So, it turns out I accidentally went a super long time without writing anything new over here. Stuff kept happening that I kept wanting to write about, but then other stuff happened and I got distracted and then I couldn’t decide what to write about and then suddenly it had been 2 months. Ummm…sorry about that. Anyway, who’s up for a quick recap? Ready…set…bullets!
- To pick up where we left off, SangriaBaby still has the same name he did 2 months ago. I think it’s safe to say we picked a winner. But we’re still not telling what it is. Luckily, he has about a million nicknames already, so we are not without adorable things to call him around other people. My parents usually call him Tiny Tim (for obvious reasons), but lately have started calling him Zachariah (kind of an inside joke). At the dance studio, he’s Baby Mack (our performing group is called the Mack Divas, and we each have our own “Mack” nicknames…mine is Big Mack [again, obvious reasons]). My boss calls him Fred Astaire Jr. Another woman at work just calls him Junior. To my sisters-in-law, he’s Pablo. Tim’s parents alternate between calling him Little Peep and Tiny Dancer. I can’t wait to see which nicknames stick after he’s born and what new ones we come up with once we finally get to meet him.
- I’ve been so focused on all things baby lately that I totally forgot to tell y’all when we finished landscaping our back yard. And, you guys. It is so gorgeous. 90% of the credit goes to Tim, who spent his entire summer vacation digging and planting and sprinkler system-ing and mulching and sodding. I helped with the sod a little, but he and a few of our very generous friends did most of the work. After fighting for 6 summers to make our mess of a yard at the old house somewhat presentable and still not being satisfied with it, I can’t tell you how nice it is to have this yard finished and beautiful and requiring only basic maintenance in the summers to come.
- In also-yard-related-but-totally-deserving-of-its-own-bullet news, we also managed to build a spectacular deck this summer! And when I say “we,” I of course mean “Tim and my parents,” because once again I didn’t help much beyond providing moral support. We weren’t anticipating being able to build a deck until next summer, but we managed to find room in our landscaping budget this year, and I am so glad we did. Spectacular as the new house is, the one thing it was missing was a nice place to sit outside with a cold beverage and good friends. Thanks to about a week of hard work from three of my favorite people, we now have the nicest deck (and yard, in my humble opinion) in the neighborhood.
- Tim finished the bulk of the yard work about a week before his summer ended, and he spent that last week of summer playing with his new grill that has a built-in smoker. That week, I came home from work every night to a different smoked meat, and every day was more delicious than the last. We’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year and seriously considering smoking the turkey.
- I am having a small love affair with Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches.
- We had a couple of truly wonderful baby showers thrown by the most amazing family and friends. This child is so loved and spoiled already, and it warms my heart to know he’s going to grow up surrounded by so much love.
- One thing about pregnancy that has caught me by surprise is how uncomfortable I am going to the liquor store. I feel like I need to walk around announcing “It’s not for me! It’s for my husband/friends/deck builders! Stop judging me!” I can’t remember the last time I felt so self-conscious, and I don’t like it.
- We’ve been working hard on the nursery, and it’s officially the cutest room in the house. But that’s a topic for another (picture-filled) post. Which I will hopefully write sometime after we get all the finishing touches in place but before the room explodes from having an actual baby in it.
- I’m still dancing a couple hours a week, but I’m officially done performing until after the baby arrives. I danced in my last show about a month ago, and it was pretty much the best thing ever. We dance at a lot of local community events, so there’s not always a guarantee that we’ll get a decent stage or an enthusiastic audience, but this particular performance was in a real theater, on a real stage, with the most incredible audience. They were there to see live music in tribute to the woman who ran the local Cotton Club 50 years ago, and we got to come on stage during a 30-minute band break. We had no idea what the audience would think of a bunch of white girls tap dancing, but (excuse me while I brag a moment) they freaking loved us. It was the best performance we’ve had in a long time, and it felt incredible to go out on such a high note.
- Remember the dogs? They’re still adorable (laser eyes and all). And completely oblivious to the fact that their entire world is going to turn upside-down in about a month. (And here they thought moving to a house where they’re not allowed on the couches would be the most traumatizing event of the year.)
- In conclusion, here’s The Baby Bump at 35 weeks. At my last appointment, I was measuring about a week ahead of schedule, so either the boy child is going to arrive a little early (we’d be okay with that), or he’s going to be rather large (less okay with that). Let’s keep our fingers crossed for the former, shall we?
Several weeks ago, three things happened:
1. I performed in my first-ever tap duet.
2. I won my first-ever platinum medal for the duet. (Platinum=highest score possible.)
3. I won two more platinum medals for group tap and jazz dances.
It was a good day!
Would you like to see my award-winning dances? Well, you’re in luck because for once I actually managed to upload the videos. (I figure since I never blog anymore since I spend most of my free time dancing, it’s only fair that you should get to see just what exactly is taking up all my time.)
“Jack and Scottie” (a/k/a “You and Me and the Bottle Makes Three”)
My tap duet, performed with my fabulous friend Colette. The stage was not the best for tapping, so you can’t hear the taps over the music, but you can see us in all our sassy glory.
“Puttin’ on the Ritz”
The group tap dance. Since there are more of us, you can actually hear the tap sounds in some places. I’m second from the right through the majority of the dance. Keep an eye on me when we do a fancy cane toss and I narrowly avoid taking a cane to the face. Of all the times we’ve performed this dance, this was the closest I ever came to dropping my cane onstage. Good thing it was our last performance so I’ll never have to worry about dropping that cane again.
Jazz, Fosse-style. I start out third from the right, then finish up in the back/center. Since I only recently got back into jazz dancing after several years of nothing but tap, I am going to drop all pretenses of modesty and just come out and say that I’m proud of how far I’ve come in the last couple of years. For example, in the middle of this dance we all do a double pirouette, something I wouldn’t have been able to do six months ago. Hell, I could barely make it all the way around a single pirouette without wobbling, and now I’m consistently nailing my double turns and even thinking about working toward a triple. Tap will always be my favorite, but jazz is awfully fun too!
So, there you have it. This is what I do for fun.
As it turns out, not everyone in the house is excited about my new tap floor.
Whether she’s mad that it takes up space under the couch when not in use or she’s just not impressed at all with my dancing, one thing’s for sure: Smalls is not a fan.
Remember that time after my first dance competition when I was describing the ballet workshopt and wrote, “It felt good, actually. Not so good that I’m about to sign myself up for a weekly ballet class, but good nonetheless.”
Um, yeah… Guess who recently signed herself up to take a weekly ballet class this summer?
Just to be clear, it’s not as if I was brimming with enthusiasm when I registered for summer classes and told the studio to add ballet to my schedule. Nor was I exactly jumping for joy when I walked into the local dance store and asked to be fitted in a pair of ballet slippers. Excited is not a word I’d use to describe how I feel about returning to the ballet barre after a 10-year hiatus.
However, I do know that this is something I need to do right now. When the summer schedule was posted and the other adults insisted the schedule be rearranged so we could take both jazz and ballet, the thought entered my mind that I might be expected to add ballet to my schedule now that I’m taking my dancing a bit more seriously. This idea was confirmed when the jazz competition director “invited” (read: told) me to take ballet with the rest of the girls. What it boils down to is that if I’m going to be a part of the jazz competition team, I am going to have to take ballet.
Even though this is more of an “I have to” than an “I want to,” I am optimistic about the endeavour. Ballet will be good for me in that it will improve my technique and form in jazz and tap. I may not experience the same level of enjoyment in ballet as I do in my other classes, but at least I will have the satisfaction of knowing that I’m doing something beneficial for myself. As the woman at the dance store said when I expressed my lack of enthusiasm for this new class, taking ballet is a lot like taking your vitamins. It may not be the most enjoyable part of your day, but it is good for you in the long run.
Also, for the benefit of my husband, who is likely reading this and remembering the time I assured him he’d never have to sit through a ballet performance and pretend to enjoy it just because I was in it, let me clarify one more thing: I will not be performing ballet in any capacity. The class I’m taking is strictly a technique class, not a performance class. I have zero desire to set foot on any stage wearing ballet slippers. And I can guarantee I won’t be eating those words any time soon.
I’m one of the bigger girls in my dance classes. I know this, and I’m pretty okay with it. Sure, part of me would love to be able to throw on any teeny leotard and look amazing in it, but a bigger part of me really enjoys cheese and guacamole. I do what I can to eat well and work out regularly, but I’ll probably never be as skinny as some of the girls I dance with. And, again, that’s okay with me.
Of course, knowing you’re not super skinny and being told you’re not super skinny are two very different things. Now, don’t get me wrong. The women I dance with are wonderful. We are a pretty close group — we have a great time together in and out of class, we share a love for wine and margaritas, and we don’t waste time being petty and judgmental about one another’s imperfections. Which is what made it that much more irritating the other night when one woman put on one of my skirts — a skirt she was thinking of buying in her own, small size — to show our teacher a costume idea she had, and then made a point of mentioning not once, not twice, but at least five times how my skirt was just way too big on her, and obviously she’d be getting it in a much smaller size.
Talk about a killer ego boost.
Look, I know I’m not as skinny as the other girls in class. We all know that. But was it really necessary for her to make such a big deal about how humongous my skirt was on her pencil-thin body? I know she wasn’t trying to be hurtful. In truth, she was probably completely oblivious to the effect of her words on me. But still — is it too much to ask that we all try to use a tiny bit of tact?