For the last couple months, Elliot has been taking an extracurricular Jazz dance class every wednesday morning at school. It is led by the school’s dance teacher—who does a wonderful job. The class culminated in this dance performance set to Owl Service’s “Fireflies” . . .
Elliot’s teacher selected her to receive an art award at a recent assembly. We were able to attend and surprise her (along with Mimi, Pop and Dampa)—she didn’t know she was getting it until her name was called!
Elliot had her first piano recital in Tacoma yesterday—at University of Puget Sound’s Schneebeck Hall (where she also takes her weekly lessons.) Despite a bit of stage fright about having to introduce herself and her piece to the audience, she played wonderfully.
Sure, Elliot, you want to join the Glee club? OK, singing is a great skill to learn! Oh, and you want to be in the Peter Pan Musical? You bet—you love that story and it will be a fun experience.
Oh, wait—you mean your Glee Club recital and you Peter Pan performances and your piano studio recital are all on the same week . . . !!??
What did we get ourselves into??!
Yes, all of Elliot’s various activities somehow managed to culminate in performances during the same week. Fortunately, there was no ballet performance added to the list. We basically lived in the Veteran’s Memorial Hall where both her Glee club recital and Peter Pan performances were held. We also spent whatever time we could carve out in front of the Piano—along with several early mornings before school at her piano studio—practicing her pieces. And I have to say she handled it incredibly well (better than her parents!) She even got sad when her early morning duet practices were over . . .
And before you grandmothers and great grandmothers and other “loving worriers” out there worry—she also got a lot of free play time. Perhaps not as much as usual, but still some. And lesson learned: find out when performances are before committing to activities!
Below are photos and videos from Elliot’s big performance week.
featuring her first public performance of a song using both hands as well as her first performance of a duet (with friend Gabriella Sebastiani.) :
glee club recital
Elliot and her two friends Matea (center) and Jocelyn (right) by themselves on a large stage in a packed auditorium—fearless girls! :
Elliot played a Lost Girl, The Bluebird of Happiness and a Fairy Friend and was joined in this production by her friends Kate and Gabriella. This is a memory she’ll always treasure—she thrived being back stage and bonding with the other kids :
Dancing her heart out at the cast party:
Playing with her congratulatory balloon at Taste of the Himalayas after her final performance:
Recently, Elliot’s been taking a great interest in walking around our home with the old Flip camera shooting videos—”So . . . this is my room . . . and here’s my pillow . . . and this is my stuffed Toto . . . now I’m going to show you my fort . . . ” etc, etc. She’s also taking photos using our iphone. I don’t know where she learned this behavior . . .
Anyway, I thought it would be fun to have Elliot make her first “movie”—and she was thrilled with the idea! So, she and I sat down and she told me the story of the movie which I broke down into scenes. Then she decided which toys would play the various parts and where the scenes would take place—using her toys and blocks for set pieces. Then she acted out each scene as I filmed—she learned to say, “Camera?” (“ready”) and “Action” before each scene. Then we uploaded the footage and sat down in front of the computer and edited the movie together. “We don’t want to keep that part, Daddy,” and, “Let’s have it start after I say ‘action!'”
Above is the resulting movie. And below are some of her iphone photos!
Our present to Elliot on her 5th birthday was a new bicycle (to replace her tricycle she was quickly outgrowing.) However, due to a combination of busy holiday schedules and bad weather weekends, it took us until the other day to actually get it for her. Immediately after purchasing, we took the very excited girl (she was jumping up and down with her hands in the air in the bike store) for her first bike ride—choosing the lovely Sonoma bike path as our setting. We ran into friends, listened to frogs and enjoyed the unseasonably comfortable weather.
Just yesterday, we all went for a ride and run/walk (to keep up with the rider) to the nearby bike store to get her promised basket, bell and streamers. She’s proving to be a strong cycler with a lot of stamina and courage—she already said she’s ready to take her training wheels off. Of course, that will probably happen a lot slower than she expects . . .
Another typical morning around our house—it’s hard to wake a sleeping cutie, but it’s worth the effort when they light up your home with play . . .
Here’s a couple other recent photos—the first of swinging with her friend Sophia at the Plaza playground and the second of us enjoying the weekly Shiso Sushi night at Sonoma Springs Brewery around the corner from our home.
When Kate and Elliot get together, they often find a reason to dance—this time it was dancing along to The Nutcracker.
Elliot’s fifth birthday was wonderful—a weekend full of friends, Mimi, princess parties, ballet, presents, cakes, toys and more fun than can fit in photos and video form . . .
On Fridays, Elliot has the afternoons off, which we spend at the Plaza playground before going grocery shopping.
It’s already October and we are still enjoying the pool! So we brought the new camera back . . .
As professional needs demanded, we upgraded to a new camera—a Canon Rebel T2i. We get spectacular morning light in our home, so on our first few mornings with the camera, I couldn’t help but play experiment with it while Elliot got ready for school. See the photos and video for the results . . . !
It’s late september and that means it’s nearing the end of a summer and the end of an era. The footage in this short video—of miscellanea from September—represents the last regular usage of my Flip camera. It’s been just over a year of having that Flip virtually attached to my hand—the Year of the Flip . . .
To my Flip: you’ve served me well, oh you trusty work horse. Your “making a lot with a little” attitude and pop art sensibilities will never be matched and you’ll always be close to my heart and a part of my arsenal. It’s just that, well, now I have a new starter—you may spend more time on the bench now, but when you’re sent out to play, it will be when we really need you and you’ll have a chance to steal the spotlight!
Ice Cream in Petaluma.
Call of the Wild al fresca in the winery ruins at the Jack London State Park.
Elliot was looking forward to school all summer. Here on the morning of her first day of her third year of preschool—she and her small group of friends will be the “older” kids in the class this year before they transition to kindergarten in the Elementary class room.
Dayglo cupcake decorating, an afternoon in the pool and an evening barbecue—I think we did it right?
Elliot had a couple recent “Kate dates,” during on of which they made a lemonade stand.
Ten days spent in island time—even if it was a “workcation,” it was one of the best weeks of our year.
Watch the video below and then click through to see more photos.
Here are a couple bonus videos—A Night at the Opera and a Day at the Races:
Lastly, here’s a video we created under the Belle Creative umbrella for the festival:
We took one of our favorite road trips to one of our favorite places to be with some of our favorite people. There are a few videos below and be sure to click through to the rest of the entry to see a bunch of photos!
Here’s Elliot’s directorial debut—a short film about people who play tennis and the girl who films them:
Elliot gave a recital of the piano pieces she’s working on and finished it with an original, improvisational performance:
As much as we love spending almost every hour with Elliot, we do require the occasional “date night” without her. My parents kindly subsidized one of these evenings when she bought Sarah, Mary, Karson and me tickets (great seats, too!) to see Paul McCartney. We grew up loving Macca, so it was a thrill to finally see him live—and it was such a good show regardless!
Click through for a couple more photos:
We’re lucky, this summer, to have four farmers markets to attend—the Tuesday evening Plaza market, the Friday morning Depot Park market and the saturday morning markets at the Community Center and the Community Garden.
It seems like Elliot is getting older and older every day. It was about time we upgraded from her old convertible crib bed. Sarah found a used bed frame on Craigslist and we got some affordable Ikea bookshelves and Sarah did a big rearrange and the next thing we knew, Elliot had a “new” room!
Click through for a few more photos…
One of our favorite days of the year in Sonoma is the Fourth of July. This year was one of the best: started off with a pre-parade breakfast at our friends off-the-Plaza apartment as we watched people toting lawn chairs and wearing red, white & blue stream by; enjoyed the hometown parade; swam and barbecued (Karson’s a grilling genius); rode bikes everywhere; partied with some of Elliot’s school friends (and their parents) and watched the best fireworks show this side of the Mississippi.
Here’s another video we released under Belle Creative celebrating Sonoma’s parade and Fourth of July festivities:
When Elliot watched the video I recently made of her model Neverland, she was inspired to make a new one—this time outside!
My girls treat me right on Father’s Day—bicycling, ice cream and (not shown) a 3D movie and pizza!