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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Two Words: Mason and All-stars

You know what two words have never been in the same sentence together in all our years of playing ball?  Mason and All-stars.  Never.  Because let's face it.  Mason loves the game.  He loves being on the field.  He loves being on a team.  But he's never been the most athletic player out there.  For the first couple of years, he ducked every time the ball came near him.  He played in the outfield.   And that was okay because very few balls make it to the outfield in Little League.  And not even every inning was he out there.  Last year he had to rotate with some of the other boys so he really wasn't on the field a whole lot.  He batted at the bottom of the order.  And that was okay, too.  His bat rarely ever made contact with the ball anyway.  And, if it did, it didn't make it out of the infield.  But you know what?  Mason never knew the difference.  He was on a team.  And he was "playing ball."  And he was having fun.

I have to admit I wasn't excited when ball season began this year.  But he was.  During March and April, he practiced twice a week and had games every Tuesday.  Sometimes we had a double header, which meant we didn't get home until after 10:00 at night.  We've had a lot of rain this spring, but we missed only one game because of it and actually made it up two days later.  So I began to feel like we were in the baseball season that would never end.  The closing tournament was last weekend, and we thought that was going to be it.  But it wasn't.  We played this past Tuesday, and we have a double header next Tuesday.  And then we'll be done.  

This year his team was the Bandits.   

When Seth took Mason to his first practice back in March, he came home and told me that Mason was going to play first base.  My response?  Well, to play first base means you have to catch the ball.  A lot.  So I really don't see how that's going to be possible for someone whose strength isn't necessarily catching the ball.  After two weeks of practice, Seth reassured me that first base was Mason's position.  How he went from playing every other inning in the outfield to playing first base I'll never figure out.  But he did.  I just have to say . . . I was so impressed at his first game.  Not only was he playing first base, but he even LOOKED the part.  It was like I was watching a totally different kid from last year.

This dude is serious about first base.  He is constantly ready, always expecting the ball to come his way.  He's caught every single ball that was thrown his way this season (except, of course, the one that clocked him in the nose).  He's even fielded the ball and then got the runner out.  He's played first base the entire game every single game.

And batting this season?  Well, I didn't keep up with it, but I'm sure his on base percentage was pretty high.  That's because he walked the majority of his at bats.  He's one of the tallest boys in his age bracket this year, and most of the pitchers are shorter than he is.  So he hasn't had a lot of strikes thrown his way.  He prefers to walk anyway.  Or get hit by the ball.  Because that's a sure fire way to get to first base.  So I'm pretty sure that's been his at bat strategy.  He also got moved to second in the batting order this year.  Second.  I mean, how does that happen when you've always been last?  

He actually got hit in the helmet his very first game back after the nose incident.  I wasn't there because I was at dance recital rehearsal with the girls.  When my friend told me what happened (because her father-in-law had texted her), I didn't even believe her.  I thought she was just kidding with me because of the whole nose thing.  But she wasn't.  Once he got on base (again, he's either walking or getting hit), he loved to steal second and then make his way around to score.

But the more the season went on, the worse his at bats got.  He started striking out.  But he wasn't swinging.  He was looking and getting called strikes.  He'd even back out of the batter's box before the ball ever made it to the plate.  Seth wouldn't say much, but I kept telling him to stay in the box and swing the bat.  I didn't care if he struck out swinging.  At least he was swinging!  But I just hated seeing him strike out looking.

About a month ago, we took him to a private batting lesson with a former UNO college player.  He worked with Mason for an hour, and it was a very eye opening experience   He really nailed it and instructed Mason on how to correctly hold the bat, stand and swing the bat.  We wanted to take him to another lesson, but we haven't had time.  Last Friday I took him to the batting cage and met his coach there.  We'd never done that before.  I wasn't expecting it to go well at all.  I doubted he'd be able to hit the balls from the machine.  But I was wrong.  He batted three rounds and hit at least 75% (probably more) of the pitches.  And he had some good hits, too.  So I told him that he needed to do the same thing when he gets out on the field.  Granted, he doesn't always get great pitches (it's Little League!), but I told him he has to start swinging the bat.

This past weekend was the "closing" tournament.  He played two games on Saturday.  His team won both games.  So then they played again on Sunday afternoon.  It was a beautiful weekend for some baseball.  It was also hot.  I didn't get to see his second game on Saturday because I went to a graduation.  But I saw his first game.  He got really frustrated.  He struck out (looking, I might add!) during his first at bat.  He actually swung the bat and made contact during his second bat, but the ball didn't make it out of the infield.  He was called out at first base, but honestly it was a bad call.  Everyone knew it. But that's okay.  At least he swung the bat and made contact.  He was upset though.  But I just tried to encourage him with the fact that he swung and made contact.  Seth still didn't say anything.

These boys have been playing ball together for four years now.  Braden had always been in the outfield, too.  But not this year.  He's on the mound!  He's turning in to quite the pitcher and threw an awesome game on Saturday.  He did the same thing this past Tuesday.  It was fun to watch.

In our years of playing ball, we've never been on the winning team.  We've also never won a tournament.  That all changed this year.  After the boys won both of their games on Saturday, they turned around and won their Sunday game.  And you know what else happened at that game on Sunday?  Mason hit the ball.  And, I mean, he HIT the ball.  I couldn't help myself.  I jumped up and started cheering for him.  He had a really good hit.  Like one of the other moms said, "Now why did he wait until the end of the season to do that?!"

He was pretty excited.  He was even more excited when the first place trophy was presented to his team.  He loves trophies.  He doesn't have a whole lot of them.  But he loves them.  I think this one will probably mean the most though.


There are a couple of boys missing, but here is our team this year.  They won the opening tournament in March, they won the closing tournament last weekend and their record thus far is 10-2-1 with two games left.

Coach Barry is the most awesome coach we've ever had.  He's been at it for more than 20 years.  He absolutely LOVES the game, and he loves the kids.  He's the one who put Mason on first base.  He's believed in him the whole entire season.  Coach Barry always has an encouraging word for his players, and he makes sure they have fun.  This season has been the best we've ever had, and it's most because of Coach Barry.  

The boys get to choose their numbers at the beginning of the season.  Last year Mason chose number 1 (for obvious reasons).  But this year he chose number 23.  During the past couple of years he's gotten really good playing basketball in the driveway.  He really enjoys it.  He's also learned a lot about Michael Jordan.  And Michael's number?  23.

So I mentioned earlier that Seth hadn't had a whole lot to say about Mason's batting this year.  I also mentioned that Mason got a really good hit at his game on Sunday.  And guess what?  He went 2 for 2 at his game this past Tuesday, one of which was a fly ball to the outfield that wasn't caught.  Yes.  For the first time ever he hit the ball into the outfield during a game!  I mean, better late than never!  I kind of hate to see the season end now!  (Okay, not really.)  Anyway, I also found out that Seth finally had a few words for Mason at his second game on Saturday.  He didn't say a whole lot, but let's just say it worked.  And I'm over here like, "Well, why didn't you say that a long time ago?!"  

Seth was able to attend all of the practices this season and because quite involved with the team.  He only had to miss a few games.  I really don't know who has enjoyed it more.  Well, I'm pretty sure Mason has.

Oh.  And one more thing.  There's a first time for everything.  Mason and All-stars was used in the same sentence this season. Yep.  He was nominated for All-stars.  Did you hear what I just said?  MASON WAS NOMINATED FOR ALL-STARS!!!!  But.  When that's never happened before, and it's not even on your radar, and your Momma has already booked vacation and camp during the month of June when All-stars play, it doesn't quite work out.  But that's okay.  To even be considered, to even be nominated is such an honor for this kid!  He's come so far this year, and I just couldn't be prouder of him!  Now I might even look forward to ball season next year!  I might ought to leave our June calendar open.  Just in case.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

What's Up?

As usual, I'm behind on blogging.  So What's Up Wednesday is the perfect little thing to catch up a bit.

WHAT WE'RE EATING THIS WEEK
Monday night we grilled burgers by the pool.  That was a nice little treat for a Monday.  Last night Mason had a baseball game so it was taco Tuesday.  I did make homemade guacamole though.  And tonight we had Hannah Kate's favorite, spaghetti and meatballs.  Except Seth and I had our meatballs over zoodles!  I recently got a new kitchen gadget (a spiralizer), and I absolutely love it!

I know meatballs over zucchini noodles sounds pretty weird to most, but it actually reminds me of one of my favorite casseroles my mom used to make.  She saute some sliced zucchini and onions together and then add diced tomatoes.  That would go into a casserole dish, and she'd top it with a little breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese.  But, really, you should try some zoodles!  I highly recommend!

The zucchini we had tonight was a gift from a neighbor.  His garden is super awesome, and he's got more than he can handle.  So he shares with us.  He also gave me a big mess of snap beans and some squash.  My father-in-law gave me some more squash, cucumbers, corn and banana peppers.  So tomorrow night for supper we are going to have stuffed squash, green beans and corn.  I. can't. wait.  Veggie plates are my all-time favorite summer suppers.  We had a veggie plate last week . . . speckled butter beans, sauteed squash, fried okra (I slice them lengthwise because I just think it's easier and a little less work.  Besides, they kind of look like French fries, which means picky eaters just might try them!) and cornbread (a MUST with a veggie plate!).

Besides fresh garden veggies, we'll be grilling a lot this summer.  I'm going to stuff those banana peppers this weekend and put them on the grill.

WHAT I'M REMINISCING ABOUT
I can honestly use a little change of scenery these days so I've been thinking a lot about vacations we've taken.  I really don't know which was my favorite.  They're all my favorite for different reasons.  But our Disney trip really stands out.  And, of course, we love the beach.  I'm still hoping Seth will take me back to Colorado and Wyoming, but I'd really like to go in the winter time.  I was also thinking about the anniversary trip we took to San Antonio and another one we spent in New Orleans.  All of that is probably because my sweet friend and her husband just got back from an anniversary trip to California, and we have several friends who either just got back from Disney or are there right now.

WHAT I'M LOVING
Veggie plates.  And no school.  And sleeping a little bit later than usual.  I'm also currently loving summertime, but that will change quickly.  It's hot, but it's not yet hot enough to make me not enjoy it.

WHAT WE'VE BEEN UP TO
Well, that's easy.  This picture pretty much says it all.

We had to wait a little longer this year before taking our first swim because the liner in the pool had to be replaced.  The water table has been really high this spring so it had to go down before the old liner came out.  The kids were finally able to jump in the pool a few days ago, and that's pretty much all I hear now.  Can we go swimming?


And I told this one that she had to get off the steps this year.  Two years ago she was jumping off the diving board.  And last year she was absolutely miserable at the pool.  But she, too, kept asking when the pool would be ready, and she was excited about the new swimsuits she got for Easter.  I told her that if she didn't get off the steps, she would have to go to swimming lessons.  And I may or may not have told her that if she went to swimming lessons, they would throw her into the pool without floaties on.  So far she's been pretty willing to cooperate with Mommy's swimming lessons.  She'll jump off the side if I "catch" her, and she'll "swim" across the pool (which means she kicks her legs while I hold her hands and pull her along).  We're making progress.  I'm hoping she'll be back to jumping off the diving board before too long.

And I don't even know where this one gets it!  She can be a personality plus when she wants to be!

Ellie's new thing today was holding on to the edge of the pool and going around the entire perimeter of it, even the deep end.  Hey, I'll take it.

If we aren't at the pool, you can find us at the baseball field.  I feel like we're in the baseball season that just won't end.  But next Tuesday we have a double header and then that will conclude baseball season.  And all the Mommas said, "Amen."

And, in case you missed it, we finished our homeschool year.  And the girls had their dance recital.

WHAT I'M DREADING
Really, nothing.  We have a lot we're looking forward to this summer.  But come July and August and September, I'll really be hating the stifling south Louisiana heat.

WHAT I'M WORKING ON
Tis the season for Vacation Bible School.  As quickly as I got my dining room back after a year of homeschooling, it was quickly lost underneath VBS curriculum and supplies.  Even though we aren't having VBS until July, I have lots to do so I'll be working on that quite often over the next few weeks.

I finally planted my garden earlier this month.  I was very late getting started this year.  But my squash and tomatoes are coming right along.  I have lots of squash blooms, but the squash I've picked thus far are tiny.  I'm not sure why they aren't growing.  I bought too many tomato plants this year so everything is definitely too crowded.  We'll see what happens.  My eggplant, okra and peppers really struggled after I planted them, but they're beginning to look a little better now.  Mason's watermelon might do okay.  I'm not expecting much from the cucumbers.  So thank goodness for friends' and my father-in-law who like to share out of the abundance of their gardens!

WHAT I'M EXCITED ABOUT
Vacation!  We're headed to the beach real soon, and I can't wait!  We're doing something different this year.  We're going to Mexico Beach, which is east of Panama City a ways, and we rented a house this time instead of a condo.  We're also going with our sweet friends again.  All I want to do is sit there.  Of course, we all know that, with three kids, that definitely won't happen.  But that doesn't mean I'm not going to try!

WHAT I'M WATCHING / READING
I've been saving The Lake House for several months, but I finally started reading it this week.  I'm really enjoying it thus far, and I think it's going to be one of those books that I'm sad when it's over.  I'm also doing something I never do.  I'm reading two books at once.  I'm a firm believer in finishing a book before starting another one.  But it just happened.  I'm reading Parenting the Wholehearted Child.  It's been a very long time . . . as in YEARS . . . since I've read a parenting book.  When Mason was born, I thought I needed to read every single parenting book possible in order to figure the mom thing out. I also read several books regarding discipline.  And, do you know, I still had disobedient children?!  With the exception of a very small few, most of the parenting books I read I did not like and did not enjoy at all.  Not only that, but the "formula" just didn't work for me. It took me awhile, but I finally realized that all I ever need to know about parenting and discipline and all of that stuff is in the Bible!  Duh!  I mean, that's really the only book I need.  So I quit reading all of those parenting books.  But when I was at the Christian bookstore last week, Parenting the Wholehearted Child was on sale for $7.00.  I'd heard of it.  I'd even had it on a list of to-read books.  So I grabbed it.  And I'm so glad I did!  As soon as I finish reading it, I plan to immediately read it again.  It's that. good!  But you know what?  It's not really about parenting.  It's about grace.  God's grace.  And that's right where I'm at.  So when someone asks me what parenting books I recommend, this one is on the list.

WHAT I'M LISTENING TO
LSU is playing in the SEC baseball tournament tonight.  Seth turned it on, but he fell asleep.  It's still on so that's what I'm listening to but not really.

WHAT I'M DOING THIS WEEKEND
For the very first weekend since the second weekend in March, we do not have somewhere we have to be!  And I am so. glad.  I don't exactly know what we're doing this weekend, but I do know it will involve water and probably the grill.  I'm also glad Seth will have a three day weekend with us.

WHAT I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT MONTH
Vacation.  Vacation.  Vacation!  Mason will also be heading to kids' camp so I know he's going to love that.  And then I'll be chaperoning youth camp this summer, which is at the beach as well, so I'll be spending two weeks of the next month with the sand and the waves.

WHAT ELSE IS NEW
I have a 3rd grader and a 6th grader now.  Let that sink in for a moment.  6th grade.  Do you know what that means?  I have a MIDDLE SCHOOLER!  How did that happen?!  I don't even know.  To think I have a child in middle school (well, sort of, since we homeschool) just blows my mind!

It seems like just yesterday he was running around in those sweet little jon-jons and long-alls!  Oh, how the years they fly!


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Celebratio

CELEBRATIO:  a festival, celebration; an honoring, commending, praising

And that's exactly what we did two weekends ago.  We celebrated the end of our first homeschooling year, honored our children for their hand work and commitment to excellence in their schooling and praised our Lord for His faithfulness and blessings through our obedience to Him.

I still get lots of questions about homeschooling, particularly since Mason attended Sequitur Classical Academy this year.  So do we really homeschool?  Yes, we do.  Sequitur is not a school.  It is a 501(c)3 which offers academic courses for students who are registered with the state of Louisiana as homeschool students.  I've often described it as a hybrid of Christian schooling and homeschooling . . . the best of both worlds.  So then the next question people always ask is if it's a co-op.  Well, not exactly.  Most homeschool co-ops are led and taught by parents.  Sequitur is led and taught by professional educators and scholars equipped in their specific academic subjects.  Most of them hold degrees and have had their work published.  So Mason attended Sequitur two mornings each week.  He had two teachers who taught him all of his subjects.  We then did all of his homework and projects at home.  See?  The best of both worlds!

This was a HUGE change for Mason.  He went from attending a public school all day five days a week with 20 kids in his class to attending a university model classical "school" two mornings a week with 7 kids in his class.  The curriculum was totally different, particularly in the humanities and literature areas.  To say I was nervous about this at the beginning of the year is an understatement.  I really had no idea HOW, or even IF, he could master the reading and essay writing requirements, especially since he had never been exposed to classical literature before.  I imagined a pretty huge struggle given Mason's dyslexia diagnosis and even shared my concerns with the headmaster before the school year began.  I should've known better.  Was it a challenge?  Yep.  We had tears some days.  But did he do it?  Of course he did!  And, I have to say, he totally blew my expectations away!  This boy!  Not only did he do it, but he did it well!  He maintained all A's and B's the entire year.


We gathered with all of the other students and families of Sequitur a couple of Saturdays ago.  The students presented their semester recitations.  Last semester the 5th and 6th grades recited Luke 2:1-20.  This semester they recited Matthew 5:1-20 (this passage includes the Beatitudes).  The upper grades recited Ephesians 1-6 and selected sections from classical literature.  It's quite impressive.  One of my (many) favorite things about Sequitur is how they are encouraging and teaching and requiring us to "hide God's Word."  We also saw the seniors graduate and receive their awards and certificates.  Yep, homeschoolers actually have graduation ceremonies.  (And prom and sports and a bunch of other stuff, too!)

This year Sequitur offered classes for 5th-12th grades.  So Hannah Kate was homeschooled by yours truly.  I have to say I am so proud of her!  This was a huge change for her, too.  She has told me many times that she doesn't want to go back to her "old school," but I have no doubt there are some things she missed.  I am so excited that Sequitur will now be offering classes for 3rd and 4th graders so she is enrolled for next school year!  I really think she's going to love it and absolutely excel.  

Her big project this year was a broad study of United States history.  She created a timeline (albeit a very broad, abbreviated timeline) of important events in US history.  She also studied each of the 50 states individually and created a notebook of her studies.  I really enjoyed this study, and I hope she did, too.  When she finished, I broke out into Fifty Nifty United States.  Yep, I still remember every single word of the song we performed in 4th grade and every single state in alphabetical order.  She thought it was absolutely hilarious.  And then I sang to her all of the Presidents of the United States.  At that point, she thought I'd lost my mind.  I have 4th grade to thank for that one, too.

Here she is with her timeline.  She's pointing to 2007, the year she was born.  The last event on her timeline is the new heaven and new earth.  Of course, we don't know the day of the Lord's return so there's a question mark there.  She really did enjoy this little project and asked daily when we were doing timeline figures.

We actually finished our formal schooling the first week in May.  It really was all I could do to stretch it that long.  Hannah Kate finished everything so quickly, and I had to go ahead and begin some 3rd grade work with her just to fill the last month of schooling.  Homeschool took over my dining room this year.  It was a bittersweet moment a couple of weeks ago when I walked by and realized that I was about to have my dining room back.  I've since packed up all of our curriculum and books and school supplies.  So we have a dining room again for a little while.

You know what's daunting and overwhelming as a homeschool mom?  Or at least it was to me.  The day the curriculum arrives.  This was Mason's stack of curriculum and books this year.  

And this was Hannah Kate's stack.  That red Saxon Math box you see . . . that's no joke.  The day I opened the nearly 700 page (yes, almost 700 pages!) instruction manual, I really wanted to sit down and cry.  But I didn't.  And we did finish all 700 pages of it!

And here it is.  Our very first homeschool year.

And now, just as quickly as it started . . . because it really and truly seems like only last week we stepped into these waters . . . it's over.  I have to admit though . . . I'm so glad for a little break from the formal schooling and lesson plans and trips to Sequitur.  Informal schooling will continue everyday throughout the summer time.  But we're resting, too.  We don't exactly have a lazy summer ahead, but we do try to take advantage of a lazy day here and there.  One day last week I went upstairs to see what they were up to because it was just too quiet.  They didn't realize I'd come up, and this is what I found.
I am overwhelmed.  I am overwhelmed by God's goodness and His blessings as we've walked in obedience to Him this year in the area of schooling.  I am overwhelmed by the resilience and sweet spirit (most of the time) my children walk through the day with.  I am overwhelmed that God chose me to be their mom and decided this was the path our family would walk, the adventure we would take.  I am overwhelmed by God's sustaining power, grace and strength.

And that is cause for celebratio indeed!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Dance Recital 2016

After nine months of dance lessons . . . three and a half hours EVERY Monday . . . for NINE months . . . it was time for the big day.  And even though it was every Monday nine months in the making, it seems like it came so quickly.  As quickly as it came, it was over.

This year we had the pleasure of participating in BOTH recitals.  Ellie was in the 1:00 recital, and Hannah Kate was in the 6:00 recital.  Abbie was in both recitals, but most of her 13 (or however many it was) dances were in the 1:00 recital.  All three girls were so excited.  We did hair at home and then makeup after we arrived at the theater.  We were hauling a lot of gear, and this wasn't all of it!

I really didn't know what to expect from Ellie.  She was so excited to have her hair fixed, to wear makeup and to get dressed in her little costumes.  But dress rehearsal wasn't what I'd hoped.  Oh, I'd hoped it would be different, but I wasn't too surprised.  For her tap dance, she pretty much just stood there with her head hanging as far down as it could possible hang.  There weren't any tears, but it still wasn't very pretty.  She danced a bit for her ballet.  But I really didn't think the recital would go well.  We built her up for it as best we could, and she was all smiles.

Her tap dance (Stayin' Alive) was first and towards the beginning of the first act.  I hung out with her a bit in the dressing room.  She seemed happy.  I decided I would go ahead and take my seat in the audience.  There were two dance helpers in the dressing room with the girls, and her class was sitting together coloring and watching a Disney movie.  She seemed okay with me leaving, but I was a nervous wreck the entire six dances leading up to hers.

I can't even describe what happened when she got on stage.  As soon as she walked out, I knew.  I was sitting on the second row (the perks of having a niece who was celebrating 10 years of dance and got preferential seating!) so I had an up close and very personal view of my girl.  I'm quite certain she wanted nothing more than for the floor to open up and swallow her out of sight!  She made it out on stage, but she kept her hands over her eyes pretty much the whole time.  I'm not even kidding.  Of all the girls in her class, she was the only one not dancing.  When it got to her favorite part in the chorus, one hand finally went out to the side, and those little hips did about three pops.  The audience immediately noticed it, and everyone was cheering for her.  She might come alive after all!  Or not.  As quickly as it came, it passed, and those hands were over her eyes again.  The same thing happened when it got to that same part in the chorus again, and again the audience cheered for her.  When her dance was over, I got up and ran to the dressing room so I could get there before she did.  She was struggling.  And that's when I figured it out.  I really think it was the costume.  Apparently it was itchy on the inside.  And it wasn't pink.  So I ripped that thing off, got her dressed and took her to sit in the back of the theater for the rest of the first act.

Towards the end of the first act, she started crying.  I don't even know why.  So I have absolutely no expectations of anything for her ballet dance in the second act.  Daddy seems to have a way with this girl so we found him during intermission so he could give her a little pep talk.

We gave her and Hannah Kate their flowers.


And then I took her back to the dressing room to get dressed for her ballet dance.  She didn't dance until the end of the second act.  It was still early, and I knew it was going to be a long time before they came to get her class to take the stage.  I decided to stay in the dressing room with her the entire time.  It was so hot in there because the air conditioning wasn't working properly.  It was also very crowded and very noisy.  It was not my favorite part of the day, but I really expected her to completely melt down at any moment.

She did seem excited to put her ballet costume on.  But that means nothing.  At least this costume was PINK.

For the next hour, she did not do anything except sit there and watch all of the other girls being silly.  I have no idea what in the world was going through her mind.  I couldn't even venture to guess.

But she was quite a beauty in her costume.

We didn't get to see Abbie during the recital because she was in a different dressing room upstairs, and she was in a lot of dances.  But she came down and surprised us not too long before it was Ellie's turn to dance.  She gave her a little pep talk.


They finally came to get Ellie's class.  I ran back to the auditorium.  By this time, I was just honestly ready for it to be over.  I was ready to move on to the 6:00 show.  I honestly didn't even expect Ellie to get on stage this time, much less move.  But she proved me wrong.  She proved me dead wrong.  She didn't miss a single beat and danced her little heart out!  It was PERFECT!  I forgot I was sitting beside Hannah Kate and not Seth, and I immediately reached over and squeezed her leg when Ellie began dancing.  I grabbed her leg so hard that it scared her, and I'm pretty sure it hurt!  I could hardly pick my jaw up off the floor!  I ran back to the dressing room so I could get there before her.  As soon as I saw her I couldn't help myself.  I picked her up and danced her around and kissed her all over!  She was just a grinning and giggling.

By this time, the recital had lasted over three hours.  We grabbed our stuff and ran down the street really quickly to get a bite to eat before it was time for Abbie and Hannah Kate to get dressed for the 6:00 recital.  

Hannah Kate's five year solo was her first dance of the evening.  The girls get to choose their own costumes (with approval from the studio, of course) for their five year solo.  Instead of buying another costume that she would only wear once and for 30 seconds at that, we borrowed one of Abbie's old costumes.  It was light blue, which is a color I think looks so pretty on Hannah Kate.  She was so so ready to dance!

And the bun.  She wanted a side bun.  That's actually easier with her hair still being kind of short right now.  But we learned after the rehearsal that I needed to do it differently because part of it was falling out by the time she got to her last dance.  Buns are no joke.  But we did it.  This bun made it through the entire day and all four dances!  

I totally hate selfies.  I totally can not do selfies.  But that was the only way I'd have a picture with my ballerinas.

And here she is with two of her friends.  All three of them danced their five year solos.  So pretty!

Her next dance was tap (Hit the Road Jack).  This was a fun costume.  The dance was very challenging.  It was a little rough around the edges at the rehearsal, but the girls really nailed it at the recital.  These costumes looked really good on stage.

And then it was time for ballet.  All of the girls complained about this costume.  The bodice seams were very scratchy.  But Hannah Kate LOVED the skirt on this costume because of it's fullness and twirl-ability.  And it looked absolutely fabulous on stage.

The costume change between ballet and jazz was so quick . . . as in less than one minute quick! . . . that I didn't have time to take her picture in her jazz costume.  As a matter of fact, she wore her jazz tights underneath her ballet tights to make the costume change easier.  I'm sure it wasn't the most comfortable thing to be wearing two pairs of tights at the same time, but it was just necessary.  Their jazz dance (Hot Stuff) was just like the title.  Hot. Stuff.  They did a great job and owned that stage.

And then . . . it was over.

The day before the recital, Pop and Mimi sent tulips.  I meant to have the girls take a picture with them before we left, but we were in such a hurry getting out the door that I forgot.  So we didn't do that until after we got home.  Keep in mind we sat through and performed through two recitals, each lasting over three hours!  They were both pretty tired, and, if you look closely, you can see a pair of lips on Ellie's forehead!  I'm not sure who they belong to, but it's either MawMaw or Abbie.

I took lots of pictures at the dress rehearsals.  Yes.  Plural.  Since we were in two different recitals, we had to attend two different dress rehearsals.  Here are some of my favorites.

Ellie was absolutely smitten with Abbie's makeup routine!  She didn't budge.


Ellie was being really silly.  I think she was so happy because she didn't have to dance at this rehearsal!

Here's the jazz costume that I didn't get pictures of at the recital.  This was Hannah Kate's favorite costume this year.


Isn't she lovely?!

And, every single time she put this costume on, she would hold the skirt out.

This is one of my favorite pictures.  Abbie was dressed for Thriller.  It was the opening number.  They actually recreated the original Michael Jackson video, including the exact dance moves.  The costuming for this was interesting, but, as a child of the 80s, I totally got it!

Since we were celebrating some pretty big dance accomplishments this year, Ashley and I put a "best wishes" ad in the back of the program for the girls.  They've always wanted one, but this is the first year we did it.  They were so surprised and so excited!
And here are our "official" dance pictures this year.  I just can't even tell you . . . the chances of the sisters having the same color costumes was about one in a million.  The chances of them having coordinating costumes was slim to none.  And the chance of the cousins (this was the first year we had all of the girls take a picture together) having semi-coordinating costumes was pretty much none.  But, as you can see, it was a dance miracle!