About two months ago Natalie began taking dance classes. We found a wonderful school with a very caring and attentive teacher. The class starts with 25 minutes of tap followed by 25 minutes of ballet and ends with 10 minutes of gymnastics.
When Natalie first entered the class she was very reserved. Even though she did not speak I could see that her mind was soaking up everything the teacher said. She could not do all of the moves, but she tried her best. Just by looking at her face and body language I didn't know if she was enjoying herself or not. But when I asked her if she likes ballet she said yes, albeit not very enthusiastically. But the next day she asked when she could go to ballet again. The day after that she asked again about going to ballet class…it became a daily occurrence. Finally Tuesday rolled around again and it was time to go to ballet. She was practically jumping for joy. But when she got into the classroom she was again very quiet.
Now she has come out of her shell and I can tell that she is enjoying the class not just from her words but from the sparkle in her eyes.
Natalie and I recently walked around our yard and picked our first bouquet of the season. Natalie said they were her getting married flowers. She is a bit obsessed about getting married... I think mainly because she thinks wedding dresses are pretty. I told her she shouldn't get married until she is at least 30 :)
Natalie is obsessed with the movie "Frozen". We have seen it twice at the theater and are buying it the day it becomes available as a digital version. While we are waiting to see the movie again we are making do with listening to the soundtrack. Natalie's favorite song is "Let it Go!" and her favorite character is Elsa the Ice Queen. Most of the time these days she is pretending to be Elsa while I am assigned to the role of her sister Anna. See the video at the bottom of this post for an excerpt of Natalie's passionately sung rendition of "Let it Go!" It recently snowed and Natalie was inspired to sing after we built our very own Olaf (another Frozen character).
The Saturday before Natalie's birthday party one of her friends was celebrating their birthday at the same Museum as Natalie's party. The pictures below where Natalie is wearing a purple shirt are from the other birthday party. The first pic is of her with her best buddy Jack. When a little girl sat in the seat to Natalie's left Jack got very upset because he wanted to sit next to Natalie. We quickly grabbed a chair and squeezed it in on her other side. It warms my heart to see how much Natalie's friends like her.
Natalie is cute from the back too :) Her hair is getting long which thrills her to no end. I think she dreams of having hair as long as Rapunzel.
Jumping a week ahead now to Natalie's Birthday Party.
I explained to Natalie that her party was taking place a few days before her actual birthday. She must have understood exactly what I meant because when some friends at the party said, "How old are you now Natalie?" her response was "Still Three!"
Natalie was a natural at hostessing. As each of her guests arrived she ran up to them squealing their name with delight and throwing her arms around them in a giant bear hug. She was so happy to be with her friends. It was the best birthday ever!
Natalie and Jack, together again :)
Natalie got to choose 5 animals to visit at her party. Her first request was an owl, but the Museum didn't have one. Her second choice was a snake. We got to meet and pet a gorgeous Scarlett King Snake aptly named Scarlett. (video to follow soon)
Next Natalie requested an alligator - quite a surprising choice from such a frilly little girly-girl. I was surprised that the museum actually had an alligator. His name is Peanut and he is 2 years old. We got to pet his tail. He didn't seem to mind the attention. The only time he got upset was when they put him back in his little carrier. He didn't like that AT ALL and let them know it with a lot of hissing and thrashing.
Next we saw a beautiful orange parrot. We didn't get to pet him because he bites! Then we saw a very friendly blue-tongued skink. And last, but not least, we got to meet the only cuddly animal of the bunch a super sweet ferret.
Listening to the animal handler talk about each of the animals.
After the animal visit, we all sang happy birthday to Natalie and ate cupcakes and ice-cream. Then the kids were let loose to explore the section of the museum that was designed especially for children 6 and under.
Natalie was a bit sad the previous week that she never got a chance to wear the ladybug dress from the children's theater pictured below. I made sure that she got a turn on her birthday. She was thrilled!
Playing on the pirate ship with her friends.
Chillin' at the "beach" with a couple of friends.
Back at home after the party Natalie got to open all of her presents. It was like Christmas all over again.
It was the Happiest Birthday Ever! The gifts were wonderful, but the best part for Natalie was getting to be with all of her friends. I was so proud of her for being such a sweet, gracious hostess.
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"Welcome home to the Happy Haus" is the greeting I used to receive from Gary when we arrived home from work each day. Gary and I brought our daughter Natalie home from China in November 2011 to live with us in our cozy cottage. In October of 2013, we unexpectedly lost Gary, our dear husband, father and friend.
Our family includes our two sweet Newfoundland dogs, Katie and Louie. Newfoundlands are working dogs, so we make sure our two always have a job to do. Katie and Louie are both certified therapy dogs and bring lots of joy to people who are in need of some Newfie love. They have also competed in Rally Obedience. Katie has earned a Rally Advanced title and Louie has earned a Rally Excellent title. In keeping with Newf tradition, Katie has become a proficient draft dog while Louie prefers practicing water rescue whenever he gets an opportunity. They are also both protectors of their little sister, Natalie.