Friday, April 25, 2014

The Bolder Band - Part 2

My new red Bolder Band arrived last Friday. I was so excited to try it out but I didn't want to "waste it" on a practice session because then it's in the laundry and I can't show it off until I do a load of Zumba clothes. Yes, we have a hamper specifically marked "Zumba" in the closet; lights, darks, Zumba. So I saved the headband deciding that I'd wear it to teach my class on Tuesday night. When I pulled it out of the envelope it arrived in, I immediately checked to see if it would match my red cargoes like I'd hoped.
Sure enough, I was right. Which means the color swatches on Bolder Band's website are very accurate. At the right is my new headband and the tag it came with. I really liked their tags when I saw a picture and I was excited to get one to keep. Plus, this one is pink! The way I have the headband positioned in the picture is actually backwards. I did it that was so that the label would show but when I wear it, that's the part that goes under the hair. How did it work?

It worked great! It held my glasses on with no problem which is the primary reason why I bought it. It's tight enough to stay put, yet not so tight as to give me a headache. That does happen to me. I actually own four headbands by Goodie that came in a set. Impossible to try on ahead of time the way they were packaged, so this has nothing to do with Goodie's product. But the first time I went to wear one I took it off after 15 minutes because it was too tight and gave me a pounding headache. Not what I needed an hour before heading off to class! That was the first and last time... But I digress. The Bolder Band size chart and their little instructional video on how to measure your head were very clear and made it easy to figure out your size correctly.

I like the material too, it's smooth and soft. It's also moisture-wicking, so it's designed to keep sweat out of your face. I believe that it probably will do that job. Sweating on the head like that is not typically an issue for me except during the hottest period of the summer. I sweat in whole host of other places first. Meh, comes with the territory I guess.

Speaking of sweat, this is the after picture from Tuesday night. I meant to have Bry take a picture of me before I left but I forgot. So the sweaty after picture will have to do! In a way though, that's better because you can see that my headband is still on my head and my hair isn't sticking out. So, bottom line: this headband does the job it's supposed to do, it's stylish in it's own sporty way, and it wasn't especially expensive even with shipping. Would I buy another one down the road? Absolutely.

Headband aside, Tuesday night was special. Jae came to to see me teach my class. Nerve-wracking? Maybe just a wee bit. But she's smart and she knows me well, and knows I'm prone to having "freak-outs", so she told me a month in advance that she was going to come my class. That gave me a month to get over myself and calm down about it. When I'm too tense I start making mistakes all over the place. Definitely not something I want to have happen in front of -the- person who's taught me 2/3 of everything I know about dancing, Zumba, and teaching Zumba to others. She reminded me that I just needed to relax and let go so that I could have a good time. I'm glad she decided to come. It's a good feeling
to have the support of a friend who knows how to diffuse your freak-outs. Heh. And we really did have fun, but then that's no surprise, we always do and the where's, why's, and how's are pretty much just details.

Best advice: "There are short-cuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them." --Vicki Baum

Monday, April 21, 2014

The experience of shoe shopping with a kindegartener

www.payless.comOn Saturday we made a trip to the mall as a family. Bry said he wanted to look for some new shoes for himself at Payless, so I said, "Great! We'll all go because S needs new shoes too." I love Payless. For one thing, you typically do pay less for shoes than you would elsewhere. For another, all of the shoes they sell are completely synthetic unless specifically marked otherwise. That is great for the busy vegan who doesn't want to have to look inside every single shoe to check the materials. Beyond the time factor, let me tell you that it chafes to see a pair of shoes you really like only to have to pass because they turn out to have a leather component. Disappointment eliminated at Payless! Hooray!

So, shopping for shoes with a kindergartener... What is it about a shoe store that makes it this magical place where all shoes fit properly and everything is perfectly perfect? Apparently when you're five and a half, shoes that "feel great" in the store, "just feel so bad" when you get them home three hours later. Why Universe, why...? I did everything right! I asked the clerk to measure his foot. I made him try on both shoes of both pairs. I had him walk around in them for a little bit; again, both pairs. I don't know, maybe it's just part of him being five. But the end result is that I wound up taking both pairs back to the store today. To a different location actually so that the mall clerks wouldn't think I'm insane. The clerks in the plaza were really nice and helpful. "Did you want to exchange them, or just return them?" Hrmm, well I had planned to just return them and wait for a time when the boy wasn't in school so we could try again...but her question reminded me of something Bry had said to me Saturday evening, "Whatever size they measure his foot at, next time just buy a half size bigger."

**Side Note: I love love love my left-brained husband and his logic!**

Exchange them I did, and I got lucky in that the plaza location had both pairs in a half-size up. When the boy got home from school, he tried them on. He said, of the black/blue/green pair: "They feel good. For real. I'm not joking." Good to know. Joking? Really son, really? Sigh... And of the black/red/silver pair: "They feel okay on the outside [of the foot] but not on the inside." Also good to know. My plan at this point is to call the plaza location back tomorrow, and find out if they have a second pair of the black/blue/green shoes in his size. If they don't, they'll call other locations for me until they find what I'm looking for. Here's hoping I don't have to go back to the mall for this... Heh.

What have I learned from shoe shopping with a kindergartener?
1) Having him try shoes on at home produces a different analysis on his part than having him try them on in the store.
2) Always have more than one pair of the current size shoes on hand - one to wear, one to wash.
3) Just say NO to shoes that light up because you can't -ever- put them in a washing machine.

Now, I didn't warn you, dear readers, that this was going to be a "mommy post" up at the top. And that's because it's not. Well, at least not entirely... The mommy portion of the post has ended and the Zumba portion shall now commence!

As my family and I were waiting in line to check out at the Payless, here's the display I saw built into their cash desk. Notice anything?
This crazy Zumba girl be like, "Whoohoo, neon shoelaces!" Or sparkly ones, or colored zebra print's all good. Scanning the selection, my brain immediately began matching what's for sale, to the stuff I already own. What caught my eye are the bright blue sparkly ones. They are hiding behind a pink pair and a silver pair on the right, next to where the black and navy laces start.
Here's a close up view. They are a $1.99 and come in 4/5 hole and 5/6 hole lengths. At that price, they were worth taking a chance on. Although I was pretty certain they were going to match a certain pair of Pumas I had at home. And I was right!
The Puma Soleil's come with shoelaces intended to match the shoe. I mean white on white does match, and they made the end-tabs (does anyone out there know what the actual name is?) on the shoelaces coordinate with the color of the stripes. But the effect is kind of blah. I don't know why I never thought of changing the shoelaces before. It seems like a no-brainer now...
The fact is, I've never really care for the original Puma laces. They are ribbon-style which means they are very thin and flat. They are also somewhat slippery. I wouldn't dare wear them without double knotting and even then they've been known to come undone in the middle of the middle of a song. In fact, that happened last Wednesday night. I was in a rush to get out to class and this particular pair of shoes was handy so I just tossed them into my satchel. Part way through a song, I felt something under my shoe and when I briefly glanced down at my foot, I saw that it was my shoelace. This wasn't the first time this has happened, but I have a feeling, that with the new pair, it's no longer going to be an issue. The texture of the blue shoelaces leads me to believe that they will stay knotted quite well.

Best advice: New shoelaces are a cheap and easy way to change the look of your shoes. I kick myself for not figuring this out sooner. Do you folks know how many pairs of this style of shoe I've gone through in plain white/grey before I "went crazy" and bought a white/blue pair? Four! They would have looked so much better with any one of those colored pairs of shoelaces... Sigh, live and learn.

I am neither affiliated with, endorsed by, or compensated by Payless Shoesource -- Simply a shopper with an opinion!

Friday, April 18, 2014

The new phone

So I got a new cell phone. The Nokia 1020. It's a Windows phone. I know most people get all excited about upgrading...but am I the only one out there who sees it as nothing more than a necessary chore? Transferring everything from the old phone to the new phone is taking more time than I really would like it to take. Things are formatted in a slightly different way. Not so different as to be completely new and foreign, but different enough that I need to actually work at reorganizing everything. I'm glad I chose the longest time period on the contract because I really can't imagine doing this again in 12 months...or even 18!

My old phone is two years old, but truthfully, I only have two major issues with it.
1) The battery life seems to get shorter every few months
2) No one is making apps for my model of Windows phone any more. Not that there were tons to begin with...Windows phones have historically not seen the same kind of app love that iPhones and Androids do. But hey, at least it's not as bad as Blackberry! Oh snap! Heh. This is my old phone. The phone itself is actually turquoise, but I bought a pink case for it because I thought that would match my Zumba sticker so much better. Remember when I said that Zumba makes the best clothing tags ever? Remember how I said I keep them in a stash? Anyone want to guess where the sticker came from? If you guessed that it peels right off the tag, you'd be right.

I got this phone while I was still pregnant with our youngest son. The day I found out we were having a second boy, I posted that to Facebook right there in the doctor's office with it. It came to the hospital with me when I went into labor. I used it to time my contractions, and to take photos of our new arrival. After we brought him home, it was my "lifeline" to the outside world during that early time when it's all sleep, eat, diaper change, sleep some more. This phone has gone with me on outings and day trips with my family. It's gone to our older son's preschool and school and commemorated the occasions with photos of parties and events. I took it with me the day I went to B1 and got my license for Zumba. It has all (and by that I mean ALL) my music on it, I take it with me every time I go out to teach my class and I use it when I practice. This phone is how I read my library books. It keeps my calendar organized, and every phone number and address I have is in there.

The new phone will have all that (eventually...when I finally get it all transferred), and be able do everything my old one could do - only better and faster. But it won't ever be the one that was with me when our youngest son was born. It won't ever be the one that went to B1 with me. There have been times over the past week where I have wished that I'd simply bought a brand new battery for the old phone. The text chime doesn't seem to chime as loud on the new one, none of my ringtones are right on the new one, and all the playlists I created for Zumba, that worked so well on my old phone, show up as empty folders on the new one... But okay, okay...all that can be fixed, I just need to take the time and I'm about 2/3 of the way there. I know it kind of sounds like I hate the phone, but I really don't. It has some features to it that do like. It's slightly bigger while at the same time being lighter. It came with a handy wrist strap. It comes with more built-in apps than the old one did and most of the apps I have installed on the old phone can be easily reinstalled on the new one. The Nokia 1020's major claim to fame is the nearly-professional grade camera built in. It is a very very nice camera, but because it's bigger, it's left me trying to puzzle out where oh where to put my Zumba sticker!

Well, what I know is that I need to figure out this phone and finish messing around with it before next Tuesday night when I have to go teach my class again. I'm in a very small minority of Zumba people NOT using iTunes with an i-Something, and it's times like this that almost make me want to go get an iPod...almost. I'll get it done this weekend so that I have time to make sure it's working properly. The last thing I want is to get to class and not have music. I can't imagine a worse Zumba disaster. Knock on wood.

Best advice: Sometimes, to solve the problem, you just need to get a little creative.

Friday, April 11, 2014

The trip to Marshall's

It's spring break week for us, with our oldest son home from school. It's also been the week where the weather has finally FINALLY warmed up. Last weekend, it warmed up enough that our boy wanted to change into a short sleeved t-shirt. Going up with him to his room to find him one, I discovered that I only have two t-shirts in his current size. Two. Oh boy, I guess the Zumbamommy dropped the ball on this one. I blame the winter. This winter just seemed to go on and on and I thought the warmer weather would never get here. Usually I am prepared well in advance for the great spring closet shift from long sleeves to short sleeves, but not this year. So it's been a bit of a scramble this week, shopping for size six shirts...and some long sleeved shirts in size seven just for good measure... Hey, fall will be here before we know it and I don't want to be caught of guard again.

On Thursday, while our youngest son was napping, I took our oldest out to shop for shirts. We went to TJ Maxx and Marshall's. I managed to find one shirt at TJ Maxx that he liked and zero at Marshall's. Sigh. Marshall's was a wasted trip you say? Well...not entirely... Because I found some great stuff for me!
Hooray Marshall's! It was a happy little thrill seeing the very best tag in the whole world dangling off a tank top right there in an actual store. I grabbed one of everything that I thought would actually fit me and made haste to the changing room.

Store clerk: How many?
Me: Um...nine...

I wasn't sure the plastic number cards they give out even went up that high. I thought for sure she'd have me leave some of the shirts at the desk and come back for them... But no, she hands me a card with a nine on it and points me towards an open changing room. Great! Well okay then. I went through all of it and wound up buying three.
The minute I saw this one, I knew I was going to buy it. It's indigo and I just happen to have a pair of indigo cargo capris. If I hadn't already been trying on some others, I wouldn't have bothered trying this one on, I was that confident. It was the only one they had too, like it was just waiting for me to show up and take it home. Add to that, the fact that it was Thursday, a night I was going out to Rae's class, -and- a night that I had already planned to wear my indigo capris. I basically got this tank top home and put it on ten minutes after walking in the door. Up on the left, you can see the Marshall's tag: $12.99 (compare at $24.00). About half price, not bad at all.

As for the other two shirts...
I don't know what any of the "official Zumba names" are of any of these shirts. They are all from previous lines of clothing rather than the current line. But that's not surprising, Marshall's (and its affiliates) are
known for selling surplus inventory at discount prices. These were the same price as the tank top too, which I thought was pretty reasonable. Yes...these are t-shirts and not tank tops...but then I didn't buy them for actual Zumba class, so much as for every-day wear. I have those two 3/4 sleeved shirts I bought at my B1 and they have seen a lot of use this winter. A lot.

Friend: Oh, cool Zumba shirt. Do you have class tonight?
Me: Nope.

These two short sleeved ones are going to be perfect for the summer. The only thing that could have possibly made this trip to Marshall's any better would have been finding cargoes hanging on the rack. No pants of any kind to be found...and believe me I checked and double checked.

So, if you have a Marshall's near you, and you're in the market for some Zumba clothes, it might be worth going to have a look. As for TJ Maxx (or Winners for the Canadians), I'm not sure. I didn't see any Zumba clothes in TJ Maxx when I was there this week, but they are owned by the same people so one never can tell I suppose...

Best advice:

I am neither affiliated with, endorsed by, or compensated by Marshall's or Zumba(r) -- Simply a shopper with an opinion!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Bolder Band - Part 1

I was scrolling through my Facebook feed this morning when I stumbled across this:
My sister-in-law had apparently discovered a new kind of sporty headband. Interestingly enough, this popped up on her FB page not too long after she posted a status update about her first day of CrossFit... Anyways, ever since I started teaching my Zumba class, I am all about the sporty headband. I have several Zumba brand headbands of the soft cloth variety. These work really well for holding my glasses (which need to wear or I can't see my students well enough) in place while I teach. And because they are Zwear headbands, they also match a decent portion of my existing Zumba wardrobe. just can't have too many. Am I right, or am I right? Besides, I'm sure you took note of the fact that I said "a decent portion" rather than "all".

So I'm sure dear readers that you can all see where this is going... Of course I went to their site! I needed to find the answers to some questions I had. Such as...
1) How much do they cost?
2) What size(s) do they have? Or is it a one-size type product?
And maybe most importantly...
3) What colors do they come in? And do they sell neon?

And here's what I learned:
1) They cost $14.99 before shipping and taxes. They are made in Colorado and shipped from there. There's also a code you can get, if you give them your email address, that lets you add a free wrist lanyard to your order with any purchase of $9.99 or more.
2)  They had this handy chart on their site. The asterisks are to indicate that those sizes would be a custom order. With the chart was a short little video on how to measure your head to know which size to order. Incidentally, I'm a regular.

And the answer to number three...
3) Lots and lots of colors! Patterns and solids and brights and metallics... Even a couple of guy-friendly patterns and colors (BroBands). Neons?

But there is hope. Almost as soon as I started browsing their site, a little chat window popped up with a message that said: "Hi! This is a real person. Let me know if I can help you." Hrmm... Okay then. I'll admit I was a little suspicious but that's my nature I guess. I would rather walk three blocks than use valet parking.... But it really -was- a real person, who ultimately turned out to be very helpful. I had to ask, will there be neon and when. He said he thought neon was coming. There are pictures of some neon headbands on one of their Pinterest Boards that he believes might be a preview. I suppose I'll just have to keep checking back...oh the hardship... Heh.

In the meantime though... I bought a solid red one!
There were a lot of cool prints and other solid colors, but I gravitated to the red one because I own red cargoes that are the hardest thing ever to match with accessories and shirts. The last time I wore the red cargoes to teach my class, I wound up using a black crocheted headband. It was the only thing that even remotely matched, but because it's crocheted, my glasses poked through the holes and I really didn't like that. The elastic part of that headband also digs in to my scalp a little bit and because it's a fashion piece, it's pretty lightweight and not really designed for vigorous activity; I haven't worn my Party Hearty's to teach in since. So, I am really excited for this headband (and my free wrist lanyard) to arrive in 6-8 days. That will be in plenty of time for me to try it out before I take a break from teaching for the summer. I do, I'll post a review of it...yeah, that would be the eventual Part 2 of this post. Bolder Band's motto is: "Stays put so you don't have to". Nice...and check it, their tags are almost as good as Zumba's.

Best advice: When you find something red (or whatever color applies to you...) that will coordinate with your odd-ball cargoes (or whatever piece of clothing applies to you...), jump on it! And then do a little salsa (or whatever dance you like best...) on it for good measure. This is the second time in as many months that this has happened to me. The last time, it was a fold-over elastic hair Hallmark of all places.

I am neither affiliated with, endorsed by, or compensated by Bolder Bands -- Simply a shopper with an opinion!

Monday, April 7, 2014

The songs from the ZIN month (and one week) later...

If you read my Jam posts, you may recall that one week post-Jam I was struggling with a few things. It was making me downright cranky actually. So, it's been almost exactly a month since I wrote my second Jam post and things are...better. By quite a bit. So, where am I at exactly? The salsaton - I can't use the salsaton at all unfortunately because I can't get a clean (un-remixed) version from Amazon MP3. I don't know if iTunes even has one, since I don't have an account. This is where being a Windows Phone/Zune user gets tricky sometimes. It's too bad too, because I like the choreography for it.

As it turns out, there actually IS a clean and un-remixed version of the salsaton on iTunes! Jae checked and told me so. Darn it Amazon! Just...darn it all. Knowing this doesn't help me though because I still can't get it. Even if I opened an account and bought it, I don't have a device that will play it. Sigh. Not mention that even if I -did- manage to get my hands on a copy, it's been over a month since I've heard the song, much less done the choreography. I don't remember it well any more. The cumbia - This one isn't smooth at all. I can at least get through it...kinda... My timing is way off on the machete part (which in turn throws me off for other parts) and this just drives me nuts because the Jammer made a special point to tell us what to be listening for in the music as the cue for us to start that part. The worst thing is that I actually can hear it, I'm just hesitating because I second guess myself, and then I miss it. Grr. I'm my own worst enemy sometimes, and I need to stop over-thinking it.

I'm still not getting the machete. Well, I am in practice though... It's funny how "dancing" in your car at stoplight (car-eography!) works differently than dancing for real. I really need to work on this one more but it's taken a backseat to the other three songs. I'll say this though, that much at least has paid off.

3) Moviendo Caderas by Yandel (feat. Daddy Yankee) - I'm not precisely sure what style this one classifies as. It's the one I remember the best. I've got this one head and shoulders above the others. When I realized that last night, I flipped it and started working on it leading with my left side. I've got a couple transitions to smooth out and I need to work out how I'm going to cue it, but it's nearly good to go. Which is way more than I can say for any of the others.

Moviendo Caderas is still the one I know the best, left -and- right. It's just about class-ready and I've got this debate going on in my head as to whether or not I'll introduce it to my class in the six weeks I have left, or just save it for September.

4) The reggaeton - Probably the simplest one of the five, it only has three varying parts and they repeat in the same order each time. Easy-peasy right? My timing is off on this one too, but I know it's because I'm practically tripping over my feet. This song has a sassy little walk up (forward travel), and the feet crossing over were messing me up and then I was backing up leading with the wrong foot which messed up the next part. This one will come. I have a feeling that the next time I work on this one, I'll have it back to where I had it at the Jam last week. was right about the reggaeton. The next time I practiced it, I got it back, sassy walk and all. With this one, it helped to enlist a second set of eyes...well feet maybe is more accurate... I did this one with Jae because I wanted her opinion. She had it down in about five minutes. No...I'm not -that- good a teacher. She's just -that- good. But talking it through with someone really helped and listening to the voice of experience did too. And hey, I stopped tripping over my own feet! Jae had told me, when I asked her, that she would probably teach it facing away from the class. We both agreed that people would likely catch on to the sassy walk much easier that way. The next time I practiced it though, I tried reversing the whole thing and leading with the left just because there are parts of that song that I think need to be taught leading left so that my class can see me. After three times through attempts, it just was not working. So I stopped and reevaluated, and instead of spiraling down into one of my freak-outs (be proud of me!), I decided to try something different. I started on the left and when I got to the part where the sassy walk starts, I turned around and lead with the right. When the chorus started again, I flipped back to leading with the left. Best of both, and it worked! The transition is just long enough. I ran through it that way twice and that's definitely how I'm going to teach it when the time comes. And the debate goes on... Do I introduce this to my class before the summer, or not? Hrmm...

5) The tropipop - Holy smokes, this one kicked my butt all over the place. If anyone had seen me down in my basement working on this one last night, they would have probably thought I'd never done the song before. It's not just an issue of timing either, it's me reading the notes and going, "Wait...what?" There's one piece I know I forgot completely, that spot is blank so I did the move right before it extra long. I restarted the song three times, and each time I had to pause and redo chunks of it here and there. I never actually did get all the way through it because I was starting to get pretty frustrated with myself.

As for the last song... It's fixed (mostly), but I'll admit to having had help. First though, I eventually figured out why this one, above any of the others, was such a source of great frustration for me. About a week prior to the Jam, the Jammer sent out a song survey by email inquiring about the songs on Mega Mixes 38 and 39 (and a few extra songs that weren't on either CD). She wanted to know the following: Which ones were we already using, which ones did we love, and which ones did we hate. When I answered the questions, I voted -for- this one, hoping we would do it, because I really liked the song itself.

***Side Note: I also voted for Moviendo Caderas. The other three songs that made it to the list were ones I didn't vote for at all because I was good either way.***

So the bottom line was this: After 3.75 hours of essentially mainlining Zumba, I couldn't actually do one of the two songs that I had specifically voted for. Frustrating? Yes indeedy! So what's a girl to do? Vent to someone who understands. Expressing my growing irritation with this song to Jae, she tells me: "Don't worry. It'll come." Okay, if she believes that, then I will too. Plus, hearing that diffused the freak out I was having. What also helped me get this song under control was that by this point, Rae had introduced it to her own class. Which meant I could ask Jae questions like: "What's the little piece in the middle of the calypso part? I'm totally blanking on it." And she could answer with: "It's arms like Say Na only smaller." Boom! Memory jogged. 
Coincidentally...are there such things? I really really wonder sometimes... "Coincidentally", circumstances, like my church cancelling my own class for that one week, worked out so that I actually got to go to Rae's class. Handy that, because I got to see what the tropipop song looked like all over again, -and- what it looked like put through the "Rae filter". After two times with her in her class, suddenly practicing it on my own didn't seem quite so scary. And this week? I got it. I. Got. It. Not only did I get all the way through that song from start to finish several times, I even flipped that sucker to the left! I was so happy. There's one transition in the middle that isn't smooth yet, but I kicked this song's butt this week. Jae was right all along, it did come...well, with a little help from my friends.

Best advice: "Don't worry. It'll come." Repeat as necessary!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The birthday outing

It's hard to believe the school year is nearly over. I was counting the weeks left before my Zumba class is done for the summer, there are only six weeks left (not counting spring break week in April or Memorial Day week in May). Where did the time go? And it seems like it was only yesterday I was putting our older son on the bus for the first time and sending him off to kindergarten and now he's almost done and about to become a first grader. Didn't he only -just- become a kindergartener? Fair warning dear readers, this one is a "mommy post".

Watching our son make the transition from preschooler to kindergartener, I'll admit I worried. Just a bit. I knew he was ready academically and emotionally. Socially though? In preschool he had a couple of friends who'd come into 4's preschool with him from his 3's class and while registering him for kindergarten, he asked me if he could be in a kindergarten class with the two of them. The answer unfortunately was no. It was really hard for me to disappoint him, but there was really nothing I could do. The preschool building is for kids from anywhere in the district, but once students start kindergarten, they are (most of the time) assigned the school closet to them geographically. There are five different elementary schools in our district. Further, each school has between three and four kindergarten classes. Even if he wound up at the same school with one or both of his friends, it was a crap-shoot as to whether or not he'd be in the same class. Explaining the kindergarten admissions process to a four year old is difficult at best, but he took it better than I thought he would. In the fall, at kindergarten orientation, I realized that not one of the students who'd been in 4's preschool with him would be in his kindergarten class. Not one. I worried about him starting a new class in a new school not knowing anyone. As it turns out, I didn't need to. In fairly short order, I began hearing tales of recess and choice-time all involving the same three boys. That's the beauty of children, at this age new friendships seem to form so easily and naturally. Our son seemed to talk the most about one classmate in particular, E. He and E share a love of Lego and all things superhero. E's mom and I met for the first time at the school's Halloween party. Turns out, she'd been regaled with the same stories of their exploits. We exchanged information and spoke about getting the boys together for a play-date. Getting to know E and his mom better has been a real treat. E is a lovely boy and his mom is someone I can see myself being friends with. I realized that our son has good judgement when making friends and I'll admit that knowing that makes me feel pretty good.

S and E - in the photo booth
Last month, E turned six. His mom asked me if our son could go with their family to see The Lego Movie at the theater. That's apparently what E wanted to do to celebrate his birthday. He got to choose one friend to invite and he chose our boy. I'll admit that made me feel pretty good too, but it also gave me pause. For one thing, this would be only the second time, not counting school, that our son has been away by himself (the one other time was when he slept over at Grandpa's while I was in the hospital delivering our younger son). For another, it meant letting go and trusting another parent with his dietary needs. As an allergy mom, let me tell you that is not easy and I think without the issue of the food allergies, I would hardly worry at all.

E's mom was very understanding, accepting, and willing to listen though. She asked what fast food type restaurants (if any) were options for lunch. I told her Subway, and she asked me to please write down exactly what was safe for her to order for our son. Which I did, and gave her the paper to take with her. She called part way through the afternoon to ask what kinds of candy (if any) he could eat at the theater. She also said that the Subway where they were eating was next to a grocery store and she she could easily run in there for something if I didn't think she'd be able to buy any of the theater's offerings; I suggested dried fruit and she bought him a box of craisins from the store. Our son came home full of happiness and excitement. He had a wonderful afternoon with his buddy E. I was thrilled by how well it had all gone. The older he gets, the more opportunities like this one will present themselves. I suppose I'd best get used it.

Best advice: If your kid has food allergies, educate them. Teach them to be their own advocate. It will pay off, and you'll gain some piece of mind as a parent.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The "Room At The Table" video

Happy April everyone! Yesterday, as I was posting a reminder about my Zumba class in my church's Facebook group, one of my students posted this video:

I loved it immediately!
"There is room for us all and no gift is too small."

Certainly the message of the song has wider connotations than dance, I'm not unaware of that. But I love how this video showed dance to be a universal thing. This video shows so many different styles of dance, so many ages, faces, and cultures; it was heartwarming.

I appreciated that she posted this to my Facebook announcement because it was just so apropos. Zumba is a dance fitness program designed for anyone and everyone and no ability level is too low.

Best advice: Just dance. It's in you somewhere.