Monday, December 31, 2012

The Nutcracker

Seeing The Nutcracker is one of those quintessential Christmas activities that I always wanted to do but never put forth the effort to.  This year, my cousin did and planned a fun evening for us.

I remember watching The Nutcracker on PBS on Christmas Eve when I was a little girl.  I have always admired the ballet but was never interested in going to one live until I got older.  Morganne took a few years of dance but quickly lost interest (soccer girl), so I didn't think she would be interested in seeing a ballet either.  But as the opportunity came up, I am glad we took it.

We met Macy & Ben and her mom (my aunt), Mary, at a fun restaurant downtown for an early dinner.  It was really fun to be going out on the town with my girl.  When I was young, ordering a Shirley Temple was meant for special nights, so I suggested she get one.  She was thrilled to be drinking a "big girl" drink and proceeded to have 3.

Macy & Ben always do such a  nice job engaging Morganne in to conversation.  Sometimes as parents, you get used to not talking with your kids when you are out to eat with others.  It was nice to sit back and see her talk about the part in the play she just got and what classes she likes best in middle school.

The Nutcracker was at The Long Center for Performing Arts (my first time) and it is a beautiful facility.   The lobby faces Lady Bird Lake and downtown Austin and has such a great view.

The performance was all with local dancers, including children and they were magnificent.  I guess I always thought that ballets were boring with all dance and no talk.  How can you understand what is going on?

Even though I knew the story of The Nutcracker, I had no problem following along - the gestures and movement just spoke to you.  It is so interesting to see the dancers interpret the story so gracefully.  You get lost in their movement and you never get bored.  Truth be told, I thought that Morganne would get bored but not a bit - we had a great discussion of what was happening during intermission.

The dancers make it look effortless, as they glide across the floor.  But you know it is hard work as you see the ladies dancing on their toes and hear the toe shoes clacking as they are dancing.  The men leap into the air and seem to hang their - they have so much strength in their legs.  The last dance of the first half, with the Snow Queen and King was just mesmerizing - they were all in white and just danced beautifully.

We had a wonderful evening - it was so great to do something different with my girl one-on-one.  And I am so happy to finally say that I have seen The Nutcracker at Christmas.  And I saw a ballet - number 30 on my 40 B4 40 list. Woo-hoo!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Birthday Blessings

You know when your birthday is in the middle of the week and nothing is planned, it's a pretty routine day?  My birthday this year fell on a Tuesday.  Matt goes to work, kids go to school, Ian is at home with me. Blah. 

So I choose to count my blessings throughout the day and make it an extraordinary day.

Count with me:

Birthday Blessing #1: Finding our silly elf, George hanging upside down from the wreath on the pantry door.  Ok - that wasn't the blessing, but the giggles it gave my kids was.

Birthday Blessing #2: THREE cups of Pumpkin Spice coffee in my favorite Christmas Mug.

 Birthday Blessing #3: Putting together this cute puzzle with my three year old.  He is into puzzles this week and I absolutely love the quiet together time it gives us.
 Birthday Blessing #4: This new little piece of technology!!!!!! I can not believe how much faster this guy runs compared to my 3 year old 4G.
 Birthday Blessing #5: A rare lunch with my hubby and my youngest.  I insisted he take me to this very hip burger bar - it's very Austiny and wayyyyyyy too cool for an oldie like me.  But I enjoyed the time with just the two of them.
 Birthday Blessing #6: The previous night was our Book Club Christmas Party, where everyone brings a book to exchange in White Elephant style. One of my sweet friends remembered that I had not read Gone With the Wind and personally bought a hardback copy of it just for me.....and then directed me as to which book to pick.  I spent a few moments reading today.  Heaven.
Birthday Blessing #7: Enjoying a quick "natter" with a close friend on our patio - it was 80 degrees out!! 
 Birthday Blessing #8: Spending the entire evening with these three adorable children.
 Birthday Blessing #9: My hubby surprised me with a new pair of aviators! I have been wearing Target cheapies for 2 years now! So excited to have nice sunglasses for my new super-sonic eyes!
 Birthday Blessing #10: Enjoying a margarita on the patio of one of my favorite restaurants - it was 70 degrees at that point and perfect.
 Birthday Blessing #11: Getting to blow out a candle at my old age!
 Birthday Blessing #12: Driving around to see local Christmas lights with the kiddos - hubby was very patient, even when I got  us lost, but it was all worth it to see this amazing show - a tribute to men & women serving!

It really was a fantastic day, filled with a TON of blessings, more than I showed you here.

And the next night, I was blessed even more, as I spent the evening at our local wine bar with 5 of my closest girlfriends!
I know they say as you get older, birthdays are not as important and I can definitely see that.  But you feel so loved and appreciated when people go out of their way to do something special for you on your day.  I was overwhelmed and full of gratitude at how very loved I felt that day.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

40 B4 40

Today is my 39th birthday.  Should I feel melancholy?  Should I feel sad?  Should I feel old?  Cause I don't.

Instead I feel motivated.

As I sit here in my office, writing this, I face a big wall that we have covered in pictures of our family.  It is a testament to our happiness, our great love and what we have accomplished in the short 39 years I have been here.  Each one of these pictures holds a special memory in my heart.

And instead of feeling sad that I am almost at the "mid-point" of my life, I feel motivated to create even more fun memories.  So motivated, that I am creating a list of the 40 things I want to do BEFORE I'm 40.

And to that, my husband just laughed at me - "Why must you ALWAYS create lists??"

I don't know - it's my thing.

40 B4 40

  1. Pay it Forward
  2. Start a new blog 
  3. Learn to Snow Ski
  4. See the Grand Canyon
  5. Take a cooking class at Central Market
  6. Run a 9 minute mile
  7. Read 10  good books this year (good ones.....)
  8. Blog here weekly
  9. Do the Austin Geocache
  10. Take Ian to meet Lightening McQueen
  11. Complete a puzzle
  12. Climb Enchanted Rock (again)
  13. Enjoy a wine tasting
  14. Write notes & actually mail them
  15. Teach a class
  16. Have one published article
  17. Paint the boys' bathroom
  18. Volunteer with my kids 
  19. Start a Geocache Race
  20. Swim in Barton Springs
  21. Read Gone with the Wind
  22. Sleep in a Tent at least once
  23. Family Game Night
  24. Pray More
  25. Go on a date with my son
  26. Cook Crab Legs
  27. Go on a Cruise
  28. Zipline 
  29. Send birthday cards 
  30. See a ballet with my daughter
  31. Donate Blood
  32. Run 2 Races
  33. Hot Air Balloon Ride
  34. Swim in the Pacific Ocean
  35. Order Sushi on my own
  36. Try Yoga
  37. Cook a meal from Julia Child's Cookbook
  38. Picnic of bread, cheese, and wine after a hike with the hubby
  39. Girls Spa Day
  40. Try Stand Up Paddleboarding

Not that I think I can accomplish all 40 things, but its a list of things I have "always wanted to do".  There they are in writing.  Can't back out now.

Let's just see how many I can accomplish, shall we?

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