The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

Dance Recital 2014

The girls have been adamant that they are done with dance. This year was a struggle all year long for many reasons. We skipped a few classes to attend school things, and I stopped at McDonald’s for treats on the way home occasionally to give them something to look forward to. But in the end, I can’t make them love dance so this may be our last dance recital. They both love to dance, so maybe in a few years they’ll want to come back to it? A mom can dream.

I took videos at dress rehearsal, but the routine was looking rough. Let’s just say we practiced a lot between Thursday and Sunday, and it made a definite difference on recital day!

Here’s their tap routine! Delaney and Caden are on the right side, Delaney is in the light and you can tell Caden by her impressive hip pops.

Ballet to I Feel Pretty, which my mom said was one of my grandma’s favorite songs. This was their favorite routine and favorite costume. We will definitely wear this again!

And a picture with their flowers. So pretty!

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A Break

I haven’t talked much about dance classes this year. They are a weird mix of love and hate that is hard to explain.

The girls went from 8 girls in their class to 20. While they have fun in class, it’s a bitch getting them there. We went through week after week where Delaney complained that she didn’t want to go. I don’t blame her, by Thursday night we’re all tired! But I’d already paid for costumes so off to ballet we went. Also? I know they have fun in class, so I figured it was just that they were tired and wanted to stay home. Classes are also definitely harder this year. They’re pushing the girls a bit, but my girls catch on to the choreography relatively quickly. They aren’t doing it perfectly, but they remember it and do a good job with it.

But now they are saying they don’t want to take dance lessons next year. I’ve asked a lot of questions, mostly “Why?” Delaney says over and over that the lessons are too long. Oddly enough, lessons have been an hour for the last three years. What if we did a different night? Different teacher? Different studio? But they are adamant that they want to do gymnastics instead. I think last year (and when they did gymnastics) they had a smaller class size and really connected with a few of the girls and made friends. This year, there are too many kids, they’re always next to someone different, and there isn’t the same giggling in between things that there used to be.

On the one hand? Awesome. Gymnastics at the community center are *much* cheaper than dance. On the other hand? My girls love to dance and they’re good at it! I don’t want them to stop! It doesn’t help that I don’t love the gymnastics lessons through community ed. At least those are only for six or eight weeks at a time, and we can find a different gym if they love gymnastics. (But I seriously can’t imagine them not being dancers! I’m mostly focusing on the money aspect because I don’t love this decision, but I also know I need to respect this decision. I am however overriding them and signing them up for soccer this summer. Sorry, but Mommy wins sometimes.)

I’m hoping the break will be a good thing. If I remember correctly, I took a few years off from dance lessons when I was younger, and came back to it when I was old enough to really make the decision myself, which made me that much more committed to it.

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Friday

* It appears I did not get the children who fall into their beds exhausted after their full day at kindergarten. My two are falling asleep at their normal time. However, I did seem to get the children who are famished when they get home! They eat a much larger dinner than usual, and a big bedtime snack. Can’t complain about that!

* Dance class started last night. The last two years we’ve done Saturday morning classes. I loved it. Ate breakfast, grabbed my to go coffee and browsed email and facebook while watching them dance. It was relaxing. This year the Saturday morning class was too late in the day, so we went with Thursday night. All of the comp girls are there doing classes, as well as a million rec kids, AND their siblings. What is it about younger kids that makes parents ignore them and let them scream and wail? It was so loud my introverted brain was ready to explode. Next week I will be bringing headphones along.

* Labor Day! My brother and his family came out to the lake to camp, so the whole family was together. I love watching the cousins play together. Even the dogs got in on the fun! We had the most perfect day to end summer with.

dad lonni

My dad and my brother. As much as my mom and I look alike, that’s how much my dad and brother look alike.

grandkids

Grandkids! On a boat! There should also be an accompanying picture of the entire family to go with this, but the woman I handed my camera to, apparently didn’t actually press the button. So no picture.

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Lucy! She jumped off the boat and swam twice! While we were on the sandbar my brother was throwing a stick for Max who would bound through the water to get it. We threw the stick for Lucy and she looked at it like “Maybe? I’ll stroll though.” She slept hard for a few days, but now I swear she’s moving better than ever.

lane and sam

Two goofballs. Need I say more?

cousins

The 5-year-olds feeding the last of the corn to the goats and sheep. We found out on our last weekend there that they have names, fun names! Oops.

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Recital Weekend!

We have been practicing their recital routines for what feels like forever, so we were all very happy and excited to see recital weekend finally arrive. Of course their recital was in the late afternoon, leaving all morning for various shenanigans and we definitely packed it in. Farmer’s Market, Old Navy, Target, mowing the lawn – I was exhausted and frankly happy to sit on my behind for 2.5 hours.

dance together

It was gloriously sunny all morning, right up until I had the girls in their costumes, hair done, and then it started raining. We took a few pictures in the screen porch but they are all some variation of awful, so I coaxed them outside in the sprinkles for a few.

both dance

Let’s talk about the recital for a second. I looked back through old posts and while I talked about going to a new studio and loving it, I didn’t really talk about why I chose this studio. In a nutshell, they are one of the top tier dance studios in the twin cities. When they go to competitions, they win it all. Also, it is incredibly organized and professionally run which is a huge bonus for me. I wanted the girls to go somewhere where if they wanted to, they could really go somewhere with dance. At Summit, they can really learn the dance fundamentals, and become an amazing dancer. They can also continue to take recreational lessons as long as they want, both options are there.

The opening number of the recital was the competition kids. I cried, the performance was that amazing. So many kids, all performing completely in sync, doing moves you mostly see on television. Every last kid on that stage could do turns for days, and not just a crappy pirouette, but a solid one where they don’t wobble as they come out of it. I was insanely impressed, and that feeling only became greater as the recital went on. THIS is why I brought my kids here. That feeling when you perform something perfectly, when you go into a routine knowing you are the best of the best and then executing, that is what I want my girls to know.

The recital was a mix of the competition routines and the recreational routines. My girls were the second youngest there, but knew their routine better than many of the older girls. I was so proud of them! I took these videos at dress rehearsal which is a bit of a bummer because they definitely performed better the day of recital.

First up, their ballet routine. In both routines the girls are in the front row, Delaney on the left, Caden on the right.

Their second routine was their tap routine. At the end they do a kickline. While they weren’t really in sync at the dress rehearsal, they nailed it at the recital and the crowd went wild!


And here’s a video of the competition kids doing Bad. This is just a minute of it unfortunately, but this routine was my favorite. The boy that comes out halfway through was in a lot of the competition routines and this kid was Amazing.

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Winter Recital

In the middle of all of the holiday happenings, the girls winter dance recital got lost in the shuffle. Truly, when I say recital I use that term very loosely. Their ‘recital’ was at their normal class time, and was held in a larger room at the studio. They showed a few of the technique things they are working on, and then performed the two routines they’ve been practicing. The thing about both routines is that they really drill the basics of ballet and tap, so as they practice they are learning the foundation steps. And! We got to see their costumes for the spring recital! Two! Gorgeous sparkly costumes. Very excited.

together

Their teacher told them to wear something festive and fun, so Delaney asked to wear her dance costume from the spring. Perfect idea!

flowers

My parents brought them flowers, which they loved.

Every week I watch their dance class, so I knew all of the moves but had never heard the words. This is such a cute song! You can also definitely tell that not all of the kids have the same ‘passion’ for dance. Even with my two, Delaney practices at home all week, Caden gets distracted and bored by the end of the class.

Love this tap routine! We practiced what I could remember at home, but they really picked up on the steps as they got closer to the recital. Step ball change was difficult, but they both got it down!

I can’t say enough good things about the new studio we’re at! The teacher is so great, everyone is so professional, and the girls are learning so much. I also think it’s huge that there are older girls in classes while the girls are in class. They see girls in pointe shoes and girls doing leaps and turns every week. It’s nice to see what they’re working towards.

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Dancing Queens

This week the girls were supposed to come to dance class dressed in their Halloween costumes. That was easy for Caden, her costume bottom is a skirt/tutu. Delaney’s skirt is a feather skirt, which I was worried would shed feathers everywhere. Instead I put her in a white tutu, put her headband bow on and she was a happy girl! Didn’t even care!

They weren’t many kids there this week. Normally the parent area is packed, but this week it was just a few of us. I started chatting with another mom and we laughed the whole class. Caden’s headband kept coming off. Her daughter was a lion and was sweating to death. But all of the kids had smiles on their faces the entire class. It was so adorable and so fun. My girls love to dance, and we are so blessed to have found this dance studio. I couldn’t help but smile and laugh as I watched Caden and Delaney smile and laugh.

We all brought candy/treats to pass out. The other mom and I were wondering how this would work when we noticed the assistant teacher off with all of the treats combining them into bags. The leftovers were scattered around the dance studio while the kids sat. When the music turned off, they all ran to get the candy. Shocker that Caden ended up with the biggest pile!

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Dance Class v2.0

After last years dance studio debacle, I was very excited to begin a new year at a new studio. The night before the girls picked out their leotards and we laid everything out. We were all up early that morning, breakfasted and changed with plenty of time. So we took some pictures!

At first my pictures looked like this and I wasn’t happy. I hate my brown walls and I hate the spotty sunlight on my deck. We moved inside by the screen porch and I got this and whoa, I was happy.

Although Caden clearly isn’t. I will likely spend the rest of the fall trying to recapture this gorgeous morning light to no avail.

We headed to dance class and were 10 minutes early. Perfect. I love being early. I picked a good spot to watch class from, we got their dance shoes organized and met the teacher. By the time everyone arrived there were about 10 kids in their class.

I was a little nervous when the teacher busted out teddy bears for them to dance with, but it turns out that was a way for them to learn how to hold their arms for ballet. Genius! They did about 30 minutes of ballet during which she ran them through all five positions which impressed me. Parents help them change into tap shoes which I’m fine with, at least this way I can keep track of them!

Overall, they loved class and so did I. It’s near good shopping, so we grabbed groceries and lunch after class which is our perfect Saturday morning routine.

Caden is pretty good at that stare isn’t she? I’m starting to think I need to blow that one up and hang it somewhere…

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One shoe shopping trip down

Dance gear! Part of me was super excited to go shopping for this stuff because it means our new dance season is just around the corner, and I’m so excited for the girls to start there. The other part dreads pretty much every shopping trip we go on. Things only really go well for the first 10 minutes and then it’s all downhill from there.

But those first 10 minutes? Love them! We’ll be playing ballet shoe roulette this year. The girls are a half size apart in shoes right now. Caden will start out in Laney’s size 11’s from last spring. I bought two new pairs – 11.5 and 12. Laney can start out with the 11.5 pair, and when their feet grow mid year, everyone moves up a notch. It’s nice to have that taken care of.

The girl working at the store also used to teach at our old dance school. We gossiped a bit about how bad that studio was and she informed me they’re closing down! They’re going to reopen as a solo/duet studio? I have no idea how that’s going to work, but it seems that if you are disorganized and treat your customers awfully, they don’t come back. Weird!

After trying on tap shoes (and trying *out* tap shoes, yikes that was loud), I got caught up in all of the gorgeous leotards. We have enough, more than enough, but I cannot resist! Laney found that adorable swirly gymnastics leotard. It was inexpensive as far as those leotards go, and also a little big so we’ll get a few years wear out of it. Caden couldn’t find a gymnastics leotard in her size that she liked, so we spent 15 minutes going through the ballet leotards over and over. I think she wanted a little more pizzazz in her choice, but that’s just not how ballet leotards work. In the end we found a pretty pink short sleeve with a skirt that I forced her to pick.

Of course Caden’s tap shoes weren’t in stock in her size, so I’ll have to make one more trip back. And tonight is Stride Rite BOGO sneaker shopping. Yay. After this, no more shopping until the day after Thanksgiving sales!

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Dance Show

Both girls love to dance. LOVE to dance. They wear their ballet shoes around the house, they dance nonstop to whatever music is or isn’t on, and they love to watch any tv shows that involve dancing.

The last two nights they’ve put on dance shows for me. The first night it was too dark. I used the flash, but the pictures made me cringe. Kind of a bummer since they made a little stage and everything. But last night the dance show happened a little earlier and we had light! And slightly better pictures.

Caden did a lot of twirling, so most of my shots look like this or blurrier.

She did give me a nice curtsy at the end though.

Laney’s dance had a little more arm flair.

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Family Dinner

Last night we came home and had a family dinner. Sounds small, but between swimming lessons and the heat, we haven’t sat down at the table and all eaten dinner together in probably a month or more (except vacation? we definitely ate together on vacation). And I missed it! I love sitting down together, even if there isn’t much conversation.

Last night I planned well. We had tacos which mean many bowls of things that needed to be taken out to the screen porch. The girls love to help, and this was the perfect job for them. They got to make their own taco, and before Caden knew it she was halfway through the taco she proclaimed she wasn’t going to eat just 20 minutes before.

This underscored something I’ve been thinking about lately as I look at dance studios and lesson times. We need to preserve our family dinners. After last year I said I wouldn’t do another Saturday morning dance class, but doing dance during the week would mean that along with gymnastics, two nights every week would be rushed dinners. I don’t like rushed dinners. And so, even though it means rushing out of the house on Saturday mornings, that is what we’ll do.

I’m excited! I’ve narrowed it down to one dance studio, I just want to go and tour it before making it official. It will be nice to lock in this decision!

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