Monthly Archive for August, 2009

Mondays aren’t so bad if you’re a ballerina.

Mondays are a good day around here. Mondays mean we get to go to Ballet. And, by “we,” I mean Claire gets to go dance, and I get to go watch her on the TV monitor.

Today marks her third class, and she loves it!

First Day of Ballet!

First Day of Ballet!

The parents are not allowed back in the dance room, so we’re relegated to sitting out in the waiting room and watching on a large black and white TV monitor. The screen is split into four sections, so that regardless of where our little ballerinas are standing (or twirling), we’ll be able to see them.

Claire picked out her own leotard and shoes. This is a class through our Rec Center, so they aren’t as stringent on the clothing rules as the “real” ballet schools are. She wanted the hot-pink butterfly one, so that’s the one she got. We both thought the black ballet shoes went well with her ensemble.

I tied her hair up in a ponytail and then tried not to cry.

Just like Claire, I was really excited for the first class to get here. The fact that I needed to hold back tears startled me. My baby is isn’t a baby anymore, and I’m happy about that. But there was just something about watching her follow the teacher’s direction on the screen that nearly made me lose it. She’s like this little girl now…

But, I kept it together, and none of the other moms were the wiser.

She LOVED the class, and she did really well!  She did so well, in fact, that the teacher asked me afterward which other Ballet Classes she’s been in. I was shocked. This was her first Ballet Class. She’s been dancing around the house en pointe for a long time now, and when she asked to take classes, we had to wait for her age to match the criteria.

The teacher told me that she knows the ballet positions already. She showed her once, and she got it…just like that.

I don’t even know the Ballet Positions. In fact, I had to have a friend tell me that what Claire was doing by dancing on the tops of her toes actually had a name (the en pointe I mentioned above…)

Apparently one of the skeletons in our closet is that of a famous Ballerina?

So, we’re going to foster this. She loves it, and she’s really good at it. I’m not enrolling her in a daily routine at a hard-core school, but we are going weekly from now until December. When she’s a bit older, she can decide how much she wants to pursue this.

In the meantime, she’s trying to teach me all her moves…and we actually look forward to Mondays. 🙂

Threatening to send her away with the circus won’t be a deterrent after this.

Flexibility, Tight-Rope Walking, Juggling: These are all skills we possess as mothers. When things don’t go as planned, we make the best of it. We navigate our way across the high-wire daily when dealing with a child. We juggle everything from gear and kids to responsibilities.

These are also skills we saw first hand at Cirque du Soleil’s Kooza, of course, in the more literal sense!

And, speaking of Cirque du Soleil’s Kooza, yesterday, Claire and I had the opportunity to join some of the Mile High Mamas for a behind-the-scenes outing at the big tent.

Due to some miscommunications with the PR people, our tour wasn’t as extensive as we’d thought it would be with the kids in tow, but there were cupcakes involved, so Claire didn’t even know the difference.

Photo by Gretchen White of  Thanks, Gretchen!

Photo by Gretchen White of Thanks, Gretchen!

The highlight of the outing, other than getting to see the costume room and one of the practice rooms of the performers was getting a chance to talk to some of the moms that travel with the Cirque du Soleil show. It was amazing hearing their stories and asking them questions about life on the road. Some of the moms are fourth generation circus people, and their way of life amazes me. Such a nomadic lifestyle has its own joys and challenges, and it was neat to hear their first-hand experiences.

When the tour was over, the kids got clown noses, and I opted to open the package up for Claire when we got home. And, I’m glad I did! I had such a terrible time getting it open, that I was just sure 23 clown noses would come flying out of that plastic container.

Two screwy-louie’s, one finger-nail file, and a butter-knife later, I finally got the Clown Nose Container open, and out popped the clown nose.

Maybe the circus life isn’t for me after all.


It’s like an insane scavenger hunt

I have a confession to make. I love office supplies. I love school supplies. I may or may not admit out loud that I love looking through supply books, catalogs, and magazines. There is just something about them.

As soon as August got here, I started seeing people shopping for school supplies, and I wondered if Claire would be included in that game. Then, I started reading about people trying to find simple items that were out-of-stock, and I thought, “How hard can it be to find such a simple item?”

We finally got the information from Claire’s Preschool a couple weeks ago (yes, just a couple weeks before her class was to start!), and there was a school supply list!

I’ve been waiting for this day.

The instructions said we could bring the items to the Open House that was to be held in less than a week, or we had the entire month of September to get the items to the school.

Now, part of me questioned why we have to bring a whole bunch of supplies for Claire. I mean, we’re paying for her to go to this school. Shouldn’t some of that be in the budget? But, I digress…budgets are what they are, and it wasn’t that big of deal.

Plus, I get a chance to shop for supplies. 🙂

Originally, I was going to bring Claire with me to do the shopping, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it could turn into another circle of Dante’s Inferno. She wasn’t going to be able to keep the items on the list or in the cart. All of these items go into the Community School Supply Closet for the rooms. Gone are the days when you can pick out your own Trapper-Keeper and Unicorn Folders. (What? Those things totally rock.)

So, I decided to go by myself, which was a treat in and of itself. I chose to go on a day when Daddy and Claire were going to be playing while I went to an appointment. Alone in Target AND I get to shop for office supplies? Pinch me. I must be dreaming.

Sadly, it turned into a nightmare.

It started out innocently enough. Glue sticks… Check. One box of 8 Classic Color Crayola Washable Markers… Check. One package of napkins… Check.

One small bottle of Elmer’s Glue…

What do you mean, you’re out of Elmer’s Glue?! Who runs out of Elmer’s Glue?  Even the “store brand” was gone.

There wasn’t any back in the Back-To-School Free-for-all Zone.
So, I went all the way to the other end of the store, and there wasn’t any in the Office Section either.

So, I found a red-shirted khaki-panted person. They checking their little handheld devices. There were none.

While I had that person’s attention, I asked about the paper cups. No, not any kind of paper cups. They had to be at least 90-count 5oz. paper cups.

Not a single one of those in the entire store.

Sweet. I was running out of time. What was supposed to have taken 15 minutes was bordering on 45, and this was getting to be ridiculous, even for someone who totally digs shopping for office supplies.

I called it a day, with those two items still unchecked. Do you know how painful it is to leave items unchecked?

I wanted this done! I wanted to turn all of this in at the Open House and not worry about it! This was supposed to be easy!

That weekend, with Claire in tow, because I had no other choice, we went to four different stores. We finally found the glue at a grocery store (obviously, why not?), but even the grocery stores in our area were out of the 90-count 5oz. paper cups.

Who knew this would be what finally put me over the edge?

When I was checking in yet another Target store (they were completely sold out), they got an alert saying that the original store I’d been to finally got a shipment in. We went up there that day and purchased an elusive box.


My Insane Scavenger Hunt for School Supplies was over!

Oh wait…not quite. Next item on the list to find? My sanity.

En Paz

Whenever I get a chance to sit out in the sun, whether it be as children laugh and play and I chat with other moms, or I’m alone with Claire at the park, or I’m taking advantage of our sunny backyard, my favorite line from a poem pops into my head:

Amé. Fui amado. El sol acarició mi faz.
~ from En Paz by Amado Nervo

The translation:

I loved. I was loved. The sun caressed my face.
~ from En Paz (At Peace) by Amado Nervo

This poems speaks to my very being. I am so fortunate to be where I am right now. Everything has led to this point, and will lead me forward.

And, I’m at peace.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Today is Claire’s first day of “real” preschool. Last year, she went one day a week for an hour-and-a-half. It was a great experience for her, and turned out to be the transition that Momma needed. (Claire did fine…it was me who had to hold back the tears.) This year, she’ll go in the mornings on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

I’m almost not sure what to do with two hours to myself…twice a week!  Technically it’s FIVE HOURS OF FREEDOM a week, but I’m counting it as four, due to drop off and pick up times, etc.  (Although, 2 + 2 can equal 5, for larger values of 2…)  😉

You know that school supplies commercial where you hear “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” playing in the background, and the dad is dancing behind the cart?

Yeah, it’s kinda like that.

Only instead of plodding along behind me, Claire is just as excited to go!

Last night, we had the Open House to meet her new teachers and see her classroom, and as soon as we got there, Claire wanted me to sign her in and then leave. “Go home, Momma. Go do paperwork. Please leave me alone!”


This wasn’t that kind of thing…we weren’t supposed to leave them there, much to her dismay.

So, today is an exciting day. This is the earliest we’ve had to be out of the house for something like this…and last night was our first real school night. We have to get up early! (Well, early for us…) I don’t remember the last time I had to get up early for school, but I think it was sometime in the late 1900s.

Despite the change in our schedule, today went smoothly, and I am happy to report that today’s drop off was a complete success! There were no tears! And, Claire did great too. 😉

It’s a good thing breathing is involuntary.

I’ve been in love with Cirque du Soleil since 2000. I saw my very first show in Las Vegas, at The Bellagio. That show was called, “O,” and it was incredible.  (“O” is a water show. Oh! Get it? “O” is eau is French for water. Oh!) 😉

My husband and I splurged on tickets for that show, because we were there for our honeymoon, and we’d heard awesome things about it. Even the nosebleed seats (which we got) were $100 a piece. That was pricey, so I hoped we liked it.

I cannot even describe to you what happened in that theatre. We sat there, mouths agape, entranced, enthralled, and thoroughly entertained. The two hour show was over in what seemed like mere moments. We had seen the other side of a world we had no idea even existed.

People would ask us about it, and we’d stammer all over ourselves, searching for the right words, finally settling on, “Go.  Just go.  You won’t be disappointed.”

Since then, we’ve lusted after Cirque du Soleil tickets. Different traveling shows would come through Denver, but we just never had the chance to go.

Until now.

Due to a quirk of fate, and my contacts at Mile High Mamas, the Denver Post’s parenting blog, I was offered two free tickets to the Premier of Cirque du Soleil’s Kooza. When we recovered from the shock, I accepted and started planning a whole evening out of it.

Date-night in the middle of the week!?  Awesome!  I was able to use some borrowed babysitting hours from a friend, so we dropped Claire off there for her own evening of fun, and we headed to Denver. We had reservations at a wonderful sushi restaurant, and then headed to the show.

We even met up with some other Mile High Mamas during Intermission!
Above, we have Yours Truly, Amber, Lori, and Aimee!
Thanks for sharing the photo, Aimee!

Just like “O,” the magic that is Cirque du Soleil captured us again. But, unlike “O,” these seats weren’t nosebleed. These seats were practically on the stage! We sat in the second row from the stage. All that separated us from the stage was on other row of chairs. At one point in the show, we had to look straight up to see what was unfolding above us. That part did give me a slight kink in my neck, but I was trying so hard to breathe that it didn’t even matter.

Because we were so close to the action, I noticed things I’ve never noticed before. Every participant was a work of art. Each costume was intricate and gorgeous. Each face was painted so delicately and with such artistry, that it was amazing.

Claire and I have the opportunity to see more of this first-hand when we go behind the scenes this week with some of the cast and try on the costumes and makeup ourselves. Yes! It’s true! I can’t believe it either.

Anyway, back to the show.

I get chills just thinking about the things we experienced in that show. I would say, “The things we saw…” but it’s more than that. We didn’t just watch the show. The show became part of us, and we lived through it.

I enjoyed every last bit of the show, but two of my favorites were the contortionists and the Wheel of Death.

As punny as it sounds, I tried to wrap my head around the contortionists. At certain points in their performance, I lost track of which were their fronts and which were their backs. Nothing made sense anymore.

And, it still doesn’t.  I mean, look at this??  (And this is one of their easier poses…)  😉

Photo by OSA Images

Photo by OSA Images

During the Wheel of Death act, I gasped out loud more than once, and at one point, if you heard a woman literally scream out loud because she wasn’t paying attention when one of the performers grabbed on and flew up in the air, that was me.  Sorry to have startled you.  What can I say?  I was too busy watching the other guy hover in mid-air in the center of the other spinny wheel, hoping he didn’t plummet to the earth below to even see the other guy get ready to wrestle the laws of physics.

I was simultaneously afraid to watch and afraid to look away. In the end, I couldn’t turn away, but I did have my hand planted firmly over my mouth, so as to stifle the screams.

The things I saw still haunt my dreams, but in a good way.

Picture credit: OSA Images

Photo by OSA Images

Only someone who has experienced this show can know what I mean.

So, if you have a chance, you need to experience this for yourself. You will be thoroughly entertained. You will be amazed. And, odds are, your body will remember to breathe for you, so you should be fine…

Kooza was absolutely phenomenal!

I didn’t want to leave you hanging (ha!  punny!) about our adventures at the premier of Cirque du Soleil’s Kooza, but I wanted to have enough time to give this the review it deserves.  (And, I don’t right now.  I’m literally heading out the door in 3-minutes.)

In short?  GO.  It is WORTH it.  It was absolutely incredible.

In long?  Stay tuned, because I can’t wait to share!

In the meantime, here’s another sneak peek of what we saw…

Picture credit: OSA Images

Picture credit: OSA Images

Premier of Cirque du Soleil’s Kooza is tonight!

Through my wonderful contacts at The Denver Post’s parenting blog, Mile High Mamas, I’ve been invited to the Premier of Cirque du Soleil’s Kooza!

For free. I know!  I can hardly believe it myself!

Next week, some of the lucky Mile High Mamas and I will get to hang out behind the scenes, try on makeup and costumes and even try a stunt or two.  I thought *that* was going to be the thrill of a lifetime…I had no idea I’d also be offered two free tickets to the premier!

That shriek you heard last week was me when I got the news.  My husband and I fell in love with Cirque du Soleil when we saw O on our honeymoon in Las Vegas in 2000.  Needless to say, we were both beyond thrilled when I was offered two free tickets to the premier!

I suppose I’ll take him with me.


I’m expecting to see a little of this…

Picture credit: OSA Images

Picture credit: OSA Images

…and a little of this…

Picture credit: OSA Images

Picture credit: OSA Images

…and a little of this…

Picture credit: OSA Images

Picture credit: OSA Images

You can expect a full recap of our adventures.

We are dropping Claire off at a friend’s house and making a nice date-night out of it.  I can’t wait!

Is it too early to start getting ready to leave?  I mean, the show only starts in about 10 hours.  🙂

I’m too young to have a 48-year old.


Merlin & Jasper wait (im)patiently for their birthday treats.

Merlin and Jasper turn 8-years old today!  It seems like yesterday we were bringing them home.  (We had to wait until they were big enough to bring them home.  You can read all about that here!) They were so tiny!

Eight Years ago!

October 2001

According to a chart online, they are the equivalent of 48-years old.  Does this mean, they’ll start looking for younger kitties to date and want to ride motorcycles?  I guess it’s a good thing we never let them outside.  🙂

Okay, not really, but I am still twitching.

The name of this blog is The Casual Perfectionist. I know that I’m a perfectionist. I’m trying to be casual about it. I feel that I’m succeeding in a lot of areas. Really, I am. I’m a lot calmer than I used to be. Some things are organized to the n-th degree, and some things are a little haphazard.

And, I’m okay with that.

I was doing really well.

Until this happened:

“Momma? Can you help me get this Play-Doh™ out?”

I had a heart-attack and died.

The end.