Back at the barre

So I think it’s likely that I’ve mentioned that I used to dance when I was younger. I’ve taken at least ballet and tap since I was five years old and continued all the way through college. I taught dance as well, to three-year-olds through sixteen-year-olds. It was fun and I really enjoyed that period of my life. I recently had my parents bring my recital DVD’s to me so that I could re-watch a few numbers I had been thinking about. I spent a happy afternoon skipping through the years.

I haven’t danced though since I moved to Dallas. I’ve had my mind set on an adult tap class every once in a while, only to find the only options out of sync with my schedule (right in the middle of the dumpling’s bedtime, for instance, or at like 9pm, which no thank you). Back when Luffy and I lived in the White Rock area, there was a dance studio a few minutes from our house. It offered ballet classes for adults and I was all pumped on signing up. And then we moved. I shelved the idea of dance class for a later time.


Now that the dumpling is a little older, I’ve been meaning to fill in my workout schedule a bit more. Pre-baby, I used to teach 3-4 times a week, along with taking a 2 mile walk most mornings with Luffy. Now I teach twice a week, and we get a mile walk in when we can. (It hasn’t helped that DFW has been hotter than usual this summer, with numerous 100+ degree days.) I’d been thinking about what I could do to fill the gap when we got a flyer in the mail for a local barre exercise class.

When I checked their schedule online, I found that they conveniently had an 11:30am class on the days I work from home. This way, I could work out at my lunch hour* and be able to actually keep it within an hour. I took the plunge and attended my first class a couple of weeks ago.

I love it! It feels great to get another workout in. It also feels fantastic to be back at the barre, with relevés and turn-outs. It feels like coming home, as cheesy as that sounds. The work out targets my glutes and abs, which I really like. It’s mainly a strength workout, so I think it complements my current aerobic workout really well.

The only drawback to this class is the price. Holy cats is it expensive. I know I’m biased, considering my current workout routine costs me nothing, but WOW. It’s far more than I’m willing to spend, so, unfortunately, I’ll be saying goodbye once my promo month is over. Boo. Luckily for me, there seem to be no shortage of barre inspired classes in the market these days. Hopefully I can find another one that I love just as much.

*Am I the only female who totally envies men and their ability to work out at lunch? I would love to be able to hit the gym for 45-50 minutes, hop in the shower, then be back at my desk within a reasonable stretch of the lunch “hour.” Must be nice.

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Ear Worm

She say she too young, don’t want no ma-an

So she gon call her friends, now that’s the pla-an

I just ordered sushi from Japa-an

Now your b**** wanna kick it Jackie Cha-an”

When I first heard this ridiculous song by Tiesto and Post Malone, my very first thought was but Jackie Chan isn’t even Japanese….. I then made the mistake of telling Luffy about it and he had the same reaction as I did. What does that even mean??? We scoffed and moved on with our day.

And I have been listening to that song ever since.

I do this; it’s a fault of mine. Luffy teases me mercilessly for it. Here’s how it usually goes: I hear a song and my first reaction is negative – for whatever reason. Usually it’s that I fully recognize the song is about something petty or unbelievable or trope. I mock it, usually with Luffy as a witness. Then give me five or six days and suddenly I’m obsessed with the stupid song. Taylor Swift does this a lot to me. Katy Perry too (or at least she was, haven’t heard anything from her in a while).

So Jackie Chan is my current obsession. I dance around the living room to it. I put it on the stereo while I’m making dinner. I thought the music video was pretty cute. I take my work dance-party break to it. It’s everywhere in my life right now and I’m perfectly fine with that except…. Luffy. Every time he overhears it, he teases me again. Merciless I tell you – MERCILESS!

So, what’s your latest ear worm?

A quick memory

Guys! I am gushing with happiness over here and I just have to tell you and you and everyone:

My sweet dumpling gave me a kiss at bedtime rather than accepting my kiss.

The last piece of our normal routine includes Luffy and I singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to the dumpling as we head back to his room (after saying goodnight to the house). When we reach his room, still singing, Luffy and I give him his stuffed animals. Then I give the dumpling a kiss, then Luffy gives him a kiss. Then the dumpling goes down in his crib and night night! Lately, the dumpling knows his kisses are coming, so he leans towards each of us in anticipation. But tonight! Tonight, the dumpling refused to take his stuffed animal from me and instead leaned forward with a little (somewhat) puckered mouth to give me a kiss. How sweet is that?! He then gave Luffy a kiss, took his stuffed animals and leaned forward to be put in his crib.

This period is so amazing. He’s picking up so many new things each day. He’s learned how to say bless you! after someone sneezes and even said it by himself the other day after I sneezed in the kitchen. (He also adorably said it for himself today after he sneezed.) He loves feeding Jas and can even almost say her name now (he still calls her meow meow right now). Luffy and I can no longer hide things and hope he forgets about it, like the nail clippers he loves to play with, because he doesn’t forget about it anymore.

He’s getting so big, so fast, and it’s amazing to watch.

A quick update from a week later: The dumpling amazed me yet again over the weekend. I was sitting on the floor with him and wanted my phone (that was on the couch), but knew that if I got up he’d immediately start protesting. It finally dawned on me to ask him to get it for me. Luffy’s phone was right next to mine and they’re extremely similar (not that that’s hard in this day and age). But guys!! He picked up Luffy’s phone and turned it over, then handed it to Luffy. He then picked up my phone, turned it over, then gave it to me. And it hit me, he was looking at the cases. Luffy’s is completely black while mine is black with a rose gold panel. And the dumpling knows it. (!!!!!)

Weekend Recap

We had a fantastic one, thanks for asking! It was one of those weekends where every minute was planned, but they were fun plans.

Saturday afternoon found us two houses over, in our neighbor’s pool. I made some brownies for the occasion (a favorite < I was going to link to them there but OMG it seems I’ve never mentioned these brownies! hold up! time for a recap:

So, I have this caramel brownie recipe that I make. I’ve made it dozens of times over several years, so I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit. It comes from Smitten Kitchen and it’s great as-is, but my original feeling was that the brownie itself wasn’t brownie enough. In my recipe, I’ve upped the sugar and chocolate a bit and I like to add Princess Cake emulsion for even better brownies. Plus I always try to make the caramel the day before because that’s the only way I can ever peel the parchment paper off my caramel (which, as I’m typing this out, probably means I need to add less cream to the caramel, so maybe I’ll try that next time). Anyway. These are my brownies. My signature. My go-to. If you ask me to bring a dessert to your party, this is what you’re going to get. It’s a simple recipe that doesn’t take a ton of time that turns out right most of the time that I love and everyone else loves – so basically the unicorn of baking.

Now that you’re all caught up on the brownies, we’ll continue….

So anyway, we spent Saturday afternoon at our neighbor’s house – more specifically in their pool. We had a great time floating and chatting and eating BBQ in the water. Our host started talking about acquiring a smash cake for her almost-one-year-old’s first birthday party in a few weeks. She was shocked at the price on most of the cakes and disappointed with her options and seeing as I’d had about half a bottle of champagne at that point, I drunkenly offered to make said smash cake. To my credit, I pretty quickly realized what I had done and tried to backpedal a bit when talk turned to colors and designs and inspiration photos. Someone asked if I made cakes for a living or as a side-business and I tried to explain that no…. I’m just a hobby baker. And an out-of-practice one at that given no one in our house eats sweets right now. (Luffy’s more of an ice cream person and though the dumpling would LOVE to eat chocolate chip cookies for dinner every night I am a big MEANIE and won’t let him). Luckily though, our neighbor realized what she had done though and backed off of the peer pressure. She gave me some basic guidelines and I offered to present a sample this weekend. And THAT’s the story of how I’m now a certified amateur cakery.

As bedtime approached, we left to give the dumpling a bath and a few extra bites of food. We put the dumpling to bed and then went back over to their house (that’s the great thing about hanging out with the neighbors – proximity!). We ended up playing a couple of Jackbox games like Fibbage and Drawful. They were a ton of fun and we rounded out the night with a few rounds of Cards Against Humanity. We had a particularly hysterical moment involving a misunderstood prompt and a perfect answer that was suddenly not so perfect. It’s probably more of a had-to-be-there type thing, but I had to mention it nonetheless.

On Sunday we abandoned a suddenly shy toddler at his grandparent’s house and went to watch the latest Mission Impossible movie. I squeezed in an exercise class and then we imposed upon another set of friends with a pool (sensing a theme?) for a little afternoon swim session. The dumpling delighted us with his new skill (he now says this little no-no-no complete with finger wag) and his sense of swim fashion (he requested his swim shirt and shorts be removed at one point).

All in all, we had a fantastic weekend. Let’s conclude with all of the things we learned:

  1. Pour some champagne into Belle and she’ll offer to do things she is in no way qualified to do (next on the agenda: sewing a costume!).
  2. The dumpling has lot of sass with the no-no-no, just you watch out!
  3. My newest favorite summertime drink is grapefuit juice and prosecco.
  4. My drawing skills on my phone are sadly lacking, although I’m still unsure of how I would have accurately conveyed a prompt of key airplane snails.
  5. Luffy is the greatest, but we already knew that.

New Digs

Last week was exceedingly busy. As I mentioned previously, my company moved our offices. Last week was our first week in the new place, so there was a lot of unpacking and organizing going on. That and arranging my desk and then changing my mind and rearranging it and then changing my mind again. Twas fun! At least I’m pretty much settled now.

It has been interesting coming to the new building. I’ve been working in our old office building for five years, so this was a big change. Our new offices are located about a half mile away from the old, but since this is downtown Dallas we’re talking about, it means a completely different route into work. Plus, a new parking garage. And that’s really the issue here. Parking garages can be a nightmare and learning to navigate one when it’s rush hour and everyone is trying to get to work and has ZERO patience for your screw-ups…. well, it’s a high pressure scenario. Plus, our old garage was a relatively small garage, with a simple design and flow. Very intuitive. The new garage is massive. Three entrances/exits from three different streets, twelve stories. It’s technically two garages enmeshed in each other. I’ve parked in a completely new area every single day and I remain amazed that I haven’t lost my car (yet).

The new location has given a zip to the day though. I liken it to starting a new semester at school. There’s some nervousness over going to the right classroom or building. Figuring out all the unspoken rules that govern the area (everyone walks on this escalator or no one speaks in the elevators here). Desperately trying to make sure you don’t accidentally out yourself as the new person. Figuring out the best routes coming and going. Discovering what’s in the area. It’s been fun!

I also feel even more …. urban workforce chic? Is that a thing? Our new office is located in a true skyscraper. Since the building has the clout of being a legit tower, we have a few amenities not given to our previous mid-rise building. For one thing, the parking garage is directly connected to our building via a tunnel of sorts that runs through adjacent buildings and below ground at some points. That has made the slightly longer walk from the garage amazing. Just this morning, it was raining and yet I didn’t need to bring an umbrella or my rain boots. Such luxury! Another such perk is the sundry shop located below the lobby that I need to check out and the dry cleaners that’s technically in the garage. So handy! We also have key cards for this new building

Anyway, hopefully I’ll settle into a new routine this week. Wish me luck!

Memories

The decision to have a child is not a rational one. Or at least, most of the time it’s not. It’s a decision we approach with our hearts and our ideals of family and love. Some people (better people than me) approach the decision with all of the patience and idealistic sweetness of a kindergarten teacher. Luffy and I approach the decision rationally, which usually means that we decide we don’t need another. (I mean, who really wants to spend their days changing diapers and dealing with tantrums?)

Today though, today I wanted to take some time to record those small moments which make having the dumpling our favorite decision we’ve ever made:


I’ve never mentioned it (as it hasn’t come up in our conversations, lest you think I’m holding back on you), but I make up songs a lot. Jas has  a song, the dumpling has several. They’re silly songs, akin to something like “put your shoes on, cha-cha-cha,” but it’s what I do. Luffy always, always teases me with “that’s not a song” or to point out that several of my songs have the same melody. (I’ll give you a hint: “spider man, spider man, does whatever a spider can” is my go-to.)

This morning, as we gave the dumpling his current preferred breakfast (those Belvita breakfast bars, which he calls crackers), he suddenly broke out into song:

“Crackers, crackers, crackers…. crackers.”

It didn’t have a recognizable melody, but he sang and danced nonetheless. And I couldn’t be more proud.


It’s a small moment, but I swear there’s nothing better than reuniting with a toddler. They’re just so excited to see you. When I pick the dumpling up from daycare, he always (very courteously for the not-yet-two-year-old set) puts his toys away and then ruuuuuuns to me. He gives me the biggest hug and then wants up-up-up!

Later in the evening, we’ll be playing at home after dinner, waiting for Luffy to arrive. I’ll see his car pull up in front and point him out to the dumpling. He immediately launches into a little excited prance – OMG DADA!!! – and heads to the front door to greet Luffy.

On other days, where Luffy picks him up and I come home later, I can see into the kitchen as I pull into the garage. I’ve caught the dumpling in a happy dance at the sight of my car through the window. It’s heart-melting-ly adorable.


At almost 21 months, he’s becoming more proficient with movement. He walks very well. He runs. He hasn’t jumped (that I’ve seen), but we’re working on it. My favorite thing right now is how he lifts his shoulders to run. It’s like he’s so excited that he has to go fast and the higher he lifts his shoulders, the faster he’ll go.


Toddlers are pretty naturally easy to please. The trick is that you never know what’s going to actually capture their attention. I can almost guarantee that the more effort you put into entertaining them, the less they’ll enjoy it. However, if you let him play with bow-ties at a ritzy tux shop (against your better judgement), you’ll be delighted to realize that the only bows he knows are hair bows, and will spend the next five minutes laughing as he uses bow-ties as hats (to his delight too).

In another example, we were playing outside with his water table. Me and my save-the-planet guilt, I had to use some of the water to quench our poor plants (111 degree heat will wilt the hardiest of plants). He then spent the next twenty minutes using the water from his water table to water our plants. It was the sweetest thing, but he was far too enthralled for it to be truly altruistic.


There are many more moments, but I’ll leave you with one more. The dumpling loves his dada. LOVES. I may be “primary” parent, but Luffy is the fun parent. All Luffy has to do is look at dumpling in a certain way and all of a sudden, a game is on. Today, we played close-the-bathroom-door and open it to look for Luffy. Other days, it’s chase. Or tickle. Or games that don’t even really seem to have rules, except the the dumpling is inordinately pleased.

So yes, the decision to have a child is an irrational one. To be tied to a small person’s whims and schedule. To be dragged into tantrums and tears. To be expected to remember hundreds of random rules to make everyone’s day easier (don’t you dare mention outside unless you intend to go outside!). Who wants that? But when you have a suddenly snuggly toddler who burrows his head into your shoulder, it’s a little hard to think rationally.

Toddler-ese

The other day, on my drive home from work, I started counting up the words that the dumpling can say now. I came up with quite an impressive list (at least, impressive to me) and I realized that I haven’t memorialized what he can say in a while. So, without further ado and presented in as close to chronological order as I can get, a narrated list of the words that my child knows:

Uh-oh – a classic favorite that really just means, something needs your attention!
Dada –
a word for either mama or dada if I am in a good mood
Mama –
a word explicitly for mama if I am very upset
Up – now woman!
Down – now woman!
Off –
comes out as “oss” and it really means will you open/close/put-on/take-off this?
More –
self-explanatory, but it comes of as “ore”
All done! – and you have two seconds before I toss this to the floor!
Water –
“wawa”
Outside –
“outsi?”
Walk – I don’t care what you’re doing, but it’s time to get outside for a walk!
Shoes – shus?? shus??? where are you???
Sock –
“ock”
This –
self-explanatory
Oh this! – oh my gosh I need this right now!!!
Cracker –
he actually pronounces this one pretty darn close, he’s just missing the hard c
Yes –
I feel like it must be noted that he’s a toddler who actually does say yes
No – and I’m not even sure why you would suggest that, mother
Dressed –
as in, let’s go get you dressed!
Block – let’s play!
Bye –
the sweetest little “bye” you’ve ever heard
Truck –
OMFG it’s a TRUCK!!!!
Hi –
only said if you’re very lucky
Circle –
“ircle” said every time he sees a circle

Currently, he’s working very hard on brush (as in, to brush his teeth), wash (as in, to wash the clothes), and mulk (aka, milk). Then, there are other things that I’m fairly sure he’s just mimicking, like just like that (as in the spider caught the fly in her web, just like that) or coke (as in, gotta get dad a coke!). It’s always challenging to find the line between he knows that word and he’s repeating that word. He can also answer what sound a (1) dog, (2) cat, or (3) dinosaur makes.

All in all, he’s made a lot of progress since as of about three/four months ago he could only say uh-oh and dada.