Luna’s First Musical and a Review of Rudolph

Last night, I was able to take Luna to her very first musical. For the first time, Luna was invited to review a show with me at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. We dressed up (coordinating, obviously), packed many baby emergencies in the diaper bag and even watched a TV version of the musical we would be watching. What show did we attend you ask? Why, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, of course!

It's almost impossible to keep her still for a photo lately. This was the best I could get of our festive outfits.

It’s almost impossible to keep her still for a photo lately. This was the best I could get of our festive outfits.

Even though I was super pumped to introduce her to one of my most favorite forms of art, I went in assuming I would only see half the show. It is an almost two hour show after all. I packed some snacks, water and a quiet toy to keep her busy, and sat at the end of the aisle so I’d be prepared to run out with a crying baby. Much to my surprise and delight, Luna was the best freakin’ baby ever! We NEVER had to get up and she seemed to really enjoy the show! She danced, bounced to the music, clapped and really watched the characters as they moved all over the stage. Even if the show was awful, it gets a good review simply for keeping a 10 months entertained.

so excited for the show to start!

so excited for the show to start!

The good news is, it wasn’t awful. As the little girl announced behind me as we exited the theater, “that show was adorable!” And, it was. The characters all looked and even sounded exactly like the characters from the classic cartoon that we will all forever remember fondly from our childhood. Can you believe it’s 50 years old??? Rudolph’s nose shines brightly, the reindeer really do fly, the abominable snowman is BIG and scary and the narrator, Sam the Snowman, remains the best character. It was nostalgic for us grown-ups and apparently good as new for all the little people. The theater was full of kids and I only saw one that had to leave in the middle of the show. The set was very impressive and the puppets were so cool! They reminded me of the puppets used in the Finding Nemo musical at Disney World.

This chic does not dig Santa....

This chic does not dig Santa….

The bad news is, the story is just as strange as it always was. As a child, I remember the story of Rudolph fondly. Poor Rudolph is teased for being different, which is a storyline we can all relate to one way or another. He finds his own group of misfit friends, learns to like himself, use his difference as a strength and grows up to be a happy successful reindeer. Yay, Rudolph! As an adult, Rudolph is a much sadder story. He Dad is so ashamed of his son for looking different. Santa has no faith in him. The other reindeer kids are bullies and even the coach treats him like an outcast. It’s kind of shocking. At one point Rudolph returns to his home to reunite with his family after being gone for months and months and Santa is all like “tough luck kid, they’ve been gone looking for you and now I might not have your Dad to pull my sleigh, thanks a lot.” Hardly anyone cares at all about Rudolph until they find out he can do something for them. In a way, I guess it’s a reflection of real life. Few friends are hard to come by.

The one theme that still rings true is that the character trait that makes you feel like an outcast is what makes you unique. Being different isn’t bad. You just have to learn to use your gift to add some brightness to the world, like Rudolph.

We had a great night out and I am so happy that Luna loved the show! If you are interested in seeing Rudolph at TPAC, which plays from December 16th through December 21st, checkout the ticket options here. If you want to see the tour dates of this traveling musical take a look at their schedule here.

Enjoy the show!

Cheers!

The Highs and the Lows

Oh boy. Oh, today has been a day of the highest highs and the lowest lows. My emotional roller coaster has twisted and turned so much that I am now sick at my stomach and unable to sleep. Tonight, all I want is to hold Luna a little tighter and never never let go.

okay

I had an appointment with my hypertension specialist early this morning, which is an emotional roller coaster in itself. He literally looked me in the eye and said that I’m ridiculous and to stop being so neurotic. Thanks Doc, easier said than done. It ended on a high note and I walked across the street to the Children’s Hospital to visit my friend. My 5 min walk knocked me down about 5 pegs on the emotional scale. I wanted to hug every single parent I saw. Watching them walk the halls while pulling their sick babies in wagons or picking up lunch with their teen attached to an IV never ever gets easier.

My time in the hospital room with one of my favorite little girls was a blast, as always. We finger-painted, made Christmas cards, practiced math skills and had a dance party to Taylor Swift’s Shake it Off. At lunch, she barricaded the door and refused to let me leave, which worked. I spent four hours playing games, singing and dusting off my teacher skills.

You CANNOT listen to this and NOT dance. It's impossible.

You CANNOT listen to this and NOT dance. It’s impossible.

I left with a huge smile on my face and Taylor’s lyrics in my head…then, I got on the elevator. It was me, Luna and a priest. A priest. In a children’s hospital. Holding what looked like a Bible. He got off before me and headed to someone’s room, and I wanted to jump out and ask him “why?!”. What happened? Why is he needed? Where is he going? HOW DOES ANYONE HANDLE ANY OF THIS? Again, I left in tears. I left with my happy healthy baby, thinking it’s so unfair. I felt very low.

Tonight, I got to see Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer the musical at TPAC, which I will be reviewing tomorrow! It was adorable, and Luna got to come! She loved the show and I can’t wait to tell you about our experience. I came home to Husband standing in the driveway waiting for me to pull-up so he could turn on the lights he had just put on the house, all by himself. He spent all of his time at home alone, baby-less, putting our first lights on the house. It was the best Christmas surprise! I oooh’d and awww’d over his hard work, then hurried in to put Luna to bed. I was definitely on a high.

Our house looks nothing likes this, but this is how I felt when the lights turned on.

Our house looks nothing likes this, but this is how I felt when the lights turned on.

As I rocked her to sleep, I began browsing my phone, which I hadn’t done all day. That’s when I learned the lowest of the low. That’s when I learned about Pakistan.

moms

 

How? Why? WTF?!

I have spent the rest of the night reading article upon article about the tragic school shooting in Peshawar, Pakistan today. 132 children dead. 132. As I began reading the horror story that took place today, I didn’t think about the government’s reaction to the attack or the extremist terrorist and their perverted beliefs. All I can think about are the students, the teachers and the families.

The students who ate their breakfast thinking about their upcoming math test and set next to their best friend in class, maybe even passed secret notes about their crushes. The teachers who stayed up late last night planning a science project and probably forgot their lunch on the kitchen counter. Then, the parents, the parents who send their kids to school to learn, think, dream, grow and become hard-working successful adults. No parent sends their child to school thinking they won’t come home. How many of those parents rushed their kids off to school without a second thought? What if they forgot to kiss them good-bye? What if they argued over something silly, like what they were wearing? What if that was me? Us?

I didn’t intend on writing about such a serious topic tonight. If fact, I planned to go straight to bed and writing nothing at all, but that was before I knew. How can I not address it? As a mother and a teacher, it feels too close to home. It’s important for us to talk about these issues, to recognize them, pray for those families, acknowledge their loss, look for answers and show support. They need us. Those families need all the love they could possible receive. Hug your kids a little tighter tonight, send them to school with a thankful heart tomorrow and keep Pakistan in your thoughts. I cannot imagine the loss they feel. My love, peace and courage outweigh the fear that is trying to be instilled.

xo

A Week in the Life

Ready for more excuses? I have been gone all day everyday this week, and now that I am finally home and sitting at the computer I am finding it very difficult to let my creative juices and photoshop skills flow. Luna, however, has had a very busy week! I’ve gone a bit crazy with one of my photo editing apps during our nursing sessions, so why not share the photos and a peek into what it’s like to be a Luna baby!

In preparation for our December 5,k that was actually this morning, we finally began running this week. Look how happy this munchkin is to get up and run in freezing temps at 6:30am. Her smile is real…mine is forced. I still do not love running, but man does it feel good to get it done! Oh and BTW, she is wearing a pink and purple floral dress in this photo and 3 PEOPLE called her a boy that day. I mean, I know she’s bald, but come on, does the child have to have an enormous bow on her head? If so, I’m totally okay with that.

see what I mean? I got a little excited while playing on my PicsArt app.

see what I mean? I got a little excited while playing on my PicsArt app.

Last year, we went to this adorable tree farm to pick out and chop down our very own Christmas tree! I was 100% sure it was going to be our new tradition and each and every year we would take a photo in front of our tree before chopping it down. Fast forward to now and uhhh, well, do we really have to make the hour drive to get a tree? Does Luna actually care? Could we maybe save a bit of money by getting our tree at Costco? Because, that’s exactly what we did. Picking our wrapped up tree out of the back of a semi didn’t exactly create an adorable kodak moment, but we saved at least $50 and 2 hours of driving. Maybe next year…

oh Christmas tree... Oh Christmas tree...

oh Christmas tree… Oh Christmas tree…

Luna and I got to volunteer at the Children’s Hospital and for NeedLink by packing tons of food for Holiday Food Deliveries. We may have gotten slightly distracted by the cutest little potato packer you ever did see!

I hope no one finds a nibble on potato in their sack.

I hope no one finds a nibble on potato in their sack.

Luna also had a really fun playdate this week with six other babies. I love watching her interact with other kids. They don’t exactly play together, they usually just take toys from each other and hit one another in the head, but it’s still so darn cute. They even made these precious little hand and footprint ornaments!

Baby's first Christmas!

Baby’s first Christmas!

Our attempt at taking a photo with all seven babies.

just like herding cats...

just like herding cats…

We shopped and shopped and shopped and shopped and shopped and shopped. Yay Christmas time!

cuz all the cool kids, they seem to fit in

cuz all the cool kids, they seem to fit in

And, we may have sneakily taken a first photo with Santa while Husband was not with us. Woops!

you have got to be kidding me

you have got to be kidding me

This morning we had our monthly race! This month we signed up for the Music City Christmas Run. Clearly, we sign up for these run because we are now obsessed with coordinating themed outfits, so this race we were snowflakes, and we rocked it. My goal was to have so much glitter that I would blind the other runners. I think it worked because I had my best time yet.

Go Team Snowflakes!

Go Team Snowflakes!

Under Luna’s layers she sported her own snowflake jumper and wrapped her stroller in snowflake lights.

ready, ready, ready, ready, ready to run

ready, ready, ready, ready, ready to run

I got 33rd overall, but the winner’s podium was left empty and unguarded sooooo…

We can always pretend to win!

We can always pretend to win!

After the race Luna was cranky, but Christmas carols were playing and I did the one trick that never fails…danced. Luna loves dancing with me! You have no idea how happy this makes me!

She can't help but smile. :)

She can’t help but smile. :)

Another monthly tradition is having breakfast and Starbucks after each race. We always go in full costume. We might the attention it draws, and we perhaps enjoy explaining to everyone that we just ran a race. We also maybe had a little too much fun with Luna and our costumes today…

oooooooh I can't wait to show you these one day

oooooooh I can’t wait to show you these one day

My little snowflake

My little snowflake

Thank God tomorrow is Sunday and we have ZERO plans. Wonder what next week will hold?

Cheers!

My Volunteering Experience

After having Luna I knew I wanted to begin volunteering. There are lots of reasons why volunteering topped my to-do list. One, is an obvious, to be a good example to Luna and to introduce her to a helpful and positive environment. I also always wanted to volunteer when I had a full-time job, but rarely had the time, or flexibility in my schedule. Mostly, though, I want to volunteer because I want to give back. I want to help people. I want to do what I can, even if it’s small, to make this world a little brighter.

When I was in the hospital with Luna, I was so depressed and scared, but so many people continued to show up. Friends, family and strangers did not give up on me. They showed up, they brought me food, they made me laugh, they messaged me, believed in me and eventually made me believe in myself again. When I was finally able to come home with Luna I knew I wanted to “show up” for others. I wanted to help someone feel a little stronger, happier and braver. I spent hours trying to find the right volunteering fit for me. There’s actually a website (volunteermatch.org) that uses your likes and skills to match you up with a volunteering job in your location. In fact, I found something that seems to be a good fit, but it’s been a VERY long process. Every single volunteering gig seems to require a background check, a medical release, a personal record, a fingerprint, a signature in blood and your firstborn child. I’ve been patiently waiting for all my appointments, paperwork and documentation to go through and get filed so I can get started, but geez it’s a bit ridiculous.

Then, right when I was feeling disheartened, I was asked by a friend of a friend to visit a little girl in the children’s hospital. No paperwork required, just me. The little girl they spoke of, spends a lot of time alone in the hospital and the thought maybe I’d be interested in spending time with her. I was absolutely interested and immediately began making plans. I broke out my box of teacher Christmas activities, grabbed my favorite children’s books, packed some art supplies and headed to the hospital full of nerves and excitement. I was finally going to make a difference! BUT, it require me being in a hospital…my biggest fear.

The Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville is basically Disneyland. It’s gorgeous. It’s so full of colors, animated animals, activities, treats, toys and events. I was beyond impressed, but quickly depressed. It’s so wonderful that these children and families have a safe and beautiful place to take their children, but it’s also hard to know that it’s there because there are so many kids who need it. As I roamed the halls, passed the food court and watched some local performers single Christmas carols my heart felt like it was breaking with each step I took. Before I even made it to the little girl’s room I began questioning whether or not I was capable of taking on this particular volunteering opportunity. Maybe, this isn’t the right fit for me.

My first day began with the children’s musician who goes from room to room singing and playing instruments with the kids. Before she left the room, she had me, the Dad, a friend, a volunteer, a nurse and Luna playing instruments and singing Feliz Navidad. It was a beautiful moment. Thirty minutes later it was just me and my new friend (Oh, and Luna!). The sweet little girl is painfully shy. I was told she wouldn’t talk, but would communicate with me by pointing and nodding. I decided to just talk and talk in hopes of breaking the ice. I danced around, showed her how to make ornaments, read How the Grinch Stole Christmas (which she had never heard), wrote a letter to Santa and asked her every question I could think of that would require more than a nod. Ten minutes in I got her to whisper, and by the end of our time together I couldn’t get her to stop talking! We had a blast! I was a big ball of anxiety half of the time, but when she hugged me as I packed my stuff to leave, I knew it was worth it.

Luna playing along with the music.

Luna playing along with the music.

She called me a couple of days later to invite me back, and I’ll be back a third time on Thursday. She hugs me, laughs at me and seems to enjoy just talking to me, but I think she likes Luna most of all! I don’t think Luna has ever had someone play with her and love on her as much as this sweet girl. I get hugs when I show up and when I leave, but Luna gets hugs and kisses. I got to know one of the nurses who was giving a breathing treatment during my last visit. She found out that I used to teach and she went on and on about how much respect she has for teachers and how she could never do such a hard job. I think my jaw was on the floor. “You can’t be serious?? Yes, teaching is hard, but ummmm, you’re a nurse. I have no idea how you do your job everyday.” Nurses are very very special people and are probably some for of superhero.

I have loved the little bit of time I’ve gotten to spend with my new young friend, and look forward to more, but it doesn’t make that walk through the hospital any easier. I cry the second I get in my car, thank God for my healthy baby. I think “I just can’t…I just can’t understand any of this. How is life so hard and so unfair for these kids?” I am in such awe of every family I pass. I have so much respect for everyone working and volunteering at the hospital each and every day. While I think “I just can’t”, they just have to. They have no choice. I do though, I can choose to show up, and while it may be hard, it’s not near as hard as if that little girl was sitting in that hospital room with no visitors.  Seeing that little girl’s smile and her whole face light up when I walk in the room is worth any bit of uncomfortableness I may feel. Yeah, visiting a children’s hospital isn’t exactly sunshine and rainbows, but you may be their only sunshine.

If you’re fortunate enough to have some time to volunteer this year, please consider it. I know it’s not easy to sign up with an organization. It takes time and often a big commitment, but there are many simple ways to help out. Visit an elderly neighbor, bring food to a local shelter, walk your sick neighbor’s dog, babysit someone’s kids who needs a break, wash your Grandparent’s car or call someone you know is lonely this Holiday season. Sometimes, we think we aren’t strong enough to help or make a difference, but we are. We are enough. So show up as you are and I promise you won’t regret it.

Cheers!

The Truth Is…

This time of year is hard. It’s great, it’s merry, it’s jam packed full of fun family festivities, but it’s often So SO BUSY. You may have noticed my posts have been few and far between lately. Well, between my inability to say “no” to anyone, Luna, regular life duties, holiday festivities, to-do lists, workouts, traveling, shopping, decorating and what not I have just lost track of how to get everything done. For years, I believed that I could do it all. In fact, I often did “it all”… I taught full time, got my Master’s full time, ran 2 extra-curricular activities and still managed to have a very busy social life. Students called me Super Woman, and to be honest, I felt like it. So, when I decided to be a “stay-at-home” Mom, I thought “piece of cake”. I clearly had no clue what I was signing up for when I quit working to work at home.

I imagined waking up early with my happy cooing baby, making breakfast for everyone, sipping my coffee while playing with something educational on the floor with Luna. Our day would consist of Pinterest projects, playdates, baby classes, nursery rhymes, story time, walks in the park and dancing in the living room. I’d cook, clean, blog and complete various DIY projects during naptime. During my free time, (ha. ha. ha.) I’d learn to garden and sew. I’d cloth diaper, breastfeed, make all my own baby food, cook organic healthy meals every day, volunteer, teach Luna sign language and have plenty of time to make my blog and social media improve ten-fold. I’d get so much during the day that I’d get to spend the evening enjoying Husband’s company. We’d have time to snuggle up, enjoy the delicious meal I made and watch our favorite TV shows after Luna’s bedtime.

bra

until the doorbell rings…

 

You’d think after a degree in childhood development and 6 years of working with children I wouldn’t be so delusional. It’s not like I don’t know other Moms. Most of my friends have kids and I know they are often overwhelmed, but I’m different, or so I thought. I’m superwoman. I know how to manage my time. I know how to get shit done and get it done well. How can I not “stay home” and get EVERYTHING done? Here’s how: a baby.

Babies consume every single second of every single day. I’m not complaining (well, maybe a little). But, mostly I want to inform. Why? Because all of you old parents, new parents, future parents, and never-gonna-be-parents are being lied to every single day on social media. ALL of those Moms (myself included) who make it appear as if they have it altogether all the time are big fat liars. (Or at least they better be.) There is no way, NO WAY, those Moms are cooking meals from the garden she grew, homeschooling her genius children, sewing clothes from cotton she sheared, living in her Pottery Barn perfect home, showing off her ripped abs, making cookies for her elderly neighbors, writing her “how to do-it-all” tell-all, all while wearing designer heels and perfect hair with no-roots.OR, doing all of this plus holding a full-time job. No way. It’s a sham!

You want the truth? Something is missing. Some things are getting put on the back burner, brushed under the couch, locked behind messy closet doors, cropped out of of photos, fixed in photoshop, forgotten and flat-out ignored. The truth is that if you see me post a picture of Luna and I dressed in cute matching outfits with fixed hair, make-up and shoes, then chances are, we ate pb and j out of the jar for lunch, left the clothes in the washer (again) and forgot to feed the pets. If you come over and my house is perfectly cleaned and organized then I guarantee you I have not showered, bathed Luna, or updated my blog in 2 days. If my blog is bumpin’, my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are updated then I either got to sit by myself while Husband watched Luna for a couple of hours, she napped for 3 hours, or my house looks like a bomb just went off.

ALL moms.

ALL moms.

The truth is I am able to do a lot as a stay-at-home Mom. I do cloth diaper, make baby food, breastfeed, take baby classes, go on playdates, volunteer, cook often, blog and even do a Pinterest project every once in a while. But, do I do it all everyday? Hell no. Luna is needy and she’s pretty obsessed with me. Most of my day is spent holding, changing, feeding, bathing, playing with, reading to, teaching and keeping Luna from killing herself.  Every night I wonder where the day went? How does every day go by so fast? How do I never manage to get it all done? Then, I sit down at the computer to write to you, and the second I do, the baby monitor lights up. Luna’s crying and needs me. Then, I remember…that’s why.

And, the truth is, I love it.

So, parents, next time you check you Facebook feed and see a slew of photos of Super Moms looking stunning with their smiling babies in their freshly dusted home, remember that they are most likely burning cookies, running late and skipping their daily runs. They’re not doing it all and neither are you. So, let’s stop beating ourselves up about it. The good news is, none of that matters. So, go ahead and like their status, give them a virtual high-five for getting a third of their to-do list done, take a deep breath, look around your messy house and remember, there’s always tomorrow! Now, go love on those babies!

Cheers!

Luna is 10 Months Old!

I have lots of cool things to brag about this month…Luna is amazing and doing amazing things. Really, she’s a doll. But, hold cow I. AM. EXHAUSTED. Between driving to and from Texas, having guests, getting everything ready for the holidays and Luna NEVER sleeping I am running on fumes…coffee fumes. Can I just tell you about how I can’t manage to get one single thing done instead? Or, how I feel like a failure because I have no clue how to get my daughter to sleep through the night? I’m tired. I’ll just share Luna’s cute pictures instead.

10 months

 

Luna is so darn active that it is quite the challenge to get a non-blurry photo of her. For this particular photo session, she insisted on having Minnie Mouse, in her mouth, for every picture.

naked baby

 

Luna has developed a sense of humor and is always trying to get us to laugh. The other day she slid down a couple of steps on her belly only and after I laughed at her she decided to do it over and over and over again. She is into everything too. She loves pulling everything out of the kitchen cabinets, digging in the fridge, taking out all of my shoes, finding her Cheerios hidden in my diaper bag and then laughing anytime we tell her, “no”. Little stinker.

Poor baby had her second flu shot, hence the bandaid.

Poor baby had her second flu shot, hence the bandaid.

She may ware me out, but this girl has my whole heart in the palm of her itty bitty hand. The other day I left her for a few hours with her Daddy and when I came home she squealed with excitement and raced to me. It was one of the greatest feelings, right up there with the time Santa pointed to me and shouted “Happy birthday” on my actual birthday in the middle of a huge Disney Christmas parade.

look at me, look at me!

look at me, look at me!

Hey Mom, I can clap!

Hey Mom, I can clap!

I am so tired, but I am one very lucky Mommy.

Cheers!

Yay for New Traditions and Discounts!

Now that December has arrived so has the start of our many holiday traditions. I have always been big on celebrating Christmas and creating new traditions while continuing old ones, but it takes on a whole new level of festiveness now that we have Luna. Two days into December and we have already pulled out the decorations, listened to holiday music all day everyday, done some serious Christmas shopping, read a Christmas book, taken family pictures, started an advent calendar, drank cocoa and of course, began watching Christmas movies… a favorite being Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

lovies

big guy

You all remember this classic, right? The stop-motion animated movie with the squeaky voice Rudolph who learns that his unique nose that causes him to feel like an outcast is actually what makes him special? Heart-warming, right? And, somehow, after all of these years, the stop-motion, the story and the music all remains as popular as ever. It’s timeless. And, speaking of time, it’s actually the 50th anniversary of Rudolph. And, I just learned the TV series has been turned into a stage musical! AND, it’s coming to the Tennessee Performing Arts Center!!!

rudolph elf

I am of course going to the show (and hopefully taking Luna as well, fingers crossed she’s in a good mood!), and I’ll be writing a review as well, but I needed to write this post in advance. You know how much I love TPAC, theatre and supporting the arts. I am constantly telling you all to get off your bums and see show, visit local museums, hit up the crafts fairs and whatnot? Well, the powers that be at TPAC have informed me that they are offering a special deal for tickets for this show, leaving you with no excuse to miss it!

Use the code “BUMBLE” to get 25% off select seating for the Tuesday-Thursday performances. NOW, you seriously have no excuse to not see this show. Take your kids, dress in your cheesy Christmas sweaters, drinks some cocoa and start a new tradition! I’ll be there Tuesday night and hope to see you there! Buy your tickets here, and if you are not locals, then check out the tour schedule here.

Happy Holidays from me and TPAC, cheers!