Friday, May 28, 2010

Dance Recital 2010

Heidi recently had her dance recital.  She dances through the City of New Hope which is a pretty cool program.  They have some competition classes and they do a full recital at the end of the year. 

Heidi has been dancing with her BFF Lauren since they started in New Hope.  They are both looking forward to getting their 5 year trophy (only 3 years to go!)

They are so cute in their costumes!

I tried very hard to get the goof ball to be normal for a picture and this is what I got.

And this. Nice Heidi.

There was a no flash photography rule.  I forgot.

But all of my pictures have heads in them. And most of them are fuzzy.  So, that's karma...!

The girls did a fantastic job.  Really.  I am not just saying that because she is mine.  Their class got the biggest applause out of the entire program.  And most of the girls remembered the steps.

Way to go girls!!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Book Review: The Watson’s Go To Birmingham

After completing The Help Shawn mentioned his students were reading a book called The Watson’s Go To Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis and that he was going to read it.

This book was set in 1963 partly in Flint MI and partly in Birmingham AL. He read it on the plane on the way to CA and then passed it on to me.

It was a quick read at 210 pages. Refreshing after the bulky book I had just finished.

It was a light hearted read. Also refreshing after the sometimes intense moments in The Help.

In reading this book I realized how jaded I have become while reading a book. I could not help but expect for something really awful to happen. There were two tense points late in the book but since this book was written for the middle school sect it was not overly dramatic.

The story is about a boy, Kenny, who lived in 1963 Flint MI with his Goofy Father, his Mama who relocated from Birmingham after marring his father, his older brother, Byron, who was always getting in trouble, and his younger sister, Joetta, who was very protective of the trouble making older brother.

Kenny and Joetta watch Byron cause a lot of trouble and repeatedly get reprimanded by their parents. After a forbidden hairdo incident involving Byron, his parents decide it is time for By to go live with his grandma in Birmingham for awhile. They pack up the Brown Bomber, their family car, and drive from Michigan to Alabama. While in Alabama the family is faced with what is really happening in the Civil Rights Movement at the time with a church bombing and the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

Curtis writes this story so well you believe Curtis is Kenny. It truly reads as an autobiography, not a fictional story. I suggest you check it out. If you have a middle school aged child in your home, enjoy it with them.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

It's Carnival Time!

Every year for as long as anyone I know can remember, the elementary school at the end of our road has held a carnival.

So on carnival night we packed up the kids and went to check it out.

It was an instant hit since they had a bounce around.  The kids didn't even mind waiting in the 15 minute line to get in.  In fact, the waited twice!

This bouncy maze thing was pretty cool too.  You enter through the hole on one end.  Navigate through the pillars.

Climb through some walls.

And end up on the other side.  Two people can go at one time and race or one person can go at a bouncy pace.  Heidi picked the bouncy pace.

More waiting in line.  It rained out that night so Heidi had the appropriate foot wear on.  To bad the carnival is held inside the school...

I really do find it impossible to get all three of them to be looking at the camera at the same time and not making a crazy face or be talking. I love this picture because they are each doing one of the things that make picture taking so difficult!

It was a lot of family fun. Even Shawn danced his way through the Junk Food walk!

All of the girls won something.

Heidi picked a polar bear stuffy because who doesn't need 7 polar bear stuffies?

Emily won a book in the book walk that came with a sweet bathtub toy!

And Jess got some donuts which the kids promptly devoured the next morning.

Over all it was a blast! We spent a ton of money and had a great time. We look forward to next year!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Dance Practice

Dance Recital practice takes up one Saturday every spring.  It's typically the first nice Saturday in many, many months.  I have been through this so many times and it's always the same.

The girls did a good job watching the class in front of them do their dance 17 times.

Then, finally it was their turn to go line up.  There were two classes with the same costumes dancing to the same song.  They do this in this age group and then one class dances in Saturday's Recital and the other dances on Sunday.  It works well.

There is always some crazy itchy part of the costume.  This year it was the arm bands.  Luckily they were able to remove those after the dance.  Last year it was the top part of the costume so the poor girls just had to suffer.  But all is okay when you are with friends!

When they got on stage I was amazed at how well they remembered their dance.

And they all looked so cute in their tutus!

The big finish! 

And when it's over they get to relax until it's time to do it all over again. 

It's a long day and they all wish they were outside playing instead of sitting in the high school auditorium but come next weekend with all the families are there watching they are happy they showed up for practice!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Heidi and Emily BOTH Love Gymnastics! Or Two Goons On A Bar!

Ok, this is the last of the Last Day of Gymnastics posts.  I am just such a proud Mom / Aunt!

After class one of the teachers pulled us aside and asked to get some pictures of the girls on the bar.

She also said if the girls lived in Texas they could work with Bela Karolyi.  I don't know about that but they could have hung on the bar for weeks.

Many hours of practice at the playground and in the back yard sure have paid off.  This was a long photo session!

And flip! Here's the fun part.  They could have hung here for weeks also.  But the other class was starting so we had to go. Three weeks until Summer Gymnastics Camp starts for Heidi!  She can't wait because...

We Love Gymnastics!!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Emily Loves Gymnastics!

Emily love Gymnastics too. Don't let this picture let you think otherwise!

She gives me this look a lot. "It's just my face!"

See!  She really likes it!

She missed the first day of class because both of the girls feel off the Rock Wall at the Maple Maze the night before.  Emily hurt her foot and had to stay off it for a bit.

The second week she went and was very shy.  She didn't want mom to leave.

But look how good she is! We are all so happy she went to class the second week.

Yeah Emily!!  I hope you are able to go back next year.  Gymnastics is your calling.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Three Goons On A Rainy Sunday

These three Goons were caught vegging out on the couch after a long rainy weekend.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Heidi Loves Gymanstics!

Saturday marked the completion of Heidi's fourth Gymnastics session.  Her first session was with the New Hope program where we did not enjoy the class at all.  The teach did not teach.

We moved her to the Brooklyn Center program and met Miss. Tammy.  Tammy is great and really does teach the kids.

Heidi participated in the 3 to 5 year old class two sessions in a row and then was moved up to the 6 to 12 year class.

This caused some drama through out the year as Heidi pushes her self to be the best in the class.  We had to keep reminding her that some of the girls had been doing this stuff for many years and were much older than her.  We advised her to stay with the girls closer to her size. That really did make things better.

Parents are not allowed to watch class.  It distracts the kids and they work harder and differently when we are not there.  On the last day the families are invited to watch as the kids show off what they learned. 

I don't know what is going on with my camera so the pictures are not great but I guess they will have to do.

She is all ready for class to start!  I am a mean mom and I make my child dress for her activities.  For dance, she must wear tights and a leotard.  For skating, she must wear mittens and a helmet.  For gymnastics, she must wear a leotard or sung fitting tank and yoga pants or other cotton pants.  She hates me for this but I just think it's the right thing to do.

She seems to have made friends in the class and she loves her teachers!  No one tell Tammy she is in this picture, she does not allow pictures of her to be taken let alone published on the web...

Time to stretch!  All the way to the floor?  WOW!

Splits! Come on! You can go down farther than that!!  Looks like you are doing the Dolphin, not the splits...

Miss. Tammy made them hold this for 1 minute.

Now that's a great bridge!  Keep it up!!

Time for Kick ups / Hand Stands. Get into position.

And up!  Great job!  She isn't making it all the way up yet but this is a great start!

They walk on the low beam forward and backward and on tip toes.  Then they walk on the high beam.  At the end they can do a trick or just jump off.  Heidi just jumped.  Maybe next year she will add a trick.

This is Heidi's favorite apparatus, the uneven bars.  She practices this at the park when ever the opportunity is there.

My lens must be really dirty...

Great job Heidi!!  You did it!!

Last event of the day was jumping in the pit. I didn't get a picture of her mid-jump like I wanted, just a picture of her waiting in line. Look how excited she looks!

It all starts again in a June with Gymnastics camp. We can't wait!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

What's Going On Willy?

I am not really sure what is happening in either of these pictures but I can tell you that's Mountain Dew in the cup...

Friday, May 14, 2010

The P.I.G.

Oh, Piggy.  You are a sweet little boy.

Love you Turkey Burger!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Book Review: The Help

The Help By Kathryn Stockett

I recently read a book called The Help written by Kathryn Stockett. Prior to reading the book I had not read any reviews but I did see it on the end cap at Target. I was not sure what it would be about but I am always up for a book that is not set in current day New York City or London.

I was absolutely hooked the minute I started reading this novel.

The book follows the life of three society women in Jackson Mississippi from 1962 through 1965, the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement, and a few maids who raised these women and their children.

Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan returns to her parents’ cotton farm after graduating from Ole Miss with a degree in English. She sets out to make find a journalism career and make a difference in the world.

On Skeeter’s journey she befriends two maids, Aibileen and Minny who share glimpses into their lives as black maids in Jackson. Starting out with the seemingly simple mission to find out what happened to her lifelong maid Skeeter ends up learning a lot more about the life of a black maid in 1962 and about herself.

The book makes mention of the murder of Medgar Evers and Martin Luther King Jr and shows how tragic these events were for the African American community.

I was deeply touched by this novel. While it is a fictional novel, Stockett incorporates history accurately and appropriately into the story.

I recommend this novel to everyone. It is a wonderful, welcome change to the typical chick-lit books found on the shelves today.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Iron Man 2

Heidi has a tendency to be overly empathetic which causes her to be upset by just about every movie she has ever watched.

The first feature length movie she was able to sit through was The Simpson’s Movie. I know it’s not a kid movie by any stretch of the word but that didn’t stop me from letting her watch it about 73 times.

Then she discovered The Chipmunks when my parents took her to see The Squeakquel. She rotates between The Simpson’s Movie, The Squeakquel, and the first Chipmunks movie.

On Sunday, Ryan and Jess asked if we wanted to go see Iron Man 2 with them.

Heidi is a huge superhero fan but I had assumed it was only in theory. She likes to play Spiderman, she even has a costume. And we like to play Transformers while driving. We all pick which Autobot we are and then we pretend all the oncoming traffic is actually Decepticons.

I was very nervous she would freak out during the movie and we would have to leave. I care about my daughter but I am also very cheap. I do not want to pay $21 for the three of us to see a movie only to have to leave half way through. Leaving a movie or missing parts is also very bad for my OCD.

I left the decision up to her. I asked her if she thought she could sit through the entire movie. I told her it would get loud and fighty and things would explode. I think that made her want to go more!

She said “Mom, you know movies are pretend. That stuff can’t happen in real life.”

So, we loaded up the car and went to the movie.

And we LOVED it! I am not sure how much of my love for this movie was due to the actual movie (very loud, fighty, explody, and funny) and how much was from watching how mature my daughter has become.

About 40 minutes into the movie she said “Is it almost over?” I said “probably just less than half way.” She cheered.

Then with 20 minutes left I said “Ok, it’s going to get all loud and fighty now. Then it will be over. Get ready.” And she cheered. Not because it was almost over but because she wanted it to be all loud and fighty!

Not only did she sit through the entire movie, she paid such close attention and commented on things I had not even noticed.

I never was into reading comic books and I didn’t watch comic book inspired cartoons as a child. I was into the Smurfs, The Jetsons, Care Bears, My Little Ponies, and other girl friendly shows and the only comic I ever read was Archie or printed in the Sunday paper. What I do know about Marvel and DC Comics has come from watching movies as an adult (equal parts superhero and Kevin Smith). Oh, and of course the Superman movies as a kid!

Since I have limited superhero knowledge I had no clue the relevance of Nick Fury. I also missed the S.H.I.E.L.D. reference and had no idea what that meant.

But Heidi. She caught on quickly. She made the quick correlation between the Burger King toy she got last week (a bracelet) and the bracelet worn by Blackwidow late in the movie.

The kids immediately went home and played Iron Man. Willy and Emily were Iron Man, Heidi was Blackwidow, Shawn was Ivan Vanko, and I was Pepper Potts. Basically I just stood back and said things like “Oh, you are worrying me!” and “Please don’t get hurt!” My perfect roll!

I am amazed on a daily basis how much Heidi is maturing. I am also very impressed she is equal parts Girly Girl and Tomboy. Being well rounded will take you places in life and now we get to see more loud, fighty, explody, and funny movies!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Silly Pete

When Pete first came home back in October he lived in the guest room. After a few days we moved him into Heidi's room. He had his own litter box until he had been with us for about 2 months.

One day, sometime in December, I emptied, cleaned, and refilled Eddie's litter box.

Pete's box had been filled with litter that is made of recycled paper. It is easy to clean up and keeps odors very low.

Eddie's box is filled with Petco Scoopable Litter. It is just like sand, it works well, and it's cheap.

Pete discovered Eddie's freshly cleaned litter box, dove in, and rolled around like it was a sand box. Since I don't typically have my camera with me for this particular chore I was not able to get a picture of how cute this was.

Then on one of the first days that Pete was allowed to go outside he discovered Heidi's sand box. He jumped in and rolled around just like that day back in December.

This time I had my camera.
It's no wonder my dining room is full of sand...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Silly Heidi - Picture Three

Oh, brother!  What is wrong with this child?

Feel free to post a comment on this! :)