Monday, December 21, 2009

memo to all newborns

MEMO

TO: Babies

RE: How to make your mother twitch

The order of the following steps is not set in stone, but the importance of completing each step can not be stressed enough if you want to achieve the desired results. Skipping a step could result in merely an eye roll or (worse yet) dismissive laughter. ALL steps are necessary to achieve maximum twitching.

STEP 1: Massive, smelly, disgusting poop. Make sure that you are positioned in such a way and use enough force that the poop blows out your diaper and extends all the way up your back, as close to the neckline as possible. Note: This step is most effective if you are wearing something that your mother deems especially "cute", even more so if it is new (say, just purchased and washed the night before).

STEP 2: Immediately after having your diaper and clothing changed, while your mother is holding you and selecting a new onesie, spit up. Make sure you aim so that an equal amount gets on her clothing and your face and body. Projectile is the goal here. You could wait until you are dressed if you also want to factor in the "extra laundry quotient", but being naked is fine.

STEP 3: Undoubtedly your mother will decide that you need a bath. You have two options here: you can pee while being carried to the tub, or wait til you are sitting in it. Both are effective.

STEP 4: Once you are clean, changed, dressed, and settled, spit up one more time. Only a little bit this time, not enough to warrant another change of clothes, but just enough to need cleaning. This last step generally ensures maternal twitching, but overdoing this step could cause more severe damage to your mother than desired, so time it right and be careful of the amount.

STEP 5: After all of this work, you have most likely achieved twitch and are probably exhausted. Take a nice long nap, but make sure to spit out your pacifier at regular intervals. Got to keep those moms on their toes!

Friday, December 18, 2009

weblink... wait, what day is it?

It is long past time for a Weblink Wednesday, don't you think? (And even if you don't, just lie to me, ok? I'm very sensitive right now.) This one comes to you courtesy of Stephen (as many of them do... he has a lot of internet-surfing time on his hands, and for that we are all grateful). I would not be surprised if someone took this idea and ran with it.

Also, here is another (more flattering) picture of my little one. Little snoozy santa baby... doesn't get much cuter than that.

She was very excited about her encounter with Santa, can't you tell?

My New Year's resolution will be to get back into the blogging swing of things (watching Julie and Julia last night inspired me. Maybe I'll get a movie deal... you know how people love watching movies about dogs and baby poop...), but if you must have more blog RIGHT NOW you can go here to read about one of my favorite family Christmas traditions, or here to catch up on the "pregnant five" which is now actually only the pregnant two!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

thoughts on baby poop

Because I am a new mother, and apparently poop becomes not only an appropriate topic of conversation, but a fascinating one.

1. There is something odd about a being that can only really relax AFTER it has pooped and is sitting in it.

2. If your baby does finally settle down after a successful expulsion of waste, is it cruel to leave her in what you know must be a nasty, disgusting diaper? I mean, she's sleeping. It must not be that uncomfortable.

3. Even when a baby is sitting down, poop still seems to travel upward. Onto her back. And therefore onto her onesie. Which you probably just washed.

4. Apparently you are supposed to try and maintain a pleasant expression while changing your baby's diaper so that they don't develop insecurities about their unmentionables or how they look naked or something. I'll just have to hope that my daughter understands that I think she is absolutely beautiful... only slightly less so when covered in slimy yellow poo. I would hope she will eventually be able to understand that distinction.

5. Parent's Choice baby wipes (Walmart's brand, I believe) are not as good as Pamper's. They also smell funny. Which is saying a lot when you think of what smells you have to compare them to at the time of their usage.

Monday, November 23, 2009

week 2


I don't know how to write about my baby. I've kept coming back to my blog site whenever there is a quiet moment, knowing that I need to write something to document these first few weeks... my feelings, my fears, my wonder at this new little life that has entered the world and shaken everyone up. Each day seems to go by in slow three-hour blocks, and then suddenly I blink and it's been almost 2 weeks. She is nothing if not a lesson on the relativity of time. I know I will miss these times, even as some moments I fervently wish to skip ahead to when she can talk and tell me what she wants or needs. I try to freeze frame little snapshots of her in my mind...
curled up on her daddy's chest, sleeping with her mouth wide open (pacifier free... now THAT is real sleep);
lifting her wobbly head to try and look around the room, looking like a frantic little turtle;
squirming and fussing in her bouncy chair until suddenly inexplicably settling, her hands floating down like little spiders to settle by her sides, her head tilted at an impossible angle;
her feet pulled up close to her body so that the ends of her onesie are empty, making her appear footless;
swaddled like a little glow worm, only her head peeking out, lying right in the middle of her crib, making it look like a huge expanse of space relative to her tiny bundled body;
opening her eyes occasionally and seeming to really see that I am there, or recognize my voice among other voices, or calm down when she comes to rest on my chest... and feeling like a mother.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

labor story

Check out my (very long) labor story over at Sweet Tea and Strollers! I will be posting about Laine's first days of life soon... basically she is beautiful and perfect and awesome and you should all be jealous you don't get to hang out with her all day.

Oh, and also, go here and watch the newest video of Laine learning a very valuable lesson from her aunt Tricia.

Monday, October 26, 2009

battle of the bellies


Is it just me, or do I look kinda like a raptor in that second picture? A pregnant raptor? A very short, pregnant raptor?

Wait... why did I decide to post this picture of myself?

PS- The lovely, non-raptor-like pregnant lady bumping bellies with me is Emily, the brain behind Sweet Tea and Strollers as well as author of her own blog, The Daily Duncan. We were lucky enough to be guests-of-honor (along with our husbands) at a Babies and Beer couples shower thrown by our husbands classmates in the University of GA MBA program.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

sweet tea and strollers

My friend Emily sent me an email recently asking if I would like to join her on a new blogging project along with 3 of her other pregnant friends. The idea is that the 5 of us will all contribute to one blog about anticipating, preparing for, and then experiencing first time motherhood. Of course I agreed, and I am excited to introduce you all to Sweet Tea and Strollers! All of us are due within the next few months, so the first entries are just introducing ourselves, our spouses, our relationship to Emily (since she is he founder and the one who knows all of us), and sharing how we are feeling as our due dates rapidly approach. Join us as we blog our way through pregnancy woes and joys, birth stories, baby pictures, and all of the anxieties and thrills of having a newborn!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

nunya

(As in: "nunya" business.)

Today I am one month away from my due date. (Which means that I could technically go into labor at any point starting next week and still be considered "full term", fyi. Due dates are so over-rated.) There have been many things that have surprised me about pregnancy, especially in my last trimester. How I can press on the top of my foot and it leaves a little indentation (Mom says its called "pitting edema" or something like that. I think it's called "fat feet disease"). How time can fly by and drag all within one day. How I can still teach my classes and feel confident that my students are learning, even with less than stellar demonstration from me. How much I miss lying on my stomach. How much STUFF a baby needs. But I think the thing that I has surprised me the most is how entitled people feel to comment on my pregnancy. Strange people. In grocery stores and fast food restaurants and parking lots.

Now, people warned me about this. Or at least mentioned that strangers would come up and touch me without being invited to do so. But it's not the touching that bothers me (and really, not many people have tried to "pet the baby" without asking me first, so it hasn't been as much of an issue). It's the unsolicited commentary and the endless repeated questions. I think I'm going to start wearing a sandwich board (with a hole cut out in the front, of course) that says:

DUE: November (the date is not important, people, but it is the 14th since you all need to mark it on your personal calendars).
GENDER: Unknown (Yes, on purpose.)
TWINS: No. It is one baby. Just one. In my massive stomach, there is but one child. Hard to believe?

That should cover the questions. As for the comments about how huge I am and how there have GOT to be at least 8 babies in there that were actually due last week. When people widen their eyes and say "November? A whole MONTH to go?" or (one of my favorite phrases) "you are about to POP, aren't you?". Or exhale loudly through their mouths in a way that seems to say "good luck with that" in a very insincere and obnoxious way. For them I will turn around to show the back of my sandwich board with a giant middle finger on it.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

boo!

So I don't know if any of you guys noticed this, but it is, in fact, October. No, you heard me right.

October. As in one month before November.

October. The month of candy corn pumpkins (there is no comma there on purpose... the pumpkin shaped candy corns are the BEST), apple cider, corn mazes, costume parties, and cooler weather- yes, even in Georgia!

There are only a handful of weeks left before the end of 2009 will be upon us, finding my little family, larger by one, sitting at the beach house and opening a time capsule full of memories from the New Year's that might have been the end of the world. (But wasn't... whew!). While part of me wants to race ahead- baby! holidays! time capsule!- part of me wants to stop time for a moment and take a deep breath. So much to look forward to often also means there is a lot to look back on. After October I will no longer be just a wife, daughter, sister... but a mother. My husband, my crazy friend from so many years back who asked the most ridiculous questions in history and ate all of the food out of my family's refrigerator and walked to my house in the mornings and threw rocks at the window to wake me up, is going to be a father. And of course once the baby comes time won't stop there... the baby will grow up and be an older sibling to more babies and many Octobers will come and go and more time capsules will be filled and opened and filled again for many more New Year's celebrations at the beach. So for now I am taking a moment to sit on my couch (forgetting for now that I am looking forward to the day when we replace it) in our new-ish apartment (forgetting for now that we will probably only be here for a few years before we move on again) and take a deep breath, looking back at not just 2009, but 2008 and 2007 and so on... (forgetting for now that eventually I will be taking a breath to look back to right now).

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

wanna go for a waaaaalk?

I couldn't resist sharing this. Definitely the cutest thing I've seen on youtube since the "All the Single Babies" video phenomenon last week. I tried to recreate it with my two pooches and it was pretty hysterical. Next time I'll try to have my Flip handy and capture all the fun. Until then, you'll have to settle for the pug brigade.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

stomp stomp clap

Last night, Joe and I went to see Ingrid Michaelson at the Melting Point. We saw her last year at the 40 Watt opening for Matt Nathanson right after her single had been on the Old Navy commercial and she was starting to get a lot of radio play. At that point, she was only performing with one sidekick, Allie, and they did an incredible opening act. Actually, I think a lot of people came to see the show because she was the opener (maybe they did not yet know the wonder that is a live Matt Nathanson performance...). This time, she was headlining and SOLD OUT the Melting Point, which had to be a cool feeling. She also had a full band of 5 with her this time (including Allie) and her own terrific opening act that she discovered in a bar in NYC, Greg Holden (super cute, British accent, plays a mean guitar...). The entire show was fabulous and the Melting Point was a perfect intimate venue. Anyway, I didn't get many good pictures even though we did have an awesome view, but I did remember to take my handy-dandy Flip camera and got a few videos. This one is my favorite. Right beforehand, she had the whole band pose around her so that everyone could get the "perfect photo" ("Everytime I see pictures of myself on the internet I look like a big red mess... so hang on and we'll do this right..."). They posed like they were singing so that the photographer could take credit for capturing a special mid-concert moment. And then they played this fun little sing-a-long number. Doesn't it just make you want to be in her band? Look how much fun they have...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

showers of all sorts

It has been raining in Athens for approximately a week. Now, we Athenians can't really complain too much about our dreary rain situation since our Atlanta neighbors to the west are flooding and sinkhole-ing and generally experiencing much worse side effects from the rain than we are, but still. Constant grey skies and intermittent deluges have a way of bringing a person down. Especially when you check weather.com and see that it is supposed to stay that way for another week. That just stinks.

But fortunately there are other kinds of showers that have a much brighter, happier connotation and I have also been inundated with those! This past weekend was my second baby shower, hosted by my aunt Jane and my middle sister Chelsea, both of whom are exceptional hostesses. The food was amazing, the house was sparkling (but then... Jane's house is ALWAYS clean), the drinks were festive and kept full, and the gifts were piled in pretty stacks on the dining room table. And let me tell you, you don't know gifts until you've had a baby shower. I guess maybe it's comparable to Christmas for a 5 year old, where you unwrap and unwrap and ooh and aah and exclaim, and then realize when you finish that you are trapped inside a semi-circle of bags, tissue paper, and loot. And while the gifts are fabulous in their own right, it really is an amazing experience to be the recipient of not only so much STUFF, but so much love and support and encouragement. All of the people circled around me, some of whom had traveled for hours just to be there, were beaming just as hugely as I was each time I pulled out a cute little outfit or a basket full of baby shampoos and soaps. And each card exclaimed just how happy the gift-giver was for Joe and me and our baby-to-be, and what good parents we are going to make. I hope they understand that part of our ability as parents will stem from having them all behind us instilling confidence, offering advice, extending help when we need it. And of course, for giving us so much before the baby is even here!

When Joe and I were both home together that night, I gave him a tour through the boxes and bags, telling stories of who gave what and why. He got to work assembling the bookshelf and the pack n' play (nesting, I tell you) while I sorted and folded tiny shirts and pants and socks and placed them into drawers.

"How much more do we really need?" he asked, surveying the pile at my feet.

And while I knew he was referring to things still left on my registries, or newborn diapers, or tiny socks, I couldn't help but think that, really, he's right to ask. Because when you get right down to it, we don't need anything else at all.

But it would be nice if it stopped raining.

Monday, September 14, 2009

an observation

Did you ever notice that chocolate desserts, especially at chain restaurants, are named frightful and terrible things? Chocolate Suicide... Death by Chocolate... Molten Meltdown of DOOM AND DESPAIR. Now, I don't know about you, but when I am considering a chocolatey, gooey, rich dessert, I do not want to be forced to order said dessert by asking for a meltdown. Or death. I'd rather ask for, say, a delight or a mountain of wonderment. But if they are trying to scare me away, then they must know that they will not succeed. I am female and pregnant and if I want my chocolate gooey goodness then I will ask for it by whatever named has been bestowed upon in it that little plastic booklet in the condiment rack. Chocolate Destruction of All That Is Good In the World? Yes, please. And just bring one spoon.

Monday, August 31, 2009

ch-ch-changes

Big things are happening here in "twenty-something"-ville. Namely, remember how I've been talking about how my life has been kind of directionless and boring this summer? How there have been many days of nothing-to-do blues? Well today I find myself looking ahead a few hours to the moment where classes officially begin at the studio. I've been trying to decided how I feel about that moment. And the moments to follow where those classes continue to happen. Joe asked me if I was excited to go back to work and seemed unimpressed and unconvinced by my "uh... yeeeah" response, but I AM excited. Really and truly. I am so ready to get back to having a routine and a schedule and a purpose to my days. It makes the days where I have nothing to do really important, as opposed to dread-filled and monotonous. I am also ready to get back to my students, especially the ones who were begging for an extra advanced ballet class this year, even if it had to be from 8-9 on a Tuesday (I mean, who would not love to teach kids like that?).

But there is some anxiety as I sit here on the couch with my highlited class schedule beside me. And every year there is anxiety, because that is just who I am (I blame my mother. Sorry, Mom.) and I always feel a little antsy until I know exactly how everything is going to go down. But this year the anxiety is a little more... um... anxious. Mostly because of that whole having-a-baby-in-2-months-or-so thing. And that whole teaching-ballet-while-looking-and-feeling-kind-of-like-a-walrus thing.

So I tried to alleviate some of my anxiety by being PREPARED. Because I find in most instances it makes me feel better to know that, at least on my end, things are PREPARED. So I bought myself a pretty new notebook and some pretty new mechanical pencils (school supplies always help anxiety as well) and have been filling it with notes and ideas for new exercises and interesting combinations I found on youtube and syllabi for my younger students.

And this preparedness has helped. With the class part. Not so much the baby-coming part. For that though, I had my first baby shower this weekend. And talk about something making you feel more PREPARED... there is nothing quite like sitting in a newly-upholstered rocking chair surrounded by PILES of new baby stuff to make you feel like maybe you are actually getting ready to bring a newborn into your home. Not to mention being surrounded by women who are wonderful mothers and friends and role models, all smiling at you like they are just certain that you are ready for this and you are going to take these piles of stuff they have given you and do with them whatever it is you do when you are a mother and you will do it well, by golly. That amount of generosity and enouragement and faith really goes a long way in the preparation department.

But regardless of my state of readiness, both of these things are happening. Classes will start today, with children pouring into the studio in their new, clean leotards and their untied ballet shoes, some of them as anxious as I am, all of them excited. I will carry my new notebook and my case of CDs into the classroom and introduce myself as "Miss Greer" and slip back into the trappings of that part of my identity. The notebook will be helpful, probably more as a crutch and a reminder, and within a few weeks I will have forgotten what it's like to NOT be teaching every week.

And then, as the weather cools, my body will be doing its own work getting prepared. And my first child will make its debut into the world, greeted by tired, ecstatic, anxious parents, grandparents already so full of love and pride they could burst, aunts planning the millions of ways they are going to spoil and teach and play with their new little neice or nephew, and all of those women and men who bestowed gifts upon its mother ready to help when needed. And all of the stuff that is collecting in the nursery will be helpful, and will act as a crutch and a reminder, and within a few weeks I will have forgotten what it's like to NOT be a mother.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

... except real

Ok, I know I already posted my ridiculous linkage for the week, but I just couldn't resist sharing this goody that I found on one of my friend's facebook pages. Could this possibly, actually be for real?

In other news, I will (most likely) post an entry involving words and thoughts that do not link to a ridiculous video or webpage (maybe) in the next few days (probably).

hoff clone and possessed choir boys

In honor of my previous Weblink Wednesday post, here are some videos pretty much guaranteed to make you "mad", Christin-style. Both are "literal videos", where some very bored, moderately clever internet geek took weird music videos and set literal lyrics to them. The "Total Eclipse" one is definitely the best I have seen, but the "Hooked on a Feeling" video (with none other than THE David Hasslehoff!) is really just so ridiculous... there are no words. Literal or otherwise. Enjoy!

(And I'm sorry, but no, you will never get back these 5 or 10 minutes of your life.)

(And yes, there are more literal videos. Lots.)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

what day is it?

Oh yes, that's right... it's WEBLINK WEDNESDAY!!!

(fanfare)

Let me introduce the link-o'-the-day by telling you a little bit about my dear friend Christin. I first met Christin when I was at an age where you don't really remember meeting people. So really, it seems like I have never NOT known her. We went to elementary school together, danced (and danced and danced) together, shared friends and drama and strife and woe together in middle/high school, suffered losses together, she was in my wedding... you get the idea. I've known this girl a while. And so it is funny to me when I was thinking about describing her in this blog entry that I find it a rather difficult thing to do. I think that is in part because there is SO MUCH Christin. Those of you who know her will know what I mean by that, and those of you that don't know her probably know someone else who fits that description. She is just always going and doing and thinking and creating and wondering and challenging and protesting and discovering... it's wonderful. And a bit exhausting for her, I'm sure. So basically she's just a wonderful fireball creative force to be reckoned with. Who happens to be half Puerto Rican... and a fair skinned redhead. (See what I mean? SO MUCH Christin.)

So this fireball friend of mine recently started a blog. And you know how I love me some blogs. But this is not your typical "here is what I did today and how I feel about it" kind of blog, which are the kind I tend to gravitate to. No, this is a blog started by Christin. And therefore it must be... unique. So her blog is filled with things that might make a person "mad". But not the kind of mad you're thinking of. More in a "this is so ridiculous I can't even stand it and now I am MAD about it" way. It makes sense in a way that things that Christin comes up with make sense... you gotta see it.

Monday, August 17, 2009

six

Six years ago, I was working at GapKids, folding and re-folding (and re-folding...) tiny t-shirts and jeans and re-stocking jelly sandals and baby hats.

Six years ago, I was in between my first two years at Berry, feeling more comfortable with the idea of being a college student but still tied to my home in Augusta.

Six years ago, I was redefining myself within my relationships, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse.

Six years ago, I got a phone call from my father. I left mid-shift, probably mid-shirtfold, at GapKids, rushed to the home that was still my home although I only lived there for a few months of the year, and was faced with news that would change how I defined myself forever.

Six years ago, I had to make a lot of phone calls to share the news that I didn't want to believe, let alone pass on.

Six years ago, I lost one of the most amazing and talented people I have ever known. Someone who I looked up to like a brother, respected as an artist, and loved as one of my dearest friends.

And today, six years later, I miss him still.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

beach babies

This past weekend marked yet another pregnancy/life milestone for me... my final vacation as a free and independent woman with no one to worry about but herself and maybe a dog or two. The absolute truth of that statement was put into extreme focus for me by the fact that I shared said vacation with my two lovely friends and their adorable 6 month old baby girl. First let it be said that there are few things more delightful than happy baby, let alone a happy baby at the beach discovering that big old bathtub that is the ocean.


But I did have moments when I realized just how different my future vacations would be. As I watched the Bridges family experience their first beach trip together, I couldn't help but catalog all of the ways that the very meaning of the word "vacation" changes from pre- to post-baby.

1. Packing. Gone are the days of shoving summer clothing and a bathing suit into a duffel bag (although I'm not really sure that Katie ever could have packed that way... still.). Due to car difficulties, we were forced to find ways to cram an unbelievable amount of stuff into small spaces, which only made it even more abundantly clear just how much STUFF we had to take. There's the diaper bag and the pack-and-play and the bumbo seat and the bouncy chair and the stroller and the car seat and the other bag and the suitcase... And I stood there studying my bag of dog food and my duffel bag fondly, realizing that they would soon just be one of many bags being stuffed into the trunk whenever we travel.

2. Driving. Again, because of car issues this became more of a problem for us than it might have been otherwise. But the fact that both Katie and I were lusting after VANS is very telling. And you can't just up and leave whenever the mood strikes you either... there is some serious scheduling to be considered.

3. Sleeping in. It doesn't happen. Which is just a sad, sad thing.

4. Eating out. A leisurely, quiet meal at a river-side cafe is very different when you throw a baby in the mix. Of course since she's so stinkin' cute a number of people have to come up and tell you how stinkin' cute she is. And then there is the pacifier throwing and the squealing and the "Wait... what time did she eat? Do you think she's tired? Have you checked her diaper?".

5. Relaxing on the beach. After slathering on sunscreen in triple-digit SPF, loading a wagon full of chairs and an umbrella, and treking down to the shore, I usually look forward to a good couple hours of sitting and doing nothing, perhaps interrupted by a stroll along the waterline. But you have to consider diaper changes and eating schedules and how hot the baby might be, even in the shade of the wobbly umbrella, and whether or not the stroller will roll well enough on the sand. This got me to thinking about the time in the not so distant future when we have not just babies with us but KIDS. Kids who can TALK and WALK and express their needs and wants and opinions and tell you that they are BORED with sitting. I have a feeling that will be an even longer blog entry...

6. Leaving to go back home. Katie and Stephen were already discussing plans for a "real vacation" when they could leave the baby with grandparents. So they could do some of that wonderful sleeping in, eating out stuff. I wonder if my parents have plans for next summer...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

baby steps

Thanks to the quick delivery of Million Dollar Baby brand furniture from Rattles and Rhymes, and to the help of Stephen (without whom said furniture would still be sitting in the loading area of said store) and his trusty truck, we now have a crib and combo dresser in what was before being used as a very large storage closet. And a lot of cardboard remains in the living room...

While Joe may not get as emotional about these milestones as I do (his new favorite phrase is "I'm excited about the BABY, not the baby's STUFF"), he was definitely a champion about assembling setting up the furniture. (Although we did hit a bit of a wall when he wanted to know why the dresser couldn't go on the same wall as the crib to make it easier to get from one to the other ("I might drop it en route or something")... (shudder + eye roll)... in a tiny room. The man just does not understand aesthetics.)


PS- For your Weblink Wednesday, I will share with you a community resource I stumbled across the other night and am very excited about... Unless you're pregnant and in Athens, it is not of much use to you, but hey, this is my blog. So there.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

mirror, mirror on the wall

For very nearly my entire life, I have been surrounded by mirrors. I started ballet classes when I was 4, and from that point on I spent anywhere from 1 to 6 days a week in a large, empty room with full-length mirrors lining the wall. For some women, I'm sure this would sound like an absolute nightmare scenario... something akin to What Not To Wear's dreaded 360-degree mirror where they tell you just how awful you look (and most people tend to agree... I mean, how can you fight it when you can see your own awful-ness from every angle?). And of course there were times in my teen years where everything I saw in that mirror needed to be fixed. As a classically trained dancer, you are always checking the mirror to see what is wrong with the placement and positioning of your body, or how much higher your arm or leg should be. As a teenager, you start also noticing how much more narrow everyone else's hips are, or how tight that leotard is on your posterior regions, or how your legs would look so much better if they were just a little bit skinnier. I always tell people that it is amazing to me that I disliked my body so much more then, at my very skinniest (and I was VERY skinny at points in my life) than I did as I got into college, even though I didn't maintain my ballet physique.

But even though I was hard on myself as I progressed in my ballet training, I also got used to looking at myself in a very detached and analytical way. I was familiar with my body and what it could and couldn't do. I knew how to push myself to the limits of my physical capabilities. And as a ballet teacher, that has helped me to better understand my students, to learn their bodies and help them see how much farther they can push themselves without injury and with the result of a double instead of single turn, or a high grande battement to the side.

As I re-entered the studio these past few weeks, I wasn't sure how my teaching style was going to need to change as I become bigger and bigger. I'm pleased that I feel I can still teach in mostly the same way, just by pacing myself a little differently and not demonstrating with quite as much fervor as I might have before. However, I hit a wall when I tried to participate in the jazz and lyrical classes taught by our guest teachers for the weekend. My body just would not cooperate with me. I felt unwieldy and awkward... the movement was more frustrating than enjoyable. My hips were tight and my legs were heavy and everything just felt very foreign as I tried to move it. I'm disappointed to say that I pretty much just gave up on that first day, slightly shocked by the realization that for once I did not know or control my body.

Initially, my reaction was frustration and disappointment and even a little resentment. I let myself be upset for a little while, but the next day I woke up determined that I would participate in at least one full class, dancing to the best of my ability, proud to be able to do ANY of it while nearly 6 months pregnant. And I did. I strutted and kicked and turned my way through a jazz routine to "Poker Face" and it actually felt good. I moved differently, and my balance was off in my pirhouettes, but I was dancing. And I was dancing with my first baby. And as I checked my positions in the mirror, I thought that although it is not a body that I am used to, and it is very different than I have looked before, it is, in it's own way, beautiful.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

home improvement

Joe and I are both experiencing the nesting drive in very different ways as we settle into our new home and prepare for our new baby. None the less, although Joe may try to deny it, he too has been nesting. And as some of you may remember, nesting to Joe is a very dirty, no good word full of hidden and mysterious meaning.

For me, the need to make this new apartment a home has manifested itself in a number of ways. I have been much more diligent about cleaning now that I have such a lovely grime-and-dust-free slate to work with (we'll see how long that lasts... come back to me in a few months or so...), and also since my mother was kind enough to introduce me to the wonder of the 360 Swiffer. I have re-organized the closets since they were basically just convenient dumping grounds upon moving in and there was no floor or shelf space left in the nursery closet at all... I'm not sure, but I figure the baby might have some stuff that needs to go in there eventually. But the farthest my need to nest has led me so far is to Home Depot. I had seen some kind of home improvement show when I was in Augusta (that magical place where they have cable television) where they kept some existing counter space in a breakfast room and just stuck some tile on it to make it look fancy. This got me to thinking about the cheap little Ikea tables that we got to replace our chewed up coffee table. While I love having two smaller, moveable tables, they are not the sturdiest of things and were already getting scratched up by our laptops. In a flash of HGTV-inspired brilliance, I decided that I would tile said tables. And what is the most miraculous thing about this story is that I ACTUALLY DID IT. I went to Home Depot and batted my eyes at the tiling dude. He walked me around the flooring department tossing things at me and telling me what to do with them (Acryl-Pro, pre-mixed grout, scrape-y tools and smear-y tools, sponges, etc.) I laid out my little tiles squares on the tables, stuck them in place, grouted and cleaned them, and then stepped back and by golly if I had not pulled a friggin' Tim Allen or Martha Stewart or something. There might have a little extra white tile goop around the edges, but I'll be damned if those things wouldn't be selling for 50 bucks at Pier 1. (I'm a trifle pleased with myself...)

Now we come to the Joe part of the story (I know you've all been waiting, but I had to get my self-tiled-table story in here somewhere). While I was watching HGTV, Joe was hunting in his parents' house for his idea of the perfect addition to our home: a dartboard. Complete with fancy two-door wooden case with chalkboard score charts on the inside. Because I am a kind and loving wife, I agreed to to let Joe find a place for the dartboard in the living room. While some people might just pick a wall and hang the darn thing, Joe got on Google and found all of the appropriate measurements for a regulation dartboard: how high on the wall, how far from the throwing point, etc. Of course, being a man, he did not take into account what other items occupied the wall he chose and thank goodness I stopped him before he hung the thing right smack-dab up against a bookshelf where one of the fancy little doors couldn't even open all the way. Then, out came the measuring tape to figure out where the appropriate throwing spot would be in relation to the board. Fortunately, the place where our linoleum entry way meets the carpet is less than two inches off from regulation distance. Perfect and convenient, right? WRONG. Regulation is LAW, folks. And that means, silly wife, that we put TAPE on our new clean floor. For a DART GAME, we put TAPE on the FLOOR. I will let you deduce whether or not that happened.

So here we are, a few days later. The dartboard hangs in its place of honor and the tiled tables stand proudly in front of the couch. And while I am considering the layout of the nursery furniture, Joe is wondering if there is some kind of wall-mounted storage system for the hacky-sacks he has pulled out of their long hibernation.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

watch the ads and it's almost like paying...

Weblink Wednesday! I almost forgot that I actually have a fantastic link to share, which was sent to me by one of my college roomies. She knows me so well... a video that combines my passions for online social networking and musical theatre... *sigh*. It's like finding the Holy Grail or something.

halfway

The beach trip was fantastic and you should all be jealous that you weren't there. It was hot, it was sunny, the tide was high at just the right time, and the sunscreen was flowing in abundance. Oh, and of course there was chocolate. From the Chocolate Tree. Cause really, those of you who have been there, is there any other chocolate after you have had the experience of The Tree? Not really, no. BUT I am glad to be home, and the dogs were very happy to see me (kinda left me wondering what Joe DOES to them... or doesn't do... when I'm gone for so long...).

I have hit a few pregnancy milestones, namely that I am now officially halfway through this whole being pregnant thing. That means in about 4 and a half to 5 months, I will be blessed with a little squalling bundle to call my very own (and Joe's). As of right now, if it is a girl it will be a nameless little squalling bundle, but still. (We have options... we just can't narrow it down to ONE name. For the one child... that might be a girl.) Very exciting. I also no longer fit into any normal, non-stretchy or longer-in-the-front-than-in-the-back clothes and have had a few strangers ask me when I'm due. Now that is a weird occurrence the first time it happens. You get so used to having to tell people that you're pregnant, your brain kinda stops for a second in panic mode thinking "how do they know??? who told them??? how does this person know my life???" before you realize that you look like you're smuggling a canteloupe.

Cause I do now. That's the other milestone. I LOOK pregnant. And I swore I wouldn't be one of "those" people, but I may just have to do one of those profile shots showing off my new silhouette cause it is crazy. I'm very intrigued and amused and afraid and in awe of my little morphing body. It's amazing what we women-folk are engineered to do (well, I guess the ones among us who choose to and are blessed with the ability to procreate... don't want to step on anyone's toes here...).

In other, non-baby related news, I may join the ranks of the somewhat employed for a few weeks in July. My bosses want to have some summer classes for some of our new, younger company members. As you can probably tell from my last scintillating post, I am really looking forward to the change of pace and to having something meaningful to do with my day. Not that conversations with four legged companions about my opinion of how slimy Wes is on The Bachelorette isn't meaningful, but you get my drift...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

heave ho

Here we go. I am going to write a blog entry.

Ready everyone?

I don't know... you don't look ready.

(Ok, took up sufficient space with that... now then...)

But seriously, I don't know what has kept me from blogging of late. I kept coming to the page and even sometimes clicking on the "new post" link, and then I would stare at the blinking cursor for a few minutes before shaking my head and going back to facebook. Once I even typed a few sentences! It could be that my life is simply not very blog-worthy right now. While I have enjoyed the break from teaching and the flexibility to make plans whenever I want, I have to admit that the unemployed lifestyle is a bit monotonous. My day usually starts off something like this:

9:30am - Wake up and try to force myself to sleep a little bit longer, cause really, what else is there to do in the morning? Not to mention I want to take advantage of the ability to sleep in for these last few months before it can never happen again.

9:45am - Finally succumb to the dogs staring at me plaintively from their kennels and my own need to visit the restroom and haul myself out of bed.

9:50am - Pick out the days pair of stretchy pants. Ah, pregnancy.

10am- Wrangle the dogs, feed the dogs, spend some time talking to the dogs.

10:30am- Computer time begins. This can last for a while. There are facebook status changes to make, blogs to read, emails to check, youtube videos to watch. If there are episodes of The Bachelorette (or Here Come the Newlyweds... or Lost... or Cupid...) to catch up on, that can be my entire morning. Sad? Maybe. But plenty of people waste away the summer watching bad TV. Right? RIGHT?

And then I usually invent some errands to run or brave the heat and take the dogs to the park. Lately I've been spending some time at the pool in the afternoons when it is just to hot to do anything else. Oh and I can do laundry now since we have a washer and dryer, so that's always exciting. Or dishes. If I'm lucky I have an obedience class in the evening or a doctor's appointment in the afternoon...

Oh, I'm sorry. You've fallen asleep. See what I mean?

Well, lucky for you, blogfans, I am going to the beach this weekend. This makes you lucky for two reasons: 1) I will be unable to blog for that period of time since the beach house is a place of no internet (and after this entry, you will probably be ok with that...), and 2) Interesting things happen on vacation! So I might have stories to share with you! And there might be pretty pictures! Oh gosh, it's enough to make me want to get up off the couch and dance around... But it's only 11:15. Computer time isn't up yet.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

if you can make it there, you'll make it anywhere

Taxi from the airport: $25 and the moments of pure terror that you are about to die in a tragic car accident.

Hostel: $100 a night, the few hours of sleep you lose due to loud Hispanic conversation in the lobby and insistent, OCD, daily morning vacuuming.

Walking over 20 blocks, sometimes in the wrong direction: Free, unless you consider blisters and achy feet a "cost".

Admission to the Natural History Museum: $11 when you buy at the kiosk and say you're a student (cut me some slack... I'm poor).

Meteor hitting the earth: Lots of cool dinosaur bones, but no real dinos. Some things really come with a cost, folks. Like... extinction.


Hot dog at a street vendor outside the museum: $2 for a small, $3 for a jumbo.


Water bottle what will eventually cause the death of a camera: $2, but a lot more than that if you factor in the camera part.

Five of the most beautiful cupcakes ever from Magnolia Bakery: $12.50


Eating those cupcakes: Knowing that you will never again eat a cupcake without remembering how much better these really are than any other cupcake in the world. Sigh. I mean, really. Look how pretty they are.

Tickets at TKTS for a hysterical off-Broadway show recommended by a gay man: $120


Metrocard: $20

Umbrella from a street vendor that only closes when it feels like it... but that you are tremendously thankful for nonetheless: $5 (unless you're Chelsea... and then it becomes $3)

Fake Coach purse from a sketchy Chinese guy's van on Canal Street: $35

Fake Dior sunglasses: $5

Jellyfish appetizer at a Chinese food restaurant: $8

Entrance to MOMA to see paintings covered in bird poop and then discuss what really does make something "art": Free on Fridays!

Sharing a city I love with sisters that I love even more: Definitely priceless.

Monday, June 1, 2009

junebug

Well, kids, I managed to survive the month of May somehow. I'm sitting by the window in my brand spankin' new HUGEMONGOUS bedroom in our brand spankin' new 2 bedroom apartment watching my dogs chew on each other and taking a break from the unpacking/nesting process. On the first day of June! I love the new apartment, but I have not loved the process of moving into it. For those of you who don't know, I am not such a champ at transitioning (ie. change freaks me the heck out). My mother in law- who is, by the by, deserving of some kind of medal after all she did for us this week- and I had a fabulous time painting the bedroom and future nursery and she did a lot of hauling and packing and loading and unloading and errand running on our behalf while she was here, and then Joe had some lovely helpers on Sunday since our dresser is actually made of solid granite, embellished with lead (no, not really, but it is heavy as a... something really heavy... rhino?). So I can not (at all, as Joe reminds me every now and then, as gently as he can) complain about how our move went. We were so blessed by the number of people who were willing to pitch in and get it all done, especially since I am so sadly unable to lift heavy things due to my delicate condition. (HA- suckers.) So everything is here rather than there and that, I suppose, is the main goal of moving. However, friends, I do not enjoy living in a house that looks very much like a storage facility. I'm a big fan of nesting. I like picture frames to be on surfaces rather than in hampers strewn about the living room. I like books stacked on shelves, not on the floor. I like clothes in drawers, not Rubbermaid tubs. So I stand in the middle of my new apartment, surveying my new territory, surrounded by all of the stacks and piles and boxes of things that need to find a new home in our new home... and I feel an unmistakable urge to run screaming from the building. Or cry. Maybe both. Because if I want any nesting to be done, I have to be the one to do it. (Joe's not much of a nester... he just brings in the worms.) So, that is the plan for today and tomorrow. After a week or so of packing, it is now time to UNpack and and create the second home for my little family.

Speaking of the family, the dogs love the new apartment. Must be the 400 extra square feet and the windows looking out into the parking lot.

Oh, and Wednesday morning I fly to New York City with my sisters until Sunday.

Oy.

Monday, May 25, 2009

irony

I was going to take a picture... actually, I DID take a picture of how ridiculous my living room looks right now. Just being in here is making me feel all twitchy. I can't really attribute this feeling to the pregnancy, because I'm pretty sure I would feel this way regardless, but I doubt all of these hormones that are making me want to nest and sort and clean help any. So I was sitting here looking at the explosion of crap that is my home at this moment and I thought "I should document this and share it with my adoring fans".

Then I went into my computer junk drawer to get the hook-up cable for my digital camera and remembered that it is packed and buried somewhere in one of the multitudes of white plastic hampers lining the periphery of the room. And I do not feel like hunting that little booger down. Cause that process of moving and rifling and digging through things would make everything look even worse in here, if possible.

So, sorry fans. No picture for you.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

movin' on up

My mom came up to Athens with me this Sunday to help us begin the process of moving. Now, mind you, we don't actually move (like... take our stuff from one house to another... you know... the typical moving situation) until next week. But for such a small apartment, we have managed to accumulate a lot of stuff. Fortunately for us, my mother is a master sorter/packer. So we sorted. We made piles of trash, piles for our "swap party" that we are going to host in June, piles to move when we get our keys on Tuesday, piles to take to Goodwill. We managed to get through the entire living room, kitchen, bathroom, and even some of our terrifying closets in just one afternoon. After we had exhausted our floor space (and our motivation), we decided that we had done enough for the day. I feel alot better about the progress that Joe and I will be able to make on our own next week (since I can't do a whole lot of heavy lifting) before we have the help of my family and maybe some kind friends (we'll feed you... and give you beer...) on Sunday. But of course Joe decided while I was gone for the week (I decided to come home with Mom so that he could study and I could head down to the beach early with them tomorrow) that he should get a loveseat from some of his friends and stick it in the living room amongst all of the hampers, baskets, boxes, and trash bags that I am fairly certain he has not taken out. So now we have even less floor space... and even more to move. I haven't seen how he managed to get the loveseat in our living room, but I am so glad to not be living in that room right now. Fortunately, when I get back to Athens we will be getting the keys to our new place so we can get some of our cra... ahem... beloved belongings out of one tiny space and into one slightly larger space. With a nursery!

Speaking of which, Mom and I have done some fabric shopping for said nursery while I've been home. I had been thinking about doing a pretty conservative, neutral, calming yellow and grey color theme... and then I saw this fabric grouping that I fell in love with. And it is not grey. Or yellow. Or calm, for that matter. It is actually turquoise and lime green. And I love it. Check out this nursery... now, the paint color is a lot more extreme than I am going to do, but I think the room is so much fun. And we Caldwells are nothing if not fun.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

may day! may day!

I have officially survived recital and am now somewhat unemployed for the next few months. (I say somewhat because there is a possibility of private lessons, summer camp assistance, and a workshop in July... however, even with all of those things my working life will be much slimmer until August or September... at which point I will be, by the way, rotund.) But May seems to be on a mission to make itself truly intimidating, calendar-wise. Already we are out of town every single weekend until the second week of June. Want to hear about all of our plans? Of course you do.

1. This weekend: Sanjeet in Atlanta celebrating the engagement of one of Joe's college friends (their family is Indian and so are having a traditional party of food and music celebrating her sister's wedding... her sister ever-so-kindly offered to make it an engagement party as well since their family from Indian will all be here... fun cultural experience here we come!). Davidson's Fine Arts Festival on Saturday. Fabric shopping and sorting/packing/cleaning/purging/freaking out about moving with Mom on Sunday.
2. Next weekend: Margaret's wedding at Fripp!
3. The following week/weekend: New keys to 2 bedroom apartment on Tuesday, Tricia's graduation on Wednesday, Marcus and Mackenzie's wedding somewhere in south Georgia (St. Mary's?) on Saturday, finishing our move on Sunday.
4. And then... o/b appointment Tuesday and leaving for NYC with the siblings Wednesday.

Does pregnancy increase risks of severe freak-out due to over-scheduling life?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

random things

1. Random tomato plant. Last year, Joe and I decided to try out a little patio garden using big plant tubs and hearty (read: difficult to kill even if you suck at plants) veggie plants. We planted a bunch of tomatoes and peppers and such and actually had a decent (if useless) harvest. However, we didn't keep up with it and slowly but surely our plants died and the plant tubs became big old eyesore tubs o' dirt. But now, the arrival of spring has brought about unexpected new life... and not just for me! HA! One of the tubs has sprouted what looks suspiciously like a tomato plant. Too bad we will KILL IT when we move in a few weeks.

2. Random washer and dryer from God (AKA Joe's fabulous cousins). As some of you know, part of the reason why Joe and I are moving out of our lovely one bedroom abode is because we can no longer deal without a washer and dryer in our homes. We have fortunately been able to mooch off of wonderful people for most of our 2 year stint here, but the time has come for us to be grown-ups and have our very own means of doing laundry on a regular basis (and OMG I might actually get to wash our sheets!). So we are moving into an apartment that, although it does not have a W/D of its very own, has the hook-ups to make owning one a possibility. I had been looking at Craig's List hoping to find a set that was A) white, and not that awful beige-y color of really old appliances, B) only moderately dinged or scratched up, and C) CHEAP. Then yesterday I got a voice mail during dress rehearsal from Joe's cousin (in-law) Whitney saying that they were remodeling their downstairs bathroom and laundry area and "hey would we LIKE A WASHER AND DRYER FOR FREE and oh by the way you can HAVE OUR INFANT CAR SEAT TOO." Um, yes please? Thanks.
(No really, thank you profusely Richard and Whit. You are lifesavers and basically wonderful people.)

3. Random whole lot of people coming to recital. Since Joe graduates tomorrow, his whole family will be in town for the weekend and are all coming to see the Saturday night show, along with my parents and sisters, my grandmother, and her friend Bobby. It's exciting to have so many cheerleaders in the audience to see all of my hard work from the past year. I am so proud of my kids and can't wait to show them off!

4. Random free baby pictures. Kat Birkbeck, who is awesome and did the pictures for my wedding (and also happens to be a friend from my college dancing days), is doing the photography for my dear friend Margaret's beach wedding in a few weeks. To help them both out, we offered to let Kat stay with us at the beach house and not have to worry about booking a hotel or renting a place at Fripp (our house is on Harbor Island, two islands and about a 5 minute drive away). Kat was so excited to have somewhere convenient to stay that she offered to take some pictures of Joe and I at the beach as a token of thanks. Once we found out about Tumor, however, she said that she would gladly do newborn photos for us instead! That way we all won't be rushed during Margaret's wedding weekend and we get beautiful pictures of our little one when he/she makes their debut into the world! Kat rocks my world. No seriously, if you didn't click on her link above, do it now. And find a reason to have her take pictures of you.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

things i have learned about pregnancy in the last week

1. When you KNOW you are pregnant, you suddenly start to notice all of those little symptoms more than when you were (maybe happily) in the dark. For instance, is it coincidental that now even the mere thought of hamburgers makes me get all watery-mouthed and gaggy? Joe thinks I'm trying to milk it a little (no baby pun intended), but really I am just suddenly very much aware of my body in a way that I never have been before.

2. That baby is growing FAST! From last week, it has grown from the size of a prune (which is kinda gross, if you ask me) to a plum. Also, it's weird that there is something the size of a plum moving around inside of me and I can't feel it yet.

3. Babies are measured by produce. On every website, in every book. Baby = fruits and veggies. A friend of mine has actually made a cute little pregnancy calendar following your baby through the produce department of your local Kroger. (She also does paintings and murals... check her out!)

4. I have to go to the bathroom all. the. time. It's annoying. Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you that normally I have a bladder of steel. I used to go in the morning and then not again until after school. Now, I feel like I need to set up a little cot in there some night. I hear that this will go away and then come back EVEN WORSE. I will add that to my list of things to look forward to.

5. Joe is not interested in talking about the baby all the time. He is actually capable of thinking of something else for hours, if not DAYS, at a time. I think something may be wrong with him.

6. I, on the other hand, am always willing to talk about the baby. For instance, did you know that at this point the baby has fully developed all of its internal systems and now just uses the rest of the 28 weeks to mature and grow like crazy? And, oh yeah, I think I'm going to use yellow and grey for the nursery. Speaking of nursery, how early do you think I should look at getting furniture? And should it be white or dark wood? Oh, that reminds me that I need to make a list of things to ask my o.b. at our next appointment...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

weblink... thursday?

So, I was a bit distracted yesterday (see previous post) and forgot that I actually did have a pretty good link for Weblink Wednesday. Someone sent this along through the Pawtropolis email list, and I thought it was hysterical and very heart-warming. I mean, really... what a cute couple.

tumor

Yesterday I went in for my follow up appointment with my ob/gyn. Apparently my lab results had come back showing some oddly high hormone levels that they couldn't explain. The nurse practitioner that I had been seeing didn't really explain to me what they would be looking for, just that I would see Dr Goggin for the first time in order to get an ultrasound of my ovaries. So, needless to say I was very nervous as I waited for him to come into the ultrasound room (which was humongous, by the way). When he finally came in, he explained to me that they were looking for what they call a "zebra" in the medical world. The metaphor is that if you hear hoofbeats behind you, most people assume it's a horse, but every now and again it might be a zebra. My particular zebra was an estrogen producing tumor on my ovaries. Dr. Goggin assured me that he did not actually expect one to be there, but he wanted to rule it out (that was where I stopped listening and started imagining my horrible death at the age of 25). So I climbed up on the table, pulled up my shirt and waited anxiously as he got me ready for the ultrasound (goo and all). As soon as the little gizmo touched my skin, he pulled it back and started laughing. In my head, I was still figuring out the logisitics of my funeral and so failed to see the humor of the situation. He explained that it was "not exactly a tumor", but that I was, in fact, pregnant.

Um.

What?!?

I think I asked him (through streaming tears) if he was kidding about 8 times. Even after he put the gizmo back on my gooey belly and showed me the little peanut. I watched the rest of the ultrasound through my hands over my face, still crying, still occasionally making sure this wasn't some awful elaborate prank. Dr. Goggin was still laughing and shaking his head, claiming to be the worst ob/gyn EVER... a young woman comes in with no periods and high estrogen and OF COURSE it must be a tumor.

I think we all got so fixated on my non-pregnancy as a fact that no one, including myself, ever considered taking another pregancy test. Although, I figure now that I could have ovulated (and did, obviously) at any point, since I didn't have a regular cycle. Ironically, it was probably the week after I took my last negative test that I actually did get pregnant. So when I went in for my first appointment, I told them I had just taken a number of negative tests, all negative, so there was no need to give me another. Go figure.

So all of this mean that I am now nearly through my first trimester (!!!). Everyone keeps asking me if I didn't notice any symptoms or changes... and I just don't think they understand how sure I was that I was not pregnant. And that it was going to be a challenge to GET pregnant. So sure, looking back now, I can see that certain things were probably symptoms. And it certainly explains why the waistbands of my jeans have been getting snug in the last few weeks. But nothing was so severe that I couldn't dismiss it or ignore it. Which I guess means I have been lucky... no major morning sickness, no crippling exhaustion, no aches and pains. I'm hoping that is a forecast for an easy pregnancy!

It is not many people, I am sure, that go from expecting to find the worst to seeing the best. The flip-flop my brain had to do from tumor to baby was tremendous, and the moment that I saw my first child was completely surreal and nearly incomprehensible. The shock is wearing off, but slowly. One of the nice parts about discovering Little Tumor so late into the pregnancy is that I have already been able to share this joy and amazement with so many of my friends and family. Needless to say, I definitely have a new moment to add to the "best moments of my life" list.

And I can't wait to meet our Little Tumor in person in November!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

antsy

So Joe has made me all itchy and nervous about a comment he made when reading some of my past blog entries. Apparently I sound mean and embittered about recital. So I want to clarify that I do, in fact, really enjoy recital. As a performer as well as a teacher, I love being backstage and feeling the excitement of my students as they prepare for their huge and supportive audience. I love the faces of their parents as they come backstage looking for them (while we frantically try to get them to follow a very confusing map of arrows to get out of the downstairs labyrinth where we keep their little superstars). I even love the rush of adrenaline that accompanies the pre-show craziness, where the other teachers, the office manager and I try to put up enough signs that no parent could possibly get confused. When I refer to recital as a "monstrosity", I am referring solely to the fact that it is a HUGE endeavor. With literally hundreds of kids, plus parent volunteers, plus teachers, plus Classic Center staff, it gets a little crowded even in such a large and beautiful venue. It's like a feat of engineering for Lucy (office manager extraordinaire) to figure out where each class will stay during the show without having 50 kids to a room. So it is very stressful to make sure everyone gets where they are supposed to be, stays where they're supposed to be, and knows how to get where they are supposed to go. BUT, it is of course worth it. It is the culmination of all of the hard work my students did throughout the year and nothing makes me more proud than to see them up on that big stage, smiling and beautiful.

So basically... yeah... I like recital.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

hormones

Ok, if the title makes you uncomfortable, go ahead and stop reading now. I'm going to do a little sharing today and it does have to do with hormones and other womanly things. Dad, are you still there?

TAMPON.

How about now?

All right ladies, we're alone.

So as most of you know, Joe and I decided to start trying to have a family, but in a lazy kind of "when it happens, it happens" way. Unfortunately, it seems like we're going to have to get a little more involved in our own futures. Annoying, huh? After stopping the good ol' BC in October, I have had some trouble becoming a normal woman again (ie. only one visit from Mother Nature since then). Now, don't get me wrong, I don't nessecarily miss my Monthly Curse, but I have heard that it plays an essential part in the functioning of those womanly parts that help with the baby-making. SO I decided (with some prompting from my Mom) to make an appointment with a really good Ob/Gyn in Athens and see if they had anything I could do to be a little more proactive. Two rounds of progesterone pills and nearly another month later, still nada. And now I have to go in for *cue mysterious and ominous music* laaaaabwork.

I don't really know what *music* laaaaaabwork entails, and I'm assuming it's basically just going to mean them taking some of my blood and maybe some other bodily fluids and making sure they are all normal. Which, in and of itself is not very intimidating. I guess it is the unknown aspect of it that is making me nervous. What are they looking for? Do I want them to find it or not? Is there something I'm doing wrong? Something I ate?

So I guess why I decided to share this with you, internets, is so I can have a little bloggy support group rooting for me as I get poked and prodded and whatever else. Those of you that pray feel free to do so, but otherwise just send good, positive labwork-y vibes my way.

Friday, April 10, 2009

a few

Ok, so some of my poems were really bad. Well, maybe not really bad but just so personal and heart-wrenching in that way that only teenage poems can be that I knew if I put them here and shared them suddenly they would seem shallow and stupid and I'd forget what they really meant to me. I am glad that I saved a lot of them (I have a journal of my "best works" from the end of high school through college) because they certainly do renew my perspective on where I came from and remind me how seriously I took myself, and perhaps that I had cause to at some points. But there were a few that I re-read and maybe they weren't as horrible... or at least, they didn't come from that place in your soul that seems to disappear with the onset of your twenties. Here's one I'll share... according to my journal it's called "When", although if I had written now I'd probably title it something different.

When I was younger I would watch the raindrops chasing each other down the window.
I would always place mental bets on the fastest raindrop
and I was always disappointed when one of the smaller
ate the others
and somehow won the race.
It seemed a bit like cheating to me.
When I was younger I took naps before dinner because I liked the way the silverware woke me up and the house smelled warmer when I opened my eyes and my parents' voices danced up the stairs vibrating and happy.
When I was younger the boys I liked were scrawny and goofy
and chased me around the playground with sideways, toothless smiles
and they never wanted to talk, really.
They were happy to chase and then be chased
and that was fine with everyone involved.
When I was younger being scared usually only happened at night
or in the presence of a mean boy named Fred
or a large girl named Lenore who would pick me up and spin me around.
But it was easy to hide under the covers and wish it all away on the memory of a star.
When I was younger the best days were spent outside with a ball from the grocery store
and my sisters thought I was super-cool.
When I was younger I built sandcastles by dipping my hand in a bucket of wet sand and dribbling
it
in
piles,
creating castles for the gods and goddesses of the sea.
When I was younger I put diving rings around my ankles and swam like a mermaid through aquamarine, chlorinated oceans,
befriended by dolphins and chased by sharks
that oddly resembled my sisters.
When I was younger opening the box of last year's summer clothes was like shopping all over again and jelly sandles never went out of style.
When I was younger hammocks were sailing ships
and lightening bugs told me summer secrets.

hop on!

Seems like everyday someone else gives into the peer pressure and joins us here in the wonderful world of blogging. I remember in college a few friends and I had blogs that we were the only ones to know about and we wrote terrible poetry (ok, some of the haiku was pretty good... and maybe I should go back and read some of my poems again before I judge them so harshly... but still) and talked about deep philosophical things and were basically losers. And it seemed that a blog was a perfect loser medium. But now blogs are all... cool and stuff. When did that happen? And people have blogs professionally (dooce, anyone? yeah, she's awesome) and get to be on Oprah talking about how important social networking is to the stay at home mom community. Well, pardon me, but maybe I'm just more comfortable being a loser. What happened to my blogger status quo? Now I have stuff to live up to and people that actually READ my blog (hi mom).

Anyway, I kind of got off on a rant there. My point was that now another of my nearest and dearest has come over to the blog side... welcome to Katie (aka Lady Homebody)! Now everyone go follow her so she feels the same pressure I do.

I'm going to go find a really good college-years poem to subject you... I mean share with you.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

spring broken

Yes, I am still here and alive, albeit perhaps a bit uninteresting lately. Let's see... what have I done that the masses might want to know about? I went to the beach this past weekend with one of my favorite people and managed to get hella sunburned, but only on my feet and neck. It's a talent. I also got to help said favorite person act out her wedding ceremony on the beach... I think I went from grandmother to groom in about 3 seconds, which was both fun and a little confusing. I am on spring break from the studio this week, which really means nothing since I still have to babysit and Joe still has school and work, but it has been nice to have my nights free and (let's be honest) to have a break from my kids. Recital is coming up fast and we've all been a bit frantic at the studio (ALL of our 400 some-odd kids perform in this monstrosity, and it gets a bit hectic even just in thinking about how it will work), so I think it was important for us all to get to step away for a week and come back a little more fresh before we get verbally attacked by parents who have to pay a $15 late fee or something equally as horrendous. Oh, and it snowed again yesterday. I mean, it was just flurries this time, no excuse for not blogging or anything, but still. Snow. In Georgia. In Athens, Georgia. In April. 'S not right.

Upcoming craziness in the Caldwell family: Joe is going to some big important meeting where he gets to hear his favorite man-crush (Warren Buffet) speak, we have two weddings (one of the favorite person mentioned above) back to back, we're moving into a yet-to-be-determined-but-I'm-going-to-see-one-of-our-last-options-today 2 bedroom apartment, we just recently discovered that we either have to spend approximately 4 million dollars on car repairs OR buy a new car (read: test the bonds of our marriage), Joe and Margaret and Katie are graduating within a week of each other (which also falls on the same weekend as RECITAL *cue ominous music*), Tricia graduates from highschool at the end of May right before she turns 18, Joe and I celebrate our 2 year anniversary (unless the car thing happens first, then... who knows...), and my sisters and I are planning a trip to NYC! All sounds pretty blog-worthy, right?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

fording the river (of life...)

When I was in elementary school, we had a "state of the art" computer lab with rows upon rows of what would now be considered dinosaur computers; huge, grey boxes with floppy disk drives and visible pixels even in the fonts. The highlight of computer time was being allowed to play the "it" game of the time- Oregon Trail. Anyone who has ever played this game knows that it was pretty much impossible to make it all the way to Oregon. You would ford a river and all of your supplies would sink, you would lose half of your family to typhoid or cholera, your oxen would die and slow your progress while you slowly ran out of food, part of your wagon would break and no one would be willing to make a reasonable trade. It was an educational game because you had to figure out how to make the most of your supplies, use your money wisely, and you learned about the pioneers movement west at the same time.

Joe and I recently found an online version of this old favorite game (you even have to press a function key to "flip the floppy disk to side 2") and played together once before Joe decided that we should play against each other on our own laptops to see if one of us could beat the game. Joe started out as a farmer, counting on the difficulty points that you get at the end as well as his hunting prowess (arrow keys to move, space bar to shoot... aim for those bears and you're golden). I started as a banker, which meant a lot more money at the beginning so you could buy extra supplies.

Long story short, I made it to Oregon. I was able to buy food at each fort, pay to get ferries across the river, trade with Indians and other travellers, and take long breaks to keep my family healthy (although, Libby unfortunately passed from typhoid right before we made it... win some, lose some).

Joe's whole family died about halfway through. He made to about 50 miles outside of Oregon before randomly kicking the bucket as well. I think it was from complications due to a broken arm. Something lame like that. Or maybe it was a hunting injury...

Anyway, so... all along I thought we were supposed to be learning about math, long term planning, and the pioneer movement. I guess the valuable lesson we were supposed to learn as children was that money makes you win at life.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

wonder dog strikes again

Wonder Dog and I went to our second flyball tournament this past weekend, held in the same place as the first one we went to at a Baptist Convention center right outside of Talladega, Alabama. We took a lot fewer dogs this time, a majority of them "green dogs", or dogs that have been to fewer than 3 tournaments (I think all three of our green dogs had about 4 tournaments between them!). Everyone did fabulously, earning their FDCh titles (Flyball Dog Champion), jumping over 11 inch hurdles (higher than last time), and keeping race times at about 23 or 24 seconds. Libby had an average run time of about 5.3 seconds, which is awesome. They also got a lot of practice in and got to run most of the day, which was great for us because they slet really soundly in the hotel at night! Libby ran with very few mistakes this weekend, being pretty consistent until the very end of the weekend when she got very distracted by a little Jack Russel named Abby. They were having a very intense conversation while we waited for racing to start and then when I released her she decided she needed to go finish said conversation rather than get her ball. Now, any of you that know Libby know that usually NOTHING comes before a ball in the priority list, so I have a feeling Abby was talking trash about me or something... either that or Abby was jealous because people kept saying that Libby was the prettiest dog at the tournament... no really. They did. Actually, there was a man from the hosting team (the Birmingham Bandits) that was taking pictures of the racing, and he liked Libby so much that he gave me a print of one of her photos for free! (Yes, it is already framed.) But no worries... they are online! Perfect Weblink Wednesday, right? Here is the website where his photos are... Click on "flyball pictures" on the left hand side, then select 2009 and the first tournament. Libby ran in the following races: Day One- Races 9, 32, 45; Day Two- Races 9, 22, 32, 45, one picture in 72.

Please do not judge my ugly, way-too-big-for-me polo shirt.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

melon head

So I'm blogging at work. Is that wrong? I mean, there aren't any kids here yet and it's not like I'm actually supposed to be teaching a class or anything ("ok kids... do some plies or something while Miss Greer writes a Weblink Wednesday entry"). AND I even checked the messages and the work email. So really, what else should I be doing? Our office manager isn't even here yet.

Have I rationalized/defended myself/bored you enough yet?

Anyway, all of that was just to say that this will be brief, but I do have two links to share today. The first is a blog that I recently started following that shares stories about crazy things that happen in the school system. It was on the list of "Best Blogs" (for 2008, I think) that the Times or some other important literary work put out recently. My latest favorite tidbit was about some faculty that put together a "Fight Club" for special needs students. And then took cell phone videos of it. Brillance, folks. Just plain brilliance.

The other one I just happen to stumble upon and I thought it was pretty awesome. Check out these melons (don't worry, it's G-rated...)!

Oh, and by the by, my laptop has been returned to my loving arms (lap?) at last. Once I get all of my stuff loaded back onto it, I should be back in the swing of things for real. Here's hoping.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

catch up time!

I know it's been a while since my last post, but here are a few of the reasons why...
  • Took my students to Access Broadway, a musical theatre and dance competition. Some rough patches, namely my ballet music skipping so badly that they had to stop the act, we had to scramble to find another CD with the track on it, figure out the cueing since I had cut it for competition, and then find another point in the packed out schedule to let them try it again. Also, I was disappointed in the score for my jazz duet with Emery and Kayla (who are 8 years old, btw), but I will be interested to see the judges' comments so I can know what they were looking for. BUT, most importantly and regardless of any frustrations, we won Best Studio for the 4th year in a row! It was a very exciting weekend, but I think we're all relieved it's over... although that just means that it's time to start freaking out about recital.
  • Drove back from Atlanta in SNOW! They had been forecasting snow, but in Georgia you always take that kind of forecast with a grain of salt. So imagine the surprise when Athens got almost 6 inches! Definitely the most snow I had ever seen in my home state. Joe and I were legitimately snowed into our house without power (for about 24 hours!). We tried to walk down to Kroger to get a flashlight and some non-microwaveable food (I did not realize how much of our meals come out of the microwave) and the power went out all the way down the street, including the hospital (yikes!) and the entire Alps shopping center. When we made it to Kroger, they came over the loudspeaker and told us to get our purchases quickly since they didn't know how long the emergency lights would stay on. It was an exciting and beautiful experience to have that much snow, but I am certainly glad to live in the south where it is a rarity rather than the norm!
  • I tried to update iTunes on my laptop and it decided to stop working. I took it to the PeachMac store after Joe tried unsuccessfully to fix it himself and it seems that there is something wrong with my hard drive. So now I have to take everything off the computer and back it up so that they can fix it. Fun. Oh, and the woman working at the customer service desk was super-rude when we dropped it off. She acted like she would rather be anywhere but at that desk dealing with us insufferably stupid Mac-users. When I picked it up I saw on the lable on my laptop that her name is Lisa Polite. What a misnomer!
  • For those of you (Joe) who were sad to miss Weblink Wednesday, here you go.

Friday, February 20, 2009

<3 (it's a sideways heart)

Joe and I have never really been big on celebrating Valentine's Day. He gets away with this mostly because his birthday is the day before, so we can kind of smoosh the two together and he can finagle his way out of the expectations most husbands have to deal with on that lovely Hallmark Holiday. However, he knows that he is still expected to recognize that it is indeed a holiday on which women are supposed to be showered with chocolate and affection. This Valentine's Day I had to be up early to run some rehearsals at the studio, so I left him snoring soundly in bed an tiptoed out of the house. A few hours later, I called to let him know I was coming home.

I'm leaving the studio. What are you doing?
Oh... uh... I'm at Kroger.
Kroger? Why?
Well... I had to get you something right? Oh, and your Dad sent you flowers. I was really confused at first, so I looked at the card.
Oh... thanks. No surprises for me today, huh?
Oh yeah. Sorry. I'll meet you at home.

Fast forward about twenty minutes, when I pass by Joe walking home from Kroger with a grocery bag and single red rose (not in a vase or wrapped, mind you... just the little naked rose by itself). Of course I beat him home, so I called my dad to thank him for the flowers (which were really gorgeous tulips... but they came in a box, which made me laugh because it reminded me of this superbowl commercial). Joe came in, handed me the rose (I'm still on the phone, mind you), reached into the bag and handed me a box of Milk Duds. Then reached into the bag and handed me... wait for it.... ANOTHER box of Milk Duds. And that was all.

Now, my husband has never been what you might call a "romantic" man. But I was stumped (and amused) trying to figure out the rationale for this little set of gifts. I could picture him in Kroger, surrounded by sleepy, hungover frat guys fighting over the last bouquets of roses before some poor schmuck had to resort to carnations, looking around thinking to himself...

Ok... Valentine's Day. Chocolate. Greer likes chocolate. What does she always get at movies? Milk Duds. Yeah... ok I'll get her some Milk Duds. (tosses them into a basket) Hm... that looks kinda puny in there by itself. Ok, maybe TWO boxes of Milk Duds. (adds another box) Yeah. Yeah, that looks better. But then she'll probably say that it's not a very romantic gift. So something romantic... flowers. Chocolate and flowers are romantic, right? (looks at price tag on bouqet of roses) Geez... ok maybe just ONE flower. (looks at vases with single roses in them) I think we have vases at home. I'll just get the flower. Red, for hearts and stuff. Perfect. This is totally right on. I am so awesome at Valentine's Day.

I love my husband. And those Milk Duds were actually really good.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

"expert" village

I apologize in advance for any ranting that occurs in this post due to my feelings about this week's Weblink Wednesday.

A few weeks ago I was hunting on youtube for ballet videos. Occasionally, I can find some good exercises to use in class or a tutorial video that demonstrates a better method for teaching turnout, etc. It was on youtube that I discovered the Perfect Pointe System, which has been very helpful in teaching my first year of beginning pointe technique. I stumbled upon some videos posted by "Expert Village", which claims to be a collection of experts in various fields that post tutorial videos so that the un-expert among us can learn from their vast stores of knowledge. I had a hard time deciding which video to link to because they are all just so dreadful. I decided to go with this one, which is teaching how to do a "passe" or "retire" position. This is a very important position in ballet, used in turns, jumps, extensions, etc. For those of you who can't tell... THEY ARE TEACHING IT WRONG!

(Not to mention that they both look dumpy, unprofessional and sloppy. If you are teaching technique, you need to be willing to let us see your body. As I tell my students, lose the t-shirt when you're a ballerina! Let alone trying to teach a position of the legs wearing pants that are too long and cover your ankles... oy.)

Now, I am aware that there are many different schools within the ballet art form. But for the most part the technique itself is universal. And for a passe, you wrap the toes of your working foot around the ankle of the supporting leg (a position called "sur le cou de pie", which means "around the neck of your foot") so that your knee is directed back immediately. Pressing the knee and hip back to create an open position, you wrap and slide your foot up to the knee, maintaining connection between the two. You then reverse the process and lower the foot to 5th position, in which you are trying to connect the toes and heels of your opposite feet (I know they are doing it in 3rd position, but that is another thing that is silly... no one really uses 3rd position anymore because it just looks sloppy and teaches bad form when transitioning to 5th position). You are also never never supposed to lift your hip as your leg rises (which she does) or release the knee of the supporting leg coming down (which she does). Another "expert" video that might be just as bad is the "glissade" video, which gets linked to at the end of this one.

A few people commenting on the videos were defending the two women saying that we should not critique them for dancing, which is something people do for fun and to express themselves from the heart. True enough. If this was a piece of choreography or a recreational video, I would not have said a word about it. But these are people claiming to be experts demonstrating specific technique for other people to mimic and learn. Ballet is, of course, a form of artistic expression but it is also a discipline. Not only does doing it incorrectly look bad, it can also lead to injuries down the road. Not to mention, what is the point (no pun intended) of learning something wrong?

ARRRRRGH and ROAR and all that.

OK, I'm done now.

Friday, February 13, 2009

argh and harumph

Two little tidbits for you today.

First of all, I was considering changing the background colors and template for my blog (I've been on a change kick lately... weird... Obama must be rubbing off on me...). So I went into settings and clicked on one that had polka dots and it looked like crap so I changed it back (obviously the change kick only kicks me so far). But I forgot that I had spent a long time adjusting the colors and formatting of my first template and of course it all reverted back to the original blogger settings! So I spend another long time trying to get it back to something I like... is it close? I think it looks about the same, or at least close enough to be acceptable. (Oh, and note that I gave into peer pressure yet again and now am a Twitter-er. Follow me!)

Secondly, as I was investigating this whole Twitterpation phenomenon, Freak Dog was sitting in front of the coffee table chewing on a toy. Or I thought it was a toy. When the chewing had continued for a length of time that I considered suspect, I decided to investigate. At which point Freak Dog looks up at me all innocent-like from the book he has been gnoshing (I have a stack of books on the floor that are at some point going to get donated to the library... unless they all become dog food first...). Of course the book Baxter chose for his tasty treat was "Clicker Training for Dog Obedience". Of course.