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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

What's Up Wednesday: February Edition

It rained yesterday afternoon so the kids stayed inside and watched a movie.  This right here is my dream.  The perfect day would be moving from the bed to the couch and watching TV all. day.  But anyway.


WHAT WE'RE EATING THIS WEEK
Well, it's nothing to write home about, that's for sure!  I've been cooking.  But my heart really hasn't been into it very much.  So I've just been preparing meals that everyone likes, even if it's not my favorite.  Last night we had my absolute least favorite meal ever.  Cubed steak.   That's what it always was when I was a kid.  But Seth calls it chicken fried steak.  So whatever.  I made myself a salad instead.  Monday night I tried a new recipe.  Chicken tamale casserole.  It was fine.  It was easy.  I just wasn't too much into it.  What I really want is a pizza.  I want to pick up the phone and call and order a pizza for delivery.  But that's not an option.  I told Seth the other day that I need to find a good pizza dough recipe.  I've not had any success there either.  I just haven't been too inspired lately.

WHAT I'M REMINISCING ABOUT
My grandparents.  For the first time in my whole entire life, I do not have any grandparents.  I always thought it was so special growing up with all of my grandparents (and even some great-grandparents) involved in my life.  That changed rather quickly when Granddaddy and Pa died within just more than a year of each other.  I was in college.

My Granddaddy was the kindest, gentlest, most humble man I know.  He was also one of the godliest men I've ever known.  He traveled all over Europe and Africa during the war and has some amazing pictures of his adventures.  When he came back home, he worked hard on the farm all the rest of the days of his life.  He raised his family.  He loved his neighbors, and he loved hard and long.  There are things my Granddaddy did for people that I didn't even know about until recently.  He was so respected in our community, and everyone knew Mr. Marvin.  He was a quiet man, too.  I never ever remember him raising his voice or being loud at all.  As a matter of fact, it was almost like you had to listen real close to even hear him.  But that's what you did.  Because when he spoke, it was always important, and you knew it.  I will never forget the last conversation he had with me.  It was one of the last days he was able to get up and walk. We sat at the kitchen table eating a piece of pound cake.  He talked to me about the importance of maintaining my witness, as I was about to move away to college.  He also talked to me about the importance of choosing a godly man to marry.

He never missed a single thing I did.  He came to all my dance recitals, piano recitals and concerts, school functions.  He'd sit on the front row, too.  The only thing I remember him missing was my high school graduation.  By then, the cancer made it too painful for him to sit on those hard metal bleachers at the football field.  One of my favorite pictures of us was taken at a two piano four hands concert Mrs. Sallie and I performed my junior year in high school.  May 8, 1995 to be exact.  He has a camera in his hand.  That makes me smile, too.  It reminds me of the time I sang on television at the Macy's Lighting of the Great Tree on Thanksgiving.  He took a picture of the television screen every time the camera panned to where I was.

This man was a treasure.  He was called home on October 28, 1996.  It seems unfathomable to me that last year was 20 years without him here on this earth.

Pa was so much fun!  He's the grandpa who would jump into the pool with all of his clothes still on.  He loved homemade peach ice cream and fireworks.  He'd always bring me a little box of those conversation hearts on Valentine's Day.  I'll never, ever forget what he told me at Granddaddy's funeral.  He said, "I know I'm the only grandfather you have left now.  And I just want you to know I'm going to be the best one."  He was called home not too long after that on January 5, 1998.  And, yet again, I got called home from college to bury another grandfather.

But into my adult life, I still had both of my grandmas.  I told you all about Grandmother a few weeks ago.
Never ever in a million years did I imagine that in a little over two months, I'd bury MeMama.  Never.  There's much more to be said about her.  Later.
And, just like that, they're all gone from this earth.  So, yeah, all the memories of these precious grandparents of mine are still fresh on my heart these days.  I'd give anything for just one more conversation with each of them . . .

WHAT I'M LOVING
I'm really enjoying the Bible study I'm hosting at my house on Monday nights.  We're studying 2 Corinthians, and it's been a good place for me this month.  I also kind of like that they don't seem to want to leave when we're done!

WHAT WE'VE BEEN UP TO
It's really nothing spectacular over here.  Just the same ole thing.  

Last week was rather busy.  The girls had dance pictures spread across two days.  Ellie was cracking me up.  She's on top of it this time around.  She clearly understands that if she wants to become a gymnastics girl, she has to finish out this dance year well.  The teachers didn't have to tell her twice what to do.  She was front and center with her hands on her hips for her class picture and totally owned it.  When it came time for her sister picture with Hannah Kate, Miss Jade was posing Hannah Kate first.  When she went to pose Ellie, Ellie was already standing there in some sort of dance position with her arms going every which way.  It was all Miss Jade could do not to laugh.  I finally had to tell Ellie to let Miss Jade show her how to stand and pose.

We had a field trip last week.  We visited one of the old plantations and rotated through different stations explaining the way of life in the early 1800s.  We'd actually been to the grounds of Oakley before for another field trip, but we didn't go up to and into the house.  We did this time.

WHAT I'M DREADING
So, keeping it real, baseball season.  It's almost that time again.  That means that all three kids are simultaneously involved in their extra-curricular activity.  That also means that the one free night a week I had is no longer free.  I know I should look forward to it because it's the only extra-curricular activity Mason participates in, it lasts only three months and Mason loves it.  I wish I looked forward to it.  I wish I enjoyed it.  But, if I'm being honest, I'm just not there.

WHAT I'M WORKING ON
What I need to be working on is Vacation Bible School.  But I haven't started yet.  That's another biggie headed my way.

WHAT I'M EXCITED ABOUT
We're taking a break from school next week.  The whole week.  The girls don't have dance either.  And I'm looking forward to it.  I most definitely need a break.  I asked the kids earlier this week what they'd like to do.  Obviously, I wasn't specific enough.  I got answers like the arcade, Area 51, find Mars with the telescope and bike riding.  That's not exactly what I had in mind.  I suppose I should've clarified and asked them where they'd like to go on a trip.  But it's a bit late for that now.  So while I'm excited about a "break," the arcade and Area 51 do absolutely nothing for me.

WHAT I'M WATCHING / READING
I didn't read as much as I would've liked this month.  I did end up reading The Bone Tree by Greg Iles.  I couldn't help myself.  I read the first book of the trilogy last month, and it was all I thought about.  Besides, the third book will be released next month so I need to be ready.  It's a 700-plus page book so I guess I really should cut myself some slack.  I'm currently reading The Edge of Lost.  Mason and I read Treasure Island, and now we're reading The Last Battle (the final book in C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia).

I have pretty much the entire season of Fixer Upper on my DVR, but I haven't had time to watch it.  So if I was watching something, that's what it would be.  

WHAT I'M DOING THIS WEEKEND
I have no idea.  What I'd like to be doing and what will likely happen in actuality are two different things.

WHAT I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT MONTH
I've had March 2017 starred and highlighted and circled on my calendar for, oh, ten or so years now.  March 29 to be exact.  That was to be MeMama's 100th birthday.  We had already made plans to travel and spend it with her.  But MeMama is instead spending her 100th birthday in heaven.  She met Jesus on February 7.  So.  That changed things.  I just can't even say that I'm looking forward to March at all.  That sounds so strange.  March has always been one of my favorite months.  It's my birthday!  But I'm not even excited about that this year.  And that has never happened before.  But there is one thing I can say I'm looking forward to.

Beauty and the Beast.  You probably already know that's my favorite Disney movie of all time.  I even made sure we dined at the beast's castle when we went to Disney World last fall.  I told Seth that I want to go see the movie for my birthday.  It comes out my birthday weekend.  But you know what?  That's also the opening tournament for baseball. See above for how I feel about that.

WHAT ELSE IS NEW
For now . . . nothing.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Gymnastics Girl

So look.  If you don't want to see or hear about four year olds jumping off of furniture and such, you should totally come back later.

A couple of months ago, Ellie told me she wanted to be a "gymnastics girl."  I didn't think much of it.  I nodded my head.  I might've mumbled, "Mmm hmm."  And then I went on my way.  After all, what in the world does a four year old really know about what she wants to do?  And why would I even consider allowing my four year old (who broke her arm at the tender age of 20 months old and required surgery) to do a sport that involves flipping and all kinds of acrobatics anyway?  Because I can easily use the words "gymnastics" and "broken bones" in the same sentence!

But it looks like we've been to one too many LSU gym meets, watched one too many on television when they aren't competing at home.  And this girl is captivated.  She pays closer attention and is way more into it than the older two are.  She ASKS to watch it.

And then this started happening.
She's created her own "bar" and "vault" using her oversized chair.  She lays out her pillows and blankets to create her own floor mat of sorts.  This first happened upstairs so I didn't know what was really going on until she came downstairs with all her stuff and said she had something to show me. 
She's created several "routines," complete with special landings and arms and hand motions - just like she sees the LSU gymnasts do.  Her signature move is to jump off of something and do a split of sorts in the air before landing.  I actually caught her jumping off of pawpaw's table today (and all of her grandparents are now about to pick up the phone), but I did quickly explain to her that she is not allowed to do that.
She's also working on her split.
This is part of her balance beam routine.
Speaking of balance beam . . . she begged her daddy for several days to build her some "bars" in the backyard.  What she's really referring to is uneven bars.  No.  No ma'am.  So I suggested we build a balance beam instead.  My idea was to lay a 2x6 or maybe even a 2x4 on the ground.  Bam.  Balance beam.  Done.  But her daddy had other ideas.
He seriously cut down a tree in our yard, shaved the top off of it to level it a bit and then nailed it in between two trees.  This thing is probably three feet or so off the ground.  Nice.
But she's eating it up!
And here's her signature move off the balance beam.
She talks about gymnastics all. the. time.  She's constantly asking to watch it on television.  And she's been begging to take gymnastics lessons.  I was asking the kids what they'd like to do on our school break next week, and Mason said he wants to go to the trampoline park.  That wasn't exactly what I was looking for, and I finally told him that I was hoping to do something we would ALL enjoy (because Area 51 is not my idea of fun).  Ellie was quick to tell me that she "needs to go to Area 51 so I can practice my gymnastics."  Really?  

So a couple of weeks ago I had a serious little conversation with her.  I explained to her that if she really wants to take gymnastics, we'll do that.  But it means she can't take dance anymore.  I don't know what I was expecting her reaction to be.  She loves dance.  She really does.  Except for the fact that she nearly refused to dance on stage at the recital last year, which totally shocked everybody!  I think I was expecting her to back down from the whole gymnastics thing.  But she didn't.  She jumped at the chance and told me she was ready to quit dance and take gymnastics.  She didn't hesitate a single second.  She would've hung her ballet and tap shoes up right then and not even looked back.  But then I explained that she absolutely has to finish what she started in dance this year, and she absolutely has to dance on that stage during the recital this year.  She agreed and asked when we could go shopping for her gymnastic clothes.  We had dance pictures last week.  Last year those didn't go so well with her.  But this year?  She was the perfect little angel and more than willing to participate in those dance pictures because that put her one step closer to gymnastics!  And something tells me the recital is going to go really well this year, too!

So I keep asking myself if she's really capable of making this decision.  I mean, have I mentioned that she really does love dance?  She's four.  Four years old.  Does she really understand and know what she's talking about?  She just can't do both.  But as much as she loves dance, and as much as I'd love to see her dance a bit longer, I think her heart is into gymnastics.  She's constantly flipping off the end table, flipping up onto the couch upside down into a handstand, practicing her cartwheels.  She begs to go outside to jump on the trampoline and play on her balance beam.  I caught her hanging and swinging off the top of the play set a few days ago.  Again, grandparents, there's no need to pick up the phone.

When I was six years old, my mama put me in ballet and tap lessons.  That really wasn't what I wanted to do.  I wanted to take piano lessons.  I mentioned that a time or two.  It took awhile, but I remember her having the same conversation with me.  I could take both dance and piano lessons.  She let me choose.  For me, it wasn't a choice at all.  Dance just wasn't my thing.  But I knew the piano was.  So I finally started taking lessons when I was eight years old, and I took lessons for ten years.  From the time I started walking, I couldn't walk by a piano without "playing" it.  MeMama's piano was in the den at her house.  I never walked by it without "playing" it.  As a matter of fact, this was brought up just a couple of weeks ago when I was home.  I remember that so vividly as a child, even a very small child.  And that's what I see in Ellie.

So.  It looks like her dream of becoming a "gymnastics girl" is about to come true.  Who knows . . . maybe we'll be watching her on the floor of the PMAC one day!

But y'all.  There's a little part of me that can't get this image out of my mind.  I just hope we don't one day go back here.