Archive for August, 2011

she’s in!!!

Ava made the Drama Team!

Oh, what an emotional ordeal this process was…

Ava and I spent a week rehearsing her script. According to the information sheet, she didn’t have to be memorized. Note for everyone out there: always memorize it! It not only gets your face up and helps your voice carry, but enables you to focus on the meaning of what you’re saying as opposed to the actual words themselves. Plus, at the outset, the drama coach said there are over 120 kids who audition for only approximately 50 spots. In a group that large, you want to do your best to stand out…memorization helps!

She auditioned last Tuesday and was supposed to find the results online Thursday night. I swear, she had me checking the computer every 18 minutes (but, I was secretly checking around every 9 minutes from my phone…). By the time bedtime arrived, there was still no word. I tucked her in, told her not to worry and tried to kiss the furrow in her brow away. I told her even if she didn’t make it, I thought she did wonderful when we worked together. I tried encouraging her with the “as long as you gave it your best…” talk, but I could tell my well-intentioned words weren’t carrying much weight. So, I eventually said, “I know how badly you want this. It means a lot to me because it means so much to you.” And I let it there. She eventually fell asleep after I promised to continue checking. I kept a vigil until after midnight, then went to bed hoping for results in the morning.

Ava shared with me recently that she plays a lot on her own at recess. Not exactly something that makes a mother’s heart jump for joy. So, I was kept praying the drama team would be an outlet for her to meet some new friends who share a common interest with her. We attended a school fundraiser not too long ago and she introduced me to a girl from her class. Turns out, this girl was also auditioning for the drama team. They had their arms around each other while they talked about the play. I smiled watching them, remembering some of my own sweet childhood friends. “How wonderful would it be if they both made it…”

Friday morning came and still nothing. I decided to call the school to see if I was checking in the wrong place. I’m thankful I did because the secretary said the results wouldn’t be posted until after school. And she was right…

Not too long after the kids arrived home, I saw the results.

Ava’s name wasn’t there.

Or so I thought. I mean, I titled the post, “she’s in,” so obviously she made it. But, when I first read through the list of 57, I didn’t see her name. (In my defense, even Adam didn’t see her name at first either…)

My stomach dropped.

How was I going to tell her?

I went through the list again, feeling like I was willing her name to appear. First of all, the list wasn’t in alphabetical order, so that made finding anyone’s name difficult.  But then, tucked between two longer names were the two words I was desperately seeking, “Ava Newton.”


How was I going to tell her?

Well, since this was for the drama team, I decided to go with a dramatic approach:

I went to Ava’s room, which most of the time resembles the aftermath of a terrible storm. Sure enough, such was the state of her room that afternoon.


“Ava Grace”, I hollered. Now, when I used my children’s middle name, they know it’s something serious. She came running toward me, but slowed when she saw the stern look on my face.

“What do you see?”, I asked her. We both silently looked around the room: clothes on the floor, dolls sprawled everywhere and crafts filling up the remaining space.

“Oh”, she said, hanging her head.

I let that word linger there for a moment.

“I asked you a question. What do you see?”

And then I pulled out my phone (I had the internet opened to the page and had her name highlighted…)

She took one look before screaming and jumping into my arms. We both fell to the floor laughing as I held her tightly and kissed her head.

We went to Olive Garden that night to celebrate. Before leaving I asked her if her friend, Brooklyn, made the team.

“Who’s Brooklyn?”, she asked.

“The girl you introduced me to the other day,” I replied.

“No Mom. Her name is London, not Brooklyn.”

Hmmm, wrong city, I mused.

But, yes. London made it too. The team is putting on the production of “Fiddler on the Roof” in March. So, here we are…beginning yet another adventure!


Read Full Post »

I was kicked out of my bed

Adam’s promotion brought a new aspect to our family life: travel.

When we first moved here, he was gone more than he was home. But, now we’re settling into a more balanced schedule, so it’s not as demanding.

The kids miss their daddy when he’s away. But, they do look forward to one special treat I save only for “travel nights”:

They get to sleep in my bed.

We have a king-size mattress. While shopping for it, I remember saying to Adam I wanted a king, so if the kids ever got scared, they could climb on in. I think music from “The Sound of Music” was underscoring this thought. I’ve always been fond of the thunderstorm scene when all the kids climbed into bed before breaking into “My Favorite Things.”

So, last night, my kiddos fell peacefully asleep beneath the comfort of my many blankets. They looked so sweet, lined up together and dreaming away:

However, at 1:38am I awoke with a jolt…from a foot:

I was slightly disoriented, but no worries: I soon received another jab in the head, so my senses quickly alerted. My picture perfect sleeping babes became active little tumblers. Seriously, you would have thought the bed was a gymnasium by the way they were rolling!

There was no way I was staying, so I decided to go sleep in Ava’s bed. I tried to get my blanket (yes, I have one. It’s unbelievably comfortable and comes with me where ever I sleep. Call it a Linus complex if you want, but if you felt it, you’d fall under it’s fuzzy spell too…). However, my children somehow managed to tangle themselves up in that, so no luck.

Oh, the shame!

I was literally kicked out of my bed, I had no blanket, but the icing on the cake?

As I made my way toward the bedroom door, our dog, Ted, raised his head to see what was going on. Our eyes met and for a moment I thought he was coming with me. Then, he rolled onto his back and went back to sleep.


I took this the next morning:

Give my kids space and they’ll fill it.

On a positive note, I did get to sleep in a Cinderella carriage bed for the first time.

So, while they may have taken my king, I still slept like a princess.


Read Full Post »

a graduation and a thank you

Garrett is now in 1st grade.

You know what that means, right?

He graduated kindergarten!

Um…three months ago.




Garrett loved kindergarten. His teacher was simply amazing. In fact, she also taught Ava and I’m just sorry Grady won’t have the chance to work with her. The graduation ceremony was so sweet. The teachers each got up and gave an encouraging word to the students and their families. I just love the poems teachers read at these events. Have you noticed that even though the poems are geared toward young children, it’s the adults who take the most away from them?

My mom came up to see our little big guy stride across the floor, shake hands with his teacher and receive his diploma. I smile when I recall that moment: Garrett’s strut was more of a mix between running and skipping. He is definitely a boy full of joy!

After the ceremony, we went to Panera (boo-yah!) to celebrate. In addition to it being the day of Garrett’s graduation ceremony, it was also our official last day in Plainfield. Adam was already living in Tennessee, so the kids and I were anxious to reunite our family and begin our next chapter.

And now, a special shout-out to probably my favorite person in this world:

My mother and Garrett share the same birth day, so it’s only fitting that this post naturally found it’s way to honor both of them…

I know there are people who would drop everything and go anywhere for their family. My mom does. But, in my opinion, what sets her apart is she does this not because of a sense of duty, but because of her genuine love for her family. I know how hard that day was for her and could see the struggle in her eyes as she tried holding back her tears. My heart broke every time I saw the “brave face,” for I knew the goodbye we were saying tore her apart. Yes, she is definitely happy for us! But, it’s one thing when your dear ones are less than two hours away, compared to nine hours.

Thank you Mom for sharing that day with us. I know Adam thanks you too. He would have been there if possible, but since he couldn’t, I can think of no other person I’d rather have sitting beside me…not just in a gymnasium, or in a booth at Panera, but in every aspect of my life.

So, I’ve thought about it…

Quite a bit actually…


I think you and Dad need to relocate here. 🙂

Read Full Post »

so, whatcha up to?

One of the things I’ve really loved about moving to Nashville is getting more involved in the music scene. I’ve grabbed the networking steering wheel with both hands and have had the chance to meet some great people.

I typically don’t post too much about music here. However, I have a passion for other musicians, helping them better themselves and creating something lasting. So, this opportunity is one way I get to fulfill that drive.

I currently write a post a week for my coach’s artist development company. It’s not only been a great outlet, but keeps me writing. Admittedly, on the flip side, I don’t post on my own blog as much, but I”m working on creating a better balance there. 🙂

I’m given a video segment each week. From there, I create an article from the information and then add some of my own content to round out the edges. I think the most time consuming part is crafting the introduction to each piece. In fact, there have been times when I’ve had the body of the article written, but took another day or two just to come up with the intro. Thankfully, my husband is a great sounding board (he also makes sure I don’t sound too “girly” when I write for the site). I like to frame each post with some sort of relatability as opposed to keeping them strictly “how-to.” So, that definitely keeps my creative juices flowing!

Another challenge as a writer is capturing another person’s voice. This is where the video segments are really helpful! It allows me to delve into another person’s vocal rhythms and jargon, so I stay true to their voice when I’m writing. My parents read the blog (how cool is that?!?!) and my mom recently told me she can totally “hear” my voice in the articles. But, then again, she’s had the privilege of listening to it for the past 30 years – ha! On a serious note, I appreciate the amount of freedom I’ve been given as a writer and the company’s trust in me to represent them well.

I just had my 11th post, “Songwriting 101“,  published on the site. The posts go live on Mondays and range from technical singing and songwriting tips to topics more philosophical in nature. If you want to follow along for fun or for information, you can do so here:


(If you’d like to read any of my previous posts, anything that says “posted by Kelly” are pieces I’ve written!)

Read Full Post »

welcome to the jungle

Ava had the leading role in her 2nd grade musical back in February.

Besides our family, my parents, mother-in-law and sister-in-law came in to see the show. We were so proud of her! I love that theatre has worked it’s way into her heart. As an acting major, I knew there was much I could teach her, but I never wanted to force my passion on her. She and I had a lot of fun working her lines and developing her character (hmmm…does that sounds a bit much for a 2nd grade musical?? 😉 ).

Ava was to play a lion and we were responsible for her costume and makeup. We had free reign to do whatever we liked. Her teacher said they were going with an African theme, so the brighter and more vibrant the colors, the better. I used a makeup design like the one from the musical “Cats!” for inspiration. At first, when I showed my hubby what I was thinking, he told me he thought the design was cool, but it looked too much like a cat. I thought about it, then replied, “Well, she is a cat…just a very large one.”

Everything was coming together nicely, and then we hit a glitch right before showtime. I spent a good amount of time with Ava’s makeup and was really happy with the way it turned out. However, when she saw her face, she burst into tears! I felt terrible (and if I’m being completely honest, also annoyed that she was running her carefully applied makeup…). If I remember correctly, I believe her exact words were, “I look like a freak!” The timing of it all was terrible. I had to have her at the school in less than 20 minutes, so we had no time for any diva moments. I tried explaining the colorful theme, that makeup is more exaggerated in theatre, etc.

No luck.

Finally, I just said to her, “Ava Grace, do you really think I would let you go into a situation looking like a freak?” That quieted her down, but didn’t convince her entirely. So, I took a gamble and said, “All right then. We’ll stay home.” Thankfully, she didn’t call my bluff. She pulled it together and we rushed out the door.

She was nervous people would laugh when they saw her face, and asked me to walk with her to her classroom. The moment we walked into the school she was flooded with compliments. Each time a parent, teacher or classmate said something nice, I would squeeze her hand. I’d love to be able to tell you that each squeeze was meant as encouragement on my part (and she probably took it that way). But, between us, I was kinda ticked about the “freak” remark, so with each squeeze, I’d say to her, “I told you so” in my head. Seriously.

Showtime came, and she completely blew me away. When she started singing, I got chills! She was confident and her voice was so strong and pure. Sure, I gave her pointers to help equip her, but ultimately, the performance had to come from within her. She shone so brightly and I will never forget it! Way to go Ava!!!

Read Full Post »

post catch-up

My iPhone wouldn’t turn on recently.

It was the oddest thing. I was driving home after dropping off the kids from school, when I got the “ding” indicating I had a new email. And then the whole phone just shut down.

I got home and tried charging it.


I tried various outlets in the house.


I tried the car charger.


I started feeling sick to my stomach. It wasn’t so much that my phone wasn’t working, but I had over 1,000 photos on there of things I meant to blog about..someday. And to make things worse, I never backed up the phone…ever.

I made an appointment with the Apple Store and told the tech guy the “ding and die” story of the phone. He took my phone, pressed the “on” button and…

…it worked!

I believe my actual reaction was a mixture of sheer embarrassment, dumbfoundedness and excitement. I swore to him I pressed the button countless times, tried charging it, etc. He, at least, was gracious enough to say he thought I needed to do a hard re-start of the phone: something I was never shown when I purchased the phone.

Anyhow, this week will be a montage of those meant to write posts. Some are thoughtful, some are sweet, others are just plain silly. It’s basically my way of sharing my online journal with you.


Read Full Post »

first week of school update!

The first week of school went really well!

Yes, I was nervous. The night before their first day, I kinda broke down in a fit of worries:

“Who would they eat lunch with?”

“Would they get off at the right bus stop after school?”

“Did I label too many supplies?”

Will they like their teacher and make friends quickly?

“Am I supposed to send a snack?”

“Would they get teased for not having an accent?”

I think I worry too much… 🙂


I drive the kids to school in the morning and pick up Grady in the afternoon from his preschool, while Ava and Garrett ride the bus. They start school at 7:15 am (yep, you read that right…they start at 7:15 am!).We’re not really morning people, but let me tell you: our rear was in gear and we were early every single day. Okay, well maybe not the first day, but I didn’t count that day since the parking lot was a circus.

Adam and I got to walk the kids to their classroom and help them get situated. After school, the bus was 20 minutes late, but I figured it would be. Ava and Garrett got off just fine and have settled into a good routine.

I had a big ol’ plate of homemade chocolate chip cookies waiting for them when they got home…great ending to a wonderful start! I am really proud of them all and they seem to be adjusting well!

Read Full Post »