Sunday, May 29, 2011

Dance Lessons!

Lila and Emily just finished up their year in dance with a recital. Now good or bad.. sometimes both.. my personality is such that whatever I take on I want to do well.. it's just how the good Lord made me! So I think I surprised myself with how nonchalant I was about the whole dance routine/recital thing... or maybe I was surprised at how seriously some of the other moms took this whole thing!

So, now that it's over we can reflect on the whole experience here is what I walk away having learned from dance..
1) Each dancer is unique and great in their own way... I think I may have mentioned this before.. some dancers may be dainty and graceful and others just like to have FUN.. I love both approaches the same and wouldn't change my bull in a china shop for anything... but, let me also say, as her loving mother, she did get a lot better towards the end of the year!
2) Dance is obviously a very big deal to some people.. not that this is a bad thing.. just not a big deal to everyone, i.e. ME!
3) Stage Moms really do exist!
4)I am clearly not one of them.. I could care less how my children perform... just as long as they have fun. We don't practice at home everyday and I don't stand off to the side to show my disapproval if they don't smile big enough, tap on beat, or keep up with the music!
5) If the studio wants you to put make-up on your sweet little four and five year olds for pictures, rehearsal and performance.. just do it... not worth upsetting so many stage moms over!
6) All instructions for costume, hair style, make-up and polishing of tap shoes must be followed to a T... don't you dare even think about that pony tail not being on the TOP of your daughter's head.. even an inch lower WILL be noticed!
7) Never, Never, Ever forget to put the gloves/arm things on your kids before they line up for the dress rehearsal! NEVER EVER! You will surely pay for this with a lashing of words by the stgae director.. and if you should find yourself in this situation, cover your little one's ears at the first hint that things are going south.. too bad I only had two hands and four ears to cover!
8) If your spirited child gets a run in her tights, make sure you buy a replacement pair from the dance studio.. even if you buy a replacement pair at Target and Payless, they still won't match and one shade off can certainly send those serious dance people over the edge! Dance is very expensive when it is all said and done.. tuition, costumes, recital fees, pictures, videos, makes my head swim.. and you really don't want to tack on an extra $20 for tights they will never wear again!
9) On the day of the recital, don't count on following directions as being the right thing to do. If one group of teachers tell you to stay with your children until they line up for their performance resist the temptation to obey... the whole auditorium just may be waiting for that seat your husband is saving for you to be filled before the show can start. So, by following the directions you are given, you take the risk of unknowingly delaying the performance because the fire marshall won't let anyone else in, per code, and your husband is still saving that seat third row from the front that must be filled before the kids can dance! This is probably the biggest lesson because, trust me, you will be SO embarassed when you walk in and the man on the stage with the mic heckles you in front of everyone for holding up the show. Forget about all those children with nervous, excited energy back in the gym waiting for their turn to perform with only two people to watch them.. don't think about those metal bleachers folded in the corner that they are letting kids in slippery dance shoes climb all over... erase the memory of your little one spending one whole hot summer in a cast and fearing it may happen again.. just sit in your seat and smile as you choke on all the ugly things you could 'heckle' back to the man with the mic on the stage! Just smile and enjoy the show until someone stands up in front of you to get a better look at their child performing and you have to miss out again! : )

So many things learned... and not just for the children learning to dance! IF we ever get brave enough to take on dance again I will try so much harder! For now, I'd just be happy with a t-shirt that says, "I survived the Dance Recital!" Seriously!
I won't be able to post their performance because no cameras were allowed in the auditorium and they made it perfectly clear with signs posted every few feet that you would be escorted out of the show if caught taking pictures.. still or video. We were allowed to video the rehearsal, but I haven't looked at it yet to see if it is post worthy.. there was one mom who thought it was more important to capture her dancer above anyone else, so she planted herself right up ON THE STAGE in front of my little dancers just so she could get the perfect angle of her little star! No, I'm not bitter or anything... but, maybe I should just go ahead and post that video of her derriere on the internet for all to see... Can you tell this is big a pet peeve of mine. Same thing happened at Lila's 'graduation' from preschool... you get there early so you will have a good seat, thus good pictures and then crowds of parents practically come sit in your lap during the one part you've been waiting to see, to get their picture.. why bother getting there early? Get there right as it starts, sit in the back rows and then just push your way up to the front and plop down in front of the people who got there early so they could get good pictures... I mean, of course your little one is so much more important than their's right? Why would we want a picture of our kid? Don't people take others into consideration?!? Okay, off the soap box! Pictures soon to follow!

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Fun at the Farm - December

Growing up in the Rio Grande Valley no one was ever surprised by my Dad's occupation. I never even thought it rare that my Dad was a farmer until I went to ACU, and for the first time in my life noticed confusion on faces when my Dad's line of work came up in conversation.
"Do you like live on a farm with cows and chickens?"
No, my Dad grows crops... cotton, sugar cane, grain, corn (now he has horses and the cows were added in the last year)but at the time it was just crops.
"Did you have to get up early and do chores before school?"
No, I lived in a house just like you, except when my Dad went to work his 'office' was acres, and acres, and acres of land instead of your typical desk job... although that is a big part of the farming operation as well.
"Were you a cowgirl?" This one still makes me laugh... No, I am not a country girl AT ALL.. didn't even own a pair of boots until a few years ago.. seriously.

I still get this on occasion, maybe because I live in a big city and people just don't have a lot experience with farming, but I am no longer defensive about it as maybe I once was. I am so proud of my Dad... no man stands taller in my eyes. He grew up on this land and knows it like the back of his hand, which is impressive because it's a big farm! :) I wish my kids could grow up experiencing more of this life, of this land, that has blessed my family in so many ways... of the lessons in hard work, and bounty. Imagine planting row after row of seeds and watching them grow into beautiful fields of cotton, or sugar cane that grows several feet over your head, acres of grain in that pretty redish brown color... it amazes me. And not just the idea of watching these beautiful fields grow from a tiny seed under your watch, but the relationship that a farmer most certainly has to have with God, the author and creator of all things... that trust and faith that we all strive for each day is almost a requirement in farming. You really learn firsthand that He does make all things beautiful.. a field of dry dirt becomes a sea of white cotton, or grain that is both hearty and delicate at the same time. And the fact that in farming there are no guarantees.. you tend your crops with the same hope, hard work and vigor each year and never know if you will reap a bumper crop or lose it all in a hurricane. I know I am lacking in the patience and optimism required in this line of work... oh, the lessons the Lord would surely teach me! I have no illusions that my Dad and brother would probably paint a very different picture when it comes to farming and the stress that is in involved, but what a labor of love and how I admire them for doing it so well!

I've never worked the land at Dad's farm.. I did work in the office a few summers when I was home from college, but that doesn't really count.. but there is something about that farm that definitely calls me. I think maybe only a farmer's daughter can truly love and appreciate the smell of the cotton gin in the late summer.. my girls get so excited when the palm trees start to line the interstate as we get close to Mimi and Papa's house.. that is their 'coming home moment' but mine is just a little further down, right outside of town, when I breathe in the scent of the cotton gin and feel in my heart like I'm home.

The farm is something I have certainly taken for granted in my life, but the older I get the more connected I feel to this land. It has been such a big part of my family for three generations now. I guess that happens to all of us as we grow older.. that nostalgia with childhood memories... or maybe it is that I am realizing my own girls are growing up with very different experiences. I don't want them to miss out on the sights and sounds of the heavy machinery in harvest time, or the tractor rides just for fun, the excitement of riding in a trailer filled high with cotton, throwing it up and watching it fall like snow. It's those easy, simple things in life that I want them to grow up remembering. So, the past few times I have been home it has become important for me to visit the farm while we are down at my parents house. I want my girls to know it, feel connected to it, and appreciate it as I do. Of course now it's even more fun for this fourth generation with the horses to ride and all those pretty brauma's to feed... and we're looking forward to seeing the baby calves really soon! It's a special gift that I hope my children will carry with them long after their childhood is over.

So, on to the pictures and the HORSES, no surprise that this is my oldest daughter's favorite part! If only I had a dollar for every time Lila asks about her Papa's horses.. I'd have myself a very nice chunk of change to play with! : )

And gotta give the cows some lovin'... I think the brauma is the beauty queen in the cow family... aren't they so pretty?

Rosie Roo... Seriously. Could she be any cuter? Oh.My.Goodness.. just seeing her picture makes her Aunt Sam miss her soooo much!!

Rosie Roo, Do you have any idea how much I love you? Sweet little munchkin!

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Happy Fifth (Gulp!) Birthday Lila!

Back in SEPTEMBER, Lila turned five... FIVE! How can it be?!?

On your birthday this year you picked Celebration Park as your celebration destination.. good choice! You and Emily had so much fun playing on the playground and running through the splash pad. I loved sitting back and watching you play, admiring you, thinking about how much you have grown, and taking a few moments to sit in gratefulness for the blessing of you - such an amazing, sweet daughter!

I can't believe how fast the past five years have gone.. my heart skips a beat just trying to keep up with you! I wrote you the words from my heart last night in your journal.. the collection of my love letters for you.. so you will have to read your official birthday letter there, but I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to blog about this, your fifth, and probably biggest year yet!

This really is such a big year for you.. I finally let go, just a little bit, and sent you off to preschool! You have been in school for a couple of weeks now and I can already tell that you love it! I know you will have so much fun and learn so many new things, it's just hard for this Mommy who loves you SO MUCH to admit that you are finally ready to spread your wings a little and have your first big school adventure without me! It is only two days a week, but already I feel such a void in my days... I think about you all the time and can't help but wonder what you are doing at that very same moment you are filling my heart and my thoughts. I miss you so much when you are not with me!

But, today is your birthday and I can't help but smile when I look back through the images I captured of your special day!

You are beautiful... truly from the inside out. You are pretty timid around most people. It takes you a good long while to feel completely comfortable around them before you open up and they finally get to see my Rooney. I struggle in my prayers for you between wanting you to find more of your voice and grow in independence and wanting to keep you, the sweet, perfect you, exactly as you are, and all to myself! :) Truthfully, I know that God made you exactly as you are, and who can argue with that! So even in you never find that voice, know that you are perfect in the eyes of your Mommy and Daddy and Father in Heaven. 'Jesus knows me, this I love.' You are so joyful. So much fun to be around. You laugh easily and it's contagious. You are so, so sweet and still a Mommy's Girl which I love, love, love! I adore you little one..absolutely adore you!

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Lila's 'Horse' Party

Every Cowgirl Needs a Horse! At least that is what Nellie Sue says in Lila's all time favorite book, Every Cowgirl Needs a Horse, by Rebecca Janni. Nellie Sue asks for a horse for her birthday, but she gets a bike instead! At first she isn't too keen on ridin' a horse with wheels where hooves ought to be but in no time at all, Nellie Sue loves 'Beauty', her 'horse', with the bright pink saddle (bike seat) and pale pink mane (bike streamers). After reading this book that Mimi and Papa found for Lila, the idea for our party was clear... we invited our fellow cowgirls and cowboys to saddle up their horses and meet us at the park so we could groom, gallop around, race, and giddy-up around the pasture!

It rained the morning of the party but stopped just in time... my sidewalk chalk birthday art needed a few touch ups, but no big deal... rain can't stop these wild horses! The kids all got bandanas when they arrived, but it SO HUMID that I think they got handed off to the parents real quick.. too hot to wear something tied around your neck! We read the story, and then spent some time grooming our beloved stallions... we attached bike streamers to our handlebars, bike spokes to our wheels, and personalized Texas license/bike plates to our saddles... seats! Then we cantered, galloped and skeedaddled like the wind in a few bike races. No belt buckles for winners, but everybody did get a medal to show off their extraordinary riding skills!

Next it was time to hitch up the horses and hit the feed... cake and ice cream, cold drinks from the water trough, perfect cowgirl grub!

Happy Birthday to you Sweet Cowgirl! Giddy-Up, Blow out them candles real quick!

The kids enjoyed their johnnycake..

Party Favors..

Think the parents will still be my friends after I send home with cowbells?! : )


The perfect party for my adorable cowgirl! We love you Lila Rooney! Yee-Haw!