Thursday, September 11, 2008

Dancing Queens

It is no secret that the girls have had a love for reading, music and dancing since they were born. Really. They both love to look at books (and for being so little they are really attentive to them), they sing and talk to themselves all the time (especially Lilly), and they are constantly (and I mean constantly) moving. Some of their favorite shows to watch in prime time this past spring were American Idol and Dancing with the Stars...they also liked So You Think You Can Dance once it started. A few months ago Lilly began to tell us that she wanted to take a dance class. I think she saw a segment on Sesame Street one day (thank you PBS) that took place in a dance class, and so the obsession began. Steve and I talked about it and decided if we could find someplace that had a class for her age we'd let her give it a shot. Most places required that she be three before the classes began in September, but one studio wrote me back and said that they have had some success in the past with 'almost threes' and they'd be willing to let her try it out with not obligation if she wasn't ready. Lilly was so excited...I can't stress how excited she was. It was really all she could talk about from the time we went to size her for her first pair of ballet shoes. I finally had to show her on a calendar how many more days we had before her first class so she would stop obsessing and asking me about it fifteen times a day.

Monday was her first official Pre-Ballet Class. Lilly couldn't wait to get dressed in her new leotard and tights. We got a matching set for Clara (along with her very own 'ballet shoes') so she wouldn't feel left out. They are quite adorable, I must say. Lilly even sat still for about thirty minutes while I tried ten different ways to get her hair to stay in a bun (lots of clips and hairspray people!). We had a long talk about how she needed to listen to the dance teacher and watch the dance teacher. 'We are not supposed to look at ourselves in the mirror, Lilly. You have to watch the teacher so you can learn the dance moves.' Okay, Mommy! This was my biggest fear along the lines of her not being ready for a formal class. She is quite obsessed with watching herself in mirrors, and with being in a room surrounded by them I figured it was sure to be an issue. The sermon was over, the hair was perfect, and we were off. There was a two-way mirror at the studio so we could see in from the waiting room, but the kids couldn't see us. Watching 12 three year olds attempts plies and the different positions was quite hilarious. (I'm sure just as funny was the 12 mothers crowed around a two foot by one foot window peering in.) I think Lilly's favorite part was the 'ballet run' and apparently there was something along the lines of 'bunny hops' as well. I think she did pretty good for the most part from the few minutes I watched. She was watching herself in the mirrors quite a bit (although she did try really hard to do it out of the corner of her eye) and walked away from the group a handful of times (guess she wanted to do a solo!). But I didn't honestly didn't see her doing anything that others in the class weren't doing too. After we had dinner that evening I asked her if she would show my camera some of the things she learned at class that day. She was pretty eager (as was Clara) to show me her stuff. Enjoy!

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Under the Sea

We recently began talking to the girls about Halloween and discussed how they get to dress up in costumes for the occasion. Then we asked Lilly what she might like to be and began to run through the gambit of possibilities...butterflies (no)...ladybugs (no)...puppy dogs (no)...how about favorite characters...Sesame Street muppets...maybe Elmo or Zoe...or Abby Cadaby (no)...princesses--Cinderella or Snow White (no). Then Steve said 'How about Nemo?' With this I know my face was quite shocked...why would you suggest this?? Where would we find a Nemo costume that didn't cost a fortune?? Are YOU going to make one?? These are just a few of the questions that ran through my head in about three seconds. But then I thought...she turned everything else down...no worries! With that Lilly yells, 'YEAH! I be like Nemo for Halloween!' This is just great! How in the world am I going to pull this one off?! Over the next days we tried to convince Lilly that she could be lots of other things for Halloween, to which her answer continued to be, 'Nope...I be like Nemo.'

It was time for a little coercion and manipulation...every mother uses these tactics from time to time, right? So I began talking to the girls about all the things that live under the sea...fishes, dolphins, Nemos!...Lilly would add, mermaids ...I would say (and the manipulation begins..he he he). Mermaids! Lilly and Clara would yell in unison. I began talking about mermaids a lot, and we played with Ariel toys and read mermaid books. Then we went to the bookstore one morning for story time, and I saw my opportunity. On a clearance rack was a set of mermaid stickers, complete with two sticker boards (perfect!)

Me: Hey Girls...look at this. Mermaid stickers.

Lilly and Clara: Ooooooohhhhh....Mermaid stickers!

Lilly: I want those, Mommy.

Me: Okay...Hey Lilly, what if you were a mermaid for Halloween?!

Lilly: YEAH!!! I DO be a mermaid for Halloween! Great idea, Mommy!

Score! I sold it! I will admit that I made an attempt a week ago to change her mind one last time to be Tinker Bell (her newest Disney fascination is Peter Pan). We decided that when we pass through KY for my friend's wedding in October we are going to extend our trip through Halloween and I thought it would be adorable for her to be Tink, Clara to be Wendy, and my nephew Carson to be Peter Pan (or Captain Hook if his daddy wouldn't let him wear tights!). But she has become quite obsessed and insistent that she is going to be a mermaid. Through all of this, Clara professed that she is Ariel. No surprise there since she is in love with Prince Eric. This I can do...mermaids shouldn't be too hard, right?!

Well...they are really easy for me, since my wonderful mother-in-law found the cutest ones ever on Amazon, bought them, shipped them, and they are already here. The girls were in love from the moment we opened the box, and they have been wearing the costumes almost every day for at least a few minutes since. They even wore them the other night to visit with Papa on the web cam to sing him 'Happy Birthday' mermaid style. Check them out below...there is a video of them opening the box when it came, as well as one of them trying the costumes on for the first time...adorable! Both of the outfits are a little big (Clara's needs to be taken up quite a bit in the length), but they look great and will be the best dressed mermaids on the block this Halloween. No doubt about that! So thanks Gamma JA...we love you!

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

New Elephant Friends

My mom has gotten a big kick out of sharing the story of Lilly's friend Homer with the family and her friends. We haven't heard much about Homer lately...just a handful of times. Lilly does still maintain her love of elephants though (as well as princess, babies, and dancing!). After seeing the video on here, a friend and coworker of mom's, who we fondly refer to as 'Aunt' Karen, decided to send the girls a package. If you saw us together it would be pretty obvious that Aunt Karen is of no blood relation to us, though she gets a HUGE kick out of seeing the reaction from folks when she tells them she's our aunt! She shares Lilly's love of elephants and wanted to send a couple of special ones to the girls. It was very sweet of her and greatly appreciated. Our new elephant friends have a new home here on top of out toy box and have received much love since their arrival. This particular video ends a little strangely because the memory on the camera was full. We still wanted to share it though, and send our thanks to our favorite non-aunt, aunt! Love ya!

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Clara's Love

We have been meaning to get a video of Clara wearing this nightgown for awhile now, and finally did so a few weeks ago before Steve left for Kuwait. It has just taken me a little while to get it posted here. This particular gown was passed down to us from cousin Abby (we love that!) and it has been Clara's favorite ever since. Clara is a huge fan of the little mermaid (more on that to come in a later post), but it wasn't her fascination with Ariel that sparked her interest with this nightgown...it was Prince Eric. The first time we put the gown on Clara, her face lit up and she pointed to the photo of Eric on the shirt and chanted 'Eric...Eric...Eric!' Now it wasn't necessarily what she said, but how she said it, and the fact that for the rest of the night she kept pointing him out to us. We asked her if Eric was handsome and she responded with a resounding, 'YEAH!' Is he your prince, Clara? 'YEAH!' If she had her choice, I'm certain that she would wear this nightgown to bed every night. The video really doesn't do her initial excitement justice, but it is cute nonetheless.

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