Stage Mom--Take 2

Saturday, May 30, 2009 No comments
I think I got it right this time, that's not to say the day wasn't without some stress and drama, but it was no big deal. I went and purchased this sewing kit on Friday. I'm prepared.

Chloe's performance was great---no one ran off the stage because they missed their mark. We couldn't take photos or video during the performance because as Matt put it, "the dance school can charge parent's the ridiculous sum of $35 for a video." Alas, we expect our copy in a couple of weeks (rip off).

I did snap a couple of photos of the day which I will share. Oh yes, I did...though we aren't stage parents, we pulled from the stage mom/dad handbook and bought our child a dozen pink roses for her performance. (Hey, they are now brightening up the house!)

The Garden

Friday, May 29, 2009 No comments

I was a little eager in purchasing seeds for the garden this year. I had way more seeds than I needed for our little plot. I cut back on the cherry tomatoes this year as they were insane last year and we had too many to eat and give away. This year I only have one cherry tomato plant. In total we have 7 tomato plants this year. Also planted are red onions, basil, spinach, butterleaf lettuce, beets and radishes. Chloe and I planted carrots, but the stinkin' squirrels at them all---rodents! We replanted with cucumbers.

Why I Should Never Be a Stage Mom

Wednesday, May 27, 2009 2 comments

It's recital time!!! AAAAAHHHHH! The pinning, the sewing, the hairspray and hair gel, the adjusting of the tights, the wearing of lip liner and lipstick! Remind me again why I signed my daughter up to do this?

This is Chloe's second year in dance. Last year she took at another dance studio. Her recital was so low-key: no rehearsal and at the recital it was just Chloe's class on a small stage in a local gymnasium. But this year we switched to the dance studio in our town, where all of Chloe's pals & some of my pals, too, attend. This year the recital is 2.5 hours long, the kids stay and perform in 3 segments--1 dance, 1 solo (it a arabesque, curtesy, pirouette & a kiss---can you tell we've practiced it?) and the finale bow. There is also a rehearsal. It was today, in full regalia for the dance instructors to critique and it was two hours of organized chaos. I think I need a drink.

My day started simply enough, I dropped Chloe off at pre-school and went and picked up a brand spankin' new pair of pink tights from the dance store as requested by her instructor. No problem. We were also instructed to not have the girls try on the recital outfits prior to rehearsal day lest they mess about in them and ruin them before the recital. I obeyed that rule.

So this afternoon, I go to get Chloe in her outfit, put on the new tights, no problem, get the sequined, tafetta leotard on, oh no. All the floral decoration is just pinned on with a safety pin and the straps are not sewn in! I don't sew, I have a sewing kit that is the freebie from Matt's hotel stays when he travels! Utter panic sets in. I search frantically for the sewing kit. Its not to be found. I ransack the closets. The only item I can find that will remotely secure said items to the leotard is a but*toneer that I use to sew (or actually not sew) buttons back on. I go for it. Said items immediately pop off when Chloe puts it on.

In order not to freak out, I take a deep breath, count to ten. I decide to do Chloe's hair instead and attempt the leotard again once I've calmed down. Bad idea. Chloe has what I call "sticky-up hair" (see her one year photo for reference--it's on the right side of this blog, yea, that's what I mean by "sticky-up hair"). If her hair wasn't long to weigh it down, it would stick up. The hairstyle called for by her dance instructor is half up, half down. In other words, the top half of the head on her head should be pulled back and secured with a pony tail holder. I sprayed her hair with water, added some gel and attempted to get it to lay flat. It's impossible. I keep geling her hair. Its now crispy. I take it down, rebrush, pull back, secure in the pony tail and there are like thousands of whisps of hair sticking straight up. Her hair looks like I feel---CRAZED! I break out the hairspray. Its back to looking crispy and still a little crazed. I secure the flowered head piece on her head with bobby pins. I return to the leotard. Chloe is now finding it impossible to sit still and begins jumping on her bed. Her hair is immediately whipped back to the whispy CRAZED state prior to the hairspray. I take another breath and count to ten.

After a couple of tries, I get the but*toneer to secure the floral pieces and straps to the leotard. I have broken a sweat now and am on edge. Chloe is still bouncing on the bed. I get her in the leotard, look at the time and freak out. Her rehearsal is scheduled for the exact time school gets out at a high school auditorium three towns over. At this time of day, it will take 40 minutes to get there. We have exactly thirty five minutes to get there. I grab my camera, the Fl*ip, the rest of Chloe's get-up and we head out the door. I drive every back road I know like a mad woman. We get there bang on time.

When we arrive in the auditorium, I have Chloe get in her tutu. I sit, relax, talk to the other moms and wait for rehearsals to get started. The auditorium is complete chaos as fifteen different classes ranging in age from 3-12 years old wait to practice their recital routines on the stage. We wait, and wait, and wait for 45 minutes before the dance instructors finally get the stage floor taped and marked, the lights set up and the rehearsals started. I thought I was going to lose it. We were told we would be out in an hour. It had almost been an hour before we even started.

Five other groups are called up to practice before it is Chloe's group's turn. It is now 5:20 p.m. We arrived at 3:45 for rehearsals. Thinking it would be quick, I brought no snack. Chloe is whining that she is hungry and thirsty. Just get up there and dance so we can eat. That was my only words.

On the day of the recital, no photos or video recorders are allowed. At the recital it was like the papparazzi of mom's snapping photos and recording video. Oh yea, I was in there elbowing for the shot. Before I get to the good stuff, I want to tell this story....

Chloe is perhaps the silliest kid I know and the biggest ham. She loves to have all the attention, even if it means she has to act like a complete goof to get it. Follow me? The rehearsal and recital are prime pickings for her to get up there and act like a goof. Come on, don't be so harsh, you're thinking. Why do I say this? Because every time they have rehearsed in front of the parent's at dance class she has not done any of the dance moves, screamed "hi mom!" at her solo and when she enters the stage, and shakes her booty and does her own moves during the song to get laughter and steal the show. This has happened twice now and we've had a talk about how she needs to follow the dance instructor's lead and participate in the routine like all her other classmates. What's her response to all of this? She's only in dance for the recital. Its her favorite part. OY!

So, for your viewing pleasure, here are two videos from the rehearsals.

This is Chloe prior to the dance. That's her best friend that says "hi" too. She's a rule follower--you'll see her do the dance flawlessly in the next video. You can see Chloe's crispy hair too in this video.

This next video is on the actual rehearsal performance. Chloe is the fourth in from the left. Notice that Chloe comes out, misses her mark and sets off a chain reaction of the other girls in the line missing their mark which results in one little girl running off the stage upset. Also, take note of the number of times she waves to me during the performance.

At the end of rehearsal, I was worn out. On our way out the door, a mom stopped to tell me that Chloe is adorable and she couldn't take her eyes off her during the performance to which she added, "She's a show stealer!" To which I replied, "That's her objective!"

First Camping Trip--Beginning of Summer

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 No comments

Memorial Day always marks the beginning of summer in my Texan mind. In my mind, somewhere in Texas the thermometer is nearing 100 and school is out. Its not the case in NJ. Temperatures in NJ may still be in the 60s and school has a few more weeks until summer break, but old habits die hard.
This past Memorial Day weekend we took the RV out for the first camping trip of 2009. We went to Lake George and had a great, relaxing weekend. The only disappointment was that it was cold on Saturday and we didn't swim and that the campsite didn't have Sp*eed Channel and Matt couldn't watch the Grand Prix of Mona*co.
The town of Lake George was dead. Last time we visited, in September 2008, it was busy and bustling. Not so this time. The town itself is touristy but the lake is gorgeous. This time we went further afield, hiking on Prospect Mountain and driving the western bank of the lake and finding a cute town, Bolton's Landing that we had dinner in on Sunday night.

I decided this year I am going to make a slide show of all our camping excursions. But, that will be in the fall. In the meantime, here are some photos from the weekend.
Matt and Chloe on top of Prospect Mountain.
Chloe & I at Prospect Mountain.
Chloe enjoying a lemonade sorbet cone from Ben & Je*rry's.
Chloe showing off her two hits on ladder golf. She was very pleased with herself. This is one of her favorite pastimes at the campground.

Field Day

Friday, May 22, 2009 No comments

Chloe's preschool has a field day every year in the spring. The kids get to rotate to different activities. The parents come and afterwards there is a picnic. Its great fun for the kids.

How Do You Know & Why?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 2 comments
Chloe somehow skipped the "why?" stage when every other kid her age was in it but unfortunately we've entered it now in full force. She's also added, "how do you know?" in her repetoire too. She really prefers, "how do you know?" I am aware that this is developmental and kids need to do this to learn, but its really can be annoying as it is usually obvious how I/we know.

Case in point:
Matt came home last Tuesday and Chloe was wearing her gymnastics outfit.
Matt (to Chloe):"Did you go to gymnastics today?"
Chloe: "How did you know?"
Matt: "Because you are wearing your gymnastics outfit."
Chloe: "How do you know?"
Matt: "Because it is a leotard you wear at gymnastics."
Chloe: "Why?"
Shannon: "So your clothes don't get in the way when you are bouncing, twirling and flipping."
---Matt escapes upstairs to change out of his work clothes---
Chloe: "Why don't you want your clothes in the way?"
Shannon: "Because you could trip on a dress, you could not easily move in a big, bulky sweater."
Chloe: "How do you know?"
Shannon: "Because I've done a flip in a dress and tripped." (I took some liberty here as I have never done a flip unless I tripped)
Chloe: "Why were you wearing a dress?"
Shannon: "Because I was."
Chloe: "How do you know?"
Shannon: "Because I was the one wearing the dress and doing the flipping."
Chloe: "Why?"
Shannon (about to lose it): "Dinner's ready. Lets eat."
Chloe: "How do you know?"
Shannon: "Because the timer is beeping."
Chloe: "How do you know?"
Shannon: "Because I can hear it."
Chloe: "Why?"
Shannon: "Because I have ears."
Chloe: "Wouldn't it be funny if you had tomatoes for ears?"
Shannon: "No."
Chloe: "Why no?"
Shannon: "Lets eat."
Chloe: "Why?"
Shannon: "Because my stomach is growling and I'm hungry."
Chloe: "How do you know?"
Shannon: "Because I hear it and I feel hungry."
Chloe: "Why?"
Shannon (absolutely about to freakin' lose it): "Why ask why?"
Chloe: "How do you know?"

When I taught middle school, in a previous life, you would always have one kid in class who would try to really get under your skin with the "why?" questions. They weren't follow-up, they were just "why?" so my response was, "why ask why?" which 99% of the time they couldn't respond to because they really didn't care why or really had no idea what we were talking about anymore. This was my go to. My four year old just found the fallacy in the question. Watch out future teachers, she starts school this year.

Girl's Weekend & Daddy/Daughter Weekend

Monday, May 18, 2009 No comments

I went away this weekend with 7 other ladies to The Hamptons. It wasn't all fun and games as we all serve on the Board of Director's of the Junio*r Lea*gue and we did actually take care of some business. The outgoing President has a home in South*ampton and we got to walk on the swank side for a brief time. We walked town, gossiped and got dressed up to have dinner at the swank/hip spot of the moment. While it was a good night out, it cost me $75 to eat dinner. I had two drinks, an entree and a coffee (no appetizer, no dessert). Just a bit way overpriced.

Matt and Chloe spent the weekend together doing some Daddy/Daughter bonding. In an effort to get out of Dodge and get to the beach house, I forgot that it was teddy bear Sunday at church. When Matt and Chloe arrived at church on Sunday, Chloe was sans bear and apparently disgruntled. When it was children's time during the service, Chloe took advantage of speaking into the microphone and telling the whole congregation that her mom was out of town and her daddy forgot her teddy bear. Poor Daddy.

Unfortunately I managed to take the camera and not take one photo of the weekend. The definite highlight of the weekend though was getting to talk to Chloe on the telephone. I had never done it before as I never left her overnight without me. She has the cutest stinkin' voice on the phone if I say so myself. It made me smile ear to ear.

As I returned from home on Sunday and made my way off Long Is*land across the various bridges with the views of NYC to the left, it made me smile---would I have ever thought four years ago that I would be coming back from a girl's weekend in the Hamp*tons driving through NYC on my way to my home? NO. It's pretty cool I must say or I am just easily impressed.

It's a Boy!!!

Sunday, May 10, 2009 1 comment
NO, we didn't get our referral but our male puppy was born today!! The name is debatable--Flash, Ayrton (a Formula 1 driver's name) or Flash Ayrton (as Chloe prefers it).

Mommy Gordon Setter had 4 boys and 3 girls. Our pup should come home around the middle or end of July.


Friday, May 08, 2009 No comments
After dinner tonight I loaded the dishwasher and started it. Water, lots of water poured from out of the bottom on to my kitchen floor. After moping it up, Matt took the panel off and had a look, tinkered with a few things and started the dishwasher again. It ran through its cycle for a little while before pouring out water again. Matt tinkered some more before declaring that it was dead and I needed to get a new dishwasher. Not happy that I have to spend Saturday morning shopping for a kitchen appliance on my own (because Matt has autocross), I go to my laptop to get a headstart. I open my laptop, turn it on and hear what sounds like wires frying. I freak, Matt comes to the rescue, tinkers with it and then pronounces my laptop dead too.

I mean, really, what are the chances?

Four Years Ago Today (on Mother's Day)...



Monday, May 04, 2009 No comments
Chloe and I went to Texas last week for spring break. It was actually warmer in NJ---who would have guessed---but we got to see my parents and sister and it was good fun. Matt stayed in NJ to work, we want to save his vacation time for Oliver Henry's arrival.

We left Monday and bad weather in Dallas canceled our first flight out. We waited at the airport for 4 hours before we could leave. We got in late to Dallas so it was pretty uneventful.

Chloe was itching to go fishing on PaPaw's farm and so we all agreed to make the 1.5 hour drive and hang out on the farm. Chloe had a blast fishing in the pond, checking the hen house for eggs and searching for ripe strawberries.


Swinging on the potato sack swing Papaw made.
Digging a giant hole with BeBe.
Going for a tractor ride with PaPaw.
Picking beets with Aunt Deanna.
Smiling as Aunt Deanna displays Chloe's catch.

Collecting eggs with PaPaw.

I tried my hand at fishing too and caught a big catfish, with assist from my dad and sister. We estimate it weighed between 10-12 lbs. We enjoyed it for dinner on Wednesday. I guess it was lucky for Matt that he didn't come to Dallas because he can't stand catfish.


Deanna holding the big catch of the day.

On Wednesday and Thursday we hung out around Allen, Frisco & McKinney and hit the old stomping grounds. Chloe stayed at home with PaPaw and when we returned this is what we saw:


Apparently someone had PaPaw build her a lion's den in the living room.

Friday had us back in Canton at the world's largest flea market. Chloe stayed on the farm with PaPaw, distracting him from his work getting ready for the first farmer's market of the season. When we came back from trade days we all pitched in to get the produce ready for Saturday's farmer's market.


Chloe cleaning the onions.


Dad picking onions with Deanna picking beets in the background.

We came back to my parent's house in the burbs that evening and went to dinner to celebrate my impending birthday. Afterwards, Chloe had a snowcone. This was a first for her and she loved it.


We flew back home on Saturday but before going to the airport we went to see my dad at the farmer's market---


*Note: At the farmer's market Dad keeps a white notebook (see the left side of the photo) with "Pictures of the Farm" on it for customers to look at and actually see that he DOES grow the food---which believe it or not some unscrupulous people aiming to get a buck at farmer's markets don't, they go and buy it in bulk and pass it off as homegrown. Anyway, the front cover is a picture of Chloe and when you open the binder it is more photos of Chloe before you get to the actual farm photos.