Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Mia's Dance Performance at the Brookfield Zoo

Mia has recently been taking a tap/ballet/tumbling combo dance class at Dance Dimensions in Bolingbrook.  Venessa asked if Mia would like to join Erica in the class and I am so glad she did!  This past week she got to be a part of 2 performances, dancing dressed as a little reindeer to "Run, Run, Rudolph."  The first performance was at the local cable access channel, where they danced in a little studio and were recorded for TV. :)  A day later, they got to perform at the Brookfield Zoo as part of Holiday Magic there.  A special thanks to all who braved the COLD to come out and support Mia.  She was thrilled to see you in the audience.  :)  Here are some pictures from the zoo.  

Venessa touching up the girls makeup
Grammy greeting Mia before her dance
Mia and Noah
Mia and Sammy
The reindeer up on stage ready to start
And dancing...
Run, Run, Rudolph!
This is what you get with a group of 4-year-olds dancing-everyone doing something different. :)
Mia was so smiley and excited to be on stage. :)

They were having so much fun!
Pam and Ryan came out to watch
And Grammy, Jen, and Mike brought flowers (Mia didn't let go of them the rest of the time)
Posing with Mia (poor Noah got blocked out by the flowers!)
Noah congratulating Mia :)
Cutest reindeer ever! 
Gigi and Papa with Mia
Family pic
Daddy and Mia
Mommy and Mia

Saturday, November 27, 2010

I Did It!

I know this blog is normally more about the kids and our family, but I just have to take minute to share something very exciting.  After much blood, sweat and tears (well actually, probably just sweat and tears), I passed my National Board Certification for teaching!!!!

About a year and a half ago, I found out that several teachers were going to try to go for their board certification.  This had always been a goal of mine and I had actually gone to a meeting about it before Mia was even born.  At that point it I was burned out since I had just finished my Masters Degree and needed some time off.  This time though, knowing so many others were doing it and that I would have that for motivation and a built in support system, was a very good incentive for me to go for it.  That and the fact that the state was willing to subsidize $2000 of the $2500 fee. :)  I made the somewhat impulsive decision to do it and started my journey.

When the 2009-2010 school year started, I was forced to dive right in.  It was an overwhelming, stressful, but very rewarding process that I know has improved my teaching.  A lot of people have asked me what the process consists of.  In a nutshell you have to complete 4 portfolio entries, 2 in which you videotape yourself teaching and have to reflect on your teaching.  These entries require you to be very analytical about your teaching and to do a LOT of writing and reflecting.  This is a pretty simplistic explanation seeing that these entries took a ton of work and a ton of time to complete.  It is also a good idea to have other National Board Certified teachers review your work to give you feedback.  I was lucky to have several wonderful, helpful people to critique my work and give me ideas on how to improve it.  I had until March 31st to complete the portfolio and then it was time to focus on the test.  The test contained 6 essay question in which you had 30 minutes to complete each one in a highly guarded-intense test taking facility (they did palm scans-pretty crazy!).  I took the test right before school ended at the end of May.

The worst part of it all was spending practically a year doing all that work and then not being able to find out until November.  Since there is so much content to grade and they want it to be as fair and unbiased as possible, it took that long for all the applicants work to be scored.  Scores were released the week before Thanksgiving and I can tell you that I was shaking logging into the computer to see if I made it.  I am happy to say I did!!  I also am appreciative to my friends and family for listening to my whining throughout the year, my coworkers for being part of the journey with me, and especially Cort, who spent LARGE amounts of time with the kids while I was glued to the computer working on my portoflio.  THANK YOU ALL!!  I couldn't have done it without you.  :)

Terrible pics, but here is me the day I mailed off my portfolio.  It was terrifying to let go of all of that work, and pray that it arrived safely (of course I made copies!!!).  This is me and the infamous blue box.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Putting Up the Christmas Tree

I have once again fallen off the blogging bandwagon, but am hoping to get back in the swing of things.  We are currently in the middle of enjoying a very nice, very much needed, LONG Thanksgiving weekend.  Every year we put up our Christmas decorations Thanksgiving weekend and this year was no different.  What is different this year is that the kids are super-interested in helping with everything we do.  :)  They are very excited for the holiday season...

Getting ready to start-Mia is clearly very excited!  (Ignore the terrible, blury picture)
Cort with the kids after they put the top on our tree
The kids anxiously awaiting directions
Mia helping out
Cole helping out
Handing branches to daddy

And as always Zip has been a total pain!
We also got Mia's tree up (still need to do Cole's).  She had a blast going through her ornaments and choosing spots for them on her tree.

Our tree is currently up with lights and Mia's is completed.  Hopefully this weekend we will get ornaments up and Cole's tree up too. These things take time now that we have kids! :)  Hope everyone is enjoying their Thanksgiving weekend!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Day in the Life

This blog has been sadly neglected lately.  I will be better, I promise!

Here is a quick snapshot of Cole.  This is pretty representative of our little 2 year-old right now.  He loves his cars and he loves his trains.  If you know Thomas, you know that there are tons of trains all with different names.  It is crazy, but he knows them all!  The worst is when he requests a certain one and I have no idea which one it is.  Thankfully they are labeled on the bottom. :)  This is a day in the life at our house...

Friday, October 15, 2010

School Pics Are In!

So the school pics are in-and I love them!  Looking at them I am struck by how grown-up Mia looks.  These are terrible scans-my scanner makes the color super-wonky, but you get the idea....

Love this smile!

 Much better than last year!!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

School Pics-Ava and Mia, 1 year later

The school year is now in full-swing and Mia is loving school and getting to go 5 days a week.  We are in our routine and that includes yearly traditions like field trips and school pictures.  Do you remember last year's school pictures?  I do, the pictures below are burned in my head and make me laugh out loud every time.  Mia had taken her individual pictures, but when it came time to do one with Ava, was not having it.  It resulted in this...

Luckily I had taken this one earlier that morning :)
Although I was pretty sure we wouldn't have a repeat of that experience this year, I picked up Ava a couple minutes early on picture day and took the girls out to a small tree farm in our neighborhood and got this, my new favorite picture of the two of them.  Look how they have changed-no longer toddlers, they are looking so grown up.

I now anxiously await seeing their school pictures...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mia's 1st Dance Class

Today Mia had her first ever dance class at Dance Dimensions in Bolingbrook.  I have been meaning to sign her up for dance FOREVER, but Venessa gave me the push I needed by suggesting we join the class she had signed Erica up for. Thanks Ness!  It is a 1-hour class that is a combo of Tap, Ballet, and Tumbling.  The last couple of days have been building up the excitement as we got her shoes, tried on her leotards (Thanks Lisa!) and talked about what class would be like.  Needless to say, it was a hit!  She really liked having Erica in the class and she made a new friend Lily, the daughter of one my friends from my junior high days.  What a great surprise!  She had a great time and I think this will be a great way to improve her coordination.  :)  And of course, pictures... 

Waiting for class to begin
Erica and Mia
So excited to be in the studio for the first time
Not so sure...
But then jumping right in!
All the girls dancing
Tapping her heel
The girls concentrating
Mia and Erica again
Jumping :)
Love this! You can see how excited she is :)
The girls
Pretending to sleep-part of one of the songs
Hi Mom!