School Days – Wow She’s a 1st Grader!

Natalie started 1st grade today. All of last year’s nervousness was gone. This year my sweet girl was full of confidence and excited to go back to school. She has an amazing teacher and a sweet intern that will also be with the class all year. A couple of her favorite kids are in the class. I think it’s going to be a fantastic year!


1st Day of 1st Grade


When Natalie grows up she wants to be a Wildlife Rescuer and Rehabilitator


I surprised her with an “Ever After High” backpack… she loves it!


Back to School


Nat’s new classroom


Nat and her 2 tablemates


Happy girl loves her new teacher!

June 2016-South Carolina & New York

In early June, Nat and I travelled to South Carolina to visit the SC Grandparents. We had a wonderful time with them. Natalie – a huge animal lover – was thrilled to spend time with their diverse clowder of cats.  During our visit we took a trip to Congaree National Park and took a 2 1/2 mile walk on a boardwalk through a swamp.  It was gorgeous, but we were a bit disappointed that we didn’t see any snakes.  Natalie has a fondness for them as well.

From SC we flew to NYC to visit Sissy. She lives right on the beach on the Rockaway Peninsula. The water was freezing cold… painfully so… but we were at the beach so we went in anyway. We had a grand time splashing in the waves, building sandcastles, hunting for shells, walking the dog Stella and spending time with our sweet Sissy.

Natalie spent the rest of June having playdates, swimming almost every day, dancing at RCDC for about 11 hours a week, working on reading fluency and creating a piece of art for a gallery show in September.


May 2016

A Visit to a Tattoo Parlor

Natalie has been asking to have her ears pierced for over a year.  I thought the end of summer would be a perfect time since she can’t go swimming in public pools for 3 months after the piercing.  Also, I wanted her ears to have plenty of time to heal before dance competitions start up early next year since she will have to wear her heavier company dance earrings then.

I did a bunch of research (as usual🙂 ) to find out the best place to go.  The first thing I learned is that places that use piercing guns like stores at the mall are not the best route.  The guns can not be 100% sterilized which can lead to infection. The people wielding them are not professionals.  Reputable tattoo parlors that offer piercing use completely sterile utensils and needles.  Upon a recommendation from a friend we contacted 7th Street Tattoo in Little Rock.  A super sweet woman named Angela told me she will do ear piercing for children as long as the child wants it done (not just the parent’s decision).  As required we took Natalie’s birth certificate.

After talking to Natalie, giving us detailed after care instructions and letting her choose her earrings, Angela set Natalie on a booster cushion up on a table.  She carefully measured multiple times and made dots perfectly in the center of Nat’s earlobes.  After getting my approval on placement she called in another piercer.  The ladies each put a clamp that has a small hole in the center of it on each of Nat’s ears.   Then in perfect sync they pushed long needles through the marked dots.  The actual piercing took about 1/10th of a second.  Natalie didn’t flinch or have a single tear in her eye.  All 3 of us were looking at her asking if she was ok.  She later admitted to me that it did hurt, but that it was just so very quick that she didn’t need to cry. Angela and the other piercer were impressed by my brave sweetheart.  I was too… as I am every single day.

Natalie picked red earrings because “Red is a lucky color in China”.

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.






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

The Seven Hollows Trail

In April, Katie, Natalie and I hiked part of the Seven Hollows Trail.  It was about 2 1/2 miles of very rocky, hilly trail.  Nat had her hiking poles and she rocked the hike. The stone arch bridge was one of Gary and my favorite places.  Natalie and I enjoyed getting to connect with him through the natural beauty that he so loved.  Click on the pictures below for captions and a larger version.

March Merriment


The Easter Bunny came


Easter egg hunt



Remy stole the Easter basket


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



A kind friend let Natalie ride her big horse


It was her first time to ride bareback

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


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


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


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.