Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Littlest Dancer Goes to Dance Class

O happy day! Dance class has been the talk of the house for the last week, and finally, FINALLY PJ got to go to her first class today.

Her class is the first one of the morning, so when we got there the studio door was still closed while Miss Joy prepped for the class. We went into the foyer and got PJ's dress off (the leotard and tights went on first thing this morning) and got her shoes on, and after stowing them in the cubbies the three of us (Abby came with) went to the back of the room where there's seating in front of the studio window so we could watch PJ while she danced. We claimed a couple chairs, and when I turned around to talk to PJ, she was gone. The place isn't that big, so I was trying to figure out where she'd gotten to--when I looked in the studio room and saw she'd already let herself in! I went to get her and Miss Joy said it was alright--she was just getting ready to open the door anyway. At least my concerns about PJ changing her mind about it all at the last minute were completely unfounded!

I was also worried that if she saw me through the window she'd get upset that she couldn't get to me, but no, whenever she saw Abby or me she'd wave and then go back to whatever it was they were going. She was very focused and always paid attention to Miss Joy. There were a couple times when the other girls would get distracted and come to the window for their moms, or when they'd sort of space out in the middle of dancing--but not PJ. She was always engaged. My little dancers!

At the end she came out and started crying because she wanted to go back in. I had to bodily remove her from the studio when the other class started--she would have stayed in with those 6-year-olds if she could have! Miss Joy thanked me for bringing her and said, "I asked her what I should call her--Penelope, Penny Jane, PJ--and said, 'What name do you like?' She said, 'Um...Abby!'"That cracked me up. Poor kid gets called so many nicknames she probably didn't know what to say!

So now we're in for another week of "I want to go to dance class NOW!" But honestly, after seeing how much she loves it, I don't mind at all!

A good dancer always begins with stretches...this one seems particularly flexible!

Dancing with their fairy wands...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Thank you!!!

The girls received a plethora of Target gift cards at Christmas (and Abby got two for her birthday)--so today Dan took the girls to Target while I worked and let them shop. I was really impressed with their purchases--Dan said they chose everything themselves, no parental coercion involved. :) Here they are with their selections:

After a showdown between Mom and The Packaging, we freed all the toys from their plastic prisons and twist-tie jungles and the girls played to their little hearts' contents. Lots of fun in store (though PJ has already lost the brownie from the dessert tray that comes with her singing teapot.)

So to Greena and Par, Miss Jeni and Ella, Uncle Andrew and Miss Trisha, and Uncle Kyle and Aunt Kelli--THANK YOU!!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


So yesterday was the Big Day. I spent Monday baking and prepping and running to the store (and forgetting my cell phone there), and then Tuesday morning we loaded up the car, took one last trip to King Soopers, and then headed out to Little Monkey Bizness--but not before opening gifts at home:

Things were a little disorganized at Little Monkey Bizness--apparently the place is run by high schoolers. But, regardless, they had our room ready for us:

For the first hour the kids played...

After play time was up we wrangled everyone in to the party room for lunch and cake (well, cupcakes):

After lunch was over we packed up and headed home, taking the Smiths with us. They stayed until bedtime and the kids had a great time opening Abby's party presents and playing with all the loot the girls have accumulated over the last few days. I think we have 10 new board games. It's awesome!

Abby has really embraced her 5-ness with both hands. All of a sudden she's Little Miss Independent. This morning, out of nowhere, she went and got her toothbrush and brushed her teeth herself. Then she asked to do school (which was very fun using the Inchimals we got from Green and Par and the What's Gnu game Dan and I gave her). And all day she kept saying, "I'm going to sleep in my own bed tonight!" Well, that second one didn't quite happen, but regardless she totally wants to be *bigger*. Totally awesome on one hand, and totally difficult to swallow on the other. My little girl is getting so grown up!!!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

It's a sunny, non-snowy day here in Colorado, and we're so happy to be celebrating Christmas! The girls were up at 6, and we're now all busy admiring and playing with our new gifts. By far the best present of the day was the Pillow Pet each girl received. We bought these ages ago and, as I'm sure is true in your neck of the woods, these things are *everywhere*, and every single time we've passed a display the girls have gone bananas over them. Nothing like knowing you hit the nail on the head with a gift! It was the second-to-last one they opened, and there was much jumping and rejoicing.

Later this morning we'll head to my parents' place for the traditional cinnamon roll breakfast (I made gluten-free ones for Abby and I--we'll see how they are) and gift-opening, followed by the traditional roast beef and Yorkshire pudding lunch, which I think will be eaten in front of the Lakers game at lunch. (That part isn't so traditional, but our big celebratory meal was last night at Dolce Vida, our new favorite restaurant, so it's not as big a deal if everyone scatters today at lunch. Heck, most likely the girls will be sleep through it, given how early they were up!)

We pray this holiday is one of warmth and love and peace in our Lord, Jesus Christ. May He bless you and, more importantly, draw you ever nearer to Him (the best blessing of all!) this coming year. Merry Christmas to all!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Little Dancer That Could (and did!!)

First off, major apologies for how long it's taken me to get a new post up. Between rewriting a book in less than 6 weeks and desperately trying to finish two handmade Christmas gifts in time for the holiday, I haven't had any free time in forever. I've got a couple other posts to write, but they probably won't go up until the new year. Keep an eye out, though!

So today was Abby's last dance class. Oh my heavens, how she loves dance class! We signed her (and PJ) up for classes starting in January, and this time she'll be taking ballet *and* tap.

At today's class, though, they put on a show at the end to demonstrate all the stuff they've learned over the 8 week session. They'd put butcher paper over the windows so we couldn't see in, and when Miss Joy came to get us 10 minutes before class was done, we walked in to find the girls in "picture pose" and in costume! (I didn't have my phone, can you believe it?! But a friend took pictures and promised to send them, so as soon as I get them I'll add them to this post.) They all--even Abby--sat nice and still for the cameras; Abby was even smiling! After the parents had satisfied their need for pictures, Miss Joy started them off on the first of two performances.

They were all adorable, of course. But Abby was one of maybe 2 or 3 kids that actually stayed with the teacher the whole time. (Miss Joy stood in the corner and did the moves with them.) They twirled, they tapped their toes, they did cute little beginner ballet moves, and when the song was over and the applause began, Abby burst into tears and ran to my lap.

This set off a chain reaction, and soon the performers 'on stage' numbered half of what they had. Miss Joy gave everyone a minute to compose themselves, then asked if they'd like to do it again. The 3 that had remained up front wanted to dance again, but none of the girls that had retreated to their parents wanted to. Miss Joy (who is awesome, awesome, awesome with the kids) said they was okay, they could sit and watch their classmates and see what it looked like when they danced in front of others.

The music started again. They danced in their circle, then formed a line to show off all their moves...

and then...

are you sitting down?...

Abby went back up.

Yes. You read that right. With tears still on her cheeks and her little mouth in a serious frown, without a single word from me or anyone else, Abby ran back up and finished out the dance with her classmates. And this time, she was the only one who followed the dance all the way though.

'Course, when it was all over, she started crying again and didn't stop for about half an hour. "I don't like people watching me dance in my dance class" was the only explanation I got out of her, about 20 minutes later. But contrary to that, LIttle Miss Spunky sure showed everyone what she was made of!

Braver and braver, this one. She pet a snake and a giant millipede last week at a zoo party, she pet a lobster and held an empty lobster shell at Red Lobster last night, and now, in front of a dozen (or two dozen, once you add in all the siblings that were there) strangers, she not only danced, but she was willing to dance again even though everyone had seen her run off stage in tears.

Way to go, Little Dancer!!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Updates by Dan

It's been a good week for me.

* I am down from 245+ to 228 as of yesterday morning. That makes 17+ pounds lost since September 24th, or about five and a half weeks. What is even more encouraging is that the weight has been lost despite the fact that I have not done nearly as well as I could have health-wise during this time. Right now, the weight loss is due primarily to lower calorie intake - which is no bad thing - and knowing this, I am even more excited about the results to come as I work in a more regular exercise routine, and some better foods. I'll keep you posted.

* We tweaked out daily schedule just a bit and it has been great for me. Long story short, by adding an hour a day, four days a week, to Ali's "official" schedule, I am able to take Wednesdays and do what I like with them. This is our first week and I have already accomplished more than I usually do, and have a much better attitude to boot, which is good for everyone around me.

* Silver Wheaton (SLW) - you know, the one I started telling you all about nearly two years ago when it was $3.60, has jumped another $2.12 today and is at $31.73. Silvercorp (SVM) is up $1.11 to $11.13 (bought it around $5). Hecla Mining (HL)is up .46 today to $7.42 (bought at $6.10), and Kinross (KGC) is up .60 to $18.41 (bought around $16 or so). Flawed economies - not just unstable, but flawed - combined with elections will do this.

* And perhaps most wonderful of all, as most of you already know, Abby had her first dance class this week and she did marvelous! We were all on pins and needles waiting to see how it would turn out. She really struggles with shyness, being put on the spot, and all that stuff. We were fully prepared for her to simply turn around and walk out when she got there. But she didn't! She jump right in and danced with the other girls. She is really starting to come out of her shell more and more each day. Like most dads, I know, but I can't begin to express how much I love those girls.

I think there will be some more pictures coming - I think. We'll see.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


We've never done Halloween with the girls before. Abby has dressed up in the past, but we've never trick-or-treated. We decided this year to give it a shot because the girls were actually asking to and really wanted to. I had my doubts about how it would go once we were actually at a stranger's door, but they both stunned me by actually saying "Trick or treat!" and "Thank you!"--AND by actually posing nicely for a photo, which is a serious rarity.

When we got home we let them pig out a tiny bit. They're not used to such sugary stuff, though, so what usually happened is they'd open something, take a bite or two, then throw it out and try something else. PJ, as you can see, has a real affinity for suckers:

(Not that she finished a single one.) Whoppers, candy corn, Smartees, Nerds, and Pixie Stix were also samples and pitched. (Well, *I* ate the candy corn, and I think Abby ate all the Whoppers, which is a bummer because I was totally banking on finishing them for her.) And in between taste tests they helped pass out candy to the trick-or-treaters that came to the door. We bought 4 bags of candy and went through them all!!

But the BEST part of today happened this morning at 7:40 AM when Kyle and Kelli welcomed their first baby, a daughter named Brighton Angelina, into the world!! Happy birthday, little Brighton! We can't wait to snuggle you!