Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Symposium Talent Competition {April 2015}

With one competition under our belt, we felt even more excited about the next one ~ Symposium Talent in Burnsville.  Competitions are usually 3 days long, with solos, duets and trios on Friday, small groups on Saturday and then larger groups Sunday....but, Symposium was a bit different in that they had mix match of solos, duets and trios throughout the weekend and our small groups performed on Sunday.

We woke up Friday morning to a sweet surprise in our front yard (shown above).  Our studio director, Dana, along with the help of some of the staff drove 6 hours (80 miles) to deliver 61 signs and 183 balloons to all competition dancers.  They painted the town pink (and black and silver) to wish everyone competing "GOOD LUCK".  The signs say "Home of a Synergy Companie Dancer ~ Good Luck at Competition".
I cannot say enough kind words about the girls' dance studio.  They go over and beyond to make all their dancers feel special!  The companie parents were also given a competition survival kit with candy, gum, mints, a pen and highlighter to mark our dance competition BINGO cards with.  I can say with certainty that competitions wouldn't be nearly as much fun if it weren't for the awesome Synergy teachers and families.  

Our favorite soloists performed bright and early Saturday morning, so the girls and I went to watch and cheer them on.  We didn't plan to stay as long as we did, but we ended up getting home sometime after 4pm.  So, it was a long day.  Well worth it, of course....the soloists did phenomenal.  We also had the opportunity to watch some of the older Synergy groups, which was fun.  We stayed and watched with our friends Stacey (Izzy & Elly) and Val (Rachel) and took the girls out to eat at Subway and out for ice-cream at DQ.

I prepared some dancer's survival kits for the girls to give to their teammates.

Dancer's Survival Kit

~ a smiley sticker to remind you to always smile

~ smarties to help you remember all of your steps

~ a hair band for extra flexibility

~ laffy taffy because having fun is the most important part

~ starburst to remind you that you always shine on stage

~ kisses for good luck

I put the girls to bed at 7pm Saturday night for they'd have an early morning wake up call at 3am to get ready for their day of competition.  As you can see I was up a bit earlier to get myself ready before having to prep the girls in full hair and make-up.  I got a lot of comments like "wow, that's way too early" and "no way" on my IG post...but, with how long it actually takes us to get ready, this was completely necessary.  I gave myself a 1/2 to get ready, 1 hour for Alexa's hair and make up, 1 hour for Lilli's hair and make up, 1/2 hour to eat and load the car and then another 1/2 hour to drive to the competition.  They needed to be there an hour early (6am) to get into costume and run through their routines before Lilli went on stage at 7:03am.  Other than some frustration with Alexa's hair (that damn bump), everything went smoothly and we made it on time.

The day was split up with both girls dancing tap during the 7 o'clock hour, ballet and lyrical around 10am and then a long wait until 4pm for their final routines, jazz and hip hop. 

We spent our down time laying down in the dressing room, playing outside, going out to eat, celebrating Jillian's birthday with some cookie cake, watching other performances, practicing routines and drinking maui wowie's.

{Rachel, Alexa & Jillian}

{Sophia & Lilli}

{Amazing Minions 7}

{Starlight Hip Hoppers}

{Ballet teachers, Amy Jo and Jodie}

{Amazing Stars w/ their Starlight Buddies}

{Alexa with her teacher, Aubrie}

Before awards they held a hula-hoop contest.  We had been alerted to this prior to the weekend and while we were there watching solos, I had the opportunity to practice a little bit.  All the dancers came out and surrounded the stage and any adults in the audience could come and participate.  Michelle, Jolene and I represented our studio and I am proud to say that we dominated the contest..taking 1st (me), 2nd (Jolene) and 3rd (Michelle) place.  We made it to a second round where we had to use two hula-hoops.

I won a $100 bill and was able to call Alexa and Lilli to the stage to receive a $50 merchandise gift card. 

Now you all know my secret talent! ;)

The award ceremony was so much fun.  They threw out necklaces and other prizes to all the dancers and played music so they could dance together on stage. 

And then the awards were given...

Each competition is different in how they score. This one they gave out 1st, 2nd & 3rd place and Silver, Gold and Diamond scores.

Alexa = 
I'm Looking Over a 4-Leaf Clover {Tap} - 1st Place/Gold - 4th Place overall (out of 94 teams)
1,2,3,4 {Lyrical} - 2nd Place/Gold
Minions 7 {Character Jazz} - 1st Place/Gold - Costume Award

Lillian =
One Plus One {Tap} - 3rd Place/Gold
You Can Count on Me {Ballet} - 1st Place/Gold
2 Legit 2 Quit {Hip Hop} - Gold

{We later found out that they Alexa team was 0.67 points away from a Diamond score for Jazz and 0.2 points away from a Diamond score for Tap}

We could not be more proud of how well the girls danced - all of the Synergy groups did so well and were so much fun to watch.  

I'd also like to mention that our studio was given the "Studio Spirit" Award at both competitions.  This award is the most coveted and really shows that are studio is highly respectable.

{Dance Dad - hauling our Dream Duffel to the car at the end of a really long day}

Lilli was delirious in the car on the way home.  We were doing everything we could to keep her awake to eat and shower when we got home.  She could not wait to take her hair out of her bun form and let her hair loose. 

Alexa got some food in her belly and then hit her wall...didn't even want to shower before going to bed.

I was the mom that let them play hookie from school the next day!!  We all needed a day to re coop!
It was either that or we'd be dealing with tired little monsters the rest of the week.  

I'm sad that competition season is already over for this year, but getting excited for the recital coming up at the end of May.  The girls will perform all 3 of their competition routines as well as another ballet dance each and will both dance in the finale.  Adam has also been at the studio practicing every week for the dads dance. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Applause Talent Competition {March 2015}

{The girls all set and ready for Applause sans make up!}
{Aubrie coaches both Alexa and Lillian and gave them each the sweetest note before the competition started that incorporated the song titles to all 3 of their dances.  It brought tears to this sentimental mom's eyes.  So thoughtful!  They each had a blow pop sucker attached!}

When our girls were placed onto companie teams at their dance studio last August , I was so excited to be able to see them perform more than just once at recital.  I know they attend competitions to 'compete', but for me it's simply being able to watch them dance and not so much about them winning.  My feelings might change on that later on as they get more into it, but for now..I just love the opportunities they have to showcase what they've worked so hard on.  Plus, they're so young still...I give them all the credit for even getting out on stage and performing in front of judges and such a large audience.  
Our girls not only had FUN but they performed absolutely amazing and have some pretty awesome awards to show for it.

Both Alexa and Lillian compete 3 dances.  Here is the breakdown...

Places are 1st-5th and scores are Silver, Gold, High-Gold, Platinum.

Alexa =
I'm Looking Over a 4-Leaf Clover {Tap} - High Gold
1, 2, 3, 4 {Lyrical} - 2nd Place / High Gold
Minions 7 {Character Jazz} - 5th Place / High Gold

Lillian = 
2 Legit 2 Quit {Hip Hop} - 1st Place / High Gold
You Can Count On Me {Ballet} - 2nd Place / High Gold / Absolutely Adorable Award
One Plus One {Tap} - 5th Place / High Gold

{Lilli, Elly, Sophia, Clara, Addison, Elizabeth - - not pictured, Gabby}
{#DanceMoms with our signs - cheering on our 'lil dancers}
{Sarah, Kjiersten, Crea, Susan, Anitra, Me, Joanna}

Our day started pretty early.  Even though our girls didn't start dancing until the afternoon, we were up bright and early to have hair done and to the Tedd Mann Concert Hall in Minneapolis in time to see the Synergy soloists.  A couple girls on Alexa's team did solos and we just couldn't miss them.  Part of being apart of this fantastic studio and family of dancers means getting up at 5am to cheer on the girls who start dancing right away at 7am. It was so worth it, they all were so fun to watch and danced so well.

My parents came down to visit and to watch the girls' competition.  It ended up being a really long day for them.  They sat through A LOT of dances, but they didn't want to miss out on seeing their little granddaughters perform.  Our friends Jamie and Dave and their kids also came to watch and to cheer on the girls.  It was so sweet of them to take the time out of their weekend to be there!!  Alexa and Lilli were so excited to have family and friends in the audience.

Once solos were done and we had some time, I got the girls' make up on and gave them some lunch.  They didn't eat much because of all the excitement, but snacked here and there..which is better than nothing.

Then it was finally show time.  This competition was nice in that all three of Lilli's dances were first and then Alexa's three so I could focus on one kid at a time.  Lilli had a super quick change between her hip hip and tap, which required all mom hands on deck and some sprinting back and forth between the concert hall and dressing room, but we managed and everything went as smooth as you can expect.  I love the group of moms, who are all so willing to help.  The kids literally just stand there with about 3 moms surrounding them, stripping costumes, tights..ect, putting new costumes on, securing jewelry and hair pieces, making sure straps are straight and shoes are buckled, glitter is sprayed and lipstick is reapplied.  It's amazing how quick we can work to get our dancers off stage, changed and back on again within 7 minutes.

All the girls performed so well.  It was so fun to see all their hard work pay off!!

{Amazing Stars - Minions 7 - Character Jazz}
{Isabelle, Jillian, Carly, Rachel, Alexa, Kaylee, Taylor}

{Starlights - One Plus One - Tap}
{Elly, Lilli, Sophia, Gabby, Elizabeth, Clara, Addison}

Lots of fun goes on backstage and in the dressing rooms between dances and before the award ceremony.  It was Kaylee's birthday the day of competition, so she brought in a cookie cake and treats for her team.  Jillian gave all the amazing stars minion shirts to wear during awards and many others brought cards of encouragement and good luck treats.

{Starlight Dance Moms}

{Lilli's FABULOUS teachers, Aubrie and Amy Jo}

{Amazing Stars - I'm Looking Over a 4-Leaf Clover - Tap}

It's adorable how the older girls have buddied up with the younger ones.  There are 7 girls on Alexa's team and 7 on Lilli's, so they've all partnered up and have become the best of friends.  The little ones idolize the older ones and the older ones just dote on the little ones.  Too cute!!


The award ceremony was so fun...all the studios were up on stage together dancing.  And we were so excited about how well the girls scored.  High Golds for all 6 of the girls' dances!!  YAY!

Stay tuned for professional pics...Symposium Talent Comp. and studio picture day....

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

March {2015}

March was another really fun and eventful month!!

It started off with Adam and I taking a morning off of work to spend with Alexa at her school making dulcimers for their music unit.  Any excuse to spend the day with my kid is such a huge bonus for me and making these fun dulcimers was such a blast.  The morning was broken up into different step by step instructions on how to create their musical instruments, most of which the kids were all able to do on their own.  The adults helped with the staple guns and keeping track of the small pieces that go into the making of a dulcimer.  I loved seeing my girls interact with their peers in a school setting.  I can really tell Alexa is a well-liked little girl and makes the most out of every situation.  She is full of giggles and has some of the most adorable friends.  I only wish I had the time to volunteer in her class more often.

We finished up with her right before they were about to go out for recess and have lunch.  She was able to bring her dulicmer home a few weeks later, after they learned a few songs in music, and has been playing it at home ever since.  And let me just say it's a much more pleasant sound than her recorder. ;)

We also had Alexa's parent/teacher conferences this month.  I get as giddy about this day as I do any national holiday.  I love to hear how my girls are growing and excelling academically.  They have such fantastic teachers, so it's fun to spend that one on one time with them and really get to know how each of the girls is doing acedemically, socially..ect.  Plus, we get to learn fun little things's impossible for Ms. Horn to get Alexa to sit still in class.  She'll sit at her desk, but her toes are always tapping (#dancerproblems).  And during read-to-self time, Alexa will stand up against the wall to read, rather than find a cozy spot on the ground to sit.  It's interesting to see that her little quirks come out at school, too, not just at home.  
Her reading scores have really sky-rocketed since the beginning of the year and we're so so proud of her.  She'd rather do a million math problems a day than read, so this was a huge deal for her and we could tell how excited she is about doing even better before year end.

At the beginning of the month we were emailed make-up and hair tutorials for the girls' dance competition and were told to "practice".  The make up was fairly easy and even the fake eyelashes went better than I expected, it was just really time consuming considering I have to do everything twice.  It was Alexa's hair that really had me flustered.  Lilli's was a simple ballerina bun at the top of her head, but Alexa's was a crazy faux hawk.  It's gorgeous, but I'm just not a hair person...

Alexa's face pretty much sums up how I felt after 4+ hours of practicing hair and make up one Saturday afternoon....

The mom's from Alexa's dance group got together for a fun ladies night with drinks, laughs and apps.
We were supposed to make signs for our girls for their competition at the end of the month, but ended up giving one of the moms the go ahead to make a cute minion sign, since our girls' jazz dance is to a collaberation of Despicable Me songs and instead we just told stories, laughed and drank!

Oh, and we maybe embarassed our girls a little by posting this picture on Instagram with the caption, "To Our Amazing Minions".#dancemoms

{3 cuties on a 4-wheeler}

{Alexa & Rachel}

I was able to have a fun girls night with my favorites, Andrea and Kristin to watch the Bachelor finale.  We are posing below with our annoying Whitney hair (always in her face) - clearly we were all #TeamBecca

I love these two ladies so much that it was 100% worth being tired all week (I didn't get home until nearly 2am.)  to have the best girls night.  We paused the show countless times to chit chat, take a celebratory shot, drink wine and eat all the sugar! ;)

{Doing some light stretching}

{Alexa reading to Lilli at the library}

Living in Minnesota, we never really know what to expect in the month of March as far as weather goes, but I'd say overall this year we got pretty lucky.  We saw a lot of melting snow and temperatures that allowed us to be outdoors without our coats on.  

The girls absolutely LOVE their rollerblades and have been mastering going up and down the street and around our neighborhood.

Lilli had her Animal Science Fair at school.  Each student was supposed to pick an animal to research and create a 'book' on the facts they learned about their animal.  Lilli picked the zebra, the same animal Alexa chose when she was in 1st grade.  She also had to create a 3D replica of her animal to display.  I was thisclose to having her use Alexa's, that I have kept over the years, but knew that Lilli would benefit much more from making her own.  We used a plastic water bottle for the body and pieces of cardboard from  toilet paper rolls for the legs and head.  Lilli painted it all white and designed the stripes in black.

The parents were invited to come and see all the kids' animals on display and were allowed to ask them questions about their animals.  Lilli did an awesome job.  She read lots of information from her book (upside down) to the guests so that they could see the pictures.  I was quite impressed with that.  She also had information available on her ipad for anyone who wanted to learn even more about zebras.  We were so proud of her for speaking clearly, not being shy and for all the fun facts she gathered about zebras.  Alexa was even able to sneak out of class to surprise her little sister.

Saturday the 14th, the girls had their companie kick-off at their dance studio.  They were up bright and early to be at the studio in full hair and make-up by 9:30 with all their costumes, lunches, bottled water and snacks for the day.  They did several team building exercises, played games, got to show their dances to the other groups and then did a complete run-through of all their dances in costume for the parents.  It was such a fun day for them getting to bond with each other and get to know some of the other dancers from the other companie groups.  It's so sweet to see the older girls buddy up with some of the younger dancers.  They have no idea how much those little ones idolize them.  We left the studio around 5:45, so it was quite the long day for them...but, there is no place the girls would rather be than dancing with their friends.

While they were there I went to coffee with some of the Starlight mom's (Lilli's group) and then set up shop at the Carbone's in town to make star signs for our girls.  We had a blast!!  I am so grateful for the wonderful mom's I've met through the girls' dance.  The signs turned out pretty cute, too... ;)

As soon as we got the girls home from their kick-off my SIL, Courtney, and I had to quickly get ready for my soon-to-be SIL's bachelorette party in downtown Minneapolis.  Adam dropped us off at Crave, where we had dinner with Kelly, the rest of the bridesmaids and some other close friends.  From there we played some games at the hotel they stayed at and hit up a few bars downtown.  Typical bachelorette shinnanies including a round of shots in a bathroom stall with the group of 'married' ladies.
It was so fun to be out celebrating the beautiful bride, but Courtney and I called it a night around 1am and had Adam come pick us up and tuck us into bed. ;)  #husbandoftheyear

Meanwhile, the girls were home hanging out with daddy and their uncles watching Harry Potter.  I have started reading the Harry Potter series to the girls before bed each night and told them that we could watch the movie after we finished each book.  Uncle Tiny is a huge Harry Potter fan and has all the books and DVD's, so we're set...the girls loved being able to see their favorite characters come to life after reading the book.

Lilli wore her Shamrock shirt on St. Patty's Day.

Lilli & Elly lovin' on Ms. Lacy at dance // Rachel, Alexa & Kaylee being goofy // Kaylee & Alexa // My new Synergy shirt...just in time for the girls' first competition

The moment we had been preparing for all month finally arrived....the girls had their very first dance competition on March 21st.  They participated in the Applause Talent Show at the Tedd Mann Concert Hall in Minneapolis. 

I will do a separate post on this as there are far too many pics/details to share here.  But, I will say they both did AMAZING and we had such a fun time.  Definitely a memorable weekend for all of us.

The Sunday following their competition our March snowfall came.  We got about 10" overnight.  It lasted a little longer than we thought, about 3-4 days, but it's completely gone now as we've had a little bit of rain to wash it away and some warm sunny days.

The girls and their friends Kaitlin and Taylor enjoyed playing in what we hope is the last snowfall of this season.

A friend of ours opened a taco shop called, Taco Andale, just a block and a half away from our house.  They've had what they're calling a 'soft open' and have invited family and friends to come try a select number of items off their menu and give our feedback.  So, far it's been very successful and we are huge fans.  

The last weekend in March turned out to be the most relaxing weekend we've had in such a long time and one we all desperately needed.  We took our time running a few errands on Saturday, including a stop for some ice-cream at Culvers and then spent the rest of the weekend watching movies.  We watched Patch Adams with the girls and then Adam and I watched Gone Girl, Bad Bosses 2 and Let's Be Cops.

Alexa had her friend Jillian spend the night on Sunday night as it was the start of their week long spring break.  They had planned  a double-sleepover with Jillian at our house on Sunday and Alexa at her's on Monday night.  This allowed for Lilli and I to have a special mama/daughter date Monday night.  I took her to the movie Cinderella and besides one other older couple in the theater, we were the only ones there.  It was so fun to feel like we had the entire theater to ourselves and a private showing of such a sweet movie.

After Alexa got home on Tuesday it was onto more fun with a double playdate with her friends Rachel and Macy.  And Lilli had her friend Sydney over to play, too.  They played on the trampoline, while I made tacos for dinner and then we went to the park to soak up the sunshine and warm weather.  We could not have asked for better weather to kick off spring break for the girls and the new month of April.