I couldn’t love them more.
Dave gave me an INCREDIBLE new camera that I haven’t quite learned to use, yet. It’s so smart! There are so many settings! Shutter speed. Aperture. ISO. Dynamic Range. I don’t have a clue about any of it as evidenced by this picture I took of Julia and Lucy at The Ohio Music Teacher’s Association Ribbon Festival last Saturday.
(And yeah, that was the best one.)
If it weren’t blurry, you could see that Lucy is holding a First Year ribbon and Julia, a Fifth Year ribbon.
I did, however, capture some video that turned out alright.
Lucy was the first in her group to perform. She played Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Variations D and C by Shinichi Suzuki. She started out so strong, it seemed she was on her way to a flawless performance. And she wanted to turn in a flawless performance, which is why she started over after that first little finger slip. I sat there, willing her to look at me so I could do our just-keep-swimming fish motion with my hand, but she already knew that’s what she needed to do and she did. She kept going.
(You can’t see it on the video, but the blonde boy you can catch a glimpse of in the audience on the right of the screen was giving her all kinds of encouragement – big smiles, head nods, thumbs up. I loved him for that.)
She was so pleased and proud when she finished, and so was I. She’s worked so very hard at piano.
Here’s what the judge wrote to her:
Congratulations on your first Ribbon Festival! Good job on both the Twinkle variations! What piece do you think you will be playing for your second ribbon next year? Practice a lot and who knows! Keep up the good work and the very best to you!
Julia was up next. She played A Short Story by Heinrich Lichner. Of all the songs she’s learned, it is my favorite.
She had a couple stumbles, but pulled off a decent performance overall. She’d had a tendency to plow through this song, gaining speed with every measure, so she spent a lot of time practicing with a metronome to learn to keep it steady. She was very pleased that the judge commented on that:
This was a very nice performance! You seemed very confident and your memory was solid. The tempo you took was appropriate and you kept it nice and steady throughout. There was just one slight slip. It would be nice if you could play the left hand bass pattern a little softer than the right hand melody. Thanks for playing today.
We celebrated with dinner at Denny’s – and dessert, too. And later, a squishy bath.
(Okay, it’s supposed to be “Squishy Baff,” but saying or even typing “Baff” makes me throw up in my mouth a little.)
The pictures are getting better, though.
Am I right?
Dave can tell you the very moment he realized I really loved him and wasn’t just hanging around his place to watch his Tivo and have great sex. It was the day I spread 100 paper hearts throughout his apartment while we were dating, each one with a reason why I loved him written on it. Admittedly, one of those reasons was “You let me record my favorite shows on your Tivo,” – (It seems superficial, but I had no cable at my place. It was a BIG deal.) – and another was “The PHENOMENAL sex!” But there were 98 additional reasons that were hard to deny. He loved those hearts. He still has them! (If I happen to die before him, I will use all my ghost power to retrieve those hearts from the closet and spread them on the bed to send him an ‘I love you’ from beyond the grave. Or to foil his plans to sleep with someone I don’t like.)
As this Valentine’s day crept closer, he mentioned, again, how special that gesture made him feel. The written word is a powerful thing. And so, we decided to do something similar for the girls.
Today, we woke them up and gave them each a large paper heart that read:
there is no doubt.
If you’ve ever wondered why,
you’re about to find out.
There are twelve pink* hearts
each one’s like a clue
with one of many reasons
we’re crazy about you!
Go find them!
*All the hearts weren’t pink. Lucy’s were. Julia’s were purple and Phoebe’s were yellow.
We hid them around the house and sent the girls on a chase to find them, which they LOVED. Then, they brought them to breakfast and we read them together while we ate.
You guys, the smiles on their faces? Incredible. You could see how good it made them feel to hear those words. And then to have a sister chime in with, “That’s true! You really do tell amazing stories. Remember the one about the candy forest?” Priceless.
And it wasn’t just the kids that felt special. Last night, after they were sleeping, when Dave and I sat down together to write on their hearts, we talked about why we love our kids. We didn’t write the same twelve things for each of them – every heart was unique, as our girls are. And we couldn’t help but feel so very proud and grateful to have those girls in our lives. That alone made it an exercise worth doing.
Before heading out the door to school, Lucy stacked her hearts up neatly, held them to her chest and said, “I’m going to keep these and when I feel sad, I’m going to read them.”
And then we sent them out into the world armed with the Valentine cards they’d made to give away. (Well, we sent Julia and Lucy off to school. Phoebe is in my lap eating peanut butter toast.)(Now I’m wishing we’d made a Valentine card from Phoebe, too.)
I know the lollipop picture idea has been done and done and DONE – by everyone! – but I still loved it and wanted to do it. The girls did, too. Plus, it gave them a crash-course in Photoshop. Real life skills FTW!
How are you celebrating Valetine’s Day?
Today, I am 31 weeks pregnant and according to Jackson’s ultrasound measurements, he weighs about 5 pounds. This means he’s A Very Big Boy.
He’s also a very healthy boy, because today, for the first time, he scored in the healthy range on his biophysical profile. My big boy scored an 8! AND! And my amniotic fluid was measured at 36.5 cm when last time it was 38 cm and while they said the difference was negligible and not considered to be going down, but rather remaining stable, Dave and I still played The Safety Dance and did the robot on the way home in the car.
Sometimes you take a win wherever you can get it, even if you have to reach a bit. So, allow me to reach:
I’ve really never been a fan of the idea that Shit Happens. I’m more of fond of the idea that Shit Happens FOR A REASON. And it is usually my primary goal to find out what that reason is. So, I’ve been wondering why we’re experiencing all these issues with Jackson and this pregnancy. What did I do? What am I supposed to learn? And more to the point, How is this my fault? (Because I totally know it’s my fault.) What did I do? And while this all may just be a case of Shit Happening, it makes me feel better if I can discern something greater than that from it.
I felt like, maybe, I got that something today.
The doctor we met with this morning was a geneticist. She wanted to talk with us about Dave’s myotonia congenita and the possibility that Jackson has inherited it. In the past, we were told there was nothing we could do about Dave’s condition – it’s just something he has to live with. We hadn’t been encouraged to have the girls tested because the test (a muscle biopsy) is painful and, again, if there’s nothing that can be done about it, why? But today, we heard different. Today the doctor told us that absolutely there are things that could be done about it – things that mean Dave may not have to live with the symptoms of this disease for the rest of his life. We were told that if Dave underwent some genetic testing and DNA analysis, we could confirm his diagnosis and get specific about it – and from that information, we could also determine if any of the kids have it with a simple blood draw.
I don’t know. Maybe I’m just hanging on to anything that ends with my baby being born well, but I like the story that goes, “Jackson was born healthy, but if we hadn’t had all those issues during the pregnancy, we may have never found the treatment that makes Dave pain-free.” So, that’s the story I’m telling myself today.
I love Christmas break. LOVE IT. I love having the kids home from school. I love sleeping in. I love the all-day playing and pajama-wearing. I don’t want it to end. But tomorrow marks the start of a New Year. The Christmas tree will come down and we’ll pack the decorations away. We’ll go back to school and the old routine and look forward to the next thing to celebrate.
We had a wonderful holiday. Did you?
We spent Christmas Eve baking cookies, making buckeyes and tracking Santa on NORAD. We sprinkled magic reindeer food on the lawn and left cookies and milk out for Santa. The girls opened their new Big Sister pajamas and wore them to bed. Then Dave, my mom and I stayed up until 4 a.m. doing elf work.
There weren’t a lot of gifts under the tree this year, but no one was disappointed. Our budget was tight and that wasn’t really a bad thing. It helped us to be thoughtful. Dave and I tried to give the girls presents that served a purpose some other toy wasn’t already serving because, even if we had a ton of money to spend, our house is shrinking. We can’t afford to give up too much space.
I think we were successful. Mostly.
The day after Christmas, Dave and the girls not only let me sleep late, they brought me breakfast in bed, “for making Christmas so awesome.” I’ve heard that was mostly Julia’s idea. I thanked her later by running over her face with a sled while we were out playing in the snow.
The rest of the Christmas break has been blissfully lazy and filled with all the things we want to do and nothing that we don’t. And we can’t exist forever like that, I guess. So, welcome 2013. I’m expecting good things.