Wednesday, November 5, 2008

She Owns the Part

As anyone who knows me can attest to, I have very limited musical tastes. I acquired them in high school, and really nothing much has changed since then. And, also as anyone who knows me can attest to, I am pretty obsessive about things I like.

My kids really had no choice but to like Def Leppard, Oingo Boingo and Journey. And since Danny Elfman moved from singing with Oingo Boingo to writing movie soundtracks, my kids are well acquainted with those ventures as well. Ask my kids what movie soundtracks Danny Elfman has written, and they will be able to list nearly all of them (Rhys is really only well-versed in recent work such as "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and "Spiderman").

In 1993, "The Nightmare Before Christmas" was released. Directed by my favorite director Tim Burton (then, as well as now), I thought this was a simply amazing piece of work. The animation was spectacular, the comedy a nice shade of dark and the music....well, the music was awesome. The whole score was written by Danny Elfman, and he was the singing voice of Jack, the main character, as well. For a Danny Elfman fan, this movie was like a slice of heaven.

Quite inappropriately, "The Nightmare Before Christmas" was one of the first movies Sawyer ever saw. (She saw it soon after the Star Wars Trilogy.) And while the Star Wars movies didn't spark her fancy as much as I would have liked, she absolutely loved "Nightmare." She was able to sing all the songs and recite dialogue at the very young age of four. And this movie has been a staple in her collection of favorites, even as she starts to develop her own lists of obsessions. She also loves all things Danny Elfman, and sometimes it is this common obsession that gets us through some of those inevitable rocky patches.

This year, in her chorus class, they are singing songs from "The Nightmare Before Christmas"! I mean, seriously, how awesome is that? She and I were both so excited that other people thought that movie and music was as cool as we did. Auditions were held in all the chorus classes for the "Jack" solos (the Danny Elfman part from the movie). With no hesitation, Sawyer auditioned for these solos. This music is a part of her, it was natural for her to get up in front of everyone and belt it out.

There was a lot of competition for these solos; but Sawyer got the part hands down. Her teacher told her, "You owned the part, no one else had the same passion."

I can't wait to watch Sawyer perform these songs. She has been practicing relentlessly, and she does own the part. But quite frankly, she has owned the part since she was four.


Volleyball - Who Knew?

My girls are not big on sports. Not at all. I am certain it is not because every time a sporting event is on TV, or José starts talking about sports, my eyes roll back into my head and I go into a coma. I am sure they don't like sports because sports are boring and tedious. And I am sure this is their opinion all on their own, and I have no influence whatsoever.

I do, however, see the value of participating in sports as a child. You learn a skill, you learn to be a part of a team, you learn to be a gracious loser as well as a gracious winner (one hopes). And sports can be a place where friends are made and fun is had.

When the girls were very young, they played Little League Baseball. And they HATED it. The coaches they had weren't very good, and they had little patience with children who had little experience in the game. And at ages 4 and 7, there is not a whole lot of experience to be had. We made the girls finish the season, but the experience soured them on sports. Which is a huge bummer.

When Rhys came of age, we had learned our lesson. José is either a coach or an assistant coach on every team for which Rhys has played. Rhys loves his sports.

This summer, I got an email from my good friend Amy, asking me if Kellan would be interested in playing volleyball in a league at her school. Yeah, right, I thought. But I decided to ask her; some of her friends were planning on playing, maybe she might want to join them.

Imagine my surprise when she gave me a hesitant "Yes." The league offered an all day volleyball clinic for players new to the game, so I signed her up. I told her (and myself) that if she didn't like it, I wouldn't make her start the league.

Well, she walked out of that clinic pumped up. She was so happy and excited. "Volleyball is sooo much fun!" she gushed. Color me shocked. She has been playing now for about 6 weeks. She practices twice a week and plays three games every Saturday. And her enthusiasm has not dampened one bit. Whenever she has a spare minute, she is outside working on her serves and bumps. An interesting twist is that her coach is not all that great, but she is having so much fun that it doesn't matter.

Amy is now organizing a winter volleyball team (with a new, more experienced coach), and Kellan is so happy she will be able to keep playing. I have to say I am amazed. I have never, ever liked sports. But José claims this new love of volleyball is in her genes, his family played as a team for years. Regardless of where the passion comes from, I am simply thrilled that it is there.

Go Kellan!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Who is Cooper Voting For?

Durstion called me with this story...

Grace came home with homework that included voting for the next president. As she, Durstion and Cooper were discussing each candidate, Grace announced that she was going to vote for John McCain.

At this point Durstion turned to Cooper and asked him who he was voting for. He answered, "I am going to vote for You Rock You Mama, I like that guy."