Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Peter Pan

Tessa took part in her first stage production this year. Her dance studio classes are strictly that, so if a student wants to be a part of the big spring musical production, then they sign up (if they are younger) or audition for parts. The rehearsals take place each Saturday for those students involved. It's different than what I was used to growing up, but it works out just as well. PDT took on Peter Pan the musical (children's production of it) and I signed Tessa up. The littlies were Neverland Animals, and Tessa was a mouse with two other girls.
We had a week long of rehearsals at the theater, and although it was nuts having to deal with the rehearsal schedule and all three kids, it was totally worth it. Jake would swing by and tag me out after work when he was able. 
Here is Tessa on one of her dress rehearsal nights with fellow mouse Ada. There is the bird in the background and Tinkerbell.
Tessa was so excited to wear make up ...until the fourth night of it anyway. Between the makeup and the hair netted ballerina bun, she'd had her fill for a while.
The girls with Tink:


Parents were allowed to take video during the dress rehearsals, but not during the actual performances. Tessa had this habit of ending up dancing right behind Ada, but I can mostly see her. Closer up would have been nice (or zooming in), but I had Paige on my lap and Cole by my side while trying to video. We do the best we can. So, this is the main Neverland animal part of the production during one of the dress rehearsals (you can hear Tessa yell, "See ya!" at the very end):
video
The performances took place on a Friday night and Saturday afternoon. Friday night we brought Cole to the show. He loved it, especially the pirates and the "Captain Hook gril" --several little boys, but the big parts were all female, thus the "gril". Cole gave Tessa flowers:
 I asked Tessa, "Was that so fun dancing in front of an audience?" She answered, "Yeah, but I  can't believe I have real, grown up flowers!!!"
 Peter Pan with Tessa:
 The whole cast of teens and kids were awesome. The older kids were always very sweet with Tessa.
I could take no flash photography at the actual performance, so I took the next two pictures at the Saturday matinee. Unfortunately our camera is getting old and sometimes has lines running through it (boo), so that's what is going on with the first picture.
 The animals are sad because the bird is explaining that Hook and the pirates have kidnapped the Lost Boys, Wendy, John, and Michael:
I went ahead and took a video after the performance was technically over. The cast had already bowed, and this was a song snippet to finish off the show (yes, that was me justifying taking a video when I was told not to. Note that Jake the rule keeper was not with me this day):
video
Way to go, Tessa!
We have been singing Peter Pan songs for a couple of weeks now. Jake and Tessa watched the musical production together on his phone, and Tessa has made up a couple of dances inspired by Tiger Lily. As a funny side note, they were finishing watching it together on Sunday. They snuggled together on the puffy chair and Jake held the phone up for them both to see. He fell asleep a couple of times, accidentally dropping the phone on Tessa's face each time.
In the future she may wonder why her face hurts every time she sees or hears Cathy Rigby.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Great Friends

I've mentioned before that I have been blessed with great friends in my life. I mean REALLY blessed. I've had such wonderful people come into my life, and I can't figure out how I got so lucky. 
I'm discovering a pattern, however. I have these wonderful friends, and then they move away. Since we've been here, it never fails. It's always for a positive new opportunity, but, seriously, what is UP? Somebody stick around and put up with me!!!
In true Maren's friend fashion, the particularly awesome Dianna and Alan moved away after a couple of years living near us for Alan to go to school.  I mentioned that we stopped off at their home in Missouri on our way to Nauvoo, and then we also spent time with them a couple years ago in St. Louis for Independence Day. So we've been able to keep tabs on each other. They and their two boys came to visit. Hooray!
In true Maren fashion, I didn't take pictures like I should have. Good thing other people take them so I've got something.
The Sunday they were here was Alan's birthday. Tessa was so excited days before they came and told me she was going to be in charge of Alan's birthday party games. I told her that was fine and thought she'd make it up and forget about it. She did not forget about it and was determined that they would be what truly made it a party.
We had the Fitzgeralds over to make a complete party and ate dinner together. The kids ran around like happy wild natives --as they should. Then it was time for the games. The first was actually entertainment. A puppet show! Tessa had created several paper bag puppets, complete with a pig, a dead girl, a monster, and a robot. The picture below is a behind the scenes look at the magic happening during this puppet show. The result was fantastic belly laughs from the audience. Tessa had a whole story worked out in her mind as to what was supposed to happen. She got frustrated a couple of times because the puppets weren't doing or saying what they were supposed to do or say. It's a little hard when the actors playing the puppets don't know the story! They still put on a great show, and it was on to the next game. (Extra credit goes to Angie, eight months pregnant and on the floor to play her puppet part. That's a trooper.)
She hid pieces of the next game all over the house a couple days before. Coincidentally, I threw away colored paper shapes I found all over the house as I cleaned. Sorry, kid!
It was alright because she had another game ready to go. "Pin the Tail on the Cow." Tessa drew, colored, and cut out a three inch cow for this game. Then she created a tail about an inch long. The cow got taped on the wall, and fun ensued. I'm still laughing at this miniature cow people are supposed to come near in their blind dizziness.
That Tessa. I love her creative soul. She really wanted to make the party special for Alan, and I applaud her thoughtfulness and fun loving nature. I also applaud these great friends of mine who took part in her elaborate party plans and made her feel valued.
One morning we headed over to the park. Here are the three boys rocking away:
Peter and Cole are maybe two months apart in age. It was fun to see them become buddies during their time together. Here they are totally engrossed in Yo Gabba Gabba:
Alan is probably wondering where DJ Lance got his awesome hat:
Note Peter's signature tie. The kid has loved to wear ties forever --so funny. And pretty cute.
Cole has a fishing game. One thing that cracked me up is that little 15 mo Isaac got one of the fishies stuck on his finger. The things have teeth so that they clip onto the poles easier --ouch! He would cry and come find his parents to get the fish off. This happened repeatedly, and we had a good laugh about what his thought process may have been.
Okay, so the last evening they were here, Cole and Peter were laughing themselves silly. They were on Tessa's bed (the top bunk), putting the fishies on the little poles, and then flinging the fish across the room. I almost went to stop them since I'm not a fan of chucking things in the house, but when I saw the pure joy that came from it, I let it be. They weren't hurting anything, and I loved listening to their fits of giggles every time one would fly.
(Yes, Cole is wearing Paige's socks that he grabbed out of her room.)

In the couple of days that we had them, we ate yummy food, played games, wandered and played, entertained the kiddos, made Paciugo gelato a priority, and had our separate guys' time (The Avengers) and girls' time (shopping and chatting).
I call it our "Jensen fix".  We really needed that. We are so grateful they could come.
Two days later Cole looked around and asked where Peter was, like he was there just a minute ago. Took him a little while...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

My Hero

Friday, May 18, 2012

Paige's Three Month Pictures... and her siblings

I have the nicest friends. I don't know how I got so lucky, but I know a lot of really great people. I needed to get Paige's three month pictures taken and brought it up with my photographing friend. I've never really done newborn pictures, but I'd gotten pics of the other kids at the three month mark, so Paige's turn was up. My friend, in the middle of arranging a big move and selling her house, offered to take the pictures.
Like I said, really great.
So, at the end of April (close enough to three months), we got together and tried to get some good pictures in before Paige's small window of being happy and awake was up. Here's my sweetie:


 I actually really like this one, even if she wasn't a fan of hanging out on her tummy.

 Then she started to get tired --already! She is so pleasant, even when she's tired, but we were hard pressed to get any smiles anymore.
 Outside it is. Sorry about my face.
 I can't hold this kid upright without her sucking on my shoulder and getting it sopping wet.

 A short walk away there was a pretty walking area with a bench and then a path down to some water and big trees. Charity's three youngest and her husband came along as well since their home was scheduled for a showing, so we had our own little kid parade down the path.
The wind got a hold of Tessa's hair and wouldn't leave it alone. Mischief got a hold of Cole's attitude and wouldn't leave it alone.
I was amazed Charity was able to get any pictures of the two oldest actually smiling and looking at the camera at the same time. Paige just wanted to nap already.

I like this one. They're sweet.
The "stisters":
 Tessa Lee in her boots:
 Tessa Lee unwittingly flipping you off:
 She's got spunk. And I love that about her.
 Cole is on a mission lately to do whatever he dang well wants to do. That did not include sitting where he was asked or smiling for the camera.
 But it did include looking for bugs... and "fishing" with his friend Leah (i.e. putting a stick in the water).
 He's handsome --and pretty funny.
Paige was done, done, done.
She got all Sleeping Beauty on us:



 We had fun, and I was able to quickly check getting pictures done off my list.
Thanks again, Charity. We are going to miss you and your family so much.




Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Nauvoo Rendezvous Part 4

And now to finish it all off.  I don't remember where these next two pictures were taken -the post office? the print shop? Probably the store that had all kinds of spices and herbs... Anyway, the sister missionary had one of the bigger boys come up and heft this water carrier on their shoulders, explaining that it would have been their job to go get the water. Everyone wanted to try it, of course, so we went through and took a picture of just about every grand kid. Cole wasn't even tall enough to get the buckets off the ground, but he was determined to have his turn at it.
This is the upstairs of the Red Brick Store. Very cool. It is rebuilt on the original foundation and owned by the Community of Christ (RLDS) church --as is the Joseph Smith homestead and the mansion house.
Here is Tessa teaching a Relief Society lesson. :)
Here is the Smith homestead. We were not allowed to take pictures inside here or the mansion house. This homestead was the first place where Joseph and Emma lived upon their arrival in Nauvoo. The log cabin part is the very original structure that was built as a fort or trading post of some kind before Nauvoo ever existed. The other parts of the home were additions once the family took ownership.

We drove out to visit Carthage Jail and to see Jake's parents working there. What a spirit about this place. We were able to go to the upstairs room of the jail and process how Joseph's and Hyrum's martyrdom would have really taken place --also to understand how John Taylor and Willard Richards were able to miraculously escape the mob, and in Willard Richard's case, a single bullet amid all that were flying. There is absolutely a special spirit about the place.
The little girls by a statue on the grounds:
All the grandkids (good luck getting everyone looking at the camera at the same time):


The whole family right outside Carthage jail:
I love these people.

The grandchildren (minus Paige) on the porch of the old blue house:

When people have asked Tessa how she liked Nauvoo, she makes sure to list the park across the street from this house as one of her absolute favorite things. All these cool hands-on sites, and she loves the seesaw most. Figures. I do have to mention that whenever the presentation at one of the sites was finished, the missionary would ask if there were any questions. Without fail, Tessa would raise her hand and then let the missionary know that she was here just visiting. They were all so sweet to her about her "question", and her aunts and uncles would start to laugh as soon as her hand would shoot up. She was not going to miss her opportunity to command at least a few seconds of a group's attention. I think Tessa is old enough that she will remember this trip. I look forward to reminiscing with her about it.
We really did have a lovely and enlightening time, and the kids could not have been better roadtrippers. I was really proud of them. It was so fun to see the kids get to play with their cousins so much. We treasure the time we get to spend with family, so this trip was really great on several levels.
We had the intention of driving all the way home in one day, but blech. I couldn't do it. So, we stopped in Miami, OK again and relaxed. We ate at a horrible Mexican restaurant (I've since been told to avoid mid-west Mexican food) and took the shortest swim ever at the cold hotel pool. We still had a nice time doing both, though.