Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A Few Of My Favorite Things

It's Wednesday but it feel more like Monday. Another hectic day. It's cold. I'm tired. At times like these I think it is important to remember a few of my favorite things.

-One of my favorite things? Witnessing my kids' bravery.

My two oldest boys fought through nerves, drummed up some courage, and auditioned for the school musical. They were extremely nervous. It was a very thorough process as this is not your typical school play. The director, stage director, musical direction, technical director, and choreographer are all very experienced people (and very connected with theater groups in this city and call in favors for props and costumes) who amazingly give their time to our little school and pull off an amazing show year after year. 

Last year Joey had no interest in trying out for "Annie" and Tommy was too young (it is open to 4th grade and up). This year, when the boys found out that the the chosen musical is "The Wizard of Oz" they were both excited to try out. When they asked me to try out with them I was overjoyed. I have long been feeling the pull back to the stage but could not fathom taking so much time away from my family (the theater company I was associated with here practices about 3-4 hrs a night for 6 weeks), but being in a musical WITH my kids would be fantastic!
(This is me back in the day when I was on stage for 3 or 4 shows a year.)

Anyway, the boys and I tried out. Tommy is going to be a Munchkin (with lines!) and an Oz chorus member. Joey went through a longer audition process and he was called back to read and sing again for multiple roles. He even had to add his own dancing as he sang. It paid off. Joey is the Tinman. I will be playing Glinda, the good witch. Grace is SO excited that I will be wearing a big poofy dress. 

It is going to be a great show. The talent at this school is amazing and all the kids are so stinking brave! I never would have had the nerve to audition at such a young age. And so many boys! It is so awesome to see so many kids stepping out of their comfort zones and trying something new. Theater can really change you. I know it did for me when I was younger. I am so glad I get to be able to be a part of it and watch all of these kids experience it for themselves. I think I am just as excited as the kids are at this point.

-Another favorite? Reading. 

This is not new to me. What is new to me is learning to take a little "me" time. I have been carving out time for me to just relax and do what I want to do. Lately, what I want to do is read. When I finish helping the kids with homework after school, and then hand out snacks, I go up to my room, turn on the heating pad on my bed (it is like a heating blanket concept but it goes over your mattress and under your fitted sheet and you sleep on top of the warmth- soooo good), tuck myself into my blankets and read. I can't tell you how happy it makes me. Sometimes I even abandon my family in the evening for a bit of reading. More often than not a child or two will wander into my room with their books and read with me for a while too. It has been fantastic. 

It helps that I have had some amazing books to read as well. I have been taking suggestions from friends on Facebook and checking best seller lists and then I request them from my library and wait for them to come in. It is a great system and I've gotten some unforgettable reads. 

A couple of weeks ago I read Now I See You. It is a memoir of a young woman who learns that she has a degenerative eye disease that will eventually rob her of her sight. It is a heavy subject but the writer tells her story with such humor that it is not a depressing read. More uplifting, really. A very good read. 

After that book I jumped right into Big Little Lies. Liane Moriarty is fast becoming one of my favorite writers. She always writes such vivid characters and I love her plot twists and turns that you never see coming. Fantastic book. She is most well known for The Husband's Secret but that was not my favorite of hers. If you have never read What Alice Forgot then you are missing out. I think I have recommended that one before so now I am recommending Big Little Lies. Great book.

-A surprise favorite? Snow. Okay, maybe not the snow itself but what it brings. This past weekend we got dumped on. It was drifting snow so in some areas there was only a few inches but in many places the drifts were over two feet. Our backyard seemed to be a dumping zone and we had massive amounts of snow for the kids to play in. Even though the wind was whipping and the temps weren't very high the kids still went outside and played for hours. They built a snow fort and rolled around in the snow for hours. I just loved looking out the window and seeing my kids playing so nicely together. Lately it seems like they can't be in the same room with each other without fighting. Everyone is getting on everyone else's nerves. They are mean to each other and have zero patience. However, on Sunday the kids played nicely. I even saw Ben and Joey lifting Grace into the snow fort so that she wouldn't knock the sides down getting in. Loved it. 
And, of course, snow angels are everyone's favorite. Even if it looks like they are all just lying there playing dead. ;)
A real favorite? Child labor. Oh yeah. You got that right. With all the snow we had to shovel that back patio off 6 times and each time the snow was about 6 inches. I tried to keep the kids on top of it but the snow was falling SO fast. Do you see that bird bath in the background of the picture? Only the very top peeks out of the snow at the moment. We got a ton of snow.

- I have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning. Todd usually brings me coffee and sets it in the bathroom as incentive for me to get up. Lately, I've been staying in bed until the kids get up and Ben and grace groggily drag themselves over to my room and crawl into bed with me. That morning snuggle is just one of my favorite things. It is a great way to wake up in the morning. Their warm little bodies, mussed hair, and morning breath tucked in close to me. I love it.

Just before I woke up this morning I had a dream that Ben was moving away to go to college but that he looked exactly as he does now. Basically, he was my little Ben going off to college. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. Next thing I know I'm waking up to Ben crawling in bed with me. It was just what I needed. I was so relieved. I was happy to wake up this morning.

-Ben's 8th birthday is on Sunday (probably one of the reasons for my dream, no?) and he is just SO excited. In our family we don't have big birthday parties every year for each kid. I know some people do that but we keep it low key. The kids will each get one or two big birthday parties (maybe for the 10th birthday and such). For their birthday my kids get to pick an activity they would like to do as a family (bowling, going to a movie, going swimming, going skiing, etc.) and that is what we do. Then we go out to dinner (birthday child's choice of restaurant), have the grandmas over for cake (many times they go to dinner with us too), and open a few presents. It is nothing extravagant but the get SO excited about it. Ben has been counting down the days to his birthday for weeks now. The fact that my kids get so excited about their little celebrations is definitely on of my favorite things.

So, there you have it. A few of my favorite things right now. Just writing that down has put me in a good mood. I feel better.

What are your favorites today?


Tabor said...

I have read both of those books. Not memorable but a good fun read. You will survive the empty house syndrome when they move out, because by then, you will get to stay in bed!

Bijoux said...

What a great backstage photo of you! How fun to be in a production with your kids!

betty said...

Congrats to all for the parts in the play!! That will be fun to be working together like that! I liked reading about all your favorite things :) And I like that you don't do big birthday parties yearly; I like the "simple" way you guys celebrate birthdays; that's what we did a lot and every so often I would throw in a "big" party when they were young. When they hit teenage years, son tended to have a party yearly but not of a big magnitude, friends usually for pizza and a sleep over :)


Unknown said...

Big Little Lies is next on my reading list! Now I really want to get to it. That is a TON of snow! My goodness! I can't even imagine. I probably say this every year to you... ;)

And YAY for the musical, that is SO neat! I love that you, as the parent, have the opportunity to be in the show as well. That is awesome!

Mom24 said...

So exciting about the play! Congrats to you all. Awesome.

I love Liane Moriarty. So thankful you turned me on to her.

The birthday traditions you've established sound wonderful, no wonder Ben's excited.

Sadly, they will be off to college before you know it. Enjoy as many of these days as you can.

Awesome snow pictures.

Sorry about all the fighting. That is the worst, glad that you get reprieves from it sometimes, those days are the best!

Mimsie said...

Such a fun post, especially about the school play. You are going to have such a great time rehearsing with your guys. Please keep us up to date as the performance draws closer. I'm not an actor like you, but to me it would seem like the perfect thing to make a long winter go faster! Congrats on getting the Glinda role!

Hilary said...

Good for you and your kidlets for getting parts in the play. That will be a lot of fun, I'm sure. But I can't say that I've ever heard of parents in a school play. That's cool!

I am always looking for new books to read so thanks for these.

Favourite things? Right this minute, off to my left is a cat who is watching my every move and purring loudly. How can that not be my favourite right now?

Kat said...

Hilary- I wouldn't even classify this as a school play. I went to last year's show expecting a school play and it was pretty amazing. The directors open the show up to parents, teachers, and students and I think it really helps to draw a lot more people in to see it. The auditorium was PACKED last year. It is also a really big bonding experience for the school community. The first grade teacher (who is just the sweetest thing ever) was Ms. Hannigen last year and will be the Wicked Witch this year. The kids flipping love it! It is so funny to watch this sweetheart be so nasty on stage. She has a background in theater too so I'm sure it is fun for her. Even her husband was in it last year as Rooster.
Anyway, the director gives the students the big leads like Dorothy and the Scarecrow, Tinman, and Lion and then gives a little bit smaller parts to the teachers and parents. Some parents do a lot of the behind the scenes stuff too (makeup, props, etc). There are a few parents who are going to play the witch's guards and a few who are playing trees this year. HA! I love it. Everyone is just so into it. It will be so much fun.

Hilary said...

THat sounds just amazing, Kat. I think every school should do it that way. What a great idea and I'm sure.. memorable series of experiences. Thanks for letting me know. :)

Daisy said...

Glinda in a poofy dress - wonderful! Enjoy this opportunity for bonding with your children on stage.

Riahli said...

You all are inspiring! Being on stage is so not my thing, but I sure do admire others who can get up there and put put themselves out there so bravely! Very cool!

I've been on a role in the book department too, and I do the same thing at the library. When I take the kids there is no way for me to wander slowly down the grown up isles, so being able to request online and pick it up when we go in has changed my life! Ha ha! Although I do love the occasional trip to the library by myself to wander as I will. So nice. :)

We do birthdays very similar to you guys and my kids get so excited as well. I think it's a wonderful thing to teach our children to appreciate the simple wonderful things in life. To find joy in simplicity and with family. Love it. :)

Words To Live By

Be grateful for each new day.
A new day that you have never lived before.
Twenty-four new, fresh, unexplored hours to use usefully and profitably.
We can squander, neglect, or use them.
Life will be richer or poorer by the way we use today.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could;
some blunders and absurdities crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be
encumbered with your old nonsense.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson