August 2016 ~ A Banner Month!

Besides getting her ears pierced and beginning the first grade (mentioned in previous posts), Natalie had a few other significant events take place during the month of August.

Last year Natalie had a great time being part of the Rock City Dance Apprentice Company. This year she decided that she wanted to do more dancing so she auditioned for the RCDC full company. She worked so hard on her dancing all summer and had a great time auditioning with her friends. The same day Natalie got her ears pierced we got the good news that she had earned a spot in the full company! Audition pics are below.


On ear piercing day we went to the Museum of Discovery where Nat had a fun time lying on a bed of nails. That’s where we got the exciting news that she was accepted into the full dance company (see her happy face below – the one with white tile in the background). After the Discovery Museum we went to a nearby wildlife museum that had lots of cool fish tanks and interesting displays.

A few days later Natalie visited the same 2 museums again with her favorite twin friends.  It was great to reconnect with them a couple of days before school starts.  Natalie was so excited to find out that one of the twins is in her class this year.

I haven’t posted many pictures of Louie lately.  He has been having a rough time for the last couple of years.  His allergies have been absolutely terrible.  He spends most of his time wearing a cone to prevent him from covering his entire body with self-inflicted sores.  He has been getting allergy shots for several months now.  I don’t think they have helped his itchy skin much, but they have helped to clear up his ears which were previously a horrible mess.    In the pics below Louie is finding great joy in eating a pinecone.  I don’t know why he loves them so, but since he chews them up throughly before swallowing them I just let him chow down.  It’s one of the few things that makes him happy these days.  Louie will be 9 years old in January.

img_4497img_4493

Natalie and one of her favorite dance friends… she is lucky to have such a sweet group of girls to dance with.  She is dancing 4 days a week now for a total of 6 1/2 hours.  She is studying ballet, hip hop, tap, contemporary, jazz and lyrical.  img_4489

Ready for tap class to begin… Nat’s teacher told her tonight that she has great taps and asked her to demonstrate to the class.13958126_10210204064361668_8952057759834831232_o

Two days after school started Natalie had to have 4 teeth pulled!!!!  Yikes!  She was a trooper though as always.  She got a little sad when she looked in the mirror after coming home.  She teared up a bit and said “Mama, I look creepy.”  She had 4 bloody holes in her gums and 2 new teeth coming up in the wrong place behind them.  The next day though her mouth looked so much better.  A week later her teeth had already shifted into the right place.

img_4437

Behind our house at sunsetimg_4364

Playing dodgeball at a b-day partyimg_0233

Dressing up Remy.  This kitty is so laid back…he’s up for anything.img_0155

Meet the teacher night the week before school.  Natalie LOVES her new teacher.  She is so happy to go to school every day this year.img_0178

She also got to visit her sweet kindergarten teacher from last year.img_0182

Water fun… only a few days of swimming weather left.

Near the end of August we got a kayak and finally started exploring the watery world behind our house.  The lake behind our home connects to a swampy area which connects to the Little Maumelle.  Each time we go out we explore a little further.  During our first journey out a big blue heron flew over our heads.  Amazing!

 

July 2016 ~ Summertime Fun

4th of July Silliness

Magic Springs Waterslide

IMG_4046

Fun Stuff

Time with Friends

Vocal Camp

This summer Natalie attended a week long vocal camp at Wildwood Center for the Arts.  She wasn’t really loving it after the first day and was reluctant to go back on Tuesday.  However, she stuck with it and ended up having an amazing time.  Next year if the dates don’t clash with her dance schedule she is planning on attending again.

IMG_4160

Natalie was involved in a photo shoot to represent her dance studio, Rock City Dance Center.  She had a great time and was thrilled to see her photo on the sign in front of the gorgeous new dance studio.

 

May 2016

Little Rock Dance Competition

Natalie and her 11 teammates had their final competition of the season this April in Little Rock.  The baseball dance – shown in the second video below – won first place for their age group.  It was a musical theater The car dance (a Jazz dance) shown in the following video got third place.

By the way, there is another little Chinese American girl on Natalie’s team.  With their hair pulled back and stage make up on the two girls look a bit alike from far away.  Natalie is the one on the left side of the videos and group pictures.

SL_0130_N2_001

SL_0130_N2_064SL_0130_N2_065SL_0139_N2_064SL_0139_N2_067SL_0139_N2_065SL_0139_N2_066

SL_0139_N2_083

IMG_3351

IMG_3363

1688x2250.jpeg.b22ea98a896b4f6d9c41cca37cd91190When I asked Natalie which types of dance are her favorite she said, “Jazz, Contemporary, Hip-Hop, Ballet and Tap!  All of them Mama!” Natalie is just a beginning dancer, but seeing her face light up when she is on the stage makes her look absolutely amazing to me.

April Amusement

March Merriment

IMG_3142

The Easter Bunny came

IMG_3160

Easter egg hunt

IMG_3149

IMG_3134

Remy stole the Easter basket

IMG_3084

Natalie had so much fun sleeping in my old tent in her bedroom

IMG_3085

IMG_3100

A kind friend let Natalie ride her big horse

IMG_3091

It was her first time to ride bareback

IMG_2898 (1)

After a few hours of playing hard Natalie and her friend crawled into bed

IMG_2904

The view of the pear trees from Natalie’s bedroom window was stunning

IMG_2923

When it was Natalie’s turn to make snacks we painted clothes pins with lots of fun colors and made these little butterflies

IMG_2933

Instead of birthday gifts, Natalie requested that her friends donate new or gently used books to the “Reach Out and Read” program.  She collected over 70 books.  Here she is dropping them off.

First Dance Competition

In March the Rock City Apprentice Company had their first competition in Hot Springs, Arkansas.  Natalie and her wonderful dance friends did a fantastic job.  Their first dance titled “Crusin'” was referred to by the team as the car dance.  Their second dance was titled “I Don’t Dance”… the kids called it the baseball dance.  They did a great job on both dances, but the judges were especially enamoured of the baseball dance.  They received a special judge’s choice “Showstopper Award”for that dance.  The most memorable moment for me was when Natalie came on stage for the baseball dance.  As all of the kids were getting into their starting positions I noticed that Natalie went to the wrong part of the stage.  I was trying with all my might to send her a telepathic message to move to her right.  I don’t think she got my message, but she finally realized that she wasn’t in the right spot.  Natalie quickly ran to her assigned spot which she reached right as the music started.  She jumped right into the dance without getting flustered or even missing a beat.  I was so proud of her.

February 2016

Happy Chinese New Year!  Natalie and I celebrated with friends at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock.  Over 99% of the people there were of Chinese ethnicity and were speaking Chinese.  It was a very special event with lots of yummy food and great entertainment.  Natalie enjoyed spending time with 2 girls who are in her kindergarten class at school and making a new friend.  The new friend is the little girl in the white sweater below.  We ran into her the following weekend during Natalie’s first ice skating session.  That sweet girl spent over an hour and a half assisting Natalie (who was very wobbly on her ice skates) around the rink.

Chinese ladies dancing

On the 100th day of school students were asked to dress like they were 100 years old.  This was Natalie’s interpretation.

Also in February, Katie and I accompanied Natalie on her first visit to a nursing home.  It was a place Katie and I had visited probably over 50 times in the past, and I finally felt like Natalie was old enough to go with us.  I’m so used to Katie and Louie getting tons of attention during these therapy dog visits.  This visit was especially interesting and fun since I had not one but two gorgeous girls with me.  The residents seemed to split their attention pretty equally between my precious daughter, Natalie and my gentle giant Newfoundland, Katie.  Both girls were on their best behavior and brightened up so many people’s day during our 2 hour visit.  Natalie acted as my little ambassador knocking on doors and checking to see who might be interested in visiting with her large dog friend.  The lady below was so happy to meet Natalie and asked if she could give her a hug.  It was one of the sweetest moments I have ever witnessed.  I love seeing Natalie’s little arm around the lady’s neck in the second picture and the lady’s hands on Nat’s back.

IMG_2268IMG_2272

IMG_2297

These 3 sisters are great friends and neighbors.  We are so lucky to have them in our lives.

IMG_2323

Natalie’s First ever spelling test

IMG_2525

IMG_2531

Natalie asked to go visit her old preschool class.  While we were there she read a book to the 3 year olds.  They were all entranced and hung on her every word.  Her old teachers were so proud and Natalie was also proud of herself.

Valentine’s Party at Natalie’s school

Wildwood Lantern Festival

It was our first time to attend the annual lantern festival at Wildwood.  It was a beautiful celebration of cultures from all over the world.  Natalie put a floating lantern into the pond near the Greek exhibit.  We ate lots of delicious food and played traditional games from several different countries.  

 

 

January 2016

Yay… I’m almost caught up on blog posts.  At least I’m in the right year now.

IMG_1833

Playing sleepy time with her dolls & animals

IMG_1843

Nat still sleeps with Cindy & Betsy every night – she’s had them since she was 2

IMG_1880

Going to a Bday celebration

IMG_1931

Snow Day!!!

IMG_1823

Her handwriting has improved so much this school year

IMG_2185

Putting the barbies to bed…note one is sleeping in the bathtub

In Mid January Natalie was in a dance showcase which was mostly an opportunity for the dancers to do a full dress rehearsal before their first competition in March.  She had a great time being around all of her dancing friends.  Natalie also gets a big thrill anytime she gets to wear makeup which is only when she is performing on stage or during Halloween.

Natalie and friends celebrated her 6th birthday at River City Gymnastics.  Everyone had a wonderful time jumping and playing on all of the fun equipment.  I’m so grateful that Natalie has such a sweet group of friends.

IMG_2092

The birthday girl is about to jump into the foam pit.

IMG_2151

The Birthday Crew!

Holiday Season of 2015

406

 

Thanksgiving weekend was a  fun time with family and friends. Highlights were a visit from some of our favorite cousins from Seattle and Natalie’s annual toy donation to Toys For Tots.

After Thanksgiving, in early December of 2015, my Grandmother (Nat’s Great-grandmother) passed away at the age of 97.  She died in the house that my grandfather built over half a century ago surrounded by several members of her beloved family.  Her funeral was perhaps our last big family reunion.  We are an extremely loving bunch and it was so good to be with our amazing family at the old Homeplace where we have many happy memories as children and as adults.  Grandmother will be missed but her loving legacy lives on in all of us.

IMG_1678

Natalie made fast friends with one of her grown up cousins.

IMG_1649

The whole clan (except for absent members)

IMG_1666

First Cousins

We had a wonderful Christmas with family and friends.  We missed Aunt Sissy this year who had come from NY earlier in December for Grandmother’s funeral.  Click on pictures below for descriptions and larger versions.