Bats! meow…

creating, living, loving – all in a long black skirt

Posts Tagged ‘dance’

22-28/365 [Take 2]

No Comments »

February 26th, 2013 Posted 1:47 pm

One of my goals for the 101 in 1001 Project is to complete the 365 Project – to snap one photo a day for 365 days. I’d started this last year and did very well, but fell off track when Eric took the camera to Burning Man in August.

Here we are. Starting again.

022/365 – Sunday, 17 February 2013
This is what a temp of 104.2 looks like 🙁  Nurse Circe to the rescue.

023/365 – Monday, 18 February 2013
Cilantro for the evening festivities of making paneer

024/365 – Tuesday, 19 February 2013
Happy Birthday sweet baby Pip!

025/365 – Wednesday, 20 February 2013
The book report poster – Edgar & Ellen Under Town

026/365 – Thursday, 21 February 2013
The day’s mail! Two from Moscow :)

027/365 – Friday, 22 February 2013
Morning snuggles.

028/365 – Saturday, 23 February 2013
Adjudication. We were busy. I admit, I did not take a photo today, but I’m sharing one sent to me by Ana Hunter.  Her daughter is dancing with Alek.

Share

Seeing is Believing

1 Comment »

February 16th, 2013 Posted 6:25 am

Out and about in Anderson, we’ll still run into people who recognize us from Wife Swap.  While that surprises me [Teen Mom is also filmed in Anderson and Amber could sit on me and I still couldn’t know her], I’m more surprised that they feel they know us from a 60 minute episode – 15 or so minutes that were devoted to commercials, and 20 or so that were spent with the other family.  This leaves 20-25 minutes of screen time to develop a complete view of total strangers.

Initially I had planned a series of blog posts describing the WS experience in detail, but it became monotonous.  “You saw X; Y is reality. The reason they misled you is Z.” I’ll still write them if there is interest, but I’m afraid it will come off as whiny, begging people to “Don’t judge us.” Truth is, we’re not afraid of being judged. At least for what is true. We do not like – as much as any other person – to be judged over gossip and assumptions.

“But,” you’ll say, “we saw you force your children to dance and we saw your son have long hair because you wouldn’t allow him to cut it.  We saw you drag your kids into situations where they would be made fun of. We saw you sitting on the sofa being lazy while your kids did all the work.”

Did you?

Really?

I know you saw Alek say we forced him to go to dance class. But, you didn’t see the discussion about how he didn’t like the alternate class the producers found for him when his real studio chose not to allow cameras inside.  He was concerned that showing him in class with his sisters – both younger and with less skill – would make him look bad. He did not appreciate that waste of time.  And he was very vocal about that on several occasions.

I know you saw Alek’s long hair and you heard his, “yeah!” when Stacy told him he’d be getting it cut.  Did you know he’d been growing it out for several years with the intent of donating it to Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths project? Did you know Rule Change  was his first realization that it was officially long enough to cut and donate?  And we’d made the offer to wait to cut it so it could be incorporated into rule change.

You were told we dress up the kids and parade them about town so that people will see them, judge them, and make fun of them and that we don’t care.  Did you know our kids dress how they want, within reason? Did you know we don’t change for other people because we live our lives for us and not for them? I had a great discussion with my swap husband, Ed, about this. It’s one of the things we strongly agreed on. Looks are important to both families. The main difference is that they dress to define themselves based on what other people think of their appearance and we dress to define ourselves based on what we think of our appearance. Did you know that one of the first things the producers did before filming was remove any bit of clothing that did not fit into the got aesthetic as they defined it?

You’ve been told I’m lazy and make my kids clean and feed themselves while I sit on the sofa playing on the computer. You even saw that, right? But you didn’t see the producers and directors scold me for pouring milk and sitting down to eat with my kids.  And it wasn’t made very clear that my job was freelance editing and that I run an at-home business from my laptop. In addition, helping them to be able and prepared is quite the opposite of lazy parenting.  I’d go so far as to suggest that doing everything for your kids is the lazier version of parenting.

No one would know that without talking to us.

And I’ll be honest. I watch Dance Moms and Survivor and I struggle to remember that what I see may be just as cleverly edited as our WS episode.  I know it. I lived it.  This reminds me to be more patient with people who don’t have the background I’ve been exposed to.

If there is something you want to know about, please just ask one of us.

We’d be happy to talk to you.

Share

Dance is Not Easy

2 Comments »

February 10th, 2013 Posted 12:30 pm

Joe Modlin

“Dance is hard.

If dance was easy,

everybody would do it.”

~Joe Modlin~

 


Alek’s 2012 headshot

 That’s fitting today. Eric has taken Alek to Columbus, Ohio to audition for a summer intensive in Houston. The same one he attended last year, yet hoping for a higher placement and maybe a scholarship this time around. Preparing for this audition has been a life-long journey.  Most recently, classes five days a week totally almost 20 hours including rehearsal time for pieces he’s been invited to perform in and classes where he acts as an assistant. He’s been dancing, following a much less rigorous schedule, for 11 years. He’s had pain in his feet, legs, back, neck, and arms. He’s injured himself.  We’ve used hot packs, meds, massage, and hugs. He’s celebrated accomplishments.  We’ve talked about his past, present, and future. He has incredible dreams and I look forward to watching him accomplish them.

I’m incredibly proud of him.

Ravynn’s fitting.

A couple weeks ago, I joined Ravynn and her class on a “field trip” to Broadripple, Indiana, where she was sized and fitted for pointe shoes.  She’s had pain previously, but minor compared to what waits around the bend. She’s been warned, but I think she honestly has no clue what her pretty little feet are in for. She wants to dance and this is a necessary next step.

I’m incredibly proud of her.

And if I admit it, I’m incredibly proud of me too. Dance is hard for the dance mom as well.  Financially, it’s a huge commitment and we are so very thankful for every gift we have been given and for every person who has helped us meet those requirements.  The time and energy commitments are huge as well.  There are some nights where I’m at the studio playing chauffeur four times in a three hour period.  Although the schedule can be overwhelming, I do enjoy it.

But looking from a distance at those auditions for Houston, the really hard part rears its ugly head.  This is a SIX WEEK intensive and that means a little over six weeks away from my son. I do not love that, but I’ve done my research and I understand this is the best thing for him. And he’ll be with Joe. That does ease the fear.

So, I pour another cup of tea and thank my children for raising a mother who understands that dance is hard – but so very worth every bit of it.

Share

Spiders and bats and ballerinas, oh my!! – Home Tour pt 2

No Comments »

July 22nd, 2012 Posted 6:28 am

Welcome back to our home. While last week we showed you the initial entry way to our home, this week we will journey down ‘the hall’ to the kids’ rooms. Next week, Eric’s and my bedroom will be featured.

Follow me down the hall to see where the gothlings dwell.

(more…)

Share

Why We Dance

No Comments »

July 12th, 2012 Posted 3:25 pm

The kids [all four of them] started dancing when they were 3, because we have a love and respect for the arts.  Eric and I both danced with the local dance company when were in college as extras in the Nutcracker ballet and promised way back when that when we had children we would give them the gift of dance.  When the first two kids were boys, that didn’t stop us.  Despite the feedback we’ve gotten from friends and strangers, we encouraged them.  For a while, we restricted the input the kids had in the matter, deciding that it was our decision until they reached a certain age. 

When Jordan was 12, he decided that he was done.  Thankfully, I talked him back into a role as an extra in last year’s Nutcracker ballet.  His Wife Swap mom would have been horrified [that pleases me].  When Alek was 11, he had to do some thinking.  That same Wife Swap mom was encouraging him to walk away.  He may have entertained that idea, but was reminded that at that age he wasn’t free to make that decision.  Sometime within the next year, he decided to kick his study into gear and made some progress – enough that last December the opportunity was presented to audition for a summer intensive in Houston.  He did. He was accepted.  He returned on Saturday – a very exciting day for this mama.  I haven’t had a chance to see him dance, but I’ve heard of the exciting progress he’s made during these classes.

Despite our love of the arts and our kids’ interest in dance, we’ve had to defend this decision more than any parent should. Seriously, we appreciate the arts and we prefer to encourage the kids toward dance, art, and music – just like other parents would encourage their kids toward sports.  Do the same people question them?  Probably not. As if “we’re the parents and we make that decision” isn’t enough, we have also seen several research studies that cite the effect of dance on education and test scores. 

At Suite101, Anna Mayer writes, “Studies show that dance in school leads to high grades and SAT scores. Dance lessons increase mental skill and deepen kids’ understanding of other subjects.”  She notes a documented effect of dance instruction on reading skills, SAT scores, and GPA [in one study, the dancers’ overall Grade Point Average was 3.22, while the non-dancer group averaged a 2.87].

 

 

http://suite101.com/article/dance-in-school–smart-kids-high-grades-and-high-sat-scores-a374077

http://ezinearticles.com/?Dance-Classes-Improve-Test-Scores-and-More&id=6099064

 

Share

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Family

On Being Alone

No Comments »

July 9th, 2012 Posted 2:01 pm

…empty…

I grew up in an extended family: mother, father, me, two sisters, my father’s father, and my mother’s sister.  Grandpa lived with my parents before I was born and that didn’t change after we girls came along.  My mother’s sister had always lived with their mother and, when my grandmother died, my father invited my aunt to live with us.  It wasn’t a big house and it was full to the brim with people: four adults, three kids. 

As I grew up there weren’t many opportunities for me to be alone.  I shared a room with my two sisters until my dad built a second floor when I was 16 and we each got our own rooms.  My mother didn’t work after I was born, so I expected her to be home.  Most of the time she was.  When I was very young, obviously I couldn’t stay alone.  When I became older and was old enough to be at home without my mother, my Grandfather was sick and it wasn’t advisable for me to be home without her.  My Grandfather passed when I was 13 and in the 8th grade and I was suddenly able to be home ‘alone’, but alone is hard to come by when you’re part of a family of seven. Most likely someone will always be at home with you or will be coming home shortly.

In college I most always had a roommate, but if they were out, I could be found in the lobby watching TV or talking to whoever was around.

When Eric and I got married and there were only two of us to fill our home, it was much easier to be alone and I resisted it.  I’d go to the grocery with him.  We worked together, so we kept the same hours.  After the kids started coming and our two grew to three, then four, then five, and finally six, it was difficult to find time alone. I like it that way.

I like it a lot.

Unfortunately as the kids get older, they have more opportunities to try new things.  Well, the opportunities are good, but the time away from home is difficult.  Alek spent three weeks at the Houston Ballet in a summer intensive program.  That was hard for me and I only stopped fussing when he was only three days shy of coming back.  During that time, Eric’s mom invited the girls to come up and spend a week with her.  Now, I never had the opportunity to “spend a week with Grandma.”  She lived right across the street, so that would have been silly.  All of my family [mostly] was in town, so we didn’t run off visiting.  I just don’t get it.  But the kids enjoy it, so we send them. 

One of my friends at work asked me, while I was experiencing life as the mother of one, how I was feeling about my empty nest.  I disliked it.  My boss overheard and reminded me that in two years, I’d have one heading off to college.  You can imagine the look he got.  But even I had to admit I can see the nervous breakdown coming.  I suggest I start hoarding litter boxes now for when I become the crazy cat lady.

But, other than the boys making a quick trip to Grandma’s and maybe Jordan heading to Pittsburgh for a stint in manual labor/babysitting, we’re all home for the rest of the season.  I think I’ll be okay.

It reminds me though, that Goths are supposed to be morose and sad and resist human interaction.  Not this one.

Share

35-41/365

No Comments »

June 24th, 2012 Posted 10:02 am

Should have posted this yesterday, but I used that as a catch up day. Very excited to be back on track 🙂

WEEK 6, YEAR 1


Day 35 was hard 🙁  We took Alek to the airport to send him off for a 3-week dance intensive.  The longest I’ve been away from any of my kids has been an almost 1-week visit with their grandmother.  Needless to say, “mama’s freakin’ out!!”

35/365


Fathers Day Dinner.  Seared scallops with wilted Asian slaw. The kids told me they as good as Chef Ramsey’s.  Haha!  As long as no one calls me a stupid donkey, we’re good.

36/365


In my world, dragonflies = faeries.  This one landed on me an then was kind enough to pose for a picture.

37/365


Pretty girls.  We stopped by the park after dance camp and played in the water.  Does my heart good when sisters are friends.

38/365


Yeah!!!  My girls are learning something from Winnie Cooper 🙂  We picked up the ‘middle school’ book for Ravynn. She read it in two days and said that it was a “nice review”.  She’s now moved on to a pre-algebra workbook. 

39/365


Girls night! Ravynn did my hair in a fishtail braid that she learned from her new American Girl magazine.

40/365


Also from American Girl magazine… a poster the girls are coloring together.

41/365

 

Share

14-20/365

No Comments »

June 4th, 2012 Posted 9:42 pm

Just about caught up with the 365 pictures 🙂  This should do it, then I’ll be back on track to post every Sunday. 

WEEK 3, YEAR 1


Alek’s final paperwork ready to head off for his summer intensive.  He attended his first real audition in Febrary and was accepted into a relatively high level of class. Unfortunately another dance opportunity kept him from attending the 6-week program. 

14/365

  



While Whisper attended a birthday party at a local park, Ravynn and I took a short walk around the walking trail.  How lovely that we have a little covered bridge in the middle of the park.

16/365

 


You’ll see a theme. I just adore the wildflowers [weeds?] that grow in central Indiana.  They don’t compare to the ones I enjoyed as a child, but some of them are moving our way. I’ll do my best to photograph them as I find them. 

17/365


 More weeds.  These tiny little flowers would be welcome all over my property. 

18/365

 


 Cleaning up the art projects the girls brought home from school.  Some are just too big to realistically keep, so we photograph then and keep the pictures. 

19/365


 Walking Man party!!  Jordan’s girlfriend created this 10.5′ masterpiece as part of the Waking Man Project.  Because it was near dusk, the Anderson Indian didn’t photograph well.  One of the goals we have for the summer is to find them all.  Watch for photographic evidence.

20/365

Share

7-13/365

No Comments »

June 2nd, 2012 Posted 6:50 pm

Pictures 7-13 of my 365 day project.  I’ll be honest, on a few of these days I was sick sick sick, so the girls helped out with the photo taking.  I do adore my little princesses.

WEEK 2, YEAR 1


Sunday was our annual dance recital.  Ravynn and Whisper both performed, as did Alek. The picture we chose to represent recital was an impromptu surprise performance that Alek did at the end of one of the younger classes jazz routines.  They were dancing to a song from the Grease soundtrack.  Here he is as Danny Zucco.

7/365


While I WANT to be a master gardener, I’m not.  My parents had incredibly green thumbs, but mine are black.  The joke is that if you want to kill a plant, hand it to me; however, last fall one of our neighbors gave us 5 pots of raspberry bushes.  We dug up a row of earth behind our shed and planted 15 raspberry plants.  I understand we shouldn’t expect fruit for several years, but you can see green berries – they’re trying.

8/365


One of our neighbors is a great garderer – or at least he hires people who are. I snapped this picture while waiting at the bus stop with the girls.  I don’t know what these flowers are, but I wouldn’t mind having some.

9/365


Whisper wasn’t really doing homework waiting for the bus, I promise, but she’s a writer.  She’s started working on a short project and wanted the moment documented.

10/365

 


 Whisper took this picture on day 1 of me not feeling so great.  She saw the roses from across the street at the bus stop and thought they were beautiful.

11/365


 Fever of 104.9.  I saw nothing but my feet sticking out from under the covers on the sofa.

12/365


 I relied on Ravynn to take this photo for me.  Again at the bus stop.

13/365

Share

Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Daily Life

Oh Canada

No Comments »

May 15th, 2012 Posted 9:07 am

Alek's first headshot, 2012

If you know us, have seen our Wife Swap episode, or have seen any of our Facebook pages, you know that dance [and the arts in general] play a huge role in our lives. All of the kids have studied ballet; most of them added tap; the boys studied modern and jazz. Jordan dropped classes when he turned 13, but was happy to rejoin the cast of the Nutcracker this past year as my partner, “Party Dad – Family One.” Alek, though, has really taken an interest and I’m excited about the opportunities that are opening up for him.

At the barre in Pittsburgh, 2011

Last spring, he spent a week in Pittsburgh with Regional Dance America and had a great time. While he’s been fortunate to study with great teachers, his exposure to other dancers [outside of his company] is limited.  Pittsburh brought new teachers and classes with other male dancers – something I think he can greatly benefit from.

This year, an opportunity for a week-long trip to Montreal, Canada was presented.  Also with RDA, this was a national festival unlike the regional festival in Pittsburgh.  He had a lot of new experiences with this trip: rerouted planes, lost luggage, foreign currency and exchange rates, and choices between tours of the city and a men’s class with a well-respected teacher from France.  He chose the class; I would have chosen the tour, but my absolute love for Montreal is not undocumented.

Alek during a solo in a Latin piece.

His company performed a lovely modern piece [their fist opportunity to perform before an international audience] during one of the sows. I was lucky enough to sit in while this choreography was adjudicated and was incredibly impressed. I’ve watched several of these kids dance since they were tiny, so watching them grow is a gift in itself. 

 
One of the most fun events of the trip to Montreal was a chance to perform in a  huge flash mob.  Guinness was on hold to count participants as there is a chance this was in fact the world’s largest.
A video of the flash mob has been posted to the RDA facebook page.  Alek is in a red shirt with the girls in the AYBT track suits.
 
Dance has given us incredible opportunities.  It may not be for everyone, but I encourage you to find some artistic endeavor to include in your life – it’ll brighten your day 🙂
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Share