Saturday, August 13, 2016

Dance, and Other Extracurricular Activities

Our city has an award-winning parks and recreation department. Prior to having children I took an art class (with a teacher who didn't appreciate my lack of artistic ability experience), and a dog-training class. I was in way over my head with that one. I had two, large, kind of dumb/but sweet dogs at that point. They didn't make me look good. I'll just leave it at that.

Anyway, last summer we started to take advantage of the classes offered for the youngsters. Michaela tried art, dance, and ice skating then. She wasn't crazy about the art teacher, but she really enjoyed the dance and ice skating classes. This summer we tried to get into a cooking class, but it booked up fast; and we successfully signed up for a ballet class.

I told Michaela that she could take the same dance class with the same teacher as last year, or we could try a new teacher with a slightly different syllabus. Last year's teacher was very experienced and she had those little ones all ready for a little recital by the last week. But I figured she'd be doing the very same class again this year. Instead we decided on a class that incorporates pretend play and ballet moves. Michaela loves it! Last week the ballet dancers reenacted "Cinderella". So cute! I posted the above photo to Instagram and gave it the hashtag "ballet class" and we actually got a like and a comment from Andreas Kaas who is a soloist with the Royal Danish Ballet!

As fall approaches, I am trying to figure out which extracurricular activities to choose, but I do not want to over-schedule Michaela (or me!). She is already committed to attending the children's program at our church on Wednesday nights. She did this last year and had a great time, and I like the hour or so of free time it gives me.

We are considering another round of ice skating, soccer (with a new friend), or more ballet. So many fun things to do, but so little time. 

How many extracurricular activities does your little one participate in?

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Week In Review

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook earlier this week:

Right?! Whether you're working this summer, or not, summer is slipping away. I'll report back to work in three and a half weeks, and school will start for Michaela the week after that. Where does the time go?

I had so many projects I wanted to get done this summer; but at the beginning of the week, I had not done any of them. The weather was really hot when we returned from our vacation, so that was a deterrent. Thankfully, this last week has been much cooler. So Monday morning I took on the task of cleaning out and organizing the laundry room portion of my garage. This is not only where I do the laundry, but it's also where I store my ebay inventory and shipping supplies. Things were all over the place before, but now they are neatly stored. It also revealed to me that I'm approaching the maximum amount of inventory I can house -  between 250 and 300 items.

I did take some photos of my hard work, but I can't seem to locate them just now. You aren't missing out on much. Besides, even in its new, organized state, my laundry room is no beauty. At least it's more functional now.

I also spent lots of time sourcing this week for ebay. I anticipate that sales will be very good in the fall, and I want to have good inventory on hand and listed. June was a great month in sales, but July wasn't. August has started out well enough, but I don't know what to expect at this point. Hopefully people will start their fall wardrobe shopping soon.

On Monday I also started a detox/cleanse program with Arbonne and my friend, Kara. She has done this successfully earlier this year. In fact, she lost twenty pounds at that point. I'm not looking to lose twenty pounds, but I am interested in dropping some weight. The program doesn't allow me to eat sugar, dairy, gluten, corn, caffeine, etc., and I drink a couple of protein shakes each day. There are other supplements in the program. I had a dull caffeine headache the first four days, but I'm over that now. This is a 28-day program, and I'm pretty sure it's something I can stick with for the duration. I don't usually feel hungry, and there are lots of options for clean snacking and cooking.

I had my first day off this summer on Thursday this week. Michaela spent the night with my parents on Wednesday night, and she spent the following day with them. They were going to take her to the county fair, but she chose to stay home and swim instead. She loves the water.

Yesterday, we went to the movies to see "Nine Lives". It reminded me of "Freaky Friday" (the original one!). Overall, it was a cute movie. I will have to say that I did not appreciate some of the language in it. Obviously, it's a movie for children, so why foul language has to be used is beyond me. This is why we go to the movies infrequently! I take Proverbs 4:23 seriously: 

And I've learned that exposure to a lot of pop culture (movies, television, music) is not the best source of healthy examples for Michaela and me. In the end, the main character learned a good lesson about life and the importance of family. So it was funny and it did have a positive message.

Have a blessed weekend!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Oops! I did it again...

I let a month go by without blogging at all. Sheesh!

Summer is racing by. The first two weeks after school got out were all about preparing for our trip to Mammoth Lakes. While my parents have vacationed there multiple times, it was my first time to the area. I was really impressed by how beautiful it is there, and how much there is to do.

Off the 395 on our way to Mammoth - the backside of the Sierra Nevada.

My parents LOVE the Sierras!
Lunch in Lone Pine.
My dad rented a pontoon boat on Lake Mary twice and we attempted to catch some trout. I think we do everything right, but we had no luck - this is somewhat of a family tradition. Even so, I really enjoyed our time out on the lake and could have spent more time fishing.

Lake Mary from the shore. We tried fishing from the shore the first day.

Michaela was so excited to use her FROZEN fishing pole that Papa gave her!

One of my students who spends lots of time in Mammoth had recommended several things to do while we were there. On her recommendation, we took the tram up to the top of the mountain and had a really good lunch there. The views were amazing!

Just enough "snow" left for a little fun.

Another of her recommendations was a horseback ride. Unfortunately, Michaela was too young for a group ride - so, we couldn't ride together. However, the stables offered a ride for little ones where the parent leads the horse on a wooded path for about 20 minutes. Michaela's horse, Pablo, was gentle enough but he was also a bit stubborn. I had no luck getting him to walk with me, so I handed the reigns over to my dad who also had limited luck. Thankfully, the cowboy wasn't too far away and he got Pablo going for us. Michaela didn't mind the extra minutes spent in the saddle.

Our condo faced a picturesque meadow, and I enjoyed the view early each morning. Even without Koa waking me, I was still the first one up. In the evenings, my mom and I took our chairs and a glass of wine out on the lawn in front of the condo and enjoyed the sites and sounds of the meadow. One evening we were even treated to a visit from a deer in the meadow.

My view each morning.

Best buddies! Michaela really enjoys palling around with Papa.

It was windy and cool our first day there when we explored the meadow - had to bundle up a bit.

We spent a lot of time in the Sierras camping when I was a kid. One of my favorite day trips was going to the Bodie ghost town back then, and I wanted Michaela to see it. Thankfully, the road is now paved for a much greater distance than it was back in the 1980s! We only had three miles of dirt road to traverse this time. Not surprisingly, nothing had changed in Bodie. Ha!

After a couple of hours in Bodie, we continued north to Bridgeport. We used to camp outside of Bridgeport, but I hadn't seen it in 25 years. Dad loves to get a Jolly Cone in town there, and we had a late lunch there, too. It's a real small town and charming.

Jolly Cone!

We stayed for ten days, but I could have stayed longer. I absolutely love getting away from the hordes of people and traffic here at home, and having the natural beauty outside our door. It's good for the soul.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Hello There, Dear Reader

Okay, so it's been a while since I posted. A looooong while!

Today was my first day of summer vacation, and I'm looking at 77 76 days off. School got out so late this year that it almost felt like it would never end. It was one of my best years ever, but even good things must end.

As for the blog, I just didn't have enough time to collect my thoughts in the last couple of months for a post. Life has been so busy and, quite honestly, kind of out of balance. But, I'm taking steps to get things back in balance. It seems like almost every endeavor of mine ends up with me in a leadership role. However, as the leader of this little family, I need to remember that being an only parent and breadwinner is enough responsibility on my shoulders. So, I relinquished one responsibility for the coming school year that didn't have an entirely positive impact on our family life. Hopefully, with that off of my plate, I can be a more focused parent and take better care of myself physically. 

Our plans for the summer include a trip to the Sierras with my parents, ballet and ukelele lessons for Michaela, working out and dropping a few pounds, lots of afternoons swimming in Grammy and Papa's pool, a few projects around the house (especially organizing - I looove organizing!), and ramping up my little ebay business for a successful fall. By the time I return to school in September, I hope to be satisfied with how we spent our time and refreshed for another great year in the classroom!

I also hope to blog our summer adventures. So check back soon!

P.S. Can you see my blog's header? I can't...

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Mrs. Then - Mrs. Now

I think I have written about this before. If I haven't written about it before, then I guess I'm just recalling when something similar happened in the past. I didn't like it then about two years out, and I don't like it now six years out.

So consider this a public service announcement.

Please don't call me "Ms. Labrador."


I am Mrs. Labrador to those who don't call me by my first name.

Thank you.

Losing my husband...

Becoming a widow...

Did not make me "Ms. Labrador."

I don't know "Ms. Labrador."

According to Emily Post, you should refer to a widowed woman as "Mrs." if you don't know the widow's preference. The default is "Mrs." Easy peasy!

I have had multiple professional correspondences with another Mrs. this year, and despite the fact that I always sign my correspondence with "Mrs. Labrador" this person continues to address me in written form as "Ms. Labrador". However, she has referred to another colleague (whose husband is alive) as Mrs. So-and-So. She's making a judgement call based on whose husband is here and whose husband is not.

I lost a lot when I lost Michael, but I didn't lose my "Mrs.". Widowhood painfully redefined who I am in many ways, but my "Mrs." is not something that has changed.

Update: Speaking up was a good thing. I don't think I'll be addressed as "Ms. Labrador" again, and the other person was very apologetic and understanding. I should have said something sooner - I could have saved myself a lot of aggravation!