Monday, December 23, 2013

Ellie's Dance Recital December 14th

Ellie had her first dance recital on December 14th.  It was a hoot, as you'll see.  However, it was a journey for us to get to where we could enjoy the recital...

 First of all, we had to find costumes for Ellie's recital.  She had one hip-hop number and one ballet number.  This is what we put together for her hip-hop routine.
This is Ellie's hip-hop/attitude face.  She cracks us up!  Love the puffed out cheeks.
 This was our ballet outfit we needed to put together.  The dance studio then provided red tutus for the recital.

Next, we had our first recital on Friday night the 13th.  So many funny stories from that night.  First, the advanced modern dancers began their first routine to open the show and Ellie looks at me and says "I can do that.  I think I'll do that."  I then had to talk to her about how that is what the big girls had practiced and Ellie needed to do the dances she had practiced.  Ellie then did her ballet routine without mishap.  When it came time to practice the finale dance though, the 3 and 4 year olds were supposed to sit on the stage and wave while the big kids learned the finale dance.  All the little ones did this - except Ellie.  Ellie started trying to do the dance with the big kids, and by the end of their practice time 5 or 6 other littles had joined her.  Way to be a leader, Ellie Bell!  After that, every time they practiced the finale a teacher sat with Ellie so that she would sit still.  By the end, Ellie was a little upset that she couldn't dance during the finale.  We had high hopes that she might go unsupervised at some point and make the recital a lot more exciting...  The little girls then practiced their hip-hop dance and Ellie did great.  She was done for the night, so we grabbed dinner and went home.

Everyone then had to be in full hair costume for dress rehearsal Saturday morning.  Ellie liked having her fancy hair and curls.


We then got her dressed and packed up her costumes and snacks and her and I took off to the rehearsal.  The dance studio had rules about checking dancers in with costumes and snacks where ready-room moms took care of them, and then checking them out when they were done.  You were welcome to stay at the rehearsal, but the dancers had to stay backstage the whole time away from the parents.  Steve and I weren't really fond of this and decided that with a three year old, I would stay at the rehearsal the whole time in case anything went sideways with Ellie.  I was glad we made that decision.  Before rehearsal began Ellie was onstage crying because she was lost.  Her teacher came and found her as I went and calmed her down and I thought things would go better from there.  Then, during the same first routine with the big girls, Ellie charged the stage and I thought, she really thinks she can do that, doesn't she?  Once again, her teacher had to grab her, but Ellie was happy and my only complaint was that she kept slipping away, which she has done in other childcare situations, so not a huge surprise...  

Ellie then did her ballet routine "Sleigh Ride." She did really well.  We learned she knew the routines so much better than we even suspected because in class she was only ever half-focused, but with a stage she was ready to ham it up!
video

Then the kids did the finale rehearsal so that the kids who were just in the first half could go home after.  Ellie seemed pretty upset and cried again.  I had to go get her and convince her over and over to keep doing the finale rehearsals.  I thought it was strange she was so upset and asked her if she'd eaten any of her snacks.  She seemed confused, which was a bad sign.  The kids had to be checked in by 11:30 and it was now 1:20.  If she hadn't eaten yet, she must be starving.  I instructed her to go ask someone to help her get her sandwich and snacks so she could eat.  I thought that would be the end and fix things.

And then Ellie came out for her hip-hop dance "Funky Y2C" which we call "hey little mama."  Here's how things STARTED.
video

Ellie then cried about not dancing, and cried about trying to dance, and cried about not dancing, repeat.  It was BAD.  I checked her out and grabbed her stuff and we headed for the car.  On the way there Ellie just kept crying that she wanted her sandwich.  I just couldn't understand why she might be so hungry with all her snacks.  I then checked her bag, to find that she had only eaten 1/4 of a PB&J since I had dropped her off.  Period.  I. Was. ANGRY.  That is putting things lightly...  It was a long story, but the teacher and I exchanged e-mails later and I still don't know how, but supposedly they couldn't find Ellie's food.  I don't know, but it was not a happy experience for any of us, and at this point we were STRESSED about how Ellie would do and be cared for that night at the recital...

We got Ellie home, she scarfed down food, and we got her a nap in the few short hours between the rehearsal and recital.  Then I got her up and got her ready and we took her to the recital.  I checked her in with repeated instructions about where her snacks were and that she could eat any time she got hungry, which is not the norm in our home.  And then we hoped for the best.  When we sat down for the recital I had real butterflies going, but then Ellie did her first dance and I was "beaming" to quote the Bennett side.
video

Now, the worrying continued as we had to wait for about an hour till Ellie's next performance in hip-hop which had gone so horribly awry that afternoon.  Then the little girls came out to perform.
video

Seriously, I was so proud and relieved after the emotional rollercoaster of a day we had experienced that I just about cried.  At this point, she'd done it.  Who cared if she made it to the finale or not?  Little did we know, the finale would be our favorite part of the whole show.

We had high hopes when they sat Ellie center stage without a teacher within arms reach...  But Ellie seemed content to wave and do what she was supposed to, so Steve turned the camera off.  And then he had to quickly turn it back on to catch Ellie getting some of the biggest cheers of the night! video
I love that after her teacher (also the studio director) came and got her she just went back to waving like nothing had happened.  Seriously, we love this girl.  After the finale we were congratulated by the families we know from Prosser who also had daughters in the show.  They were all hoping she would upstage everyone based on earlier rehearsals too.  Funny girl.

We then went and checked Ellie out and gave her the flowers we bought for her.  We got her dressed and went and picked up some pizza and ice cream for a special treat which we had promised her if she managed to get through the night without mishap.  We headed home to enjoy our treats and got pictures of Ellie being funny waving her flowers around.  
All in all, it was a great recital for our family, even if it came after a ROUGH rehearsal earlier that day.  I can't say that I'm upset we planned on taking a break and doing a different activity for a while, but Ellie did love being in the recital, and we loved watching our girl.  Now we're just waiting to see if we can find her new ballet shoes after someone took the wrong pair home...  The joys of dance.  But, we sure do love this funny little dancer!

Projects

When we got back from Spokane my good friend Kelly H. had a dresser she found for us at Value Village waiting under our carport.  She also left some cute knobs for it since neither of us liked the square knobs on this one.  Here is what it looked like before.  It's a beaut, I know....
I especially loved all the different hideous 70's kitchen contact papers found in all the different drawers.

I finally decided after a few days that I couldn't stand all the hypothetical discussions of what we maybe wanted to do with the dresser, so I decided it was time to at least wash the thing down and tear out the contact paper.  Then I decided to see what it would look like with the new, cute knobs on it.
In the end, I took the last of the outer coating, a little finish, and a lot of scuff marks and dirt off.  It looked awfully good after!  Here is our final product, which I'm actually pleased with and don't plan to do with much for a while now unless we put a little more finish or sealant on it down the road.

 A few days later I also got it in my pregnant and therefore impaired brain that I could do a sewing project.  I had seen a really cute and simple pattern for stockings on pinterest last year, but never found fabric or time to attempt them.  This year I decided for some reason I might be able to sew and found some cute fabric, so I made a pattern and started with some scrap fabric.

It looked way better without the cuff, much more proportional, but I wanted a cuff.

So, after some adjustments to my pattern, I went back to work, but with real fabric this time.  And - Voila!

I think it turned out really cute!  I still need to decorate it with an S for Steve or sew his name on it, and I will admit that after this we had a lot of craziness and sickness in our house, so I still need to sew the other ones, but here is the fabric they will be made out of.

I am excited to get them made and decorated, even if they probably won't get finished completely till after Christmas.

Our next big project was Ellie's dance recital, and that will be it's own post, so stay tuned for some amazing dancing and hamming it up by our Ellie Bell!

Journey to the North Pole

Steve had a conference in Spokane on the 5th, so we were right back up in Spokane after Thanksgiving.  While we were up there we decided we would take the girls to the North Pole. (thank you groupon for making that possible!)

After Steve got back from his conference we headed to Ceour d'Alene.  It had started to snow, so traffic was awful and slow.  As a result, we literally ran to the boat carrying the girls.  Once we got on the boat we could finally relax.  The girls were all bundled up since it had been really cold that week, down to layers of thick tights under their pants, but we stayed warm spending most of the time inside the cabin of the boat.


Here was our favorite part of the dock lights.  Ellie talked for days about how she saw a fire breathing dragon on the boat.
 And here is what Ellie was most concerned with.  She saw How the Grinch Stole Christmas about a week before while we were in Spokane, and was concerned that she "didn't want to meet him!"  She was relieved when Steve told her that he couldn't get to us because he was stuck on the dock and we were on the boat.  Then she thought he was funny...
After we passed the lights on the dock we grabbed some tasty hot cocoa.  Mckayla wasn't impressed, but Ellie loved it.  It was a great way to pass the time while we drove to the North Pole.
 When we did pull up to the North Pole Ellie was so excited to see Santa and one of his elves.  She was especially excited when he listed her and Mckayla as being on the nice list.  She told us for more than a week after about how Santa knew her name!
 Here Mckayla was watching Santa and his elf be silly.
 And this was Ellie as soon as Santa said goodbye and the boat turned around.  She immediately started crying that she "missed Santa."  Big change from last year when she cried any time she saw Santa at the mall or anywhere else...
 We went back inside to finish our hot cocoa and finally got Ellie cheered up when the elf on the boat gave Ellie a candy cane.
We then asked her to grab a picture of our family.
 When we got back on land we spent some time in the mall warming up.  We couldn't afford to look at anything, but Ellie was really excited about all the characters roaming the mall: gingerbread man, reindeer, snowman, polar bear, etc.  Here she was telling the polar bear all about Mckayla and herself...  The girl is friendly, maybe too friendly.  Steve also got attacked and molested by a snowman, which was really REALLY bizarre.
Before heading out we grabbed a picture of the girls in the sleigh in the mall, although they never looked at me at the same time.

Then we headed back out into the snow to drive back to Grandma and Papa's.  It was beautiful out, if cold.  And Dad's new camera (which I borrowed because I forgot ours) grabbed some great pictures of the lights and snow.
That took care of our trip to the North Pole for 2013.  We had a great time, and it really got us geared up for the upcoming holiday!

November

 So, I already posted the fun that started off our November when we went to Disney on Ice on the 2nd.  The following day, here were our cute girls after church.  We seriously make cute kids...

Later that day, Daddy decided it was time for some science, since it had been a while.  He and Ellie went on a science mini-marathon as a result.  First, they put some elodea in water with an indicator so that when the Carbon Dioxide levels changed as a result of photosynthesis over the course of a day the water color would change as well.  Yes, these are the things Steve teaches our three year old about.
 Next Daddy helped Ellie plant some pea seeds.
 She then enjoyed being a big girl and pouring in the water.
 I love these two cock-eyed in exactly the same way as Steve tells Ellie about how gravity is causing the water to go down through the soil.
 After the peas had been planted and watered, the next step was to feed and observe some crickets Steve had picked up for his science classes for later that week.
 Ellie then drew her crickets.  She made sure each one had eyes, antenna, a mouth (mandibles), and two legs (even though she knows they have six).  This was the first time we've seen her draw something that is obviously representative of a real object, so it was really exciting.

Later in the month Daddy also had some dry ice left over from labs, so while I was at work one night the girls enjoyed more science.
Have I mentioned how lucky our girls are to have their amazing Daddy?

The next big event in November was unfortunately that I came home from work on the 6th and started throwing my guts up again.  I got that same terrible flu where I threw up every hour to two hours for exactly 12 hours and then took a few days to recover.  I can't believe that I managed to get that same AWFUL flu twice in 13 weeks of pregnancy....  Roughest first trimester for me.  Ever.  I hope.

And this is what I looked like at 15 weeks pregnant mid-November.

A few random pictures from the month as well.  Here was Ellie after she'd gone downstairs to play for about 10 minutes.  We went to check on her to find she'd just climbed into bed and passed out.  We think based on her increased appetite and the fact that she napped almost every day the second half of the month that she may be coming up on a growth spurt.
 Ellie also liked being a big helper for with Daddy when we ground up our roasts for ground beef later in the month.  The gifts of beef and this meat grinder from Steve's folks have been fabulous for our family.
 These were just some cute pictures of Mckayla from the middle of the month.  I couldn't believe what a little girl she looked like that day!  And I love her funny faces and cheesy grins.

We also had some fun with silly things like taking treats to Ellie's Thanksgiving party.
 Finding out that the girls' next cousin will be another boy (due late April).
 Me actually enjoying shopping for the first time in years and finding some comfortable maternity clothes.  Thank goodness!
 And Ellie learning the joys of "giant marshmallows" as rewards for doing extra good things.  (leftover eyes from Mckayla's Cookie Monster cake the month before)

The last adventure of the month was that we headed up to Spokane for Thanksgiving.  I was awful about getting pictures of family, but did manage to get this one of the four cousins.
 The two little ones weren't real pleased with posing on the couch, but Wyatt and Ellie didn't care as they were enjoying cuddling in Aubrey's blanket and watching cartoons while remaining oblivious to the goings on around them.
 And a couple more silly pictures of Mckayla.  She found this old (and clean) medicine bottle and thought it made a great toy.
 She hung out and held the bottle in her mouth while talking into it and obviously thought she was being hilarious.
We also took advantage of sales after Thanksgiving to get Mckayla a new big girl car seat.  We knew that between her rapid growth and our upcoming arrival that we had no more than 6 months or so before we needed to get her a bigger seat, and she was really fighting us on the convertible seat as of late, so we got this on a FANTASTIC sale (ignore price tag) and figured we would hope she did better in this seat for our Christmas travels.  And she does like this seat a lot better now that she can watch the world go by out her window.  Thank goodness!  Because she still isn't our favorite travel companion at times...

After Thanksgiving we headed home to look forward to the dash to Christmas break and the holidays.  A few other fun dates from the month.  I felt baby Bennett for the first time around the 10th of the month, thought the feelings were small, few, and far between.  Around the 21st Mckayla took her first step down into a kneeling position.  After that she would take a few single steps tentatively every day or two, so we knew walking wasn't too far off.  Oh, and we did FINALLY can our applesauce.  So hooray for that!  We had lots of other fun things the girls said or did during the month, but that takes care of most of our November.