All Things Showtime.

The day of the big recital is here and as usual, I breathe a sigh of relief that this only occurs once a year. This year Maka and Baka were both here and that was quite a treat for all of us.

Backstage reaches a level of organized chaos that I have only seen in well orchestrated military invasions on CNN. Truly, there's a hum and an excitement and by that time everyone knows their roles.

And then it's time to hit the stage. This year, Bella's class tap-danced to "Papa Loves Mambo".

It was hysterical to watch the littlest girls perform. But Bella nailed it. And look at her?? She loved every minute of it. Even the moment she realized that the girl next to her somehow lost her maracas. I love Bella's expression of "no way". We kept telling her that the show must go on and indeed, it did.

Now let me take a second to tell you about the venue. It's at the Grand Theater inside the Grand Sierra Resort. The stage is HUGE. It's even billed as the "World's Largest Indoor Stage". Somehow, Ms. Diane and the other ballet instructors manage to choreograph for the entire stage so to see the final shows is quite wonderful, especially when the older (high school age) dancers perform.

Kata is in Level 1-2, which means she's just a level above Bella. They're still part of the Little Ones. The music was "Music Box Dancer" and I don't have a link to it. But the recital's theme was The Toy Shop, so I know you can now picture it for yourself.

Do you remember your recitals? And that feeling right before the music starts and before the spotlights hit you? I can still recall it; can you?


All Things Dress Rehearsal.

At Nevada Dance Academy, there are strict rules. For example, there is always but always a Dress Rehearsal the day before the annual recital. Hair and costumes must be in place but no make up is necessary.

It reminds me of all those wonderful skating competitions and shows I participated in and loved. But now, my role has changed. I'm the stressed out mom, gluing and fixing things at the very last minute.

Is everyone thinking the same thing as I -- how things change and how they stay the same, eh? Yup, it's true. Take a moment to think of some thing that you still do but now you're in a different role. I appreciate the change of perspective, how about you?


All Things For the Last Time.

Bella is done with preschool which means Ken and I are done with preschool as well. Don't get me wrong, we loved our years at Sunflower Preschool but, we're ready for more Big Kid pursuits. Or are we?

So as we made the journey across town, from Sunflower to home, for what was surely the last time, I realized I was sad to leave the wonderful teachers and that creative, nurturing environment. Both Kata and Bella were enrolled there so for me it was more than a milestone; it was a farewell to those first years of school. I immediately thought of all the drop-offs and pick ups of the last four years. The tearful separation anxiety (not always mine) and the happy pick-ups with glitter-filled, construction paper creations.

I will miss Sunflower. I will miss preschool. I know the adventures that await in elementary, middle and high school will be even more exciting. I think, sometimes, I'm not ready for those. But perhaps I am. I know they are. Why are we, the parents, always the reluctant ones?

Think of a moment when you let something familiar go. How did it make you feel?


All Things Father's Day Pizza Party.

Ah, the time for Father's Day Pizza party at preschool had arrived. While it's similar to the Mother's Day Tea Party, it's not. You see all these dads/grandfathers/uncles/godfathers show up on a weekday afternoon to eat pizza and watch a show put on by the very excited students.

Do you guys see Bella? Her excitement is well palatable, isn't it? Especially when she was all done singing and got to run up to her Daddy carrying that special gift.

This year, Ken got a rock. Okay, it's a functioning paperweight/rock. I'm sure it's representative of his role in Bella's life. He is her rock. I know my Father is mine, still to this day. My anchor. And Ken's the wind which propels me forward. Together these two men make me soar in a careful and positive direction.

Hoping that all the dads I know had a wonderful Father's Day and that it was filled with love and heartfelt moments.


All Things Hoop Dreams.

It's the sixteenth anniversary of the movie, "Hoop Dreams". I remember when it came out, Ken was still coaching High School Basketball and I thought that every parent of every player should see the movie. Promise me that if you haven't seen it that you will, especially if you're a coach or if you have a kid playing a competitive sport.

The movie is about dreams and talent and the reality of life. It's so much more than a sports movie. It really depicts how the road to Dreams Coming True is paved with major obstacles the least of which is that while there are thousands of great high school basketball players there are only so many spots on college teams and even less in the NBA.

Arthur Agee was one of the stars of the film. Except that this film was actually a documentary and the script was his life. He was in town promoting the anniversary of "Hoop Dreams" and Ken and Alex went to a special Meet and Greet for Aces/Big Horns fans.

Alex is pictured with Arthur. I hope one day that Alex will watch the movie with Ken and I and understand fully what Arthur said to him, "I'm just trying to get the message out." What's the message? Stay in school, kids. Live out your dreams but be cognizant of the odds.


All Things Now You're Five.

I cannot believe our youngest turned five. It's been an interesting five years to say the least. When I think back to the summer six years ago and our decision to move out of the Bay Area and here to Reno, all I remember is stress. Then to add to it, we found out that we were expecting Bella. It couldn't have happened at a more "magical time" (yes, that's sarcasm). I mean, we hit most of the major stresses in the same exact instant: a big move, a new job and hey, your third kid. I remember laughing about it with Ken.

And now look at us, six years later, we're a family of five with our youngest turning five. We're ready for the next milestones: Kindergarten, learning to read, learning to tie your shoes. I know they're all baby steps but wow, there's no turning back. Thank God.

Speaking of turning back, that's Puppy Potty Training Barbie. Yes, there's one out there and yes, we bought it. Now you know the answer to: who would buy such a thing?

A giant package arrived from Baka and Djedo. Please note her excitement. Also the look on Alex's face which sums up his feelings of "Great, another doll...."

Kata had to quickly get out her American Girl doll as well.

And Ken had to grab a catalogue and get into the picture. Can't you all see him at the American Girl restaurant making sure that the dolls have good seats for their tea?? I know, I can.

We told Bella that she could pick out all the activities that day. So we went to see "Marmaduke" in the theater and we enjoyed lunch at Fuddrucker's in their Wolf Pack booth.

She saved the best part for last, because we went to play Glow In The Dark Mini Golf at Wild Island.

The moment we realized it was pirate themed, our excitement was palatable. Can't you tell??? Arrrrrrggggghhhhh. Yes, I'm lapsing into pirate talk. Why not?

For those of you who know me entirely too well, there's my Hot Boy with Sword. Okay, a true blue HBWS wouldn't wear glass but you know, I like it when he sees things clearly.
And Alex felt at home, of course. I mean what 11 year old boy, wouldn't?

I snuggled up to the Kraken. Okay, it's a squid but work with me.

And we all thanked Bella for choosing a great family activity!!

We came home just in time for cake. Happy Birthday to our big FIVE year old!

May every one of her days be filled with magical wishes that all come true.


All Things Bend It Like Beckham.

In the Fall, Alex is going to not play soccer for the first time since he was four years old. There are lots of fun and new activities to look forward to in Middle School and we want him to try those out first.

So it was a bittersweet moment to watch his last soccer game this season. The girls sat in their chairs, patiently, cheering him on. Okay, well, they were eating their snacks.

And Alex (red shirt, number 3) played hard.

It's been great watching him play soccer for so many years. He's come a long way from those very early games on the smallest of fields. Along the way, he's learned the fundamentals of the game. But most of all, he's learned what it means to be a part of a team and how to always bring his best game to the field. That lesson was worth all those early mornings, late afternoons and temperamental weather moments.

And to us, his parents and sisters, he was the MVP in every single game. Those are the things that are truly important in life. Play hard, Bubby!