The Mustache Polka

I’m not sure why this post has taken so long. I really should have gotten it out immediately. If for no other reason than Princess’ aunt Shi-Shi is across the country and couldn’t take in the spectacle….did I say spectacle?…I mean recital.

My guess is that my tardiness is the result of what has come to be known as the Barry Hangover. The Lady in the Shoe and her brood came for a weekend visit to watch the Princess’ dance recital. Their last name is Barry – hence, the Barry Hangover.

Life with six kids under one roof is a blur. So much so that I can’t even attempt to explain the weekend. However, I do believe this one example sums up the weekend pretty well. As I stood at the kitchen sink overlooking the backyard, washing some of the dinner plates, I noticed a little body climbing the steps in the yard. This little dude was carrying a flaming stick from the campfire through the yard chanting “MARSHMALLOWS – MARSHMALLOWS – MARSHMALLOWS.”

The natives were restless. Clearly time for s’mores. A very Lords of the Fly type of scene for a very Lords of the Fly type of weekend.

Hence the Barry Hangover – and my tardy posting.

Anywho. Back to the subject at hand. The Recital.

After a considerable payment (Thank you Nina), the Princess has spent every Tuesday afternoon for the last eight months learning to “dance.”

After eight months of preparation, we reached the culminating point of the year, the recital. An ungodly amount of makeup was worn, costumes and wardrobe changes were prepared, celebratory flowers were purchased, and family came from miles around. The big day.

There was clearly a lot of effort poured in the show and all of the preparation. It is great to see people care about an activity so much, and without them the community would be missing a vital art. Hats off for the effort and commitment.

This was the Dude’s very first experience with any type of dance recital. I typically try to avoid anything that takes place in a theater environment. I’m not sure what to think about the result. I think the Princess enjoyed herself. But at the same time, I think we could have said let’s go to the beach, and she would have been like “Ok, see ya later dance.”…as long as we promised she could have the flowers.

She was definitely excited about the makeup. Is makeup genetic for girls?! The Princess and my three year old niece are completely mesmerized as soon as they see it. Kind of like a ball for Little Dude.

She also LOVED getting the flowers at the end and ate up the attention. But I think she could have done without all that dancing in the middle. Perhaps I’m mistaken, but it all appeared chaotic to me, and I’m not sure the Princess digs chaos.

In the end, we all enjoyed the show, and it was great to see the Princess smiling from ear to ear.

Ah, but I see your wheels spinning. What’s the Mustache Polka all about, you ask? One of the songs the Princess danced to was the Hopscotch Polka. But to torture her, I sang the Mustache Polka all day long. Hilarious, right? So much fun being a dad!

The beauty of this video can be found in the small details. Five year old dance recital madness.

Breakin’ Wood Part Deux

Breakin' Wood Part Deux - Axe Kick

Breakin' Wood Part Deux - Axe Kick

As I may have mentioned on a few occasions, the Princess is a bit girly. And by “a bit,” I mean completely.

She once claimed she didn’t want to be a dancer because dancing made her ribs tired!? And I somehow passed up the opportunity to write post recapping the soccer season – I think I blocked the experience out of my memory – but let’s just say that the last game consisted of lots of tears and absolutely zero running until she realized there was a trophy at the end…anything for jewelry.

But that all changes when she steps into the dojo (That’s not the name in Tae Kwon Do, but it reminds me of the Karate Kid so deal with it TKD purists.). She becomes assertive and strong. She stays focused and doesn’t shy away from the physicality. She listens and understands the power of discipline.

Tae Kwan Do has quietly become our favorite Princess activity.

The other night The Princess broke her second board, and got her second yellow stripe, passing her test with an Axe Kick.

I didn’t include an entire 80’s montage, but I did catch the magic moments.

We Went to Thanksgiving and…

Family and holidays go together like turkey and naps.  (Side note, the Thanksgiving Day Nap is arguably the king of all naps.)

However, as life progresses, family dynamics progress as well.

Growing up, big holidays were spent at the Dude’s grandparents.  Birthdays, Easter, and Thanksgiving would shift from time to time, but Christmas Eve was a given.  Twenty five years straight, the Dude sat in the “No-no Room” singing Christmas carols, shaking Santa’s hand, and enjoying the company of the extended family.

Then life happened.

Changes in location, changes in career paths, and ultimately, changes in family life brought the Christmas streak to an end a few years ago.  Now it’s a struggle to make one holiday with the extended family, never mind a prolonged streak.

Mix in the complexity of alternating holidays between Dude and Mrs. Dude’s families, plus factoring in siblings and their in-laws, and determining a satisfactory holiday schedule is nothing short of a miracle.

As families grow and life marches on, priorities adjust.  The family focus that helped create my identity is shifting.  I have great holiday memories of family dropping their everyday concerns and coming together to strengthen bonds that have developed over generations.  Mrs. Dude and I now have the opportunity to create these memories for our kids.  But roles are chaning.  My parents are now the Grandparents that can’t say “no.”  My sister and brother-in-law are now the fun aunt and uncle.  And so on.

And while priorities change, the definition of family remains constant.  The bond that families share, and strengthen by coming together to celebrate life and the company of loved ones, is not sacrificed.  It’s fortified.  A new generation is added to the familial chain.  The bonds passed through the ancestry are extended once again.

While we can’t always share the holidays with each and every member of our family, the love persists.  The pride and comfort of knowing who we are and where we came from carry on, and more importantly, are shared with new faces.

Happy holidays from the Dude Family to our family and friends.  You may not be in our direct line of vision, but you’ll always remain in our hearts. We are very thankful to have you in our lives.

So, with that prelude complete…

We hit the road last Wednesday in search of some turkey.  We’re alternating Thanksgiving and Christmas between Dude and Mrs. Dude’s families, and this year was a Dude Turkey Day.  We went to stay with The Lady in the Shoe (as in “the lady in the shoe had so many kids she didn’t know what to do”), aka the Dude’s sister, and we had a blast.  Lots of great food, wine, football, jokes, and time spent with the ones we love.

We went to Thanksgiving and…

I learned a few things:

  1. My mother will sleep on a pull out couch in the middle of the house knowing there are two infants getting up throughout the night and four other kids up by 7:00 AM, and then she’ll change every diaper, run every bath, change every outfit, read every book, draw every picture, put the babies down for naps, with zero naps for herself, and bring four pies to Thanksgiving dinner…all to spend every waking moment with her grandkids.  In all fairness, Papa Dude does most of this as well, but that Grandma motivation is hard to duplicate.  I guess I’ve always known this, but it’s still impressive to witness.
  2. Despite that fact that The Lady in the Shoe has four kids under 6 pooping in one house and a mountain of diaper experience, she made the bold statement that Little Dude’s poop is the stinkiest she has ever smelled!  Can you believe that?  Could this be?Given the wretched smell of the formula we use for his reflux, and the nasty stench of the spit up, I suppose I can believe it.  But I wasn’t expecting this.  I just assumed that horrible odor was  natural for babies on formula.  I guess I’m pleased to know it’s not normal to smell that bad, but the downside is that we now have the stinky kid.
  3. Lastly, I learned that my Dad is crazy enough to sincerely ask the clerk at The Dollar Tree how much items cost!  And, according to everyone at the festivities, I’m just like my Dad.  Mrs. Dude, get ready for some absurd quirkiness as we grow old together.

But most importantly, we went to Thanksgiving and…

A rave/dance-fight broke out!

This video pretty much sums up the chaos that 6 kids under 6 can create when bottled up in one house.