Saturday, July 30, 2011

the Naptime Dance Project

My friend Elizabeth from BYU Dancers Company started this great blog/project called the Naptime Dance Project. The idea is to give stay-at-home mom's a dance outlet. A group of 6 dancers is chosen for a 6-week "season" in which they create solos and duets on video and write dance-related articles. I am not a stay-at-home mom, but I heard the Elizabeth was short a dancer and offered to join in the fun. So far only my bio and my first written piece has been posted, but check back next week for a funny duet spearheaded by Amelia. For any of you dance-minded people who read my blog, its just a fun place to see what other people are thinking and creating with dance. Check it out!

Friday, July 29, 2011

A New Look...

Not for me... for the blog. When I opened my blog this morning the background was all messed up and I couldn't figure out how to fix it. Thanks to some help from the blog genius (aka, my friend Becky)  I was able to remove the old background. I added this new one because I think its fun and fresh and semi-summery. I'm not sure that I love how the top (picture with title) turned out but after fiddling for a little too long I think its good enough for now. Opinions?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

More trains, planes and automobiles... this time in Idaho

Last Friday (over a week ago), Bret started his vacation home to Idaho to see his sister, Karina, get married.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to go because I had already agreed to pick up a dance student from Chicago that weekend (see previous post). Bret drove 3hrs to Austin, left his car at a friend's house, and caught a plane to Utah. He spent a day with my family (those meanies even took him to see Harry Potter without me!) and then borrowed D-rew's car to drive to Burley. He has spent the past week with his wonderful family. They have gone boating on the Snake River, played many games, prepared food and decorations for Karina's reception and family dinner, driven to Rexburg for the wedding, and have had lots of fun visiting with all the siblings and Grandma & Grandpa Black.

I so wish I could be with them. I miss my Bret's family a lot. I don't know if they know how much I admire and look up to them. I love being the oldest in my family, but feel blessed that I inherited a handful older 'siblings' whose examples teach me how to be a better wife and a better future mother. The Wardles, especially Millie and Jay, have taught me so much about being grateful for what is good rather than dwelling on what isn't perfect, about enduring through challenges with faith, about loving and supporting your children even when they make mistakes, and about simplifying life so that family, the gospel of Jesus Christ, and quality time are always the priority.

** All these pictures are old, from random trips home, but they paint a perfect picture of what Bret is doing right now.


** I know this is long and detailed... read if you want, but it was mostly a way for me to document the trip for myself.

Day 1:

On Wednesday morning I caught a plane to Chicago. Getting there was a piece of cake... no problems with flights or with navigating the trains (subway system). Shantal and Derek live in an AWESOME apartment that has a perfect view of Navy Pier and Lake Michigan and also has great skyline scenes. Its right next to Millennium Park and the theatre/shopping district. I loved spending a couple hrs catching up with my BYU dance pal while enjoying that great scenery.

That evening Shantal and I picked up Allyson (mystudent) from the Joffrey, ordered Giordano's deep dish pizza, and met Derek at Millennium Park for a picnic and free concert by the symphony. We walked to Navy Pier, watched the fireworks, took Allyson home, and wandered back to their apartment through the park.

Day 2:
Thursday morning I took a bus to Lou Conte Dance Studio (home of Hubbard Street Dance Company) for an advanced Jazz class taught by Harrison McEldowny. Note to self: You are not an advanced dancer in Chicago terms. It quickly became apparent that most of the other dancers knew each other and were very serious about making it in the dance world. I decided to stay and have a good time. It was challenging, both technically and stylistically, but I kept up and had lots of fun. I LOVED the teacher's style - very Fosse-inspired - and wish I could take it again (with friends).

After class I rode the train (subway) to Michigan Street (the “Magnificent Mile” where lots of great shopping is) and looked a lot but didn’t buy anything. It was fun to wander, but I decided that traveling by yourself is very lonely.

Next I planned to take two classes at another dance studio called Visceral Dance Center, quite a ways North of downtown. I was really stupid and only rode the bus 1/3 of the way there, not realizing that I could get on another bus. When I remembered about the second bus I realized there wasn’t quite enough money on my transit card for another ride and I didn’t have any cash. I walked about about 45 minutes to the dance studio and was way too late to take the first class. Instead I got dinner and set out to ensure that there would be money on my card to get home that night. (I could walk to the train station where there are machines that allow you to add money to your transit card with a credit card, but it would mean walking 20+ minutes in the dark in an area I didn't feel super safe in.) I tried getting cash back... no luck. I tried multiple ATMs... no luck. I tried calling my bank for help... no luck. (I haven’t needed to use an ATM for so long that I thought my Wells Fargo Visa worked as a debit card as well. Apparently it is the opposite way... my debit card can also work as an ATM card.) Sweet Bret was such a comfort to me as I worked myself into a panic. He told me to get back to the studio and take the second class so my long walk would be worth it, and figure it out after.

I took the Advanced Contemporary class from Lizzie Mackenzie and really enjoyed it. Ok, I mostly enjoyed it. I think if I hadn’t been so stressed and frustrated and lonely I would have liked it a lot more. I haven’t ever taken a legitimate contemporary class (its a little different than modern) and though I faked it pretty well, I certainl felt like my body and my brain were rusty from nearly 2 years of not taking a dance class. I loved the teacher’s style and her use of improvisation, imagery, and even somatics in class. After class it is customary to thank the teacher. I took the opportunity to ask her where the closest train station was. I think she could tell I was a little stressed (ok, she knew I was a lot stressed) and offered to drive me to a train station I had passed on my walk there. How kind is that? I was so grateful. She dropped me off and drove off and I discovered there was no transit card machine at the entrance, thus I still had no way to put more money on my card. Luckily I realized there was a second entrance to the train, went there, found the machine, put more money on my transit card, and got on the train. A few stations away from my destination, the train was stalled for about 10 minutes, but luckily it was able to continue on. Shantal even surprised me by picking me up at the station in her car so I wouldn’t have to walk the last 3/4 mile home (which was the least of my worries by then!). Note to self: Travel with cash. Travel with ATM card. Travel with a public transportation map, not just handwritten notes.

Day 3:

Friday was oh-so-much better. I got to watch the sky fall from Shantal’s apartment as a crazy rain and thunderstorm broke out. Luckily it only lasted an hour and cooled things off a bit. I took a class called Keep Fit Ballet at the Joffrey which was a fun, low-pressure way to take ballet. I was reminded that I have horrid turnout and extension, but I had a great time working on it. The Joffrey studios are gorgeous and have large full-wall windows that look out on the street.

After going back to theapartment to shower, I spent some more timeon the Magnificent Mile (still didn’t buy anything) and then met Shantal at the Joffrey to watch Allyson’s performance. We loved it. The girls did great and I was especially proud of 14-year-old Allyson!) The choreography was really enjoyable, too. We walked all the way down the Magnificent Mile AGAIN to eat at Cheesecake Factory per Allyson’s request. The only kink in my day was getting home. It was too far of a walk to get to Allyson’s dorm, soDerek looked up a bus route and found 3 that should take us directly to where we wanted to go. Shantal walked home (not as far and safely packed with people) while Allyson and I waited 15 minutes for a bus. None came our way. We finally found some more information and learned that the busses Derek recommended all stopped running mid-evening, and by now it was 10:45pm! No biggie - we decided just to go a couple blocks over and get on a train. We asked a policeman if we were on the right street and he strongly encouraged us not to ride the train. He said there had been lots of muggings and scary incidents on this particular line and advised us to stay off. Allyson, being the smart one, talked me into just getting a cab, and so we got to her dorm quickly and safely. Unfortunately, I still had to walk a couple miles home alone, but I was smart and was really aware of my surroundings. There were always other people on the streets (although not as many as I would have liked) and I stayed close to the nice-looking ones.

Day 4:

After about 4 hrs of sleep, I left Shantal’s apartment at 5:45 am, got a cab, picked up Allyson, and got to the airport by 6:20! We were certain that after such a smooth start to the day, and with 2 hrs and 40 min before our departure time, that we would have an easy time getting home. Nope.

The airport, which is always busy, was insane. Signs were unclear and nobody was there to help direct traffic, so we ended up waiting 45 minutes in the wrong line (mind you, we had asked other people for advice and they thought we were doing the right thing too!), then Allyson’s suitcase was too heavy and she had to adjust, then the security line was forever long (I wish I had a picture... words won’t do it justice). The gate number on our tickets were incorrect so we had speed-walk to a new area. Whew! We finally made it to the right gate 10 minutes before they started boarding. Note to self: San Angelo airport = 1-1.5 hrs early, SLC airport = 1.5-2 hrs early, Chicago O’Hare airport = 3-5 hrs early. Luckily, everything else was good. Our flight from Dallas to San Angelo was delayed an hour but not a big deal. I was so happy to get into my little car and drive myself home from the airport. Public transportation is ok, but I sure am grateful to leave behind the planes and trains and busses and stick to my automobile!

All in all, Chicago was a good learning and growing experience. I learned a lot about what do and what not to do when traveling in the city. I was forced to be ok with doing things on my own when I would usually have been accompanied by friends or family. It was harder than I expected to take dance classes alone and especially when I feel so rusty, but I learned to suck it up and not get discouraged or frustrated with myself. I learned that I don’t want to live in a big city. Its just too crowded and stressful. I realized how grateful I am for the prayer and the companionship of the Holy Ghost. When I was nervous or frustrated or lonely, I was so comforted to know that I could talk to my Heavenly Father. I felt empowered as I thought about the blessings of the temple that are with me always. I felt lucky as I saw incredibly talented and successful dancers who lacked the real joys of life that I have like a husband, the gospel, and a knowledge of my Savior.

I am glad that I got to go to Chicago, but I am so happy to be home and can’t wait until Bret gets back on Tuesday so we can be together again.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Dearest Cars,

Please stop breaking. We can't afford to keep fixing you.

Your Loyal but Irritated Drivers

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Modest is Hottest

"I find the whole concept of being ‘sexy’ embarrassing and confusing. If I do an interview with photographs people desperately want to change me - dye my hair blonder, pluck my eyebrows, give me a fringe. Then there’s the choice of clothes. I know everyone wants a picture of me in a mini-skirt. But that’s not me. I feel uncomfortable. I’d never go out in a mini-skirt. It’s nothing to do with protecting the Hermione image. I wouldn’t do that. Personally, I don’t actually think it’s even that sexy. What’s sexy about saying, ‘I’m here with my boobs out and a short skirt, have a look at everything I’ve got?’ My idea of sexy is that less is more. The less you reveal the more people can wonder. - Emma Watson

After extensive research (maybe not intensive, but certainly extensive as I spent more time than I should admit), I cannot find where this quote comes from... whether it was a magazine article or an advertisement... whether its recent or a few years old. But when my friend, Lori, showed it to me and I literally jumped up and down and did a "happy dance" (which I'm sure you can imagine). What a refreshing comment from a refreshingly wholesome person. As I looked for the quote I came across a lot of information and pictures of Emma Watson. The truth: she still wears things that I wouldn't deem "modest" in a young women's lesson. She is a huge name, especially in England, and beyond acting, she also has modeled for a lot of famous photographers and designers. She's had to wear a variety of stuff, some more modest than others, and while I wouldn't use the word modest to describe all of her costumes, I never needed to use the word "risque."

Here's what I've decided. I like her. She may not have my exact standards and she certainly has to deal with a very different world than me, but I think that she is being honest when she talks about modesty. Why? It's her appearance, yes, but it also has to do with her attitude, demeanor, and her intent. Even if her clothing wouldn't always pass in our LDS culture, I don't think her intent in wearing it is to flaunt, as is the intent of so many others. I think that if I wasn't a member of our church, and was a famous actress (emphasis on the IF) I would probably be very much like her. I say, "Good for you, Emma! Please, please, please don't change."

Listen to this clip and tell me if you agree...

(You may want to start it at 1:20. My favorite part is 3:30-end.)

Yes, I like her. Modest is hottest, ladies. It is for young women and its good for us young adults to remember too.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Here is a follow-up to the previous post (most likely you'll see this one first... go read the other then come back).

1. The pooping tree is not a joke. It exists. The birds who live in the tree do most of the pooping but I am convinced that tree itself poops too. And the truth is that we hate driving the disgusting poop covered car so we will be getting it washed TOMORROW and will find a new place to park.

2. I bought the ugly sailor dress from Goodwill and turned it into a not-so-ugly sailor skirt. I know... it looks kind of like a flight attendant outfit. Whatever. I like it. But note to self... If you are going to sew something fitted with no pattern, think twice. I'll probably still tweak it some more.

3. Bret and I are on a major Harry Potter kick. We are watching all of the movies (no falling asleep allowed) in preparation for the final movie coming out next week. We are read for movie 5! I also found that Harry Potter Scene It game for a dollar at the thrift store and we're planning to throw a Harry Potter party with all of our nerdy wizard-loving friends.

4. The 4th of July was awesome! We kicked it off with the ward's flag-raising and pancake breakfast. The Livseys were in town over the weekend so they and the Jeppsons came to our apartment pool for a swim. That evening we had a rockin' awesome BBQ at the Jeppson's home with the Livseys and the Skidmores. The food was great, but the company was stellar. We felt like we had spent the evening with family. As we all sat out in the front yard pushing kids on the tire swing, racing across the yard, and chatting with adults, we felt so grateful for the people who make us feel at home here in Texas. We are proud to be American and to live such wonderful lives.

5. I couldn't work these into our little story but I told Suz I'd post them. I made these necklaces as inspired by the blog which is definitely worth checking out!

The colors don't show up great, but they look pretty fancy in real life. I'm really happy with them!

One Parked Under the Pooping Tree

This is the pooping tree.

This is the car that parks under the pooping tree.

This is the girl who drives the car that parks under the pooping tree.
This is the skirt sewn by the girl who drives the car that parks under the pooping tree.

This is the Goodwill dress that became the skirt sewn by the girl who drives the car that parks under the pooping tree.

This is the 99 cent game that was bought with the dress that became the skirt sewn by the girl who drives the car that parks under the pooping tree.
This is the boy who loves the game that was bought with the dress that became the skirt sewn by the girl who drives the car that parks under the pooping tree.

These are the 4th of July outfits selected by the boy who loves the game that was bought with the dress that became the skirt sewed by the girl who drives the car that parks under the pooping tree.

This is the story of the Wardle family, who loves the 4th of July, Harry Potter, Sewing, and driving poop-covered cars. The end.

Saturday, July 2, 2011


On Wednesday we picked up my car... WITH THE AIR CONDITIONING WORKING!!! Can I just say that AC is a fantastic thing. I love my car now!

But unfortunately, when things get fixed, other things like to get broken. So far this week, these things have decided to break down:

1. The Vacuum.

Luckily I got all but two square feet of the house vacuumed before it decided to die. It must be an electrical thing because I tried it in different plugs and it just wouldn't turn on. Sigh. Who wants to pay to fix a vacuum of all things?!

2. Bret's phone.

We went into the AT&T store to get info about renewing our cell phone plan. Their selection was limited, so we decided to go home and look online to see what free phones we could upgrade to and wouldn't you know... Bret's phone goes berserk later that evening. It is really slow to respond, the display screen is all warped, and it likes to turn off spontaneously. Luckily timing for this one is perfect since we qualify for new phones anyway.

3. Bret's car.

Last night we went out on a date. After getting some tasty Mexican food we were driving around trying to decide what to do next, when Bret suggested playing a little frisbee golf on the ASU campus. We pulled into a parking lot to see if we had frisbees in the car, realized we didn't have any, got back in the car, and discovered that it wouldn't start. It was making this weird clicking sound, but since the radio and everything else worked we weren't sure what the problem was. (It was about this time I realized I really needed to go to the bathroom.) Then Bret's phone turned off. (I had specifically asked before we left the house, "Do you think we should take my phone for anything?" and we both decided there was no reason to.) We walked around the deserted campus trying to see if anyone could help us. Nope. Bret's phone turned back on. We called a mechanic in our ward who thought it was either the battery or the alternator so a jump should get the car started. We didn't know who to bother for a jump on a Friday night. The Jeppsons were on a date and the Kings had just moved away and everyone else lives a little ways away from where we were, except a new family in the ward named the Caldwells. We didn't have their phone number so we walked the 10 minutes to their house. (I really had to go by this point!) Luckily they were home and willing to help. (They also had a bathroom, thank heavens!) The jump worked and we got home fine, but we tried starting the car again that night and it did the same thing, so I think we'll be dishing out some more moolah to the mechanics pretty soon.

4. My body.

Ok, not really, but I'll tell you what... Body Combat is NOT about pretending to beat up someone else... it is about beating yourself up! Luckily today I learned that loosening up is not only better form, but that it feels much better and works the right muscles. Loose the dancer stance = enjoy body combat.