Monday, December 7, 2015

Of tales in excruciation from the portrait studio, annual pilgrimmages to The Nutcracker, & holiday dancing adventures...

Well, happy Monday to you all! I have been grading all morning, and you can only imagine how much fun that is. *sarcasm* But I'm coming up for for a breath of fresh air, and happy to be taking a break. The semester will soon be over, so hope springs eternal!

I had a nice weekend, and I hope you did too. It was busy, to be sure. Got your tea?

I started the weekend as I always do, at dance troupe rehearsal. We have a performance coming up on December 12th, as part of a "12 Days of Dance" enterprise, so we ran through the numbers we're going to be doing there. Then we got all giddy and started created a Christmas choreography that we want to record for our website, in which we dance to a Middle Eastern instrumental version of a traditional Christmas song and balance trays on our heads of assorted holiday decor: Gifts, ornaments, garland, we've all been tasked with getting creative this week and decorating our tray. I it any wonder why I love these women?! This group has brought more fun and joy into my life than I could have possibly imagined. We're all going to deck ourselves out in red, green or gold costumes for the recording and I can hardly wait.


A super fun trip to the craft store is in my future, yes indeedy. In other news, Saturday morning dawned as the assigned day for our family Christmas photo. As background, we don't often take family photos. We haven't had one taken since before Anne was born, just to give you a sense of the photo-aversion we're working with here. But the grandmothers have been clamoring for a photo, and I thought it would be nice to surprise them for Christmas. Thus, I signed us up for a weekend slot over at our local JC Penney Portrait Studio and demanded that everyone dress nicely and smile. There were some collective dour faces from the children, but we arrived for our appointment looking cute.

Where we encountered...scores upon scores upon score of other people. All with pending appointments. It's a busy time of year for such things, and it was a Saturday morning, so it wasn't a huge surprise. We settled in to wait. And wait. And wait. At various points, children started sobbing. Not ours, thankfully, but you know, the ambiance wasn't exactly a joyful one.

Just when I was starting to contemplate counting the carpet fibers to pass the time, it was our turn. We zoom in. We only wanted one family photo, no extras or costume changes or anything like that, so I figured it would be a few quick snaps and we'd be good to go. And it likely would have been, had we not had Anne with us, the child whose facial expression lent the impression that we had kidnapped her on the way over and forced her to pose for photographs with us. It took some doing to get her to cooperate and smile.

In the end, we would up with a few shots that turned out well, with us all smiling and not blinking. We were there for two and a half hours, but the photo turned out great and it was cheap.


Later, we went to the vigil Mass for the Second Sunday of Advent, since our Nutcracker tickets interfered with our usual Sunday Mass time. And after we got home and had dinner, the kids put their shoes out by the hearth, in anticipation of St. Nicholas's feast day. And in the morning, da da DA!

St. Nicholas came over for a visit. :)
Each kid got a book, a saint and some chocolate. Henry has a small St. Nicholas tucked into his shoe, and Anne has Our Lady of Guadalupe. Henry keeps his saint dolls carefully up on a shelf, all lined up, while Anne puts her in baby cribs, sleeps with them in her bed where they are constantly rolling onto the floor, and generally hauls them around to watch TV with her or go on errands tucked into one of her many purses. Lots of adventures with the saints, to be sure.

Also on Sunday morning, we had our annual trip to see The Nutcracker, performed by a local ballet. I LOVE this tradition and look forward to it each year:

Anne and I dressed & ready for the show...
Henry even wore a tie, how precious is that? (he declined to be photographed ;-)) We headed to the theater, and as we do every year, procured a new nutcracker doll to add to our collection, as well as several sparkly ornaments for the tree. The kids did great for the performance, I just had to endure Anne sitting on my lap for the entire second half, kneading her elbows into my internal organs. It seems that she has an aptitude for this talent both inside and outside of the womb.

So that was our busy weekend. Now I'm in Grading Purgatory, but I'm offering it up for all of you. ;-) How was your 2nd Sunday of Advent, dear reader?


  1. Tiffany,

    I just wanted to say, I rarely comment, I lead a really busy life, but like you I am a "nerdy" Catholic, love the rosary and novenas and I too work in a library, but up in the frozen North of Western Canada.

    But I wanted you to know how much joy your writings and posts bring, I so look forward to them, and if you were nearer we would be great friends, I just know it :)
    The only difference is that I am older, aged 65, but young at heart.
    So many of your stories of your kids, I so recognize, I have 4, this has happened to me, but trust me one day you will look back and wonder how you did it, but I am sure your dancing keeps you sane!

    Take care, Christmas Blessings


    Such a joy to read.

    God bless and have a wonderful week.

  2. Ann! Oh my goodness, you made me tear up with this comment. :0 I SO appreciate you reaching out and letting me know that you are reading. That means *so much*. Thank you! You are one of the reasons I keep blogging. I do enjoy writing, but if no one was reading it would lose a lot of its meaning for me. And I agree - if we lived closer, we would have tea regularly! At least we can virtually, through the blessings of modern technology. :-) *hug*!

  3. Sounds like you had a fun weekend! I'm a little surprised that your young man wanted to go to the nutcracker, as my brothers never would have cooperated - your Henry must be a very sophisticated fellow.

    I worked as a teaching assistant briefly in college and graded freshman papers. At the time, I was jazzed to have a few extra hours of work (and therefore a little extra money) right before Christmas. Looking back, I don't know how I fit it all in, since I had my own finals to study for and complete.

    Your holiday belly dance number sounds fun:) Are there any special considerations for constructing a balancing tray, other than keeping the heaviest items in the middle? Geeky minds need to know. Of all of the seemingly random items belly dancers balance on their heads, the trays always looked the trickiest to me, but perhaps not.

    My little people are getting excited for Christmas, and they love the lights. We inherited a pair of small artificial trees from my MIL, so now each of the kiddos has their own personal tree in their room, which they consider the cat's pajamas. The other pair of cat's pajamas among the toddler set in my life is watching Underdog reruns on the internet.

  4. Hi Amy! Yes, my Henry is a huge fan of the arts. He loves plays, and I think he still sees the Nutcracker as a play, rather than a ballet. We'll keep letting him think that. ;-)

    So, with trays, I actually find them easier to balance than my sword, which I wouldn't have expected before trying one out. Of course, so far, we've only had flowers and tiny lights on our trays, so weighting really isn't an issue. Generally, yes, you have to have it weighted properly. I'm planning for mine to be pretty light, so it *should* go easily. (famous last words...) I'd like to wrap an empty box & stick it in the center, and put some garland along the edges. I'll let you know how it goes!


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