Winter Dance Recital – Nutcracker


Every year, Rebekah’s dance studio has a winter recital, the Nutcracker Ballet. The first part of the show is a shortened version of The Nutcracker, and then the classes get to preform various tap, ballet, or jazz numbers in the latter half of the show.

When we picked up Rebekah after the show, she was glowing. I think she loved it 😉

However… before the pictures of my dancing princess, here are some others from the recital.

The show opened with a small skit by the youngest class. Aren’t the little 3 and 4 year olds adorable.


Rebekah was that young yesterday… right?

Then the ballet started. As I mentioned, it was an abbreviated version of the actual ballet, and took about an hour to complete. While it was abbreviated, the main parts of the ballet remained true.

The Winter Fairy


Dancing with the prince


The Sugar Plum Faries


And FINALLY, here is my dancing princess as a peppermint!


I was amazed to see just how well Rebekah did, and how much she improved from the fall recital. Not only did she improve, she was just glowing when I picked her up! She loved it, and asked when she could do it again!

After The Nutcracker the individual classes were able to showcase their disciplines. There was some hip hop, ballet, tap, and jazz. Rebekah’s class does a combination of ballet, tap and jazz, so or the recital they focused on tap, dancing to Santa on the Roof Top.

I am not sure what she liked better, the tap or the ballet!



My dancing ballerina.


When did she get so very mature.


Sick, Again

I have been struggling recently (okay, really it has been over the past few years) with a series of sinus infections. It’s to the point now that, when I get one, it inevitably ends up as pink eye as well (yuck)! I’ve been feeling pretty down about my most recent fight with what seems to be my ever present companion, the sinus infection, because I was struggling with it the day that we were supposed to go see Casting Crowns.

We were so excited to see them! Rick and I have seen them twice before, once at the state fairgrounds, and another time when we volunteered with World Vision. But this was the first time that we were taking Bekah to a concert, and she loves Casting Crowns.

922981_10200897935281297_626494302_n (A very excited Bekah, waiting for Casting Crowns after Dara Maclean sang – She loved her too!)

During the show, I got progressively worse, and we ended up having to leave during intermission because pink eye was beginning to set in (and for those who know pink eye…. getting out before I contaminated everyone at the concert was essential).

Bekah was such a sport about it though. I knew she was upset. She had been talking about this concert for months, and it was her reward for passing addition and subtraction math club.

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Even though she was sad about having to leave, Bekah has so much compassion. She said, “I just want you to feel better, Mommy.”

My heart melted….

The next day was Sunday, so I trucked myself off to the Minute Clinic for some antibiotics. Five days later the pink eye had completely resolved, or so I thought. I finished the course of antibiotics (amoxicillin), but still had sinus pressure/pain. Last night, I woke up again with pink eye.


I am so over this! So here I sit, contagious, waiting to go to the doctor to get on yet more antibiotics.

I was feeling pretty badly about it all this morning. Really wallowing in the whole “woe is me” thing.

Then, Rebekah came running into my room this morning, thrilled. She had no idea I was home and was able to get her on the bus. (Usually her Grandma does this for us so I can get to work early.)

She was so excited! It is hard to wallow is self pity when faced with a seven year old that is thrilled to see you!

While being sick is not my idea of an blessed day, it was because I got to see my lovely daughter this morning, and spend that extra time with her that I don’t usually get to.

There are blessings in every day, and every situation. It is up to us to recognize them for what they are, blessings in the storm (or in my case, the ever present sinus infection) of our challenges.

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My blessing. Thank you for helping me to see that today.

Speaking Before I Think (or is that thinking before I speak?)

I have been struggling with bitter feelings over the past year or so. Bitterness towards a situation that I felt wronged in. I let that bitterness dwell inside of me, taking root and festering.

Poisoning me.

Poisoning my thoughts.

Poisoning my actions.

I held fast to the thoughts that I was the wronged party. Never allowing that I had a role in the fallout. Never conceding that there was another view than the one I clung to.

Have you ever been there?

Looking back, I know that I have, many times.

Today, in my inbox, I received this newsletter from Proverbs 31 Ministries (one of my favorite women’s ministries) about how your words have the ability to create or destroy.  Now this is not ground breaking news. We all know that what we say, and how we say it, has a profound effect on the recipient, but today this spoke directly to my heart.

It made me re-evaluate the bitterness that I have allowed to fester in me.

What I saw when I did so was not pretty. I am ashamed to say that I used my words to destroy, not build up or lift up another.

I know we have all done that in the past, but God challenges us to not let discouraging words pass our lips, to lift up our brother in love.

But above all, God challenges us to show others grace. Grace that he gave us.

As hard as it is, and as wronged as I feel, grace means to let the festering bitterness go.


I‘ve been thinking a lot recently about friendship, and friends in general. 

What does true friendship look like? 
As someone who does not have many close friends, for many different reasons (not allowing people close to me, trouble sharing feeling, incredibly busy, etc…..), the ones that I do have, I cherish. 
I know that everyone has different ideals of what a true friend is, but as I am teaching my daughter about friendship, I thought that it would be a good idea to write down what I value in a friend:
To me, a friend is:
Someone that you can be your true self with, and not be judged….
but, at the same time will tell you (with love) when you are being an ass.
Will forgive each other when they make mistakes.
Understands busy schedules, and that you may not be able to talk as often as you would like.
Will be there for you, even if you have not talked in weeks.
Lifts you up, not tear you down (to your face, or to others).
I’m sure, now that I look over the list, that there are many other things that I can put on the list…. common interests, location (maybe), etc…. but really, to me a friend is someone that loves you for you, mistakes and all. 
That type of friend, for me, is a rare find, and the type of friends I hope for my daughter finds too!

June 2012

In June, Bekah and I got the opportunity to do a lot of fun things just her and I! (It was Annual Training for Rick, so he was gone for two weeks.)

A number of churches in the area put on a festival on Monument Circle, and after work I picked up Rebekah and we checked it out! They had singing, games, face painting, and carts…. and best of all, we met up with one of Bekah’s good friends from school!
Choosing her prize after playing a game.
Singing and dancing!
Cute little girl!
Not face painting, but arm painting
Bekah and Brenna

Bekah spent the summer at Baxter YMCA for their Summer Camp program. One of the great things Baxter does is have monthly pool parties! We had never gone to one before, because I am not a fan of the craziness that goes on during one. But this year, the Y promoted the pool parties very heavily during the summer camps, and Bekah was over the moon to go…. so we went! While the pool was teeming with people, and it was hard to find a space to set our stuff…. the chaos was not nearly as bad as I anticipated. And best of all, Bekah had a blast! We ended up going back for every pool party that Baxter Y hosted!

Soaking up the SUN!
Enjoying the dinner at the Y.
So incredibly glad we went!


  It was incredibly HOT in June!

Waiting in line for a ride!                                                                                                                              

When Rick got home from Annual Training, we packed up the car and headed to Holiday World! We had never been there before and Bekah was super excited! We took one of her best friends, Rylee, and the giles had so much fun! It was super hot, and crowded that day, so hot that some of the rides were not working because the computers were over heating! The girls did get to ride a few rides, but then we headed to the water park and spent the majority of the time there! It was a great day!

Incredibly tired little girls!

May 2012

Here in Indianapolis, the month of May is typically taken over by events surrounding the Indy car race. However, here at the Pies’ household, May has a different, and even more special, meaning… it is Rebekah’s birthday! 

May also saw us doing an number of activities besides her birthday. On the day of the Mini Marathon (the largest half marathon in the country, and the kick off of the 500 festival celebration for the Indy car race), I was not a participant this year, but instead went out to my favorite running park and logged a few miles there!

A few days later my favorite little girl in the entire world (okay, I am biased, but I’m allowed) turned seven!

How did that happen?

Anyway, we celebrated at home with her Grandparents (my Mom and Dad), and then had a bowling party! We invited our friends from Life Group, and everyone had a fantastic time!

  Loving her Daddy!

Such a BIG present!


Bowling party with Life group!

Very tired little girls! (Rebekah and her best friend Rylee)

Bekah received a gift card to the mall, which she (of course) spent on Legos! She is such a lego fan. She and Rick can play for hours with them. Such a great bonding experience!

Belt testing, practice.

May also saw Rebekah promoting up a belt level for karate. While this was ultimately the last belt she got, because she stopped after that session, the experience taught her a lot about control.


Mom’s church hosted a Mother’s Day tea, with crafts and entertainment. Part of the group that came in to do the entertainment was Bekah’s old pre-K teacher! Bekah was so excited to see her, and it was a wonderful show!

 One tradition we always do is to go camping over Memorial Weekend. This year, we went with some good friends! We had a fantastic time camping, and hiking!

Rebekah with Savannah and Victoria Irizarry

Rick and Rebekah with Armando and Savannah Irizarry

April 2012

April was a FUN month! We did a number of things, from KidzStuff at church (an interactive singing and dancing program put on by the children’s ministry), to celebrating Easter, and running a 10K with a good friend!

What a fantastic month!

The entire family at KidzStuff!

Our worship minister and childrens minister performing at KidzStuff.

Post Road Christian Church’s Eggstravaganza! So much fun looking for eggs!

 Can I get up yet! Is it Easter? What did I get????

 Super excited!

 Relaxing and reading after all the excitement!

 Carmel marathon weekend 10K. Great event, and a great friend!

So blessed to have such a fantastic month!

March 2012

March was an insanely busy month!
We went to the Shrine Circus with the Black family. This is the second time we have gone to the Shrine circus, and it keeps getting better every year! Rick got to go this year, so that was a huge blessing (he had drill last year).
The girls (Bekah and the Black girls) rode the elephant. Bek had wanted to do that ever since she realized you could!
I only was able to get pictures of the elephants, other than that…. I forgot and just watched the show. That’s okay though. Elephants are Bekah’s favorite animal!
March also meant the end of Upwards Basketball. Bekah had a great time at Upwards, learned a lot about the game, and is looking forward to doing it again next year! At the end, they had an awards ceremony, complete with a band for entertainment and a magician! The kids had a blast, and I thought the entire program that Upwards puts on, though the teaching of basketball, the games, fellowship, and biblical values was fantastic! 
New haircut! It was so long and raggedy! She loves it!
Chilling with her BFF…. notice the shorts? It’s only MARCH!
Scrapbooking with Mommy. She designed that page 🙂 (my little artist!)
The local Karate studio gave a free lesson to the kids at New Palestine Elementary, so of course we had to go! Bekah had a great time with Karate, and ended up signing up…. too bad later in the summer she asked to pick up another gymnastics class, but thankfully Rick was able to take her membership over at the Karate studio!
For spring break, we went with Bekah and our friends, the Bastin family, to Big Splash Adventure, an indoor water park in Southern Indiana. It was a HUGE place, with a game room, many slides (that Bekah would not go down!), lazy river, and a fantastic water structure. The kids had so much fun!
Bekah pretending she was tired….. but not really!
Some very tired girls…..



Having fun in the pool area!

Lazy river

Really, really tired girl!

Using Peer Pressure to Help Children Eat Healthy Lunches…. Really?

I am not against healthy school lunches, really I am not. I want my child to learn to make healthy choices when eating at school, and fully support initiatives to increase the standard of school lunches. However, we do pack lunches for my daughter most days, because while school lunches have come a long way since the rectangle, grease covered, cardboard slab that passed as pizza when I was a child, they still have a long way to go before I would call them “healthy choices”. Each week when we receive the lunch menu from school, we sit down and talk about what is being offered, what she would like to have at school, and if that is a healthy choice or not. (Now admittedly there are times when I let her go ahead and have the school lunch she wants, even if it is not the best choice because I want her to learn that it is okay to splurge…. once in a while!)

LinkAs part of my desire (okay, obsession really) with teaching my daughter about healthy eating, I am always looking for ways to make healthy food interesting for her. I ran across this site recently from a posting I saw on Facebook, and while I think that most of the ideas presented on this page are good, and fully support changes to make school lunches healthier, I am appalled at a couple of the suggestions that were given to help promote healthy eating in children.

The biggest issue I had was that the site was promoting taking extra food to school to “share with friends.”

Really? Share with a friend? You have got to be kidding me!

As a parent of a child that has food allergies, there is no way I want my child to “share” another child’s lunch. I find that incredibly irresponsible to even suggest that children should be sharing food at school! Now I know that no matter what we as parents say, kids will share their lunches with friends. However, to openly promote sharing lunches, even if it is under the guise of teaching kids to make healthy options, is like playing Russian Roulette (at least in my mind it is)! The authors of that site have no idea if sharing that “healthy nut (insert favorite food allergen here) contaminated item” would cause an allergic reaction in my child, or another’s child! (DISCLAIMER: in no way am I saying that parents don’t have the right to bring their favorite food allergen containing item to school, just please don’t share it with my tree nut allergen kid!)

And don’t even get me started on the sties statement that using peer pressure is a great way to help children select “healthy options.”

Peer Pressure?


Honestly, I had to go back and reread that because I could not have read that correct…. but I did. Peer Pressure. Great. Let’s go right ahead and promote the use of peer pressure to get our children to do something. I can see it now….

Mom: Amy Jo… eat your carrots. Belinda Sue does, and she is such a good, healthy girl. Don’t you want to be a good, healthy girl too?

Amy Jo: Okay Mom

Now, fast forward to teen years….

Amy Jo: Belinda Sue does (Insert whatever teen behavior scares the crap out of you), and she wants me to do it with her. I want to be like her, so…. okay!

Now, this may seem far fetched to some of you. But honestly, in a world where we rank ourselves against our peers, and it starts earlier in childhood then I remember as kid (and no, I am NOT that old), do we really want to promote peer pressure…. even in doing the right thing?

While I know what my answer to that is, that is a question that needs to be answered individually.

So bottom line is that while I think that the article had some good points, to me the flaws really did outweigh the positive. Not a resource I would recommend to others!

If you are interested, here are some better resources:

and because I feel that, even if you do not have a food allergy kid, it helps to be informed:

February 2012

February was a such a warm month here in Indiana that the early blooming flowers got confused and started popping out of the ground! We were afraid that we would get a cold snap that would kill them all, and while it did get cool, it never did kill the flowers!
One of the other things I love about February is VALENTINE’S DAY!!! Not because I get some huge, romantic gift,  but because I love the hand made gifts/cards that Bekah makes! Each year she gets a bit more creative in what she makes. I love looking forward to what she is going to do. She is quite the artist!
I also, thankfully, made a huge dent in getting rid of the Girl Scout cookies. Thankfully, by the end of February, there was not too much left!
February was also a month of travels for work. I went to a conference in San Diego. It was weird…. it was such a warm month here in Indiana, but it was COLD in California! Bizarre! The conference was good, but I totally missed my family!
Bekah has never been on a plane, so I wanted to show her the view from the window.
Here is the view from the hotel. I didn’t get out to see the city, we were so busy with the conference!
For my friend Jon Douglas, who once ate a quadruple bypass burger at the heart attack grill in Las Vegas NV. If he could conquer that HUGE burger, I figured this was right up his alley…. he declined though!
Every time I go on a business trip, I just have to bring something back for Rebekah. So I skipped out of the conference early one day…. or, eh wait…. I strategically decided that none of the presenters were of interest to my current role for a period of time…. and went browsing at some shops close to the hotel. I had a hard time picking something. She loves stuffies (stuffed animals), but we have a ton. She doesn’t need coffee cups, key chains, etc, you know, the typical travel gift crap….. but then I found this necklace, and she LOVES jewelry. SCORE! I also decided to replace her outgrown Hawaii shirt with one from San Diego! She loved it all! (thankfully!)

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