Moana Dance Camp

So, I have quite a few posts that I need to wrap up. So, going to start with one of the shorter ones. Last week, the girls attended Moana dance camp and had the best time. It was a was a three hour program every day for a whole week. They practiced some hula, did crafts, and  ate snacks. However,  Mia did ask me if I would pack them a snack from home because the dance school snack was too small. So, every morning I packed up some fruit, crackers, and a few other things to send with them.

This was clearly a drop off program, so I could only snap a few pictures….also the memory on my phone is non-existent.

Here the girls were at the end of one class playing with scarves and wearing their Moana costumes.


When we got home one day, the girls wanted to show me their Moana poses….I’ve learned that everything has a pose.  
    

The girls made lots of crafts throughout the week. There were fish, boats, bags, hats….just so many ocean themed things.
  

Wind socks seem to be a popular craft in these parts.

  

On the last day, I snuck in a bit early to try and grab some video. After a total of 3 seconds, my memory was full 😦 Also, you can’t even see Emi because she was hiding in the back. I did try though.
 

The girls had a great time. They were so excited to go back every morning. Next year, we might thing of extending this camp a bit.

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Ballet Graduation Gala

On Saturday (June 10), Mia was set to perform in the graduation gala at her ballet academy. Ten headed off in the morning to his competition, so the girls and I basically just had a pretty lazy morning. They played while I slowly got things ready. Around 10:00, we headed out to do some errands and then were back home by 11:30 to start preparing for the afternoon.

I got all of us looking presentable, and we headed to the theater at 1:00. We dropped Mia off at the dance studio, and then I decided to wait outside on the benches and let my date burn off some energy for the next 30 minutes.

The shoes came off as soon as she started playing.

  

Emi loves to dance and do all of the moves the older girls do. It is adorable.

    
  

After 30 minutes or so, we headed into the theater and made some small talk with some people that we know. I also looked at the silent auction baskets. They had some very nice things like a “Russian basket,” piano lessons, etc….but I knew it didn’t make a whole lot of sense to bid on anything because there would be an evening performance later in the day.

I was so lucky that one of the moms texted me a few photos from backstage. For this performance, I decided to watch the girls dance rather than help behind the scenes since Ten had to be out of town. Since we have zero family around, it is either me or Ten in the audience.

Mia is the tallest one of the group. Where she got these genes, I will never know.

  

    
  

Did I get pics of faces? Yes. But thy were just way too zoomed up of the other kids also….so decided not to share those. The performance was really beautiful. Mia’s group did a great job, and she performed very well.

A small bouquet of flowers from her teacher. We got her a small ball and bat. Ha.

She was very proud of herself. Great job Mia!

   

So, Mia has completed the earliest stages of the ballet academy and will be moving on next year to enter classes with the Russian teachers. Great job Mia!

I didn’t get video of Mia dancing, but this is just as good. Emi dancing to the music that she hears.  

Emi’s Graduation

 On Thursday, June 8, Emi graduated from her 2s program…..a sort of pre-nursery class. It was a pretty big deal because she had some major separation anxiety…..ALL. YEAR. LONG…..but we made it through….and it helped save a tiny bit of my sanity. 

When we walked in, the kids had on a little cap that they had made. SO CUTE!

  
  

She looks so sweet here.

The teacher called up each student and presented them with a certificate, sticker, and a book that she made about that student. She said that Emi loves art, science, and math….and continued on for the next several pages.
   

A mama’s girl 100%. I mean to the extent that she wakes up every morning and asks….I get to do so and so with you today, right? ….Wants to make sure she is right by my side.

   
….and here she is trying to punch Ten. Definitely our spirited child.
    
After the ceremony, the kids sat down to a very nice snack/lunch. I brought a vegetable tray that I had shaped into an owl, a pickle and olive tray, and the paper plates and napkins. It was so funny because people kept complimenting me on my pickles.  They were all like…wow these are so good. I think they thought they were from a gourmet food shop…but nope just from a jar at the supermarket.
  

We pulled a chair up for Mia. What was supposed to be a light snack turned into a feast. The parents really did a good job.

  
After snack, the kids sang their last goodbye song.”There will always be sumshine.” We then handed the teachers their gifts and said our goodbyes. 

I totally dropped the ball on gifts, so I ran to Whole Foods before and filled gift bags with soap, lip balm, bath bombs, and gift cards.

So, one year down and next year off to pre-school.
 

Gymnastics Observation Day for Emi

June 6 was Emi’s observation day for gymnastics. This is a mommy and me class, so it basically meant the teachers helped out more than usual so we could take pictures.

Emi loves gymnastics. It is by far her favorite activity. 

A smiling blur.

  

Bear crawling across the bars.

  

Smiling while getting ready to go upside down.

  
    

I asked her to just stay still for a moment. Love this picture.

  

Handstand practice.


And of course…..there had to be a medal ceremony.  
    
 

Gymnastics is Emi’s thing for the moment. She loves to swing, jump, flip, and run. Also, she has no concern for her own safety. Perfect for her. I think we will be taking the summer off, but we will start back up in the fall.

Birthday Party at the Water Club

Saturday was a busy/fun day. First , Mia had ballet rehearsal in the moring. I worked as a volunteer, so at 8:15 in the morning we loaded into the car and drove to the studio which is right across the boarder in NY. Mia practiced until 10, and then we drove back home to get ready for….another birthday party. It feels like every weekend we have 1-2 parties to go to. I think we have been to maybe 8 parties in the last six weeks! I just recently had to decline an invitation because it was just getting crazy out of hand! 

Anyway, this party was at a private water club which was super nice. The mom is actually a world famous athlete, so I really tried to only snap pictures of Mia….only fair as someone might actually recognize who she is.

Anyway, the kids spent the first hour of the party just hanging out in the pool and swimming. The moms chatted under the sun umbrellas. It was so nice because the club staff were constantly coming around to take drink orders and to see that we were  taken care of.

There is Mia in the orange floaties. The girl in the pink is wearing Emi’s. I brought hers just in case, and the mom that borrowed them was so thankful.

So, pool parties can be so dangerous. Mia actually got out of the water and asked if she could take the floaties off….She is a great swimmer, but safety first when playing around in the water. No sooner than I had explained to her why she had to keep them on…we saw a mom jump into the water, fully clothed (handbag and all). Apparently, her child had gone under and couldn’t get up to get air. The lifeguard didn’t even notice. The mom basically rescued her kid. So, so lucky. Mia said….wow, that was terrible. I will definitely keep these on.  Several kids ended up in floaties after that.

Bright and sunny day. I believe it was only 72 degrees….June in New England. Yay for heated pools.

 

Hi again!


After swimming we went indoors for lunch and entertainment. They had a small buffet set up, and you could order anything off of the restaurnt menu. They did a great job making sure everyone was taken care of. 
  

Mia had the balloon maker do a T-rex. She also had a purple cat made for Emi.

  
We then sang Happy Birthday, ate ice cream cake, and did face painting.

Snapped a pic in the car. She chose to have Pikachu….but she didn’t want the whole face…just a character…very cute.


We then got very nice gift bags to take home and everyone started to clear out. We were asked if we wanted to stay a bit to hang out

, but I knew Emi was waiting   at home. We said our goodbyes, and made our way to the car.

Fun way to spend the morning, and it’s so fun to celebrate a birthday with a family that you very much do like. 

After we grabbed Emi a Happy Meal and took her to the library with us. Whew, I was tired when we got home.

 

Bits and Pieces

 I wanted to do lots of things this week….and then the reality that several classes are still running set in. We just didn’t have much free time. 😦 However, a few things to note….

Mia made the Honor Roll for Kumon again. She is doing very well. We took a break with Emi, but am wondering when she should go back.

Also, Mia and Emi had their 3 and 5 year old check ups. They are super healthy kids. The doctors are always so surprised when they see that we haven’t been to see them since the previous check up. The girls have never even had to be on antibiotics….but the thing is….they totally get sick. However, we are big believers in letting their immune systems fight off as much as possible. So far, this seems to be working. However, something very, very serious would require a trip to the doctor.

After shots, we went to Carvel so that the girls could get some soft serve and play chess. They have no idea how to play, but they like to pretend.

One swirl kids cone and one chocolate, both with rainbow sprinkles.

  

Look at those lips.

  

….and a little on the nose.


Next, we went to the playground to burn off some of that ice cream before dinner. I so wish this playground had a bench so I wouldn’t have to pace around…but the girls love “the red playground.”
  

Last but not least, a picture of Emi and her unicorn t-shirt. She loves this thing….and her “unicorn pose.” 

 

That’s all for now. Happy weekend!

Summer Adventures: LegoLand Discovery Center

OK. So, I took a little bit of a blogging break. We have been adjusting to our summer schedule which is actually all over the place. Too many invitations to spend time with people, and those are hard to say no to.

Anyway, our Memorial Day weekend weather wasn’t ideal. Like really and truly. So, we ended up spending a lot of time at home. However, we were able to take one day and go to the Legoland Discovery Center in Yonkers, NY. We also had a buy one get one coupon which made it more affordable. 

When you first enter, you get your photo taken against a green screen. We actually didn’t go see what the real picture looked like…totally forgot.

  

The first room was basically an interactive display on how Legos are made. The kids had fun with it….I don’t think they really got the gist of it….but it was fun.

  

Mia was so proud of her little Lego lanyard. Emi was amazed by all of the Lego creations.

  

Next we hopped in the very short line for the Kingdom Quest ride. I was excited for a shooting game. I have way too much fun with them. We were lucky the line wasn’t that long since we picked the first time slot of the day to enter the center. 

We had no idea that they take a pic inside. hahaha. I told Ten to take a pic of the pic when the workers walked away. He thought I was nuts….but hey…no way we are buying these things. The three girls were serious. Ten was too, but clearly really tired. He has been eating such a tiny amount of carbs…so its taking a toll.


My pictures are a bit out of order, but we then went on to Mini Land….which was a replica of NY. I loved this. However, first I have pictures from the Ninjago City Adventure. This was what we came for, and it did not disappoint.  

We first went over to the giant obstacle course. It was shaped like a temple with different ninja traps to navigate. You weren’t able to see what it looked like from the outside, but Mia assures us that it was awesome.

Ninja poses.

  

Excited to see Sensei Wu….which is like a Japanese word combined with a Chinese (?) name…? Just realized that.

  

Nya and Mia.

  

Emi loved this rotating hamster wheel thing. Here she was doing a “ninja move.”


There was also a dojo training center. This was really fun too.  

Choose a color and then see who can hit the most of their chosen color. Emi dominates this game.

  

They also had a cool climbing wall course. Mia was so good at this.

  
The girls played forever in this area, but by noon…it was getting way too crowded. So, we had to call it a day.

Here are a few more pics of some of the other areas they had.

New York

  
  

Earthquake simulator.

  

Duplo area for 5 and under.

    

A car building area with race tracks and test tracks.

  

A Star Wars area…and all of these sections were interactive.

  
    
On the way out, there were a few things you could sit on and take a picture. The girls had the best time….and are asking when they can go back.
    
  
 
We didn’t get to do a whole lot over the holiday weekend, but this was a complete homerun.

End of Year Sing-a-Long

 Every year (after the last day of school), Mia’s school has a sing-a-long and watermelon party. Usually it is at the outdoor theater, but this year it was raining like crazy. So, on May 18, we all made our way in the rain to the picnic pavilion to watch the sing-a-long.

Can you spot Mia?

  

There she is. Pink lady bug raincoat and red Ninjago t-shirt.


The kids went through their song list…which included a song about wooly underwear, the school anthem, and several more.  

After the singing, we headed out into the rain and walked to Mia’s classroom for some playtime and a watermelon party. Unfortunately, the class mom forgot to bring the watermelon. It’s kind of been like that all year with this class mom. It actually wasn’t surprising but definitely disappointing for the kids. Next year, hopefully, we will have a rock star class mom. We have kind of struck out the past two years.
    
  

After the kids got their certificates, we were officially done for the school year.  No more spending hours driving back and forth to this school for the summer!

Below is a small clip from our day.

Summer Adventures: Maritime Aquarium

 Emi has been asking to visit the aquarium on a weekly basis. She loves watching the fish, but we rarely make the trip over to the aquarium….for a few different reasons. 1) It is pretty expensive (so we ended up getting the membership this time, so future visits are free). 2)Parking isn’t cheap. 3) I loath aquariums (which is mostly why we haven’t visited).

In fact, we hadn’t visited this aquarium since October 2015. My grandma came to visit us and visiting an aquarium was on her bucket list, so of course we decided to take her here for the day. She LOVED it. Anyway, so Emi wanted to go…so after Mia’s last day of school we made an impromptu visit. We picked Mia up, swung by Burger King for a quick lunch, and then made our way up to Norwalk to visit The Maritime Aquarium.

When we first entered, we noticed that they had a new coral reef display. There were so many “Dory” fish that it was an instant success.

  

We then walked over to the shipwreck. A giant sea turtle swam right up to the glass and gave Mia a good scare. Emi said, “Dont worry Mia. It’s just a turtle.”  There is something very relaxing about watching giant turtles swimming around. 
  

Next, we saw the octopus. Emi’s FAVORITE! She has been talking about seeing this guy forever. We also enjoyed watching the jelly fish swim around.

Our next stop was the shark tank. 

  
  

Finally we made it to a touch tank. We were able to get our hands on a scallop, crab, snails, and a starfish.

  

Shark divers!

  

We also stopped by to see Toothless. This is a black dragon and the inspiration for the character from “How to Train Your Dragon”‘….supposedly.

  

We also took a peak at the meerkats. It seems so random that an aquarium has these guys. When we have been here in the past, they have always been sleeping. However, on this trip….they were up playing and running about. One was even sitting directly on top of the observation bubble.
  

Next we went over to see the rays and sharks.

  

The pool for the rays.


I should have snapped a picture of the big screen that they have where you can design a sea animal and then let it loose into the picture. Emi took her time coloring and then recoloring a sea turtle.  She named her “Turtle.”  

Mia took her time creating this shark. She chose to name her Mia after herself 🙂
  

Our final stop of the afternoon was the little fishing boat.

  

Oh no! A shark!


After a long day, we went home and the girls were in bed by like 6:00! 

The Matsuri and Birthday-mania continues

 Still catching up on what we did over the weekend. On Sunday (May 21), we went to Norwalk to go to a family friend’s birthday. It was a very low key event, but a private chef did come and cater it. They served the most amazing tea and sandwiches. We also had some really good pasta salad and other picnic foods.

The kids enjoyed snacking on fruit and helping themselves to lots of herbal tea.

  

While the adults chatted, the kids basically had free reign of the house and outside. They were running around every which way just having a great time.

 

 After staying for about two hours, we decided to leave early so that we could go to “The Matsuri” in Harrison, NY. We stayed at the matsuri long enough for the girls to get to play six games each and to cash in their tokens for prizes. 

Emi playing the pitching game (not sure what this game is called). I dont think she could have gotten any closer.

  

Woohoo! She knocked a few off and surprisingly actually missed a few.

  

Mia did an awesome job and won tons of tokens.

  

Here the girls were playing a ball catching game. Apparently, this is where the yo-yo game was…but they ran out of yo-yos before we got there. The girls were pretty disappointed. Crazily enough some families would walk by and have like 10 yo-yos for one kid! We love the yo-yos too, but not sure that much!

  

Ring toss hosted by Mia and Emi’s current Japanese school. I’m not sure how much longer they will attend this place though. It’s pretty far from our house, and Emi literally breaks out in a rash from the stress of going there. Maybe a private tutor is the way to go?

  

Golf. The guy that ran this game was so super nice! He took quite a bit of time teaching Mia how to hold the gold club. He was so patient and cheerful.

   
 

Me and Emi took a break from the sun under this nice tree.


So, a few things.  The festival this year…..not as good as last. 😦 For example, the Japanese bakery wasn’t there this year. The girls realy wanted to grab a few things…but they were out of luck. Also, the food area was taken up by a giant tent selling Indian food?? I love Indian food, but you kind of want some Japanese food at a matsuri. Indian just felt out of place…..also lots of fusion options….no thanks.

Secondly, when we go to these sort of events….I totally hang out in the background and try to let Ten do his thing with the girls. It’s not because I don’t want to join in….it’s more because Japanese people tend to speak to our kids in English if they see me….but if I’m out of sight….then they use Japanese….so I’m like a creeper in the background at these things….unfortunately.

Anyway, after about an hour and a half, we headed to the grocery store and grabbed a few things for the week. Then we dropped Mia and Ten off at home and headed to our second birthday party of the day.

The second party was held at the Darien Nature Center. It was our first time there, and it was such a great venue for a birthday party. Emi actually said she was too tired to go, but these are pretty good friends…..so off we went.

The party started with a nature walk. Emi was really into trying to complete thr scavenger hunt card.

  

After the walk, we got to go inside and pet lots of critters. Some of them included bunnies, turtles, a hedgehog, snakes, and some lizards. The kids really enjoyed this part.

  
  

Finally, we headed downstairs to the basement where a very cute party room was set up. The theme was a beach party, and the decorations were adorable. Also, the goody bags were little sand buckets filled with things like sunglasses, beach balls, water guns, and more. Very fun.

  

The kids were served pizza, raw carrots, and fresh strawberries. Unfortunately, Emi was way just so overly excited about her noise maker that she forgot to eat. I had to keep going over and remind her to take a bite.

  

Simple theme and cute table.


We sang “Happy birthday,” and then ate the best cake ever. I’m honestly not much of a birthday cake fan, but they asked the adults to please have some as they just had so much left. I had barely eaten, so I took a piece….and omg. It was not overly sweet at all and had only a thin layer of icing. The center had some sort of custard cream in it…..so good. 

After Emi cleaned up her trash, we said our good byes and headed out the door with the rest of the guests. We finally made it back home at nearly six o’clock. It was a jam packed day, so we came home and crashed. I feel like even though there wa a lot going on this day, we managed to handle it in a way that didn’t feel overwhelming.