Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Zumba Dancing and Slip n Sliding

I have come to a harsh realization over the past few weeks:  I am not as young and as agile as I used to be.  I have known this for a while, but have managed to keep it compressed deep in my mind recesses.  Sometimes it hits me hard, like when I do the math and realize how long it has been since I have graduated high school.  (How could it be that long ago when it seems like just...?)  You get the point.  Then, unfortunately for everyone around me, I joined a Zumba class.

Zumba is a Latin dance exercise class that they have at our local YMCA.  They recently began it and it has been a huge hit this summer.  I decided that this was right up my alley and I attended my first class a few weeks ago. Now to preface this rash decision, I was a cheerleader.  Mind you, not the greatest one to ever grace the sidelines of the gridiron, but I LOVED it.  Loved everything about it.  Loved the uniforms, loved the dancing, loved the grueling practices for hours in south Alabama heat, loved the excuse to be annoyingly cheerful, loved the camaraderie with my best friends, LOVED IT!!!  Now, something I despise, is the treadmill.  Now that I am of an age where I need to take care of myself more(why does this topic keep popping up?), I feel that I must go to gym and grind out 30 minutes(and not a millisecond more!!) on the treadmill or elliptical, or on some other mind numbing machine.  I trudge along, sweating like a pig, counting down the seconds until I am finished. (only 8 minutes and 37 seconds to go!)  That is how I found zumba, I decided that I didn't hate exercise, just BORING exercise.  So here I go.

For those of us that came up dancing in the college era of Dave Matthews Band, we, make that I, was not equipped with the skill set needed to perform the Latino gyrations of my class.  In the first five minutes, I was rolling hips all over the place like Shakira.  (well, not like Shakira at all, but that is the goal!)  Remember the scene in Dirty Dancing where Baby has been invited out on the staff dance floor by Johnny Castle after she carries the watermelon?  Here is Patrick Swayze: sexily beckoning her onto the dance floor and he is attempting to teach her to roll her hips and shoulders at the same time.  Remember her initial attempt?  The awkward pelvic thrusting that just comes off as embarrassing?  Well, you got it.  That is me in Zumba!!!  There are several Beyonce' followers in our class that can just shake their moneymakers like no body's business.  And there are some who just shake.  I believe that I fall somewhere in the middle, and it is the most fun that I have had in a while!!  My friends who stand beside me are having just as much fun.  We laugh at ourselves(also great exercise) and just have a ball being silly!!  It is as much a social gathering as it is a cardio workout.  Also, another perk.  I can actually see results!  I am leaner in my abs and my posterior.  (Thanks to squats to the tune of "I like 'em big, I like 'em chunky" from Madagascar 2!)  But the hard part mentally is realizing that you are not young enough to be in the bootylicious group!  I am older!!  And you know what?  I am glad. 

Another age awareness tool.: the proverbial slip-n-slide.  Yesterday, stretched out this wretched piece of vinyl across our back yard.  This particular one is a double slide, with water shooting out this way and that.  It also comes with two inflatable kickboard-looking devices that you use to assist you in the best possible slide.  How I got involved, you say?  Cooper was napping and Caroline did not want to slide alone.  So I donned my bathing suit and prepared  myself for the  inevitable broken arm/hip/collar bone.  I starting running, gathering speed, and flung myself across the wet plastic.  The bruise today on my outer thigh and the soreness of my left shoulder should tell the tale.  However, no matter how hard the ground was, I kept sliding.  We pretended like we were on Wipeout (great show!) and gave each other nicknames.  (I was "Working Mom", because I also used outside time to prune some plant life growing around my house)  Caroline gave us the names, hers were:  Fancy Caroline, Working Sissy, Sissylou, Fancy Lady, etc.  I am suffering today, but it was worth it for sure.  We had some girl bonding time and lots of laughs. (mostly at me!)

However, I have come to the realization that age isn't necessarily worse.  I honestly wouldn't trade places with that twenty something Mandy today. (maybe her pre-baby body, but that is why I am in zumba in first place!) The thirty-something Mandy is wiser, kinder,  and less selfish.  She listens to God more and herself less.  She has security in the man she loves and her children and her faith. 

And she is learning to Zumba better every week!!!  Bring it on, Moto Moto!!  (see Madagascar 2 for reference)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Will I Remember?

This is it. This is the official picture that Cooper is going to lament over years from now. I can here it now, "why mom, why did you let Caroline dress me up in a red lace housecoat and a green glitter leprechaun hat?" "And why did you feel it necessary to take my picture? Do you enjoy my humiliation?" I will smile knowingly remembering this night and how much we all laughed when Cooper came parading down our stairs proud as punch over his "new" outfit and Caroline behind him grinning evilly like the Cheshire Cat!!

At least I hope that I will. I hope that I remember how we scrambled for the camera and had a fun photo shoot just making silly faces and taking turns wearing that hat. (Did I mention it is glitter filled? Scalps full of green glitter for days!!) Caroline received that hat on St. Patrick's Day this year at school when the leprechaun invaded and trashed their school rooms. That was fun stuff! Love our creative teachers at Monroe Academy preschool!!

But that got me thinking, will I remember these moments? Sometimes life goes so fast and we don't stop to make sure these memories are implanted for the long term. Therefore, I wrote a little poem about it. I write poetry periodically. Mostly as gifts or as funnies or if I have time to feel inspired. So I am including this one today:

Will I Remember?

Now’s the time when the children are small,
Caroline, 5 and Cooper, almost 2.
I trudge through the hours and give my all.
Falling exhausted in bed, when each day is through.

The time passes quickly, seemingly trying to survive.
Errands and chores are the order of the day.
Then a fear grips my soul and into my memory I dive.
Will I remember the precious gems my babies do or say?

Will I remember the way my son,
Presses his soft cheek into mine?
And rubs my hair when the day is done,
Signaling the arrival of sleepy time.

Will I remember my daughter’s charm?
Her personality and sassy remarks.
Her need for all things fancy, with bracelets on her arm.
A “Dancing Queen” with lip gloss that sparks.

Will I remember Cooper’s sweet loving grin?
And that baseball was truly his first love?
The force of his home runs, he always wins,
And Daddy catching him with his glove?

Will I remember the imagination of Caroline?
Her stories so big and tall?
The take charge way she keeps everyone in line,
Her stuffed animals she loves, no matter how small.

My friends, time is fleeting, and I need not forget.
They won’t be little very long.
For into their adulthood I see, if my Savior will let,
Will I remember how they loved me so strong?

Those sweet little words, those hilarious phrases
When their language is honest, fresh, and such.
I hope I remember this sentence all of my days,
“Momma, I love you so much”.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Hot, Hot, Hot!!!

Do not be deceived by the enticing title of my first post as a blogger. It is not about me, chicken wing sauce, or even a very catchy party tune by Buster Poindexter in the eighties. It is about lack of coolness coming from my air conditioner vents, (certainly not lack of coolness coming from me!!, ha!) I am sitting in my very warm house waiting for the air conditioner man to come and tell me why my house is not at all pleasant to be in at 6:00 on any given balmy July southwest Alabama evening. And as usual, he hasn't arrived when I need him so I can not even take my children to the sweet relief of the swimming pool. My Caroline, who is 5, and very much a diva in training, has found herself unable to bear the conditions of the upstairs playroom/bedroom because of the immense heat. (Truthfully, I wouldn't want to play up there either) However, because of harsh sweatshop-like atmosphere, it has caused she and her 2 year old brother, Cooper, to bring all their paraphernalia down into the living room. Which is not a problem, but......

Caroline loves everything minature. See just a few of them right here. Minature Disney princesses (and all their counterparts), Littlest Pet Shop, tiny horses, and even little Smurfs, she found in my old toys. (Ok, Ok, so maybe I did too at that age, not the point) She calls them her figurines. Nothing like getting the tiny rubber hand of Cinderella stuck into a bare foot to make you mutter silent explicatives like Yosemite Sam after he has been foiled by Bugs Bunny. This also gives lots of ammo to our Cooper to steal an item and run for the hills, which results in Caroline chasing him down and snatching it back, which results in Cooper's high pitched scream, etc. Any mom knows that this could continue ad nauseum, which is why I like to try to keep all toys upstairs. I rarely succeed in this effort, air or no air.

Also, my sweet, fabulous parents have surprised me this week by inviting the kids to Cullomburg for the weekend and Woody and I aren't invited!!!! It's grandchildren only!! I have never been so happy to NOT receive an invitation in my life. What shall Woody and I do? Sleep late, definitely on the agenda. Maybe go out to eat at a place that doesn't involve a playground,here's hoping!! But more than likely I need to go get a book, plop myself on the couch and read self indulgently for several hours straight. Aaahhh! After all, for those of you who don't know, this weekend is the Open Championship, the British Open in layman's terms. The third jewel in golf's major crown. It is being held at lovely, windy St. Andrew's in Scotland, the home of golf actually. I say all this to say that is what Woody will be doing, getting up very early on Saturday and Sunday to watch golf. I must admit, it gets pretty intriguing when the weekend comes. I don't care much for the Thursday/Friday action because those leaders more often than not tank out over the weekend. Especially if it's someone random whose name you have never heard uttered before in your life. This poor fellow is usually toast on Saturday, therefore I don't like to waste precious minutes of my day following this inevitable drop back to obscurity. It's like watching the movie Titanic all over again; you know that the ship is going to sink.

Now I digress to why I chose the name Chipped Polish for my fledgling blog. As a very busy mom and wife, I usually don't make much time for myself. This results in chipped polish. I was indulging in a little self pity this week when I realized that Caroline (again, my 5 year old) has perfectly polished piggies, complete with a delicate flower with a rhinestone in the middle on her big toes. This was a result of her trip to the nail salon with her dear friend, Helen. I, on the other hand, glanced woefully down at my unattended toes with my at home polish job from 2 weeks ago and lamented at the chipped polish. But then I realized laughingly that is my life now. And that's OK. God has so graciously blessed me with a loving husband and two of the most precious children. What is a little chipped polish?

Also, as I reflect, I feel like chipped polish most of the time. I attempt to be in the know on what to wear, what to cook, how to keep a clean house, how to dress the kids, how to best make my kids smarter, what extracurricular activities to participate, etc. But I also feel that I fail miserably. My polish is always just a little chipped. But I have to remind myself in my quest for perfection that I am nothing without my Saviour. It is all His and everything falls into His perfect plan and purpose. I love the children's book by Max Lucado, You are Special. It's simple message emphasizes the power of prayer and talking with your Creator every day. He made me just like this: chips and all.
Aahhh! Sweet relief! My house is a bit cooler and I am about to leave soon to meet Momma and Daddy with the prince and princess. I am also thinking about getting a pedicure this weekend, no more chipped polish for me!! (at least for now)