Scenes from Saturday + Dance Hall Days

In the labyrinth of high school education, where every day presents a new academic challenge, there lies a subtler curriculum on the art of actually living that does not get measured on state testing but perhaps offers a much better measurement and insight into whether your child might be paying you rent for a basement studio space in twenty years time.

Michelle and I try to model our behavior for both girls but actually living through it yourself is a much better tutorial. Flashcards can help with the classroom learning, but learning to prioritize her academics, her friendships, her extracurriculars, and her self-care doesn’t come with a textbook.

Cecilia is starting to get a taste of that during freshman year. Recently overheard after a Friday night out with friends. “Jeez, Five Guys is expensive and I didn’t even get fries!” I can’t wait until that first real paycheck and she learns about FICA deductions.

It’s in these formative, freshman years that the notion of balancing time takes on a new dimension. She got a taste of that after the gumbo and beignets of her New Orleans trips. There was a lot of catch up time and a lot of late nights. High school, with its relentless schedule and its grinding, grading rubric, inadvertently teaches our children the importance of balancing academic pursuits with life’s quieter, yet equally significant, lessons.

As parents, our role is to guide them in discerning not just how to allocate their time, but how to imbue each chosen activity with purpose and meaning, preparing them for the nuanced complexities of adult life. The real education, it seems, lies not in the accumulation of grades, but in the gradual mastery of living a balanced life.

It was a competition weekend, but not an early one, at least not on Saturday, so there was some old-school couch time in the morning.

If I can’t do my usual morning run (getting closer, things seem to be healing, just slowly), I can at least bake some bread.

This is a super-simple, overnight, no-knead recipe which can easily be adjusted to make one loaf or multiple loaves. Very forgiving, too.

It’s not fancy, not the best loaf, but fresh bread is still almost always better (and cheaper) than what you’d find in most stores.

You don’t know how rare a smile is during hair and makeup prep.

I feel like I captured a wild life photo of some rare nature species.

Pretty happy, at least with the aesthetics, of the finished loaf.

We’ll see how it tastes later on Sunday with the cacio e pepe.

Eventually the second couch shift emerged (she went back to bed after being tapped to do her big-sister hair duties) for some additional couch time.

Dash was happy to oblige.

The hair prep doesn’t end at home either. The lead up to the performance is a sprint of costumes and constant tweaking.

Everyone now knows what they are doing on April 25th.

She’s the second most charted female singer during the rock-era (???). That designation feels a little arbitrary but who am I to deny Ms. Warwick some resume buffing.

Saturday was the solo performance day and Ally was nervous as this competition brought the return of the “other” girl doing the same song.

Not that unusual, we are learning, as there are only so many musical theater songs you can perform on your own but it had her a bit rattled.

But she crushed it and took first place in her category and sixth overall. She’s really finding her groove with this number.

Strange days at the Transfer Station.

The whole day was an odd duck weather-wise. Anytime I tried to take Dash (notoriously not foul-weather friendly) out for a walk it started to rain. And we didn’t even get a rainbow out of it.

Oh, and remember 50% more Transfer Station in April. It’s open on Sundays.

Bread baking wasn’t the only activity on my agenda. Michelle might be almost a full year older by the time we are able to celebrate her birthday on Sunday but she requested cupcakes as her dessert.

I’m a little out of practice but the first step, actually make the cupcakes, went well. They will be filled with strawberry curd and topped with a berry buttercream later today.

After Lawrence Welk, PBS documentaries on strange archeological phenomena, and Taylor Swift, Michelle’s favorite thing to watch on TV is anything related to surfing.

So, she was quite happy, after a long day of Dance Mom’ing, to find Soul Surfer (that’s the one where the girl loses her arm) just starting when she made it back to the house for her own couch time.

The girls made the typical grumbling noises when Michelle has the remote, but…

You’ll notice no one on their phones and everyone watched until the end.

They might never go in the water again, but that still qualifies as a successful family move night.

Have a happy Sunday. Bake some bread!


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