Cheekwood Nights

From May 11-12…….

Cheekwood had a really neat Bunny exhibit with these large inflatable (and lit) rabbits just for the month of May.  With our crazy end of school year schedule we knew we had to take advantage of the Friday night they were open late for a picnic and to see the bunnies, since it would be our only chance.

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Not our finest selfie.

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She wanted a large salad but mostly ended up eating our chicken salad and crackers.

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They’ve completely redone the trains area so the girls really enjoyed that and all the new features they added.

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There are also tons of fairy houses scattered around the lawn that you can play with and add to, and that was a huge hit.

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And of course we walked all over the lawn enjoying the rabbits everywhere.   They also had lawn games and hula hoops for everyone to enjoy.

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A much better selfie!

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The rabbits really took on a new life as it got dark.

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And then the fun shadow games began…..

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I’m so glad we went this time because we didn’t make it back before they left, they had a really short exhibit time before the next art installations came to Cheekwood.

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On Saturday morning Brent took two pretty dancers out Mother’s Day shopping for me.  It’s dance 24-7 around here.

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They’ve got moves for days.

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And taking flight……

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Later that day we headed out to look for a new bike for Lilli. I think they got distracted in the hiking section.

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We found her a nice new bike at Dick’s with lots of gears that was perfect for her.  She liked the bright orange and didn’t want anything girly.  We had dinner at Blue Coast to celebrate Mother’s Day and made it home in time to break it in.

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And sis got Lilli’s old bike and did great with no training wheels.

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She was a bit wobbly and doesn’t always pay attention, but managed to have no major falls!

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Dance Recital 2018

From May 10th….

Finally, it was time for Abbi’s big dance recital.  She’d been looking forward to it for weeks, but really hadn’t told us a thing about it or practiced any routines so we were a little worried at how it might turn out or if she knew her routines.

We didn’t have to buy much for the recital, which was nice! We just had to pay for these matching leotards, hair bows, and a few accessories.  We were supposed to get their hair in a bun but the teachers were SO sweet they got all the “dance girls” up from nap early and had them completely ready when we showed up at call time! We all donated some bobby pins and hairspray and Ms Allison did a great job with hair and Ms Rachel had them all dressed.  When we walked in all we had to do was take pictures and oooh and ahhh over them – and the “Dance Girls” were definitely feeling fancy!

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Dance was an “Add on” at her school.  Once a week Ms Donna came and signed them out and they went downstairs and changed into their ballet clothes and danced for an hour.  In her 4’s class Abbi didn’t want to participate, but this year she decided she did and I was happy she was excited about it.  Every week she LOVED going to dance – and all the girls were sad if Ms Donna was gone and they didn’t get to have dance.  Plus they got to skip nap that day! Left to Right – Stella, Addie, Adelyn, Miss Rachel, Leila, Abbi and Piper.

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Silly faces before show time!

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Their class combined with the “other kids” for dance.  Her school also had a traditional Mother’s Day Out program downstairs – so those kids were usually called the “downstairs kids” or “the others”.  Dance was a combination of both groups.

First they came out and did some tapping.

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It was such a cute program and lasted for about 35 minutes of solid dancing! I’m not even sure how many numbers they did – it was a LOT of work!

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They did a cute bunny rabbit tap song.  All the kids watched Ms Donna the whole time – but they all knew their moves and were so confident.  I was SO impressed with Abbi! She was front and center, knew it all and was just beaming with pride and joy! Dance suits her.

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Then they changed up a little and did some ballet.

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She did some partner work with Ms Donna.

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She has absolutely loved Ms Donna.  Ms Donna is just the apple of all the girls eyes – you could see how they watched her and just listened to every word of hers.  She is so sweet and treats each child so specially that you can tell why they all loved her.  She also taught a weekly “PE” style class for all the kids (included in our tuition) where they tumbled and did all kinds of physical activity.

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More ballet – look at that leg extension for Abbi!

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Ms Donna has won all kinds of awards – in her younger years she was in the Miss USA pageant and I believe was 1st or 2nd runner up, and has been in all kinds of Ms Senior USA pageants – and won! She did a dance of hers and the girls watched then joined in and they were all in AWE of her.  It was so sweet.

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Then they showed off their tumbling and cheer with cartwheels and all kinds of fun moves.

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Big finale!

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And a little jazz to round it all out.  Seriously, it was a LOT of songs and dances! They all did great.  We were so impressed with the program and the girls (and one boy!)

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She got a trophy and of course we brought her flowers afterwards.  She wouldn’t let us take them out of the wrapper and carried them around the house for days in the wrapper (and let putting it in water.) She was so proud.

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Of course we had to get one with Ms Donna and give her a gift.  Abbi loved her so much and she told Abbi to “never stop dancing” and she reminds me of that all the time! Abbi loved dance so much and she really has a talent with it.  I’ve got her signed up to start dance again this week, Ballet and Tap again.  She doesn’t really know what one she likes better, so we’ll do this for a year and see where her interest lies. Lilli is also going to take a Jazz class at the same time that has Jazz, Theatrical, Hip Hop and some Lyrical.  She’s really excited too, especially since she’s never had much dance training.

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And with her BFF Piper after the show.  So cute.

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And later that night she was trying out Lilli’s bike while she had piano.  Ha! Just her size….

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Nacho Momma

From May 7 – 10…….

She loves him so hard.  Clearly he hates it.

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Looking like a peacock headed into gymnastics, but at least we got her a pair of booty shorts.

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Landing those back flips on the tumble track……

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Freckle season!

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When we got the bikes out for spring Lilli looked like a giant on hers, and Abbi looked like a giant on hers as well.  So we knew we’d need to do some shopping soon and make some trades.  Abbi also wanted her training wheels off, so we took them off and Brent spent a lot of time working with her on riding her bike.  She got it really fast and quickly adapted to not having the training wheels.  He had to help her in and out of the driveway and she basically ran him to death, but they did it!

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This giant grasshopper made it all the way to the 28th floor.  I call that perseverance!

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Abbi’s dance recital was coming up so we tried on parts of her costume to make sure it all fit.  She was SO excited for her performance but we were a little nervous – we’d ask her if she wanted to practice or show us some and she always told us she didn’t know it.

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The last nacho day of the school year! I for sure couldn’t miss that! I needed to rearrange my schedule to be working from home the day of Abbi’s dance recital since it had an early call time, so it worked out perfectly.

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She picked Katelyn to eat at the special table with us.

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And one last school cafeteria selfie for her third grade year! This reminds me I need to find my Tier 3 badge and start printing out that school cafeteria menu since school starts for Lilli tomorrow! Good-bye 3rd grade, hello 4th grade!

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May Randoms

From May 1 – 6…….

It’s a shame he doesn’t get more attention before school.

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I see a lot of protests downtown outside our government buildings but this was one of the most bizarre.  A lot of construction workers protesting something with a big inflatable rat.

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Her very first teeny bopper poster – her one and only Shawn Mendes.  She just loves his music.  He’s coming in concert NEXT August so if she’s still a fan we’ll go!

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On May 4th – “May the Fourth be with you”.  Lilli was less excited about wearing her Star Wars shirt when she realized Abbi was wearing a matching one.

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Little sis did not feel the same way.

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All the windows were measured for final measurements to send to the manufacturer for our window project.

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Many years ago when we were running all the time we met Charlie and Laverne through running groups online.  We’d met them once before years and years ago when Brent and I first visited Philly and NYC (maybe in 2004 or 2005).  We’ve still maintained our friendship and were super excited when we heard they were coming to Nashville for a conference.  We met up with them Saturday night for dinner and they were so excited to meet the girls in real life.  We had a great dinner at Caney Fork and wish they lived closer, they’re the kind of friends that would be so fun to hang around in real life.  Laverne is a librarian (head librarian) where they live in NJ so she always has great recommendations for Lilli and they’re both so easy to get along with.  They dress up for Star Wars for a lot of charity events so of course Lilli loved hearing about that, too.

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We had such a great night with them – and the best part was we’d be seeing them again in June just a month later when we were headed to Philly for vacation!

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My workout partner is such a quitter.

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Abbi was invited a good friend’s 5th birthday party – her friend Piper was celebrating at a local Sports place.  We’d never been to a party there before but Abbi really enjoyed it.  They did a lot of games with the kids and had them running all kinds of drills.

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Abbi is just so naturally athletic – one of the tallest, quickest and strongest in her class.

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And the whole group.  All of the older ones were from Abbi’s pre-K class, with several younger siblings mixed in.  Lilli was feeling too old to go, so she stayed home with Brent.

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Granny Camp

From April 27-30…..

One Friday morning a too-tall truck tried to drive through downtown and it didn’t go well.  At all.  He was wedged under the interstate, shutting down the entire downtown loop for several days while being cut out from the bridge and the bridge stabilized.  They’re still working on repairs to the bridge.

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So it made the afternoon commute interesting.  My side was able to proceed, but it still backed things up.  He was wedged under the overpass that goes to the left side where you see the equipment and smoke coming up.

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Traffic woes couldn’t stop us from enjoying a Granny Camp weekend! We went out for fish tacos for dinner, of course.

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And a nice walk around the greenway.

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The next morning we did some yardwork and then were eating some lunch and were about to head out for the fun portion of our day – when we noticed a lot of something swarming in the front yard.  At first we thought it was a lot of gnats or crane flies stirred up from the freshly mowed yard – and then we noticed thousands and thousands of bees swarming our tree.

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They just kept swarming and swarming until they landed on this stub of a branch and then just parked out on it.  We had no clue what to do and Google made it sound like they’d stay a day or two and then move on, but we weren’t keen on that.

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Brent has a friend who has some bee hives, so he texted him and he got right in the car to come over and get them.  Apparently a hive this size is a “great find” so he was really excited to capture them.  He brought a box and his trusty side kick and they got to work.

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He swiped most of them in the box and left it cracked so the others would swarm in and follow their queen.  He left it for several hours and came back late that night and took them to his hives, where last we heard they’re doing well.  He said something might have changed in their environment where they had left and were looking for a new home, but that a swarm this size was likely someone’s “pet” just a mile or two away from us.

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With that drama resolved we headed out for a now late afternoon hike.  We headed to the newly opened section of Edwin Warner Park and did about a 3 mile hike.  It was nice but nothing spectacular.

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The new chicken salad place we found afterwards in Bellevue was though!

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We also continued my quest for the perfect bagel.

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And did the long hike at Smith Park.

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More green trails…..

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Found feathers make for great hairpieces……

 

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Earth Day

From April 21 – 26……

The next morning after we had breakfast the girls wanted to celebrate Earth Day by picking up trash around the neighborhood.  Isn’t that what all 9 year old girls like to do at a sleepover? Actually, if they did the world would be a better and cleaner place!

It’s pretty easy for us to get trash in our area since two new subdivisions are being built on either side of us.

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They ran around in one of the new areas where houses were being built and easily got a lot of bottles and tossed out trash.

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They wanted to keep going and keep going but once our bag was too heavy to carry we headed back and made it just a few minutes before Kelly’s mom came to pick her up.

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Later that afternoon at Kelly’s house the girls had a bake sale/art show to raise money for endangered animals.  Again, just a normal afternoon in the life of a 9 year old.  Actually, one of the things we enjoy most about Kelly and her family is that they are very active for causes and we try to make sure Lilli is aware of age appropriate political events as well.  The night before while eating ice cream the girls were discussing Donald Trump’s latest antics.  If more people were as informed as these girls are we might have a very different president in office.

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That night we took the girls out to LIS Parents Night Out and we went out for a nice dinner at Connors and then did some shopping at Lowes for a new light and fan for the living room.  And I’m sure there was Starbucks in there, too.

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The van finally got some much needed new tires!

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I have an amazing view of downtown from anywhere I sit, but it’s even better from the 360 degree walking track 4 flights up on the 28th floor.  It’s so amazing to watch storms move in and see the break in clouds.

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It’s hard to capture the depth of it, especially with the reflection, but so often you can see the cloud wall and literally watch the rain move across downtown.

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An email you don’t ever want to get – when the Antioch Waffle House shooter was still missing and the manhunt extended to Brentwood Lilli’s school was on lockdown.  Luckily they found him later that day.

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This girl loves containers so we let her use them all one night in packing her lunch.

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Nothing but love.

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Field Days

From April 16-20……

He is the strangest dog.  You literally don’t ever know what patch of sun he might be hanging out in.

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One place you can always find him is anywhere he can possibly be in the way.  Since Abbi took dance this past year at school the living room has been turned into a dance floor for both girls.  I’ve given up on moving the coffee table back and forth and we just have it off to the side.  And since both girls were getting ready for end of year recitals featuring The Greatest Showman every night was some sort of dance performance for us.  They’ve got quite a few cute routines and both girls are counting down the days until Dance starts back for them in mid August.  Lilli took ballet for a short time period when she was four and hated it – it really was a boring class.  Ever since she’s only done gymnastics/cheer but over the last few months as Abbi has been dancing more she’s shown more interest.  So I found them a studio where both girls can take a class they’re both interested in at the same time – and I also found a unicorn.  Lilli will be taking a Jazz class that focuses on theatrical music, jazz, hip hop and lyrical – all things she’s interested in and they’ll tie in well with her tumbling.  Abbi will be taking a Tap and Ballet class, the two things she’s been doing and wants to keep doing.  At the end of the year (in June) they’ll have a big full length production at Vanderbilt.

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He really does absolutely try to get in the way.  And he doesn’t flinch a bit as they leap over him and use him as a prop.  In his world any attention is good attention.

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On one of my work from home days I had lunch with Lilli – it wasn’t nacho day so it wasn’t good.  But the company was delightful, as always.

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Lilli was outgrowing her rollerblades so we got her a new pair of skates.  This pair has blades and traditional skates, so she can change them back and forth.   They did a month long session of roller skating in PE (they had rented skates) so she was even more into skating than normal.  Even the kindergarten kids got to skate (there are some things like archery that they don’t get to do) so Abbi is looking forward to that next year.

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Our road was repaved back in March so it makes for really fantastic skating now.

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I’m not even sure…..

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One night our doorbell captured a coyote on our porch.  We were aware we have several in our neighborhood, it’s good to know they’re quite comfortable just coming on up for a visit….

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Abbi’s school had a big spring “Field Day”.  She was so excited – as we got there they were putting up the inflatables and they also had a popsicle truck.  Such a fun and special day.  Miss Rachel made sure she was in her group and sent me a ton of pictures of them having fun.  This is Miss Rachel, Stella, and Abbi.  Stella and Abbi became best buds this year.  Stella will be going to one of the other Brentwood schools, but they’ll be back together in middle and high school in the same zone.

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On one of the inflatables with Stella.

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Having such a good time – it was so sweet of Rachel to send me lots of pics.  We just love her and Abbi misses her so much.

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Stella, Abbi, and Addie Jane.  Addie Jane was at the same school Abbi was at that abruptly closed on us a few years ago.  So these two are “old” friends.  All three girls will be at different elementary schools but will feed back together for middle and high school.

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Some of her class with the popsicle man.  Such a fun idea.  Her class had 20 kids in it with 3 teachers, so they had split into 3 groups for field day.

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That night we picked up Kelly and had her over for a sleepover.  These girls just get along so well and have the best time together, I wish they saw each other more often.  They met in gymnastics many years ago but aren’t on the same night/class anymore.  These girls will be together in middle and high school and it’s crazy to think that’s just two more years away now! I know they’re excited for that day! And they’ll be in Girl Scouts together this fall so they’re also really excited for that.

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I’m not sure how she does it.  Really.  I kind of picture her still somehow looking like this at 16 after a bowl of ice cream.

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