[Impromptu] Dance Parties

Ever have that moment where you have a groove on the inside playing in your head over and over again? …And then it happens, that groove starts coming out in (somewhat) dance form. Or, like in Grey’s Anatomy (yes, I am a fan) they “dance it out” and work out all of their woes.

We have impromptu dance parties. It’s not an every day occurrence, but so much fun happens when one starts. We never danced in the kitchen, living room, or anywhere until we had babies. I remember holding our oldest when she was about four months old and dancing with her while I cooked. As she got older, and our second came along, the dancing didn’t happen as often. It became more impromptu.

I can remember the last three dance parties we’ve had over the course of a year or so. There were little ones in between, yes, but these three stick out more for whatever reason. The first being at my mom’s house in her kitchen. They have a nice setup with a couple of speakers and a snug fit for the amount of people dancing. Andy Grammer’s song Good to be Alive came on the radio and we all started dancing – all four teenagers, four adults (one being pregnant me), and two toddlers. We sang along, danced and bumped into each other, and laughed.

The second memorable moment was over the summer when three of my dad’s grandkids came to visit. We started off doing the Cha Cha Slide because our four year old learned it at school…taking me back to my high school days. And feeling only slightly old. It lead to the Chicken Dance, the Hokey Pokey, and a few others in between. We sang, we danced, and we laughed.

The most recent dancing happened in our living room only slightly cluttered with laundry and toys. We had my phone connected to our surround sound and played the newest album the four year old and myself have fallen in love with. I think if it was an actual CD, it’d be broken by now. Ellie Holcomb’s Red Sea Road has filled our speakers every day since I added it my Apple music. We sang, we danced, and we laughed.

All of the things that come with impromptu dance parties – singing, dancing (der), and – most importantly – laughter. All of those things outweigh the other stuff. The whines because you only have two hands and more kids than that. The realization that perhaps you should add more cardio into your life. The amount of songs that make good dance parties, in your opinion, might make you feel old because the last time you heard it was more than ten years ago.

Find that groove within and dance it out.

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Red, White, & Blue…and one BIG 2

Our family decided a handful of years ago to start a new tradition where each year a theme would be decided on for birthday celebrations. We’ve done colors, countries, states, and so forth. This year is the year of holidays. My husband sets the bar since his birthday comes first. We’ve had St. Patrick’s Day and April Fool’s Day in January and Mardi Gras in February (which isn’t too crazy since that’s the month of Mardi Gras…it’s just that our oldest’s favorite color is purple).

As a mom, I immediately start thinking about the decorations, food, music, and activities that can be done for the themes chosen. St. Patrick’s Day and Mardi Gras are the parties we’ve hosted this year…and then came August’s birthday. Our second baby girl’s second birthday. She’s only two, so her personality is still forming…her favorite things aren’t really her “set” favorite things. She’s still undecided. We chose July Fourth for her birthday theme. Who doesn’t like a good party with traditional all-American barbecue , beer, and a whole lotta red, white, and blue? And fireworks (okay, we only did sparklers). Fireworks define our 2.0’s personality. She’s a burst of energy, colorful in so many ways, and oh so unique…and I’m so happy that she stuck. I became part of a statistic before we found out December 25, 2014 (aka Christmas) that we were pregnant with 2.0. A ray of sunshine shown down on me that morning and that baby hasn’t stopped shining yet.

I was rather flustered the week of her first birthday last year (a different story for another day) and I felt like I didn’t do her first birthday cake justice. I love to bake, cook, throw some food together and hope it works; therefore, I take pride in making my kids’ birthday cakes. It’s that thing where I want my kids to look at people with pride and say, “My mom made that for me.” It’s that one thing. Our friends’ little boy actually told me at the all-American party that he bragged to his grandpa that we have the best parties.

I was overwhelmed with the ideas I had to make a red, white, and blue cake. One that was big, fun, and delicious. I am my own worst critic, so I think the flavors could have been a bit better – a strawberry cake, blueberry filling, and buttercream frosting. I took the slightly easy way out and did the rose-piped tiers – it was the faster frosting job and I was highly crunched on time…like, oh, it’s noon, the party starts at 5pm, and I need to frost this cake. Once I did a few roses and got my “cake decorating stance” set, it really only took about an hour to throw together.

For just a short time, kid-free, a streak of blue frosting going down one cheek (thank you, Husband for informing me of this), I felt like “me” again…and then I became that mom I told myself I never wanted to be – “oh, man. I have 30min before the party starts and I haven’t showered since Thursday…” The party was on a Saturday. Sure, I was a hot (but clean) mess, the food was good and the cake was the center of attention along side 2.0. What made it so much better is the smile on her face and excited squeals each time she saw the cake…and how she wanted to blow out her candles twice, but had to be sung Happy Birthday a second time in order to blow them out the second time.

‘Merica.

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Messe Nachos, Blue Moon, & SUCH Excitement

I’ve recently branched out and started searching for podcasts to listen to. It’s not that I don’t enjoy music. I’m so grateful for windows rolled down and good (in my opinion) music playing loudly – when my three tiny sets of ears aren’t with me.

Back to podcasts. And I found Mom Struggling Well. Yes, I am in love with it. The topics discussed are full of variety…honesty…truth…and are raw with emotion. I’ve been on a search. A search of finding new things, branching out. I not only love the topics discussed, but each podcast ends with the question of “what can you not stop talking about?” I learned about two books both by Brené Brown – The Gifts of Imperfection and Rising Strong. I listened to one excerpt of Rising Strong and immediately added it and the other one to my shopping cart.

So, I’m home, eating messe nachos from Taco Casa, having a Blue Moon, and trying to decide which one to read first – because they came in the mail today! Insert my happy dance here. I’m not just excited about having an evening to myself to enjoy messe nachos not having to be shared and a beer…or two.

I’m excited about starting this journey of what I hope to be is change…behavior, perception, whatever it brings. How can you not get a spark of excitement when reading the covers?! And that’s not even what’s on the inside.

As I hold up my beer, I toast to myself as I take my first few steps on my new journey…

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It’s life…in pieces

There are moments in life when things change, God deals you a new hand. I recently read that a butterfly is a symbol of change…and I need a whole bag of butterflies including three big ones for each of my daughters. It’s life…in pieces.

With each new hand dealt, life crumbles in pieces and the family rebuilds. Our newest butterfly, AB, is only four months old and the pieces are still being rebuilt. A new groove needs to be put into place. We’re out numbered, the Husband and I. I laughed when a friend, a father to three, explained that when you’re out numbered, you’re in constant motion just trying to keep up with all of them – constantly counting. I’m now able to nod and say that I get it – wholeheartedly. It’s life…in pieces.

As a mom who is so busy, there’s that underlying fear that you’ll forget. Forget to stop and enjoy the little things. Forget something on the grocery list. Forget to lay out something for dinner. Most importantly, though, I fear that I’m going to forget those little moments when my kids melt my heart. The more you add, the bigger the fears get. It’s life…in pieces.

I’m in a field while the sun beats down, eyes closed with arms open, breathing in calming breathes while all of these butterflies swarm around me…attempting to embrace the changes. No one likes change. I took a personality test (I can’t remember which one), but the results showed how your traits fit into a target format…I landed nearly in the bull’s eye…because apparently, I’m a rare breed that adapts and works well with others. All I can do is picture these changes coming at me in pieces at my feet transforming into butterflies, breathing calmly, and letting go of what once was….and embracing the new. It’s life…in pieces. And I’m just trying to find the bull’s eye.

A Year of Changes

Holy cow, it’s been over a year since I’ve posted anything. In my defense, things got a little crazy. Recap: March/April ’12 – enrolled to start school in the Fall (online in order to keep working full time), June ’12 – found out we were pregnant, August/September ’12 – we bought a house. Someone asked me in the middle of all of it, “How are you doing this? I would be going crazy.” My light response, “I don’t just observe life, I guess. I just jump with both feet into the water.”

It’s crazy to think I actually survived the past year. I passed both semesters, took the summer off to spend time with my daughter, and will be going back in the fall. The house still seems to be in shambles with all of the small details, but we’ll get there.

It’s still weird hearing the title of Mom being put to my name. I remember it taking a while after the wedding hearing the words Wife and Husband. Now it’s Mom. Hearing the question, “How’s that baby?” My response is always, “Beautiful.” Every time I say that word I think of my sister. Her children are 11 and 8 and she still uses that one word to answer a question that could be answered in so many ways.

There’s a switch that gets flipped internally in a split second. That moment where it’s just you, your husband, and your two cats and all of a sudden a new life is brought to you by God and his angels – with no manual, you get to make up the rules. In that second, time both rushes in this warping speed, but slows to almost a complete stop. All sounds are blocked out in order for you to hear the beautiful sound of your screaming baby. The sign you’re listening for that brings you the peace that everything is okay. I have to think really hard in some of the moments Lorelei made her debut into the world. I don’t have to think too hard about how the doctor placed her on my chest butt first in my face and my immediate reaction being ‘Oh, gross!” and hand waving her to be taken to get cleaned up. I don’t have to think hard about how the first words our daughter heard were ‘Roll Tide!’ shouted by her daddy. Before that switch is flipped you have this ability to call everyone by the right name. After that switch, though, you start confusing names. Lorelei gets called Jenga, Jenga gets called Lorelei, sometimes JJ gets pulled into the mix. Mom, I understand now.

Five pounds ten ounces and twenty inches long of pure perfection. How that little bit of perfection could make me cry like a five year old having their ice cream cone fall to the ground in a hot second. I remember a lot of emotions. I haven’t read anything from others moms about feeling pure red hot anger. I had that feeling every single time someone other than my husband or myself held her. I couldn’t look at these people. It made me cry every time. The worst melt down I had, though, happened when we watched the slide show of her hospital photos. I felt so stupid and angry that these tears were flowing hard and fast. That didn’t help, it just made it worse. I wasn’t anticipating it happening. I mean, I was there! I saw the photos being taken. How can seeing them on a small screen be so powerful? Those damn hormones that’s how. Also add in the notion of, “That’s mine. That’s a part of me. A part of me that I’m supposed to coach during life and I don’t even know what I’m doing yet.”

Every mom has that day during her maternity leave. That day where everything makes you cry. Or maybe I just rolled up all of my tear fests into one day. I remember thinking that taking a shower would help me calm down – a now luxury moment where you’re by yourself. Nope. Tears fell and they continued to fall after. My husband looked at me and asked if I was okay. “Do I look okay?! It just won’t stop! I’m just pissed off at everyone right now.” “What are you pissed off about?” “Everyone except for Lorelei are just a bunch of selfish assholes! Fuck ’em all!” Not my most shining moment, but it was how I was feeling at that time. I was over it later in the evening. Then, every mom has that moment where they runaway. I ran away. The only reason my husband woke up is because he heard me gathering my keys and wallet. Lorelei wouldn’t stop crying, I felt like a drive through window passing out food to Lorelei, the husband was sleeping which made me mad because I couldn’t remember what that was, and I just needed to leave. To breath. “Where are you going?” “I don’t know and I don’t care. Some where that isn’t here.” I drove for an hour and got an ice cream. I cried most of the time, windows down, and music blaring.

She’ll be five months old this week. My emotions are better controlled. I’ve worked through the frustrations of post-baby body issues. Whenever I start getting frustrated with it, I just look at my sweet daughter’s tiny face and think, “Hey, I grew that and it was hard work, but it was so worth it!”

My husband and I are comedic parents, I guess. A question will come up and we both look at each other, shrug our shoulders, and say ‘I don’t know. I’ve never done this before.’ The way I look at life at the end of each day is my daughter’s healthy, my husband still thinks I’m hot and sexy, and I have all my hair still even though it might look like a hot mess. Life still throws us lemons, perhaps more than before. Instead of making lemonade, I make a few lemon meringue pies.

Discovery: Sorbet

My taste buds want strawberries. I wander aimlessly in search of where they could be. They were just there yesterday! Now there’s corn – ugh. Plan B goes into action – ice cream. Generally, I’d want ice cream. This time it’s just not strawberry enough. The pretty blue pint sat high in the freezer dusted in frost. I can’t recall having strawberry sorbet, so I thought I’d give it a whirl.

The pretty hot pink color was revealed as I peeled away the seal. Seeds and chunks of strawberries shone through the smooth top. Spoon driven across that smooth top making a well. First bite taken. My taste buds danced with the tartness of strawberry.

The next trip down that freezer section led me to the tiny cartons of sorbet. Different flavors lined up like soldiers. Mango was the winner. The small ones come equipped with a mini spoon. Plastic – the proper way to eat so the taste of metal doesn’t hinder the flavor of food.

The same smooth surface shows, but with a goldish color. No chunks or seeds show. My taste buds are anticipating the first bite, I am waiting in anticipation. The sweetness is strong. The underlying tartness from fresh fruit balances and draws me back for more. The mini carton is the perfect amount. Cuts my cravings for something sweet and refreshing.

As I take each bite of this mango yumminess, I think about ways that this sorbet could be used. Put a small scoop at the bottom of a champagne flute and fill it with prosecco. An ingredient to make a smoothie. Punch. Layers in a parfait.

Who knew someone could enjoy sorbet so much?

Days Remembered to Live By

The brown shag carpet tickles between my toes. I remember the feel and smell of the house. I sat in your lap and learned how to crochet and do needlepoint. Your better half sat in his chair on the right side watching. The gold cap showing as he smiled with the light teasing. I found comfort here in what I call my second home.

The memories pooled together when I heard the words that you’d passed away, gone to a better place. You reunited with her. I picture her wearing that blue dress. My fear is that I’ll forget those moments worth remembering. Your passing brought it all back. They’re still there longing to be dug up.

Our pastor has told the story many times of his grandparents having a 62 year marriage. I love hearing this story of how his grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and it was in her best interest later to live in an assisted living place. Her husband packed his bags, too, telling those that she’s his home and where she is, home is. It amazes me and brings me hope for my marriage. This really happens – people marrying and staying together forever. In my deep thoughts on the road trip up, it hit me like a ton of bricks – you two had a 62 year marriage.

You stayed by her side throughout those horribly sad days. The days I stomped down deep in a dark place of my soul not wanting to be remembered. I analyze them now with an adult understanding, from a wife’s point of view. I get it. I watched the slide show of pictures, many new to my eyes. One that will forever be remembered is the one of you holding her in your arms like a groom carrying his bride over the threshold for the first time only it wasn’t your wedding day. She was forever your bride and you treated her as such. Your love for each other was raw with emotion in that one black and white photo.

I remember sitting at your dining room table countless times while she washed the dishes. You’d come in greasy and gross from working on cars or something manly. Your path lead straight to her wrapping your arms around the small of her back and giving her a kiss on the cheek, top of her head, or near her temple. I wasn’t used to seeing this stuff in my own home. This was awkward and uncomfortable. I get it now. Seeing it through memory with a newly wired brain and heart wishing I could have known to cherish it then as I do now.

I pray that I have a 62 year marriage like yours. That I show no fear in showing the love for others as you both did. I long and will forever strive to be the mother, aunt, grandmother, and friend that you were. I will tell of the stories of you to my husband, nephews, and any son(s) we may have and pray that they will hear the words, hold them in their as hearts as I do, and live by them.

You both set the bar pretty high.

A Dream and Rocky IV

I’m in the house I grew up in. I’m breathing hard and I can’t find the words for prayer. I have a fear that everyone I know is in danger. There’s a deep fear that grows stronger as I near the basement. It’s hot. I want to cry, but there’s no time for tears. I open the door to go down the stairs. The feeling of pain and suffering is at its strongest and I can’t breathe.

A deep, scratchy voice surrounds me and my insides turn to ice. Words echoing my deepest fears out loud. ‘I am going to get you’ and ‘I’m going to get them, too’ and ‘ You can’t save them.’ Evil laughter echoes in the room filled with shadows and dancing flames. My eyes follow the sound to the normally darkest corner. Now it’s bright with yellow and orange and there’s a shadowy figure with red eyes staring at me, moving forward.

I’m frozen, screaming, tears running down my face. My mind tells me to run, run as fast as I can and for a split second my feet can’t react. It’s moving closer. Something grabs me and I run, not looking back. The laughter begins once again. The words ‘You can’t run forever’ follow me. I can’t allow the fear to consume me. A house not so big is feeling ginormous. I just want to get out. I have to get out soon. A feeling of something bad happening sits in my gut like a boulder.

I reach the door and run faster. Two long steps from the end of the porch – jump! Mid-jump, it happens. I’m thrown like in the movies. The explosion fills my ears and covers my screams. I’m bracing myself for the impact of landing, hoping to hit a grassy area…

I wake up. Muscles stiff, trying to catch my breath like a marathon runner, covered in a cold sweat. My mind was foggy from a deep sleep. I couldn’t make sense of it. The room was dark, fear wrapping around my heart. I need to get out of here, go where there’s light. I go downstairs where the TV is on and husband’s on the computer. “You okay?” he asks. “I just had a bad dream. When are you coming to bed?” “Soon.”

I sit in the middle of our living room without my glasses and wait patiently for him to come to bed. JJ curls up next to me, nudging me for attention. Struggling to make out what’s on TV, I ask, “What are you watching?” “Rocky IV.” I squint. “Doesn’t this guy die?” “Yeah, Apollo dies. What was this dream about that made you come down here and watch Rocky IV?” “I just had a really bad dream.” I’m trying to wash it from my mind. I find the words of prayer, mind clearing. All I can see in my mind is that damn shadowy figure coming closer to me, fear that it’s going to touch me, that voice bringing chills to my skin. “When are you coming to bed?” “Soon.” Apollo’s funeral is showing on the TV.

He gives me a hug and asks for a third time what my dream was about. The only words I could find, sounding stupid on the in and even more coming out, “The devil was trying to get me.” I fell asleep with him next to me silently saying Hail Marys over and over again. Praying the image goes away.

I tell my story not in great detail to my co-workers. Two asked me what I had to feel guilty about to be dreaming about the devil. I wanted to become defensive. I said I don’t have anything to feel guilty about. I think it’s my deepest fear coming through in a dream and my faith being tested.

I Dream…

I’m a dreamer. I dream in my sleep, when my eyes are open and looking out into nothing. I think deeply and imagine all sorts of things. Most of the things I dream of can be realistic. Some more difficult to accomplish than others.

I dream of graduating with a college degree one day soon. It’s in the process. The process takes time, but I need that time to process things out in my brain. I’ll get there and when I do, I will definitely have a better sense of myself.

I dream of one day making remodeling/decorating plans in a place I can call my own. I don’t know what it will look like exactly, but one thing is for sure there will be color. No beige or cream-colored walls. Colors that bring happiness, warmth, energy. Cabinets! Oh, yes, there will be cabinets. And twirling. There will also be twirling accompanied with laughter filled with joy and excitement – no matter how many toilets there are to be cleaned.

I dream of dancing and baking withe someone I call my own. Teaching the importance of leveling your flour and messy cooks/bakers are the best cooks/bakers – you just have to clean up after. I’ll give the advice of pulling longer hair into a ponytail, so it doesn’t get stuck in the beaters when you’re trying to see. True story – it hurts.

I dream of the things most do. I dream hard and true to myself. Sure there are the dreams that I believe will come true, but not until after I’ve spent my time here. I dream realistically and endless. I dream openly and limitless.

6 of 12 of ’12

I’m a list kind of girl. Grocery, to-do’s at home, to-do’s at work, goals. I need something tangible to mark through, not just mentally. There have been nights where I lay awake thinking of this, that, and the other. Once the list is created, I can sleep comfortably. This year seems different. I remember telling a co-worker that first week of January, “This isthe year. Something big is going to happen. Something that I’m going to do.”

We’ve discussed many different things for this year. Have made plans, some set in stone, some not. Once again, a new list is formed, check marks waiting to be made.

I’m currently working on a list for the 2012 year. A list of goals, some easy and some not. It’s a nudge to help me step outside of my box. I want to set 12 goals for myself, realistic and not financially crazy. I have 6 things so far which means I have 6 more to come up with.

Go back to school. I set this for myself a couple of years ago and certain things happened and broke my concentration. I’ve researched distance learning programs and found one at the University of Alabama that I’m interested in – Bachelor of Science in Commerce and General Business.

Make a list of recipes that I’ve said I was going to make, but actually make them. This list is ongoing. It’s amazing how you can say “I’m going to make this” and then totally forget what that thing was. Makes my face scrunch. I’ll get there. I want to make gumbo. That’s the only one that really stands out to me.

Try sushi. I’ve never tried sushi and I want to, darn it. There’s something about the title of Spicy Tuna roll that I find intriguing. I’m doing it, but first I think it would be best to check off what’s next on my list.

Learn to use chopsticks. They look fun to use! And I found some at Target that are a pack of like 4 sets I think. This gives me extra just in case I get really frustrated and break one. It happens.

Once I learn how to use chopsticks, I want to make a Chinese dinner. I love Chinese take-out. It’s my favorite. We generally pick out a movie to watch at home, blow up the air mattress, and chow down till we feel miserable. It’d be ten times more fun if I was using chopsticks and I’d be able to say, “I made this.” Of course, I’d say it with pride in my voice.

One of the most challenging on the list for me is to learn to walk in stiletto heels. For some, this is easy. For me, this is not. I put a pair on at the store recently, told my husband to check me if I looked as if I’d fall, and then I kind of just stood there stiff as a board. I love heels, but I prefer the wedge. All of these shoes either keep getting skinnier in the heel or the wedge is getting taller. My limit is a 4in wedge, but I’m thinking I need to push it to 5. I do own a pair of 5in wedges, so I can practice at home. I should start putting some kind of ankle strengthening exercise into my routine….

My list is halfway from being complete. I have some ideas in mind. I want to paint something, make something cool, but I don’t know what yet. It’ll be complete soon enough. I have 10 more months until the year comes to a close. I have time.

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