Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Chachacha changes!!!!

Holy time warp, Batman!  It has been forever since I have sat down to post anything new.  So for all three of you who read this, I've got so much to catch you up on.  Our lives here at the Dickinson household have changed quite a bit.  Well, not our lives, necessarily, just the logistics. Life is good.  Life is busy.  I thought I knew busy before, but I must say it's all perspective, I guess, because whew.  So here's what's new...

I'm working.  Well, that's not actually that new.  I thought about working as a new endeavor, but truth is that I have had my finger in some kind of working pie since Melaina was 18 months old.  The work I did never took me away from home longer than a couple of hours, but it was work nonetheless.  I had been an adjunct teacher for the past two years when all of a sudden the winds of opportunity blew open the doors and I have started teaching full time now.

My very first thought back in the spring when it looked like working was to become a reality this fall was "what about Clara?" I couldn't bear the thought of not being around her the great majority of the time.  She's so young, and so attached, and so on and so on and so on.  The truth of the matter is that kids are pretty great at adapting, it's us grown ups who tend to cling to the status quo.  So when school started, I cried pretty hard the first couple of mornings, while Clara got over the transition much quicker.  She loves her school and her teacher and her new little friends.  She is cracking us up non stop with her new words and phrases that are coming like rapid fire these days.

As for Melaina, she is a big time afternooner now and thinks she runs the place.  The "place" being  school, home, GG's, our living room, pretty much anywhere she goes.  She is such a vibrant and imaginative little girl and I cannot believe she will be 5 in just a couple weeks.  For anyone who doesn't know what an afternooner is, it is simply a primary student at Montessori who stays into the afternoon.  Yeah, it's kind of a big deal.

I love my work.  Seriously, when this crazy hectic life starts feeling all the more crazy and hectic, I just think that I am proud of what I do and lucky to have the chance to do it. And sure it has been a change for the whole family, but I want these two girls seeing their mom do what she is meant to do.  I was meant to be a mom and a teacher and a singer and a wife and yes that's a lot of things, but that's what's so great.

Oh, and did I mention that I work with my husband??  I mean, that I GET to work with my husband?  That's what I meant to say.  Tee Hee.  No seriously, it's pretty great.  We've done this in some shape or form for several years now with summer programs and such, so it's just more of the same in a way.  It's actually pretty cool.

OK, I think I've filled you in on all the new goings ons.  Now for the pictures.  I'll start with a few and then add lots more.  Oh, and Melaina stories will be coming soon, too.  She's had some doosies lately!  That girl is a trip.


It's amazing how quickly it can all go south...

 Eating her cupcake at Clara's and bff Presley's 2 year old b-day party

"I pity the fool who says a word about my sleeping outfit I chose to pack for the beach"

My sweet little nugget tired after an afternoon exploring Barrier Island

Well, more to come soon, folks.... until then...David Bowie, anyone??

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The (not so) Glamorous Life

When one thinks of the life of a classical singer on the day of her performance, one might conjure images of sleeping until noon while wearing a silk eye mask, eating only the most healthily prepared food prepared by someone else of course, doing an hour of yoga followed by a hot relaxing shower while warming up her voice for the first time that day at what is now 4pm. Well, one would be wrong. At least in the case of this classical singer/mommy/teacher/fill in the blank.

It all started on the eve of my recital a few weeks ago when Melaina called out from sleep with a very sore throat. Even when she's got the most terrible cold, she usually doesn't mention her throat at all so I was worried. So just to play it safe, the next morning I took her to the doctor and they diagnosed what I was most afraid of -strep throat. Luckily, it was something that she could easily get rid of by consuming that pink antibiotic of wonders. So thus began the day from H-E-double hockey sticks.

So I came home to care and nurse my poor baby while trying to keep my other healthy baby from sneaking sips of Melaina's drink or bites of food which in itself is a monumental task. Not to mention, all of the "not talking" I had planned for the day was out the window. All in all, though, the day from down-under-and-I-don't-mean-Austrailia went as well as I could have hoped for given the circumstances. Tom went in a little late to work and my mom came to keep Clara while we went to the doc. Not to mention our wonderful babysitter came several hours earlier than we had planned so that I could mentally prepare for the performance. (what also helped was an 8 minute guided meditation i bought on i-tunes. Awesome. I did it twice) This glass half full view of the days events only comes weeks after the actual day. On the actual day, I was freaking the *&$% out, to put it mildly.

Believe it or not, the purpose of this post isn't to recount the happenings of that blessed day. My point is just to state even further what life has really been teaching me this past year or so. I have control over pretty much, NOTHING. The moment I get in my head what a certain day should or WILL be like, it's like God is saying "Oh, child, have mercy! (I'm pretty sure God is an enormous black woman). When will you get it into your thick head that you don't spin the world on your little ol' finger. I guess I'll just have to show you once again who has the real power".

And then just like that, life happens and I freak out because something "awful" happens to destroy, I mean literally destroy what plans I have made. But seriously, when will I learn that every time this happens I have the opportunity to grow, to learn, to evolve. I have been given the chance through something as little and minor as the strep throat incident to change my way of thinking.

And when it comes to the performance, well, there's something to be learned as well. Art isn't about nice smooth edges and seamlessness. It is about communicating the real human condition which is not at all pristine or holy, but rather passionate, messy and at times tragic. I chose this life of wife and mother over that of staying in the trenches as a performer and leading that very uncertain life so that I could experience the days like this one. A day filled with caring for others in a home I love surrounded by all I could ever need. And the friends! Friends who came out to love and support me whether or not classical music is their thing. Friends that are always around, not just the sort that one meets during a 6 week engagement and then moves on to the next gig. And I have to say that I think I enjoyed performing way more after a day filled with being taught lessons and giving love and compassion to my sick daughter than I ever would have sleeping until noon and getting a massage...

Though, that would have been nice.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Meet Baby Kitty

Baby Kitty has been around since Melaina was 10 months old. We were out one day just shopping and passing the time when we passed by the children's toys in World Market. Melaina said "kitty" and pointed to this little black and white stuffed kitty lying on the shelf. So I picked it ups and handed it to her. It was love at first sight. She hugged that kitty nd gave the biggest smile. I will never forget it. So I knew I had to buy it for her and that was that.

A few days passed and it was evident that not only did she love this little kitty, it became an appendage. She had to have it wherever she went. So I did what any sensible parent would do, I went back to World Market and bought three more for back ups. I kep them hidden and would only take one out when the main kitty needed washing. Well that all ended when Melaina grew and became more curious and found the other three kitties. So then all four kitties were in play.

Eventually, Melaina began to be able to tell the difference between all of them and named then each. Baby Kitty was her main squeeze, then Mama Kitty, Daddy Kitty and Cousin Kitty. There is no way to pass one for the other, she knows. That child knows baby Kitty from Mama Kitty no matter what.

Now Baby kitty has outfits and Melaina sews little blankets for her at school. Baby Kitty is like another person in this house. Very often BK will sit at the table with us for dinner, goes on trips with us, has her own seat in the car and so on.

I know this may not be very interesting to anyone else, but I had to write a post about Baby Kitty at some point or I would be leaving out a vital part of our family's experience. I sure hope Baby Kitty can hold out a while longer seeing as there is no sign of Melaina's infatuation slowing.

Yes, here are more pictures of this inanimate object otherwise known as Baby Kitty.

I am going against my better judgement to bring you this picture. We all look haggard and homeless. I remember feeling that way when this shot was taken. I look like white trash, but look at sweet little BK.
BK riding in style with M
Melaina trying to make a cozy moment happen between sissy and BK

My favorite: Baby Kitty on the little bear downtown at the Children's garden

When did I get old??

It's so weird getting older. I mean I've never really been hung up on age. Although to be honest turning 35 did freak me out a bit. Actually it was the thought of the pending birthday. It was months ahead and it suddenly occurred to me that I was going to be, 33, no 34, no wait...
Holy #&@! 30-freaking-5.

But, then I adjusted my thinking and 35 was really quite awesome. Once I made the decision or came to the realization that a number doesn't dictate how I live my life, I felt pretty great about it. So here I was two months into 35 when, bam, it hit me. I mean there I was in Earth Fare with Clara jamming out to the music (it's kind of our thing because they always have great music) and I was singing right along to one of my favorite songs ever, "Too Much" by the Dave Matthews Band. Remember them? You know, that really cool band that released "Crash" just a few years ago. "Wait, how long ago was that", I thought to myself. you wanna know how long ago???? 1996, my friends.

Is it just me or does that seem like yesterday? I know every word of that song like I just learned it. But no, I was a freshman in college, for the love of all that is decent and holy. It's not that it bothers me that so much time has gone by, it's that it doesn't feel like so much time has gone by. It's been in a blink. 16 years -- poof -- gone. I have experienced so much in that amount of time, but it's just so crazy to think that the next 16 years may well seem to go by just as fast.

The good thing, though is that I know better now than I did then. I know myself a heck of a lot better but still have a long way to go. I know that time is precious and that life is a gift. that sounds so wise doesn't it??? Hmmm. I'll just wallow in my wisdom for a moment....
I also know that my body doesn't feel or look like it did 16 years ago. My skin betrays me and shows the lack of sleep and those pesky hangovers can't be easily remedied by some eggs and home fries like they used to.

Yes, getting older has it's drawbacks. But I seriously wouldn't go back there to 1996 for all the gold in Texas. I like who I have become, warts and all. Although I sure want to improve this body and this mind, they are mine. We've been though a lot together and I sure am grateful to have come this far and can't wait to see what's around the bend.

Please stand up and sing this to the top of your lungs. You know you want to!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Time flies when...

You know the rest. Let's face it though, time flies whether you are having fun or not. But these days I have to consciously tell myself to stop, take it all in, the good and the not as good, or else it will all be gone before I know it. Life is really good, no doubt about it. I love what I'm doing, teaching is wonderful. The girl's are healthy except for the nagging colds that they keep trading back and forth. I'm healthy, my husband's healthy. So really, all good stuff, but man am I pooped!!

Here's the latest:

Clara is getting to that really fun age where her personality is really taking root and cracking us up. There is such a strong little person in there. She is DIFFICULT, don't get me wrong. There are some days where I swear she clings to me all day and is in a constant state of trying to re-enter the womb, but she's a cuddle muffin and we love her dearly.

Here's a slice of life photo: Laundry Day at the Dickinsons'

Melaina is a hoot. Really there is no other way to say it. She says the most hilarious things and has no idea she is being funny. On the other hand, these days she is trying to learn how to tell jokes. These jokes of hers are just terrible and not funny at all, and instead of doing what we are probably supposed to do like saying "Oh, Melaina, that is so funny" we say, "Melaina, you have got to learn a good joke". Oh, well at least we're honest, right?

"Hey, let's get a picture of the eleph... Oh, hi, Melaina"

She is one tough cookie and takes a licking and keeps on ticking. Below is the biggest fat lip I have ever seen. I had to keep looking away from it because it made me queasy. At least she was wearing her Super Girl costume. Could've been much worse without it...

They are the best of buds. I can't get over how much Melaina loves to play with Clara as a real playmate. She has such a tender way about her and it is so sweet to watch. She loves to dress Clara up in beads, dresses, tutus, crowns, the works. Clara just lets her do it. Clara idolizes Melaina to put it mildly.

Best Friends

This was a picture from Grandpa's visit earlier this month. He, Tom and Melaina went to the Children's Museum and had a ball. Melaina loved the dinosaur exhibit.

Tom and I really don't have much time to ourselves apart nor together, so we were so excited to have the chance to get away earlier this month to Charleston. Tom had a bit of work to do during the day on Saturday but that wasn't a bad thing because for the first time in a long time, I just sat, drank coffee, got dressed without a 19 month old between my ankles, and wandered aimlessly around a town that wasn't mine. It was HEAVEN!! Great food, great shopping, great sleep. Now don't get me wrong, being that this was the first time I had EVER left Clara since she was born and only the second time I had left Melaina since she was Clara's age, I was a complete and total nervous wreck on the way down to Chuck Town- as the kids these days call it. Tom was stressed as he drove because my anxiety was extremely high and i can't see well in the dark and I assumed he was about to run us off the road since I couldn't see. It was hell. But then we arrived, took a walk with all the crazy college kids polluting the streets and yelling obscenities and got a couple drinks. That turned out to be awesome.

Photo of what I thought were sweet peas, but I think they are a different flower. Pretty, though. We found them tucked away in a neat little garden that was down one of those cute little alleys of King Street.

This is a video of me trying to rehearse with Melaina what to say if anyone at school commented on her lip. Just in case you can't hear...
Me: Wow, look at that lip
Melaina: You should see the other guy!