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.

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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.

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Behind our house at sunsetimg_4364

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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

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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.

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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.

 

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!

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1st Day of 1st Grade

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

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

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Back to School

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Nat’s new classroom

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Nat and her 2 tablemates

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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.

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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.

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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.

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April Amusement