Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Gifts

 Best Christmas gift I have ever received - our beautiful bouncing blue-eyed boy - Zach!
Born on Christmas Eve, 17 years ago.
Zach - a few months old
Zach - after Christmas Eve services on his 17th birthday.

Best gift this year - the gift of laughter and love with my family!


I love your laugh, Amy!

Thanks, family, for giving us all so many opportunities to share the gift of laughter!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

2nd Annual Girls Only Trip to WDW!

I can't believe it is almost Christmas and I am sitting here writing a blog post as if I have nothing to do!!!

This is going to be quick. I hope I have a chance to write more later, but I hoped the same thing last year after our Disney trip and I never got around to writing about it. Time flies when you're having fun, so they say. This year must have been more fun than anyone could imagine, because time flew faster than ever!

Amy and I celebrated life, love, and happiness for a week right after Thanksgiving. It was our 2nd annual girls only special trip to DisneyWorld. We would love to have the boys along, but they have the annoying complications of a job and school. We so appreciate Daddy's job and his love and sponsorship, which allowed us the opportunity, and I am so proud of Zach's hard work and accomplishments at school, both of which I feel sure are going to result in a scholarship in a couple of years and therefore are contributing to our ability to take off for a delightful week in a very expensive location.

Amy is home schooled, so we have more control of her schedule, and she was between theatrical shows, so we jumped at the chance for an early Christmas gift and some girl time! The boys had a very difficult week with many complications, unforeseen when we planned and took off on our little trip, and I feel so guilty about that - about not being here to help out. But, we had a WONDERFUL time making cherished memories together! (My daughter still enjoys my company, but I know my time is limited. One day she won't want to go with mom, so I am going to take advantage of every opportunity while I can.) Our plan is to make this an annual thing for the rest of our lives. Good plan, huh?

Amy is 14 now so she is eligible to audition to be on the American Idol Experience at Disney's Hollywood Studios. She made it through 2 rounds of auditions and onto one of the daily shows! It was so much fun (since she is under 18, she had to have me with her for the whole process and I really enjoyed seeing all the behind-the-scenes stuff!) Here is a little video of some snapshots. Sadly we were not allowed to videotape the actual show. Copyright laws and such.


She didn't win, but she was very good, got some great comments from the judges, and had a blast!
I'm so proud of her - she is fearless.

We had so much fun. We rode Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom ten times in one day! We blasted off to Mars, we road-tested, we splashed, we soared. We sang, and we danced, and we browsed around the world in Epcot.

More later, probably some photos, and more tales of our adventure. But now, as I said at the beginning of this post, I can't believe it is almost Christmas and I am sitting here writing this! 

Off to decorate!

Monday, November 14, 2011

RENT is history,and life is good!

RENT is history.

Most friends decided it was not for them and did not come. I think they missed a wonderful show.

I'm so glad Amy had this experience. We made the right decision. All is well.  :)

 Time to party!

 Amy with other cast members at cast party
 During the cast party, the long goodbyes

 Posing for photos - Amy is at right

Posing for photos during cast party after the final performance
(Amy is on the right, delighted)

Part of the amazing cast of RENT at Act3 Productions 
Amy is on the left, hot pink shirt and leather skirt

The show was really wonderful. I got to see two of the seven shows and would have seen it again, but all four shows of the final weekend were sold out. Indeed, every show but  one - last Sunday's matinee - was sold out. We had seen RENT at another theatre in the area - professional level - in the summer, and this show was every bit as good. So much talent! It really makes me happy! Congratulations, guys!

Now. Back to the real world. This is going to be a tough week. No more RENT rehearsals or shows. No more stage. No more late night parties or dinners.
Just normal, routine school work.
(She's going to be hard to live with!)

Now, she and I begin the countdown to our 2nd annual girls only trip to DisneyWorld!
Yes indeed, now that RENT is history, and good grades prevail, what are we going to do?
We're going to DisneyWorld!

And more auditions are right around the corner. Can it get any better?

Life is good!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Overdue Room Re-do

It is already November and there are so many things that happened this past summer that I never had time to write about! This was a tough summer, but we did manage to take care of a long overdue project in July - Amy's room re-do! 

A paint brush had not touched those walls since before she was born, and all her furniture was odds n ends from here and there, and repurposed nursery and little-girl items. She loved her old pink room, but was more than ready, as she approached her 14th birthday, for a new room. (Where does the time go? Certainly not into home decor around here!)

She chose purple for her new color, but that evolved into lavender. She was going to get rid of the floral wallpaper border around the top of her room at first, but then decided that she liked the way it looked after all, so kept it (for now). The pink sponge-painted hearts under the border and molding had to go, though. Hearts used to be her thing, but not so much now.

One corner of her room had wood paneling fashioned to resemble a fence, with a hand painted garden, dog, and butterflies around it. I painted this scene on her wall during the months before she was born. At first, she was going to remove the paneling and paint over the painting. She decided to keep it after all (aww! because it's mommy's painting!). 

I encouraged her to get rid of it - we have photos of it - she shouldn't feel any pressure to keep it just because I painted it. But she decided that it meant something to her after all, and that her room wouldn't be her room if it was gone. That could change tomorrow - which will  be fine - but for now, she has all new lavender walls except for this one section with the garden painting.

When the tape was removed and the new furniture put in place, the corner did seem to fit right in with her new look. She got a complete new set of furniture - bed, dresser, chest of drawers, night stand, desk, and hutch. It all matches! No more stuck drawers and grungy old items! 

We took down the wonderful play-loft Daddy had added to her room when she was 4 or 5 years old. (seems like it was added only a few months ago!)We also took up the old carpet that had been there forever, and now she has shiny new hardwood floors with a couple of lavender throw rugs. We still need a lamp or two, and some new linens would be nice, but it is almost, almost DONE!

Now the obvious next step in this post is to show you the completed room in all its glory. I would loooove to do that! I mean, a brand new room! You would certainly assume that the owner of this new room would be so happy and so proud of her new space that she would keep it clean and organized, and photo-ready. You would think she would be delighted to show off her new room!

Unfortunately, I failed to take photos of the finished room during the first couple of weeks. Huge mistake. The life of a teenager is messy, people, very messy. It comes in waves, and the room is not always a total mess, but it is always a mess if I happen to think about possibly taking a photo or two. Even though I fell for the earnest exclamations that "oh yes mommy, if I have a new room, I promise it will stay clean!" the sad fact is that it is not. And trust me on this one, you do not want to see a photo of it in its present state.

So, let's all use our imaginations. It has great potential to be a lovely room for a lovely teenaged girl. But let's also be real. Life can be very messy. Aaand, I'm not exactly a stellar example for her. Hey, we are busy around here!

Photos may or may not follow in a future post. Don't hold your breath.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Not everyone will understand...

Amy with her Improv Workshop group - she is 3rd from left, front  row

Note: This was published several days ago and then removed. It was removed for a number of reasons that I won't go into now, but here it is again. :)  For now. It may be gone again tomorrow.

I am completely and totally bogged down these days with my duties as a taxi driver, personal assistant, tutor, cook, maid, etc. etc. etc. and I just don't have time to blog. Just a few lines to tell you where we all are and what's up.

Amy is happy and at home in the theatre these days. She is involved in rehearsals for three shows, with her first performance coming up this weekend. She has been taking an Improv Workshop at her favorite local theatre (Act3) for a couple of months and they will have a show Friday night.

At this same theatre she is in rehearsals for RENT - School Edition, with performances coming up in November. She is thrilled to be a part of this show - one of her favorite Broadway musicals at this time. If you are familiar with RENT you are probably thinking, isn't she a little young for that? Well, yes, I did have to think long and hard about allowing her to audition for this one - at 14 she is the youngest (along with 2 other 9th graders) in the cast of older high schoolers and college students. It is the school edition, so some of the language has been altered and a song has been left out, but the themes are the same. In the end I had to say yes. 

Several reasons - this is an award-winning, major piece of theatre, and Amy is very serious about her theatre ambitions. I'm her mom, her #1 fan, but I truly see talent there, so I think exposing her to as much quality theatre as I reasonably can, and allowing her to stretch and grow is so important. This is a wonderful theatre company with excellent, talented directors, and I feel very good about the guidance Amy is receiving at Act3. Amy auditioned, got a call-back, and won a spot in the cast, so I am happy that she is getting this opportunity to learn and grow in something she loves so much.

So. While I would never allow her to be a druggie or a stripper in real life, I am allowing her to play one on the stage. Hmmmm. That sounds so bad. Some will ask why not find another play for Amy - theatre ops are everywhere, and certainly a G-rated show could be found if we looked hard enough. Yes, she passed on several other auditions because this was the show she really wanted. Not Honk! Not Little Women. Not right now, anyway.

Some will be put off by the shock value, but of course, RENT is about so much more than the obviously negative themes of promiscuity, drug use, and immorality - it is also about love and creativity, hope and survival.  Yes, you will laugh, and you will cry. Some of our good friends, however, will stay away from this one, and will probably judge us harshly for participating. But I'm not second-guessing myself on this one. (Just constantly reassuring myself that I did the right thing)  I'm glad Amy has this opportunity. And I'm looking forward to opening night.

Amy and I have discussed all of this. I won't go into all that, but she gets it, she is very mature about it, and finds it laughable that some might think she is so shallow as to have her own personal character negatively altered by a character she may play on stage.  I really wish her friends would come out and support her efforts. Sadly, I don't think many will this time.

Well, this turned in to more than a line or two. It is obvious that I am uneasy about how our good Christian friends are going to feel about the fact that Amy is performing in a "for mature audiences only" musical. I find myself feeling like I must explain when I get those raised eyebrows. It is a credit to Amy that she stood out among the many auditioning and impressed the directors enough to secure this role, and I am proud of her and happy she is a part of it.  Even if our friends don't want to see it, I hope they will understand why she is doing it. This is theatre. This is what Amy lives for. She is a happy girl. And, as I said, I'm her biggest fan! Here's to la vie boheme - on stage, if not real life. :)

(Sigh)   About the rest of us, and the rest of it - well, some other time!

What would you do - if you had a 14 year old daughter who wanted to audition for RENT would you allow it?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The dress and the dancing queen

I'm so relieved.

The dress was a success!

The dress was easy enough. Even though I don't sew regularly anymore, this was a pattern that was easy to follow. I used boning for the first time, in the back and side bodice seams, but it was no problem. The dress was finished more than a week in advance. 
Well, except for the hook and eye. 
Aren't you supposed to wait until the last (and I mean very last) minute for that?
Yeah, that's what I thought, so I'm not about to change that universal rule of sewing.

 The hard thing about this dress was not even part of this dress. I mean I had no pattern for it, but this dress had to have a petticoat. A nice fluffy petticoat.

At first, I thought, no problem! We will just run over to a prom dress shop and pick one up. We had seen them on-line, and - silly old me -  I just thought they would be in the stores. Like when I was young. Decades and decades and decades ago.

 Well, we searched all over town,but could not find a proper petticoat. Turns out they are all made into the dresses now. If a dress needs a petticoat, it is part of the dress. You don't just go out and buy a petticoat anymore. What planet am I from? (Or what century?)

Now there was not enough time to order it on-line and be certain it would arrive in time, so I had to scramble and make one. No problem. You don't need a pattern for a fluffy petticoat (good thing, 'cause I sure couldn't find one!) At first Amy didn't want tulle - she was too used to ballet costumes with very stiff tulle, and she thought that would be too stiff for this dress. It had to be light-weight, soft, fluffy - but not stiff.

I just started stitching and gathering, and adding more layers, and different shades of pink, and eventually (and not a moment too soon) we got it just right. It was just how she wanted it. Fluffy, but not too fluffy. And not too stiff, or too soft.
Just right. 

 She'd had a very hectic week of rehearsals every evening and standardized testing for school every afternoon. 
Among other things. 
She had been at rehearsal that morning since 10:00am. She got home at  4:30 and wanted to be at the dance between 6:00 and 6:30 (dinner was to start around 6:30) and the location was a little more than half an hour away if we had no traffic snags. We wanted to leave the house at 5:30. She had an hour to shower, curl her hair, do makeup - everything. 
And she'd  been dancing and singing at rehearsal since 10:00.

Makes me tired just thinking about it.
But she was ready to go, full of energy.
Must not be late - it's The Dance!
Oh to be 13 again!

Come on, mom - let's go!!!

I had a chance to get just a few photos before we left for the dance, a couple when she got there, and a couple more when I picked her up. 

She was happy with the dress (and the petticoat!).
She looked really pretty in pink. 

10:00 pm came way too soon for her. 
("Why can't there be a dance every Saturday night?")
Yes, I'm old but I do remember the feeling.

I'm pretty sure she had fun.

And that is what matters.

Photo taken by the Dance Photographer

Oh yes. She had fun. :)