Monday, March 2, 2015

Too Much Fun for One Weekend

First: school opened on time this morning. Thank you and Amen. May winter be over and may the return to normal be graceful.

A return to normal may be a little bit more difficult after our fabulous weekend, though. After being home with a week of snow days, we were all ready to get out. Mr. Ryan's birthday was the perfect excuse Friday night. Felicia has spent months planning a huge surprise weekend, and we were so glad to be included in the opening festivities at Defy Gravity, a local trampoline park. The kids had a ball. Issa discovered she is a dodge ball master:  
 And Evan could have spent the entire time running up this ramp, touching the wall, and then sliding back down:
 I must admit, I joined Evan, and it is pretty fun. We brought two exhausted jumpers home.

Saturday, we had hair appointments in the morning and then settled in at home. That much "out" after so much "in" was exhausting. The boys played Infinity and Issa and I crafted pretty much all afternoon. It was lovely. That night, we tucked the kids in bed and then had an impromptu game night with Ryan, Felicia, and his friend Bill who had flown in for the party. The house was a mess, but I truly didn't care. I love having friends who don't care, and I'm so grateful to finally be in a place where an impromptu phone call doesn't send me rushing to clean. We stayed up way too late and I regretted some decisions Sunday morning, but it was so fun I would do it all again in a heart beat.

Yesterday afternoon, we braved some very cold rain to go see the Harlem Globetrotters. Issa's dance company was the pre-game show:
I am so grateful Melanie brought a camera! Issa had a blast dancing in the big arena, and both kids loved the game. I remember seeing them when I was in elementary school, and not much has changed. Brad and I had more fun watching the kids than anything. Evan was truly belly laughing for half of the game, and both kids were relieved the Globetrotters pulled out a last minute win. This was one of those unexpected opportunities that dance provides that the kids will always remember.

And now...we're settling in for what I pray is a normal week!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Snow Days for a Ninja

We are still home. We got about an inch of snow Tuesday morning, but that was followed by 8 inches Wednesday night. Here in the South, that's a blizzard. We have been eating all kinds of hearty pasta dishes, snuggling by fires, and Brad perfected cream puffs. The kids have been playing with long lost toys, and we built three snowmen. We're relishing the snow days.

The highlight for Evan, though, was ninjitsu. We were able to make it out by Tuesday afternoon, but we were the only ones who arrived for the 3:15 class, which meant Evan got a solo lesson with Mr. Justin, Mr. Griffin, and Mr. Brian:
 It was really more than he could handle--especially when they taught him his first throw:
The picture is terrible, but I will never forget the look on Evan's face when he looked back over at me after her had "thrown" Mr. Justin. I believe he said it, "Was the best moment of my life." I guess that about sums up our week.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Our Celebrity

This post has been very delayed. Snow days have gotten then better of me, and it looks like we are in for a few more of them. But...

Last weekend Issa competed her solo for the first time at Celebrity. It's a smaller competition, and it's also in Raleigh on a stage she knows. Granted that is at the Performing Arts Center, but still. It was a more comfortable place for Issa. For the first time, she was nervous, which meant I was a wreck. Thankfully, the boys were there to cheer her on, too, which made her feel so much better. And she danced her feet off:

 The competition captured those shots, and she was so proud of herself. She left it all on the stage.

We watched several of her teammates, and even had time to sneak to The Pit for lunch. I have wanted to try their BBQ for forever, and since we could walk there it was perfect timing.

We were so proud of Issa just for competing. She has worked so hard and come so far. My heart stops every time I see my tiny dancer alone on such a big stage. So when this happened:
It was just icing on the cake. She received a high gold, first in her category, and second for her age bracket. She has new goals for the next competition, and we can't wait to see where these feet take her.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Gifts!

Yesterday was a series of gifts of varying delightfulness.

We awoke to find Buddy, and everyone was very excited. He realized that the snow we had was not much fun, so he brought us a huge bag of cotton balls for an inside snowball fight! It was much fun.

Then Neela brought Issa a gift. The poor girl was just stretching, and Neela dropped a very dead very frozen mole in front of her. I have no idea how she got it in, but I do know Issa lost it.

By mid afternoon, we were able to venture out for ninjitsu, and on the way home we stopped at the bookstore to pick up a gift for one of Issa's friends. While we were there, we also picked up a new set of Legos and a craft kit for snow day four because the temps are dropping and we are getting stir crazy.

On the way home, it started to snow--hard. As I was driving, the roads started to get covered, and I realized things could get dicey. Just as I was starting to get tense, the kids started marveling at the beauty. A gift. Even when my ABS kicked in, it wasn't so terrible because at least it was gorgeous.

We ended our day with a movie night, complete with big giggles and lots of snuggles--the best gifts of all.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Snow Day!

We are a bit snowed/iced in around these parts. Yesterday, the kids and I headed out for some sledding. There wasn't enough snow on the grass, but the driveway did quite nicely:
 There was a solid sheet of ice over the snow, so it was fast sledding. When that got old, the kids settled for pulling each other up and down the street:
And then they tried the driveway again:
After a bit, one of the neighbors came down and invited us to their super long, super steep driveway. It's moments like that when I'm so grateful we live in a neighborhood. There were about ten kids flying down the driveway, sharing sleds and just loving the snow. Until they got cold. Then we all headed home.

We spent the rest of the day sipping cocoa and playing Legos. We're home again today, and the rest of the week isn't looking promising for school. I guess we'll just have to wait and see!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

West Coast

 Last weekend, Issa and I headed to Greenville, SC for West Coast Dance Explosion! Issa took six hours of classes every day, and this girl rocked it. I remember being at the conference last year, and every two minutes Issa would look over at me wide-eyed and panicky. She struggled to keep up with choreography, and she was so, so scared to make a mistake. It was hard.

This year, she never looked over. She wasn't flawless, but she was all in. She danced her little heart out. Saturday started with hip hop, and she channeled some serious hip hop energy:
 The highlight of the day, though, was when she got an Excellence in Class award for ballet. The teacher recognized her effort, technique, and posture:
 My proudest moment of the day had little to do with dance. During class, another girl from another company cut her finger. Issa rushed back to get our first aid kit and went with the girl to patch it up. By the time I caught up, they already had it washed and all I had to do was put the bandaid on. Issa didn't wait for someone else to step in or to see if someone from the girl's company would step in. It never occurred to her, and I was so proud.

Saturday afternoon was spent doing homework and eating before we supported her team during the competition. Our dancer hit the wall, though, and was snuggled in bed shortly after dinner.

Sunday morning she was up bright and early and ready to dance:
 
This is where my heart broke. Sunday was also Scholars' Weekend on campus, which meant I had to be there to interview next year's Fellows. Which meant I had to leave Issa. I offered to walk her to class, but she wanted to say goodbye at the Company circle and go to class with her friends. As I watched her walk away, never once looking back, I cracked. It's moments like that when I feel the most like we are parenting well--the moments when she is confident and independent and ready to venture off. But oh how they hurt my heart a little. She spent the day with one of her teammates and her family, and she had a blast, and because I have the best village on the planet, I got updates all day...including this gem:
Issa was a finalist for a convention scholarship! This is based on one 45 minute audition class. I can't even tell you how much growth this represents. In the past year, Issa has really learned how to learn choreography. She went from really struggling to being able to watch and do. Most importantly, she lost the fear of failure at convention. She goes all out.
 
I also got the group photo:
 
Issa had a fabulous weekend. She learned a lot, and she was so proud of how far she has come. This weekend she competes her solo for the first time, and our whole family will be there to cheer her on!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Happy Heart Day

We are very much getting ready for Valentine's Day around here. The kids already have their cards ready for the parties tomorrow, and the house has picked up a few more decorations. And...this is how Issa went to dance last night:
She is some kind of fabulous.

It's killing me, though. We will be in two different states on Valentine's Day. Issa and I will be in SC for a dance convention; the boys will be in NC doing boy things and eating chili cheese dogs. No one else is bothered by this, but I'm pouting a bit. I guess I just need to channel some of Issa's enthusiasm and fabulousness.