Sunday, October 19, 2014

At the Ballet

Today I took Kate to Bass Performance Hall for her very first ballet. The Texas Ballet Theater presented Sleeping Beauty, and today they had a special matinee performance called Tutus & Tiaras. There were special tables set up for girls to make a tiara, get cookies and bracelets, they could sit in a real carriage for a photo op, and they were able to meet a couple of the performers as well.
Kate was so very excited to be going downtown today. We pass by downtown a lot on our way to the zoo or museum, but I don't actually think I've taken Kate down there for anything that she would remember very well so it was sort of like her first time being amidst all the tall buildings that she admires from the freeway all the time. She was giddy about the parking garage and the tall buildings. She loved Bass Hall with the huge angels out front (who doesn't?). Once we got inside and finished all the princess stuff, she wanted to explore every single part of the building so we walked up and down the stairs several times. We went out on the balcony in between the two angels a couple of times and visited 3 different restrooms. She was having a blast.
When it came time to go find our seats, Kate was a little nervous about the whole experience because she's never one to just trust that she will love something. She was worried about the music being loud, worried about the lights going off and it being dark, worried about whether there would be a dragon on stage....worry worry worry. I just bought our tickets the other day as a sort of last minute decision, and I wasn't sure how she would react to everything so I went cheap and got the mezzanine box seats up near the front. The great thing about those is you are really close to the stage, so you can really see the performers...mostly. They are partial view seats, so everything really far to the side of the stage we were seated near was concealed by curtain from us. We also had a big speaker dangling out in front of us, but it didn't block any of our views. However we were up above the orchestra pit so we could also see the orchestra playing really well, and she enjoyed watching them almost as much as the dancers themselves.

She kept her hands over her ears for the first 10 minutes or so, but eventually she relaxed her arms and the second the first dancers came out on stage her eyes lit up and she kind of gasped. I knew she was going to love it after that. So she spent the remained of the performance (we are talking 3 hours: 4 acts and 3 intermissions) whispering to me:

"Oooh, she's my favoite!"
"I like the blue dress."
"How do they dance so gracefully?"
"Oh, that one is my favorite!"
"This is my favorite dance."
"I love the purple dress."
"This is my favorite dance!"
"I can't do that."
"How do they make the songs with those instruments?"
"I like the Queen."
"This one is my favorite."
"They jump really high."

She also danced around here and there, because she simply couldn't contain herself. Thankfully the guy sitting in the chair next to hers didn't seem to mind. That's the other great thing about the box seats - you have a lot more room than the regular seats so you're not so easily bothered by people. We were up pretty high, on the third level, so we had a great view of the whole theater. However, this also meant that when Kate was twirling around during one of the intermissions trying to show me her ballerina moves, the candy bracelet that they gave her downstairs went flying off her arm and landed on either an unsuspecting attendee or somewhere in the orchestra pit. I chose not to lean over an see where it landed because I didn't want to get a dirty look. It was pretty funny though.

After the ballet, we were both pretty hungry so we headed out into Sundance Square because Kate wanted to eat there instead of coming home. We walked over to Five Guys and had a burger, and then across the street to get some gelato. We circled back around to the fountains and finished our dessert, than Kate proceeded to dance and run around for a little while. It wasn't crowded at all and the weather was beautiful, so I let her entertain herself. In fact, I had to force her to leave because she wanted to keep playing and looking at the big buildings. She even said she wanted to live in one of them, so perhaps my dream of living downtown may someday be a reality after all.
I'm happy that she loved the ballet as much as I do, and I'm guessing that Nick is happy she loved it too because this means he doesn't have to be the one who always goes with me. I've already purchased tickets to take Kate to The Nutcracker in December.

State Fair of Texas 2014

Yesterday was the final Saturday for the State Fair, so we headed out to eat some fried stuff and walk a million miles. We had chosen that Saturday to go all along because Collective Soul was doing a concert that afternoon for free at the Fair. Otherwise I might not have chosen the last weekend to attend because the weather was gorgeous and it was super crowded in the afternoon and evening.

We loaded up our Fiat with Brad and Andrew and headed to Dallas. Kimilee had to meet us later in the day. We took Kate's stroller because I knew she would get tired and quite frankly, in those kinds of crowds the idea of her walking is super stressful. It's much easier to know where she is when she's strapped into a stroller. (Do they make them for big kids?)
Kate took this photo. 
They added a kids boardwalk area this year, so Kate got a Big Tex tattoo on her hand and they had pumpkin "painting" (also known as coloring with Sharpies), some fun little Chevy cars that were painted to look like sea creatures and police cars, and a few other things for them to do. It wasn't fantastic, but since it's new I am guessing it will get better in the years to come.
Of course we did all the typical Fair stuff - we took a photo with Big Tex, we ate some fried stuff (Fried Reese's & Cream and Fried Smores Pop Tarts), and I had my Fletcher's Corny Dog. Pretty much the only time of the entire year that I eat a corny dog is at the Fair. They just taste better there.
We also walked through the new car pavilions, browsed the craft items, walked a lot, admired and discussed the giant butter sculpture of horses, shopped a little, walked some more, watched the parade, looked at animals, walked, and then walked some more. We didn't ride anything this year, which kind of bums me out because I do love the photo opportunities from the Texas Star ferris wheel, but Kate refused to ride.
Kate can officially say she has been to her first rock concert though. Collective Soul performed for just over an hour, and at first she kept her hands firmly over her ears, but after a little while she relaxed in her seat and eventually she was up dancing like a wild woman. I think she and Andrew entertained all the people around us quite a bit.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Happy birthday, Mom!

On Wednesday we celebrated Mom's 55th birthday with dinner at Rosa's. Mom brought her favorite cake, Texas Hot Cocoa Cake, and we sang and had cake before she opened her gifts. I know, she shouldn't have to make her own birthday cake, but honestly, no one makes a Texas Hot Cocoa Cake quite like she does so I didn't argue when she said she was making one.
 Trey spent the entire evening on his phone playing games, which is pretty much what he does all the time unless he is at home. In that case, he's on his Playstation 3. I'm assuming he put the phone down long enough to eat, but who knows. Typical teenage boy, I suppose!
 Kate made a birthday card for Grandma. I helped show her how to make her 5s properly (they sort of looked like snakes beforehand) and I wrote out Happy Birthday Grandma and had Kate copy what I wrote. I then left the room to let her do her best and she did a pretty good job!
 Then it was time for presents and judging by the expressions, Kate and I did a really good job of picking out some perfectly sparkly new boots.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

One Singular Sensation!

We had our second symphony of the season on Friday night. We were treated to A Tribute to the Music of Marvin Hamlisch.  In case you live under a rock, he's the composer behind pieces like A Chorus Line, Through the Eyes of Love from Ice Castles, Nobody Does It Better, The Way We Were, and the Suite from Sophie's Choice among other things. The evening was conducted by Larry Blank, a hugely famous conductor (although I didn't realize that until I read his bio in the playbill.)
We headed downtown early so we could stop at Taco Diner and eat dinner first. I had the fried avocado tacos again, because they're so wonderful, and Nick tried their tamales. We had to order guacamole as well, because it's wonderful and their chips and green sauce are amazing.

Accompanying the Fort Worth Symphony for this performance were three very talented singers, since many of the big hits were not just instrumental. Donna McKechnie, the Tony Award winning star of A Chorus Line, was one of the performers. Along with her was the talented Jodi Benson, whom everyone in the world knows as Ariel from The Little Mermaid, among many other voices for Disney. Rounding out the trio was Doug Labrecque, who has played both Raoul and the Phantom from The Phantom of the Opera, along with many other musicals like Les Miserables. Very talented group, indeed. They were fantastic!

After the show, I was thrilled to discover that Doug Labrecque was selling CDs in the foyer of Broadway recordings that he has performed, so we bought a CD and he autographed it for me while we talked to him for a little bit. Such a nice man, and I was a little bit star struck (though I didn't hyperventilate or anything...as I'm known to do around famous people). It was a great night!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

School Picture Day

Just like I did last year, before I took Kate to school on picture day we spent a few minute in the backyard taking our own school pictures. We didn't have quite as long as we did last year, so I was a little rushed but we still got some good shots. She's growing up so quickly! First, here's a picture from last year's school picture day:
And this year? She's totally full of attitude and will be turning 16 next month.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

MapMyWalk: September 2014

September was a rough month. I know that it's because I spent eleven days traveling instead of being at home. No matter how good of choices you try to make, assuming that you always try to make good choices, eating out will never be as healthy as eating at home. It just doesn't work that way. Then there's being away from your daily routine, and trying ti fit exercise into a busy travel schedule (which I did manage to do, but still) it's rough. So although there was some weight loss in September, it's not as much as I was hoping for coming off of August. That's ok though, because I now have momentum to regain to head into October.

September stats:
75.81 Total Miles
19.69 Total Hours
11661 Total Calories

In the month of September, I took 366,795 steps (which includes all walking, not just exercise). For 2014, I have completed 557.65 miles, which leaves 42.35 little miles to hit my goal of 600 for the year!

Statistically this seems to be the time of year that I begin to lose steam and coast through the holidays with a few extra pounds. Then January comes, and I'm go through this whole "dang, I wasted the whole freaking year again" monologue and get angry at myself for not being that much better off at the start of the new year than I was last year, etc, over an over, rinse and repeat. So this year I'm determined to break that cycle. Honestly I can't afford to lose momentum because I do have a 10k in February, so I really can't let anything stand in my way of being able to do my best in that.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Happy 5th birthday, Logan!

My nephew Logan turned 5 today. This means that my own daughter's 5th birthday is just 5 weeks away. I'd launch into some sort of monologue about how the time has flown, etc, but you already know that and I'm too depressed about it to complain anyway. They grow up so quickly! I'm pretty sure that I have to take her to her driver's test next month.
Anyway, we spent Friday and Saturday in Henderson for the festivities, and yesterday was his Paw Patrol themed birthday party at a park. The kids had a blast playing on two different playgrounds and of course we had cupcakes as well.
It was a long drive back home again, and I can happily say that as of right now, I have no trip on my schedule until February 2015. I'm kind of tired of traveling (I have been gone 11 days in September.) I may actually put my suitcase up in the closet for a change.