Thursday, June 14, 2018

spring time, fun time

With 2017 well under way the girls were excited as signs of Spring were in air. St. Patrick's Day does not tend to be a holiday that we typically celebrate much, but that doesn't mean you can't sport a cute T-shirt and wear green with your sister and friend. I think there's a bit of Irish on my side of the family, so we will use that as our reason to semi-celebrate!

This year Olivia decided to participate in her school's Spring musical. Performance time was fast approaching and occupying a lot of Olivia's time. She really wanted to be involved because this year the musical was Mary Poppins and involved quite a bit of dancing. Once her drama teacher knew she was a dancer she begged for Olivia to be involved. The whole process was a good learning experience for Olivia, and lots of fun too.

We were super impressed with the musical and very proud of Olivia's performance. Fifth graders typically do not have major roles in the musical. Those are reserved for 7th and 8th graders. But she was part of the main chorus and was featured front and center because of her dance experience. The singing, dancing and stage design was top notch...quite impressive for a middle school performance. The musical may have been time consuming, but Olivia said it was totally worth it.

Spring time also means dance competition time. Each year our dance studio competes at a regional competition, and this year we will be heading to a National competition in the summer. This year our regional was in Michigan, squeezed into one long day. The girls prepare all year long to perfect their dances for this big performance. Olivia performed beautifully in six dances. Watching her light up on stage brings such a smile to my face. She really loves to dance and it shows!

The girls did a great job at their competition and will be competing again this summer in Myrtle Beach. Since our regional in March the girls have been working to improve their dances with the hope of improving their scores at Nationals. Dance competitions are tough, but they are good learning experiences for the girls. They can see what else is out there and that often pushes them to want to work harder.

A few weeks later it was Easter! Aside from Christmas this is by far the girls' favorite holiday. The night before we had our annual evening at Nana's to do all of their favorite Easter activities. There was so much to squeeze into one night, so we dove right in with egg dying. After that the girls decorated cookies. The finished products of both were quite impressive!

Next up, it was time for an egg hunt. The girls search Nana's house for eggs filled with goodies and at the end they take all of the contents of the eggs and split the rewards evenly. They searched hard and fast knowing that there was money to be found and trinkets to take home! Of course after everything there were still Easter baskets to receive. Those smiles show just how happy they were with their goodies! It was a fun night and great prep for Easter the next day.

In the morning the girls got dressed in their pretty Easter dresses and we headed to church. They looked so pretty! It was a chilly, but sunny Spring day. So chilly in fact, that the girls had to wear their winter coats for the egg hunt after service. After church we headed home and the girls opened their Easter baskets from us. No wonder Easter is one of their favorite holidays. The goodies just keep on coming!

That afternoon we went to our friends, The Fortes for our annual Easter dinner. Every year they invite us to join their family for dinner. They treat the girls like their own grandkids and include them in their egg hunt and give them each an Easter basket. It's a lovely way to celebrate the holiday and it has been a tradition we have enjoyed for many, many years!

Spring Break came out of nowhere, and although we were not traveling anywhere the girls went to Michigan with my Mom and Aunt Sue. The main reason for the trip to Michigan was to celebrate the life of my Grandmother who had passed earlier this year. We were having a service and reception in her honor towards the end of the week. But first the girls were able to have some fun with my Mom, Aunt Sue and Uncle John. On the trip down to Michigan Cecilia lost one of two front teeth. It was a monumental occasion for her that I missed. But I couldn't help but smile when I got a text with this photo attached!

While on their little getaway they visited a museum, a bounce house place and some fun restaurants. It was definitely strange not having them home for the week, but they were having fun on their Spring Break which made it a little easier not being with them. Todd and I drove up to Michigan at the end of the week for the memorial service. It was bittersweet saying good bye to Nana Cleo, but the service was lovely. Olivia surprised us with a special poem she wrote for her. I was able to hold it together until that moment. It was a very special moment, and I was proud of my girl for having the courage to do that in front of so many people. 

With Spring Break over it was back to school and time to start the last big stretch before summer break. Within a few days of being home Cecilia lost her second front tooth. And just like that my girl had a big toothless grin. Olivia jumped right back into school with a big school presentation dealing with the constitution. Her presentation took place at our courthouse and was a big part of her grade that quarter. Of course she did a great job and made us extremely proud.

Even through Spring Break was over Spring was just getting started. Hard to believe we were getting ready to wrap up another year of school and jump into summer once again!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

goodbye 2017

With the holidays behind us it was time to find some things to help pass the time during the cold and dreary winter days. Before saying goodbye to 2017 Olivia played in the annual New Year's 3v3 soccer tourney with some of her teammates. This is a fun one day tournament with face paced mini games which we do each year. The girls played hard and to top it off Olivia and her team won their age division! Cheers to that!

We welcomed 2018 pretty uneventfully, but excited for a year full of fun things for the girls. First up, a couple of dance performances at two local basketball games. These performances are great practice as they are usually the first time the girls debut their newest dances. With competition just around the corner these performances serve as great "run-throughs". It's also a chance to debut the new costumes!

Before heading back to school from winter break, Olivia and her pal Aleah attended the Beasley Soccer Camp. They do his camps every summer and winter, and every so often he makes an appearance. He's still playing professionally so he isn't always available, but when he is he always makes a point to show up. So of course Olivia wasted no time getting her shoe autographed and snapping a photo with the Beaz!

Cecilia was able to enjoy one of her Christmas presents in January when her Dad took her to Shopkins Live! She had been looking forward to this show for weeks. She has a mild obsession with Shopkins so she could hardly wait to put on her Shopkin clothes and head to the show! She even ran into her pal, Sophie a fellow Shopkins fan! She loved the show and continues to love her Shopkins!

Olivia was also received a pretty awesome Christmas gift from her Dad which we enjoyed in February...Dancing with the Stars Live! Todd got her and I tickets for the show with special VIP access! I took Olivia a few years ago when the show came to town and we loved it! She still follows the show with me, so when we heard the tour was coming back to town her Dad could not resist getting her tickets and a chance to meet some of the stars!

At the VIP meet and greet a few of the pros came out and mingled with everyone. Olivia was super excited to meet Jenna, a pro that has been on the show for a few years. With her was Morgan, a newer member of the show. They both took time to talk to Olivia, which was sweet. It was the first time I have seen Olivia star-struck. I think she was amazed to see some of the people she watches on TV in person!

Soon after that we went in for our official photo op with more of the stars. This was the highlight for Olivia. She was able to meet the winner of last year's show...Jordan Fisher. He gave her a wink and called her "cutie". That was it...she was in heaven! I have to admit, it was pretty cool to see some of these people up close and personal. They are all pretty amazing dancers and darn good looking people too! The meet and greet was a cool experience for Olivia and it left a smile on her face for the rest of the night!

All of this fun and we still had the show ahead of us! It didn't disappoint either. Our seats were great and the dancing was even better! Olivia and I had a blast that night and I think it is something she will remember for a long time. I have been watching Dancing with the Stars with her for many years, so it was cool to share this with her once again! I am sure we will go back next time the tour comes to town!

Next up was Valentine's Day! The girls love this holiday so we make it all about them. Of course we had to continue our tradition of making heart shaped pizzas. We have done this every year for as long as I can remember. Each year as the girls grow older their pizzas turn out better and more delicious! No help was needed this year and I think they looked pretty good! They tasted just as good too! 

I cannot think of anything I would rather do than spend Valentine's Day, a day all about love, with my family...the people I love most in the whole world! How can your heart not be full of love when you look at these precious faces each and every day! 

Although we have managed to have some fun this winter we are more than ready for Spring to show up so we can get outside and enjoy some fresh air. It is hard to believe that in a few short months we will be wrapping up another school year and heading into summer!