Friday, June 22, 2012

Let's go T-Bones ... Rah, rah, rah!

If you know me at all, you know I am not, nor was I ever, a cheerleader. Shocker, right? I never even really knew or hung out with cheerleaders. In fact, most of my ideas and preconceived notions of cheerleaders come from 80s and 90s TV shows and movies. (As readers might remember, I love me some 80s cheese movies!)

I do have to confess, though. I tried out for the cheerleading squad in 7th grade. (What?!? Yes, I know. It's a deep, dark, dirty secret of mine.) We had to make up our own cheer and perform it. Someone helped me make up a cheer, but I didn't think the basic "Go team, go!" was good enough. I added a bunch of other words in there to tell a better story. Then, when I got up to perform, I forgot half the words I added. Needless to say, I didn't make it. Eventually, I found my place in the world of words: the school newspaper. Much more appropriate, no? It seems I was less Saved by the Bell's Kelly Kapowski than 90210's Andrea Zuckerman, no matter how much I loved Tiffani-Amber Thiessen.

Kelly Kapowski
Andrea Zuckerman

Anyway, all this backstory to explain how I ended up enrolling Molly in a cheerleading camp this summer. See, a couple months ago, I got a message from a friend. Nickie has a daughter (Jensen) two months older than Molly. Nickie said she had signed Jensen up for cheer camp and that I should sign Molly up, too. I was shocked, because I never had even considered the idea. But, then, Nickie wasn't exactly a cheerleading-type, either. Plus, I wouldn't picture myself as a "cheer mom." I kind of pictured Dance Moms, but with cheerleaders.

But, in spite of myself, I signed Molly up. I didn't want to put my preconceptions (and bad junior high experiences) on Molly. And, who knows? Maybe she'd really like it.

She went to camp every morning for a week, then all the girls got to perform some cheers at the T-Bones game. (The T-Bones are our local Independent Baseball team.)

Turns out, Molly had a great time. She learned the cheers and dances, and knew them pretty well when it was game time. She seemed to like performing, though she never did master the art of smiling while doing moves. She liked the jumps and kicks, and now Charlotte is even running around "doing cheers" like Molly.  And, the cheer coach was really nice - not at all like Sue Sylvester from the Cheerios.

Performing on the last day of camp.

Friday, June 15, 2012

10 years on ... still laffing strong

Man, 10 years is a long time. 10 years ago, Friends and ER were still on TV, and American Idol had just had its very first season. The iPod had only been around for six months, and we couldn't even comprehend having the Internet on our phones. And, you know what else happened 10 years ago? Yeah, Cory and I got married in a wedding day to end all wedding days.  Ok, that might be a bit of hyperbole. It definitely wasn't close to one of the $50 million celebrity weddings popular for the pictures in People Magazine. But, it was special because we made it through intact, and now, I get many, many laffs thinking back at the disasters that befell us on June 15, 2002.
You know what else was going on 10 years ago? Not a whole lot of digital photography. Yeah, all our photos are film, so we've had to scan them in. Thus, the so-so quality. All you young kids and your digital photos should count yourself lucky.

I think there is a saying out there that claims bad things happening on your wedding day bodes well for the future of your marriage. Take the old superstition about rain being good on your wedding day: Rain symbolizes blessings, cleansing, unity, and a new day, and therefore means good luck for the marriage. Personally, I always thought they just made that up to make you feel better when all your plans for beautiful outdoor wedding pictures were ruined by torrential sheets of water pouring down from the sky.

But, then came my own wedding day exactly 10 years ago. After that fateful day, I was suddenly all aboard the bad-luck-on-your-wedding-means-good-luck-for-your-marriage train.

See, my own wedding day was filled, I mean filled, with mishaps, mistakes and oopsie-daisies. So many "issues" occurred that halfway through the reception, I finally lost it and burst into tears. The ugly, crying tears, though, not the beautiful, glistening eyes of a new bride.

I'll start from the beginning to give you an overview of the day:

The wedding party before the day started to go downhill.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: Charlotte & Minnie (part 2)

Minnie is a popular playmate in our house these days. One favorite activity: Putting Minnie down to sleep. Charlotte decided to pose with all her Minnies as they were taking a nap in her bed.

Yup, Minnies + Charlotte = Cute

Monday, June 11, 2012

My own, personal Al Roker

So, I've admitted before that I'm obsessed with the weather. I love to know what the days ahead are going to have in store. Living in Kansas, you can never bet that the next day will be similar to the last. We have drastic swings in temperatures and conditions within days or even hours. I like to be prepared (as best I can), so I like to watch the weather.

In the mornings, Molly will often want to watch a show while I shower and get ready. She asks to watch Dora, and my usual answer is, "ok, just let me watch the weather, first." For Mother's Day, I went to a Mother's Day tea at her preschool. The teacher helped the kids fill out questionnaires about their moms. I really shouldn't have been surprised when, for the "What's Mom's favorite TV show?" question, Molly answered "the weather." Yes, yes, she did. In fact, she actually calls the entire Today Show, the weather.

I should always be aware that I'm raising little sponges, because I'm afraid this obsession of mine with the weather has created a monster. A tiny, little Al-Roker-wannabe monster.

A couple days ago, while watching the weather on The Today Show, the local weather guy happened to mention rain was a possibility for Monday. Now, keep in mind, this was like last Wednesday. Every day since then, Molly has said, "It's going to rain on Monday, Mommy!" Or, "We can't go to the pool on Monday, because it's going to rain." Or, "I hope my camp is inside on Monday, because it's going to rain."

Friday, June 8, 2012

Tiny dancers, big smiles

Molly has been busy in her dance class preparing for her big end-of-the-year recital. It is tomorrow afternoon, and if you remember last  year's blog post about it, it is a HUGE deal. It's at the Lied Center (the performing arts center in Lawrence, KS), and the little ones have fun, but can get a little lost in the enormity of the production.

That was one of the reasons I was so thrilled when Molly's dance teacher told us that her class would be performing at a local assisted living center. The great-grandma of one of the little girls in her class lives there, and we got it hooked up to perform there.

It just happened that it was the morning after we returned from our big Chicago trip. So, while I was very excited for Molly to get to do this, it was also a bit of a chaotic morning. The girls got to wear their costumes, so we had to do make-up and hair. All by 10am after getting home at 10pm the night before. Needless to say, I had to stop by Starbucks for a caffeine fix on the way to the show.

Unfortunately, there was a miscommunication somewhere along the line, and the poor residents were under the impression that the show started a half an hour before it actually did. These poor people were sitting there waiting for us to start for 30 minutes. Hopefully the cuteness of the girls made up for their wait time.

All the girls getting ready to go on.

The girls marched out and danced several different songs. Ones they've been dancing to all year, in addition to their recital songs. It was so cute to see the girls dancing for such an up-close audience. The girls got to experience dancing for people other than just their parents, but on a much smaller scale than on stage at the Lied Center. And, the residents from the center seemed to really enjoy the singing and dancing. There were no Boos or people walking out, no matter how many mistakes the girls made.

Dancing to "Tiny Ballerina"

How cute is that?

Molly showing off her arabesque skills.

Dancing next to Rachel (a curly red-headed little girl!)

Bouncing along to "Broadway Baby."

If you couldn't tell: Molly is the one to watch for the dance moves. Molly's got them down.

You can tell the girls get a little confused because the area is smaller than they're used to. So, they all end up smushed in the middle with Molly dancing front and center.

After they performed all their dances and songs, they each went around and shook hands and talked to the residents who came down to watch the show. It was the sweetest thing I think I've ever seen. And, yes, I did hear Molly tell one of the residents that she'd just gotten back from Chicago now that she was 5 and that she has an American Girl Doll. I can't tell you whether that person actually understood any of it, but she nodded anyway.

Explaining that she was 5 years old.
I am so thrilled that Molly had an opportunity to do this. It was good for her to practice dancing in front of an audience and to see the joy that performing can bring to other people. And, the smiles on the residents' faces? Well, that sight was priceless to this mama.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Running the hills: I do it for the bling

Whew. I've checked the last half marathon off my list!

  • Rock the Parkway - April 14
  • Kansas Half - April 22
  • Oklahoma City Memorial Half Marathon - April 29
  • Running with the Cows - May 12
  • Hospital Hill - June 

  • When I first looked at my list all written out, I didn't think I'd ever get to crossing off the last half marathon. But, I did. And, most importantly, I had a blast doing it!

    It's kind of appropriate that I finished up my crazy streak with Hospital Hill, because Hospital Hill was actually my first half marathon six years ago (in 2006). I was stupid back then and ran a full marathon in April, then tried my hand at the half distance in June. Apparently I didn't understand the building up of races of different distances.

    And, back then, race directors hadn't discovered how much people (ahem, me) enjoy cool medals (bling) and race swag. My first Hospital Hill, instead of shirts, they gave out unisex running shorts. Really think about that. Unisex running shorts. Yeah ... they didn't work. At least for me. Maybe some people liked them. But they were too long for me and too short when I tried to give them to Cory. I'm not sure whatever happened to those shorts. I'm sure we donated them, so maybe there was a really tall girl or really short guy shopping at Goodwill who appreciated them.

    Anyway, in the past six years, races have majorly upped their medal and swag game. For this year's Hospital Hill, we got technical t-shirts, running socks and finisher flip-flops. Way better! Plus, next year is Hospital Hill's 40th anniversary. The race is known as the Grandfather of Kansas City Road Races. In honor of the 40th anniversary, the race is doing a three-part medal, where all the medals from 2011, 2012 and 2013 fit together. It's a great marketing tool, because it's truly the reason I signed up to run this year.
    One more left ... (And, no, I don't actually have the  wooden plaque yet. We'll see if we can convince Cory it's worth buying next year!)
    You can see for yourself how much cooler the medals have been the last two years versus in 2006. (I obviously don't have pictures of the infamous shorts, or I would share those, too.)
    2011 and 2012 are WAY cooler. I just can't wait for next year's! 

    Monday, June 4, 2012

    50 shades of blue(berries)

    Last week, a friend sent out a message on Facebook to see if anyone was interested in going blueberry picking. Blueberry picking is one of those things that I had heard about and always thought would be fun to do with the girls. But, I'd just never gotten around to doing it. Apple picking in the fall is another one of those activities. A couple months ago I thought, "oh, we never made it apple picking last fall, we will definitely have to do it this fall." Then, I realized that this fall Molly will be in kindergarten. Which means, we'll have to become weekend people.

    (Weekend people: People who do fun activities with their kids on the weekends. While I have no problem with weekend people, one of the joys of staying home is that you can do fun stuff during the week and avoid the massive crowds. If you know me, you know I do not enjoy crowds.)

    So, I had a moment of panic and realized that my time with little ones is slipping away, and they're going to be in college before I know it, and then I'll be all alone ... then the sobbing started. Ok, so I may have gotten a little carried away, but you can see where I was coming from, right?

    Anyway, with all that back story, you will, I'm sure, not be shocked to hear that I immediately said "yes" to blueberry picking. We planned to meet at 9am at a place called The Berry Patch, which is probably 30-40 minutes away. I needed caffeine first, though, so I had to stop at Sonic, and therefore were a little late.

    Because we'd never been before, I didn't know the first thing about it. But, they give you a bucket, a plastic bag, and a twine to wrap around your waist. You can tie your bucket onto the twine and then can have two hands free for picking. Molly was listening intently to the woman explaining the process to us. She told us that they were picking in fields #11 and #12, and that we should only pick the blue blueberries, because the green and purple ones would not ripen and you would be left with sour, gross berries.

    So, we made our way back to the appropriate fields (they plant the blueberries so they ripen at different times and can lengthen the picking season). There, we found Sarah and her kids, Owen and Tessa. They had already been there for a while, so Sarah already had quite the full bucket. We got started picking.

    Charlotte was excited by the idea of blueberry picking.