Thursday, January 21, 2010

Trevor, you ARE the father!

So we had a nice evening over at Trevor's parents the other day. We watched slides. We have family slides in our family, too, but it's been a long time since we looked at them. Mainly because we have seen them so many times, we have them memorized. Plus, Mom had an album for each of us as we were growing up where she stored pictures of us. But it's not like that in Trevor's family. Albums--well, they just don't exist. Everything is on slides. And there's no way to have them all memorized, because there are THOUSANDS of them. I'm not even kidding. While my family may have the advantage in printed, easily accesible photos from our childhood, Trevor's family has the advantage of good photography. Mom had a way of having us stand in front of some sort of bush or tree in our sunday clothes. I have a MILLION pictures like that. But not a lot of in-action or up-close shots. Plus, poor Mom always had a pretty cheap camera. Add acid-filled albums from the 80's, and well, it's not pretty.


Eek! Is that them building SOUTH TOWNE MALL in the background? Wow.


I love how I'm totally distracted by the cat walking by in this one. Oh, and the socks are awesome too.

Don't get me wrong--I am SO GRATEFUL my mother bothered to take pictures, get the developed, and then put them in albums for us. Pretty ahead of her time if you ask me, in the days before scrapbooking.

Anyway, that's not really what this post is about.

Since Trevor's baby pictures are on slides, this presents a few problems. First of all, they are pretty inaccessible. It is of course possible to scan them or whatever, but this takes timing and planning, and since my father-in-law spent a whole summer organizing them by date a few years ago, he is understandably not very keen on giving you free reighn with them. Can't blame him for that.

Also, Trevor hasn't seen them that much. I'd NEVER seen them. Everyone thought that Afton looked like Trevor when she was born, and now she looks a lot more like me. Well, I couldn't argue. I had no baby pictures of Trevor to compare to, and my own baby pictures are pretty slim. I was the youngest of five--I was lucky I got fed.

So the other day we managed to snag some pictures of a few of Trevor's baby pictures after our slide-fest. And I have wonderful news. In true Maury Povich style:





Trevor, you ARE the father!

























But then, there's also this:


















So--she's pretty much exactly like both of us. She definately got his ears, but she's got my eyes. Either way, she's HERSELF and I adore her! (even though right now I keep having to pull her away from the outlets, which we have those kid safety things in, which she has figured out how to pull out...) (And yes, I am flipping the bird in this picture.)

Friday, January 15, 2010

...Counting My Blessings...

Just before Christmas I watched one of my favorite Christmas shows--White Christmas. It's amazing how, back then, the musical numbers didn't have to make sense at all. Its ok to just throw in wierd costumes, strange lyrics and dance numbers with no real point. It was ok. Because the dancing was so incredible you didn't care. Like that one number--where Danny Kaye is singing "they're doin' choreography" and it's so hilarious--why does Vera Ellen suddenly appear in all pink and just have some random dance number that has nothing to do with the song? Why does she and her partner spin around on some wierd tri-cornered rollie thingie? Does it matter? No. this is the 50's. They could DO that back then.

Anyway, I digress.

Tonight I was sitting here wondering what I should write about, and one of the scenes from White Christmas came to me. It's one of the few numbers in the movie that is NOT a production number, and actually fits the storyline. It's where Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney--ok, Bob and Betty--are sitting in the lodge having buttermilk, and he sings this really sweet, short and simple song:

When I'm worried and I can't sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep
And I fall asleep counting my blessings
When my bankroll is getting small
I think of when I had none at all
And I fall asleep counting my blessings

I think about a nursery and I picture curly heads
And one by one I count them as they slumber in their beds
If you're worried and you can't sleep
Just count your blessings instead of sheep
And you'll fall asleep counting your blessings

It's funny that this other verse does not appear in the movie--the one about the curly heads in the nursery. I didn't know it existed until I looked it up. It must be on versions he produced later. But it fits so well with where my heart is tonight.

My bankroll is getting small. I get so stressed sometimes. But then I think of when I had none at all--when Trevor wasn't working, and I was so stressed because we didn't have a direction for him. How it used to just NAG at me, until I could hardly stand it. And I count my blessings. My bankroll is still small--but Trevor is in school, he knows what he wants to do, and he is loving this direction. My bankroll is small, yes, but there is hope in the future. And, more, it's still enough. I have a home, and I am not about to lose it. I count my blessings.

And I think about the nursery, just next door to me, where sleeps a little curly head (I know 'cause I put a million rollers in it today) and I am so amazed that she's mine--that the love Trevor and I have for eachother created her. Sometimes I'm just amazed by that. I look at her little wiggling body, she makes these hilarous sounds, and I think--we MADE that. In one day--we express our love, and out of it comes an entire human life. It happens every day, but now I really know what a miracle it is. I count my blessings.

So I guess now I can fall alseep--counting my blessings!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Goodbye, Ballroom

Today I had my last rehearsal with my ballroom team. It is the last EVER. Next Wednesday we will perform in the talent show, and then--goodbye to the ballroom program at my middle school. I'm calling it quits.

I started the program three years ago, when interest in ballroom was high and I asked around to a few of my students, and they were all very enthusiastic about the idea of my starting a ballroom club. I was married but childless, and had time for it--even though that year I was teaching seven periods a day with no break. I was a bit of a basketcase.

Anyway, the first year, I started the Club. Within three days I had over sixty kids signed up, half boys and half girls. It took a little longer to get the boys, but the always come. The world is full of boys who want to dance--or are at least willing to try it--if they get talked into it enough. It was a real success that year. I ran the club for the whole first semester of school, and also held auditions for a ballroom team.I taught them a dance, and then they performed it at the school talent show, which I am also in charge of. Looking back, I'm stunned that I got such amazing dancers that year--particularly boys. It was an awesome year. The kids did a viennese waltz to the theme from the Pirates of the Caribbean. I made the skirts for their costumes myself--as inept a seamstress as I was. I put my soul into it. I wasn't paid that year--it was strictly voluntary. And what fun we had!


I was eager to try it again the following year. I shortened the club portion down to about 10 weeks. Again I had about sixty kids sign up, and I taught them cha-cha, swing, waltz, mambo and many others. I had help from my good friend Torin and my sister Aundi. My principal, seeing the success of my program, and with help from an article in South Valley Journal to keep it higher profile, offered to pay me that year. $300! Yay! My team was awesome. We did a latin medley--starting with Samba, then Mambo, Rhumba, and last Cha-cha to Let's Get Loud. It was definately the hardest dance I choreographed out of all three years. I was pregnant during the whole of that semester, but I still did it! It was great to see kids from the year before come back to help. It was awesome to see kids change and grow--particularly ones that had been 8th graders the first year and had made team again. I saw them gain confidence and a love of dancing. It felt good to help them find something special within themselves.


This year, however, has been frought with difficulties. There is a new administration, and the school district itself is a new place. There's no money for anything. I still don't know if they'll pay me or not. Buying anything for team such a shoes and costumes--paid for by the students, but with new purchasing rules that make everything difficult--put me in tears more than once. Chronic absences on team plagued us. I never had a practice with all 20 members until our last two practices. Someone always had something more important to do. There were injuries too. The dance is a swing, to the song "Nice Guys Finish Last" by Cobra Starship. Thank you Torin for leading me to it! Its not the hardest dance I've ever choreographed, but I think it's my favorite! Cindy and I spent hours making the petti-skirt costumes for it. HOURS upon HOURS. I'm not sure why we did it. But the results are remarkable. The most gorgeous costumes I've ever seen. And neither of us were paid a dime to do it.

(Sorry this isn't the best picture-all the good ones are on my computer at school! But here's a shot of one of the couples, so you can see how cute the skirt is! And I blurred out their faces--dont' want them recognizeable without parent permission...)


Anyway, with all the difficulties, it's been a question whether I should continue the program at all. I wrote out some pros and cons:

Cons:
1. I have a baby now--I'm giving away time I could be spending with her
2. I have daycare--staying after school means someone else has to watch her longer
3. It's too hard to purchase shoes and costumes with the stringent purchasing rules
4. My administration seems to think the whole program is a pain
5. I'm not sure they are going to pay me this year, and I'm SURE they won't next year. I'm not really in it for the money but--well, it DOES take a lot of time.
5. I'm tired.
6. Morale is low--teachers are getting paid less and less, and I don't want to do anything extra anymore--not when it isn't appreciated. Yes, I know the kids miss out on opportunities, but if teachers keep giving for free, they'll never see a reason to pay us what we're worth. Or at least HALF of what we're worth.

Pros:

1. I have seen how this program can change the lives of students--I hate to take that opporunity away from them.

Lots of cons. One BIG pro. But like I said, I've made my choice. For next year at least, there will be no ballroom program at my middle school. It was an original program--something no other middle school, to my knowledge, could offer. But I can't do it anymore. I'm done. I will miss it a lot. But oh--when the talent show is over next week, how relieved I will feel!

I hope this post doesn't sound like I'm "tooting my own horn". Yeah, it probably does. Maybe I am a little. I'm proud of what I've accomplished, and I'm very sad it's going to be over. I guess I just feel so tired, so underappreciated. I hear how pretty much every option my district has for balancing the budget is paying teachers less, and I think, "why do I do this? Why should I do more than I absolutely have to?" Yes, I know. For the kids. Well, I got my own kid now. I feel very discouraged--and everyone in the district is. You feel it in the air. Its like I work in a completely different place than I did last year. It's been a rough year, needless to say. The hormones and changes from having a baby haven't helped.


I have added a video of this year's routine! They haven't performed it yet, but this is at Saturday's dress rehearsal.

Friday, January 8, 2010

"Gimme Five!"

So this just happened in my living room. I managed to get it on tape. My baby IS SO DARN CUTE! This is a new skill for her--she'd never done it before! I love her little giggles!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Recipe of the Day

So, like pretty much everyone else in the world, I've made the New Year's Resolution to lose weight. Luckily, Trevor is doing it right along with me. This makes it much easier for me, because it helps me overcome my biggest obstacle in dieting: DINNER. I eat fine all day, and then when dinner comes along, I can't think of anything to cook that's healthy because, of course, I haven't planned ahead. Well, it's now 7:23 p.m. of the first day of my diet. I'm doing pretty good, I must say. It will be nice to have at least ONE healthy day under my belt after months and months of totally not caring. It actually feels good--mostly because a little of the guilt is lifted and I can think to myself, "Well, I may be fat, and all my clothes are tight, but at least I'm DOING something about it."

I have two tools I use in measuring food. One is my Weight Watchers slider. Though I have no intention of rejoining WW, I find their point idea is the easiest for me to follow and stay on. So I use it for everything. My other tool is FitDay. The website, Fitday.com, has been a great help to me over the years and was instrumental in my loosing 25 lbs in 2004. I long ago bought the CD for my computer so I don't have to use the website--highly recommended! Now I can enter every ingredient in a recipe and get the number of calories, fat grams, fiber, etc. Then I use my slider, and I know how many calories it is, and how many points.

Which leads me to today's post. For dinner tonight I made a FABULOUS meal, and it was healthy too! It's actually not the first time I've had it--we found it over the summer doing a search for healthy recipes on laaloosh.com. They SAY it has only six points, but I wanted to be sure. So here's the stats, and then the recipe.

WW Points - 8 (but a FILLING 8 points, let me tell you!)
Calories - 352
Fat - 15 (but it's GOOD fat!)
Protien - 37
Carbs - 58

It IS a little higher in fat. The original recipe calls for 2 tsp of Peanut Oil, but I had to add a little more or burn the bottom of my pan, so I used at least 1 Tbl spoon. Here's the recipe! This is for TWO SERVINGS.

Orange Chicken

Ingredients:

1 lb uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 2-inch strips
1 C brown rice (1/2 c for each person, cooked)
Rind of a small orange, sliced into thin strips
1 1/2 Tbsp Cornstarch
3/4 C canned chicken broth
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp peanut oil
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp soy sauce (the recipe called for low sodium, I didn't have it.)
2 medium scallions, chopped
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (the recipe called for 1/2, but we found that was too much for us.)
1 Tbsp sesame seeds

Directions:

1. In a bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, broth, sugar, cornstarch, ginger, and vinegar, then set aside.
2. In large skillet, heat peanut oil on medium-high heat. Add orange rinds, scallions, garlic, and red pepper flakes and cook for about 2 minutes. Add in the chicken and cook for approximately 6 minutes, or until chicken is golden brown.
3. Now mix in the sauce and let simmer until the chicken is cooked all the way through and the sauce starts to get thick; this should take approximately 3-4 minutes. On a plate, serve chicken and sauce over rice and garnish with a sprinkle of sesame seeds.


So there's my recipe! Love it! Day one down--the rest of my life to go!

P.S. I made this new background for my blog. Isn't it pretty??