season. Every routine, plus a few new ones were performed.

Two kids and 13 years after my last spring show, I got a call from Amy, who was on the team with me and is currently the coach of the squad. She informed me that this year is the 30th anniversary of the team. And at spring show they were inviting all the alumni to perform a routine. And guess what I said?

a.) HELL NO! After 2 kids and avoiding most forms of exercise except for wrangling the little urchins and walking to the fridge, I can't even touch my toes, let alone touch them in the air with my legs split!

b.) I would LOVE to, but unfortunately I already have plans for that evening. Please record it and post it on the internet so I can see/make fun of my former teammates.

c.) Sure, that sounds like fun! Sign me up.

I am a glutton for punishment. The whole town will be there, including my family who will record the whole thing and never let me live it down. But the thing is I knew if I had said no, I would regret it. It was actually fun learning the routine, and me and the team will get to do some bonding, but this time we will be reminiscing about old war stories, (remember when we did that move?) and new stories of weddings, children, careers, and we will impart some wisdom on the current team, our legacy.

Here is what I'm up against this Friday evening. I'll let you know if I pull anything!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Did my children ruin my life?

My husband accused me of acting like my children have ruined my life. This was because I was less than enthusiastic about dragging them to an art opening around the same time as their bedtime. Honey, I'm not trying to paint you as a jerk here, but I know you. You will want to chat people up and make connections and hob-nob, and what kind of impression will a slightly strung out wild woman who keeps threatening her children with no more princess anything unless you stop touching that way over priced piece of crap (wait... is that a toilet? On the wall?) SO HELP ME GOD, make to the artist community of Dubuque? And then you suggest that I find a sitter. We argue about who called and ordered the pizza last time (I did, by the way), now I get to find a sitter. I did call by the way, no answer, I will try again, maybe they are on the internet.

As I talked to my good friend T yesterday and she lamented that she felt like a slave to breastfeeding and diaper changes, memories of this feeling for me came rushing back. My husband, on our trip to Glacier National Park when Addie was 2 months old, in the cabin, holding up 2 beers (which were not for me) while Addie was strapped to him in the baby Bjorn, proclaiming "Don't let kids slow you down!" and we intended to prove it. And then the frustration with feeling like I was slowed down and strapped to my baby when everyone else got to go on the hike to Grinnell and I had to stay behind because she needed to eat and I couldn't pump enough. You may think feeling upset about this makes me a bad mommy, but I couldn't help but feel jealous, resentful and upset. And maybe you don't have kids yet.

But kids haven't slowed us down, just changed our course. I was driving back from work, ready to pick up my two angels from the sitter, and I was thinking back to LBK (life before kids). What in the world did I do with myself? Besides eat, sleep and shave more, I must have wasted an enormous amount of time. I must have been very selfish with my time. We traveled then, we travel now. We took in culture then, we take in culture now. We put family first, we still put family first.

My children haven't ruined my life, it seems so different now and I can't think what it would be like without them. Having Addie brought us closer to each other, and to our family out east. I think of the Silvas and how our relationship changed with them, from landlord and tenants to Meme and Pepe. And Emily, extra diapers aside, she is such a big factor to what brought us closer to our family here. I play more and am less serious because of my kids. Motherhood, not teaching, is the hardest job you could ever LOVE!

And I heard those baby squeaks over the phone. And I flashed back to when my girls where so small (well, for them) and how they looked and smelled and smiled and cooed and cried and slept. And if I weren't such a "responsible" adult I would be wanting another one RIGHT NOW! But of course I don't. (maybe... NO, really, later...)

Now my children are in challenging yet fun ages. Emily has a sense of humor, and plays games, and belly laughs, and inhales her food, and does tricks like pulling herself up and eating little fuzz balls off the floor. Addie does things by herself, like take clothes off and puts them on, gets on the potty, uses it, flushes and washes her hands all by herself! She also drinks from a normal cup and counts things like puffs that she feeds to her baby sister, all by herself. And, the best part of all is she says "I love you" with a huge hug without prompting. How cool is that? It's better than that first time your husband told you he loved you, because this is your child that's doing it.

So although my kids drive me crazy I am crazy in love with them and they have made my life better because they give it a purpose. I'm not in it for myself, but for my kids. And that selflessness makes me a better person and spreads love all around.

So kids didn't ruin my life, they changed it for the better. Now, I need to go play!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

We're RICH!!!!

I kind of feel like a two bit whore, but we ended up taking a first time home buyer tax credit. It's more like an interest free loan that gets paid back at tax time every year for the next 15 years. And since we get like 1K for each kid, they pretty much cover that. So, in reality, we are actually using our kids to get our money back from the government... I feel like I'm doing something illegal. SO, my new money making scheme is to pop out as many kids as possible, and eventually I'll make a profit, right? (Just kidding! Now if I could figure out a way to get tax credits without the Old Woman in a Shoe Syndrome... any ideas?)

Yesterday, after blinking hard at our online bank balance, I blew through a lot of it just paying back credit cards, bills we had been sitting on, and our daughter (yes, we borrowed money from her! I know! But, if she doesn't improve her 2 year old attitude, we are going to start charging her rent!) And then, I ferreted away the rest into our savings account. Which is actually a pretty good feat for me, because if you know me, you know I'm a frugal franny, a penny pincher, an anti-risk taker, who frets over every little buy and almost always goes generic. It took every ounce of will power to not drive to the bank, withdraw every cent, and proceed to digging many many holes in our yard. And again, I know, I know! It's perfectly safe in the bank, the economy needs me to keep it there, I should really be out buying something with it. But if I had my druthers, I "druther" keep it under my mattress, the floor boards, or the hostas in our yard!

So we sit and dream about what we will use it for. We think and talk in little bursts of creativity: it could be premium off our mortgage or the rest of our car payments or a down payment on a new, brand new car. This is the responsible thing to do. OR it could be a trip to Vegas, my spa bathroom, or we could just cash it in small bills and roll around naked in it!!!!

Or we could just leave it where it is for a while until all this stupidity with the economy settles out and we make sure we're okay. But, to put it all in perspective, it's just money that won't last long, and we already have what we really need to make us happy!