Ben and Lily's 4-day class at Explorer Preschool put on a fantastic Nutcracker performance last Wednesday. They had practiced for the past few weeks at grouptime, each kid practicing each part every day (well...sometimes someone didn't want to do something...you know how it is, so no pressure, but they pretty much all got in on the fun). My niece, Hannah, has also been attending Explorer for the past few weeks while my sister's family is visiting. Teacher Konne cast Lily and Hannah as Sugar Plum Fairies and Ben as a Soldier. Perrrrfect choices. Konne didn't make a big deal out of this whole Nutcracker thing to the kids - but in the background, all the parents were trying to contain their excitement. We guessed that it WAS going to be a big deal. And a big deal it was, apparently. There were actually SETS! The costumes were beautifully made. Konne is a great director. There were staghands (thanks Teacher Annie who also did the kids makeup - oh, yes, there was stage makeup!). There were tickets and programs (the kids made them). Add to this -- a pulitizer prize winning journalist from the San Jose Mercury News came to the performance to film it (along with my husband, Jeff - who agreed after I signed him up volunteered to video the performance and put together a DVD for each family).
Tickets, Programs, "Marquee"
The kids did great - we were so impressed to see them up on stage. Some of the kids were really funny. Some were serious. Most did their performance. Lily ended up going solo as a Sugar Plum Fairy after her fellow sugar plums became a bit shy - she keeps telling people "I saved the show!" Ava was in the audience and danced in the free-for-all show closer - it was the Russian dancers and everyone worked up quite a sweat on that one.
Lily and Hannah get sugar plumed up, Ben soldiers, Ava and Lily post-performance
How surprised were we to wake up on Thursday morning to see our little Sugar Plum Fairies on the front page of the San Jose Mercury???? How cool is that? There is a video here (video credit: Pauline Lubens/Mercury News)too, in which Explorer's Nutcracker performance is mixed in with the San Francisco professional ballet.
Photo and video credit: Pauline Lubens/San Jose Mercury News
I guess boys don't make the front page of the newspaper when you're talking about ballerinas, but Ben also did a fantastic job as a soldier. We have started to edit the video a bit and, are noticing in the getting-ready scenes how funny Ben can be at times - I mean, we know that, but on video it is another thing altogether.
Another shining example of how much fun Explorer Preschool is for our family and how unique a place it is. This is definitely one for the scrapbook.
Our family, my sister's family and my parents are all heading to the 1:30 showing of the Nutcracker in downtown San Jose tomorrow and are meeting up with Lily's buddies from her ballet class (including our good friend Emily, daughter of my best friend Jen). Last year we went for the children's matinee performance (which was the first act only) and this time we'll be going to the entire length of the performance. It will likely be long time to sit for the kids - but last year they really wanted more (where are the Hot Chocolates?). Hopefully the promise of Ice Cream! to follow will hold for the little kids, Ava and Sam, for whom it will be their first Nutcracker ever. Robin and I vividly remember going to the Nutcracker as kids in downtown Seattle and to get huge ice cream sundaes afterwards (was it Swensons? I remember a big drum...). We continue on the family tradition.
Ava, now 2.5 years old, has taken to waking, regularly, at 5:30am. Well, sometimes it is 5:17am or 5:34am. She pads into our room, Bumpies in hand (her favorite blankets - that's another post), in the dark, carefully navigating the stuff stacked around the edges of our junk room our bedroom, coming to my side of the bed, saying "Mommy...I want some cereal. And some milk. Beside it." It is still dark. I have either gone to bed at midnight (damn computer, sucking me in) or at 8:30pm, after a string of nights of 4-5 hours of sleep, probably not all at one stretch, because she has woken up and her covers have come off or Lily has had a bad dream or I have tried (and failed) to get Ben to come out of the top bunk and go pee in the middle of the night. Isn't it a joy having children who don't sleep in cribs anymore and are potty trained?
Sometimes I can convince her to be pulled in to bed beside me, often not to completely go back to sleep, but at least not to have to emerge from the warmth and darkness. Sometimes she tantrums and I give in and crawl out, poor her cereal and milk and lay down again on the couch. Sometimes she sees that I am still out of it and pads back out, not to her bed usually, but to the living room, where she can stretch up on her tippytoes and turn on some lights and curl up with her Bumpies on the couch. And sometimes, if she's lucky, Big Sister Lily will hear her and get up to.
Big Sister Lily loves to be in charge during these times, whispering to Ava to "Be quiiiiet. We don't want to wake anyone up." They will make up some games. Lily will get her a bowl and some Cheerios. I don't actually know what they do. See, I'm still asleep. It is lovely. Until, of course, Ava doesn't obey Lily "1....2....if I get to 3, something will happen....3. 1....2....3. 1...2...3. Waaaaaa!!! Mommy!" Then all bets are off and I reluctantly get out of bed. Today, though, it lasted a good hour, so I was able to stay in bed until 6:34. I can handle that.
There have been some...incidents. Like the time (I was actually gone for this one, having gone to my The Dailey Method class - ahh....joy) that Jeff woke up to find Ava with a purple marker, happily decorating the walls and kitchen cabinets. I arrived home at 7:15am to find Jeff scrubbing the walls. It wouldn't come off the cabinets. That's when we discovered Magic Eraser, which I had bought on a whim a long time ago, thinking "someday, I will probably need this" - it actually works really well. And it has Mr. Clean on it, a favorite of Ben and Lily's. Bonus. However, do keep out of reach of children (we do).
So far we are lucky. My twin sister, Robin - who I'm going to see next Friday and then am coming back here with her and her kids for 6 weeks or so (yippee!) - told me one day last week she and Mark were sleeping in while Hannah (5) and Sam (3) bustled around in the kitchen. From time to time they would come in to ask for things - "Can I have an apple?" "I need a posicle stick." Mommy and Daddy told them where to find these things, still in their snuggly, spoony bed. "Thank you!" When Mommy and Daddy finally got up, they discovered the kids had made a candy store - yay! Let me describe the scene - the featured item was Candied Apples. They had selected apples, stabbed them with popsicle sticks, covered them in caramel sauce (from the fridge - on a shelf they can reach, apparently) and hung them from the kitchen cabinets. Oh it was a messy morning. But very creative. I can only hope my kids aspire to this level of inventiveness. Give them time and opportunity and I'm sure they will.
Another great photo shoot with done with our favorite children's photographer, Anna Mayer, a few weeks ago when my sis and her family were visiting. Our location was the lovely Santana Row. The proofs are back and, as usual, Anna has wowed us. Take a look at the slide show here. The cousins are so cute! And, so are we, the twin sisters, if I do say so myself! It is great to have a new photo of my sis and I (the last one was from just after Hannah was born 5 years ago!). And isn't it amazing to see how much the kids have grown since last year?
Me Too You is written by me, Linsey Krolik, and this is my personal blog. About me: Mom to 6-year-old boy/girl twins and their (surprise!) baby sister, who is now 3-years-old. Technology, business and media lawyer and entrepreneur. Partner at Silicon Valley Moms Group, handling legal, business development and advertising for the SV Moms Group network of blogs. Twin sister to Robin, who lives much too far away in Newfoundland, Canada. Community leader. Advocate for kids to think "outside the box." 9-year (and counting!) cancer survivor. Runner and aspiring yogi. Lover of life, travel, the outdoors and a good adventure.