Wednesday, December 28, 2011

"Did My Heart Love 'Til Now?"

Pretty title, huh? I didn't write that, Shakespear did. He sure did write some catchy lines. Yes, I know I sound like a hick. I'm trying to be funny.

There are these beautiful sculptures where Tom and I work and one day whilst performing our juggling act of me driving the girls there just in time for Tom to get out of class and I to run to mine to teach it, Tom snagged these pictures.

The subjects are Romeo and Juliet in the balcony scene and let's just say, Melaina is smitten. Many of our friends tell us that they think Melaina will be in the theatre one day. I don't doubt it, but as a director, I'm sure. She's got a knack for telling people EXACTLY what to do, how to do it, when to do do it, and with what inflection. No kidding.

Clara was without a bow, as always.

Ah, Juliet.
From a different perspective
"I need more effort from you Romeo! What is your objective in this scene?"
"It is the east and Juliet is the sun"
"My sister is nuts"
And well, I have no words for this one...

Life is a blur! No. Really, an actual BLUR...

So you know the old cliche that we all use when we are asked by an acquaintance, "so, how's life been?" Rather than getting in to a long detailed rant on how your life seems to be spinning out of countrol, but you love it, but seriously, you need help, but these are the best times and so on, you just say, "oh, it's a blur". Well, at least that is what I say.

But as you can see from these photos, life at the Dickinson household is really, actually, literally, a BLUR. No one stands still for long enough to catch a decent photo and I never really like photos of myself except on rare occasion, so we are always trying to get photos of the girls and not so much the family thing. It never fails that posed photos of the 4 of us don't exactly turn out so well. A christmas card? Didn't happen. It's not that a photo didn't happen. My friend Laura took lots of great photos, but not one photo looked fit for human consumption. Why?

It's not that one person's hair isn't just so or that we're not all looking at the same spot, no, I would gladly take those mishaps. It's that as a whole, my beautiful family, we all look like it's the annual Olin Mills family day at the loony bin. I bet Annie Liebovitz herself would get huffy, walk out on a photo shoot of our family screaming "I can't work like this! Keep them still!"

I digress. Here are some recent photos of the blur...

Clara swinging...
Melaina swinging...
Clara at Melaina's birthday party living it up. Side note: that red ballon which Clara fell in love with and brought home from the party was still around our house until about a week ago. The party was in October. Weird balloon.
Melaina so excited on her birthday carriage ride... There were some decent pictures of this outing posted on an earlier post. There were many, however, that were not posted that looked like this. But here's the thing: ask anyone, my husband is a great photographer, so this is not to diminish his talent in any way shape or form. End of disclaimer.
Yes, that does look like millions and millions of dust particles to the left in the sunlight.
What's your point? Dust doesn't have time to settle around here, it just floats as if in an abyss, waiting for the next tumbling object to propel it to its new destination. Fun way to say that I hate to dust.
Now, this could have been a really cute picture if my children weren't being hooligans.
I really do love this blurry life.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Milk Dance

To catch you up, all 3 of you, I will have to write a series of posts since it has been so long. Why not begin with something a bit light-hearted? Life has been really full lately. Lots of work, being busy with kids, mom having pneumonia, then knee surgery. And then a tragic loss of a dear friend and mentor. More on all of that later, this is to be light-hearted after all. So to kick it all off, something fun and humorous.
I don't know what it is about my kids and dancing in the grocery store. But come to think of it, I'm the one who sort of starts dancing and they take it from there. Just a bob of the head keeping rhythm at first, then singing along to whatever song is playing over the store's system, and then it inspires an all out dance off with my kiddos. And actually when I look back on my life, I can recall MANY dance breaks in the grocery store, Home Depot, K-mart, you name it. Hmmm, doesn't everyone do that? So anyway, here is a look at Clara breaking it down in Trader Joe's a while back... Enjoy!

Monday, November 7, 2011

More Fall Stuff...

I really do love the Fall so stinkin' much. The crisp air, the brightly colored leaves, the seasonal beers, long sleeves, pretending (or not) to care about football, pumpkins, all baked goods, Fall for Greenville, the list goes on and on. So here are several pictures that sum up our October and early November...

The view at Fall for Greenville. We had so much fun. We rarely get out these days, so we lived it up and ate and drank our way down main street with some good friends.
A rare photo of me. The backdrop is that beautiful, funky old tree in Falls Park.

Melaina about to enjoy her first carriage ride kicking off her Birthday Weekend Celebration!!!
I love this picture of Melaina posing for a split second. She loved watching the horse and talking to the coachman.
A blurry pic of the whole fam, Grandma, Papa, Clara, mommy, Daddy and Melaina!

Clara meditating amidst the pumpkins at Sky Top Apple Orchard.

Melaina dubiously admitting one photo of her and her pumpkin that she picked out. To be not-so-shy, the girl doesn't love having her photo taken...

...except after helping Daddy carve the Jack-O-Lantern. (this goes out to my friend Ashley: What is that spherical object along the left side? Spooky)


Halloween Fun

I wish Halloween came more than once a year. It is my all time favorite holiday. I have such great memories of Halloween as a child. The first Halloween I remember was when I was 5 or 6 I guess. I dressed up as Annie and went to my uncle Max's house. I guess he was having some kind of party or something since my mom got dressed up, too. I don't remember what she was supposed to be, just that she was super creepy in a teased out blond wig and scary makeup. Then for the next 5-6 years I was a witch. Not because I wanted to be a witch for Halloween, well maybe the first year, but because mom had bought a giant piece of black fabric to create this costume that would stand the test of time and Lord knows she had to get her money's worth. We were broke as a joke in those days so there was no use in protesting it. I would try to petition my case to be a fairy or a princess, but mom would just say in her most ghostly voice "Halloween is not for being pretty. It is meant to be a SCARY and SPOOKY night and what is more SCARY and SPOOKY than a witch?" Then I seem to remember a loud cackle. Humph. It was no use.

So what else is being a parent for than to make up your own rules!!! So, no witches this year for my girls, but Super Girl and a Ladybug instead. I actually do agree with my mom about the scary and spooky part, but maybe when they're a bit older. Hey, wonder if she's still got that costume somewhere. Watch out Melaina and Clara!!!! (Cackle...)

Enjoy some pics from our fun night trick or treating in the neighborhood. It all started with a visit to our friends' house, then a parade led by a fire truck, pizza at the club house, and then the trick or treating!!!

I love this costume so much. Tom picked it out for Melaina in San Francisco before she was even born and now my little Clara is sporting it.
BFFs, Super Girl and Princess

"So, you got stuck whirring your sister's old costume, too?"
"Yeah, I wanted to be one of the Angry Birds, but I can't talk yet so here I am"

The neighborhood gang...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Holy Autumn, Batman!!!

Ok, so, for the three of you that read this blog, I apologize for the really long hiatus. I know everyone's life is extremely busy especially if you have kids, but let's face it, some handle it better than others. And I, well, I guess I am just not a very good juggler. I feel completely crazy all day pretty much every single day.

Don't get me wrong, just because it's crazy doesn't mean it's not good. LIFE IS GOOD!!! I am loving teaching part time and I can't think of anything I would rather be doing while not at home with the girls. It is truly a blessing to have this opportunity, but I tell you for the first two months of classes, I mean first two solid months, I felt that completely out-of routine feeling you get when one of your cars, either yours or your spouse's is in the shop and you are trying to figure out who has the kids and who is dropping whom off at which place when and when will you get picked up or are you doing the picking up and so on and so on. Like I said, not a great juggler. But the juggling is so that I can do what I want to do and still have the girls at home. Although Melaina is at school until noon everyday which is a Godsend! And don't let me forget the wonderful lady who comes to watch the girls once a week during the day when I am at school for a solid day. As far as I'm concerned, she walks on water!

So now, even though we are still juggling, I have adapted to the chaos somewhat. The girls are doing great and Melaina turned 4 yesterday!!! Photos...

Melaina and her bestest bestie, Brooke along with her partner in crime from school, Alex. I think we have a crush on our hands.

Shhh...don't disturb her. She is in cake land...

Tom and I have even had some opportunities to sing together, well one, but still, that never happens! Life is grand. Well, life is a grand old glorious mess and I'm trying to cope with it. So here are some photos that span the last several weeks since my last post. I promise to be a better blogger now that I've got a seemingly good grip on reality these days...Hahaha who am I kidding!

A few Saturdays ago we had lunch at Williams Hardware in TR then walked a bit on the Swamp Rabbit Trail.
One of Melaina's fun Birthday weekend activities was an impromptu carriage ride for the whole fam - Grandma and Papa, too. Here's our driver (coachman?) smiling for the camera. Oh, and that's new fangled scarf around my neck is Clara who was scared to death for the first 10 minutes or so.

Clara is too cool for school.

Although usually up for adventure, Melaina didn't love picking apples while being on Daddy's shoulders while he was climbing a tree. Wonder why?

Poor thing won't keep a dang bow in her hair to save her life, but she's sweet as can be so who cares. She's looking a little "children of the corn"-esque in this photo, but still more sweet than creepy.
In the mass of pumpkins, no bow, but with sippy cup. All is good.

That girl is serious about her birthday cake gelato.

My four adorable children from left to right: Clara, Gradley (Melaina's imaginary friend), Melaina, and Baby Kitty. See, Tom, we have plenty of children already!!!!!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

How Many Women Are You?

I don't know about you, but life with children sometimes brings out the best in me and then, sometimes the worst. I mean let's be honest. The monotony of staying at home can be overwhelming. I know that sounds crazy because sure, living a slam packed crazy busy life can be overwhelming, but a monotonous one? How can the seemingly meaningless albeit necessary tasks of home life be overwhelming? Well, I tell you (and it's my blog, so there) that they certainly can be.

But the cool thing is I think I've found a pattern here. When I am at my most frazzled and bored yet overwhelmed state there is always a common denominator. It is when I am living my life as wife and mother ONLY that I feel like I'm going to lose it. Now I know what some people will say to this, that I should count myself fully blessed to be a wife and mother and that there is no greater call in this world. I'm not arguing that at all. It is incredible to be a wife and it is a great joy to be a mother to my two darling girls. But guess what???? There is more to me!

Ahh! Shock. Gasp. Guffaw if you will, but it's true. And it is when I have neglected the other parts of myself that I begin to feel like I'm drowning, barely keeping my head above water and gasping for air. It makes sense I guess, you can't starve people and expect them not to revolt even if these people are just other parts of yourself.

So, just who are these other women you may ask?? Besides wife and mother, I am sister, friend, daughter, comedian, teacher, singer, poet, artist, healer, student, thinker, nudist (just kidding), chef, philosopher, speaker, bohemian, dancer (when no one's watching), and free wheeling' feminist. Ah, that felt good.

There are so many facets to every woman and we just so often get jumbled up with daily life that we forget to give voice to those other ladies that are just as much a part of who we are. It is when I bury these others that I become cynical, critical, mean, ugly, indifferent and just plain depressed. So why is it so hard to let ourselves be all these things at the same time? There's a part of us that feels that we need to express ourselves in small bits so as to not rock the boat too much. That we need only to decide which one of us the other people in our lives need us to be the most and we let that one shine.

Now, I'm not saying that I have a choice today whether or not I'm going to be a mother or a dancer/speaker/etc, I dot. Once a mother, it isn't ever a role you can hang on the shelf, even for a moment. But I'm saying that maybe me and my selves can co-exist. I mean after all, isn't that what I want my daughters to see? Don't I want them to know all of me and see that they too can be many women and not just what the world says they need to be? We are not Kodak moments preserved in some photo album. We are not slivers of complete people, but are full round and whole.

Ok, so I'm rambling a bit. Got all up on my soap box. So what now? All I can do is to be aware that all of me is here for the being. All of me needs to be fed and to be expressed. All of me is pretty darn cool!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Life and Other Stuff...

It's been while since I last posted and it seems like the entire month of July flew by! There's been some good things and some heartbreaking things that have occurred since I last posted. Everything that has happened, the good and the bad have really caused me to stop, count my blessings and put life in perspective. It sounds so darn cliche, but dang it, I'll say it anyway...every moment is a gift, my friends!

So, lest I become too heavy, here's a video from Melaina's final performance after her week at dance camp. She was a hoot!

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Light at the End of the Tunnel!!

So I wrote a few posts ago about this 21 day cleanse that my husband and I have had the gaul to embark upon. Let me just walk you through the last 18 days of crazy sexiness.

First 5 days of cleanse = HELL. 'Nough said.

Day six: Rounded a corner, feeling much better.

Day seven: Even better

Days eight through twelve: Coffee cravings gone! Sweet cravings, gone!! Enjoying green juice more and more and although this is tough, we are half way through. Woot Woot!!

Days 13, 14: Dear God!!! What the hell was I thinking?!? Major speed bump on the road to being Crazy Sexy!! Sitting in floor with iPad reading the diet book trying to find one reason why I shouldn't give up and call it a day. I mean, what could 21 days do for me that 14 didn't?? Huh?? tell me, you stupid, stinking, self-righteaous, do-gooder, kill joy! (Keepin' it clean on the blog. Won't write what I really said) CLEANSE THIS!!

Deep breath. Namaste.

After having a real heart to heart with myself, on to day 15.

Day 15: Hard, really freakin' hard.

Day 16: Hard, but feeling strong willed and determined...

Day 17: I'm gonna kick this cleanse's booty, but it's still hard.

Day 18: Feeling pretty depleted physically, but my spirits are up, my weight is down and tomorrow is day 19.

Will I ever do this again? Doubtful, but I do know this: I don't miss meat, I don't miss milk. I miss the heck out of some coffee and wine (I guess I love my mood altering beverages, my stimulants and depressants) and two salads a day gets kind of old after awhile.

All in all I am calling it a success!!! Well, with three days to go, that is.

The main thing I have learned about myself is that the growth happens, either physically, spiritually, emotionally, etc when you make it past the breaking point and reach really freakin' deep within yourself and find that all too quiet voice that says "girl, you can do this".

Ok, now for a little melodramatic silliness. No I am not G I Jane, but I love this scene and this drill sergeant's voice is similar to the one in my head that was having a "come to Jesus" meeting with me on day 14... Enjoy.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Clara turns 1!!!

On July 5th, Clara Faye Dickinson turned 1 year old!!! I really can't believe how quickly time has passed and I have to say that I am a little sad that those sweet tiny baby days are behind us. I used to think the same thing of the women who said they were sad that their child was turning 1 as I did those women who said they loved being pregnant. Something like, "Oh, please!!" But really, I have loved this past year with Clara so much. I remember with Melaina I was so excited to reach every milestone that 1 year old seemed much like a victory for the whole family, but it's different this time around. Maybe since I now know by having experienced it before, just how fast it all goes. So, enough with the ho-hum...on with the party!!

We had Clara and Presley's party together on the 4th! Presley's birthday is on the 4th so Laura and I were in the hospital at the same time and I really cherish those memories. How cool is it to have your best friend having a baby around the same time as you much less the actual "same time" as you! Really, we ordered pizza and hung out in each other's rooms. It was just about as much fun as postpartum gets!!

So the party was a blast! It was a pool party followed by pizza and cake. (Tom and I were drooling over the yummy food since we are still on the #$!@-ing cleanse.) The little ones had so much fun as did the older sisters and their buds.

Here are some pics of the par-tay!!

Everyone having fun in the pool...

Me and my Clara...

Melaina and Brooke chowing down with their friend Luke...

Party pic...

There's my Miss America...

These girls were in denial that the party wasn't for them!

The cake and cupcakes! Yum, I just drooled a little...

Us mamas singing "Happy Birthday"...

That cupcake didn't stand a chance...

Presley made a very nice modern art painting with her icing!

This may be my very favorite picture. Sisters and sisters having fun together!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Crazy Sexy or Grumpy Boring?

So a couple of posts ago, I wrote about the "new leaf" that Tom and I have turned over in terms of our outlook on food and our health. Well, we decided to kick it up a notch and go on a 21 day adventure cleanse. That's right, adventure cleanse. Those two words really should not be in the same sentence should they? This cleanse come from the Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr. After day two, Tom decided that it needed a new name...Grumpy Boring Diet because that pretty much described the diet as well as us and our demeanor while beginning the diet.

So why this cleanse? Well, the idea is that our normal diets are very high in acidity and to bring oneself to a more optimum health, ones diet needs to be much more on the alkaline side of things. Acidity increased inflammation. Inflammation is the root cause of many diseases, anxiety issues, mood swings, depression, and down right feeling crummy.

Well let me just tell you that the first 5 days were absolutely hell on earth. Even though we had been eating so much better and getting cozy with our new juicer, we still relied on our comforts that are near and dear to our hearts. These comforts are: coffee (every single morning and sometimes afternoon), wine (a glass, sometimes 2 at least 4 nights a week), the occasional ice cream, cheese (since I had the go ahead from the pediatrician to have dairy again, OMG how much do I love gruyere!!). I could go on, but I am salivating and getting off point.

So here's the deal with the cleanse. No coffee. No alcohol. No meat, dairy, or eggs. No gluten. Pretty much no processed foods. No sugar, refined or pure. Dear God, help me.

So what do we eat on this thing you might ask? Lots and lots of raw vegetables, plenty of cooked ones, some fruit, whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, beans, nuts and that's about it. If we feel absolutely crazy at the end of the day and nothing else will do, we can have two squares of 70% cacao dark chocolate. Sounds like a freakin' party right?

Well, I have to say that we finally turned a corner on day 6 and, speaking for myself although I think my hubby feels the same, I feel pretty fantastic. Really! No kidding. And I have cooked some pretty tasty meals that I was kind of scared of cooking prior to this diet. We are at the end of day 8 and I actually have energy and feel good inside. I know this sounds crazy but I am really seeing that this is not just a cleanse of the body, but emotions, spirit, it's all tied in together.

Now before you start to think that I'm some goody goody, let me just tell you that although I might remain a vegetarian (I just don't miss meat AT ALL), after the 21 days are over some things are coming back into the diet, though hopefully more sparingly than before. These things are COFFEE!!! I just love it, but will keep it to a cup a day. WINE, I mean, have you met me? Again, in moderation (nursing majorly helps keep that one in check. Hmm, maybe I should nurse until Clara goes to college). And maybe the occasional cheese but not often since we think Clara is still allergic to Cow's milk (that's another story entirely).

So I'll keep all of you, all three that read this, updated as to how it's going. Just in case you fancy a look at what all this is about, check out the link to Kris Carr's website "Crazy Sexy Life" She also has a website devoted to the diet and book itself. She has such an amazing story of how being diagnosed with cancer gave her the gumption to take her health and her life back into her own hands...Thank you Erin Paup for introducing me to this whole shebang.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Asheville Part 2

Here are some more pics of our Asheville vacation...

William and Melaina reaching the summit of Mount Mitchell. They had absolutely no idea why they were asked to pose in front of the sign.

The Three Musketeers (Melaina, William, and Emeline) "fishing" in the front yard pond/waterfall.

Everett and Clara in what Tom's uncle Tom named "Baby Gitmo"
(You may think, "Wow, two Toms?" Actually there were three. Tom's cousin is named Tom as well!)

Clara finally free from the stroller at the Arboretum

There's always time for a little song and dance routine...

Two Snow Whites and one Prince Charming!