A New Spark

June also brought with it a somewhat new adventure for Maurah.  She joined MainStage Academy of Dance in the winter and showcased her work throughout these past months in a beautiful gala.  We truly didn't know what to expect, as this was our first time having a child in a dance academy, but these performances blew us away!  The stage Maurah performed on is the same one where we see the Nutcracker every year....a large stage with a large audience for such a little girl - I wasn't sure if she would make it through the performance or not!  I minded the rules to not take pictures while the dancers were on the stage, but I can tell you that she had the biggest smile on her face the entire time she was up there, no nerves at all.  It was one of those moments where you see this little flicker inside of your child and you can tell that something is definitely lighting up within them.  These are some of the moments I love the most about parenting.

The younger girls' dressing room door was decorated with these stars by their teachers...so sweet!

Maurah's 3rd grade teacher got to see her do her thing on that stage because her daughter performs in the same academy...we love Mrs. Shaver!!

Grandpa Dave came in for the night so he could cheer Maurah on as well!

Maurah and her sweet friend Lola:

Director Bray leading Maurah and her classmates onto the stage so they could be applauded.

Maurah's teacher, who instilled this newfound love in her, did an incredible job being the Black Swan in Swan Lake.  At 16, she has been accepted to an all-dance school in Florida and is moving away this summer!  We will miss her!

 Some more of Maurah's cheering squad:

While most of the above photos were taken with my phone, I had to have Maurah do a photo shoot and use my good camera.  She's just too beautiful to not capture!

We're not sure where this new spark for dance will take Maurah, but it sure has been fun cheering her on this year.  We're so thankful for MainStage and its influence!

A Farewell

June has brought with it a LOT of excitement and newness around here.  The very first day of this month was one that still brings me to tears as I write this post.  My oldest, my boy, officially closed out all of his years in elementary school with a 5th grade celebration.

The families of all of the fifth graders packed into the gym for a luncheon and celebration of all of these kiddos and these last six years.  Cole and his class sang a few songs, ending with What a Wonderful World.  I'm not posting the videos because, to be perfectly honest, I was shaking so badly, I was trying to keep all of my emotions in.  Because of that, the video quality is less than sub-par.  But my goodness, was it sweet to hear their voices sing words that are so meaningful.

Love all of those sweet faces adorning those cupcakes.

Cole and his buddy Jack:

This is what they REALLY wanted to be doing during the luncheon!  ;) 

Jake made his schedule so he could pop in and be here in the middle of his work day, and of course, I missed getting a picture of him with Cole.  I am still bumming about that!  But, the way our schedule worked out, Jake's mom was able to be here with us.  Living hundreds of miles away from grandparents doesn't usually afford us the opportunity to celebrate things like this with them, so that was a rare treat!

Cole and his good friend Austin:

Fabulous teacher and director of KM Explore, Ms. Dahm:

Cole's first-ever male teacher....who totally "gets" Cole's personality and made learning so fun for him, Mr. Fronk:

A bunch of almost-6th graders (and a few of their siblings!):

Crazy crew of boys:

Out of all of our kids, Cole is the one who has had the most transitions in school.  He started 4K when we lived in Michigan, and moved to Wisconsin where he finished out his last 6 weeks of preschool in a district we no longer live in.  We then moved to another town where he went to the local elementary (still within our current school district), but once KM Explore Charter became an option, we believed in their vision of learning so much and moved our kids again to have them attend this school.

I can't even begin to put words to what a journey it's been and how all of the teachers here have supported our family and loved us through numerous seasons, both joyful and difficult.  We have watched Cole grow immensely within the security and love these teachers have provided.  Jake and I have grown as parents too, gleaning much wisdom from some of these teachers who are ahead of us on this journey.

I can still remember the day I signed Cole up for preschool, feeling like we had made it...we were finally in a season where our kids were in elementary school.  It sounded so grown up; like we were actual adults raising actual people.  But now, with us saying goodbye to elementary school, I feel like we're so young.  We're not ready.  Because, you know, middle school is only 3 years...and 3 years are like blinking.

Still...I look at this guy and I know he's ready.  And that's what matters.  We're so proud of him and the person he's becoming.  I know this is just the beginning of some pretty awesome adventures with him.  And I couldn't love that more.


A New Spark

June also brought with it a somewhat new adventure for Maurah.  She joined MainStage Academy of Dance in the winter and showcased her work t...