It's time to catch up! Here we are in the middle of summer and I'm talking about the girl's last day of school. Olivia and Cecilia have been out of school for about one month now and we have been moving non-stop. Now that July is here things can finally slow down a bit and we can enjoy some "time off".
Cece successfully wrapped up her first year at Peace Montessori with a fun class picnic. It was a chance for all the toddlers and their parents to get together and celebrate how far these little ones have come this year. Watching Cece play with her friends and seeing just how much she has grown to love her teacher, Ms. Lisa nearly brought tears to my eyes. I was able to hold back those tears until the graduation ceremony.
Watching my big girl accept her certificate and flower, and more importantly being given the go-ahead to move up to the primary classroom brought those tears out! I could not be more proud of what she has accomplished this year.
Olivia also wrapped up her 1st grade year in style. Spending the day with her best buds at the park, just being carefree. I joined her for lunch and hung around to watch her enjoying time with friends she has known for years. Not only has this school provided Olivia with a strong education, it has also given her some of the best friendships a little girl could ask for. It's hard for me to believe that she will be entering the 2nd grade in a just over a month, but I am excited for what lies ahead for her.
I always get a kick out of seeing how much the girls have changed from the first to the last day of school. Seeing the changes in my girls makes me emotional, knowing that time is simply passing me by...much quicker than I'd like.
After school had officially come to an end we went right into 3 weeks of chaos...birthdays, holidays and dance recitals. First on the list...Father's Day. We kicked off the day with a trip to the zoo. Todd didn't care what we did that day, as long as he spent the day with his girls.
That afternoon we spent some time at the pool and wrapped up the day with dinner at my Mom's. A steak and a nice glass of wine and Father's day was almost complete...after a few presents of course. It may be Father's Day, but Cece still insists on opening all presents! You can tell just by looking at Todd that he feels he is the luckiest Daddy on earth. How could you not feel that way when those four little arms are wrapped around, squeezing you tight?
In her free time Olivia continues to excel with soccer. In early June she wrapped up another session at The Plex and went right into try-outs for a travel team. It was a week long try-out, full of assessments of their skills and technique. She was thrilled to find out that she made the team, along with her buds, Aleah and Ava. Now the challenge is going to be figuring out how to balance the demands of soccer with all of her dance classes. Could be tricky! In the meantime she is enjoying a fun summer session of just games. First game of the season her team even won the "world cup"!
Summer time means the girls have their days free to do more things. Olivia spends many of her days with my Mom at the pool, while Cece is usually with her sitter. They occasionally attend summer camp at their school but we also try to squeeze in a special activity every now and then. One of the first things we did with the girls was take them to see the butterfly exhibit at the Botanical Conservatory. We did this with Olivia when she was little and she loved it. She even managed to make the local the newspaper!
(Olivia - 3 1/2 yrs.)
Cece was super excited to see the butterflies at first...until they started getting a little too close for comfort. It was at that point that she started to scream at the top of her lungs. Not out of fear, but more out of excitement that these creatures were getting so close to her. She liked them, but preferred to view them from a distance.
I must admit, they were simply gorgeous. It was hard to view them as they don't stay still for very long, but we were able to see some of them up close. It was a cool experience and one I am glad both of my girls were able to experience.
One of our biggest summer activities is the annual dance recital. This is something that Olivia has been doing 6 years, but this year would be Cecilia's first time performing. Dance recital weekend is a busy one. Two full days of rehearsals and performances. Costumes, make-up, hair-dos. It is a big deal. The kids spend all year working on their dances so they can perform them for family and friends at the end of the season.
The first night of recital all eyes were on Cece. Olivia had one number that night too, but it was one that she would be repeating the following night with all of her others. Rehearsal did not go well for Cece that morning. She decided not to dance and instead stood frozen on the stage with her finger in her nose. My hopes for a dazzling performance during the actual recital that evening were not looking good.
After many conversations about doing her dance on the big stage and showing us her "moves", something clicked and she pulled out a stellar performance when it really counted. My girl danced her heart out at her recital, and more importantly seemed to have fun doing so. She was not afraid to be on a big stage doing her dance for everyone to see. My heart overflowed with pride that night, knowing that she was able to do something so grown up.
And let's talk about how cute she looked! The song she danced to was called "Mickey Motion", which explains the costume. There was no complaining when it came to putting on the Minnie costume. In fact she didn't want to take it off. I started the day with little faith that Cecilia would actually dance at her first recital, but boy did she prove me wrong!
The next night it was all about Olivia. Cece stayed home that night as not to disturb Olivia's 5 performances. Being a teacher at the dance studio means that my students perform as well. While my Mom and Todd get to enjoy the show from the audience, I usually see Olivia's performances from the side of the stage. This was the first year that Olivia had five dances to remember. Along with those five dances, came 5 adorable costumes. This year she danced tap, jazz, ballet and hip-hop.
I was lucky enough to have a few of the parents take some amazing action shots from the audience that night. I usually just get back stage shots, so I was super grateful to have some great shots of Olivia dancing. It's quite different to see how she looks from the front as opposed to watching her do her dances from the wings. The first thing that always comes to mind is how comfortable Olivia is on stage. She loves to perform and dancing just comes naturally to her. It makes me happy knowing she is doing something she truly enjoys.
Once recital weekend was over I breathed a sign of relief. The first thing out of Olivia's mouth was, "I wish we could do this every weekend!". Dancing holds a special place in my heart. I spent the majority of my childhood at the dance studio. I am now blessed to watch Olivia grow into a strong little dancer, and possibly Cece too, if she develops the same love for it as her sister. The best part of dance is the friendships. These are friendships that you hold onto for life. I still keep in touch with many of my old dancing gals.
So what else have we been doing with our summer? Lots of swimming! Most weekends you can find us at Todd's brother's pool or the pool within my Mom's neighborhood. The girls never get tired of swimming with each other or with friends. Sometimes Cece even gets to swim with her babysitter, Holly. Not a bad way to spend the summer days!
Another big change in recent days...we now have a 3 year old in our house. Next time I will bring you up to speed on Cece's birthday celebration as well as our other summer activities. Olivia just left for her annual California trip with my Mom to visit my Aunt, and in a few days Cece and I will join them for a week. The days are just flying by!