Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Hold me closer tiny dancer...

Well, this past weekend was quite a busy one.  Kennedy and I had a daddy-daughter date Friday night, Lindsy worked Saturday morning and then went to a Mary-Kay party afterwards while I watched the girls at home, then we went to her clinic summer party that evening, Sunday morning we did church and Sunday evening our church had a big block party to kick off the new school year.  So going back to work on Monday seemed relaxing. 

The best part of all of it was my date with Kennedy.  We had a quick dinner after work and then she and I headed to Woodland Park to see "Ballet Under the Stars".  They set up a big stage in the park and people bring their favorite relaxing apparatus to sit and watch.  The festivities start at 8pm with a "preshow" and the main event at 9.  Well, we rolled up slightly after 8 not knowing what to expect at all.  We stepped out of the car and immediately choked on all the moisture in the air.  It was so stinking humid!  But what are you gonna do, right?  I mean it's summer and my kid wanted to see the ballet.  Kennedy got in for free (thank God) and I paid 6 bucks for a ticket and a program.  I almost had to put a bag over K's head as we passed by trucks selling cupcakes, icees, and doodads.  

By the time we made it to the seating area, I needed a change of clothes.  You wouldn't think carrying a couple tailgate chairs and a miniature backpack would be that much work, but I felt like I had just walked through a carwash and paid the extra $5 for the supreme wash.  The place was packed out with soccer moms and guys who put on a happy face for their wives or girlfriends, probably because they were promised something later.  There was a white line in a semi-circle around the seating area which was the demarcation of chairs or blankets. Judging by the mass of humanity, the density of blankets, and the size of the picnice baskets, apparently, you have to get there two weeks in advance to get near the stage.  We ended up in a spot only partially blocked by a giant oak tree, right next to some lovely old ladies with a giant picnic basket full of crackers and cheeseball.  mmmm...  cheeseball.  We quickly realized that Kennedy's little low-profile beach chair was going to give her a wonderful evening of old-lady fanny all night.  So, as if it wasn't hot enough, she got to sit in my lap.  She immediately asked for her "treat" that mommy had packed us, as if her mind had never left the thought since we left the house.  That is one reason I know she is her mother's child.  I am half-drunk and drooling over a half-eaten cheeseball in the next row, and she has visions of twizzlers dancing in her head.  So, she had her treat, and loved every bite.  And then she had my treat, and loved every bite.

The "preshow", as it turns out, is a production of younger ballet students (7-17ish).  It could not have been more perfect that they were doing Snow White.  Kennedy was instantly mesmerized by the gold and blue dress.  I don't know how much she enjoyed it because she asked 1,462 questions within the first scene.  "What is Snow White doing?" "Dancing, honey, this is ballet" "Why is she doing that? (dancing that is)" "because this is ballet, honey, that's what they do" "Why are the flowers dancing?...  Why are the trees dancing?...  why are the butterflies dancing?... ".  But she was glued to it.

The show was really cute.  The kids did an excellent job.   

After the preshow, alot of the parents and people from the blanket section left, so Kennedy and I gave up the comfort of our, (ahem), my chair and moved to the comfort of the bare earth.  Between shows, Kennedy spotted Snow White shaking hands and talking to her younger admirers across the way.  I asked her if she wanted to go meet her and get a picture and she was all about it...  that is, until we got about 5 steps from her.  At that point, I became a human shield from which she would not come forth.  I actually had flashbacks to when I was that age.  I probably would have turned into a puddle.  So I couldn't get her to come out and I apologized to Snow White.  We started walking back to our little patch of dew and dirt covered heaven, when she changed her mind and decided she could brave the perils of meeting her #3 idol (#1 = Cinderella, #2 = Sleeping Beauty).  By this time Snow White was walking back to her car with her mom, so we had to chase her down through a huge crowd of people.  You can imagine how that looked with this grown man chasing down this little star performer in the shadows, but oh well.  So this time Kennedy went up to her and sheepishly told her she liked it and that she did a good job (with much coaxing).  I tried to snap a few photos, but the stupid flash was not working!!!  So, this is the best I could do with editing....

I think this was the highlight of her night, and maybe even of her short little life.  Actually, I think in her mind the rest of her life is pretty much downhill from here.  I was really proud of her for perservering through the veil of shyness that I inadvertently passed on to her.

The main portion of the program (which already had to pail in comparison before it even started) was two groups of professionals dancing to various pieces of music.  Kennedy didn't have quite as much interest in this, although there was still a million questions about the new "princesses" and "princes", as now any girl dancer in a pretty dress is a princess and any boy dressed and dancing is a prince. 

I didn't think I could get any hotter than her sitting in my lap in the chair.  I was wrong.  Sitting in my lap on the ground was hotter, and more uncomfortable.  I finally talked her into sitting into her low-profile chair since it would work in this section.  Yeah, that lasted all of 5 minutes.  Then she was back in my lap looking for more twizzlers.  I tried to convince her to leave at the intermission of each act, but alas, she wasn't having it.  Finally, she said she had to potty really bad and I thought this was our chance to head out, so I grabbed all of our parafenalia and started out.  We dropped it all outside the jiffy-jon and then sealed the deal.  Upon exiting, I said, "OK, the car is this way".  "Daddy, it's not over yet."  So back we went, with the chairs, and candy, and lovies.  I perched us in the back and we stayed and sweated until the bitter end.  Although, the last 30 minutes or so consisted of her dancing for me in front of our chair. 

It was alot of fun and cool to see the Snow White performance.  The program is Friday to Sunday, so I don't know if they did different "preshows" each night? or Snow White every night.  It would have been the tripple crown if Kennedy could have seen all three of her idols in one weekend...  Overall, this was an incredible evening spent with my first-born and I will always remember it.

On another note....  I stayed home to take care of Lindsy and the girls today and had some more fun with K.  She wore all three of her dance leotards (I have no idea how to spell that and am proud of it) this afternoon while she played and danced.  At one point, she approached me in her little yellow number with the earrings I had helped her put on and she said softly, "daddy, can we get married?  It's getting late, it's almost midnight." (everyone should recognize the Cinderalla reference)

Seriously, how could I say no to that face??  So we said our vows and kissed, and then she rushed me into the "ballroom" (otherwise known as the playroom, bonus room, addition..) and turned on her Disney music so we could dance.  It was possibly the sweetest thing ever.  I guess it was one of the high points of my longer life.  Is it all downhill from here?  Hopefully Avery has the same affection for her daddy...

What is better than being a Dad?!

Monday, May 2, 2011

She blinded me with Science

I was talking to a buddy of mine at Dudes and Donuts this Saturday morning (that is our bi-weekly men's breakfast and Bible study at church), his son is in Kennedy's class at daycare, anyway, he told me they were thinking about taking him to the Living Arts and Science Center for some big day of activities they had going.  So, I went home and checked into it.  Lindsy was going to some arts and crafts fair, so I thought maybe this would be something fun for Kennedy and I do to.

So we headed off for a Saturday morning full of adventure.  I didn't really know what to expect, but anyway I can expose her to science and pre-dispose her to following in my footsteps is worth the effort.  So the first thing we saw when we got there were these robotic golf cart thingy-ma-hoppers.  A local kids science club had developed them.  Kennedy got to push and pull the levers to control the robotic arm while I drove, even though she tried to convince me to trade places.

A scary preview of 13 years from now. 

 So I finally convinced Kennedy to exit the car to see what else was available for our enjoyment.  She quickly noticed the reptile exhibit.  Kennedy is quite fond of turtles.  She has 4 plastic ones she bathes with every night.  On a side note, we watched baby sea turtles hatch on tv the other night, and I thought, Oh cool, Kennedy must be really digging this.  Then the buzzards and storks swooped down and started devouring them.  I nearly fell off the couch and dropped the remote trying to change the channel.  But she seemed to understand and be OK with it.  Anway, they had two little racers and a box turtle and she picked up and petted all of them.  Thrice. 
Kennedy loves her some turtle.  Too bad she missed out on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle craze.

Now, I consider myself to be fairly tolerant of animals larger than my finger.  Anything smaller than that, I may or may not scream like a little girl if they touch me.  Snakes, I am typically not real afraid of; I am not saying I want a pet python, but I am ok being around them.  They had a couple of snakes at the reptile table.  I thought, cool, maybe Kennedy will touch one.  I mean, she has been exposed to quite a bit of wildlife just living in our house and she likes looking for bugs.  So to my delight, she wanted to pet them.  Of course, petting them was not good enough.  She promptly asked the nice gentlemen if she could hold one; like it was a soft, fluffy bunny.  Meanwhile, I am breaking into a cold sweat hoping she will not ask me to help.  Is that sad?  When do they develop this fears?  I thought we were born with them?  I am sure I was afraid of spiders when I was still just a gleam in my grandfathers eye!  Well, she held it.  And held it.  And held it.  "Kennedy, I think other kids want to touch it now".  We later went back to hold them both, again.  And, I am proud to say, I held the snake too!  No, I don't have a picture of it, but I promise I did.  I couldn't let her see her daddy be afraid.  But then it bit my hand and wouldn't let go! There was blood running down and my arm and it just kept biting!  Well, that's what I thought would happen, but everything went fine.  Now I know she is truly her mother's daughter.  She is a friend to all animals.

My little 'Jack Hanna'

Kennedy is now an official Snake Handler.
 Next on the list was the tortoise.  Which Kennedy accurately pointed out to me.  She loved petting him and ltrying to feed him everything she could find within a 10 yard radius.

So after some electricity fun inside, that pretty much concluded the science portion of the morning.  After the reptilian love fest, we went to try some of the artsy stuff.  They were letting all the kids paint a pickup truck with what seemed like a mixture of sidewalk chalk mixed with water.  Kennedy thought this was amazing.  It may have surpassed the serpentine extravaganza!  We painted for an eternity. 

She had to get creative on where to paint as most of the truck had already been painted.

The only way to get her away from this painting was to lure her to another painting station.  This one involved paint that did not wash out, so they gave her a t-shirt that would have been big on me.  The painting  was some style named after the guy who did it.  Sorry art people.  She did love it though.  If it hadn't been for the fact that I was freaked out her flinging permanent paint 30 feet in all directions, I may have let her go back to it the 4 more times she asked.

After that, we headed inside to try some crafts.  Her favorite by far was the clay city.  All the kids were making different buildings to create a city out of modeling clay.  Below is Kennedy and our house we built.

She will probably tell you she did the whole thing...

And because we are engineers, we made a bridge too.

We met her little classmate inside and they played together in some of the science rooms.  They then chased each other around the paint truck trying to find blank spaces to smear with paint. 

I think K had a great time.  I did.  It was so much fun to see how interested she got in all of the stuff, and how brave she was with the snakes!  We, of course, stopped for a happy meal on the way home, as every good daddy/daughter date should end with. 

Well, hopefully it won't be so long until the next post.  Peace out.