The Ordinary Moments #10 – Being a Dance Mom

The Ordinary Moments #10 – Being a Dance Mom

This week like most weeks has been full of ‘dance’ for various reasons.  Especially this week as Isis missed her coaching class due to Eden being unwell and me not being able to take her.  This is always hard to swallow, financially and because she needs these classes to pass her exams.  I made a point of practicing with her morning and night the days that we’ve had her this week as I don’t want her to fail.  She has worked hard for a few years to get to this point and I don’t want her to fail to progress because the baby was unwell and no-one else would take her.

At the moment the girls do three classes a week each on a Saturday (ballet, tap and jazz/modern).  Isis has two exams coming up so she has coaching classes for tap and jazz/modern on a Tuesday and a Wednesday.  I am also at the dance school on a Monday with Judah for his baby ballet lesson although he has been unwell the last 2 weeks so we were unable to attend.  We’ll be back this week.

Sometimes I feel like I live at the dance school.  Isis has a ballet exam just before Christmas so after half term she will still have a coaching class on a Tuesday.  Also, Shayla is ready to do her pre-primary ballet exam, she missed out this time due to her age but will be entered in the new year.  It just starts to get a bit crazy.  I have no problem with running them around but as we’re a blended family this also encroaches on the time where they are supposed to be with Mum.  Mum doesn’t mind which is great as she knows it’s important that they do their exams.  It’s great for their development, their National Record of Achievement, and once they get up to Grade 3 they start to count as NVQ’s and then UCAS points.

This week I spent Tuesday night watching Isis and taking mental notes as I had a baby on each knee in her tap coaching class.  Wednesday, Eden was far too unwell to take out of the house so I wasn’t able to take Isis and James just wasn’t able to get home in time for me to able to leave the babies with him.  It gets hard when I want Isis to do well, but as much as I can sacrifice my own health at times to make sure the children are where they need to be (I couldn’t tell you how many assemblies, plays, dance classes I’ve been at severely unwell, on crutches, etc.), but I just couldn’t justify dragging the baby out that unwell, not to mention it would be unfair on other people as we all seemed to have this bug for the last 2 weeks.  If I’d taken the baby out she could’ve passed the bug on further which isn’t ideal for anyone.  I always feel guilty, like I’m letting them down when things like this happen, but there just wasn’t anything that I could do.

So, to make up for it, the house has just been full of dancing all week.  They have made me laugh so much.  Isis has mastered practicing in our limited space with many children and toys as obstacles.  Judah and Shayla love running around and mimicking her.  I think all this practice and attending coaching classes will have made it easier for me to take Judah again on Monday as he is VERY used to the dance school and the way lessons work now.

One thing I love about the house being filled with music and dance is, the house is filled with JOY!!  It has been so lovely to have them all enjoying themselves.  Yes, this preparation for an exam for Isis, but it is for something that she loves.  The other children experience that too and even though it has been a hard first week with James starting work and unwell babies this has been something that has brightened our days.  I’m not sure it’s something I would encourage when there aren’t exams to prepare for as we spend enough time dancing and there are other things we can do with our time.  I miss just playing with them at the moment.  It has been great though and they are such a pleasure to be around.  Although Daddy isn’t here, I know that he’s with us in spirit as all these little monkey’s are so much like him (smiles).


The Ordinary Moments #6 – Back to the Routine

The Ordinary Moments #6 – Back to the Routine


Well, the house is messy, the kitchen is a state, James is unwell, I’ve got headaches (detoxing at the moment), dance runs, school runs, working from home, bank balance pretty much zero, we must be back to normal *chuckles.*  It is so crazy sometimes running around after 5 people (I’m including James as until he can drive and with all his recent interviews etc. I’m his chauffeur), I don’t feel like my life is my own.  I don’t say that in a negative way though, I absolutely love my family and would do anything for them, and at the moment the housework isn’t getting me down (yet), if it starts to get more on top of me we’ll see.  Once these detoxing headaches disappear I’m sure I’ll be back with a vengeance.

This upcoming week is so manic, tomorrow we’re up early to take Shayla to her first day at school, I know many of you have school runs, but mine involves the motorway as the girls go to school near their Mum’s home so it makes it a little bit more stressful with all the traffic, and takes a lot longer than when I’ll start walking Judah and Eden to school around the corner.  James has various appointments in the day, Judah has his first baby ballet class, and then I am teaching in the evening followed by attending a fundraising women’s event at church, a car treasure hunt ‘Valley Vroom.’  It’s to raise money for ‘Vision Rescue‘ that helps radically change slum communities in India.

valley vroom

Tuesday is a normal day as far as I’m aware, aside from the fact that there is a meet the teacher day at the school for parents, and a parent association meeting at the school before that, then Isis has a coaching class for her tap exam.  I used to be involved with the PTA at the school before I got pregnant with Eden, but it just became impractical for me to attend as I was just so unwell.  Sometimes I struggle to know where to draw the line with attending everything, it’s hard when there’s four of them.  We have a meeting at church then in the evening for all those who call our church ‘home’.  These tend to be quarterly so not too frequent and really set the direction of where we are heading as a community trying to make a difference.

Wednesday is another meet the teacher day for Key Stage 2 so that will be for Isis, and then I am teaching again, she also has a coaching class for her modern exam that evening, still haven’t worked out how I’m going to juggle my lessons and taking her to that one yet, hmm… will have to see what I can rejig.  Then I have creative night at church, where all the creatives (muso’s, techies, artistic) people gather every other week to learn new songs and practice our skill set.  I love these evenings, I have taken a step back from singing on the platform at the moment just whilst life is hectic but still intend to attend Creative nights, we’ll see how we go.

Thursday I’m teaching, collecting the girls from school, running an after school singing club, then James and I are out for the evening whilst my amazing sister babysits. We’re attending a marriage course which the church are running for all married people who would like to do it, from newlyweds to 30+ years wed there will be a variety there.  I am looking forward to gleaning some wisdom (the course was oversubscribed so we are blessed to have a place).

Friday I am up early as I am doing the hair and make-up of various bridesmaids and a beautiful bride and then we are attending her lovely wedding, so excited.  They’ve invited us as a whole family which is so kind when there are so many of us, so I am very appreciative and looking forward to it as it will be at beautiful Salmesbury Hall.

Saturday after a late night at the wedding will be the early morning dance run again and then Sunday church.  Somewhere in the midst of all that I want to capture some amazing moments with my husband and my children.  I really love the shot above of them messing at the piano, I also have some funny videos of Judah singing away and bashing on the piano.  As he’s two though, they really are songs only a mother could love, although he shows real promise so I will spare you from feeling obliged to watch and restrain from posting them *winks*.

I just love having them all around me, I am grateful for blogging shifting my perspective and also laying down some of my passions (singing on the platform) to remember that at the moment I need to just focus on home, my relationship with my hubby and my relationship with our children.  I thought I would resent laying stuff down but it just made me enjoy what I’m doing with them all the more, as I’m less stressed and trying to juggle that little bit less.

Here are the children together reading, the house is a mess, I’m sorry, we also used a similar photo for our Silent Sunday post this week.

dontcallmestepmummy, children reading 034

I am just so grateful to be able to catch as many lovely moments with them in the madness of routine as I can.  I just love watching their interactions together and this week I have really treasured the cuddles with each of them.  Here’s a couple of snaps of Judah and I messing doing our selfies (I’d not long fed Eden so please excuse the item in the background, was unsure whether to mention or not, mental note, need to get photoshop soon).

image image

So, I guess this is our beautiful ordinary at the moment.  Looking forward, and a little apprehensive to how it will all change once James starts his new job but I tell you this much, it is always an adventure *winks*.

The Ordinary Moments #3 – Watching Week

The Ordinary Moments #3 – Watching Week

I’ve been doing a mini blog series with the children as we are in the middle of 18 days holiday with the girls.  18 whole days with my big blended family, and I am loving it.  If you want to follow our series it’s called ’18 Days of Summer’ the most recent post is here.  As we’ve been documenting EVERYTHING that has been happening in the week, my Ordinary Moments post this week is a throwback to the girls final week at dance before breaking up for the Summer.


The girls absolutely love their dancing lessons, and it’s a good job really because when I was on maternity and James was studying it seemed to cost the earth.  They both do ballet, tap and modern, and they are really good at it.  Going to watch them in their recent production was one of our proudest moments as parents.  Obviously, we may be a bit biased but we felt that they stood out in their respective dance numbers as they usually had the most pointed toes and biggest smiles.  Also, they both have spindly legs but it was more the toes and smiles thing *winks.*

At the end of every term they have a week ‘watching week’ where parents can sit in on the classes and see where the children are up to.  This was the first one since Christmas due to the show and it was lovely to see how far the girls had come.

watching week 2

It’s amazing to think that Shayla has been there nearly 3 years and she is still only 4.  She’ll be 5 in September, we didn’t send her to dance lessons before she could walk (pushy mother alert).  I love seeing how confident it has made the girls and has been one of our greatest investments into them, not just financial but the time commitments.  When they were rehearsing for the show they would be at the Dance Academy for 6 hours EVERY Saturday, when this is the only real day we got to spend with them, this season was hard.  We missed them, but knew that it only comes round once every 3 years and it would be an amazing opportunity for them to perform to show standard on a big stage.  They loved it!!!

We’re going into a season of exams now as again, due to the show, exams were put on hold.  Both girls have progressed so well, and the Dance Academy principle has told Isis that she is ready to do an exam in each genre in this autumn term coming up.  Exams are another huge time commitment, they have to attend coaching classes in addition to their Saturday regular classes for each exam they’re taking.  We as parents have to attend too, take notes and make sure we practice with them at home (they get a CD with the exam music on to take home).  It’s an interesting time for finances too, as each exam can be between £60-£70 each, with the coaching classes, CD’s, and the exam cost, not to mention any new uniforms they may need as they need to be pristine for the exam itself.

watching week 3

 This watching week the girls weren’t in their uniforms as I had arrived back from a conference in London at 3am that morning, and had met the girls and ‘other mummy’ at the Dance Academy, so they just came in some comfy clothes.  For the purpose of my photos though, I quite like it, as it’s easy to spot who’s ours.
watching week 4
It’s lovely for the girls to have another strong constant in their lives too, I know that as they grow up these girls (and boys) will be their friends.  The bonds that they’ll make in rehearsals for shows and through moving up grades and doing exams together will be strong.  As a former teacher at this particular academy too, I taught music theatre and popular music, I am strong advocate for exams, they are good practice for them as people and the things life throws at them as they grow older.  Also, the big plus, in my opinion and the only reason I would encourage vocal pupils to take them, was due to UCAS points.  Once they get to a certain standard, their exams start counting towards getting them on to the courses they may wish to take at university.  Ok, a long way ahead at the moment, but, especially if a child is more creative than academically gifted, this can be a huge plus.
watching week 5
On a Saturday it doesn’t get any more ordinary for us (well, in term time) to be found at the Dance Academy or Costa Coffee in the shopping centre adjacent whilst waiting for them to finish their classes.  Judah will be starting Beginners Ballet in September.  He absolutely loves dancing and jumping around, I don’t see this as something we will encourage long term unless he loves it and wants to continue, but it definitely teaches discipline, having to sit when instructed, they learn co-ordination, timing and rhythms and so an increased understanding of musicality.  I am sure that he will love it, but we’ll see how it goes.
watching week 6
Do you think I’m biased?  Do you think our girls stand out for their poise, or just their outfits?