Monday, March 29, 2010

How Was Zumba® Training?

Well, I did it! I'm now licensed to teach Zumba® classes! One thing that you should know about me is that in high school I would have definitely gotten, "Least Likely to Professionally Do Anything Involving Dance" had it been a category. I am a terrible dancer! It's okay. I'm perfectly fine with it. This isn't an expression of a lack of self-esteem, nor is it an insult. It's just a fact. Dancers are usually people who "feel the music," and it seems to me that they have a sixth sense for getting a step without studying it. These were the people in my class. I know that they have worked very hard perfecting their craft, and I admire them for it. I just don't seem to have the same kind of mind that they have. I'm an analyzer. I'm completely capable of getting it, but most definitely not on the first try. I have to watch it, understand every component, and then I have to digest it. (I can go through this process insanely fast in some subjects, but very slowly in others.) I'm perfectly fine with this aspect of my personality. It makes me good at some things, like understanding what I read. But it makes me a lousy dancer, especially on the first day. And it was a one day workshop.

The first thing that we did was called "Master Class". This is a Zumba® class as taught by someone who has completely mastered the steps and the attitude of Zumba®. I thought I was going to die! For over an hour, we did steps that I had never seen before. Okay, they did steps that I had never seen before. I'm not sure what I was doing. During the break, I prayed and read some Scripture. This was extremely helpful in helping me regain a good attitude. (I'm pretty sure that I looked sulky by the end of Master Class.)

After the first hour, things calmed down. We had lectures on theory and the basics of Zumba®, and we also practiced the basic steps. This was much easier. The day ended with a much shorter version of a Master Class, but I'm pretty sure that the trainer intentionally made the moves easier. He didn't want me to leave the place completely bummed, and I appreciate that.

I'm still a little sore, but I'm excited about starting to teach classes. I've got a lot of practicing to do, but I don't mind the work. Ella and I have been working on our moves together. I think Ella may be a natural, and we need at least one in this family.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Swinging and Bouncing and Crafting (oh my!)

My parents gave DeLaynie and Ella a swing set for their birthdays. This present required that Edwin put together a swing set, so he called a man in the church and his teenage son to help. That was a good decision because it only took a few hours before the girls had a play set. Unfortunately, it was either raining or cold for two days, so the girls couldn't actually know that they had a swing set yet. Yesterday it was warmer and dry, but windy.

Still, wind couldn't hold us back any longer. I was tired of keeping all of the windows shut. So we ventured out.

This made DeLaynie very happy.

And Ella blew bubbles.

DeLaynie went down the slide.

And Ella blew bubbles.

DeLaynie bounced on the trampoline.

And Ella blew bubbles.

Actually, Ella did swing and slide and jump, but I couldn't take any pictures of her doing these things because it required a lot of help. I did get video footage of it, though (so don't worry, mom :). Somehow videography only requires one hand whereas still photography (with my non-pocket-sized camera and limited skill) requires two.

In other news, DeLaynies garden is in phase 2 now. We decorated little flower pots to house our "baby flowers". I'm hoping that it's pretty obvious which is mine. Ella's is on the left, and DeLaynie's is on the right. The girls loved this activity, and I plan on helping them paint frisbees soon. When, I'm not sure. But everything is bought, so I'm sure that there will come a night when I'm in a crafting mood.

Oh, and Zumba training is tomorrow! For those of you who don't know, I'm going to be certified to teach Zumba classes. And I am So! Excited! And incredibly nervous. I'm going to try to update my FB status regularly to let you all know that I'm alive, but, if by some bazarre twist of fate the gym doesn't have wifi, I'll let you know how it all went on Sunday. Or Monday. I have a feeling I'm going to be completely knocked out by Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

More Birthday Pics

I promised more pictures, and here they are! Like I said earlier, I don't like putting pictures of other people's kids, so it'll just be my two (and Edwin).

DeLaynie blowing out her candles.

This is a picture of Ella stealing DeLaynie's cupcake after licking most of the frosting off of her own. ("What? I'm not doing nothin'!")

Edwin got both of the girls balloons with their appropriate ages. They're still playing with them.

Ella's friend was sitting on a ball, and she decided to give it a try. It was a little more challenging because the ball that she chose was a foam ball. It kept smushing when she sat on it, but she eventually figured out a way.

One of the activities was to decorate frisbees. The girls were pretty busy playing, so I decorated their frisbees for them. (We have lots of extras, and I'm pretty sure that they'll end up making a few themselves.) They never quite understood frisbee methodology, though.

So Daddy tried to teach them.

It never quite took.

DeLaynie didn't care. She still went around the gym saying, "And the gold medal goes to... DELAYNIE!"

After the party was over, Ella immediately pitched in and got to cleaning up. She is so helpful!

These girls are definitely worth celebrating... once a year.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Some B-Day Pics to Keep You Going

Because I know that you're all on pins and needles, I'm going to post a few pictures from the birthday party. It was an Olympics themed party, and the girls had a great time. I get a C- for organizing the games (mostly because I can't bring myself to give me a D or F. I'm a very tender-hearted teacher.), but the kids had fun. I think that was the point. The church owns a community center, so we had an entire gym to play in for the party. It's hard to go wrong with a giant room full of balls and a bunch of kids.

My mom found a website of birthday party ideas that had the idea to arrange cupcakes like the Olympic rings. It took a lot of food coloring, but I thought that it turned out very cute.

I was also pretty excited about the Wheaties cookies. I felt like an Olympics party just had to have Wheaties involved. So I turned them into cookies. And cookies are the breakfasts of champions.

DeLaynie is a natural little hostess. As the first guests arrived, she came to the door to greet them, called them by name, and walked them into the play area. Pretty cool, huh?

Did you know that ribbon dancing is an Olympic sport? Well, it is. It's referred to as "Rhythmic Gymnastics" because that somehow gives it an air of athleticism, but it's still twirling around with a stick with ribbons coming out of it. It's a favorite pastime for Attaway preschoolers. Okay, we only have one, but she really loves it.

Ella blew out her candles before we could sing "Happy Birthday," and before I could get a picture. I re-lit them. Then I pretended like nothing happened. What? She didn't bake 'em!

Ella never disappoints when it comes to taking down a cupcake. As I mentioned previously, I used a lot of food coloring to get the cupcakes close to the right color, so it stained pretty badly. (That hoodie is going to require some serious bleaching.) We got it off once we got home, but Ella's face is a lovely shade of green in most of the pictures.

I'll have more pictures later, and there's even a rumor about a video. That's Daddy's department, so we'll just have to see. Most of the best pictures include the girls' friends, but I don't like to publish photos of other peoples' children for safety purposes.

It was a fun day, despite a migraine that has persisted since this morning. The girls had a good time, and Mom and Dad had some fun, too. Have I ever mentioned how much I love the fact that I only have to organize one party a year? I now have 364 days to prepare for next year. I guess it better be good then, huh?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Night Out and a Four Year Old

I apologize for not blogging my vowed two times last week. I had every intention of working that second time in, but I just didn't make it. Sorry.

The reason (excuse) that I didn't have a second post is that Edwin and I had a night out on Friday night! A wonderful family from our church courageously volunteered to add our girls to their bunch (3 boys) so we could enjoy a lovely evening to our selves. We got a hotel room for the night, went out to eat, and browsed the stores of Plattsburgh. It was great!

Something else wonderful happened this weekend. My oldest daughter turned four! I can't believe it. She can't be four. Nope. I refuse to recognize it. She, however, really enjoys the fact that she's such a big girl.

The girls will have their annual combined birthday party on Saturday. I think I'm more excited than they are. I still have lots of planning to do, but I really can't wait! I sure hope that the kids have fun, too...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Prayers of Parents

Christmas of my senior year of high school, Dad gave me a framed sheet of paper. It was a page from his prayer journal that he had first filled out when I was an infant. The first lines ask the filler-outer to list things they're grateful for. Daddy was grateful that I was healthy and not a big cryer. His very first request in the needs section was that I'd learn to sleep better.

Over the years, he jotted notes on the topics he was covering in prayer on my behalf. One of the most covered aspects of my yet-unlived life was my husband. Long before I was dating or even able to speak, my parents were praying for Edwin. They prayed for his family, his spiritual development, and his ability to lead a very head-strong young lady.

If ever there was an answered prayer, it's this one. I can't imagine a better husband. I know that it isn't because I deserved such a man. It isn't because I have flawless judgement. It's because my parents prayed. My marriage is a prayer come true because they relentlessly bowed their knees before a sovereign Creator and asked Him to orchestrate our lives to bring us to each other, prepare us for each other, and learn to support each other.

I'm not saying that every parent with a child in a bad marriage is at fault for not praying enough, or not praying correctly. I just know this: God made this marriage happen. As I thank God for parents who cared enough to pray, I'm also praying for the men that God has in store for our girls.

Please, Lord, extend the same grace to them that You have extended to me. Give them a man after Your heart.

Friday, March 5, 2010

A Few Wonderful Things About Ella

My youngest daughter is advanced. She has decided that she simply will not wait the additional three weeks. Terrible twos begin now. "What's wonderful about that?" Nothing. I just want to keep the wonderful things in mind in order to put the upcoming challenges in perspective. And I want you, dear blog-reader, to know how much I really do adore her. Here are just a few wonderful things about Ella:

  1. She has an amazing fashion sense.
  2. Excellent taste in food.
  3. Not to mention refined table manners.
  4. Natural curiosity? Check.
  5. Who could be more loving? She doesn't even discriminate against fictional characters.
  6. She's comfortable in her own skin.
  7. And ever so nurturing.

Ella really is an amazing little girl. She's passionate, funny, a quick learner, and always ready to sit down with a book. She's affectionate, eager to play, and boy! can she dance. Maybe she's stubborn, but that makes for persistence, too. She accepts no limitations, and is willing to work to get what she wants. She's a great little sister, terrific daughter, and precious child.

I look forward to getting to know her better over the coming year, no matter how difficult those lessons may come. God is going to do amazing things through our little Ella.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Walk Through Narnia

(If you haven't seen The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe or read The Chronicles of Narnia, you may find the symbolism slightly hard to follow. I recommend renting the movie anyway. I love it!)

Saturday was a nice, warm day (almost 40 degrees!), so I went for a walk outside. The sun felt sweet on my face. Although it was warm, the fields were still at least a foot deep with snow. The trees still sparkled with remnants of snow and ice. I've been looking at similar wintry white landscape since late November. I almost heard the thought, "We live in Narnia!" As I continued walking, the spiritual significance of this statement fell heavy on my shoulders.

We live in a place that has fallen under the power of an impostor. Religious ritual has taken the place of true faith. Ungodly fear has replaced holy reverence. Confusion has abducted Spirit-led understanding. But a remnant remains. As I continued to walk, a whispered prayer came with each exhale. "Let Your Spirit fall!"

Sunday was our baptism service at church. Seven Christians took a stand and publicly proclaimed their unwavering faith in the one living God. Even as snow fell softly outside, I could hear the ice breaking. God was revealing Himself. His Spirit was descending. An unsafe, but ever-good Master was walking among us. There were no earthquakes. No audible voices. No conversions that day, that we know of. But a holy roar filled that sanctuary.

The workers may be few, but the ones that are here have their sleeves rolled up and their hands to the plow. His chosen ones are ready to see the True King take His throne. Come, Great Lion of Judah. Breathe on the hearts of stone and give them life! We long for spring, for the warmth of Your presence. We long for those in captivity to be freed!

Who are we to be here? Who are we to serve such people as these? Who are we to serve under Your command? Who are we to know You? Come, Lord. Please come!