Monday, May 18, 2015

Spring Orchestra Concert

Haley and one of her BFFs, waiting for their turn.
Haley has enjoyed playing her violin with the Middle School Orchestra this year, and her playing has improved tremendously these past few months.  Orchestra is not held during the regular school day, so she has gotten up and to the school 45 minutes early every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for practices.  Talk about dedication!

We got to enjoy her Spring Concert tonight, where they played some really beautiful pieces including one by a Japanese composer that sounded like a rainstorm - from the first drip-drops to the final pitter-patter.  It was impressive.

She also recently had the opportunity to play a piece with 2 of her friends at the city-wide Chamber Music Festival.  They did a great job and plan to continue playing together next year.

Alex clearly didn't appreciate the music, and was out cold
before the end of the performance.
This kid can fall asleep almost anywhere!
Jake also ran out of appreciation for the concert.  Dad usually provides
 him with electronic entertainment, but since he was out of town I
got to enforce my "strict" and "mean" concert etiquette.
Or maybe I just wanted the snuggles...

Monday, May 04, 2015

Pirouettes and Piercings

This weekend was an exciting one for Haley.  Friday night she performed with her jazz dance class in their Spring recital, which is always a fun night.  She never gets nervous (only excited, she says), and it's so rewarding to see the dancers' months of hard work pay off.  The boys - ahem, Alex - lasted through her performance at least, after which Haley came upstairs and watched the rest of the show with me.  I love watching the dances with her, oohing over the costumes and laughing at the super "sassy" faces some of the dancers make.

Saturday night we sent the boys to see the new Avengers movie while Haley and I supposedly went to get pedicures.  We did go to the spa, however the appointment was for Haley to get her ears pierced.  After YEARS of debating whether she was willing to brave the pain in return for sparkle, she decided she was ready.  However she didn't want the pressure of everyone knowing so we kept it a surprise.

We were very happy we chose to go to the spa instead of Claire's at the mall.  It was relaxing, calm, and clean!  After picking out her studs - rhinestone flowers - we headed back to the room to get the job done.  I'd given Haley Tylenol already AND put some numbing gel on her ears but she was still rather apprehensive.  After marking the perfect placement and a *slight* freak-out moment of hesitation, one ear was done.  The other quickly followed and it was finished!  Laughing (and crying just a teeny-tiny bit!), Haley said it hadn't hurt as much as she thought it would.  It was fun to show the boys when we got home and she's done a great job taking care of them.  Hurray for being brave and conquering your fears, Haley!

Sunday, May 03, 2015

A Week in The Life of Alex

Alex has been such a good sport recently, sitting through recitals and belt testings and many practices and rehearsals with me.  He would usually prefer to be at home, playing with Caramel or watching "Big Hero 6" for the 500th time.  We sure love his smile, his sense of humor, and his big hugs.

Alex and Baymax in their swim shorts, on the way to the pool.
Did we mention he loves Big Hero 6?
Baymax makes a great sleeping buddy.
Alex and I like to pass notes back and forth during church or other quiet times.
"I love you to the moon" and "You're weird.  Haha!" are just a few of his missives.
It is incredible to watch a child learn to read, and we've loved watching Alex
do so this year.  One gorgeous early morning this week he curled up next to me
in bed so we could read together.  
This boy and his dog are too cute together.  She follows him around hoping
he'll drop a few crumbs of whatever snack he's having, and they'll chase each
other around the house until they both fall down from exhaustion.
She loves to curl up at his feet when he's tucked into bed and is
always excited when he gets home from school, knowing that he'll play with her.  
Oh, how I love this boy.  An afternoon dentist appointment left us with
time for a Starbucks date.   It was a rainy afternoon and we weren't
in a hurry, so we sat on the tall stools by the window with our vanilla cremes
and watched the world go by.  It's rare for us to go somewhere just the two of us anymore,
and I was grateful for a few minutes alone with my Peanut.

Haley's 12th Birthday

This week we celebrated Haley's 12th birthday.  How is that even possible?  I swear it was only a few years ago that she was our big-brown-eyed toddler with a tiny ponytail and exceptional speech abilities.  Now she's our big-brown-eyed tween with pierced ears and all kinds of exceptional abilities.

Valarie and Haley, 2005

As her birthday fell on a school day (her friends decorated her locker for her), we celebrated at home that night with a BBQ dinner (hurray for unseasonably warm weather!), cake and presents.  

Haley requested a "mini" chocolate cake with a peanut butter frosting filling, and our Ultimate Chocolate Frosting with chopped Reese's peanut butter cups.  She's definitely my child! 

She then got to go to Young Womens' (our church youth program) for the first time.  She was nervous to go, but had a great time.  


Hula hoopin'

I can't have cake yet?
Thanking Jake for his gift of a Sam's Club
 pack of mint gum.
Chatting with Grandma.

I can't imagine how different our family would be without this amazing girl.  She's my best girlfriend, a superb big sister, and the unofficial activities director for the neighborhood kids. Her sweet spirit blesses all of us, and we love her dearly.

At 12 years old, Haley:
-Is the peacemaker in our home.  She's always quick to help resolve arguments and dissipate bad moods.
-Is responsible and reliable - getting up and ready for school on her own, getting her homework done, helping with chores, making meals when asked, and more.  UNLESS she's in the middle of a good book - then it all goes out the window.
-Loves, loves, loves to read.  She's expanding her literary repertoire, but still enjoys re-reading Harry Potter quite often.
-Plays violin in the school orchestra, sang with the Accordo Voce choir of the Grand Cities Children's Choir this past year, and takes weekly piano lessons.  Her musical knowledge and abilities continue to impress us.
-Takes weekly Jazz Dance classes, and loves the fast pace and high energy of the music and dances.  She doesn't get nervous before recitals and is thinking of taking ballet again in the fall.
-Can often be found high in the tree in the front yard, reading.
-Still loves to climb anything possible, much to the amusement/anxiousness of the kids/parents nearby.
-Expresses her creativity and love of art through drawing, sketching, crafting, writing and directing plays, and taking surprisingly great photos with her i-phone.
-Enjoys baking, and makes a mean chocolate chip cookie.  Feel free to ask her for our "secret" family recipe.
-Has a strong sense of right and wrong, and impresses us with her integrity.  She's a good example to her brothers and friends.
-Cares deeply, loves with her whole heart, and is sensitive to the needs of others.