Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Houston Ballet: Swan Lake

This past Saturday Daniel's brother Josh, hubby and I went to the Houston Ballet's performance of Swan Lake. Oh. My. Goodness. It was completely breathtaking! I have been to 8-9 professional ballet performances between The Milwaukee Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet (Chicago) and the Houston Ballet. Houston'a Swan Lake was by far my favorite! The opportunity to go came at just the right time too.

Lately I have been feeling a little, homesick? I guess that's the word? That isn't completely right, because Texas is home and I'm not totally distraught like I have been in the past missing my family, friends, and all things familiar. But I have been missing everyone/everything none the less. So when Josh randomly asked if we wanted to join him at the ballet that weekend, we said yes! It was the perfect sort of thing to get out of a kind of gloomy mood and have something fun for the weekend planned. Houston is still a very "new" city to me, so I love when an opportunity arises to go do something fun in Houston!

Also, I  was finally able to wear my headband of strands of twisted crystal rhinestones that I bought and haven't been able to wear yet. I wish I had a better picture! But, believe it or not I hardly took any pictures! We had so much fun talking in the car and jamming out to music that I did't have time to worry about my camera! That, and you can only take so many selfies when other people are around ;)

The ballet was at the Wortham Center, which is just the most beautiful and perfect place to watch a performance. It's in the heart of downtown, and with it being an evening performance, the downtown city lights just seemed to make everything dazzle. 

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I always get so, so excited for, well, things in general. :) But when I'm eagerly watching the clock as each minute passes and I'm waiting for something to start... well I can hardly stand it! You could tell everyone was excited! I mean, most people. I was excited for the actual ballet, Josh was excited to hear a full, uncut score of Tchaikovsky, and Daniel, well he was excited because he loves to make me happy and spend time with his little brother. :) 

It seemed like forever as we eagerly waited in our seats (which, by the way were the very highest and farthest back you could get, and still $50.00 each!) 

As soon as the curtain raised and the music started, Oddette came gliding in on a boat surrounded by mist. The whole stage was flooded with with deep blue and green lights and there were beautiful, eery trees all around. The music just soared from the orchastra and I settled back into my seat. I could just tell this was going to be stunning!

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For a good synopsis of Swan Lake, fee free to go here ----> Swan Lake 
But in short:

Swan Lake is about a beautiful maiden named Oddette who gets turned into a swan by an evil night named Rothbert. She is a swan by day and a maiden by night.

After a successful day of hunting, the prince, Seigfreid is reminded by his mother the Queen that this is the last day of his youth. He will need to choose a wife at the ball tomorrow and take on the responsibility of adulthood. He is introduced to four beautiful princesses, none that he falls in love with. He runs deep into the woods alone that night.

 Deep in the forest that evening along the edge of the lake, Siegfried sees a young maiden.  She is beautiful, and he falls instantly in love.  However, she is terrified, and begs him to leave, to no avail.  Charmed by his bravery, Odette finds herself falling in love with him.  As the sun begins to rise, the evil knight Rothbart summons Odette.  She goes to him and is transformed into a swan and flies away.  Soon thereafter, a large flock of swans lands on the lake.  Siegfried’s friend and some hunters from the royal party see the flock and prepare to shoot, but the Prince intervenes and orders them to leave.  Siegfried notices that one of the swans is Odette and he professes his love to her.

The next night the Queen once again hosts a ball and this time, the evil knight Rothbert arrives, with Odile. Who is the Black swan and mirror image of Odette. Prince Seigfreid is tricked into thinking the dark swan is Odette, professes his love to her only to realize he was fooled and runs after Odette, who was at the ball and he begs for forgiveness. 

The sun is starting to rise and the maidens turn back into swans. Odette is swept back up into the sky along with Rothbert and the black swans. Prince Seigfried, desperate to be with his love, grabs his cross bow to shoot Rothbert. He misses and instead hits Odette. She falls into Prince Seigfreid's arms as a maiden, the curse broken. She dies in his arms. Seigfreid picks her up, holds her close and walks into the lake, drowning himself .

So yeah, not the happiest of stories. But, wow, it sure does make for a dramatic and beautiful ballet! 

It really was hauntingly beautiful. The dancers acted just as much as they danced, you were just drawn into the story as they danced and swirled across the stage. 

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All the costumes seemed like they walked right out of the page of a story book! The colors were fantastic and everything has just the right bit of whimsy.

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The skill of the dancers was just amazing! It's one thing to be able to do an amazing and technically difficult move here or there, but each dance was just one amazing feat after another. Swan Lake is actually considered the most technically difficult ballet ever written and choreographed! 

Odette and her prince danced a very convincing couple! The love and tenderness in which they showed on stage made every beautiful, gliding movement so romantic!

photo Credit: unknown google image search

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It was just a beautiful, beautiful story told through dance and some of Tchaikovsky's best work! It was also very long. Often they will cut down the music for swan lake, but this time they kept the whole original score. The ballet was 3 hours long (with 2 short intermissions) and I just loved it!

Since we went to the later showing at 7:30, we didn't even get out to the car until after 11:00pm We were also starving as we made our way back home. Of course not much was open, and despite being midnight, iHop was packed. So we settled for a classy dinner at Taco Bell :)

This last weekend was just so fun! I really do love this city and state and can't wait until the next time we get to see another ballet!

Monday, June 2, 2014

(Not) Losing It: Struggling With the Baby Weight. Part 2

OK, so like I was starting to explain in my last post (before getting a bit off track!) Although I'm happy and free, I'm still carrying around extra baby weight. Quite a bit of it. I eat pretty healthy. Extremely lean and healthy almost carb free meals for breakfast and lunch, decent dinners, and sugar is considered a treat that I don't indulge in to often! I mean, not as often as I used to anyway. ;)

I do pilates, rarely sit down during the day, sleep well, ect... but the weight is just staying put! There are weeks that I do exercise a lot more, but that will literally take up all my free time. I know that sounds like an exaggeration, but my hour in the mornings is bible devotion/sleeping in when I need too (not past 7:30 or 8:00 though!) 
Evenings are family time. I have tried staying up after everyone is in bed asleep, but I'm either so exhausted that I can't make it through a session, or what usually happens, I become totally awake, get wound up, stay up and then become crabby the next morning. I still will do that now and then, but night time is not a good long term solution for me! 

I have tried working out while the kids are up, but in a different room, but with a 5,4, and 1 year old, I'm interrupted so much it's hard to keep my heart rate up for longer than a few minutes!

Caleb takes 2 naps during the day. The first one is at 10:30. This is school/me and the girls time. So I won't change that! And then during his second nap, I have the girls read or color quietly on their beds for 45 minutes. That way, if they need it they will end up falling asleep, but regardless that's 45 minutes I know that I get each day to get things done. Of course the girls will try to get up, but usually that's just my quite time.
That's when I will balance the checkbook, make phone calls, go online, pinterest, ect... And let me tell you, that 45 minutes go fast! Often I spend that time just cleaning and getting things done too. So, I guess if I *really* wanted to, I could exercise my little heart out then... and I have for weeks at a time, but spending all my emotionally "quite" time doing cardio, well... makes my heart sad. lol I knowI I know! Being good to your body should make you feel good, and it does, but I need a little time during the day to recharge and have a few minutes to work on my interests (like photography and photo editing!)  before hubby gets home, because then our night is just in fast forward until we all go to bed.

So I'm left with a choice, how much do I dedicate my time and energy to working out and counting each calorie? I want to continue to try to make as many healthy choices as I can each day, but how much do I want to push myself? And why do I need to push myself? Sometimes I worry it's vanity, but other times, each pound seems to drag my 5'3" frame down so much I feel like I'm carrying 100. (Living in a southern, high humidty climate dose not help!) I think about losing weight every day, many times, everyday. I feel like I get way to obsessed about it, and I have been really trying to accept that right now, maybe losing a lot of weight is just not going to happen in this season of life right now. Maybe  I need to accept that I have a few extra pounds, enjoy my young children, be glad my life is filled with so much joy, and get on with life.
Other days, I'm so totally exhausted, I feel like crap and I'm still at times wearing maternity clothes ( I have been for almost 5 years :( how embarrassing) and I cringe whenever I see a picture of myself. I feel slow, tired, and out of shape. 

I know there is a healthy balance between these two, but I'm having a really hard time finding it. Especially when I see so many other moms lose the weight, I wonder how I don't. Is it genetics? Age, what?!?! What am I doing so wrong?

Anyway, I was standing in line at walmart the other day. And granted, I was wearing one of the said maternity tank tops, so that probably didn't help. But as I was having my things checked out the older lady behind me asked "when is little one due?" "what??" I was in my own little world, and totally off guard and didn't even totally catch what she said, so she motioned to my belly and asked again" when is little one due?!"
Oh Lord... As she stood there with now her and her husband smiling at my belly I realized she thought I was pregnant. I was so humiliated. I just stood there for a moment, mortified as now her, her husband and the cashier all stood there waiting for my response. "Oh... Uh... " I should just tell them I'm not pregnant, just fat. then maybe they'll feel bad, let it go and I can get out of here. " I opened my mouth and before I knew what happened next I blurted out "I'm 12 weeks" Lord, forgive me for lying.... "Well! Your mighty big for only 12 weeks! "oh... it's my fourth, so... (Oh God! Another lie! I'm sorry Lord!) at this the cashier and lady in line proceeded to make comments on have I figured out what causes pregnancy and tried to go into birth control options for me to consider, at which point I grabbed my bags, just laughed and walked out of there as quickly as I could.
I felt just pissy and mad as I walked through the parking lot and into the jeep, but after I shut the door. I burst into tears. I cried the whole way home. 

Long story short... I was hurt, but I knew not to let one person totally ruin my whole night and just asked God to help me let it go and not become obsessed about it. I did proceed to have a good night, but I do feel like it confirms in my head that I don't just feel heavy, I look it. 

I haven't ever wanted to talk about my weight loss efforts on here because, I keep thinking this is just a phase and I'll get over it quickly. And maybe I'll talk about it after I lose all the weight and can share a success story. But now I feel like I want to share.

I think being accountable to my blog will help me stay on track to eating clean. I have always used lists, journals and notebooks to help me stay on track. So I think this will not only perhaps help me stay on track, but maybe let other people know they are not alone in trying to lose the weight!

This life is too short and to fleeting for anyone to judge their value or worth on a stinkin number on the scale, but I'm all for feeling healthy and filling your body with good things! 

So, here is to a fresh start of eating healthy and gaining more energy (and less weight!)