Sunday, June 29, 2014

Our Girls on Stage

As everyone knows, we have two daughters--two girls with lots in common, and lots of differences, as well.

Both Janae and Alaina started new ballet classes in September, full of excitement.  They love to dance, and they love dressing up; both also love to perform. 

So we got up early each Saturday morning and took them to their classes--in rain and sun and snow, supporting them in their desire to one day wear a tutu and dance on the big stage. 


But all was not necessarily well.  Ballet is not just tutus and bright lights--it also requires BUNS.



While neither Janae nor Alaina enjoys having a bun in her hair, one of these girls despised buns to the point of giving up ballet. 

After a couple of months of wrestling Janae down to brush out all that long, thick hair and slick it back into a ballet bun, I decided to let her have her way and withdrew her from her class.

The next day she confessed that she wished she'd stayed in ballet :(

Two months later it was time for the big show, and as we took Alaina to her dressed rehersal, Janae said, "I wish you'd FORCED me to stay in ballet!"  Good to know for future reference!

Anyway, two weeks ago we got to hear Janae play beautifully in her first PIANO recital--no buns required :)

 
She played two pieces: "Starfish at Night" and "Twinkling Planets."  She has been practicing every day since piano finished for the school year and even asked if there was any way she could continue her lessons through the summer because she missed learning so much.



Then yesterday was Alaina's big day.  The primary students at her studio were all part of a ballet called "Ye Olde English Sweet Shoppe."  The girls in Alaina's class were Sweethearts, and there were also lemon drops, cupcakes, gummy bears, etc.


The studio rehearsed the whole show four days in a row before the actual performance, so it was a lot of work for our little four-year-old.  Alaina had a bit of a cold and was really tired--she actually fell asleep in the car on her way to the final dressed rehearsal!

She wanted me to stay with her backstage during the rehearsal and the actual show, so I got to see a lot more "behind the scenes" and make a few new little friends :)

 
 
Alaina, of course, was a sweet little ballerina and did great on stage!
 
 
Afterwards she got her first bouquet of flowers
 
 
and lots of love from her brother and sister.

 
 
It is nice to see them supporting each other in the activities they choose to do!  We are really proud of our pianist and our ballerina, and love that they can be either or both--or something else altogether--as they grow. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Together at Last

Last Christmas I had a bit of a dilemma: my girls had just seen Frozen and fallen in love with Anna and Elsa--I wanted to buy them the dolls, but had already got two other Barbies for each of them. 

I discussed this endlessly with anyone who would listen, then finally decided to keep what I'd bought and not get the Frozen dolls.

This, of course, turned out to be one of my life's biggest regrets.

Right after Christmas it became impossible to find anything from Frozen.  My girls, though, insisted that we check . . . and we did, each time we visited a Walmart, Superstore, Target, Toys R Us, etc.

After a few months, we found Elsa--which Janae bought and has been playing with ever since.

 

Aaina got a lamp that day.  And she's had to just pretend that Merida was Anna.  (Nothing wrong with using a little imagination!)

 
 
But Alaina would not give up ... so our quest continued.  In fact, looking for Anna had become such a routine that I could not visit a store--even while shopping alone--without first checking the Barbie aisle.

This is exactly what happened Thursday night when I ran out to buy a few groceries.  And for the first time in forever, or at least in the past 6 months, Anna was on the shelf!  Ten Annas, at least!

Of course I snatched one up.


There was a lot of joyous screaming when I got home, and Alaina asked me a couple of times, "Mom, is this just a dream?"


The next day Anna's hair was out of braids and both of her boots were lost, but the important thing is she is HERE . . . after months and months and MONTHS of searching, we have Anna AND Elsa!

 
Together at last :)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Battle Continues....



It had been quite some time since I'd seen the carpet in Ben's room....  

I know what you're probably thinking--all that dirty laundry!  But no--Ben just stuffs that down the side of his bed, and I've become pretty good about clearing it out every few days.

All the outfits Ben tries on and then drops on the floor?  No--Ben hates trying on clothes, but you might find something like that next door in his sisters' room.

Most of the time Ben's carpet is covered with everyone's favorite building toy, set up in an epic battle that I hate to disturb, even to vacuum.

The forces of good--including ... but not limited to ... Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Hero Factory robots, Super Heros like Batman and Iron Man, Dumbledore, dragons, Sensei Wu, and all the ninjas from Ninjago--are frozen in pursuit of the forces of evil--you know: the Serpentine, the Sith, orcs, battle droids, clones, Bad Cop, a bunch of nameless skeleton warriors, and comic book villains like Doc Oc, Venom, the Joker, Cat Woman, Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy.

This has resulted in a few unfortunate clunking sounds as I've tried to vacuum "around" the great scene, as well as quite a bit of dust and built-up clutter--as I tend to just avoid entering the room because of all the tiptoeing I know I'll have to do.

But since it is summer vacation--I thought I'd ask Ben if he could move everyone and their accessories (tanks, ships, motorcycles, etc.) out of the room--just for a few minutes--so I could clean a little more thoroughly.

After I'd made the request several times, I could see Ben was actually thinking about it.

Then today was the day!  It took at least an hour for all the plastic to be relocated, but I think it was worth the trouble :)
 


Now the carpet is clean.

Ben spent most of the rest of the day setting things back up.

We saw how much Eric is looking forward to being around all that Lego as he quickly becomes more mobile....
 

But Ben managed to create a battle scene that is even more awesome than the one that collected all the original dust.
 
 
Now how to make this a weekly occurrence......

And this boy thinks he needs more Lego!
 
I guess everybody does :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

We Have a Graduate!

It doesn't seem like very long ago that I dropped our little Lainy off at preschool for the first time. . . .
 

But she's grown a lot over the past 9 months or so.  According to her report card, she not only knows all her letters, colors, shapes, and numbers (up to 38!), but also how to cut, glue, throw a ball, balance on one foot, and get along with others.

In fact, her teachers reported that Alaina "can often be heard saying, 'I know that already!'"  She has definitely conquered preschool :)

It has been so sweet to hear her sing songs she has learned

 
and see her making her own friends.
 
 
Last night we got to see her cross the big stage!  There were 50 preschool graduates, and the teachers had them march in with their tasseled caps, just as if they were graduating from university :) 
 
As the teacher announced each name, she told us their answer to the question "What do you want to be when you grow up?" While the answers ranged from a car to a mom to a police officer, I'm happy to report that Alaina said "doctor" :)
 
 
Afterwards it was all about the cakes and Kool-Aid!


We were so happy to celebrate with our littlest girl.



The evening ended with a song about marching on to kindergarten in the fall--if you can believe it!

 
For some reason they just won't stay little very long!!
 
 
We just have to enjoy it while it lasts, I guess.