Archive | February, 2012

Reality Check, Part Two, Can you Handle It? Social Anxiety

29 Feb

Since posting my “reality” yesterday didn’t give me a COMPLETE panic attack, I decided to confuse you again by posting more of my “Reality Check”  This may become a series if my head doesn’t explode.

My past Zumba students have been asking me out to lunch.  I agreed to meet them today when none of my typical excuses, yet totally true facts, worked.

I have no car… Don’t worry, I’ll pick you up.

I have no money… Don’t worry, its our treat.

Ummm… I… Uh… Look like this

Seriously, who wants to see this?

I love these ladies, I do, and I know that I’ll have a blast catching up with them.  So why have I been filled with so much anxiety over it that my son was teasing me about it last night?  “Oh, poor mommy has to go have lunch with her friends… poor mommy!”

“Kainan, this isn’t funny.  I could DIE!” (have I mentioned my flair for being overly dramatic?)

“You aren’t going to die.  You actually died this morning, but you got over it because death is too afraid to tell you.”  (have I also mentioned that I have Chuck Norris like status in my house?  Even with my huge 6’3″ beast of a son?  because I do.  Its kind of awesome:)

This is my little boy... FOUR YEARS AGO! (I can't find the more recent pics, where I come up to his shoulder.)

“Kainan, how are you going to feel if I go to lunch tomorrow and I actually DIE?”

Kainan, “Oh my god, I would laugh SO HARD if you managed to die by going out to lunch!” (followed by snorting and laughter, not only from Kainan, but I think I saw my hubby smirking in the kitchen.)

Right this very moment, I’m wanting to beg off because Paris is sick, even though if I was working, I’d go because there is really nothing I can do for her by being here.  *Note, this is why I’m behind on videos again, both the girls being sick AND shoddy equipment that won’t work!

Amuse yourself with this bloopers reel if you must:

Although I have many friends online that I love ‘hanging out with’ via the net, there are few people that I can think of that I would look forward to socializing with in person. VERY FEW.  And don’t be offended if you’re not on that list. It gets slimmer and slimmer every year.  I can’t even think of a handful, to be honest!

Yes, part of that is that I prefer my husband’s company if we have free time. That part of it I don’t feel bad about at all. What I don’t understand is feeling anxious before I go hang out with anyone.

How do I say, Dear Friend, I am having a panic attack at the thought of hanging our with you, and yet I KNOW that once I’m WITH you, I love hanging out with you, talking, etc pretty much every single time. And yet, even though I hung out with you and had a blast yesterday/three days/a week/a month/a year ago, I still dread the thought of leaving the house and hanging out with you.

I have some sort of weird social anxiety. I hate leaving my house unless I’m with my husband. I don’t mind going somewhere if I can be alone and read/be online (Panera’s free wifi is my other best friend) but I get nervous at the thought of a social visit. I have to remind myself that last time I went out for lunch with you, I had fun. I enjoyed myself. I laughed, I ENJOYED talking with you, catching up, sharing our stories and our lives.  I didn’t want it to end!

I don’t understand why, up until the point that we get together, I’m filled with anxiety. Every time people invite me over or out, I tend to put it off, or accept and then back out because as the date nears, I get more and more anxious about it. I need to figure out a way to get over this, because I know it isn’t healthy. I guess I need to figure out who I genuinely enjoy hanging out with and work on just building up the friendships that I truly enjoy?  Honestly, I think I have a really hard time figuring out who’s company I honestly just find stressful, and who I enjoy.  How backwards is that?

This, in part, is one of the reasons that I always laugh when people ask me, “You homeschool?  But what about socializing?  Aren’t you afraid that they won’t have any friends?”  Because honestly, I went to public school, and my kids are far better at making friends, hanging out with people and appear to have NO social anxiety.  I can’t remember a time past age 10 when I just felt comfortable hanging out with people.

Am I really that odd? Do any of you have social anxiety?

Do you socialize a lot or do you wish you ‘got out’ more?

(All of this assuming you aren’t home with babies and toddlers… I had little to no social life at those times in my life either, but for entirely different reasons!  Money/Babysitter/not wanting to leave my babies/exhaustion/too much to do??)

Oh!  I need to go get ready, Jessica will be here in less than an hour!  Eep!  (Oh, and reason #2 I don’t want to go out?  I’ve gained too much weight and my clothes don’t fit… but that’s another post for tomorrow… or never!)


Reality Check, Part 1: Let’s Get Real Here, Who DOES This???

28 Feb

Apparently, the answer to that, today is, “Who Does That?  The Always Family, That’s Who!”

My Family... photo courtesy of Shawn Stewart Maddox

For those of you who don’t know, my family and I are in the process of creating a new Web Series for Kids through *hopefully* some kickstarter funding.  I realize that some people, heck, maybe most people look at me and think, “What on earth is she thinking?  She can’t just start a show just… just BECAUSE she suddenly has a passion for this ‘puppet thing’.  She doesn’t even know what she’s doing!”

I mean just WATCH THIS VIDEO!!  If that doesn’t prove it, I don’t know what will… We’re just CRAZY!!! WHO DOES THAT?? Our Bloopers Show more of the “real us” than anything scripted!!!

I know this, because I’ve heard it before.  Every time I take on one of my unorthodox projects, I hear it somewhere.

I believe that every single time that I follow my heart and follow my passions, that things not only turn out well, but if I really listen to myself (and of course I don’t always), things lead me to a next step, a next rung in the ladder of my journey.

I have decided to embrace that fully.  Give it my all, heart, soul, time and attention.

But if I’m really honest, sometimes this terrifies me.  I know that I have what it takes, with my husband and my kids and my own contributions, I do have what it takes to make this silly little purple monkey into something truly amazing.  I know without a doubt that I have the creativity, my husband has the technical knowledge, and my girls have the ambition and talent for us to take this all the way to a full fledged children’s show… and THAT sometimes terrifies me.

In gut wrenching moments of self doubt, I will think, “Wait, who do I think I AM?  What if I fail?  What if I make something that kids absolutely love and then just fall flat on my face?   What if people criticize me (And I KNOW it will happen, its the way of the world) so much that I give up?  What am I THINKING!!!??!?!?!?”

But then I remember the joy I get from seeing one picture of one child watching the show, playing peek a boo with Bean, holding the Beanket they won…

London loves her "Bean Time"!

and I remember my thoughts and plans, for new characters (that I have all mapped out and designed in my head:) and for the things I want to do in the future.  I really want to do a kickstarter to order custom “Bean” plushies… and for every one you buy, we deliver the others in person to a local children’s hospital.  At this point, I could never afford to do that on my own, but I would LOVE to be able to give.  I know some people have a desire to give, but they don’t have the time.  I CAN DO THIS.

I watched “Being Elmo” this past weekend and it was wonderful.  I highly recommend it to anyone who has ever been or had a creative child, anyone who has ever felt that they were too different… it was beautiful as well as being eye opening.  It inspired me.  It encouraged me again, and reminded me how blessed I am to have the wonderful encouraging mother that I have.  She always encourages me, always supports me in my crazy adventures.  I don’t know what I’d do without her and my husband’s unwavering encouragement.  They are amazing.

My Business Card Came today!!!

So, no more ignoring my heart.  If I only have the Bean passion for 3-5 years, then I still fully believe that not only will children benefit greatly from it, and I CAN help a lot of children and even parents… then IF my passion for that goes away, it is because there is yet again, something else calling to me that I need to do before I am no longer on this earth.  I can’t miss out on an opportunity to follow my heart because of fear.  If I do that… there is nothing that I ever will do, because I can let myself fear any unknown…

but I also know that following my heart, flying by the seat of my pants, for as scary as it is, it is my adrenaline rush, my roller coaster… and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. 

I should note at this point that my husband insists that I will trade it in someday for a few years living on a sail boat… on the OCEAN.  Have I mentioned that I get horribly, awfully motion sick at the drop of a hat?  I may have to find a way to renegotiate this:)

My First Original Song for the Bean Show:

What scares you?  What Thrills you?  How Do You Deal with your own fears?

Check in with my Reality Check Part Two:  Social Anxiety post, because apparently baring my soul felt good enough that I had to do it again!

Bean’s Monkey Business: Claymation & B-I-N-G-O Was his Name-Oh!

28 Feb

last weekend I had a sudden burst of inspiration and made a stop motion animation for “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” and posted it on youtube.  I was fairly happy with how it turned out, and of course learned some things NOT to do next time!   

Down comes the rain!

Last night I had another sudden burst of inspiration and thought I’d make a claymation video!  I looked on the show schedule and saw that I already had “Make homemade playdough” on the schedule for this week… so here it is!  

My video for today is a claymation version of the song B-I-N-G-O!!  I hope you enjoy it!

To Make Home Made Play Dough:  I used this recipe

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I REALLY struggled with the BINGO song!!  I didn’t think about the fact that as of now, I’m still using free movie editing software, and I’m not all that great at it.  Its fairly difficult to adjust the speeds to really fit the music.  As a matter of fact, I will probably take this video down sooner than later because its frustrating me.  However, both of the girls are sick, so I can’t really make a different video right now anyway.  So, if you want to watch just for the trainwreck, here is the Direct Link.

So, I guess its all right for a first try.  I get so frustrated with myself when something doesn’t work the way I want it to.  I am struggling to be better about beating myself up when something doesn’t turn out just right.  How about you?  Are you hard on yourself?

See? I even TRIED the bouncing heart over the letters. That was a bit of a fail.

Bean’s Monkey Business: Singing Time ~~ Let’s Make Drums!

27 Feb

Yay!  Drums!!

In keeping with our theme this week, we’re going to make some home made drums to play today!  I’m finding that I’m combining things that before now were separate videos.  I guess this means that there will be less than 5 videos a week OR I need to write some new material:)

All you need is some paper, glue, scissors and an old oatmeal box or container from some protein powder or something.

This is a super simple project, and we plan to make a new instrument each week until we have a whole “band” ready.  My kids always loved making and playing on pretend instruments, I hope yours will too!

Having trouble viewing?  Here is the Direct Link!

I apologize in advance for getting the “Drumming Song” in your head.  If it helps, its been tormenting me since I wrote it!  I feel bad for Barney’s creator now.

Oatmeal and Isagenix (So glad I finally found a use for at least one of those containers!)

In other instrument related news, we finally found (and had money for) a keyboard!!  Its a used keyboard that we found on Craigslist (my hubby is sooo great at finding these things!), but it works, and it is ours!

I even got the space in the bedroom cleaned out for it today, in the midst of doing about 10 other things.  Is anyone else a little bit A.D.D.?  Seriously, I am SO bad.  I just remembered that I needed to call my hubby, but I left my phone by the stove.  I went to the stove and forgot the phone, but remembered that I was going to soak some beans for dinner.  Then I realized I was cold, so I went to the bathroom to get my robe, but I just went to the bathroom instead.  Then back to the computer… where I remembered that I needed to call Patrick.  Back to the stove, where I stirred the beans, then washed a pan since I put too many beans in one pan.  OH!  The PHONE!  The phone was in our box of eggs.  (I know, go figure. )  Then I realized that I can’t call my hubby at work, or rather I shouldn’t, so I used the home phone to call my cell phone, which I just found this morning and now its lost again.  Ugh!  Speaking of which, I did stop in the middle of that whole blathering on to actually call him, but he didn’t answer.  I’m stressing a little bit because he’s supposed to take our son to work at 3:00… and its now 2:19.  And he has to come home and load up equipment first!  Ahhhhhhh!!!!

Oh!  And one other thing, we had our first give away on youtube, and our fan who posted the video on our facebook was the winner!  Thank you to Paris for sewing it!!

Paris and Bean holding Xander's new Beanket right before we boxed it up!

Here it is, wrapped up and everything:)

Our Story Part Two: Living Life and Flying by the Seat of my Pants

26 Feb

Onward to part two (You can find Part One Here).  This was in 2007, so about a year and a half since we got burned out on driving with our first play.  In my mind, it always seems like it was a 3-4 year time in between!  This whole series is eye opening to me!

Something you need to know about me… I have a habit/tendency to live life by jumping into things headfirst without having a clue about what I’m doing or getting myself into.  Today I’m going to tell you about how I came to be a costumer for our local community theater… and I will continue this series later with how this all snowballed to where I am today!

The full set!

This story takes place in June of 2007.  We had just ended a run in SchoolHouse Rock, Live! in which Patrick and I actually acted instead of the kids.  It was fun, but an awful lot of time away from home because the theater was quite a long drive for us three or more times a week!  Our director, Sheila, told us that she was moving on to direct a children’s play at a theater that was actually much closer to our home and she suggested that we bring the kids to audition.

So, we took the kids to audition for “Alice in Wonderland” at the local community theater.  

Paris won the lead role of Alice as her first ever speaking role (and after learning her almost 400 lines and being on stage for the ENTIRE play, she STILL vringes if you mention Alice in Wonderland!!), Abyni played a talking Rose (and subbed last minute for the Dormouse because of a no-show on the last performance), Kainan played The March Hare and Jaedin was some weird made up creature.  I was at every rehearsal, watching, learning and soaking things up as I tend to do with creative things.

I specifically remember having a conversation with my husband that went something like this, “Wow, honey, I think I could do this… the directing thing.  I wonder what it takes to be able to direct a show?”

“I don’t know, but I’m sure you’d be great at it.”

A couple of weeks later, ten days before the show opened, the director/producer (I really can’t remember who it was at this point) called me in a panic.  “Byn, the costumer has apparently dropped out and there is only two costumes done!!  I know you were going to do Paris’ costume… but could you do more?”

By more…well, there were 32 actors in this play.  And pretty much NONE of them were just “normal” characters.  We’re talking Alice in Wonderland, people!  

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Thankfully my mom was down visiting because she was such a HUGE help!  We soon had my entire house filled with costumes, paper mache and hand made “Chess” crowns, flowers made of foam… it was crazy.  See the “Chess Crowns” I made with paper mache?  I was pretty proud of those:)

The Mad Hatter in his paper mache top hat!

Oh yeah, and I painted the set pieces (playing cards) at the last minute as well, with help from some of the cast.

The King and Queen Cards from one side of the stage. These were about 8ft tall, btw

It all came together just in time and because of THAT…

The Producer came to me and said, “Wow.  I can’t believe what you managed to do in TEN DAYS.  I’m thinking that you would be good at directing, would you want to direct our next children’s production?”

Thinking he was talking about months from then, I said, “Sure, why not?”

Two WEEKS later, I was on my way to auditions for my directorial debut, “The Mad Adventures of Mr. Toad”!!  I remember on the way to our first practice, I turned to my husband and said, “What was I thinking???  I don’t even think I LIKE other people’s kids!!  We’re getting ready to go spend two months with 30 of them in a room several nights a week!!!”

He calmly said, as always, “Don’t worry about it, you’ll be great…”

How about you?  Do you ever just jump in head first and figure it out as you go?  Do you enjoy yourself or is it just a big stress?  I personally love this aspect of my life, and I wouldn’t have it any other way! 

Stay Tuned for Part Three Coming up NEXT WEEKEND:  Directing Debut!  The Mad Adventures of Mr. Toad!

Stop Motion Animation: Take One! The Itsy Bitsy Spider

26 Feb

Awww... The Itsy Bitsy Spider needs something to do!

My first attempt at ‘stop motion animation’!

I got a brain storm today and made a stop motion animation animation for “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” for our show & blog.  I know its not perfect (we don’t have a working tripod at the moment, so it was hard to get it right) but I still had fun doing it.  What do you guys think?  

Any other children’s nursery rhymes or songs  (Within the public domain) that I should do? 


And washes the spider out!

Out Comes the Sun!

Our Story, Part One: The Beginning of Our Acting Journey… The Wizard of Oz

25 Feb

Unfortunately, the computer with our photos on it from the Wizard of Oz crashed and I lost them all:(

So, to ease the pain of a horribly lengthy post, I am not only going to use other photos of my kids from that time period, but I am going to grace your screen with a HILARIOUS scene from a play I wrote and directed on this very journey!!  Seriously, its the funniest character I’ve ever written, acted by one of the best comedic actors that I’ve ever worked with.

The Beginning… The Wizard of Oz

Summer, 2005 Our acting adventures started in a rather odd, and yet quick way.  I was sitting in a waiting room for some reason I can’t remember.  I randomly picked up a TulsaKids magazine and was flipping through it out of pure boredom… I must have been there a long time because I had enough time to even read through all the classified type ads in the back!  An audition notice jumped out at me, “Auditions for The Wizard of Oz at the Spotlight Theater” and the final auditions were THAT NIGHT.

(I am still in a fog about where I was:) I left, and debated the whole way home whether we should try it.  My kids all loved to play pretend, and Abyni, although she was the youngest and the most shy, would come alive if she saw a stage. 

I had always dreamed of acting or singing, performing and all that, but I had a huge enormous fear of failure growing up.  A huge fear that kept me from trying and kept me from realizing my dreams.  I was already seeing that same behavior in my oldest daughter… and although part of it is just personality, I wanted to teach my kids to NOT be afraid of trying something new, even if they ‘failed’.  

We had been to several theater productions at the performing arts center, and Abyni always wanted to know how to get ON the stage instead of in the audience.  This was our chance, and I decided that we were going to take it.

I got home, announced to the kids and Patrick that we were going to “Go practice auditioning.”  I set it up so that it was fun, whatever the outcome, and no one had to worry about failing.  We were simply practicing at auditions!

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We all hopped in the van and went to audition.  Kainan and Sprite, the oldest kids, were already old enough to be nervous and they decided not to try out.  That was fine, but the biggest shock was Abyni.  Up to that point, she would NOT talk to adults outside of our family.  She would glare if someone talked TO her.  The director was this really tall, loud theater type… and when Abyni asked us if she could go on stage, we told her that she could, but she had to ask the director.  She promptly hopped up and ran over to this guy, and I’m not joking, I think she barely reached his KNEE!!  She yanked on his pants leg and said, “‘Scuse me, Mister Director, can I get on stage too?”  Patrick and I were stunned… and she got up on stage and did wonderfully!

And as for our practice audition?  We all got parts!  Small parts, but enough to get us on stage and set fire to our new found passion… theater!

Me at 33! Wow!! I have changed a bit (mostly because I've gained weight (boo) and maybe my hair just a little:)

It was an amazing experience, and one that catapulted us into a life that we didn’t expect, but have THOROUGHLY enjoyed!!  I wouldn’t change it for the world.  Thanks to John Barker, the director for casting us and making this such a positive experience!

Actually, that experience was SO daunting and exhausting, that we didn’t even venture back into acting for a couple of years, other than Patrick and I doing once a month appearances in the long running “The Drunkard and the Olio”.  

Our next excitement… and the one that had us doing/involved in FIVE plays over a 12 month period.  

Check back every weekend for ‘Our Story’ Updates!

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