Tuesday, April 7, 2015

March {2015}

March was another really fun and eventful month!!

It started off with Adam and I taking a morning off of work to spend with Alexa at her school making dulcimers for their music unit.  Any excuse to spend the day with my kid is such a huge bonus for me and making these fun dulcimers was such a blast.  The morning was broken up into different step by step instructions on how to create their musical instruments, most of which the kids were all able to do on their own.  The adults helped with the staple guns and keeping track of the small pieces that go into the making of a dulcimer.  I loved seeing my girls interact with their peers in a school setting.  I can really tell Alexa is a well-liked little girl and makes the most out of every situation.  She is full of giggles and has some of the most adorable friends.  I only wish I had the time to volunteer in her class more often.

We finished up with her right before they were about to go out for recess and have lunch.  She was able to bring her dulicmer home a few weeks later, after they learned a few songs in music, and has been playing it at home ever since.  And let me just say it's a much more pleasant sound than her recorder. ;)

We also had Alexa's parent/teacher conferences this month.  I get as giddy about this day as I do any national holiday.  I love to hear how my girls are growing and excelling academically.  They have such fantastic teachers, so it's fun to spend that one on one time with them and really get to know how each of the girls is doing acedemically, socially..ect.  Plus, we get to learn fun little things like..it's impossible for Ms. Horn to get Alexa to sit still in class.  She'll sit at her desk, but her toes are always tapping (#dancerproblems).  And during read-to-self time, Alexa will stand up against the wall to read, rather than find a cozy spot on the ground to sit.  It's interesting to see that her little quirks come out at school, too, not just at home.  
Her reading scores have really sky-rocketed since the beginning of the year and we're so so proud of her.  She'd rather do a million math problems a day than read, so this was a huge deal for her and we could tell how excited she is about doing even better before year end.

At the beginning of the month we were emailed make-up and hair tutorials for the girls' dance competition and were told to "practice".  The make up was fairly easy and even the fake eyelashes went better than I expected, it was just really time consuming considering I have to do everything twice.  It was Alexa's hair that really had me flustered.  Lilli's was a simple ballerina bun at the top of her head, but Alexa's was a crazy faux hawk.  It's gorgeous, but I'm just not a hair person...

Alexa's face pretty much sums up how I felt after 4+ hours of practicing hair and make up one Saturday afternoon....

The mom's from Alexa's dance group got together for a fun ladies night with drinks, laughs and apps.
We were supposed to make signs for our girls for their competition at the end of the month, but ended up giving one of the moms the go ahead to make a cute minion sign, since our girls' jazz dance is to a collaberation of Despicable Me songs and instead we just told stories, laughed and drank!

Oh, and we maybe embarassed our girls a little by posting this picture on Instagram with the caption, "To Our Amazing Minions".#dancemoms

{3 cuties on a 4-wheeler}

{Alexa & Rachel}

I was able to have a fun girls night with my favorites, Andrea and Kristin to watch the Bachelor finale.  We are posing below with our annoying Whitney hair (always in her face) - clearly we were all #TeamBecca

I love these two ladies so much that it was 100% worth being tired all week (I didn't get home until nearly 2am.)  to have the best girls night.  We paused the show countless times to chit chat, take a celebratory shot, drink wine and eat all the sugar! ;)

{Doing some light stretching}

{Alexa reading to Lilli at the library}

Living in Minnesota, we never really know what to expect in the month of March as far as weather goes, but I'd say overall this year we got pretty lucky.  We saw a lot of melting snow and temperatures that allowed us to be outdoors without our coats on.  

The girls absolutely LOVE their rollerblades and have been mastering going up and down the street and around our neighborhood.

Lilli had her Animal Science Fair at school.  Each student was supposed to pick an animal to research and create a 'book' on the facts they learned about their animal.  Lilli picked the zebra, the same animal Alexa chose when she was in 1st grade.  She also had to create a 3D replica of her animal to display.  I was thisclose to having her use Alexa's, that I have kept over the years, but knew that Lilli would benefit much more from making her own.  We used a plastic water bottle for the body and pieces of cardboard from  toilet paper rolls for the legs and head.  Lilli painted it all white and designed the stripes in black.

The parents were invited to come and see all the kids' animals on display and were allowed to ask them questions about their animals.  Lilli did an awesome job.  She read lots of information from her book (upside down) to the guests so that they could see the pictures.  I was quite impressed with that.  She also had information available on her ipad for anyone who wanted to learn even more about zebras.  We were so proud of her for speaking clearly, not being shy and for all the fun facts she gathered about zebras.  Alexa was even able to sneak out of class to surprise her little sister.

Saturday the 14th, the girls had their companie kick-off at their dance studio.  They were up bright and early to be at the studio in full hair and make-up by 9:30 with all their costumes, lunches, bottled water and snacks for the day.  They did several team building exercises, played games, got to show their dances to the other groups and then did a complete run-through of all their dances in costume for the parents.  It was such a fun day for them getting to bond with each other and get to know some of the other dancers from the other companie groups.  It's so sweet to see the older girls buddy up with some of the younger dancers.  They have no idea how much those little ones idolize them.  We left the studio around 5:45, so it was quite the long day for them...but, there is no place the girls would rather be than dancing with their friends.

While they were there I went to coffee with some of the Starlight mom's (Lilli's group) and then set up shop at the Carbone's in town to make star signs for our girls.  We had a blast!!  I am so grateful for the wonderful mom's I've met through the girls' dance.  The signs turned out pretty cute, too... ;)

As soon as we got the girls home from their kick-off my SIL, Courtney, and I had to quickly get ready for my soon-to-be SIL's bachelorette party in downtown Minneapolis.  Adam dropped us off at Crave, where we had dinner with Kelly, the rest of the bridesmaids and some other close friends.  From there we played some games at the hotel they stayed at and hit up a few bars downtown.  Typical bachelorette shinnanies including a round of shots in a bathroom stall with the group of 'married' ladies.
It was so fun to be out celebrating the beautiful bride, but Courtney and I called it a night around 1am and had Adam come pick us up and tuck us into bed. ;)  #husbandoftheyear

Meanwhile, the girls were home hanging out with daddy and their uncles watching Harry Potter.  I have started reading the Harry Potter series to the girls before bed each night and told them that we could watch the movie after we finished each book.  Uncle Tiny is a huge Harry Potter fan and has all the books and DVD's, so we're set...the girls loved being able to see their favorite characters come to life after reading the book.

Lilli wore her Shamrock shirt on St. Patty's Day.

Lilli & Elly lovin' on Ms. Lacy at dance // Rachel, Alexa & Kaylee being goofy // Kaylee & Alexa // My new Synergy shirt...just in time for the girls' first competition

The moment we had been preparing for all month finally arrived....the girls had their very first dance competition on March 21st.  They participated in the Applause Talent Show at the Tedd Mann Concert Hall in Minneapolis. 

I will do a separate post on this as there are far too many pics/details to share here.  But, I will say they both did AMAZING and we had such a fun time.  Definitely a memorable weekend for all of us.

The Sunday following their competition our March snowfall came.  We got about 10" overnight.  It lasted a little longer than we thought, about 3-4 days, but it's completely gone now as we've had a little bit of rain to wash it away and some warm sunny days.

The girls and their friends Kaitlin and Taylor enjoyed playing in what we hope is the last snowfall of this season.

A friend of ours opened a taco shop called, Taco Andale, just a block and a half away from our house.  They've had what they're calling a 'soft open' and have invited family and friends to come try a select number of items off their menu and give our feedback.  So, far it's been very successful and we are huge fans.  

The last weekend in March turned out to be the most relaxing weekend we've had in such a long time and one we all desperately needed.  We took our time running a few errands on Saturday, including a stop for some ice-cream at Culvers and then spent the rest of the weekend watching movies.  We watched Patch Adams with the girls and then Adam and I watched Gone Girl, Bad Bosses 2 and Let's Be Cops.

Alexa had her friend Jillian spend the night on Sunday night as it was the start of their week long spring break.  They had planned  a double-sleepover with Jillian at our house on Sunday and Alexa at her's on Monday night.  This allowed for Lilli and I to have a special mama/daughter date Monday night.  I took her to the movie Cinderella and besides one other older couple in the theater, we were the only ones there.  It was so fun to feel like we had the entire theater to ourselves and a private showing of such a sweet movie.

After Alexa got home on Tuesday it was onto more fun with a double playdate with her friends Rachel and Macy.  And Lilli had her friend Sydney over to play, too.  They played on the trampoline, while I made tacos for dinner and then we went to the park to soak up the sunshine and warm weather.  We could not have asked for better weather to kick off spring break for the girls and the new month of April.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

February {2015}

I have debated about what I want to do with my blog for a long long time.  And rather than give it up completely ( I just couldn't ) I've decided to put together a recap of each month and sprinkle in a few other posts in between if I have the time.  I've always kept the intent of this blog as a scrapbook for my kids and myself, so I want to continue to document those things, but without the pressure (from myself) that I need to write a post every/other day, ect.  So, without further ado...our recap of the month of February!

// We kicked off the month with a Super Bowl Party at our friends Amy and Chad's house.  We had a few drinks, snacked on some delicious apps and watched New England beat Seattle.  The kids wanted  nothing to do with the football game until the half time show came on.  We LOVE Katy Perry!

//  We also had the girl's annual school Sock Hop. It ended up being quite a busy night as we started off at the girls' studio for their musical theater technique class and then had to quickly change them into their poodle skirts for the sock hop and from there we drove to Adam's parents house.

 - The sock hop was so much fun for the girls.  It's one of their very favorite days of the year.  Lilli had been counting down the days for over a month.  They got brand new poodle skirts this year from Sarah's Poodle Skirt Palace and they had an absolute blast running around and dancing/hanging out with their friends.  It was so cute to see all the kids dressed up and having a good time.  Even tho it's not my personal favorite school event, the kids sure have a blast and enjoy it every year.  It's hard to believe that next year will be Alexa's last sock hop and then she'll be off to middle school!!

- We got to Juan & Linda's pretty late - the girls had fallen asleep in the car and actually stayed sleeping once we got them inside and to bed.  So, Adam and I decided to go out on the town.  Unfortunatly, said town is fairly small and the first bar we went to closed at 11.  So, I basically had to chug my drink...then we went to another bar and I was pretty much toast after my second long island.  We hit up a truck stop so I could wolf down some french toast, but I was still a stumbly mess when Adam finally took me home at 2am.  Luckily, I was able to wake up for our early morning tax appointment, but I pretty much slept/laid on the couch the rest of the day.  #oldladyproblems   And I may or may not have bought these amazing cat rings during our wild night out.... ;)

// One of Lilli's teachers is about to have a baby any day now, so instead of taking the chance that she'd be in labor or home on maternity leave with her sweet baby during the normal schedule for parent/teacher conferences - we had them a few weeks early.  Adam and I were so impressed with the excellent reports about our little girl.  She is excelling so quickly in first grade and besides a reminder here and there to stop being so chatty with her friends, her behavior is wonderful, too!!  We usually let the girls pick out a few books from the book fair that they have during conferences, but since Lilli's were early the book fair wasn't going on yet - so, we took her to Target to pick out a few new books.  She chose an Amelia Bedelia book and a Junie B. Jones chapter book.  We also had to take a picture by the new #TargetDog statue.

// Valentine's Day!!  It was kind of exciting to have Valentine's Day fall on a Saturday this year, but instead of doing something super romantic, we took the girls to the MN State High School Dance Competition.  My friend Kristin's sister is the captian of the Eden Prairie Dance Team and we had a blast watching their high-kick team make it to finals.  Kristin and her family made us feel super welcome, like we were part of the EP family.  Kara quickly became the girls' dance IDOL!

 - We also had lots of fun making Valentine's for the girls' teachers, classmates, dance coaches and their dance teams.  Alexa of course had to incorporate 'minions' into her Valentine's...and I'm pretty impressed with how they turned out.  #pinterestWIN

// One of Adam's co-workers celebrated his 40th birthday at the Golden Nugget in Minnetonka.  Alexa had a sleepover at her friend Jillian's and my brother and his fiance took Lilli so that Adam and I could enjoy a night out and celebrate with Andrew.  It was fun to have a date night with Adam and see some of his awesome co-workers again.  Then I got this picture text from my brother......

...and had to show everyone his idea of 'babysitting'.  Clearly, she's loving every second of it.

// February 18th was Natioanl Eat Ice-Cream for Breakfast Day!!  Probably the girls' most favorite day to celebrate.. not only did they love eating the ice-cream for breakfast but we loved supporting the fight against childhood cancer.  You can read more about it, here.  

// It was our good friends Andrea and Aaron's wedding anniversary this month.  While chatting with Andrea, I discovered they hadn't made plans to celebrate, so I offered to watch their little Avrie so that they could enjoy a night out together....because that's what bestie do.  The girls loved having Avrie over and I loved visiting with A and Aa after their date night!

{stolen from Andrea's IG}

// I've been sworn to secrecy on any details but the girls have started practicing for their big dance finale for recital coming up at the end of May.  They practice on weekends for 2 hours at a time, so Adam and I usually go out with other dance parents for a few drinks or a meal/apps depending on the time of day.  We've seen a few sneak peeks of their routine and I promise you (family) it's going to be worth sitting through the entire recital for!  Costumes have all come in, as well, eeeekkk!!  So exciting!

// Spur of the moment (as in 6 at night) I asked Adam if he'd take me to the 50 Shades of Grey movie.  He kinda rolled his eyes, but said he would if I could find a last minute babysitter.  Lucky for me, our go-to gal, Delaney, was willing to watch our girls at her house while she did her homework so that Adam and I could sneak out for a bit.  And let me tell you there was nothing at all awkward about sitting next to a mid-60's lady, who was there all alone, laughing at all the awkward parts and basically watching a light pornographic movie with like a hundred other people...#sarcasm  But honestly, the movie was just kind of...meh!

// All four of us had eye doctor appointments this month.  Adam has dry tear ducts and is on special drops 4 times a day and a specific regimen of putting warm rags on his eyes a couple times a day......he sometimes follows through. ;)  My eyes are actually getting better, which apparently happens at my age and then when I hit 40 things should go down hill again.  The girls on the other hand have perfect eyesight.  We bought them each a pair of new sunglasses that are 100% UV protected.  Did you know that the cute sunglasses you buy at Target may not 100% protect your eyes from UV rays...even if they say they do?

// Javiera got a hair cut and came home with a beautiful new bandana around her neck.

// Alexa had her 4th grade play, Joust!  She was a damsel and a boomwhacker!  She has been singing and practicing the songs pretty much all school year, it seems.  The 4th graders all did such a wonderful job!  We took her out for frozen yogurt afterwards.  She put so much love and hard work into that play, so a treat out was definitely deserved.

// Our friends Amy and Chad took a fun winter vacation to Mexico with their beautiful little girls.  I'm not even going to talk about how jealous I am!!  While they were gone, we were on Ernie duty.  Isn't he adorable?

// My SIL Andrea and her boyfriend Cesar came to visit from New York.  They were here for a week over Andrea's Birthday.  We were so excited to be able to have them here and have a night out to celebrate.  Grandma Linda watched the girls while we went out with them and Adam's brother Ben and wife Amanda.  We had dinner at Benihana's and then went to a local bar (about a block from our house) to play pool/darts and to ring in Andrea's 25th year.  We had way too much fun and miss them already!

// Andrea and Cesar spent some time with their friends while back in MN and Adam's mom offered to  take Alexa and Lilli to a hotel for the night so Adam and I could have yet another date night this month.  We've been completely spoiled!!!  We hit up dinner at The Libertine in Uptown Mpls.  and then grabbed a tub of ice-cream and came home to watch Heart of Dixie.

It's hard to believe we fit all this in in such a short month.  Looking ahead, March isn't proving to slow down at all.....afterall, it's dance competition month!!  Whoo Hoo!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

You know you're raising a dancer when...

Bobby pins take over your home...

You ask them to do some basic counting and they start with

Walking is replaced with tapping, leaping and turning...

You can never own enough pairs of tights....(and then your dancer will cut holes in the feet to make them 'convertible').

Instead of music all you hear is the chanting of chorography steps.

You can create the perfect bun!

There is ALWAYS time to do a random arabesque...(Center aisle at Target, during dinner, in the classroom...ect.)

Your child asks you to help stretch muscles you didn't even know existed.

The dance studio has become your second home.

One hour in the studio cures all bad moods.

Your child won't wear jeans because they can't do the splits in them.  Jeggings for the win!

You can never own enough pair of black leggings.

Toes are pointed...always!

Every large piece of furnature becomes their 'barre'.

You've turned your 4th bedroom into a 'dance studio' that includes a 'stage'.

The backseat of your car becomes a snack bar with all the carpooling you do.

Your child's #1 excuse for not ever being able to do anything is..."I can't..I've got dance" which they are not at all unhappy about.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

School Sock Hop {Sarah's Poodle Skirt Palace Review + FREE Shipping + Giveaway}

2 weekends ago was the girls' annual Sock Hop at their school.  I would rank this event as one of their top 5 favorite days of the year.  They start their count-down months in advance and the excitement is almost too hard to manage.  This year marked our 5th Sock Hop and as always, it did not disappoint.  The girls had a blast.  

Now that they're older it's a little bit easier on us parents, because let's face it - an elementary school dance is nothing but kids running around the gym chasing each other.  Lilli's at the age now where she can run off with her friends and I don't feel I need my eyes on her at all times.  We have a meeting spot for them to 'check in' every once in awhile, but for the most part they have free reign to hang out with their friends, spend tons of money on snacks, get their faces painted and....chase each other around.  And the parents stand and watch hoping that nobody runs into each other and gets hurt.

I'd say the most exciting part is the time leading up to the dance, the anticipation and getting their outfits prepared.  We've been fortunate enough to have an amazing gal help us with the girls' skirts, Sarah from Sarah's Poodle Skirt Palace on Etsy.  She made the girls' skirts 3 years ago and we were so impressed with how well they were made and held up over the years that Sarah offered to make them new ones this year.  If it weren't for them outgrowing the other ones, we'd still be using them because they are in absolute perfect condition still.

Everything is all about pink and black these days because that's their dance studio colors, so it wasn't at all surprising that they wanted to incorporate those colors into their new poodle skirts.  They couldn't have the same, of course, so they alternated the colors of their skirt and poodle appliqué.

The excitement was overwhelming.  They could not wait to give those babies at twirl...
Sarah does such a fantastic job and her quality of work never disappoints.  

Next year will be Alexa's last official Sock Hop before she moves on to middle school (sigh..), but Lilli still has a few years left to wear hers.

{it's so hard to get them to stand still for pics at the actual event....this is as good as I could get.  Don't mind the blue sucker lips}.  

Sarah offers poodle skirts in all colors and sizes as well as many other accessories for your Sock Hop.  She's been in love with the 50's ever since she was young and has a passion for making poodle skirts. 

"I have had a passion for poodle skirts since I was a young girl.  I am in my 30's so the 50's era was long past when I came of the age to want one for myself.  There is something about twirling around and around in a full circle skirt that makes girls of all ages feel pretty and carefree.  In the 50's it was a staple for all girls to have a dance poodle skirt and the tradition continues with sock hops, birthday parties and school plays.  

When I was younger it was so hard to find a well made poodle skirt, costumes were made to be worn once or twice because they were a costume.  I got the idea to begin making poodle skirts when a good friend of mine was looking for a poodle skirt costume for her daughter that would last for years instead of a few wearings.  I made her costume and to my surprise I received more and more requests for one of my skirts.  Years later here I am turing a childhood passion into a lifelong dream.  My goal is to bring a quality heirloom that will be enjoyed for years to come." ~Sarah

Please visit her shop and use the coupon code SHIPMEFREE for Free Shipping on your order.

Sarah's Poodle Skirt Palace :: Etsy :: Facebook

Sarah is offering one lucky reader a custom poodle skirt of your choice size and color.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

First Companie Dance Performance

{Kaylee, Jillian, Isabelle, Alexa, Rachel, Carly, Taylor}

{Lilli, telling the other girls what to do and where to stand...#missknowitall}

{Clara, Gabby, Lilli, Elizabeth, Elly, Sophia, Addie}


{Elly & Lilli}

{Alexa & Avrie}

{Lilli & Avrie}

This past weekend Alexa and Lilli got to dance at our community expo that was held at the high school.  Not only were we super excited to see the dances that they've been working so hard on come together on stage, but this was also their very first dance performace with their companie teams.  Alexa performed her jazz number, Minion 7, and Lilli's group did their ballet dance to "Count on Me" by Bruno Mars.  Unfortunatley, neither of their costumes were in yet, so they performed in their practice attire.

I was a bundle of nerves for a few different reasons.  First, we were able to watch Lilli's group (Starlights) run though their dance the week before and it was a complete disaster.  Another mom and I looked at each other about 15 seconds in with our eyes bulging.  The two girls on the ends were on complete opposite sides, the girls in the middle were staring aimlessly at each other...it was a total mess.  While we realize that the girls are still young (the youngest companie team), we KNEW they were better than what they showed us that day.  So, we were a bit anxious to see how they'd do when they had to perform to a larger audience.  And to our excitement, they were able to pull it off at the expo.  They came together so well and did a fantastic job.  After a quick sigh of relief, us Starlight moms high fived each other - they did it, whew!!!

Second, (this one is a little hard to admit) I was nervous for Alexa.  She was accepted into a companie of girls that are extremely talented.  They are used to doing well, they are used to being challenged with hard coreography and they all blend very well together.  Alexa is the newbie to the group (Amazing Stars) and has very little experience dancing compared to her teammates.  I never wanted her to sense she was under any sort of pressure, from us, or anyone else.  I think she realizes that she needs to work extra hard and step up her game to be on this team but, it's never really phased her.  She's not one to complain or get down on herself.  In the big picture, she see's herself just as qualified as the rest of them...and I love that about her.  She has a confidence about herself, but in the most humble way.  And when she walked out on that stage and started dancing my nerves and all those silly insecurities I felt for her disappeared.  She did so great and seemed to fit right in.  We couldn't have been more proud.

Obviously, there is always room for improvement and both teams have some time left before competitions start, but this little sneak peek into the season is getting us all very excited!!   

I'm especially grateful for my BBB Andrea who drove nearly an hour with  little Avrie to watch the girls dance.  Having them there with us in the audience was so nice!!  Also, a huge thanks to Amazing Star mom, Kim, for taking such awesome pics of our girls!