Sunday, February 28, 2010

Beautiful Blogger & Sunshine Award

I have been fortunate to have made some awesome internet 'Mom Friends' over the past year or so. They've been so supportive, have made me laugh and have basically been a daily part of my life. I'm so honored to have been nominated for two 'awards' by two of them recently: 'The Beautiful Blogger Award' by my sassy friend Lu and 'The Sunshine Award' by one of the sweetest ladies around, Terrie. Thank you so much, gals!

Here’s how it works…

1. Thank the person who nominated me for this award.
2. Copy the award & place it on my blog.
3. Link to the person who nominated me for this award.
4. Share 7 interesting things about myself.
5. Nominate 7 other beautiful & sunshiney bloggers. (These awards are very similar, so I'm more or less mashing them together!)

So here we go with my 'Super 7'...

1) I used to be on a PBS TV show called 'Storylords' when I was in elementary school. I was one of the featured 'classroom regulars' on every episode and my husband, siblings and friends like to tease me that I was the know-it-all who always raised her hand and looked like she wanted to yell "Me! Me! Pick me, teacher!" We filmed on weekends at an elementary school in my hometown. The 'teacher' actually ended up being my Senior Composition teacher in high school. My character's name was originally supposed to be 'Amy', but seeing as this woman was a friend of the family and already knew me, she kept calling me 'Angie'. They finally just changed it.

2) Continuing on with the 'Storylords Factoids': it's still being shown in classrooms nationwide. (Why, I'll never know, but what they hey!) Funny story- my youngest brother, who is 10 years younger than me, saw the show when he was in elementary school. We had apparently not told him about my previous life as an actress (HA!), so imagine his surprise when he saw me on the screen and was like "Dude! That's my SISTER! What? That's my SISTER?!"

3) My parents bought the rights to get VHS tapes made of the whole series for my 21st birthday. It was way cool and I still have them, though Michael has since converted them to DVD.

Be sure to check out a fabulous hair flip @ 7:15 (DIVA!) and an even more fabulous squeaky adolescent voice @ 8:46.

5) Equally embarrassing, I was cast as King Richard the Lion-Hearted in a junior high production of Robin Hood. Yes, King Richard the MAN. I distinctly remember some BS about how I was 'so versatile' and could therefore play a MAN, but really? I was in 8th grade and was not only playing a MAN, but was costumed in black leggings and a GUNNY SACK with a big red cross on the front. (Wait, it gets better!) During one of the dreaded daytime performances for the whole junior high, while playing a MAN, said GUNNY SACK (which was, mind you, a bit too tight) tore. I can still hear the tear and remember the panic setting in as I realized that I would soon be standing in front of my peers in nothing but leggings. At least I was saving the day...

6) I started taking piano lessons when I was about 8. I was very proud to pick Percussion as my instrument in elementary school band because it was suggested that you already have a year of piano. (Read: I thought I was pretty cool. Was I? Not really.) In 8th grade, my band director asked me to switch to French Horn, which I then learned and played through college, although I couldn't today for the life of me! I took a short stint of organ lessons in high school, but never really stuck with it. Probably because my legs were so short. :) I was a classical piano performance major in college, though I never had any intentions of becoming a concert pianist.

7) If you've read any other posts on this blog, this is probably quite obvious: my family and friends are my life. I'm fiercely loyal. And thanks to the wonders of modern technology, I've been fortunate to have made some amazing new friends (like Lu & Terrie) that I will hopefully one day meet in person!

My 7 nominees are:

1 & 2) The obvious- Lu from Jaded Perspective & Terrie from MiMi Needs Meds. Lu is one of the strongest people I know and makes me laugh on a daily basis. One of the things I love most about our friendship is that we can go from talking about something totally serious to completely riding the Silly Train within minutes. Ms. Terrie is straight-up tenderheartedness and is so loving and supportive. She's always there with kind words and wisdom.

3) Colleen from The Mess Potential is Exponential- I've talked about this amazing friend here before! After getting to know each other we came to realize that we have a real life link! She taught karate to a friend of mine from high school. Hello, Small World! Besides being one of my favorite people around, Colleen is also a huge inspiration in my attempts to get back in shape. She just ran almost 10 miles yesterday! Colleen is mom to two beautiful boys.

4) Katie from Why Bother?- Katie is mom to Jake (who turned 4 today- Happy birthday, Jake!) and is also one of my favorite workout inspirations. I love my daily conversations with her!

5) Kim from Cup of Creativi-Tea- Kim is the lone member on this list that I actually know in real life! We met 11 whole years ago while doing summerstock theatre in upstate New York. Kimmy worked in the costume shop and I was Ass't Musical Director. We lived in girls half of the 'techie' house and spent many an evening up on the roof laughing and having wonderful chats. Some of my favorite memories! Kim is mom to two kiddos- one girl and a newborn boy.

6) Becky from Life Out of Focus- Mom to two gorgeous girls (seriously, check out the pics on her blog!), Beck is yet another amazingly supportive and fun friend. She's also a fabulous photographer- again, check out the pics on her blog!

7) Cara from Momma Says- I'm sending lots 'o love to Cara tonight, as her two adorable kiddos are sick sick sick today and she could really use some rest. I love talking to Cara- she's down to earth and hilarious.

Thank you for being you, friends! I love you!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Back in the Saddle

I've been on a hiatus from my career as a musical director/keyboardist since the Maxster was born, but jumped back into the saddle this week when I started rehearsals the reading of a new musical. The show is part of the Penn State New Musical Theatre Festival. It's a pop/rock piece called 'Steam', set in 1960's Brooklyn and based on 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'.

The show was written and premiered in Denmark. I had the pleasure of spending a lot of one-on-one time on Sunday-Tuesday with the composer, as she was here for the first two days of rehearsal. She's insanely talented, down to Earth and just an all around fantastic person. It was so fun to work through the score with her and take note of all of her intentions. I have the supreme honor and responsibility of seeing that her music is performed exactly the way she wants it. It's exciting, diverse and frankly, I get to rock out. :) She and the three gentlemen who conceived and wrote the book will be back in three weeks for the final days of rehearsal and then the performances, which is very exciting.

I've done three original shows in the past and this one is proving to be just as exciting. I love doing new pieces and the 'ready for anything-ness' that goes along with the territory. And honestly, it's also just really nice to be doing a show again. I'm realizing in just a few days of rehearsal that I really do miss it!

On a side note, I just found out this afternoon that one of the lead females in the show just got off a tour in Asia with three good friends of mine. One was my assistant in summerstock in NY (and then went on to music direct a tour of the Christmas Carol musical I composed), and I've toured twice! with the other two. Talk about a small world! I love it. :)

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Random Act of Kindness

I almost cried at the gym today. And not because I'd pushed myself to the limit (I had) and was tired (I was).

Max and I have developed an awesome daily routine. We get up, have breakfast, play, and get dressed. Then we head to the gym. One of the glories of the Y is that they provide free childcare. Hello, no excuse to not work out daily! As I've mentioned before, this is also good for Max's socialization and Mommy's putting her little boy in the care of others. Though it's further away, we've been going to the bigger branch near the university because it not only has longer morning daycare hours, but also has morning swimming hours. (The branch seven minutes up the road from us only has 3-3:50pm swimming.)

We swim every day for about a half hour or so, pending Max's mood. He's become quite the center of attention in the therapy pool, as the majority of the people in it are upwards of 65 years old. The same bunch of people are usually in the pool at the same time. The other day he was surrounded by no less than 4 elderly people and one of them was talking to him in a Donald Duck voice. He loves the attention and they love his smiles and laughs. Win win for everyone! So anyway, they all know Max and he at least recognizes them. (I think.)

After our swim we go back to the locker room and I get Max dressed, then put him in his umbrella stroller and give him a snack while I get dressed. I've been walking/running on the treadmill every day after our swim, so that's when I take Max to the childcare room. (Where I might add that he is also very popular- all of the babysitters know him by name and gush all over him.)

It's been nice to be able to take the time to shower/dry my hair/etc after my workout each day. Kind of some 'me' time, even if it's just getting ready. Today as I was getting dressed one of the women from the pool stopped me and said "I can tell you're the best mom in the world". I was so touched and thanked her. (Mind you, I was a little uncomfortable that she was all up in my grill while I was half naked.) She stepped even closer and said "You know how I can tell?". "How?" I asked. "Because I've been watching you in the pool and in this locker room and your son exudes such happiness and you can just tell that he adores you."

I almost cried. (Yes, half naked cried.) It was so kind of her to take the time to tell me. Now I'm inspired to perform my own random acts of kindness. Preferably clothed random acts of kindness. :)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Will You Be Mine?

I love to grocery shop if only for the happiness that Max brings to other shoppers lives.

This afternoon we went to Wegmans, one of my favorite grocery stores in the whole United States. (Colleen can back me up on this one, right?!) Max was wearing the ridonkulously adorable outfit you see above. It's a Nittany Lion get-up that his Uncle Dave (a Penn State alum) got him for Christmas. It was way too big at the time, but we recently realized that it now fits perfectly.

Having had a glorious two hour morning nap, Max was in chipper spirits. He was grinning and waving to any and everyone in the store. I lost count of how many people stopped their carts to talk to him, gush and compliment his outfit. He responded with laughs and more smiles.

The piece de resistance was when a woman asked if he'd be her valentine. He looked her in the eye and proceeded to blow her a kiss and flash his enormous dimples. It was truly priceless.

And yes, I do realize that we're going to be in BIG trouble when this little flirt is a teenager!

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Just Because...

I mean, really. How can you not melt at the sight of this little super hero?!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

It's fun to stay at the...

We decided to use some Christmas/Birthday/Anniversary money towards a membership to the local YMCA and I dare say it's one of the best investments we've ever made! It's our goal to get back in shape, lose baby weight and be around for our boy for a long long time.

Max & I met Michael for a swimming date on Sunday afternoon. He'd been working on school stuff at the studio all weekend and was in need of a break. We'd gotten the membership earlier in the week, but this was the first time we'd actually used it. The larger branch in town has both an Olympic sized swimming pool as well as a smaller therapy pool, which is where we can take Max. He seemed a little scared at first, but eventually warmed up to it. Our boy is a water baby, so we'll be making good use of the pool!

Yesterday Max and I went swimming at the branch closer to our house and had a blast! It's a smaller pool and there was only one other person in it. He laughed, splashed, dunked his head under the water, kicked and enjoyed screeching and hearing his voice echo throughout the room. I headed back last night after he was in bed to work out and am proud to report that I walked 1.5 miles on the treadmill, but actually did 4 spurts of running as well. (I can't recall the last time I've actually run, so this was a big step!)

Today we headed back to the larger Y and Max stayed in the daycare room while I worked out. (Free daycare! Does it get any better?!) Leaving him there was a necessary step for me, as I'm a worrywart and don't like leaving him. He's growing up so quickly though and I know that socialization is important. But did I mention I worry? ;) So anyway, he (of course) loved it and didn't even notice when I left the room! When I went back to retrieve him, he was all smiles and the babysitters said he was so happy and playful. He (naturally) blew them kisses as we left to go swimming. As you can see, the little man zonked out on the ride home and even let me put him in his crib (without fully waking) and then took a 2.5 hour nap!

We're definitely going to make good use of our membership!