Face painting 

 For a spontaneous summer activity, I thought it would be fun to face paint. I pulled out my craft paint and brushes and sat in  the shade. It was the perfect set up. And we painted away. My daughter wanted snowflakes on her face and my son wanted fireworks. The baby was wearing her butterfly wings so I painted a butterfly on her. 

Then of course the kids wanted to paint mommy’s face. At first I was like ” No.” Then I thought,  this is too much fun, let kids be kids and let them be creative. And let’s build good memories together. 

Sometimes as a parent I have to put my pride aside and focus on having fun with the kids without worrying about what others think. Yes, some of my neighbors saw my face like this and I just smiled and waved. If anyone judges me, that’s their problem and I will keep playing with the kids. 

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My Favorite Photos of Spring 

Summer is just around the corner. The spring blossoms are turning into beautiful green leaves and the weather is feeling warmer. Before we dive into summer and inspired by my post Images of the Greatest Snow on Earth,   I thought I would post some of my favorite photos I’ve taken of spring.  Hope you enjoy! 

My kids were sooooo excited to see these pretty green blossoms on the tree. 

The time for sakura is here! Did you know that in Japanese culture the cherry blossom represents the fragility and beauty of life? I love cherry blossoms. 

This is just a good memory for me. It was finally warm enough to go for a bike ride to the train station and watch the trains go  by. 

Going on an early spring walk under beautiful blossoms. 

This was just to precious to not share. 

They went looking for unicorns on Antelope Island, Utah. 

I just love spring blossoms. 

And yes! More blossoms! I love spring and seeing the the world come to life. What a beautiful world we live in. 

My journey of making it into Wofa Afro-fusion Dance Company

Does anyone out there feel they were born to do something? Like born to paint, born to sing, born to be a rock climber or a scientist, etc. For me it’s dance. Dance has always had an incredible role in my life. I started when I was very young about 3 or 4 years of age, taking ballet and tap classes.  As I got older I studied jazz, lyrical and pointe. 

I kept dancing up into college where I studied modern dance. It was there that I was first introduced to African dance. It was so different than any other style of dance I had ever done and   a whole different level of a workout. (If you think running is a good cardio workout then you should try African dancing. It’s way harder.) It’s more than just a good workout. There is something about this form of dance that is so freeing, uplifting, and exhilarating. I fell in love and wanted to do this the rest of my life. 

But then, some unexpected things happened to me. I got married and divorced and dropped out of school. And stopped dancing. For a while I was afraid to dance. Even in the privacy of my own room when no one was looking. 

Life continued, a danceless life. I went to work every day, had good friends. It wasn’t horrible. It was pretty good, actually, but I was missing something. I was missing a certain level of excitement that I used to have. 

Then I met a boy with the most wonderful smile.(sigh 💕) And he could dance and he was good at it!  He taught me how to swing dance. Which was a huge struggle for me because I was still afraid to dance. He never gave up on me and helped me through my struggles and I slowly started to feel that exciment again. 

Fast forward a few years and this boy with the wonderful smile became my husband and we had a couple kids.  Many times he would listen to me talk about how much I loved African dance and how it was my favorite. He then discovered the African dance community classes offered in SLC. So of course I started going every week. 

I was just so thrilled to have found this again. Every class I would dance as hard as I could, I never worried about how ridiculous I looked. I was just too happy to be there. I had heard about Wofa, the Afro-fusion dance company and dreamed of someday being a part of it. But it was a dream and I always expected to stay that way.  A couple more years went by, I had my third child and kept on dancing. 

Then one day after class, someone announced that wofa auditions were happening later that day. I was internally freaking out. I ran to my car and called my husband, freaking out over the phone. To make this long story short, it was pretty much a miracle that I made it to the audition. I felt very unprepared when I walked in and saw everyone else turning in bios and  headshots. I had nothing to hand in. After the audition I had no idea what to think. I really didn’t know how well I did. I was competing against people who were really good. 

But alas, a few days later I got the phone call that I made it! I was so excited I started to cry. My husband was there to give me a big squeeze right after I got off the phone. 

Being a member of Wofa has been a blast. I love going to rehearsal, I love dancing and I love all the members in this company. I would have never thought at age 30 I would be in a dance company. But I’m so glad I am.

And stay tuned. I hope to post more about my adventures in this new dance chapter in my life. 

The Waiting Place 

I was reading to my kids at bed time and one of the books they chose was Dr Seuss’s “Oh the Places you’ll Go”. In this book there is a waiting place.  A place where everyone is just waiting.”Waiting for a train to go, or a bus to come, or waiting around for a yes or no, or waiting for their hair to grow….Everyone is just waiting. ” 
It does not seem like a fun place to be. 

So, here I was reading to my kids and I thought,” I’m stuck in the waiting place. ” Waiting for my husband to finish school, waiting to move from this very tiny apartment, waiting to have a dishwasher, and many more things. Its a frustrating place to be. And many days I do feel so FRUSTRATED. Is there anyone else with me? Stuck in this waiting place? 

I want so badly to be on the next page in the book. I want to “find the bright places where boom bands are playing.” 

And then my thoughts continued…. What if I did get everything I wanted? Everything I’m waiting for? What would happen? I would probably find something else I want, to wait for. And I would be back in the waiting place. It’s a never-ending cycle! 

So here’s what I think. If I’m going to be stuck here in the waiting place, might as well make it fun. I’m probably not going to get any of the things I’m waiting for any time soon, so I’ll be here for a while. So let’s make it fun. Who wants to join my party and make the waiting place fun?! I promise it will be fun. 

Some days are crazy and that’s okay

There are just some days when everything seems to go wrong.  I’m running late for everything,  my kids don’t seem to listen to me,  the house is in a disastrous mess, I am frantically running around my house looking for my kids shoes.  Any shoes that match!  Where did the shoes go!  They are scattered every where and I never seem to find a match.  So I decide to give up and my kids are wearing mismatched shoes.  I’m dropping my son off at school in my pajamas and I have coconut oil in my hair.  No makeup, no shower.  Yeah,  I look like a mess because I totally am a mess today.  

I don’t know about you,  but these days seem to happen on a regular basis for me.  And the only way I get through it is telling myself it’s okay.  These days happen and it’s okay.  

It’s okay that my house is a mess.  It’s okay that my kids shoes don’t match.  It’s okay dinner is late and the kids went to bed later than I like.  It’s okay because these things happen.  It’s a part of life.  Everyone has a crazy day now and then.  Or if your like me it feels like they happen a lot.  But it’s okay.  Tomorrow is another  crazy day to look forward to. Or maybe something good will happen, like finding a matching pair of shoes for my kids. You never know what a new day will bring. 

Recharging my “batteries” at Lindycon

There is something about dancing that is just so refreshing,  so therapeutic, so releasing, so energizing and exciting  all at the same time. I really don’t think I could get through life without it.  I crave it and I need it often.  It’s how I release stress and recharge my “internal batteries”  so I can tackle the  challenges of my everyday life. 

This weekend I had the opportunity to attend the SLC lindy con.  For those of you who are unfamiliar,  the lindy con is probably one the biggest swing dance events that happens is Salt Lake City,  UT.  It lasts all weekend with dances every night, classes and workshops during the day,  amazing instructors and DJ’s traveling from different cities, and live bands.  Let’s just say it is SO. MUCH. FUN.  

My husband and I actually got a babysitter for most of it. Yay!   So,  we were able to go to some of the workshops and 2 of the dances.  (The second dance we brought the kids with us.) 

This was a much needed break for Grant and I.    My husband has been working almost constantly on his dissertation for school.  So yeah,  he’s been pretty much non-existent in our house. I’m just trying to keep the kids alive at home and keep my sanity.   We have both been very busy and worn out. 

So we go to lindy con!  We show up,  the band starts,  the music is great.  We can’t help but start to groove. As the music keeps playing and the dancing keeps going, the energy keeps rising.  And two tired,  sleep deprived,  worn out people transform into high energy dancers.  It is just wonderful how dancing makes me feel.  The stress is gone,  my energy is back, my “internal batteries”  have been charged.  

What do you do the charge your “internal batteries”? 

Images of the Greatest Snow on Earth

I’m not a photographer and I’m not really trying to be one.  I just like to be outside and take photos of the beauty I see.  Here are some photos I’ve taken from my phone. When February rolls around I am just so sick of winter, and I think it helps to remind ourselves how beautiful winter can be.  

Snowy trees.  I just took this from my car window.  I thought the trees were beautiful. 

Snow man and tree.  I love how snow looks on trees.  

I slipped and fell in the snow.  And yes I am wearing pajamas.  

Ice castle in Midway,  UT. 

Pretty icicles.  

The kids and I made a snow tunnel and I just had to try it out.  

A cute boy and his snow tunnel.  

Beautiful Snowy Mountains. This was also taken from my car.  

Fresh powdery snow on baby’s hair.  

Fresh powdery snow.  The fresh snow makes everything look so beautiful.  Utah does have the greatest snow on earth.  

Super Easy and Healthy Valentine’s Day meals

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.  And when I think of Valentine’s Day I think of red and pink,  hearts, lace,  love,  and TONS of candy and treats.  

Don’t get me wrong:  I love candy and cupcakes and other treats.  I also like to have a balance of healthy options as well.  So I have put together three meals for Valentine’s Day that are healthy and super easy to make.  

First,  I have eggs with heart shaped toast and a berry smoothie.  I used a cookie cutter for the toast.  Then I blend frozen berries with milk for the smoothie. I made hard boiled eggs because that’s my kids favorite way to have an egg. 

Next is heart-shaped sandwiches with heart-shaped strawberries.  Again I used my handy-dandy  cookie cutter  for the bread.  You can make whatever sandwich you like.  (My kids like PB & J!) For the strawberry, I cut off the leaves in a V-shape, so the berry resembles a heart.   

Next,  we have XO soup.   I heated up a can of tomato soup,  because it’s red.  Then I put some sour cream in a ziploc bag and cut the corner and piped the XO onto the soup.  This was easy and my kids loved it.  

And I had to add a dessert.  This might not be very  healthy, but it is easy. Scoop strawberry ice cream into a bowl.  To make it look more festive, I added heart-shaped  strawberries and a chocolate heart.  And enjoy!  Easy peasy. 

Try this simple trick to ward off winter blues 

Out of the four seasons, winter is my least favorite.  Everything is grey and cold and wet and yuck.  The worst part is it’s COLD! It’s so cold,  and I don’t like feeling cold.

Most of winter I usually hide out in our tiny apartment trying to stay warm.  I practically act as if doomsday has happened and if I step outside something horrible will happen to me…  like feeling cold.

So how do I get through my wintery blues?  I go outside.  I know it sounds crazy,  I hate feeling cold!  But there is something about getting out that makes the winter seem better. And it becomes more beautiful. Snow starts to look more beautiful.

I bundle up and force myself out the door.  And I smile.  And after about 3 min I run inside to warm up.  Let’s be real —  I might force myself out but I don’t stay out for very long.  3 minutes is good enough, fun enough, and beautiful enough.

Dancing and Donut cravings

A cloudy winter day is a good day to wake up and dance.  This morning I went to my African dance class and it is my joy,  my love,  my passion.  And today was a special treat for me because we danced tiriba, my favorite dance.

It’s a favorite because it brings back fond memories of when I was first introduced to African dancing.  It was over 10 years ago when I first learned.  I was in college studying modern dance and my instructor brought in an artist from Africa who taught us tiriba.

I love this dance.  It’s also one of the most exhausting and hardest African dances I have learned.  I learned it 10 years ago and it is still so hard and wears me out.  Whew!  Did I mention it’s a HARD workout, because it is.

Anyways,  after a class like that I was craving donuts.  There is something about that class that makes me want to stuff my face with donuts or some other similar pastry. On my way home I drive past a billboard with donuts.  Yes,  delicious looking donuts.  How did they know?!  I was so tempted to pull over and buy some,  but then I realized how tired my muscles were from dancing and I did not want to move any more than I had to.  So I kept driving till I got home and ate a chocolate truffle that was waiting for me,  calling out my name.  Not sure if there is much difference between the nutritional value of a chocolate truffle and a donut,  but at least I saved myself a few dollars by not buying the donuts.  I can’t wait until the next dance class!

 

Anyone want to join me next time for the dancing, donuts, or even better both!?

P. S.  This is my lapa, i wear it every time I go to class.  Fabric straight from Ghana.