Things I Love: Books

Things I Love: Books

One of my favorite memories from my childhood would be the days my mom would take us to the public library. Myself, my mom and my three sisters would all walk over to the library and spend so much time looking at books, deciding which would be the lucky few to come home with us. On lucky days we would then get lunch at McDonald’s and head over to the park  to play before heading home and reading our books.

My mom is an avid reader and it  definitely had an influence over my sisters and I. To this day we all still love reading, some of us just have more time than others to dedicate to reading. The love of reading has led to most of us writing in one capacity or another.

I’m proud to say that I have passed my love of reading on to my girls. They love going to the library and picking out books so much that I have to limit how many they check out each time! When the girls are well behaved and have earned a reward one of their favorite things to do is go to the book store and select a book or two to bring home. The girls can never wait until they get home to read their books, they start reading them in the car.

img_0907
  Finley and Harlow proudly displaying their first library cards back in 2013 (they look so little!)

A couple of years ago my husband got me a Kindle for Christmas, which I love, but nothing compares to cracking open a brand new book and smelling the pages of fresh ink. I haven’t been spending as much time reading lately as  I would like to. I have a nice little stack of books to get through plus a couple on my Kindle (see picture below).

I’m challenging my self to read at least one book per month, i’m hoping more. I think I have enough to get through the whole year if I read one per month! I’m looking forward to taking some me time and cozying up with a cup of coffee and reading a chapter or two and eventually when its warm outside (which seems so far away) sitting on my patio and enjoying a warm breeze while the characters in my book entertain me. After I finish my stack I’ll be looking for new reading materials. Any suggestions? What are you currently reading?

JJ

 

5 Reasons Why I Let My Daughters Dance

5 Reasons Why I Let My Daughters Dance

Why hello there, it’s been a while. I get caught up in mom-life which sometimes leaves little time left for anything else.

Last weekend we went out of town for my daughters dance competition. Which means we took time off of work, took the girls out of school early, paid for two nights in a hotel, and dining out every meal for a family of four for two days. If you are like me there were dollar signs flashing in front of your eyes while you read my list. Dance at the competitive level is not a cheap sport and having both girls doing it, we do spend what some think is a crazy amount of money on it. Heck sometime I think of all the ways we could be using the money for if we weren’t spending it on dance!

So why then? Why do we spend all this time( we are at the studio three times a week and sometimes practice at friends houses on the weekends) and all this money on it? Well aside from the fact that my girls love doing it here are my top five reasons:

long-footworks

1: Learning Responsibility and Team Work

My girls have learned that there are other people counting on them to make their dances successful. Which means sometimes we practice when we would rather be doing other things and sometimes there are repercussions for the way others act. The girls know that being on a competition team means they have made a commitment not only to themselves but to their teammates so if they want to slack off and not put in the work its not just themselves their disappointing but the entire team. They know they have a responsibility to do their part and to work with their team to dance to the best of their ability.

2:Learn Hard Work

My girls have experienced first hard that the amount of effort and work put directly influences the outcome of a dance. They have to practice to get better and refine their skills and have experienced not getting the part they want because they didn’t put the work in. They have also learned the reverse that sometimes things aren’t easy to begin with but if you keep working at it it gets easier and more enjoyable. Harlow,My 6 year old, was getting very frustrated when they were learning their choreography at the beginning of the season. In fact she wanted to quit. I told her she had to give it a try because she had committed to the team and each week it got easier and jazz is now her favorite dance!

harlow-jazz

Harlow (center of picture) during her jazz routine which earned 1st place last weekend

Finley, my 8 year old, also had a tough lesson this year when she nearly had a part taken away from her. She realized if she wanted to keep that part she had to practice and have confidence in her abilities to do it.

finley-lyrical

Finley pointing her toes while her partner holds her up during her lyrical routine that earned 1st place last weekend

3:Learn How to Take Criticism/ Not everyone Gets a Trophy

I know one thing a lot of people complain about when it comes to kids sports is everyone gets a trophy. Well in dance you don’t. When I was new to the dance competition world I had no idea how scoring or prizes were awarded. Dances actually are awarded a ranking and points. Depending on how a dance does they are ranked usually on a scale of four different levels (the last competition we went to had silver, gold, high gold, and platinum) you fall into the different ranks based on your total points. Then based on your age category 1st place, second place,  third place etc and awarded based off of total points. So you may receive a platinum and not place because there were other dances with higher points awarded or you may receive a gold and get first place it just depends on the total points awarded. After a competition the studio gets feedback from the judges on what the girls need to do to improve or should work on more. Finley received a lot of feedback this last weekend on what she needs to do to improve her jazz duet and hip hop trio. A few years ago if you gave Finley criticism she would give you a death stare and/or cry. Now Finley asks for us to take notes while she practices so she knows what she needs to improve on! The girls have learned to take criticism and how to improve from it.

4: You Make Great Friends

The girls at the dance studio come from all over our area, they are not from the same school. This has given my girls the opportunity to meet girls they otherwise never would have and to have  bigger social circles than just their classes at school. Even though they are from different areas and backgrounds they all have a common bond, the love of dance. My girls are 6 and 8 and this is their 5th year dancing and if they stick with it we are looking at another 12 years of dance until my little one graduates. These are life long friends they are making at the dance studio.

Making great friends doesn’t just apply to the girls. If all of girls continue dancing at the studio the parents  will be spending a lot of time together over the next 12 years as well.  Dance moms are their own tribe. I’ve never met such a great group of people who work so well together. Dance moms support each other and know what it like juggling these crazy schedules. We also work together as a team. Some moms are good with hair, others with makeup. We play off of those strengths to make sure our little ones are ready. When one mom is having a difficult time the others rally around her and help out however they can. Again since the studio has girls from all over the area I’ve had the opportunity to meet and friend people I never would have before. Whether I like it not as long as my girls are dancing we’re stuck together so we better make the most of it!

5: Keeps Them Active

As mentioned before we live in Wisconsin. Wisconsin weather is so wonderful that some years it starts snowing in October and doesn’t stop until May. This can make going out and being active difficult. Since dance is indoors the girls are able to do it year round. It is helping set healthy habits of getting in regular exercise and helps burn energy when we are cooped up all winter long!

There are many other things I could list as well such as being comfortable performing in front of a crowd, learning organization, time management, prioritization etc.as to why I let them dance but as long as my girls continue to enjoy I will continue to let them dance.

JJ

What I Can Get Done In 1.5 Hours

What I Can Get Done In 1.5 Hours

Monday is my busiest day with my girls activities. Between the two of them there are back to back dance classes from 4:30pm till 7:15pm. What this usually means is the night before we prepare dance bags including outfits and snacks because on Monday afternoon there is no spare time! I leave work early, pick the girls up from after school care, and then straight to the dance studio. Homework is done in between dance classes and dinner is after we get home which means its something that is quick and easy to prepare.

My husband was home yesterday and took over  dance duty so I could get a work out in. I ended up staying a little late at work and didn’t get home until nearly 6:00pm. This left me with 1.5 hours of having the house to myself!  First did some things on my to do list:

  • I finally took care of the rebate on our new tires for the husbands car
  • I filled out three different school forms
  • set up two online fundraising accounts for my girls for Jump Rope for Heart
  • I called and got hotel rates for the end of the month for my girls out of town dance competition (had to call for special dance competition rates otherwise I would have done this online)
  • I started dinner
  • Finally I went upstairs and put that sports bra on

I chose to work out at home because I’ve heard stories recently about people circling the gyms parking lot for 10 minutes waiting for a parking space and i’m not willing to do that. So I went with my trusty old Thirty Day Shred DVD.

30-day

When I am not doing one Jillian Michaels’ work outs I think she is great and inspirational. When I am doing one of said work outs I HATE her! One of these days i’m going to watch it and instead of working out i’m going to time each segment because I swear they are longer than she says they are.

The Family came home while I was doing my cool down which the girls joined me for. As we sat on the floor in a “straddle” (my children corrected Jillian on her terminology) my 6 year old pointed out that our feet were supposed to be “flexed” not pointed. I guess all these years of dance lessons are teaching my girls something!

I accomplished quite a bit during my 1.5 hours of alone time.  It felt  good to have a quiet house for a little bit, get things crossed off the to do list and work towards one of my years goals of being healthier and working out. I also love that we are instilling a healthy lifestyle with our girls. When they see mommy working out they want to join in! Not bad for a Monday night.