Om Namah Shivaya


Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Goodbye to "The Five"

I can't believe it.  Two more weeks and my babies graduate and go out into the real world forever.  It's so hard to comprehend it's crazy.  These boys have been a source of strength, inspiration, and hope of the future for me these past four years.  

Cougar Pride Drum Line '08-'09

I first "got them" when they were Freshmen.  They were so tiny!  Even my "Big Man" had yet to really reach his big man potential yet *laugh*.  I remember being told by my junior and seniors, at the time, that this incoming group was "tight", "fire", "really good", etc...and all I could think was "Mmmm-hmmmm...we'll see".

A few memories from that first year: Sean and his insatiable need to be the comedian.  Forrest and his little twisties.  Jeff and his inability to find his LEFT! LEFT! LEFT!  Kris who was *so* quiet and Tevin who literally stepped into the role of bottom bass drum about three weeks after we had already begun.  This kid showed up with Jeff to rehearsal, I said "Here's your stuff, here's your drum, hold on tight and let's go!"  He picked it up like a champ especially since he was an Orchestra convert.

Cougar Pride Drum Line '09-'10

Their Sophomore year brought our first competition ever.  I had tried for about two or three years prior to get us ready for the Carrollton Drum Line competition but to no avail.  I had as of yet hit my stride as an instructor, and had yet to have a group of kids who ALL wanted to be involved in the extra work that's required to do what we do.  I finally struck gold with the group pictured above.  I was *SO* nervous that day.  Had we prepared "Cheetah" enough, was the crowd going to like it, were the*judges* going to like it..would we place within the top three?!?!  We achieved all that and more.  They made me so proud, they played their hearts out, and we brought home the 2nd place trophy.  We were estactic.   That spring, we finished out the year with a I at Districts with our "A Few Good Men" ensemble that we then took to State and brought home a I as well. :)

Golden Eagle Drum Line '10-'11
 Junior year.  What a year.  Not only were we no longer the Cougar Pride Drum Line due to the consolidation, we were now the Golden Eagle Drum Line, but my diagnosis with breast cancer had come down a few months prior and the day before this picture (@Race for the Cure, KC) was taken I had undergone another round of chemo with one or two more yet to go.  I'll never forget the day I told my boys I had breast cancer.  Oy.  Talk about punching someone in the gut.  I invite you to read the original post I wrote about it here  They were so strong.  They, including my new kids, wrapped me in strength, support, and love.  Visibly shown by my "Big Man" holding me in his arms.  They stepped up to the plate when it was needed, took care of me, and made sure we defended our trophy at Carrollton and Raytown with the performance of "Grizzly" with ease.  Then that spring when I was all better and had returned to some semblance of normalcy, we took Districts by storm with a I on "Synergy", and a II on "Centrifugal""Synergy" then went onto State, and earned a I.  My favorite memory from that year was at the Percussion Banquet when "The Five", my five, presented me with this...the "Survivor Award".  Best damn gift, and up to that point the *only* gift I've ever received from my students.  

Me and "The Five" w/my Survivor Award

Golden Eagle Drum Line '11-'12
Their Senior year had arrived.  Man how time flies!  We were a force to be reckoned with this year.  I wanted to make sure we topped ourselves in every way possible and did we ever.  I put together a pit, which for those of you that don't know that means my Drum Line had a front ensemble of mallet instruments, timpani, and "toys", for the first time ever.  The two years prior our show was just the Drum Line (around 11-12 kids) and was *maybe* a minute and thirty seconds in length.  This year, however, we were 17 strong and I wound up having to CUT a piece from our show because it was over the 5minute time limit! *wide eyed stare*.  We have never worked so hard.  I invite you to watch their video from the Carrollton competition here Feel free to peruse their (archived) website/ (new) facebook page as well.  Many years of photos and videos documenting their hardwork can be found on both pages.  We literally worked ourselves into the ground and were rewarded with our second place trophy again, but *this* year we only missed first by three points, which was amazing in and of itself. 

State, 2012
 Just a few days ago we traveled to The University of Missouri where they *all* worked their magic and brought home a I Superior rating for their performance of "Bound for Marakesh"

"Bound for Marakesh" ensemble

 These boys have set the standard for everyone who will come behind and have plans to train the incoming flock seeing as it's a rebuilding year for me.  I am going to miss these boys like no other.  Yet again, I say that about my Seniors every year *laugh*.  They are leaving a huge void to be filled, but I know that through time others will step up to the plate and finish what they have started.

So to "MY Five" ;) I wish you well as you embark on this next chapter of your life.  May you find whatever it is you're looking for and grow into yourselves and the fine men you are becoming more and more with each passing day.  You have truly made these past four years a joyous wonder and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you have done for me, for us, and for the Line.  Your memory will live on forever. 

Much love, Mama Stout

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The ever expanding waistline is here!

I will never again take my waistline for granted.  

About ten or twelve years ago I made the decision to get healthy.  *Real* healthy.  I'd flitted around the edges of exercise and proper eating for a few years before that, but the college diet of beer, pizza, and late nights won out every time then one day things just changed.  I decided that enough was enough and I was going to take the bull by the horns and figure this whole "healthy lifestyle" thing out.  

I quickly figured out that I was way more comfortable being a dvd/video tape girl than I was in a gym or exercise class.  That's when my love affair with exercise began.  In one short hour I could transform my body with no one around to watch me huff, puff, grunt, and wheeze.  I also discovered what adding in healthy foods and drinking water did for me instead of fast food and diet pop.  It's quite amazing, isn't it?!  Then eight and a half years ago when Tim proposed, I did what any sane bride-to-be does and ramped it up a notch, or ten *laugh* to get into that shape that everyone wants to be on that most important day in their life.  What is that, you ask?  Whatever the best shape for your body is...that's what I'm talking about.  At that point, this was a way of life for me and it felt great.  I was fit, I was toned, and best of all, I had achieved the body I'd always wanted.     

Too a certain degree that is...

You see, as a girl, a woman, it is utterly IMPOSSIBLE to be completely one-hundred-percent *happy* with your figure.  Hell, I remember on my wedding day when I was the fittest I'd ever been thinking "If only I'd done this or that or not eaten this or that, my pooch would be a touch smaller, my butt a tad higher, or my arms just *that* much more toned".  Silly isn't it?  I guess that's why life throws you curve balls to remind you that you really DID and DO have it good.

My first curve ball was the breast cancer.  There were many things said too me in those early days in regards to my health and how that was most important above all, but there's one statement that really stuck with me and I'm not sure if that person who said it ever really realized the impact it made on me.  Her name is Colleen and she is the fabulous wife of a very dear friend who I had the great opportunity to work with for many years and I miss them both dearly.  She was one of the first people I called when I got my diagnosis because she was in med school at KU at the time and all I could think was "She'll know what to do!", and at the very least I figured she could take the doctor language and translate it into regular English for me to understand better.  We went to lunch one day and I was spinning off into the ethernet of "what if's" and "holy schneikes I'm scared out of my wits!" yet there was also the element of "What is going to happen to my body?  How is this going to affect my figure?!"  Vain, I know, but it was there.  She looked at me and said "Honey.  It's just going to be an inconvenient year, that's all.  You'll get it back.  You'll get it *all* back; you'll see."

You know what?  She was right.  When I was caught down in the dregs of chemo exhaustion and it was all I could do to just get up and get through the day I repeated that phrase in my mind.  When I grew weaker and lost strength in my arms to the point that I could barely push out five push-ups, I repeated that phrase too myself.  When I felt gross, unattractive, out of shape, and generally yucky; I repeated it again, and again, and again.  It got me through and it proved true.

It will prove true this time as well.  As I feel and, more importantly, *see* this new life growing inside of me I find myself repeating that phrase more as of late.  I appreciate my level of fitness prior to pregnancy more now than I probably did a short four and a half months ago.  I'm trying to *not* beat myself up over the loss of strength in areas of my body because the truth is that I *WILL* get it back when the time is right.  I'm embracing the scale as the numbers rise even though it was initially really hard because I've been SO fixated on that certain number for *SO* long that as it's slowly been left behind it's been hard, and weird, yet liberating.  I am now at the weight I was back in high school and while I understand what needs to happen, and will embrace my new body with all my heart, it is hard to see that number yet again, *but*, THIS time, it's a healthier number and I'm fully aware of that and am embracing it as much as I can.

So, goodbye small waistline that I never fully appreciated to begin with, I promise that when I get you back, I shall not be as critical of you as I once was and that I will embrace whatever new curves are permanently in place.  Till then...*blows a kiss*


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Was that a kick or...oh, nope, pardon me...that's just gas

16 weeks and one day today and I'm wondering if the odd movements I'm feeling are the baby moving around or just gas.  There were a couple of days last week that it was just gas *laugh*, but a couple of times where I stopped and thought "What in the heck was that?"; especially the other night.  I got up around 3am to let Buck dog out, returned to bed where I propped myself up with some pillows so I could lay on my back, settled down to return to sleep and felt a "taptaptap"..."taptaptap" kind of like "Hey, I was sleepin' in here, what are you doing up?!" but then again, it felt fairly high up in my abdomen so maybe it was just gas *shrugs*.  Who knows.

Granted I know I'll feel it for sure when it's a full on "Hi-ya!" karate kick or punch, but until then I am paying more attention to those feelings down there in hopes that I can catch one of these early flutters because even though girlfriends and moms are telling me "Oh you'll *know* when it happens" I've never done this before, it's a little confusing right now so forgive me if I snipe at you because of that statement.  It's kind of like when I had my wisdom teeth out and all my friends, in relation to dry sockets, were telling me "Oh don't worry, you'll KNOW if you have dry sockets".  Welp, went back to the dentist for my week check-up and he was appalled at my dry sockets and asked "Why didn't you call me earlier?  These are bad", and my response was "I didn't know I had dry sockets".  I didn't know what they felt like, I had no idea I had them. 

So till I feel the first "Hi-ya" karate kick, here's hoping to feel the flutters, bubbles, popcorn popping, and rolls these next few weeks.


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Re-Gift! Baby gifts in these financial times...

Is it weird too include a note in our shower invites that basically says Re-Gifting is the way to go for onesies, blankets, socks, burp cloths, pack-in-plays, toys, bumbo's, etc, etc.  The way I see it is that *everyone*, including us, has been hit by these down economic times and can use all the help we can get.  I also see it as this; *why* clog up the environment with brand new onesies, blankets, burp cloths, bumbo's, etc, etc, when there are perfectly good "used" ones that not only can live a good second life, but can also be given in joy instead of financial hardship.  

*Shrugs* maybe it's just me.  My hubby thinks it a bit odd so we will see what shall happen, bu I think it a perfectly grand idea

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I wonder if I'll be a good mom...

I think about this *all* the time.  I wonder if I have what it takes, if I can make the hard decisions that I know will have to be made.  If I can wrap this baby in love yet guide them with an iron fist.  I wonder if I can raise them in this crazy-a$$ world and still have them grow up knowing how to be compassionate, kind, patient, intelligent, passionate, and an all around productive member of society.  I wonder if karma will come back to bite me in the a$$ when they're the age of 13-18, *especially* if it's a girl.  I wonder if I'll be able to make it through those years.  I wonder if I can be okay with losing myself for a while in hopes of finding me again.  I wonder if I'll be resentful about what this is going to do to my figure.  I wonder if that's selfish.  I wonder how I'm going to screw this kid up, I wonder if they'll notice.  I wonder at the ways they will change my life...OUR life...forever.  I wonder if we're ready for that.  

I wonder if I'll have the strength it's going to take to do this, I wonder if I'll survive.

Oddly enough, I don't wonder about Tim.  I know he's going to be a fantastic dad.