Friday, May 31, 2013

Matt's Guitar Recital

Yes Matt is still working hard learning how to play guitar.  He is really good now at practicing on his own when he comes home from school.  I love listening to him play and he enjoys performing for the family. 

He had his spring guitar recital last night. He's never been completely comfortable but this time he was really nervous.  His first piece was a duo with Mrs. Kristi.  He knows this one well and could probably play it without the music.  He started playing and forgot to repeat a line, then got lost in the music.  You may not be able to tell during the song, but you can see it in his face when he finishes.  I asked him what happened and he said "Mom I was so nervous.  My heart was beating so fast."  Bless his heart.  That feeling is awful! I still get it when I have speak in front of large groups! 
But when he came back out to do his BIG, exciting piece, he did great!  I've heard him play better but he played awesome!  Doug and I sometimes listen to Johnny Cash (we love Walk the Line) so the kids listen too.  When we were in the music store a long time ago, Matt saw a Johnny Cash book and wanted to get it.  I tried to get him to learn Tennessee Flat Top Box but he really wanted to learn Ring of Fire.  Well he did and this is how it sounded...
He wanted to wear his boots and hat which was too cute! I loved every second of his performance!

Matt got the award for being the best site reader...Mrs. Kristi said she can put any sheet of music in front of him and he can start playing.  I think that's really neat (and wish I could do it!).
Matt we are really proud of you!  You have worked so hard at this and have caught on so quickly.  This summer Matt is going to take a break from guitar and will work with Marlie as she starts her guitar lessons.  I hope next time you'll have a video of both of them playing together! Thank you to Mrs. Kristi for being so wonderful and patient with these little ones.  We are looking forward to many more years of lessons and to music camp this summer!

The Sparkles!

This post is long overdue! Those of you who read my Christmas post know that Marlie really wanted to play softball this year.  I think it was just an attempt to spend more time with Dad...and it definitely was...but she ended up loving it too!

Thankfully Marlie got picked by Coach Kelsey who was so fabulous with the girls.  And Dad got to help too! The girls were all first-timers but they did great! The first practices and the first scrimmage were hilarious!  But Marlie looked so cute! I don't know if you remember this jersey from Matt's 5th birthday party, but it sure did look cute on Marlie!
The girls were excited for their first game.  Dad thought we might not win even one game but guess what? They won ALL but 2!! This league was great for got 3 chances to hit from the pitcher and then 2 chances off the tee.  By the end of the season Marlie was doing great hitting off the pitcher. And like Matt, no matter what, she loved to slide into home! Since you can only play pitcher for 1 inning during the game, the girls all got to rotate and play different positions.  Marlie made several outs during the season at first and at home plate.  Once she even ran to the outfield for the ball, ran like a cheetah to home plate and tagged the girl coming home!
The Sparkles made it to the championship game in the end of season tournament.  The game went into 2 extra innings and we lost by 1.  They came so close to winning with 2 less girls on the field and against a team that was very serious.  I was so proud of them! Marlie looks like Hitler because Matt wanted to warm up with her before the game.  He decided she needed to learn how to catch pop flies and well...she caught one with her lip!
A big thanks to Dad for this season.  We had so much going on that I wasn't sure how we were going to manage to fit this in.  But Dad went to every practice and game and helped Marlie learn how to hit and catch at home.  She had an amazing time and wants to do it again next year! Thank you to Coach Kelsey for making this so fun for the girls!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Marlie's Dance Recital!

For those of you who don't know anything about dance recitals, let me try to explain...imagine you are on a baseball team.  You practice all year and have 1 game at the end of the year to show your skills.  Can you imagine how big that game would be?  Welcome to dance recital world!  It's a huge day and in our family it's a REALLY big deal. 

After the recital I had to reflect on 2 things.  How amazing it is that God created us so differently.  And how if you ask him to surround you with great people, he will. 

For those of you who read this blog know Matt and Marlie couldn't be any different.  Matt works so hard at everything.  He gives 100% when no one is looking.  And as a parent, it's such a great feeling because you always know, win or lose, he did his best.  Now Marlie...she is naturally good at almost everything (ok with the exception of gymnastics) but she's typically in the 60-95% effort range and you never know what you're going to get on any given day.  And boy is that frustrating because we know she's good and well because we're used to Matt that just rocks it all the time. 

Marlie is a naturally good dancer.  But she never "shines" during class.  And to get her to practice at home is like herding toddlers. When she asked me to sleep with her the night before the recital I told her that I would the next night IF she did good at her recital.  The next morning she said "Mom why did you say that? You know I'm going to do good."  I wanted to say..."um no really I don't" but I just smiled and said "of course you are!"

When she was 3 she shocked us all by giving us the cutest recital performance ever.  Then last year she did it again.  What I realized after her performance Saturday is that this kid LOVES to perform in front of people! Isn't that crazy?  I was always terrified.  She loves every minute.  You have to watch the video.  I especially like the beginning before the dance starts. She is happy as can be smiling at the crowd with her eyes saying "watch me everyone!"

Marlie dances at a studio owned by Stacey Wilms, who was also her teacher this past year.  She is one of the most angelic women I have ever met.  She is a strong Christian, always trying to raise money for a family in need and just loves these little girls like they are her own.  Oh and she is a fabulous dance teacher too!
I loved that Marlie got to dance with her friends Lauren and Emilie again this year too! And we got to see Lyla perform at the recital and she was adorable!
Big brother missed baseball games to be here and he was so proud of Marlie!  It made Nene's day and Daddy's too.  Rumor is that Daddy has helped "coach" a little at home and even once did a chasse!
But Mom might have been the proudest.  I was so nervous for her that even though it was freezing in the gym I was sweating like I was running in 110 degree weather!  Ok maybe not that much but man...then I just wanted to jump up and hug her after she was done! Instead she hugged me so tight and it was the best feeling ever! 
Thank you to Ms. Clara who did a few lessons with Marlie this year.  Oh how Marlie loves Ms. Clara! I think she's right up there with Taylor Swift!
 Marlie we can't wait to watch you again next year! You are our Tiny Dancer!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Back to Great Exuma!

We were SO excited to be heading back to Great Exuma.  This was our 3rd trip and it seems we discover something new every time.  Nene and Uncle Jay and Gram and Papa Howie joined us this time so it was great spending time with family.  I think we laughed the entire time...mostly at each other! 

We needed a little more space so we stayed at Belle Mer Cottage which couldn't have been more perfect.  Here's the house and our heavenly view...
The first morning it rained which was fine with all of us as we were exhausted! We slept in, watched a movie and were ready to hit the beach when the sun came back out.  The next day was Sunday and Uncle Jay and Gram and Papa Howie were arriving.  We headed to Chat 'N' Chill for the big pig roast.  Marlie fell in love with the stingrays!  She was in the water with them and feeding them for probably and hour.  She said she couldn't believe how much the stingrays loved her.  Who doesn't? They fed the stingrays pieces of conch and neither of the kids were concerned that it looked gross and felt slimy.
 We had a great meal, relaxed in hammocks...or as Matt called them...nets. 
The next day we were up early ready to go fishing.  But when we got to the dock our guide said it was too windy.  Because we were all dressed and up early I asked if we could rent a boat and do some sight seeing of our off we went!  It actually ended up being a fabulous day and probably better than fishing! Our first stop was starfish beach and it didn't disappoint.  We saw tons of starfish and the beach couldn't have been more beautiful.
We could have strolled along this beach and stayed here all day and I would have been happy.  Just gorgeous!
Then it was off to sand dollar beach.  I found one big one and Matt and Papa Howie found a few smaller ones. 
 After all our exploring we were hungry so we went back to Chat 'N' Chill for a great lunch and few "island" drinks which had us tipsy after about 5 sips.  Needless to say there was a lot of laughing!
So we decided we were all in the mood for a hike to the ocean.  Doug and I have wanted to do this the past 2 trips but never have.  So off we went.  We had to climb some hills and go through chest- high water to get there but then there it was...the beautiful and powerful Atlantic Ocean.  We could have stayed here all day too! I got some great pics.  My favorite from the whole trip might be the one of Marlie dancing on the beach. 
What a day! We headed home because the next day we did our day trip tour of the Exumas.  It just kept getting better.  Our first stop was snorkeling at Thunderball Grotto.  I was SO proud of the kids.  They were the first off the boat and the first to swim to the grotto.  They LOVED it! It's like swimming in a fish bowl...there are so many fish.  Marlie was going crazy trying to catch the fish.  Grandparents finally made it in and loved it too.  We had lunch at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club which was great and we enjoyed our new friends from San Diego that were on the excursion with us.

Then it was off to the sandbar.  The one I love was under water but this one was fabulous too.  Much bigger, but the sand was so soft and thick, it was like walking on foam.  The kids had fun with their water guns.  We had fun watching our guide Bob make fresh conch salad, which was not too bad. 
Then finally, what Matt had been waiting for...swimming with the SHARKS! Marlie didn't hesitate getting in either.  We laughed that they were braver than Uncle Jay. 
Our last stop was to feed the iguanas.  I could skip this part of the trip but the kids thought it was great.
It was a great day and we were completely exhausted!  The next day we rested a bit.  In the morning we went into town to shop and visit the crap...I mean craft market.  This was followed by a great lunch at Santana's which quickly has become our favorite place on the island to eat. The lobster was amazing!
 We stopped at a few spots on the way home and snapped these great pics.
We were sad that Gram and Papa Howie had to leave the next day.  We spent the last 2 days at the house being lazy and playing on the beach.  A few houses down was a family with 2 boys that guess what...also love baseball.  They had their gloves too so the boys played catch and we even had a beach baseball game. 
We had a kickball game too.  Matt didn't let us rest too much!  And then we had water balloon fights! Matt and Marlie won the first game and were pumped.
We did some "kayaking" too if that's what you call it.  The kids fell twice, once really hard and it was kinda funny!
We had fun making sand castles.  Marlie insisted on digging this big hole and the kids kept trying to fill it up with water. 
I had to take a few more pictures of course and we got some cute ones.  I like the first one the best...
What an amazing trip.  You can see more pictures in the slide show.  Thank you to all our family for making this trip so special.  It will be a wonderful memory for all of us.  I can't wait to do this again!