Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter

I'm sorry I didn't get to the last couple of days on our Easter Devotionals.  To answer your question: no it isn't because we had a baby.  It is because I got busy.  Fail, I know.  I hope you were able to come up with something on your own.

For Easter today, we will take a few moments to read about the miraculous resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in John 20:11-17.  We will talk about our Eowyn and remember that because of Christ's Atonement and subsequent resurrection, we will someday have her in our arms.  We will attend church and learn the Easter lessons offered there--through music and the spoken word.

And we will partake of the sacrament.

In the LDS church, worthy young men are ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood and participate in this most sacred ordinance.  At the age of fourteen, they are ordained to the office of Teacher.  One of the Teacher's responsibilities is to prepare the sacrament, including bringing the bread.  Isaac recently turned 14 and was asked to provide the bread for this Sunday's services.

How many years have I partaken of the Sacrament Bread?  How many years have I never thought about how the bread arrived on the table?  What an honor for me, as the mother of this worthy young man, to provide the bread for this most holy ordinance on this most holy day. I am humbled to be a part, even in my own small way, of this this saving ordinance.

I am thankful for my Savior, Jesus Christ on this beautiful Easter morning.  I know He loves me and my family.  I know that though I fall short and am unworthy of His sacrifice, He gave it willingly.  I know He Lives!

I'd like to share with you one last Easter message before we leave the subject.  This is Joseph B. Wirthlin, an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ after the same order of those apostles who ate with Him at the last supper.  He reminds us that Sunday Will Come.

Happy Easter, my dear friends.


PS  If anyone is heading south, we are getting a bit desperate for a ride for Isaac.  We obviously can't drive him because of my imminent delivery, but he needs to get back to prepare for the New York Finals next week.  Thank You!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thursday--It Begins

Since the Last Supper was also a Passover Meal, tonight will be a busy night.  I'll do a modified Passover with my family, with emphasis on the symbolism of the meal being a sign of Christ and His Atonement.  I'll start by teaching about the Paschal Lamb (had to be first born of the ewe, pure white, never had a broken bone) then move on to the Seder Plate.  There is too much there for this blog post, but I will write it out for you at some point.  It is an excellent way to teach about types and shadows of Christ in our observances.

For dinner, we will eat other traditional foods such as fish, cheeses, olives, grapes and juice.  The idea is not to replicate a Jewish Passover, but to teach how the Passover prophesies of Christ--and to show just what Jesus was doing and eating on that very special night.

After our meal, we will watch a series of three videos.  Like I said, this will be a much more involved night because it is the night the Atonement begins.  There is much, much, much to discuss, too much for one night (which is why we teach about Jesus all of the year).  The children like the videos and I think they are effective teaching tools.

Today and tomorrow are the most emotionally difficult.  We are thinking about the God we love and worship   sacrificing himself for us . . . for me.  And even though it is difficult and too big for our tiny brains to comprehend, we must talk about it.  We must teach our children so that we can feel the Holy Ghost testify that this did, in fact, happen.  That because of this sacrifice, Jesus Christ CAN be our intercessory  He can offer grace and we can be saved.

We will end by singing Abide With Me.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Okay, the scriptures are silent on what happened on Wednesday.  I had kicked around several ideas, but nothing had jumped out as the perfect solution.  Plus, I had a good solid amount of time during the night where I was contracting fairly hard.  I knew it wasn't labor, but it was definitely a preparatory time.  As I stood in my living room at 2:30 in the morning, I resolved to NOT have the baby today.  Do you know why?  Because my house was a wreck.

This morning, I woke up my family and fed them a beautiful breakfast.  Then, I told them that we would be doing our Spring Cleaning today.  All seven of us scrubbed burners, walls, doors and windows.  We cleaned under furniture, laundered bedding, sorted snow clothes bins and vacuumed corners.  Then we met my sister and her family for an afternoon of being together on a beautiful Spring day.

What does that mean for our Holy Week Celebration?  That means that today we will dye our Easter Eggs together and talk about the fact that Jesus probably spent this day with his friends and family.  I'm sure he was serving and teaching them, but he was also building those relationships.  Just like we did today.

Sorry I don't have any great insight for you.  Maybe next year's Wednesday, when I'm not moments away from having a baby.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Testimony Tuesday

On Tuesday of Holy Week, Christ did a lot of teaching.  He taught many parables about being prepared and gaining a testimony.  I've decided to narrow it down to just one--one that I think is pivotal:
The Parable of the Ten Virgins

One point of this parable is that we must gain our own testimony; it is not something one can give to another.  I know, because I would do anything to give my testimony to some people in my life.  It is not possible.  They have to fill their lamps one drop at a time, on their own.

"The foolish asked the others to share their oil, but spiritual preparedness cannot be shared in an instant. The wise had to go, else the bridegroom would have gone unwelcomed. They needed all their oil for themselves; they could not save the foolish. The responsibility was each for himself.

"This was not selfishness or unkindness. The kind of oil that is needed to illuminate the way and light up the darkness is not shareable. How can one share obedience to the principle of tithing; a mind at peace from righteous living; an accumulation of knowledge? How can one share faith or testimony? How can one share attitudes or chastity, or the experience of a mission? How can one share temple privileges? Each must obtain that kind of oil for himself."  Spencer W. Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle

After the video, we will sing I Know that My Redeemer Lives.  
Today is the day to testify and to encourage our children to gain an understanding of their own.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Holy Temple--Monday

Monday of Holy Week. 

On Monday, Jesus cleansed the Temple of merchants and money changers.  It is evident throughout the Gospels that Christ loved the temple and visited often.  

Today our family will discuss the importance and holiness of the temple and watch this short video of Christ cleansing the temple.

We will sing I Love to See the Temple.
We will read Matthew 21:12-14.

Even if it is only a few minutes each day, I am grateful for the moments of remembrance.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Joyous Palm Sunday

Today is the first day of the Last Week of Christ's mortal ministry.  
Today is Palm Sunday.
 The day of Christ's Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem.  
The day prophesied by Biblical prophets.

Similar to my Christmas Advent, we will be having a short devotional each day this week to lead up to and celebrate the True Meaning of Easter.

Today we will sing Rejoice, the Lord is King! and maybe a little Onward, Christian Soldiers with smiles on our faces.  
We will read Matthew 21:1-11
We will watch this short video to set the tone for the week.

We are surrounded by pine trees where we live.  They are called pine trees, because when the wind blows through them, they sound like they are pining, or sighing.  (Or maybe the word came after the tree name?  Either way.)  When the wind blows through palm tree branches, they sound like they are cheering.  During the triumphal entry, the people were cheering and shaking palm tree branches; it would have been a tumultuous hurrah!

I'll try to post every day this week so if you would like to do this with your family, you are welcome to!

Monday, March 18, 2013

My Buttercup

Twelve is a big birthday.  In our house, it is when a girl can begin wearing high heels and some make-up (mascara, blush and colored lip gloss).  Those steps are huge, but they are just a symbol of the fact that she is entering young womanhood.  

Our Eliza also got to go with her dad to the fanciest restaurant in the area.  It sits atop a lakeside resort and looks out upon one of the prettiest lakes in the world.  Really.  They went right at sunset so got to enjoy the sun setting over that beautiful lake.  It is kind of hoity-toity, but is an absolute experience--a once in lifetime kind of dining event.  As part of that dinner, she was offered (and accepted) a very special ring from her father.  
It came with a promise and a commitment.    

We looked for a long time for the right ring, finally finding it at an antique store.
Another milestone that comes with the twelfth birthday is her graduating from primary and joining Young Women's.  (This is our church's program for girls from ages 12-18.)  Eliza has looked forward to this event for a long time.  When the girls begin attending Young Women's, they get to participate in a fireside called New Beginnings.  Part of its purpose is to welcome the girls who will be turning twelve that year.  The way they had us introduce our daughters to the group was with the use of a flower.  Each parent brought a flower and explained how that flower represented their daughter.  The table was full of big, showy flowers like sunflowers and tiger lily's.  Our girl is in no way flashy and does not demand attention.  
(This is not to degrade those other girls or their big personalities.  We need all types and I'm sure my mother would have picked something flamboyant for me, too!)  

Eliza is a buttercup.

She was born in March which is right when the buttercups begin blooming.  It is always the first flower of the year in our area.  It is a small and unassuming flower, but the bright yellow color, surrounded by the browns of the deadening winter packs a serious punch.  Our girl is the same way.  She is quiet and doesn't demand a lot of attention, but she has a strength of spirit that will surprise and delight you.

After a long, cold winter, the sight of that reliable and gentle buttercup brings a peace and comfort that spring is on its way.  Eliza is a low-intensity child (unlike most of her siblings).  She is not demanding or self-absorbed.  Most of the time, Eliza is the one who brings peace to our family--even when she had nothing to do with the contention.  Her bloom is reliably bright and comforting.
We are blessed to have this buttercup in our home.

In addition to the other amazing birthday treasures, she got to go the temple with the youth group for the first time.  It was a wonderful experience and was a perfect way to start her day.  As soon as she left, she wanted to know when she could go back.  Yes, my darling girl. That is how we all feel about the temple.  We'll go as often as we can.  

Happy Birthday, Eliza.  
You are a most precious gift to your family.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Lesson Failure

I taught Primary today (ages 3-11).  Last Sunday, just at the closing, I was testifying that we are saved because of the Grace of Christ.  One young boy, about 9 years old, asked, "What is grace?"

Oh, my goodness.  What a huge question!  I was literally out of time last week so I promised I would address the topic today.

I really tried.  I had visuals, I had stories, I had comparisons.  I thought about it all week--trying to figure out how to explain such large doctrine to such small people.  I read and studied, I asked friends and family for input.

I'm pretty sure I bombed.  I'm pretty sure that it went right over their heads.  I'm pretty sure that when their parents ask what they learned in Primary, they will shrug their shoulders and answer, "I dunno."

I am not always a profitable servant and while the children may have learned nothing, my own understanding of grace grew.  One of the points of the lesson that will stick with me was that we are not earning heaven, we are learning heaven*.  The price to return has been paid by my Savior, now I am trying to come unto Him, to become like Him; in this way, I hope to someday feel comfortable with Him.  His grace has saved me, it is up to me whether I will let His grace change me.

*For a great article about grace, click here.  You can also watch it here.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Pre-Baby To Do List

We have a baby coming in two-to-three-ish weeks.  In that space of time, I need to get many things done.  Not that life stops when the baby arrives, but I would really like to take a few weeks off from those regular things.

My To Do list looks like this:
  1. Spring clean. (Maybe I'll save this for when that nesting thing kicks in.)
  2. Design and build a dog house.  Things are starting to warm up around here which means shedding time.  I don't want that dog's hair in here when we bring home the new baby.
  3. Sew four Easter dresses.  By Easter.
  4. Prepare lessons for Primary Sharing Time for the rest of March.
  5. Respond to John regarding the interior elevations, plumbing and electrical plans. Feel insecure about this.  (Am I being too precise?  Am I nitpicking?)
  6. Celebrate a daughter's 12th (!) birthday.  This is a big one, so do it right!
  7. Buy airplane tickets to New York, Orlando and Connecticut for our ballerino.
  8. Install shelves in my already packed bedroom for our baby's supplies (clothes, diapers, wipes, blankets, and general stuff).
  9. Finish registration for the Bolshoi--which includes passport pictures, a bio, birth certificate, medical release and so forth.
  10. Find a new family doctor since ours had the gumption to MOVE AWAY right before our baby came.  Who will circumcise this child?!
  11. Compile an emergency birthing kit for the car.  We are 45 minutes away from the hospital and my labors can be very fast so I want to be prepared . . . just in case!
I am moving in the right direction, though I am slow and a bit cumbersome lately.  Yesterday I had planned to build the dog house.  My husband came with me to Home Depot and we priced out our project.  Then we went to the Big R (ranch supply store) to price a pre-built dog house.  We turned right back around and bought the lumber; we saved over half by doing it ourselves and have a much more sturdy final project than the one they were selling.

My plan was to build it myself.  It was a good thing it was Justin's day off because there was no way I could have built that thing on my own.  As it was, I overworked and paid for it the rest of the night. The dog house turned out, though!

You can see the little girls love it--maybe we should have built them a play house.
We gave him a little covered front porch.  In the fall, when the temperature starts dropping again, I'm going to install some vinyl strips over the door.  You know, like the big ones that hang from walk-in store refrigerators. The girls are going to paint it and put Patches' name above the door.

So, off the computer and on to the next thing on my list:  Find a money tree.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Fourteen Years

Recently, my friend Joette suggested she was going to throw a baby shower for me.  I lovingly poo-pooed her because I don't need a baby shower!  Baby showers are for first-time mothers.  Baby showers are for women with five boys who are finally getting their girl.  
Baby showers are not for women who, like me, have lots of babies of both genders.

She insisted so I relented.

Then I opened the box labeled Baby Boy Clothes.  
The fourteen year old box labeled Baby Boy Clothes.  
The box of clothes I'd been hanging on to, expecting that somewhere in the middle of that fourteen years,
there would be another boy.

Do you know how long fourteen years is?  
That is like from 1980 to 1994.  Think about the fashion evolution from 1980 to 1994.  

As soon as I opened the box, I knew that the shower wasn't as bad of an idea as I first thought.  
Here is just a tiny sample of the difference between 1999 and 2013:

Oh, boy.

Monday, March 4, 2013

San Francisco Part VIII: Random

Okay, I know I pretty much ended my San Francisco story, but I have this handful of moments that I need to write down.  They are the bits and pieces that don't exactly fit into a story.  You are getting that today.  Aren't you excited?

  • There were many, many people interested in and praying for Isaac.  I am a mega-slow texter (is that a word?), but since I couldn't talk on the phone in the theater, I struggled to keep everyone up to date.  After the awards, I sat for 45 minutes and texted (is that a word?) everyone under the sun.  Just when I finished sending the last text, Isaac came back to his seat and explained that I could have sent out one massive text.  Gah!
  • One night we ended up at a crappy restaurant where my children played an arcade game.  If they hadn't recently seen Wreck It, Ralph, I'm sure they would not have believed that when they died they had to insert another quarter.
  • Boys in ballet are much different than girls in ballet.  This is a sweeping generalization that doesn't apply to all dancers of either gender, but it is much different game for the different sexes.  Boy dancers  stick together.  There are so few of them and they live in such a unique world compared to other boys their age that they are super supportive.  I'm sure they do their fare share of sizing one another up (it is still a competition, after all), but they aren't cruel or catty.  They compliment each other, encourage and shake hands.  They will be contemporaries for the rest of their careers and friendships are budding that may continue throughout their lives.
  • For the many of you who asked, many things came to fruition because of the dance weekend.  Isaac was accepted, and offered a scholarship, to the Bolshoi Ballet Academy Summer Intensive.  It is a six week course in Connecticut that will include dancing all day, Russian language training, weekend trips to New York to see his first professional ballet, and many other opportunities.  In addition, his competition scores qualified him to attend the International Finals in New York City this April. 
  • I am grateful my parents taught me how to use a map.  I am glad I learned how to drive in a city.  I'm glad I know how to parallel park.  I wish I could speak another language.
  • One of the secret stresses of the trip was the unlikely chance that I could go into labor.  You know how when you get a new car, you see that car everywhere--even if you had never noticed it before?  That's how I became with hospitals and urgent care centers.  
  • SF is a yoga pants town.  
  • There were lots of touristy numbers in the city--double decker buses, sidewalk t-shirt stands, ferry rides on the bay, etc.  Our very favorite was the single-file line of reflective vest clad segway tourists.  How very brave of them.  

Okay, now that's really the end.  Until I think of something else.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

San Francisco Part VII: Things Sour

Getting Home

One of my dear friends from college, who I haven't seen in probably 12 years, lives in San Francisco.  Months ago I let him know we were coming and told him I hoped to get together for lunch while we were in town.  It is a long and boring story, but as of Sunday night, I still hadn't seen the whites of his eyes.  I would have felt bad, naturally, to have been in his town and not have seen him, but the worst part of it was that we were relying on him to take us to the airport the next morning.  By 7 o'clock, I was getting worried so I quickly started on a Plan B.  I got my rental car in SF, but our flight was leaving out of Oakland.  No big deal, I thought.  I'll just switch my car drop off location.  I called Alamo to purpose that exact scenario.  They wanted to charge me an extra $100--even though it was just across the bay!  Well, a taxi would have been cheaper than that, so I formulated Plan C.  Then D.  And ended up with Plan E--public transportation.

After a great deal of online research, I figured out our route including prices, times and locations.  After doing some calculations, I knew we would need to be out of the hotel by 6:30 to get to the airport by 8:15.  I stayed up late to get the suitcases packed and carry-on bags (including in-flight lunches) organized.  I crashed at about midnight.  The kids were great about getting going right away the next morning and we got out of there on time.  Well, five minutes late, but I had given us a buffer so I figured we would be okay.

From the rental car drop-off to the Air Train to the subway to the bus, each transfer chipped away at my buffer until there was no buffer.  Isaac tried to be optimistic (which was primarily to help his stressed-to-the-max mother), but I know that even good public transportation is slow.  Things were not looking good.

We tried to enjoy the "adventure."  The kids had never been on an air train or a subway and certainly not during rush hour on a Monday morning.  Knowing there was nothing I could do about the time, I tried to cool my jets.  I'm not sure I was successful.  Okay, I know I wasn't successful.  I knew that Southwest schedule by heart and I knew that ours was the only direct flight that day.  I also knew I was exhausted from the weekend.  And there was the whole eight months pregnant factor.

When we finally got off the bus at the airport, we hurried to the Southwest counter to tell them we were there.  They hurried us through security, but I can't really run right now so "hurry" is relative.

Two minutes late.  Two minutes.

I looked down at my daughter and realized she did not look good--not from the stress of the morning or from running through the airport, but something else.  Reaching down, I touched her forehead and discovered she was burning up with a fever.

We went to the counter to see what could be done.  At least something could be done, but it added about six hours of travel time to the day (we had to go to about the southernmost part of the US in order to get home to about the northernmost).  We found a place to sit and I called my mom to let her know not to pick us up at the airport that morning.  I told her that we had missed the plane, but that we would be coming in at 4:30.  After the business of the conversation, she asked the fatal question, "How are you?"

That was it.  The flood gates opened, despite my determination to be hold it together.  When we got on the first airplane two hours later, we were the last to board.  A very sweet lady volunteered to move to a middle seat so my daughter and I could sit together.  (I was able to get some Tylenol in her and her fever had subsided somewhat.)

On the flight, I looked through the Sky Mall catalog and found the most wonderful thing.  It was a doormat that said, simply, Take a deep breath.  You're home now.
It took an extra long time, I swelled up like a hot air balloon and two of our water bottles leaked into our bags (and the books, cards and notebooks they held), but we did eventually make it home.  I did indeed take a deep breath.  I am grateful for my good travelers and their positive attitudes.  I am grateful for my oldest daughter who took charge at home (Dad had to work) and had the house clean and dinner in the oven when we got here.  I am even grateful for this horrible trailer because it meant peace and my bed.

And that, my friends, is the San Francisco story.  I hope to never have such a "vacation" again--especially this pregnant!

San Francisco Part VI: Sunday


The "competition" was over, but there was still more to the weekend.  Sunday morning, Isaac reported to the workshop at 8:30 in the morning where he and the other dancers took classes from the judges.  All of the girls were placed in classes by age, but all of the boys were put in the oldest class--and we're not talking oldest class at the local ballet school; we're talking about the best in the region.  Add this to the fact that they were new teachers with different ballet methods and it makes for one super challenging day.  (Something else I've learned over the years is that not all ballet is the same.  There are several different methods which can range from a little different to drastically different.)  He took a series of classes from classical technique to men's class until one in the afternoon.

Oh, yes.  And there was a row of scouts sitting in the room with notebooks in their laps.  The competition was not over for scholarships to good schools.

While he was doing his thing, his sister and I got to do her thing.  
We went to the Fine Art Museum.

The Thinker by Rodin
We arrived a few minutes before they opened, which was okay because they had some neat things on the grounds.  It was a beautiful day!  The sun was shining the whole weekend.  It was still a bit chilly in the mornings, evenings and in the shade, but we still got a mega dose of Vitaman D.

Joan of Arc.
One of the unexpected perks of our trip were all of the brief history lessons.
We saw some amazing things.  It was delightful to me to stand back and watch my daughter discover her own tastes.  She loved the 16th Century Dutch and the 17th Century French painters.  She tended to skim past the landscapes, though she did appreciate several of them, only to dwell a long time on the portraits and still lifes. 

Elizabeth Louis Vigee Le Brun, French, 1791
She, having that naturally artistic eye, was a wonderful observer.  She noticed, and wondered how, the grapes looked juicy, the eyes were watery, the skin looked alive.  She amazed at the details of the fur, the truth behind a laugh, the sadness behind the eyes.  She asked great technical questions about the materials (How did they get paper that big?!) and got close enough to see the brush strokes.

Abraham van Beyeren, Dutch, 1655
Along with the portraits and still lifes, she was enamored with the sculpture.  She couldn't get over how soft these masters were able to make the stone seem.  How did they make stone (or even clay, for that matter) look like silk, or touchable hair, or delicate lace?

Rembrandt, Dutch, 1632
At one point she asked how they made such great copies of the artwork.  She was duly astonished as I explained that these were not copies; these were the actual works of some very famous artists.  We were privileged to see Renoir, Monet, Rembrandt, Picasso, Rodin, van Gogh, Cezanne, Bouguereau, Vermeer and so many more.  

There was one thing I forgot about Fine Art Museums and had therefore not warned my nine year old.  Pretty much as soon as we walked in, I was reminded.
"Oh.  Um, we're going to see a lot of naked people."
I did my best to explain why, but I don't think it made much sense to her young mind. I made sure to point out the beauties I saw and emphasized the fact that these were the way real women's bodies look, not like the false 12 year old boy bodies our society seems to demand from women today.

In the end, we just hurried through the more naked galleries.  :)

After the stimulating morning in the museum, we picked up the dancer and headed to church.  San Francisco has congregations from all over the world: Chinese, Samoan, Tagalog, Spanish, Tongan, etc.  We were lucky to find an English speaking congregation, though it was a young single adult ward (ages 18-30).  It was a pretty good meeting and the people were very nice.  

As a side note here, I was very impressed with San Francisco.  Just about everyone was very nice and the city was clean and lovely, though it may not be fair to judge a city by the first nice spring weekend of the year.  The traffic left something to be desired and it was still a city so there were a lot of people and it was noisy, but one can't have a city without those things.

After church, we hurried Isaac back to the San Francisco Ballet for his audition to the Bolshoi Ballet Academy Summer Intensive. He had danced Friday evening, much of Saturday, and for nearly five hours that morning.  In addition to so much dancing, he had the added strain of  being constantly under the microscope.  I didn't know how he would fare at the audition, but he said it went very well.  It was like going home because there were no surprises.  He knew the combinations, he knew the terminology, he was with his age group and so felt very comfortable.

He was accepted.

My daughter and I searched out a quiet park.  We enjoyed the scenery and some surprise history (battlements along the bay).

And then, we waited.
Some more.

Though it was full and we had just these few precious vacation hours, we did try to keep the Sabbath Day.  Overall, it was a lovely time.

But tomorrow was to change all of those happy feelings . . .

Friday, March 1, 2013

San Francisco Part V: Awards

Awards Ceremony

This was what we did much of the day on Saturday.  Wait.  I was worried about taking her because I knew there would be a lot of sitting.  Although she got bored, she never complained, whined or acted up.  She did a pretty good job of entertaining herself.

On the way to the theater, Isaac gave me a gentle reminder.  "Mom, we are not in this for the gold, we are just trying to get into a good summer intensive."  Okay.  That's right.  It helped me put things back into perspective and I settled down.

We found our seats in the theater and waited for the awards ceremony to begin.  They had all of the participants on the stage at the beginning so I snapped a shot of our boy, figuring it would be the only time he was going to be up there that night.

He came and sat by me while they took care of some business and awarded model scholarships (for which Isaac did not audition).

And the Top Twelve for Contemporary in the Junior Division . . .
they named two or three names and I couldn't stop my heart from thudding.
Then they announced,
. . . Isaac Sanders . . .

I couldn't believe it.  I'm afraid I gasped and looked at Isaac with shocked eyes.
This was yet another confirmation that we have put our trust in the right coaches.
Thank you, Sergiu Brindusa and Beth Moore for your expertise and devotion.

Top Twelve.  They are not put in order, so he could have been 4th, he could have been 12th.
He was already on stage, then, when they called the Top 12 names for the classical category.  When his name wasn't called, I wasn't completely surprised, though a bit disappointed.

His name was called next, however, for 3rd place!

What?  Third place?
All of the emotions of the weekend burst out of my eyes as I buried my head in my hands and cried like a baby.  I am a crier anyway, but with the addition of my crazy pregnancy hormones, it was a bit of a flood.

Incidentally, that row of people up there are stage are big wigs in the ballet world.  We're talking Bolshoi, Royal, Houston, New York, and so on.  Principals and artistic directors from some of the best ballet companies in the world.

He did it, he did it!  We are so proud of him!
Congratulations, son.

San Francisco Part IV: Classical

Classical Category

First Arabesque--audition photo.
We had to be at the theater pretty early on Saturday morning.  While Isaac's contemporary dance seemed like a good beginning to the competition, classical is really where he shines.  I was anxious, but excited to watch.

The problem was that he was sick.  He had a super bad head cold that brought on a foggy, buzzy head and a faucet for a nose.  Imagine jumping, spinning and twirling with those kinds of symptoms.  Nevertheless, the show must go on so he sucked it up and got to work.

His first dance was from the ballet Copellia.  It was pretty good, not amazing or even great, but pretty good.  His double cabrioles were powerful and his grande pirouettes  were strong and graceful.  However, there were wobbly this-es and tippy that-s.  I think we were both fairly pleased with the dance since it was a last-minute addition and was only the first of three that day.  He had two more dances, both of which he was much more confident performing.

The second variation was from Satanella.  This is a strong, masculine dance and one seemingly built for Isaac's strengths.  It was tough to watch.  I could tell that he just didn't feel good.  His head was not in the game and while it had a few great moments, it was not the show-stopper it should have been.

These kids know what they can do and they know when they don't do it.  When he didn't perform at anywhere near his best, he was terribly hard on himself.  He came back to me so utterly disappointed.  I felt completely helpless.  His coaches were not able to come to San Francisco and he needed them.  I had never had to be his coach before so I didn't know if he needed tough love:  Get your head in the game and get back out there, young man!  Or gentle soothing Oh, honey.  It's alright.  You'll get it!  What he probably needed was someone to coach him Lift your arms higher here, point your toes there.  We got his costume changed for his last dance and he stormed off to prepare.

San Francisco was a whole different ballgame from last year's Denver experience.  There were twice as many dancers and the competitors were all a notch above.  I watched in increasing dread as dancer after dancer came on the stage and put forward their best offerings.  I was heartsick.

Heavenly Father, I don't know what to say or do to help this kid.  His coaches are not here to encourage him or to give him the pointers that could make or break his performance.  But YOU know him.  You know what he needs to hear or feel.  Please, Dear Father, tell him the thing he needs to hear.

He came on stage and I could tell from the moment he struck his pose to wait for the music to begin that I was looking at a different dancer.  I didn't cheer, I didn't clap; I sat with my fingers intertwined in a tight fist in front of my quietly coaching mouth, "Land it.  Up, up, and . . . good.  Now, turn . . . keep it together . . . come on, come on . . . YES!"  The crowd cheered and I nearly fainted as I realized I hadn't breathed for the duration of the variation.  He told me later that he felt focused and confident.  How that kid pulled it together and presented the way he presented, I'll never know.  It showed a resiliency and determination most adults would envy.

We were all exhausted and it was only one o'clock.

Her version of First Arabesque.