Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Are you a Carla?

Are You a Carla?

I was a military wife, mother to three young children and one huge Dalmatian. About to be stationed on a Portuguese island in the middle of the Atlantic, I was excited about the adventure that awaited our family of five. We left Turkey and boarded a plane for the Azores, excited to spend two more years living overseas together as a family.
Shortly after arriving, I met her. Also a military wife, she had two young boys of her own, a nice match for my three- and four-year-old sons. She lived off-base. My husband, too, had wanted to live off-base. During our time in Turkey, he had gotten slightly burned out as the doctor on a tiny base. He felt that at this new assignment, he needed some separation between work and home.
To read the rest of this article, jump over to THE GLORIOUS TABLE

Monday, January 27, 2020

We Bought a Farm: Back to the Grind

We aren't late-night people. 

We are farmer people.

But once a year, we commit a solid two weeks to the ballet. It is worth it. We love it. We love the group and what it stands for and what it has been in all of my kids' lives but especially in Abigail's life. 

But we are TIRED. I think I'd rather be farm tired from hard farm work instead of tired from way too many late nights.

But now it's Monday. And ballet is over ... and real life is back in full gear. 

Sometimes I think: #Icantbelievethisismylife

For example, I found this jar on my counter. I immediately asked JB, "Why is there a mason jar of nails on the counter?"

To which my husband replied: "Those aren't nails. They are willow tea sticks for rooting hormones."


Ummmm ...

(I am not sure what that means exactly but I think that it means you cut little sticks off and then use those to make new plants?)

And then, there is this video ... carrot testing here at the farm. We've been growing many varieties of carrots and storing them in different ways. Tonight we decided to try these different carrots and decide which ones we liked best.


Ballet to carrots and rooting hormones.

Go figure.

Sunday, January 26, 2020


January 26, 2020
Today we performed the last show of Pollyanna. Now that the show is over, I want to share some videos of Abigail performing. (I actually did not get a video of Hannah which really bums me out!) 

Hannah was only in 2 of the 4 shows which was PERFECT for her. She was quite timid on stage but did say she enjoys it so we will see if Hannah tries to do the performance again next year or not. Abigail, on the other hand, was already asking what next year's show would be. HA!

Here's a video of her "biggest scene":

Scene 6 (Pollyanna meets the homeless kitten)

Abigail also absolutely LOVED the closing scene of the ballet (which she was not in.) She was obsessed with watching the swing dance. On one of the dress rehearsal days, our friend Morgan was sick, and Abigail was allowed to jump in as the kitten. It was a dream-come-true for her, and I got it on video. (I also spend time on my nephew Gabe too.) Abigail had only had one other opportunity to practice this dance, so I was quite impressed.

Scene 12 (Kitten in Swing Dance)

I also wanted to include a flashback to the three previous ballets that Abigail has been in:

Sleeping Beauty (2017)
12 Dancing Princesses (2018)
Ruth & Boaz (2019)

And now, some of the last pictures:

Hannah with the lead (and her teacher) Meg as Pollyanna
Cast photo 
A goofy photo
Abigail with her friend Lily. Lily's grandmother was on her deathbed during night 3 of the performance, but Lily was able to participate. It was such a joy to have her do something she loved when her family was grieving so badly.
John doing Abigail's cat makeup at the hospital. 
A snap of Hannah and her cousin Genevieve as little butterflies.
I love this picture of best friends in real life and in the show, Meg and Emma dancing. 
Hannah running out as a butterfly.
Me with my littlest dancer.
John working on Mauren's "anger" makeup
Abigail assuming the position for me to backward braid her hair.

I love Hannah's toe here!
This picture may make me cry every single time I see it. Abigail and Meg (Pollyanna) waiting to go out for their first scene together. My gosh this stuff can make you emotional.
Meg with Genevieve
Abigail with 14-year-old Lavender who played Aunt Polly.
Abigail with her friend Sophie and cousin Ana (left)
Mauren Sparks with Lily
I forgot to get pictures AT the ballet but here is Hannah with Grama Di
My dad and the boys!
With Abigail
Throwing in a leg thing.
Hannah and I chilling out before the last show with her gift for being in the ballet:  a unicorn llama (a llama is CBT's official mascot.)

Abigail braiding Melody's hair.

So glad to have Melody with us.
I bought these shoes for her on December 18! They barely made it one month!
The opening backdrop.

My friend Jessica with Abigail
Grampa and Grama Kitsteiner
Ms. Elizabeth (she played the lead, Ruth, last year and gives Abigail private lessons!
with Ana and Hailee (the dog!)
Our piano teacher (Ms. Leslie) came to see the show!
Thanks for coming Mr. Rick!
Ky-le in her senior year production
Katy Higgins (who played Pollyanna's mom among other roles). Abigail jumped. on her back during curtain call so we recreated it. Katy is one of the most lovely ballet dancers you have ever seen!
Sisters. Hannah came to watch the last show.
I am so proud of Sidge. He worked backstage for the third straight year. He works so hard and does such a good job!
Abigail in her window.
With some of her friends including Sarai (pink), Bailee (brown) , and Emma (blue)
Hannah and Isaac getting ready to watch the show.
Grampa with our backstage guy, Sidge.
Grampa and the kitten
These photos were taken by Mr. Gray. This is Lavender with Abigail.
Aunt Polly and the Kitten
Love Abigail and Meg
ohhhhh love this one. 
Doing their lift.
Sweet kitty.
Sleeping kitten
Director Lori Ann Sparks with the two professionals we love so much: Dillon and Sam

January 24, 2020
First show is in the books! Look at the rainbow right over the theater! Here are some photos of opening night: 

Look at that rainbow!

Praying before the show. I love this group.

With longtime fellow ballerina, Sarai

Ms. Linda came in for the show!

Mr. Jacob was there for the show!

I LOVE this picture of Abigail and Pollyanna (Meg) waiting to go on. 

Hannah was quite timid on stage, but she was all about getting dolled up to go out there!

Hailey (who played John Pendleton's dog) only wanted me to do her hair. A huge honor!

My friends MaryKay and Melody joined us for play prep!

The best Daddy ever!

Abigail's hair was SUCH a process for me. Linda volunteered to help with some of the braiding that took so long.

The one thing I will NOT miss about this show was doing the kitten hair. Whew!
It was so wonderful of Ms. Linda to join us for the show!
January 22, 2020
Some more pictures of the ballet. We did our Tuesday and (are going to be doing our) Thursday dress rehearsals (which are filmed for broadcast later). 

John did the make-up for Bitterness (left -- Morgan) and Anger (right -- Mauren)
I love Anger's make-up and how great Mauren looks!

Real life best friends and best friends in character. Makes you so happy. These two have been dancing together for about 15 years! So wonderful!

So many great pictures by so many awesome photographers!

Aunt Polly has the best expressions. (And I really like the cat by her!)

Hannah's class picture. Those are her cousins in the back row: Genevieve and Eoin

I love this poster!


One pic of Abigail's class

January 19, 2020
I am so thankful for my friend Kristin and her beautiful pictures to help me remember these days when my little girls are small. Hannah isn't so sure about ballet. She "thinks" she likes it. We decided she should try the show and decide whether she wants to keep doing it or not. This year she is a butterfly and a purple rose. Abigail said, "When I see Hannah out there in her dress, I just want to kiss her and pinch her cheeks so bad."

January 18, 2020
First complete dress rehearsal! I am hoping to get more pictures, but here were some that Mr. Gray took and sent to me that I just loved:

Abigail with Eoin (ivy and a dragonfly) and Genevieve and Hannah (roses and butterflies)

January 4-5, 2020
We are finally in the big theater we will perform Pollyanna in and it was all day rehearsal on Saturday and Sunday. Here were some pictures captured this weekend. Most are by my friend Kristin who is the show photographer.

First, some pictures of my little Hannah. She is playing a rose and butterfly in the production. Here she is in the Saturday practice:

On Sunday, Hannah wasn't supposed to rehearse. (Because she is so young, we are just having her be in two of the productions instead of all four.) However, there weren't even roses and butterflies there so Hannah jumped in in her blue jeans and mis-matched socks to help:

Saturday was the first full rehearsal at the studio they will be performing at. Here's a few of Abigail in action on Saturday: 

On Sunday, they asked some of the leads in the production to be in costume so that they could take a good picture for the newspaper. This meant we had to figure out "officially" what Abigail's hair and make-up would be for the play. 

Here's the hair-do we ended up deciding on: 

I did this!!!!!

 Once we had the hair done, Jennifer and JB worked on her "stage make-up." Here's what they came up:

We combined those two things together and she got her official headshot taken:

Then it was time to figure out what her kitten make-up would look like:

We plan too figure out a way to eliminate the headband, but otherwise, here she is with her ears!

With her friend, Hailey, who plays a dog in the production.
With Olivia who plays young Pollyanna.
With her friend Sarai who plays a sun and a clown.
Time to take the shot for the newspaper:

Thursday, December 12, 2019
While it is a TON of work, I'm not sure there is any bigger event in our family then the January ballet production that we do with our ballet group: Central Ballet. This year we are doing the production Pollyanna. I am especially excited about this production as I have had the honor of helping with the idea of doing this ballet! 

This year, Abigail will have a very cool role. She is Pollyanna's kitten! In addition, Hannah is a rose/butterfly, and Sidge is once again helping backstage. All five of the Kotysnki kids are also in the production in various roles!

Here is a look back at the three previous shows Abigail has been in (and Sidge helped backstage with!)
I have decided to put all the pictures of Pollyanna in one post. I'll keep updating this post with new pictures on top so that we can look back and remember this amazing time. 

While we have been practicing for about two months, tonight it all really began as we helped put in the floor at the auditorium on the University of Tusculum's college campus. Come January 1, we will move our rehearsals to the auditorium. And then it becomes even more real. 

Here are some pictures of our help with floor installation. We didn't do much, but it is still fun to be a part of the whole process! 

October 2019
First Pollyanna type activity for the ballet is the pancake breakfast!