20. Meditate once a week, for 10 minutes, for at least six months (2 month update!)

Happy Sunday everyone! I’m spending my day the best way I know how: iced toffeenut coffee in hand, kitties laying next to me, and “How I Met Your Mother” in the background. Ok, that’s not what I’m doing ALL day…I do have to take care of the jungle that’s taken over my front yard, and I’m going to try a new Thai Chicken Quinoa Salad for dinner. But for now…it’s relax and blog time.

As I mentioned in my last post, my last dance recital was AWESOME! We got the DVDs of the show this week and I was overwhelmed by how fantastic it was! I couldn’t have been more proud. Here are a few of my favorite shots from the show:

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Rafiki during “Circle of Life”

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Rafiki, Mufasa, and Sarabi during “Circle of Life”

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Simba during the Stampede

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Scar, Sarabi, and Nala

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Rafiki, Simba, and Mufasa

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Simba takes his place as king

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Nala, Simba, and Rafiki during the Circle Finale

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The senior girls gave me flowers at the end of the show…and I cried all over everyone.

It was a fantastic way to end my time with the dance program! Also, the week of the show, my dancers surprised me with a flash mob! Yes! We were getting ready to run The Lion King during our first rehearsal of the week, and my boss turned on a different song and the girls started dancing…and then dragged me to the middle of the room and danced around me. It was incredible! Bethany, one of my senior girls (who also played Simba), organized the whole thing: she choreographed it, did all the music, set up and led the rehearsals, and arranged for three people to tape it. It was so incredibly special, and one of the best gifts I’ve ever gotten.

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Ok, now on to the list! So, I just finished my second month of meditation. I’ve stuck with the “Breathe” app for all of my meditating, and I am really enjoying it. I don’t know why exactly, but the woman’s voice really focuses me. Rather than doing 10 minutes in one sitting, I’ve been trying to meditate 2-3 times a week. So far, I’ve meditated for 103 minutes. I’ve found that meditating is not only helping me when I’m stressed and overthinking, but it also helps me fall asleep much faster at night. As I jump into my third month, I am trying to decide if I want to try out another app to compare the results. Does anyone else out there meditate? Any suggestions or words of wisdom? Let me know below!

Until next time,

xoxo

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4. Pamper Day the 4th: A Much Needed Weekend and Some BIG News!

Hey my peeps! What’s happenin?! I’d apologize for my absence, but let’s face it: it’s me, and this is gonna be a thing. I am a month behind in posting this, and what a month it’s been! So, let’s backtrack to the first weekend in May. I had a three day weekend, and was very much looking forward to the pamper weekend I’d planned for myself. Now, this pampering was going to be a bit different, mostly because it really wasn’t going to be that relaxing. But, I was going to be doing a bunch of things that I love, so I’d consider that pampering. On Friday, I was going to get my hair cut and colored, drive to Iowa City, have some retail therapy and dinner with Mal, and then spend the night watching “How I Met Your Mother.” We were going to get up early Saturday, get ready, drive into Coralville for some Scratch cupcakes, before high-tailing it to Des Moines to see the Broadway tour of “The Lion King” with the rest of the fam. It seemed like a perfect weekend to me, and it was! I got to IC in the afternoon and Mal and I immediately went to the mall. I was on a mission to find…an interview suit. Yes…you read that correctly. Let me explain…

I decided to leave my dance job. Yes, for real. No, I’m not lying. I made the decision awhile ago…a little over a year ago. It was around the time my back pain had gotten really bad again, and I was going to do the cortisone shot. I remember struggling to lift my foot up to my other knee so I could put on my shoe and thinking, “How on earth am I going to be able to carry a baby someday, if I can’t even bend down to put on a shoe?” Post cortisone shot, I met with my doctor, and asked about my prognosis long term. He said I’d be an excellent candidate for another shot, or I could do another round of PT. “But what if I want to be completely pain free?” I had asked. He explained that the only likely option for a pain free life would be to eliminate the things that aggravate my back: lifting, bending, jumping, anything high-impact…and anything dance. He then added, “But I can’t tell you to quit your job…so we’ll just have to figure this out as we go.” And that’s when I knew this would have to be my last year. I had never intended to teach dance forever, but I always assumed my time would come to an end if I had a baby or moved. Not like this.

Now, my job description allows for me to teach a variety of things at the Museum, so when I told our director about my dance decision, she started working with me on other ways I could be utilized. I was grateful that I’d be able to work at the Museum in some capacity. I told the dance staff late in the fall, and although it was hard, they were very supportive. We planned to tell the dancers in the spring. I knew that would be the hardest part.

Around my birthday, a new job position opened up at the Museum for a Volunteer/Play Pal Coordinator. It was a full time position, and a step up from my current job. The more I thought about the job, the more I realized it would be a wonderful fit for me. I applied, and a few weeks later, was contacted about an interview. (Hence, the interview suit!) The same day I found out about the interview, my students found out I was leaving. Almost everyone was supportive right away, and although it took a few students a bit longer, they were wonderful about it in the end. I’m glad they found out when they did, as it gave me closure and gave the girls the opportunity to ask me questions and process it. On May 6th, I had my interview and gave my presentation. It went extremely well! I felt really confident, and left knowing that I’d done my best. Now, as most of you already know, I was offered the job two weeks later. Tomorrow is my first official day, and I am beyond excited! While I’ll miss dance sooo much, the year ended with a bang. (See my next post to hear about recital and what my students did to send me off!) I am grateful that I will still get to be involved in my dancers’ lives, and that I will get to impact even more children in my new position. Look out, world! Here I come!

…ok, so after the longest digression of all time, let’s jump back in to my Pamper Weekend story. So, Mal and I found an amazing suit for my interview!

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The rest of the weekend was just as wonderful as I’d hoped. More shopping, dinner at my favorite Mexican place, 6 of the best cupcakes in the world, and an amazing day with my whole family…which I only managed to get a few pictures of.

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I’m learning that pampering doesn’t necessarily mean laziness for me. This pamper weekend was exactly what I needed before the “end of the year crazy” began. I got to eat good food, see great theatre, and spend time with the people who mean the most to me. It just doesn’t get much better than that.

Until next time…

xoxo