Monday, April 30, 2012

We're Off to See the Wizard!!

Last weekend was opening weekend of The Wizard of Oz which both my girls were in!  Mikayla plays the roles of Crow, Poppy, and a Candy Shop Girl in Oz; and Izzy plays Toto during the Kansas scenes.

Mikayla continues to show no fear on stage, while Izzy has been riddled with anxiety since the beginning, but both girls are doing an awesome job!  The hours have been long, not getting home and in bed until about 11:00 this past week (which explains why at 10:30 on a non-play night they are both in their beds still awake and reciting lines from the play) but it has been worth it!  

The entire show has surpased my expectations, and those of most of our audience members.  We have sold out two of our 4 shows so far before even opening the doors, and are looking forward to another busy weekend of performances.  I'm not going to go into it too much tonight, but wanted to show you a few pictures for those of you haven't seen them on facebook already (my facebook friends are getting tired of hearing about the Wizard of Oz by now I'm sure)

Mikayla in stage makeup before dress rehearsal.  Mikayla loves being in plays and has no stage fear.  I wish I was more like that!  She is enthusiastic and a pretty awesome singer!

Izzy as Toto holding the Toto that sits with the narrator Dorothy.  Lots of things throughout the process of rehearsals and performances have worried Izzy to tears, and the late nights have made her pretty tired, but she is having a lot of fun making new friends and playing in the dressing rooms with the other kids.  She is such a cute Toto and gets lots of laughs and "Awww"s from the audience!  She is having fun and once she gets past each of the little details that worries her she enjoys herself quite a bit!

We have 6 Dorothys, 2 Totos, 2 Wicked witches, 2 Glindas, and some double-casted munchkins as well.  Partly to accommodate a very large cast of 115 kids!

Toto scoping out Professor Marvel's roasting marshmallow.

Mikayla in her crow costume for the scene where Dorothy meets the Scarecrow.  She likes being a crow, they get to sing and dance with the Scarecrow and tease him throughout the scene.

So you put makeup on her and she becomes a 13 year old?

Opening night was one of their sold out shows, and was a huge success!  

We are so proud of our kids!

If you are interested in coming to see the show, you should order online before it sells out!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Day I Killed Santa

What do Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy have in common?

Less than a week ago, they all died.

At least to Mikayla they did.  A couple years ago Mikayla asked me, "Mom, are you the tooth fairy?" and since she was almost eight years old I gave it to her straight.  "Yes, I am."  and she instantly felt part of a big secret.  But she didn't ask about any of the others, and we had planned on waiting until she asked before we told her the real deal about Santa and the Easter Bunny... but she didn't ask.  Ever.

I even tried to coax it out of her last fall, knowing that Christmas would be coming up.  Asking her leading questions about if she had any questions or wanted to talk about the fact that the Tooth Fairy isn't real.  She didn't bite.

As we neared Easter we decided we'd wait until after Easter and tell her the truth, not wanting to break it to her  2 days before the holiday.  It had gotten to the point where we worried she'd start getting teased about it at school, but she takes being lied to really hard.  One of her close friends lied to her at school a few months ago and she came home sobbing like someone had chopped off her foot.  Needless to say I was a little nervous about telling her that it had all been a "lie".

The first chance we got after Easter was Monday evening on the way to Wizard of Oz rehearsal (both the girls are in the Wizard of Oz which opens in less than 2 weeks!) when it was just Mikayla in the car.

Me: Do you remember when I told you about how the Tooth Fairy isn't real and that it's really me and dad?
Mikayla: yeah?
Me: You know Santa and the Easter Bunny?
Mikayla: Are you saying they're not real too? (looking shocked and bummed)
Me: me and Dad are Santa and the Easter Bunny.
Mikayla: Does that mean nothing is real?
Me: like what things do you mean?
Mikayla: (a little bit frantic) So Leprechauns aren't real!!?
Me: (stifling a giggle) No leprechauns are not real.  These things are just fun to imagine and think about.  They're all just magical make-believe fun for kids.

She took it pretty well.  I told her that now that she was in on the secret she needed to keep the secret, and not tell anyone and ruin the fun for them.  She said it would be easy to not tell the little kids but she'd have a hard time keeping it to herself with her friends... and we were 3 minutes away from play rehearsal where there are over 100 kids of all ages.

As we pull in to the parking lot she's got her hand on her mouth saying, "Oh I'm going to tell someone! I'm going to tell someone!"  Luckily she didn't.  And since getting through that first time around friends I think she has it under control.  I'm just happy she wasn't furious with us for "lying" to her all these years, but she understood that it was for fun.

But now, as far as my oldest child goes, Santa and the Easter Bunny are gone.  But she'll still get all the goodies!  :o)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

After my Dad's Death

Obviously I haven't blogged in a long time, my mind just hasn't been on that.  On March 8th my dad lost his battle with cancer.  He fought hard and for about 3.5 years, doing extremely well until the last few months.  He will be greatly missed!  I'm not going to get mushy and sentimental here, that's for real-life for now, but I wanted to share some of the things I've learned through his death.  While my experience and feelings are just my own, and some people will have very different experiences, I'm sharing my own perspective.

Knowing people are praying for you is comforting.  No matter how many seemingly generic "Our thoughts and prayers are with you" I got, I knew they were from the heart and it was comforting to see and hear those words.  Often times people just don't know what else to say, and that's fine, because there aren't any words that will make the pain go away.  But seeing and hearing that people care for you and cared for the person who has passed is soothing.

I've never been very good at sending cards, for anything really, so I was surprised how good those sympathy cards made me feel.  The ones with personal messages were particularly touching, especially when they contained specific memories of my dad.  I'll need to remember that sympathy cards are comforting to many people and I plan to make an effort to send them when I can.

A good funeral home director is incredibly helpful.  When my mom, my sister and I went to meet with him I was really impressed at how smooth he seemed to make everything that needed to be done in a short amount of time.  They literally walk you through the whole planning process and give you advice on what to do.  Of course my mom had a lot of extra things to take care of, but the funeral director, and our church's funeral planners made things as easy as could be expected.

There's a lot of hugging involved.  I hugged nearly every person who attended the funeral, and I was happy to do it.

And related to all the hugging - family.  Death brings family together, if only for a day for some.  Family members that live several hours away or whom we hadn't heard from in several years, showed up to pay their respects.  And even though it was for a brief time, it was good to come together to remember my dad.

I was incredibly moved to see a sanctuary full of people who took time off on a Wednesday morning to pay their respects, share their memories and our own, and celebrate the life of a wonderful man.  Just taking the time to show up to a visitation or funeral is meaningful to the family.

Military people are efficient (not that I didn't realize that already).  When we arrived at Fort Snelling National Cemetary at our appointed time, we were given a run through of the timing of the next half an hour.  The whole service is precisely timed, yet still meaningful.

My dad's Fort Snelling Service was beautiful and moving.  Other than the first woman we met who took us to the location and was a bit cold, I got a real sense of appreciation for my dad's service for our country.  Whether or not you agree that the U.S. should have been involved in any particular war, we should appreciate the people who risked their life to serve our nation.  Politics aside, the men and women in the military do what most of us can't or won't do, and they work hard to do it, and often die for it.  They should be thanked.  And a 21 rifle solute and gifting the family with an American flag is a beautiful way to do that.  I could have cried when the rifles went off, but I was worried about my kids reaction since it was very loud (they were fine, barely flinched).  I did cry though when the tall, dignified old vet presented my mom with the flag, and this tiny old woman gave the most sincere thanks to my mom for my dad's service for our country.  And when Taps was played, chills.  It was beautiful.

After the funeral, the family went out for drinks.  I think that going out afterward to lift ourselves out of the sadness of the funeral, and celebrate his life with happy memories and laughter is entirely helpful.  It kind of gave us permission to smile again while still grieving and remembering the good times.

I've been doing well for the most part, although I still very much miss him.  Tomorrow, Easter, will be one month since he passed away, and our first holiday without him.  I am sure he'll be looking down on us with his dad and smiling as the kids hunt for eggs, and we enjoy a big Easter meal together.  Because the biggest lesson to be learned, is how important it is to spend time with family while we still can.
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