Monday, July 20, 2015

yay, summer!

What marks the official start of summer? Well, the last day of school, of course! My girls love school, but they were pretty excited to get their summer break underway. Olivia had a very successful 2nd grade year, and Cece had a productive first year in her 3-6 classroom. Hooray for wrapping up another awesome school year!

It was both a fun and bittersweet last day. Cece's day was mostly just fun. A day spent at the splash pad, with a picnic at the playground. Fun with teachers and friends! It was a great way to wrap up the year.

Olivia's class also enjoyed a picnic at the playground, but the tone of the day was a little different for Olivia. She had to say goodbye to 3 teachers that had come to mean a lot to her over the years. Her head teacher, Ms. Sandra was moving on. Her assistant teacher, Jake was moving to Florida to be with his family, and her Spanish teacher, Ms. Veronique was also moving to Florida to be with her family. Ms. Veronique had been Olivia's Spanish teacher since her first year at Peace Montessori. It is always hard to say goodbye to people who have made such a huge impact on your life.

Cece has been continuing with her gymnastics classes and doing very well. Todd typically takes her to class on Saturdays as I am just wrapping up my fitness class at the gym. This particular week I was able to take her because she not only had her regular class, but a make up class later that morning.

She has a routine she follows every week. It was fun being able to see what she does in class and the progress she is making. She needs to work on her "focus" and the laziness, but she seems to enjoy it and that is all that matters to me.

We continue to get regular use out of our zoo pass this summer. Whenever we have a little free time we dash to the zoo for an hour or so. There are some new little babies this year and we can't get enough of them! On Wednesday nights they stay open late which allows us to go after work. It's always a good time at the zoo!

One of our biggest events each summer is the annual dance recital. It's a weekend full of rehearsals, costumes and performances. It's extra busy for me because I not only have two little girls performing, but I have the students I teach performing as well. That puts me on double duty. The first night of the recital was pretty low key. Olivia only had two dances and most of my classes were performing on Saturday. She performed her hip-hop dance and her large production number. The production number was "Frozen" themed and she played an Olaf. Two very cute dances!

Now night two of recital was a whole different ball game. Olivia had 4 dances, Cecilia had her tap dance and I had most of my students performing as well. It was a hectic night. Olivia and Cece had dances back to back at the start of the night. Olivia had Jazz and right after Cece went on stage for her tap dance. They looked so stinkin' cute in their costumes together.

Everything started off great. Olivia did a great job with her first number and Cece went on stage with no hesitations. Within moments of her dance beginning Cece burst into tears. I am partly to blame. I was on the side of the stage and she could see me. Myself and the other teachers were giggling at how cute she looked and it must have frightened her. She continued, but danced through tears. I was heartbroken and felt responsible for her not performing as well as I knew she could. I would have loved a do-over. There's always next year, I guess.

Once Cece came off stage she was handed off to our dear babysitter, Holly offered to spend the evening with her while Olivia performed the rest of her dances. She danced her heart out in jazz, tap and ballet that night and she looked beautiful in each of her costumes. I was most impressed with her stage presence. She has grown so much in both her technique and her confidence on stage.

Another important part of recital is saying goodbye to the senior dancers. This year was particularly hard as Olivia and Cecilia were close two of the seniors...Katie and Emily. These two have been amazing role models for my girls and they have a very special place in my heart as they were my students as well. We will miss them so much!

Let's not forget about the dance teachers.First up is Ms. Ann. This is Olivia's ballet teacher and also the Director of the dance studio. I took ballet from Ann when I danced at Northeast so I love that Olivia is learning from her as well.

Next up is Cecilia's tap teacher, Ms. Noelle. This lady has more patience than anyone I know. She has taught Cece so much in the two years she has had her. She is also the person who was able to get Cece to dance through her tears on stage. We love her!

Ms. Mackenzie has been Olivia's jazz teacher for two years. She comes up with the cutest routines for these girls and managed to pull things together at 7 months pregnant! Can't wait to see what Ms. Mackenzie comes up with next year!

Last but not least is Ms. Schiebel. This lady is one amazing tap teacher. She is the one that sparked my love for tap and helped to make it my strongest dance style during my time at the studio. To have her as Olivia's tap teacher means the world to me! I can see that same spark forming in Olivia with each year she spends under Ms. Schiebel's instruction.

This was Olivia's 7th dance recital and the 2nd for Cecilia. I love watching my daughter's experience the same joy I did when I grew up dancing. They may not want to do it forever, and that is fine. But for now they are having a great time, making some sweet friends and learning a lot! The experiences I had growing up at the dance studio are ones that I will carry with me forever. Now I am watching my two little girls starting to have those same experiences!

The day after the dance recital was complete we packed Olivia up and took her to Camp Potawatomi. This camp is put on by the YMCA and has a great reputation. Both Todd and I had been as kids, so we were excited for Olivia to have this experience. It was Father's Day so we spent the day together before dropping her off. The entire day Olivia could hardly contain her excitement. Her and Aleah had been looking forward to spending this week together for months. This was Olivia's first overnight camp and the first time she was going to be away from home for a week with anyone other than my Mom.

We arrived at camp and checked Olivia her cabin. Aleah was waiting and already had their bunks picked out. You could tell by their faces that these two were ready for a great week! We gave Olivia a big hug and left her in the hands of the counselors until Friday.

Each night the camp would upload pictures from the day. Todd and I couldn't wait to check at the end of the day to see what the girls had been up to. Within the first few days you could tell she was bonding with the girls in her cabin and having some fun. The girls even won the "spirit award" in their cabin!

The week consisted of crafting, rock climbing, swimming, exploring and just having fun. We weren't able to talk to the kids during the week but we were able to send her one letter each day and the counselors would deliver them during lunch. Olivia sent two letters home during the week, which was super cute. What impressed me most was that she took care of herself all week long, for the most part. Talk about promoting independence!

Come Friday we were super excited to pick her up! When we arrived the girls were waiting by the window of their cabin. After lots of hugs she started telling us all about what she did all week. The girls had the time of their lives. They made great friends, and became close with their counselors. As we were gathering Olivia's stuff she asked if she could go back with Aleah next year.

Before heading home we enjoyed a camp dinner and a few camp songs. The girls showed us around the camp property, we packed up the car and headed home. Olivia shared so much on the drive home about the amazing time she had. I am so glad that we decided to send her to this camp and that she was able to enjoy so many neat experiences with her best friend. What a memorable week for these two! See you next year, Camp Potawatomi!

Our summer continues to be busy and full of fun times. The summer is speeding by, but we are making the most of every second!