Saturday, March 24, 2012


Last night, I had the pleasure of spending two hours being wowed by Millard West's production of the musical Footloose. West is known for it's musical talent, which I had witnessed three years ago with The Music Man and two years ago with Les Mis, both of which were wonderfully done, but last night's performance was by far my favorite.

The music took me back to listening to my brother's Footloose soundtrack on cassette tape. I almost hesitate to admit that I didn't actually see the movie until several years ago at a "movie in the park" event here in Omaha, but I grew up dancing around the house to "Let's Hear it for the Boys," and when I was in elementary school, my cousins and I choreographed an amazing baton twirling routine to the "Footloose" song (serious hours spent practicing in their garage, thinking of costumes, and cajoling the youngest cousin, who was about 5 to dress up like a boy so we could push her during the "Jack, get back" line...ahh, memories....)

More than enjoying the trip down memory lane, though, I was filled with pride as a teacher. Not that I had anything to do with the students' musical talents (which were impressive, I'm telling you), but I am so proud to witness what wonderful young men and women those talented actors and actresses have become.

For example:
  • Ren (the rebel new kid in town) was a freshmen and sophomore student of mine who had a tendency to talk too much in class. He actually brought a guitar and amp to class one day to sing a song that he wrote for a book report project...the only student who has ever chosen that particular project option.
  • Willard (the country hick who learns to dance) is my favorite homeroom student who is the kind of kid that every parent hopes to have. He'll be dancing up a storm at the Omaha Community Playhouse in "Hairspray" this summer.
  • Reverand Shaw was a freshman who was teased for being a bit weird at times. I had to remind him to stop doodling and start reading many times.
  • Vi (the pastor's wife) is a sweet young lady who was in a crazy 4th block sophomore class of mine. She was the girl who would give me a sympathetic look when the boys were out of control.
  • Chuck (the lead rebel) was a freshman and sophomore of mine. His freshmen year he had to stay after school once to scrub a doodle of a skater logo off the table, and I remember being so excited when he found a book that he actually enjoyed!
  • Lyle (one of the local rebel boys) was soft-spoken sophomore who had great creativity but was not great about handing in work on time.
  • Travis (another local rebel) was a exhausting freshman who just would not shut up but says hi to me in the hallway every time he sees me.
And there were others that I won't bore you with. It's just amazing to see kids come alive when they are really doing something they enjoy. Their zest and enthusiasm are inspiring and remind me that just because I'm then 34 year old mother of a 1 year old, doesn't mean that I have to lead a dull life. I'm challenged to find more ways to "let loose" in my own life, whatever that may look like.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Not just one, but two smartypants live at my house. I, unfortunately, am not one of them. On Wednesday, we were getting ready to sit down to dinner. Scott was just wrapping up some homework in the living room. I had Claire already buckled into the highchair, next to the table. Since our $5 thrift store table has seen better days (shocking, I know), it's usually covered with a tablecloth.

Claire had already pulled the tablecloth halfway off once, so apparently I had temporarily lost my short-term memory, or perhaps I thought the bowls of soup were heavier because I didn't think twice about putting the bowls down on the table and walking back into the kitchen. Needless to say, it was one of those slow-motion moments: Claire tugging at the tablecloth, me trying to rush over but not getting there fast enough, watching the bowl spill all over the carpet. Argh!

Luckily Scott is slightly infatuated with our "little green machine" carpet cleaner. Bonus points for dad cleaning up a mess that wasn't even his fault.

Also bonus points for smartypants Scott outwitting smartypants Claire numerous times each day. An extra wooden shelf that we aren't using on the bookshelf it belongs to serves as a great makeshift fortress between Claire and Daddy's Lego-fest in the spare room or the open bathroom door (I know, you're thinking, "Duh! Just shut the bathroom door!" But Claire will happily standing behind a small wooden barrier, waiting for you to peer from behind the shower curtain at her, but she will sit on the floor and cry the entire time if you completely shut the door.

In Claire's bedroom, the furniture seems to shift a bit each day in order to outsmart and outreach her. She just can't get enough of pulling open drawers, getting out clothes, books, bottles, etc, so the ottoman and lightweight chair now double as deterrents.

And just today Scott showed me his ingenious new way to make sure Claire's fully hydrated. The small green spray bottle (originally intended to spray at Shoes to "encourage" her to stay off the furniture). Scott, holding the bottle near her lips, says, "Claire, want a drink?" And she opens her little mouth, ready for a squirt. Really. He squirts water into her mouth. I know, slightly ridiculous, but I know you're laughing :)