Friday, December 31, 2010

My New Year's Resolution

is to learn to smooooth hip hip like THIS GUY!

So. much. love.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

1 Year Blog Anniversary!

Today is my one year blog anniversary. That was by the far the quickest year of my life! When I started this little blog, I had one baby. Now I have a toddler and a newborn. Life is so rapid. I love it! I thought today in honor of my anniversary, I'd do a little getting to know me post, since I have really ever introduced myself. (oops...:)) Enjoy!

I took this little form from Aly at Analyze This. Thanks!!

Name: Kate. Just plain Kate. Not Katherine, Kathleen, Katelyn...just Kate. It's also NOT Katie.

Ahem. Sensitive subject.

Height: 5'5. A nice, average height. Unless you want to be a Rockette...ha!

Relationship Status: Married to Dave for almost four years. Time flies!!

Location: Pennsylvania

Occupation: I own my own dance studio. It's a blessing, stressful, creative, amazing.

College: Allegheny<3 When Trace is in Kindergarten, I plan to go back to school at a Pitt campus by my house for a degree in business.

Sorority: Kappa Kappa Gamma! I advise the chapter at Allegheny now and have advised the Penn State Kappas in the past. Next to opening the studio, marrying Dave and having the kiddos, rushing KKG was the best decision I've ever made!

Family: 2 parents, still married, a younger sister and 2 older half brothers. We don't talk about them, though.

Car: A green Cadillac SRX.

Lucky Number: 13

Music Preferences: HUGE showtunes fan. Ben Folds is my absolute FAVORITE. I love Christian music too, it helps me stay positive and focused. I like top 40, of course, but nothing really vulgar or about violence. I really like acoustic music, acapella, country...okay I like it all.

Favorite Quote: "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." -Eleanor Roosevelt and "Now I'm changing the world one sequin at a time." -Lady Gaga

Random Things about me:

1.) My daughter is named after Gilmore Girls. True story.
2.) I stole my son's name from the little brother of one of my favorite students. He doesn't dance or anything, but I loved his name!
3.) Trace's middle name is Joseph...after my dad and Joe Paterno. Sad, but so true.
4.) I am a huge Steelers fan.
5.) I could eat at the Cheesecake Factory every day and never get sick of it.
6.) I not so secretly want to be put on What Not to Wear. I want them to tell me how to look cute in my dance teacher clothes!
7.) I love to cook but hate my small kitchen.
8.) I love to change my hair color.
9.) I consider my students to be my best friends.
10.) I love going to church.
11.) I want to be an amazing seafood chef!
12.) I sort of really hate shopping.
13.) I have been to 47 states.
14.) I was an exchange student to Russia in high school for a month.
15.) I think Avatar is a pretty movie but just about the dumbest storyline of all time. Blah!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Girl Talk Hop: Favorite Gift

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! We certainly did. Rory was a blast on Christmas day, calling all the gifts "Pezzz!" instead of present. She is fantastic. She even shared pretty well with her cousins. That's a relief! I was nervous.

This week's Girl Talk Blog Hop Theme is favorite gift.

I have three, I just can't choose!!

1) My beautiful Kindle...

The only thing I asked Dave for and its awesomeeeeeeeee. I already bought 3 books for the price of one regular new release. It fits beautifully in my purse, Rory can't close it and lose my spot...I'm just in love. :)

2) A Keurig Mini Brewer

Every year, my dad gets a special gift for me and one for my sister. One year it was my d40, then my red KitchenAid and this year it was my new boyfriend. (haha) A Keurig mini brewer. It does one cup at a time, which is all I need because Dave doesn't drink coffee. It is just a genius little invention! Dave is getting in to it too, making hot chocolate. Yeah, he's 10 years old sometimes. :)

3) A Coach bag

This is what I bought with my Christmas money. I don't want to buy clothes because I'm losing weight and who wants to buy clothes at this size?! NOBODY. Give me 3 months and I'll buy out the mall. ;) But a purse looks great at any size, for sure. This is pretty close to mine, mine is bigger and has a little more leather on it. I got it at the Coach outlet. It was originally 348 bucks (!!) but at the outlets, it was 200 then I got 30% off. I mean, hello Merry Christmas to ME! :)

Join in! My birthday is next week and I have no idea what to ask for, so reading your entries would be a big help. Dave is getting crabby with me about it! haha

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

A very Merry Christmas from these two...

(P.S. Doesn't she remind you of Jovie from Elf?! Totally!)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A little black and gold Christmas

Some observations...

1) Daniel Sepulveda. Holy moly hottness!

2) I think I will start showing Rory the part where James Harrison demands good behavior and scare the living daylights out of her when she's having her tantrums.

3) The D-Line are pretty darn good singers!

4) LOUDER! Especially Rookies...1...2...3...Pouncey Solo! :)

Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas at Studio K

This week is always a "waste" week, for the most part, at the studio. The kids are crazy with anticipation for Christmas, plus everything they are doing in school is Christmas themed and adds fuel to the yule fire. :) In years past, the week before Christmas break was always bring a friend week. The ENTIRE studio could bring friends and their families to watch class.

Insert Miss Kate's annual nervous breakdown here.

This year, I just. couldn't. do. it. I knew I wouldn't be sleeping well, knew I would be tired and good. So we're having an all studio Christmas party on Thursday instead. Muuuuch better.

Last night, I had two classes of lower elementary kids. I made both classes stretch and do their warms ups and some fun things across the floor. (That's the part they like, they tell me. :)) Then we played some fantastic Christmas games!

The first is so super fun, I order you to try it...if you have kids. You might feel a little stupid playing with your husband. (Although, it could make a good drinking game if you are in to that! haha)

Melt the Snowman

Materials: Glass Chalk (available in the car care aisle of Wal-Mart), Tissues, Water and a window/mirror

Draw a snowman on the window/mirror. Make it as complicated or simple as you want. Make sure it's pretty big, you're using each circle of the snowman as a target. The biggest circle is 5 points, then ten, then fifteen. We made the hat worth 50 since it was muuuch taller than my kids. Soak your tissues in the water and wring them out some. These become your snowballs.

Let 'er rip!!

We laughed so hard at the "snowballs" stuck all over our mirrors at the studio. (Note to self...take pictures today) It looked like giant spit wads. Hilarious! And sometimes the kids would hit the target perfectly, other times they were way off. We laughed and laughed and laughed. I made them do it backwards one round, through their legs...whatever crazy we could come up with. Super easy, super fun.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Kickin' Chicken Quesadillas

Ohhh my goodness, these quesadillas are *AWESOME.* I planned my pre-Christmas week dinner menu entirely off of Pioneer Woman. Don't ask me why, I just felt that it was...festive? haha Each recipe this week is a new one to me and I'll share the ones I liked.

Dave and I invited his parents over for the Steelers game and dinner tonight. I made these quesadillas and everyone agreed they were super delish! (SUPER easy too, fyi)

You will need...
Cooked, shredded chicken (I used 2 large cans of chicken breast because I was in a hurry lazy today)
1 small jar of Taco Sauce, whatever flavor you like
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 medium yellow onion
1 regular sized bag of Mexican blend shredded cheese
Salt and Pepper
Minced Garlic, if desired

2 cans of chicken and the above amounts made enough for five well-filled quesadillas.

1) Finely dice onion and peppers. I used a red, a yellow and an orange pepper because that's what Wal-Mart had that looked the best. Whatever colors you like work great.

2) In a large skillet, heat oil. Once heated, add in garlic, onions and pepper. Saute until soft and onions are translucent. You could add the peppers later if you like a little crunch to them.

3) Turn down heat. Add taco sauce. Add shredded chicken. (Drain, if you used canned!) Combine.

4) In frying pan, melt butter. Place one tortilla in frying pan. Add chicken mixture, top with cheese. Lightly butter one side of another tortilla and place, butter side up, on top of cheese and chicken. Smush with a spatula. (Smush is a technical term!)

5) When bottom tortilla looks good and crispy, flip quesadilla over. This is a little tricky! I used two spatulas. It was rough the first time, then it got easier. :)

6) When both sides are crispy and cheese is melted, remove from pan. Cut into wedges.

7) Repeat until all your delicious filling is gone!

You can serve them with sour cream, quacamole, salsa...whatever you like to dip them in! They are saucy and cheesy, so you don't even really need any sauce. Mexi-rice would be a great side dish. I did brocolli cheese steam fresh because that's what sounded good to me tonight. :)

Seriously, these quesadillas are amaaaaazing! I highly recommend them! Thanks Pioneer Woman!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Rory on the slide

Yesterday at the mall, Rory figured out how to go up and down the slides all by herself. She's officially a big girl!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas and an Epic Fail

Christmas is seriously 6 days away? What?! How?! That means Trace is 6 days away from being 2 months old. Whoa. That's without a doubt the fastest 2 months of my life.

I'm seriously unprepared for Christmas. I have everything bought, just missing one gift card for my grandpa. That's the easy part. The part I hate is wrapping. UGH! On Thursdays, I have an hour break while the studio's ballet mistress teaches advanced ballet. I took some presents up there to wrap while I was on my break. I was sitting there, with one of my favorite students who was on a break, jamming to Elton John Pandora Station on my phone, wrapping some of Dave's presents.

Who walks through the door?! DAVE!! AH!

I can't tell you the last time Dave and Rory surprised me by visiting. They even brought me dinner. So sweet, but of all the nights to come! (haha) Luckily, Allison threw herself on top of the last few presents so no surprises were revealed. I almost died laughing. What are the chances?!

Yesterday I had an epic fail. It's really funny now, but wasn't at the moment. I was getting gas after taking BOTH kids by myself to Wal-Mart to finish Christmas shopping for Dave. We had gone to Wal-Mart with relatively no meltdowns (an accomplishment, for sure.) and had a nice lunch at McDonald's. I had to get gas and get to the doctor's office for Rory's flu shot. (Ha. Almost had a typo there...)

I'm innocently getting back in my car after finishing. There's a big box truck backing up in front of me and I couldn't tell how far he was backing up. I tried to sneak in my car, opening the door only a little ways. Well, Trace started crying at that exact moment so I was looking IN the car instead of paying attention to what I was doing head and my door are now *best* friends. I honestly thought I gave myself a concussion. It hurt SOOOO bad. I sat there in Country Fair, willing myself not to cry and trying to compose myself so I could drive us to the doctor. Ughhhh!! I had a headache the rest of the day and now a lovely bruise is showing up. Plllleaaassseeee bruise be gone by Christmas. I would like a nice family picture without requiring too much photoshopping. (although taking ten pounds off would be nice...;))

Anyways! Not much to report today. My pity party I threw in the middle of the night yesterday has ended. I'm just dealing with it all and not complaining anymore. I don't like that side of myself. Trace is still having problems, but we'll figure it out. Rory is doing pretty darn good lately. We're transitioning to a big girl bed in February and then starting potty training in May, if not earlier. Where is my baby?! I have a big girl now! I wish you could all meet Rory. She's really...entertaining to say the least. She knows how to put on a good show, that's for sure! :)

We're off to Pittsburgh for Dave's follow up Lasik appointment. Think I can con him into the Cheesecake Factory for dinner? That just might be pushing my luck...:)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Girl Talk Hop

Today let's talk about Christmas and answer a few questions...
1. What is your favorite Christmas movie?
White Christmas!! It's such a wonderful, happy, classic movie. I don't remember ever NOT loving it. Rory and I watched it yesterday and she was mesmerized. The dancing and singing can not be beat. It doesn't get much better than Rosemary Clooney, Danny Kaye and Bing Crosby. I mean...come on! :)If you've never seen it, rent it or put in your Netflix queue. Totally worth it!

Elf is a very close second. Third place goes to Holiday in Handcuffs. It's a Hallmark Channel movie with Mario Lopez and Melissa Joan Hart. Adorable!

2. What is your favorite Christmas song and why?
I love "Do You Hear What I Hear?" It's so poignant and beautiful. We sang an arrangement of it in my show choir in high school and it gave me chills. Beautiful!
My favorite secular Christmas song would be "Sleigh Ride," specifically Michael W. Smith's version. So fun!!

3. What is your favorite ornament or Christmas decoration?
Hmmm...I love this hand painted glass ball, painted with pansies, that my favorite dance family gave me on my first Christmas married to Dave. :)

4. What is your favorite Christmas tradition?
Growing up, I loved sitting at the top of the stairs on Christmas morning, waiting for Mom to give us the okay to come down. She'd play carols on the piano and the anticipation was palpable! :)

Now...I guess it would be my surprise present for Dave each other. I always get him one over the top present. Two years ago it was a Wii (me present too! :)) and last year it was tickets to a Steelers game. Tune in on the 26th to see what this year's is. :)

5. What is your favorite Christmas memory?
Oh my goodness, I have so many. When I was 7 or 8, 101 Dalmatians was re-released into theaters. I was obsessed with the one dog, Patches. I asked Santa and my parents for a stuffed Patches. Not expensive, not hard to find and really all I wanted! I was so crushed on Christmas morning to not find it under the tree. I remember trying so hard not to be sad, but I was. Then later, we went to my Grammie and Poppies. Under the tree was the illusive Patches waiting for me!! My Uncle Codfish (Barry) got him for me. A Christmas Miracle!

Pregnant Photos

lThe Absolute Best Pregnancy Photos EVERRRR

Okay, so I am a fan of The Bump on Facebook and I was getting ready to delete them actually, seeing as I am not and will never be pregnant again (PRAISE THE LORD!! :)) When I clicked on their page, they had the above link posted.

Please check it out. You will pee your pants with laughter!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Lasik...or how my husband can see me in the middle of the night now.

Friday my husband, Dave, had Lasik eye surgery. Prior to 11:00 am on Friday, he had awful vision. Contacts or glasses at all times since he was a little kid. Not that unusual, but he HATED it. He says his ears were two different heights which made his glasses sit crooked on his face. I easily saw Dave adjust his glasses 100 times a day. On days he wore his contacts, it was even worse. He has allergies and naturally very dry eyes, which makes for uncomfortable contact wearing. After the surgery, he had to keep his eyes closed for 6 hours and he has 3 different types of eye drops to take for the next couple of weeks and that's it. EASY!

In this words "It's a Christmas miracle!" He can see so well...SO WELL now! There's some dryness, but Dave described the level of discomfort being the same as a GOOD day of contact wearing for him! The procedure literally took 10 minutes. I got to watch on a screen in a waiting room. It was really interesting and not at all gross. No blood or anything gross. I was fascinated!

Yes, it was expensive but Dave has a flexible spending account through his work and he used that to pay for it. It was totally worth every cent because he is LOVING it. No more discomfort, no more worrying about his eyes drying out cutting grass (he's a groundskeeper, remember!) It's just so much better. He's happy. I'm happy. And, always a bonus, we went to the Cheesecake Factory so...I was MORE than happy! :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Reverb10: Day 5 (on Day 10!)

I am doing two days together. I've been really hit or miss with Reverb and I apologize (mainly to myself) for that. I need to make time to write. UGH. But anyways! I'm combining two days' prompts into one post because for me they go together...

December 5 – Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why? (Author: Alice Bradley)


December 10 – Wisdom Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out? (Author: Susannah Conway)

I sometimes find myself living in an ideal mindset even when my life isn't ideal. I build things up to be not what they are. I get to a place where I am comfortable and everything feels "right" and then I convince myself no change will occur. I get this way about the studio often. I get so relaxed and "used to" the way things are that I dread the graduating of seniors, the discovery of new activities that take away MY girls...just the general ebb and flow of life.
This year I was forced to let go SIX of my all time favorite students and ultimately 6 of my dearest friends. Five seniors and one alumni who chose a different path. Five partings were expected, one was sprung upon me and broke my heart.
I taught 3 of my 5 seniors last year for TEN years. They were some of my original students in high school and I grew to think of them as my own daughters in ways, sisters in ways and best friends in yet other ways. We connected on the level that they fed my need to teach and create and I fed their need for a mentor. We were for many hours and many days a week inseparable. This is a natural bond that develops between many coaches/teachers and students when you are spending 5 hours a night, 3 or 4 nights a week together. You bond covalently. Your atoms meet their atoms and BAM. A brand new element is formed: the element of friendship. I've said it many times, dance friends make the best friends.
This year I lost 6 of my molecules. (Humor me.) I didn't get a choice, I didn't do anything wrong. I had to simply stand by and watch my molecular structure shift. I felt it deep in my core. My world was rocked and not in a good way. I think the hardest part was that I was expected to just smile and be gracious. I didn't want to be gracious. I wanted to scream and be selfish and pull my atoms back in. I wanted to stand up and say NO. There's other ways to do this, you don't have to break this bond we've all made. I am thankful I didn't say how I was truly feeling because I would have lashed out, out of fear and anxiety.
I let go of my seniors, grudgingly, but really rather easily. The others...not so easily. It's so hard to let go, to release into the universe unexpectedly, someone you feel you've invested so much time into. I really care for the person in each of my students and often find myself working to help them find the best versions of themselves. I had to let 2 girls I spent countless hours counseling, helping, praying for go and I had no choice.
The wisdom I gained from a really rough and tumble spring is simple. All I can do is hold on to today. I can't plan the future for anyone but myself and even then it's a gamble. Anger does nothing and selfish thoughts are best kept to one's self. Not everyone is as honest and kind as they look. Sometimes someone you think is on the same page as you is in a completely different book. The best thing I can do is try my hardest to make a difference and just let it be.
The wisest decision I made was keeping my mouth shut. I never spoke a word to anyone at the studio about how I was feeling about any of the above situations. I zipped my lip up tight. I knew no matter what I said, good bad or in between, it would be fodder for the gossip mill and bring nothing but more grief. I wanted things to remain as calm as possible, remember I was pregnant. I worked really hard at keeping my thoughts to myself. I did vent to Dave and my mom, of course. But they are safe. That's the okay place to vent and release.
It played out well to keep my mouth shut. The best way to avoid being misquoted is not to say anything at all. I wasn't letting anyone know (and still no one knows) how I was really feeling each step of the way. No one could run around and gossip about it because I wasn't giving them anything to talk about. Easier said than done, but I did it. Kate Gosselin said it best..."I take the high road because to me, that's the only road."

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Random (full of pictures!)

Just some things on my mind...

1) I am currently breaking my number one mom rule. Trace is sleeping in his swing. Ugh. I will pay for it later but I needed some time to myself.

2) Speaking of Trace...

He's just "popping in" to say...MERRY CHRISTMAS!

3) Rory wants you to know...

that sometimes your hair gets static-y but it's okay. You're still beautiful.

4) They are learning to get along...

Sort of. Note the evil glint in Rory's eye...

5) But it's okay! Because...

Like Buddy the Elf says...SANTA'S COMING! I KNOW HIM!!

I apologize for the crappy phone pictures. My camera is in my car and frankly, I haven't had a second to run out and get it. We got 38 inches of snow (!!!) Monday and Tuesday so that complicated our entire week. Dave worked 14 hours on Tuesday trying to get the schools in his district clear and safe from the snow. It's been a long. long. long. week. Tomorrow Dave has his Lasik surgery...say a prayer!

Monday, December 6, 2010

A straight up mommy blog

The adorable Katie over at Loyal, Loving and Learning wrote this post yesterday and it had me thinking all day. I'm going to write my own take on it.

By the way, if you've never checked out Katie, you should! She's so sweet and has the most beautiful little lady since Rory was born. ;)

Things I never imagined about motherhood: Rory vs Trace

Bottle Feeding
I planned to breast feed, but that was not in the cards. I never really thought I'd be a bottle mommy, but now that I'm here, 19 months since the start, I can't imagine doing it any other way. I do get my feelings hurt quite often by people who are so strongly against bottle feeding and preach so loudly about breast feeding. There is nothing wrong with formula, people. Rory is the perfect example. She's tall, strong, healthy and was quite the little pudge ball until she started walking. :) I anticipate Trace will be the same way, considering he's 6 weeks old today and already gained over 2 pounds since birth.

Sleeping Problems
Rory is a sleeping champ. CHAMP. I used (most of) the principles in Babywise to train her. And YES! It's training! She had to learn. Rory was born May 6 and she slept through the night for the first time on July 3. She's never been a good napper but considering she slept through the night (and I mean 10 hours!) by 9 complaining here. She still isn't a fantastic napper. Right now, it's been an hour and 45 minutes since I put her in her crib and she's already singing and talking in there.
Trace...poor buddy. He has had a terrible time getting his sleep in line because of his ears and his belly. I never imagined when I was pregnant that I would have a tough sleeper this time around. I assumed I would just train him up the way I did Rory. Not the case for my little man. I'm still coming to terms with it and reminding myself that it will get better! I'm still using Babywise because it will work eventually and helps me keep my day organized. (Notice I said I the entire way through...poor Dave has to get up at 2:30 in the morning for work, so he doesn't have much of a role in sleep training right now. He would if he could, but he can't!)

Rory was a thumb sucker. HARD CORE. I was nervous about it, only hearing horror stories about trying to get kids to stop. She stopped on her own last Christmas. She got a terrible cold and just quit. I think the taste of her thumb changed because of her cold or maybe she couldn't breathe well enough out of her nose to suck and breathe at the same time. Who knows. The thing is she quite 100% on her own.
Trace alternates between his thumb/hand and a pacifier. (Binkerton, as I call it. Who knows.) I am so surprised to have a binkie kid. It's also kind of annoying! (haha) I can't keep track of the silly binkies no matter how hard I try.

Asking for Help
I rarely asked for help with Rory. (Dave was working on a golf course at that time, Rory was born in May. You figure out how much time the poor guy had to help! He changed jobs in June of that year and it's been the biggest answer to prayer EVER.) I tried to do it all on my own too much. I was beyond exhausted, overworked, stressed out and on edge. All. the. time. I was embarrassed to admit I needed help (why?!) and scared to ask people to help me out.
If you knew my parents and my in-laws, you'd know they'd be more than thrilled to help out whenver they can and I needed it! I have no idea why I was so nervous to admit I needed help with Rory. Even just someone to come hang out here with me so I could get things done around the house...I didn't do it. I tackled it on my own and it resulted in anger between me and Dave and more stress on my shoulders.
I wised up with Trace! I ask for help when I need it. I insist that Dave take some of the night shift on the weekends when he's home. (He doesn't mind!) I let my mom take the kids overnight last week so I could actually sleep. I accepted meals from friends, let my assistants at the studio actually DO things, got help with costumes...I went from 100% self sufficient to 85% and it felt WONDERFUL. I am better able to enjoy my kids because I know I am not standing on the branch alone.

Post Partum Depression
I am a PPD patient. I actually deal with clinical depression, caused by a chemical imbalance, every day of every year. I was diagnosed 6 years ago. Being pregnant and the resulting emotional let down post-delivery aggravated my depression with Rory something FIERCE. I was crying more often than not, I was irrationally emotional. I eventually had to get my perscription altered and amped up some until I was able to get a grip then I could resume my normal coping mechanisms.
With Trace, I saw it coming. I felt the emotions creeping up on me like a shadow. The anxiety, the fears, the irrationality of it all...I felt it. I stopped it. I talked to the doctor and we took care of it before it became an issue. Because of this, my recovery and post-partum time has been so much better this time around!
That being said, I encourage ALL women to be up front with their doctor regarding their emotions before, during and after pregnancy. PPD doesn't always result in medicine, though in my case it did, there's tons of things you can do to help deal with your emotions and keep yourself sane. Talk before it gets worse! Even if you are technically depressed or diagnosed PPD, the coping mechanisms can be used in every day life. (Interestingly, blogging/journaling is highly recommended!)

I'm blessed and I know it. Two different kids, two different paths. No two days are ever the same and I wouldn't change it for anything.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Calling all Colic/Reflux Mommies...

Okay, here's the deal. Trace is NOT diagnosed with either colic or reflux issues. He currently has an ear infection, which is complicating his digestion issues. We can't get an accurate diagnosis (just fussy, lactose intolerant, colic, acid reflux, etc) until his ears clear up and we can get a good grasp on just how bad the gas issues are. I'm not nearly as overwhelmed now with the whole situation. It doesn't feel as desperate and scary, knowing that we will figure it out. Yes, I know there's not much we can do, especially if he is indeed colic, but identifying the problem and knowing that it will pass is so comforting.

I'm looking for suggestions on gear that helped out other babies, colic or not, settle down. Trace doesn't like his crib at nap time. He does great in there at night, but not during naps. Fine, he'll sleep in there for his naps eventually but for right now it's much more important that he SLEEP and settle down, let his belly relax and give himself (and me!) a little break.

Any suggestions on comfy bouncers or cradles? We have a swing, which he likes okay. We have a bouncy chair but it's not very cozy, certainly not for sleeping for an entire nap in.

I'm also looking for any and all tips on settling down a colic baby. (Even if he isn't "technically" colic, he is certainly presenting all the symptoms!) I know there's no medicine or cure for colic, but there are techniques and that's what I need to learn about!

Help a (tired, worn out, headache-d) Mom out!

Friday, December 3, 2010

12 Days of Christmas: Day 11

Day 11: New Year's Resolutions

I don't usually make New Year's Resolutions, but this year I have three.

1) Finish losing weight! Yuck. I can't even talk about it I'm so disgusted with myself lately. (We call that the post baby body blues around here.) Soon enough it will be better though! Slow and steady.

2) Increase my savings every month

3) Work every day to be a better mom and wife.

I guess my resolutions aren't really resolutions, they are more goals. I'm not resolving to quit smoking or anything, I'm just setting what are (hopefully) attainable goals.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Reverb10 day 2

Today's prompt is as follows:

December 2 Writing.
What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?
(Author: Leo Babauta)

I am a writer at heart. I love to write. I toyed with the idea of being an English major for a long time, because of my love of literature and writing. I wanted to be an English teacher so I could (hopefully) inspire some others to write and read. (Not to mention, I had some serious kickin' English teachers in high school myself!) I ultimately didn't go that route because teaching dance is more natural to me.

Why did I stop writing? I have no idea. For the longest time, I wrote every day. Something at least. Poetry, prose, short stories, half a dozen starts on novels, children's literature, name it, I wrote it. I especially enjoyed writing children's books and plays. I stopped writing because...well I have no idea. I need to write. I need to relax and purge my thoughts and emotions on to the page.

What's hindering my writing? I could claim life as my scapegoat, but everyone has a life. I'm quite certain that JK Rowling had a life while writing "Harry Potter." If my memory serves me, she had a child and at least one job. That's life, baby.

Life. No longer an excuse.

I can't eliminate my life grind. What I can do is carve out time specifically each day, every other day even, and devote it back to writing. Something specifically for myself would be really great right about now.

12 Days of Christmas: Day 10

Favorite Christmas Song

I can not for the life of me pick just one song, so I will list some of my favorites. Some of them are from my show choir days, so they are kinda obscure.

1. Do You Hear What I Hear?
2. Away in a Manger
3. Issay Issay
4. Dona Nobis Pacem (The Peace Carol)
5. Michael W. Smith's version of Jingle Bells
6. White Christmas
7. The French Carol (The real name is slipping my mind and I apologize!)
8. African Noel
9. Breath of Heaven
10. Mary Did You Know?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Reverb 10: Day 1

A BIG thanks to Kelly for blogging this today. I'm really excited about this challenge. I think it will be cathartic, for sure.

December 1 One Word.
Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?
(Author: Gwen Bell)

2010: Challenging.

I almost feel like choosing Challenging is a cop out. But I was challenged in so many ways. The year started off great, a trip to Disney with Dave. I came back with a little souvenir that wasn't delivered until October 25th. (Get it? hehe) Pregnancy was always challenging for me. I got sick, I was in pain, I had heart rate issues, breathing issues...challenge. I inadvertently lost a very good friend in the spring and had some major changes to the studio that I didn't see coming or do anything to deserve. CHALLENGE. There was of course all the usual challenges of my job, complicated by the sucky economy. Trace was born and I'm exhausted. Did I mention he's colic? Yep. Challenge. I'll make it through, though. I have to. I rise to challenges because that's what I was raised to do. I grew a lot this year and I'm pretty proud that in the end, I can look back and know without a doubt that I kept my mouth shut when I needed to and stood up for myself when I needed to. Thank the Lord!

2011: Inner Peace
I'm not crazy, I know there will be tons of challenges to meet in 2011. I would like to get through it all with my inner peace in tact. I want to remember that it's all a part of God's plan, not mine, and it will all work out exactly how it's supposed to, regardless of how I feel.


Trace is a mystery to me. I have no idea how to pacify him. He cries. All. the. time. At first it was just in the evening, when Dave was home. The last few days though, it's become 75% of his wake time is crying. Not just whimpering or whining, full on bawling. I feed him on schedule and he's hungry on schedule. (I've tried extra formula, just to be sure.) He won't nap because he's too busy screaming. I figured he'd eventually wind himself down so I sit in the recliner and rock and sing to him and all the while he screams.

It was so bad on Monday night, I had to call and beg my mom to come down and try to settle him down. She did and it took her about 45 minutes to get him calm. After she left, he whimpered for about another hour before he finally fell asleep. At least it wasn't screaming.

I asked the pediatrician about it on Monday and we have Trace on gentle formula now plus 2 ounces of diluted apple juice once in the evening to ease his constipation-like symptoms. It seemed to help yesterday evening, he umm...went to the bathroom? 10 minutes after the apple juice and was much more pleasant the rest of the evening. But then this morning the vicious cycle began again. All morning, it was screaming. At the moment, he is (finally) sleeping in his swing. I don't usually let him sleep in his swing, but he's not screaming and that's a blessing. (With Rory, once I let her sleep in her swing or chair, that's the only place she wanted to sleep. It was crib or nothing for that kid!)

Please pray for us. For me. For Trace. I can't take many more days of the constant screaming. I'm at a loss for what to do and my head hurts so bad. I have to work, I have to clean, I have to cook dinner, I have to take care of Rory and all I have been able to do is hold a screaming infant all day long until I have to go to work.

Heaven help me.

12 Days of Christmas: Day 9

Favorite Holiday Recipe

I *love* to cook and bake. I really do, especially around the holidays. The last few years, I've been making cookie trays and plates to give to friends and my assistants at the studio as gifts. (I'm also really into making cookie mixes in a jar this year! More on that on another day...)

My favorite recipes are as follows...

Oreo Balls

1 package of Oreos
1 8 oz block of cream cheese (Whipped in a tub works great too!)
1 bag of chocolate chips (Have oleo on hand to help with the melting)
Assorted toppings

Crush up Oreos. Mix with cream cheese. Form mixture into bite sized balls. Put the Oreo balls on a cookie sheet. Let rest in fridge for a half an hour or so, to firm up. Melt chocolate chips in a saucepan with a little oleo. (I guess you could use that chocolate that comes in a tub for melting, but I bet it's way more expensive.) Dip balls in the melted chocolate and put back on cookie sheet. While chocolate is still melt-y on the balls, you can add sprinkles, chopped nuts, peppermint (my fave!), whatever you little heart desires! You can also wait until the chocolate hardens and drizzle with melted white chocolate. After the dip and decorate process, put cookies sheet of Oreo Ball Deliciousness back in fridge or freezer to harden. Store in a tupperware container. Easy! Quick! Cheap! Delish! Always a crowd pleaser.

Carrot Casserole

1 pound of carrots (I always buy 2-3 pounds, because this is a huge hit with my family. Also, buy regular carrots not baby. You're chopping these suckers up anyways, and long carrots are seriously half the price of baby!)
8 oz of Velveeta (Again, buy extra for more carrots. It's not an exact science.)
1 can of cream of celery soup (I don't usually add more of this, because it's hard to add an extra half of a can. ha!)
Cheddar French's Onions

Chop up carrots into bite sized pieces. Saute them until al dente on stove top. (Once in a pinch I used canned carrots and skipped this process. Turned out just fine, but the old fashioned way is better!) Once carrots are soft, pour them into a casserole dish. Melt the velveeta on the stove with a "glub" of milk, as my mom would say. It's just enough milk to help the cheese melt and become creamy. Start with too little and add more. Once cheese is melted, add in soup and combine. Add in dill. (A few's more to taste than anything!) Pour mixture over carrots and stir gently. Bake uncovered at 350 for an 50-60 minutes. Top with Cheddar Onions.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

12 Days of Christmas: Day 8

It's Day 8 of the 12 Days of Christmas Challenge and today's topic is...
Least Favorite Thing About the Holidays

Hmmm...this one required some serious thinking on my part. I guess what I don't like is the let down after the holidays. You know, that weird feeling when the excitement is over and the family has left town. It's time to put away the decorations and plow through three or four more months of bland and blah winter. I consider myself lucky because I extend the holiday season to include my birthday (January 5th! :)). If I wanted to, I could even include Dave's on January 26th. That helps with the post Hallow-Thanks-Christmas Madness of Oct/Nov/Dec. (And next year, we'll have a birthday thrown in there too for Trace!)

Yep, that's my answer. I don't like the let down when the holidays are over. In fact, I'm feeling that way a little bit now. But there's always something to look forward to, it's just a matter of picking it out! :)

Monday, November 29, 2010

12 Days of Christmas: Day 7

Day 7: Holiday Craft/DIY

Ho ho ho...I suck at crafts! Well that's not entirely true. If you know me, you know I can't scrapbook to save my life. Seriously, it's a disaster. I am okay at some other stuff, but really...not so hot. I am not artistic in that arena. I could choreograph you a great Christmas dance though! :)

I do have a DIY decorating tip, because I love to decorate my tiny baby sized house. I am far from an expert, so this is my little tree cheat. (ha!)

Ribbon on the tree. I love this look but I never knew quite how to get the ribbon to fall nicely from the top of the tree. I figured it out last year! I attached the ends to the inside of the angel. Super easy and it holds the ends in place so I can arrange the long parts down the tree how I would like.

(Imagine a picture here of my really cute purple and gold tree...can't put it up until Dave digs my 4 totes of Christmas decs out of the abyss in the basement. UGH.)

Hmmm...I'm sure I have more I just can't see my decorations so it's hard to remember. A lot has happened since we last put them up!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

12 Days of Christmas: Days 4 and 5

I missed Day 4, because well...I have an 18 month old and a 1 month old, family in town on both sides and a husband who was gone last night and all day today at the Penn State game. I'm also a little crabby and a whole lot of stressed. So. Yep. Missed Day 4 on actual Day 4. I'm not going to go in to a big late Day 4 post, just make a budget and do your best to stick to it! That's what I do! I'll put money in an envelope for each person and stick to that amount. Easy.

Day 5: Favorite Christmas Movie

I have a tie...

The best way to spread Christmas Cheer is singing loud for all to hear!!


Oh how I love this movie! Will Ferrel is so fantastic in this one. He's adorable and endearing, humorous and generally awesome. I've been known to watch this movie in the spring and summer too...:) I may or may not have just watched it last night. (Thanks USA, for playing it all weekend!)

And who doesn't want their house decorated to look like Buddy does his dad's? :)

My tie-for-first favorite...

This movie was a staple of my childhood. I know all the songs, all the' just plain awesome. Nothing like a vintage Bing Crosby movie to get you in the holiday spirit!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I Wanna Be a Rockette

I have wanted to be a Rockette my ENTIRE life. It's a big tradition in my family to watch the Macy's Parade every Thanksgiving. When I was little, I'd try to follow along with the Rockettes performances. I've seen them live 4 times, one year I saw them twice in 3 weeks. I danced the Rockette Experience on my 17th birthday. I'm a little bit obsessed to say the least.

Yet. Not much can be done when you are only 5'5. You have to be 5'7, barefoot and without question, to qualify to audition. That's a sad fact that I have had to come to terms with. ;) I'm not tall, I'll never be tall. I've satisfied myself with turning my dancers into mini-Rockettes and live happily knowing at least 2 of my students plan to audition for the big show when they are old enough! I live vicariously through them.

Those were the days!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Day 3!

Best/Most Meaningful Gift

Today's theme in the 12 Days of Christmas Bloghop is best/most meaningful gift. This is a super fun one, I think! I read through Kelly's over at Kelly and Co this morning and it brought back so many memories. (Thanks, Kelly, for posting it first thing. I don't think my memory would have woken up without reading yours! :))

Confession, before I begin. I am sure some of these presents were Chelsea's, I just can't remember. I am POSITIVE if she ever reads this, she'll chime in with what was hers. :)

The first awesome present I remember getting was this one...

A Talking Mother Goose! She had a little gosling with her named Bertrum. She was a lot like Teddy Ruxpin, except clearly she was Mother Goose and told nursery rhymes and fairy tales. I was beyond obsessed with my Mother Goose! I used her for years. I wish I still had her, Rory would love it!

Along those same lines, one year Chels or I got these videos in our stockings...

These were the GREATEST Mother Goose videos. They were real people and animatronics. We watched them every day for years. Bertrum always wanted stuffed peppers and rutabagas in every episode. Oh they were awesome.

Every year, Santa brought Chels and I Holiday Barbie. They started the series in 1988. I got my first one in 1990, according to the timeline I found online. I have every one from 1990 to 2003. You better believe Santa brought Rory one last year and it's on her list for him this year. :)

One year, one of us got a playhouse a LOT like this, only ours was pink, purple and yellow. It was set up in the living room when we woke up on Christmas morning. It was *fantastic* and got years of use.

Didn't every girl my age want an American Girl Doll?? My friend Katie was so lucky, she had THREE! :) I had Felicity and Chels had Molly. Felicity was beautiful and also had the best books, I thought. I'm excited for the day I can get Rory her own American Girl doll. (Sad news, Felicity has been retired! Well I guess that makes sense, she's probably 20 years old. Yikes.)

More recently, my parents have gone above and beyond when giving me gifts. The last two years have been amaaaazing.
First this baby...

My beloved Nikon d40. I use it every day and it is amazing. :)

And this little beauty!

Oh how I love my KitchenAide and long for the day I will be able to have a big kitchen so I can cook more.

Christmas was always so wonderful in my house growing up. It was never the quantity of presents that mattered to Chels and I, but the fact that my parents took such care to pick out perfect things that THRILLED us. I use that same philosophy picking out gifts for my family. Memories over monetary value, people. :)

Happy Thanksgiving!! Link up in the Blog Challenge!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

12 Days of Christmas: Day 2

Black Friday/Shopping Tips

I am scared of Black Friday. Seriously the whole idea intimidates me! (haha) I don't do Black Friday. I do take advantage of the online sales though, from the comfort of my couch with a nice cup of coffee and a Christmas movie. :)

Dave *LOVES* Black Friday, though. Odd, isn't it?? He likes to go with his friend, Jason. They are all about it, scooping out the best deals and getting there majorly early. Personally, I think they are nuts. :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Marcel the Shell

This is the cutest thing I've ever seen. Watch it, it will make you smile! :)

One time, I looked at a diamond and I got a sunburn.

12 Day of Christmas Blog Challenge!

I am so so so excited for this! I stumbled on it last week sometime and today I noticed it all over my news feed. Yay! I *love* the holidays and this gives me something to look forward to.

Christmas Traditions

Well this is interesting. Before I start, I have to tell you the truth. Dave hate holidays. HATES THEM. He gets in a terrible mood about the whole thing. Now, I am not speaking badly of him, he'll fully admit he hate holidays and gets crabby about them for no reason. His reason is he doesn't understand all the extra "work" that goes in to holidays when it's just another day. I get that, except that he doesn't really have any extra work to do...but that's another blog for another day! The reason I tell you this is because our little family of two nope three nope FOUR! has no real traditions yet. I'm hoping we'll start some this year but who knows.

My family on the other hand...
Christmas Eve is dinner at my mom's. It's always perogies, ham and coleslaw. We are Polish and this is our nod to our heritage. My grandpa comes in, the Hemdals, all of us that live close. Then we go to the family service at church. After that, everyone heads home and puts out cookies and milk for Santa and reindeer food on the front lawn! :)

During the night, our stockings are delivered by the Big Man to the bottom of our beds. Everything inside is wrapped in Santa's signature paper.

On Christmas morning, we do stockings first, then tree presents. After tree presents, we head up to my parents for presents and coffee. Some years we eat breakfast there, other years Dave and I host brunch at our house. This year we'll be eating at my mom's.

After that, we go to Dave's grandparents' house for Christmas dinner and hang out there for a while.

Of course, Christmas wouldn't be complete without my Uncle Barry telling me he shot Rudolph. :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Best Time of Your Life

I had a dream about college the other night and I woke up in tears. Last night I saw my very first friend, his wife and their beautiful son for the first time and I cried when I got home. I've been missing my "old friends" so much lately. (Not that my friends right now aren't fantastic! :)) It got me thinking...

Why is that everyone tells you high school is the best time of your life? College? Being Newlywed? Having a new baby? It seems that each milestone you hit is supposed to be the best time of your life.

This is false. EVERY MOMENT should be the best time of your life. Even when Rory is screaming her head off like a howler monkey and Trace is sobbing, it's the best time of my life because I'll never ever have that moment back. In a few years, I'll be sitting here in the quiet of my house again with both kids in school and wishing for a few more days of chaos. Yes, this time of my life is hectic and beyond exhausting, but it's the best time of my life.

College was the best time of my life. I found myself. I healed. I learned and most importantly, going to college allowed me to come home.

(I can't wait to be skinny again! That doesn't even look like me!)

High School was the best time of my life. I made my three best friends. I learned so much about myself, the world, especially dance. I let people walk all over me and apologized for things I had nothing to do with. Why do I consider this the best time of my life? Because it was the best (and last!) time I didn't stand up for myself when necessary. It was the best time I was ever a coward and it won't happen again!

Sure, maybe I do have my rose colored glasses on today and maybe this is all a result of no sleep and too much stress. I don't care. I'm trying so hard to be positive and look back and forward with a smile. Life is so short.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

WBoM Wednesday

{one} what time do you normally wake up?
Well that depends. Before Trace was born, I got up between 7:30 and 8 every day. Now with him, I am up between 1:00 and 2:00 am and then again around 6:00 am. Then I get up around 8:15-8:30 for the day.


{two} do you have a go-to song for karaoke?
I don't sing. Only in the car!

{three} if you could only see black and white except for one color, what color would you choose to see?
Definitely yellow! Sunny and beautiful. :)

{four} what color best matches your personality?
Hmmm...That's tough! I think I would say white. I'm complex and simple at the same time.

{five} if you could choose one meal to cook better than anyone else, what would it be?
Oh another tough one!! I think I'd like to be able to cook Mexican food.

{six} how many keys do you have on your key ring?
Ohhh wayyyy tooooo maaaannnnyy! 4 for the studio (Front door, back door, 2 to the inside door), 2 for the money box, front door to the house, back door to the house, my car, Dave's car, my mom's house, my car starter and dave's car starter, a Disney lanyard since I loose my keys daily, a bottle opener and a dance key chain.


That's like hoarders for keys!

{seven} do you give your pets birthday/christmas gifts?
We do for Christmas! Millie gets her own "stocking" with a couple new toys and some bones in it. She needs new toys every so often so Christmas seems to be a good excuse. :) We don't do her birthday, mostly because we never remember.

{eight} when your plate has different foods on it, do you mix or not?
Well on Holidays, my food mixes and I don't mind at all. I guess I really don't mind either way. It's all going to the same place!

{nine} if you could hire someone to do one thing for you all the time, what would it be?
I wish I had the money in the business to hire a business manager/accounntant for sure!! Someday, someday.

{ten} when flying, do you prefer the window or aisle seat?
I really don't care! We need three seats now so we take up the whole row. Aisle, middle or window...whichever! Soon we will need 4 seats sooo...probably the middle because the kids will want the windows, I'm sure.

Join in by clicking on the logo up top!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

So long, Sucker!

(Image from Google Images. They cited the source as Ginny @ That's Church! :))


Christmas came early in the Undercoffer household. My least favorite Steelers play, the blemish on my Steelers skin, has finally sealed his own fate. When he bashed the heck out of a Sheetz paper towel dispenser? Nah. When he offered to fight the police in defense of Matt Spaeth (who by the way was breaking the law!)? Not then! Naked picture? Scandalous Vegas pool party pics? Basically being a shady gnome of a human being? NOPE!

Jeff Reed wasn't always a creepy looking man. Before he got all fat and weird, he was a decent looking guy. Kinda short, super muscley legs, but overall just fine. (I think I just described myself!) He was a great consistent kicker until this year. That doesn't cut it in Pgh. Willie Parker (oh the hotness!) had a bad half of a season and his butt got kicked to the curb too. It's fair.

Last season, according to, Mr. Reed was the most accurate kicker in the league, boasting an 88% success rate.

Sunday he missed a 26 yarder.

Na na na na na na...hey hey GOODBYE!!

Randoms on the I don't forget!

Maternity "leave" is over for this Mama! I put "leave" in quotes because well...I was off 3 weeks. One of those weeks the studio was closed entirely. The last two, I went in every day to turn on the heat, do some office work. On Wednesdays, I went in and taught 4 hours...So leave is a loose word. (haha) I never really left! You don't have that luxury when you own the business. No owner? No money! I am very thankful I have amazing assistants and fellow teachers that covered for me for two weeks.

Part of me would like more time off, to just hang out with the kids and be home. But a much larger part of me was craving the studio. Last night was really nice for me. It's the first time in 10 months I have been dancing and not pregnant. Everything felt better and my choreography was definitely better. That's a nice feeling. I was doubting myself there for a while.

Trace is three weeks old! Holy moly! He'll be a month old on Thanksgiving. Excuse me, where did that month go?! I highly recommend having a baby during the holiday season because it makes time FLY by even faster than usual. The long nights fly by. I keep reminding myself that by Christmas, he'll be going 7-8 hours a night, no problem and by Dave's birthday at the end of January, it'll be 10-11 hours. He's already eating at 9, sleeping until 1:30 or 2, eating then, sleeping until 6, eating then sleeping until 8:30 or 9! That's really and truly only waking up one time a night. It's two, because I go back to bed after he eats at 6 (especially now that I'm back to work), but really it's only one! Crazy!! At his two week appointment, he weighed 9 lbs 9 oz and was 21.5 inches long.

Rory is 18 months old. That really blows my mind. She is such a mini-kid now. Talks a mile a minute (mostly gibberish) but every once a while, she'll look at me and spout off a whole sentence. Yesterday, the dog sneezed and Rory said (unprompted) Bless You! It melted my heart. :) She's going to start potty training in January because she hates her diapers. At her 18 month well child visit, she weighed 23 pounds and is 32 inches tall. She's weighed 23 pounds since her 12 month visit! Rory has one more shot in December and then NONE until Kindergarten!! She's growing right up, that's for sure. :)

Enjoy your Tuesday! We are being bums today. It's cold and looks like rain...we're just hanging out and watching dance recitals. :) Thanksgiving is coming!!! YAYYYY!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Oh, Mama M, how I love 5QF!! And don't forget! She's hosting a Holiday Gift Blog Hop every Monday. This Monday coming up is themed "Mature Man Gifts." I am very much looking forward to this, hoping to steal some ideas for Dad and Dave. :)

On with the show!

1. What is the most physically painful thing that has ever happened to you?
That's a really tough question. I've had 2 c-sections in 18 months. My second pregnancy was entirely painful, mostly due to the fact that my body hadn't healed enough from Rory to carry Trace well. Pregnancy isn't easy for me in the first place and I compounded the interest, so to speak, and ended up a hobbling mess of a woman. (haha) But aside from child bearing/birth...

Definitely when I sliced my hand WIDE open on a window. I was trying to close a window in my parents' house and it was stuck. I was determined to do it myself for some reason (I was 19!) and stood on a stool to try and press it down. Well it came down. Hard. It shattered the top pane of glass and I flew backwards off the stool, swiping my hand through the shards on the way down. I almost lost my pinkie! That pinkie still gets really sore in the cold weather and I have to force it straight some days. My entire arm bruised as a result of it! 15 internal stitches and 10 external later, I survived. And learned a lesson: Wait for Dad to help! haha

2. How much sleep do you get at night?
Uhh...ask me again in 4 weeks. Trace isn't evevn 3 weeks old for goodness sakes. Last night it was two sets of 2.5 hours and one set of 3.5. Which is PLENTY of sleep, except that I sleep so fitfully because I'm worried about Trace that it doesn't do me much good. But I will survive! BABYWISE.

3. Question 3 has been removed because I won't answer it. If you are curious, head over to Mama M and check her answer out. I will just tell you that I believe 100% and always will. So will my children!

4. What was the last movie you saw in a theater?
Toy Story 3. We don't get out a whole lot in this household. (haha) We will go to see Harry Potter (!!!! I just geeked out !!!!!) over Thanksgiving, though, and I'm sure we'll take Rory to see Tangled eventually.

5. What do you wear to bed?
In the summer or when I am too hot, I always wear these awesome comfy black maternity shorts (it's okay, it's just bed time!) and a t-shirt or tank top. In the winter, I wear pajama pants and a long sleeved t-shirt. Sometimes I wear a t-shirt and a hoodie. I also *love* to sleep with socks on but usually kick them off at night.

Join in!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I have a problem. I've been eyeing up a bunch of books I want to get Rory and Trace for Christmas. I'm super cheap, so I put them in my Amazon cart and never actually purchased them. I was planning to, but I didn't. Today I decided to research them on Ebay.


I got 7 David Shannon books for 23 dollars, including shipping. That's like 3 dollars a book and 4 of them are hard cover. That's a good looking deal to me! :)

That got me thinking.

Are there lots of Tomie DePaola books? Rory would love Big Anthony!


How about Robert Munsch?

Max Lucado?

Berenstein Bears?

On and on and on I searched...

And the answer was YES. To every author I could think of.

It's a good thing I'm super cheap or else there'd be pounds upon pounds of books arriving on my doorstep over the next few weeks.

The good news is, though, I won't be paying full price for books for the kids for a super long time. Our possibilities are endless for expanding their libraries. Thanks, Ebay, for feeding my kiddo's literary addiction.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Girl Talk Blog Hop

I'm linking up with Girl Talk for the Blog Hop Today! If you have never read Girl Talk, you really should!! My sister-in-law Laura and her friend moderate the site and it's filled with Girls Only topics: health stuff, pregnancy, babies, marriage, relatives, anything you can think of. They often have guests bloggers and it's always really interesting! Check it out by clicking the link above! And Blog Hop!!

This week's question: If you had $500 and 24 hours to spend it, how would you do it?? It must be spent entirely on yourself!

Confession. I am CHEAP. Super cheap. When it comes to buying things for myself, I just don't do it. I like to spend money on others, especially my family!, but I hate spending money on myself. For example, in AUGUST my laptop screen bit the dust. Instead of buying a new laptop, I jury rigged a desktop screen so I didn't have to buy a new laptop. (haha oh my goodness that's kind of embarrassing to admit!) But if it had been Rory's computer or Trace's...well I would have ordered them one that day! I'm a cheapskate and proud of it!

But if I HAD to spend this money on myself, I know what I would get!

1) A Kindle. I am very much jealous of my student Makayla who has a Kindle. It's beautiful. I *love* to read and this would make my life so much eaiser. It would fit nicely in my purse and entertain me for hours.

(Image from HERE)
That's $140. So...$360 to go!

2) Tickets to a Steelers game! That'd easily take the rest of the $360. I'd get club level tickets for Dave and myself. That'd be a dream come true, for sure! We've been to a couple games, but never in really nice seats. (Except pre-season) It'd be a great season to go, that's for sure!

Too bad that guy ^^ wouldn't be around for me to drool over anymore. Miss you, Willie Parker! The janitor job at Studio K is still available for you, since you know, no team wants you as their running back...I'm just saying.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Holiday Gift Guide: Hidden Gems of Children's Lit


Mama M is hosting a 7 week long Holiday Gift Guide. Once a week, she's blog hopping for us with everyone's ideas on different topics. I am totally joining in because I like to discover the perfect gift! :)

This week's theme: Hidden Gems in Children's Literature

I am going to give you a few of mine and Rory's favorite books to read. Trace and I have yet to develop favorite books, but maybe next year. :)

Disclaimer: All pictures from Google Images because I am way too exhausted to go dig out these books and take my own pictures of them. I thank you.

Dance, Tanya by Patricia Lee Gauch
Oh how I love the Tanya books! This is my favorite. It's about a little girl who dances in her own world, all the time. She longs to take class but she is too little. The illustrations are beautiful and the story makes me cry. (This could be because I think about Rory dancing though...:)) It's a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful tale about dreaming and letting your imagination run (dance!) wild.

The Peekaboo Books
These books are perfection. Rory loves them because she can open the flaps by herself so easily. She is entertained for hours (okay mintues) by these books and loves to open each flap and yell BABY! They are fantastic for fine motor skills and independent play skills. There's a huge variety of them. We have a Christmas one, a farm one, a dress up one, an animal one, a sunny day one...and I do believe more will be arriving at our house on December 25th. :)

The Shoe Books by Noel Streatfield
Ballet Shoes, Dancing Shoes, Theater Shoes and Skating loves! Rory hasn't read these yet, but she will. I fell in love with these books in 5th grade and I read each of them once a year. They are sort of hard to find, it takes some digging. (Check Amazon!) But they are so worth it. Streatfield writes in such a way that every girl who reads them will be captivated. They are chapter books, so they encourage longer reading attention spans, and they are wonderful from cover to cover. Ballet Shoes is my personal favorite, but they are all wonderful. Hold the phone!! I just checked Amazon and it seems ALL the Shoe Books have been reprinted and are readily available. Wooooohoooo! Rory will be getting a set for Christmas, even though she won't be able to read them for...10 years. haha

Honorable Mentions...
Love You Forever by Robert Munsch
Yes! by...? I can't find it online. Sorrrrry. :(
No David! by David Shannon
The Stinky Cheeseman and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst and Ray Cruz
Strega Nona by Tomie DePaola
The Paperbag Princess by Robert Munsch
How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long and David Shannon
A Bad Case of the Stripes by David Shannon

Clearly, I am a HUGE Robert Munsch and David Shannon fan. :)

What are you kids' favorite books?! Share! Rory is OBSESSED with reading and I want to build her library as big as possible. Nothing better than books!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Things I am Thankful for Today!

Today, our hot water tank broke. It flooded out our basement. Let me just tell you about my basement. Three-quarters are finished, carpeted, tv, sitting areas, etc. One-quarter is unfinished. This side we use for storage, the washer and dryer, etc. The hot water tank was, obviously, on that side. It cracked or leaked or something, sometime between 1:30 this morning and 7:00. (Easy to figure out because we use hot water for Trace's bottles and it couldn't have been empty when we went to make one! haha)

It leaked. Nope. Not leaked. FLOODED the unfinished side of the basement and the finished side. There's a good five feet all around the finished side that is soaked beyond belief. The carpet is...done-zo. There's no salvaging it.

But! God is gooooood! Our insurance agent is a great guy and we called him first thing this morning. He is already coming over to file the claim and get the ball rolling to get everything paid for. Did you know that most homeowner's insurance WILL cover water damage that occurred because of a water line break inside the house? For example the line to your dishwasher breaks, washing machine bites the big one or your hot water tank commits suicide in the middle of the night. Thankfully, our insurance will cover the tank and the damages!! We can replace the carpet/put in some sort of new flooring in the basement without worry. This is like an early Christmas present to me! I've been "toying" with the idea of making the basement in to the kids playroom anyways and I'd like an easier surface to clean up, plus the carpet was light blue and showed messes super easy. Replacing it with a tougher carpet or laminate flooring would be ideal. See? Found the silver lining!

Another thing I am thankful for is that we bought this house from my aunt and uncle. They lived here for 15 or 20 years before they built a beautiful new house and we bought this one from them. My Uncle immediately came over with everything we needed to get the situation under control because when they lived here, their basement flooded THREE TIMES! He knows exactly what to do to minimize damage and doesn't mind helping us out. :)

Also, it's a SUNDAY. Imagine if this would have happened on a work day. I don't go to the basement that often, except to get the dog in and out of her crate. I probably wouldn't have noticed the wet floor until Tuesday or Wednesday when I was planning to do laundry. And what the heck would I have done?! I have no idea how to stop a leak like that until Dave could get home from work. Sunday is the perfect day for something like this to happen, thankfully.

Okay. I've found the silver lining to this fiasco a few times over now and I need to go to my mom's to take a shower and feed the kids. Say a prayer for us, it's going to be a loooooong day!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Gratitude Day 5

GCD5: Take 5 minutes and be thankful for what you have in your life at this moment. Don't long for what you don't possess, focus on the blessings you have in your life at this moment.

I like this one! I'm working really hard on living in the moment more. I tend to wish my life away, thinking "when Christmas comes and I get this..." or "by the dance recital, Trace will be doing this..." I end up missing out on the moment I'm in and not be fully thankful for the awesomeness of THIS moment.

I am really thankful for nighttime feedings with Trace. Call me crazy, sure. Yes, I am exhausted. BUT! I also know that I will not have another newborn to stay up with during the night. I won't have the satisfaction of comforting and giving a baby exactly what he needs, when he needs it, ever again the way you do with a newborn. I really believe that the nighttime sessions I spent with Rory are when we bonded the best and I am feeling that connection with Mr. Man already.

I am thankful for my dog, Millie. She's such a lover and always wants everyone to be happy and okay. I appreciate her outlook on life, even though she's "just a dog." When we got her, we asked the breeder to recommend a dog with a sweet personality that would be good with children. He couldn't have picked out a better puppy for us! She's so gentle and caring and the best nap partner I have. :)

I am thankful for my super comfy bed. It's not as big as I would like (Dave is a TERRIBLE bed sharer!) but it is beyond comfy. True, at this moment, I don't get to spend as much time in it as I would like, but those precious hours I am sleeping are delightful.

I am thankful for baby gear, like bouncy seats and swings. Trace is so content to sit in his sit and watch me work and Rory play. At this moment, he is sitting in his seat, sucking on his pacifier and fighting sleep. He's happy as a clam!

I am thankful for the book "Good Night Moon." Rory is so in love with it, she bubbles over with excitement at bed time! Once her jammies are on and her teeth are brushed, she heads right to her room and waits beside the rocking chair for me tp come and read to her. When we get to the page about the "quiet old lady who's whispering hush," she puts her finger to my lips and says hush mama hush! It's such a special moment in our day and I am so thankful!

I liked today. Ordinary things are things I need to be reminded to be thankful for. Have a great weekend!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Gratitude Day 4!

GCD4: Write a "thank you note" to some of the negatives in your life.

Oh this is an excellent challenge for me. I tend to take negative things at face value, deal with them and then not mention them again. This is not good because I keep these negative things in my mind and replay them over and over and over.

Dear Business Work,
I don't like you, this you know. But I appreciate doing you because I am self sufficient. It gives me a sense of accomplishment to have my books come out balanced and know that I am the one responsible for that! Math is not my strong point so learning to own a business has been a challenge to say the least. I am learning every day to be a better business owner and I have you, tedious time consuming no fun work, to thank for that!
The Head of this Operation

Dear Gossip,
Thank you for teaching me to take the high road and keep my mouth shut! I am proud that over the last few years I've learned to stay out of drama as much as possible and not engage in the petty chit chat that is constantly flying around about me. Like Kate Gosselin said, "To me, the high road is the only road." Gossip, as annoying and petty as you are, I appreciate you because if I wasn't doing something right, people wouldn't need to talk about me. As hurtful as you are at times, especially when you come from friends, you are teaching me to be tough skinned and focus on my students, not myself. Gossip, we will never be friends but we aren't enemies anymore.
Did you hear about Miss Kate??

Dear Body Image,
Thank you for reminding me that eating healthy and exercising make me feel better in life, not just as the numbers on the scale go down. I am trying super hard to comes to grips with this new post-2 babies and 3 years of no dancing body I have, but it's tough work. I am learning though new things about cooking, lifestyle and myself that I never would have if I hadn't started hating how I look in the mirror. You are super annoying, body image, but I am going to deal with you head on instead of dodging you. Get ready!
I want my high school body back!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Gratitude Challenge: Day 3

Today I am to write about someone/something I am thankful right at this moment in my life. Easy one!

I am thankful for my mom today. She's the best, seriously. She calls me every morning to check in on everyone and how we all slept. (That's a recent addition to the phone call! haha) She visits as often as she can, runs the studio on Tuesdays for me during my maternity leave and stops up to check on the studio as often as she can. She is amazing. My mom works full time and still manages to make my sister and I feel like the most important people in the world to her. She also brought me a dish of one of my favorite foods ever, Chicken Divan, the other day.

My mom also taught me so much about being a mother and a mommy. They are very different things! She wasn't always the best disciplinarian (Sorry, Mom, but it's true! :)) Dad was much better at that. She held us to our rules, of course, but left the punishments up to Dad! haha She always made (and still does) our house feel so homey and comforting. My mom can throw a party like none other (except perhaps her sister, my Aunt Barb. They are quite a team!) and decorates like Martha Stewart. She is a delicious cook and always manages to run the vacuum and do the laundry every day. In my eyes, she's a wonder woman. :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Gratitude Challenge: Days 1 and 2

This is so perfect for Thanksgiving! Kelly started this a day or so ago, then I noticed it popping up all over my blog feed. I need to join in and count my blessings, for sure.

21 Day Gratitude Challenge...I'm going to do my best to write up each day but let's just say I'm rather unpredictable in my blogging right now! haha I'll get each day done but maybe not in 21 days.

Day 1 is merely a commitment to do the challenge. Yep, I can do that.

Day 2: Use the Alphabet as a guide to list one thing you are thankful for per letter. Fun! Okay!

A: America I totally stole this from Kelly, but it's true. I'm extremely grateful for the country we live in. Even though I've never agreed completely with ANY politician, it's such a joy and PRIVILEGE to vote and choose our leaders. Even when the person I vote for "loses," I still spoke my mind. I go to the polls safely without worry. The worst I might encounter is someone outside asking me to answer a poll or some (really terribly) annoying commercials and phone calls. No fear, though, and that's invaluable. I spent some time in Russia in 10th grade and ever since then...I appreciate my country SO MUCH MORE!!

B: Books
Rory is addicted to reading. Absolutely 100% addicted. This is really funny to me because when she was a baby, she hated being read to. She'd scream and cry. I was so worried she'd never like to read books, but this is not the case! At the moment, she is sitting in the rocking chair in her room reading "Good Night Moon" to herself for the 100th time this morning. :) I also *love* to read anything I can get my hands on.
Second Runner Up: Ballet!

C: Chelsea
My sister and my best friend. God really broke the mold with her and I am so thankful! :)
Second Runner Up: Cousins! (Specifically Connor and Kaarina, for all their help with Rory and Trace! :))

D: Dad
I have the BEST dad in the world. He is so kind and caring. He's beyond smart and knows EVERYTHING. He cracks us up all the time and I know no matter what problem I am facing, he'll help me figure out a solution. He doesn't "fix" my problems but he guides, teaches and is my sounding wall when I have an idea.
Second Runner Up: DANCE!! OF COURSE!! :)

E: Effort
I am thankful for my students who put in 100% effort in class even when I'm not there and they have a sub. Kickline ROCKS!!

F: Family
I think this goes without saying. :)

G: Gilmore Girls
I watch one episode every night when I am feeding Trace. This show is my happy show.

H: Holidays
The Holidays make time go so fast and in this crazy, exhausting time of my life, I can use the days going faster. Makes it easier to see the light at the end of the tunnel...or my bed for longer than 4 hours at a time. :)

I: Intelligence
I am so thankful that God gave me a brain to use and expand every day. Intelligence is such a gift and we owe it to God to learn and teach as much as possible!

J: June
My favorite month because it always has the DANCE RECITAL!!

K: Kappa
Dear Old KKG. I wouldn't be the person I am today without Kappa. I am so thankful every day for those girls and those traditions. <3

L: Love
So much love flying around lately! Doesn't get much better than that.

M: Music
Music is always playing in this house! We love to get our groove on. :)

N: Newborns
I'm just's pretty nice to cuddle my little man. It's also exciting to look forward to NOT having a newborn anymore and moving on with our family. I hope that makes sense!

O: Olive Garden
Do I really need to explain this?!

P: Puppy
Millie isn't really a puppy anymore, she'll be 4 in the spring. But she's the closest thing I've got and I am so thankful for her. She's my tried and true companion. She always wants to be right beside me.

Q: Quick Meals
Hello I have an 18 month old and an 11 day old.

R: Rory!
My first and only daughter. She is mini-me, for sure and I love her more every day.

S: Studio K
My kids are the best! Every day at my job is different and exciting. God is good and blessing me! If there's one thing I've learned from owning the studio, it's that taking the high road isn't easy, but it pays off 10 fold. Keep your mouth SHUT and you can't be misquoted.

T: Trace!
11 days of awesome. :)

U: Umbrellas
Well of course on days like today!

V: Visa
My Visa debit card makes me life so much easier. Ordering things online is like a dream instead of dragging Rory around to the store all the time. Trace could care less, but Rory is kind of a budge in stores sometimes. :) V was difficult!!

W: Walking
I LOVE to walk. Next week it's supposed to be in the 60's a few days and I can't wait to get the kids out for a nice long walk.

X: X-rays
Dancer + Foot Injuries = <3 of X-rays

Y: Yellow
My favorite color!

Z: Zoo
We had the nicest day with Rory at the Zoo right before Trace was born. I'll never ever forget that day. :)