Abby has now been playing the violin for a year.  We think she has made some tremendous progress and has caught up to the girls in her group and is keeping up with them. 

For the spring recital, the girls each played a solo piece from their Suzuki repertoire and they played two fiddle pieces as a group.  (All the girls are starting to learn to read music, but so far, most of the music is learned by ear.  It was so cool watching them learn fiddle tunes, which sound so different from the classical tunes they're used to!  All of them love fiddling and are eager to practice these pieces!)

Attending their private and group lessons every week, I have watched all of these girls work so hard.  Each of us parents have watched our kids make forward progress and take steps backwards.  We've watched their frustrations mount and we've watched them conquer pieces with stubborn determination.

As recital time neared, they had only two rehearsals with the pianist who will accompany them on their solos.

Abby practiced well, but with all the "fine tuning" leading up to the recital, she started getting really nervous and upset about messing up in front of an audience.  She started to make more and more mistakes and it brought on a lot of frustration.

However, my little girl overcame her self-doubt and fears. She mustered up focus, courage, and maturity and played her solo as best as she has ever played it!

We are all so very proud of her!  She has come a long way from her first solo recital last spring.

Shruti and Abby got to hand out the recital programs. I think this little task helped calm the nerves.
A serious look of concentration as she rocked her solo piece.
Abby's group playing Cripple Creek.
Abby's group playing Old Joe Clark.
All the kids who performed tonight.  The littlest one who performed was only 4 years old and she did a tremendous job!

This is Abby's solo piece: Minuet No. 1 by J.S. Bach from Suzuki Book 1.

The video below is of Abby's group playing the fiddle piece, Cripple Creek.

The video below is of Abby's group playing the fiddle piece, Old Joe Clark.

We are so proud of Abby today, who did very, very well at her first violin recital.

Giddy with pride is a good way to describe us parents right now!

She has been playing violin since February and in a mere 2 months she has learned some impressive techniques and many, many variations of Twinkle, culminating in the ability to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star - the shining achievement for the group of primary students (3-5 year olds) who started around the same time as Abby.

This was a really sweet concert.  Ms. Judy's students vary in age from just 4 to 7, but primarily Kindergarteners.  Half of them have been playing for over a year and the other half has just started lessons.  And ALL of them did a fantastic job!

Ms. Judy is a perfectionist and for the last couple of weeks, she has asked that I figure out the piano accompaniment and work with Abby on following the piano and maintaining her rhythm.  I haven't played in years and without the music written out, it took several tries - and being all stressed out - before I figured out the accompaniment (with help from YouTube).  Our practices paid off, though.  Abby followed the piano nearly perfectly the night of the recital!

I am just amazed by these kids.  What they have been able to accomplish at such a young age is simply magnificent.  And, of course, I'm super duper proud of our Abby.

Abby playing her Twinkle Twinkle Little Star solo, accompanied by Ms. Judy on the piano.  She looked so pretty up there, too!
She played beautifully and followed the piano perfectly, something she's been working very, very hard at and succeeded wonderfully!
All the kids who have learned Twinkle got to go on stage to close out the recital by playing the song.
Amazing what such young kids can be capable of!  

Group photo time
Taking bows at the end of the concert.
Karlee (center), is the classmate of Abby and Alexa (right).  She came to support both of her good friends at their recital, bringing them both a bouquet of flowers and kind words of encouragement.

Below is the video of her playing her Twinkle solo.

Kayleigh turned 3 years old this past Saturday and we gathered with close friends and family for a casual celebration at Bison Park.

It was a beautiful day to run around the park and all the little kids had a blast.  We used to be concerned that Kayleigh did not care for friends, but she absolutely insisted that a handful of friends from school be invited.  Two of her closest buds from school were able to make it - Addison and Ronin.

A funny side note about Ronin is about his invitation to Kayleigh's party.  She was absolutely adamant that "Lodan" be invited to her party.  We asked the school director, assistant director, current and former teachers and couldn't figure out who "Lodan" could be!  There wasn't a Logan or Lauren in her class.  We all thought it must have been Landen, but when I asked Kayleigh, "Do you want Landen invited to your party?" She replied, "Yeah! And 'Lodan!'"  So, the next day, I talked to her teachers again and they guessed she must have meant Ronin, with whom she's pretty close at school.  Luckily, they were right and Ronin being at her party really meant a lot to her!

I can't believe my youngest is 3!  I can still remember so clearly when Abby was this age.  It's a great age when they start growing out of the baby stage and really coming into their own persons.  I'm really looking forward to the fun we're going to have.

Abby Lin
Gwen and the Abbys playing on the shark and dolphin see-saw
Physics Experiment
Uncle Allen chatting with Grandma and Grandpa Newell
Abby and Gwen being adventurous in the sand box area
Ronin, Kayleigh, and Addison - friends from daycare
Kayleigh and Ronin
Trey aka Budders
Po-Po and Gong-Gong
Birthday hug and kiss from Abby
Goodie bags and cake pops for the guests.
Singing Happy Birthday and cake time!
The owl birthday cupcakes I made.  She requested that they be blue!

Of course, she only ate the fondant and icing, never having been a fan of cake.  Next year she might get a cookie instead!

All the kiddos who came to celebrate Kayleigh's birthday with her.  From left to right: Garrett, Sage (Ronin's cousin), Ronin, Trey, Addison, Abby L., Gwen, Abby N., Kayleigh, Addison S.

School was closed on President's Day, of course, and I took the day off to hang out with the girls. 

Abby's school had a free ice skating event in Castle Rock.  Although we went to check it out, it was much too cold to be outside with the way the girls were dressed.  This rink is brand new to Castle Rock this year and is a really nice, covered venue, so we'll be sure to visit again.  We watched a few of Abby's classmates circle the rink a few times and then drove up to the Denver Children's Museum downtown.

The girls loved the museum.  I would have loved it more if it weren't for the fact that the entire kid population of Denver was packed into this building!  We still spent a couple of hours there and got to do several hands-on activities. 

The first exhibit that drew the girls' attentions was the rocket crafting area, which included an area to launch their paper rockets to see how well they fly.

The girls were mesmerized by the Newton's Cradle activity.

Abby enjoyed hammering anything she could get her hands on.
Kayleigh being proficient with a screwdriver.
Playing in the pizza kitchen next to a mock supermarket.
Admiring the pizza they assembled
Crawling down a mole hole

My two little baby birds
The girls LOVED the Big Backyard and Kayleigh jumped up and down the whole time, making it impossible to get a decent picture with her in it!

Exploring a fire engine
Before leaving the Children's Museum, the girls got to scribble on Hopscotch, one of the many cow sculptures all around the Denver downtown area.
After the museum, we went to the Cherry Creek district for lunch. Abby found a place called the Egg Shell and wanted to try it because she was able to easily read the name!  We actually enjoyed a wonderful lunch there - Kayleigh had potatoes and eggs, I had a chicken sandwich, and Abby tried a Belgium waffle for the first time and loved it - then we took a relaxing walk around all the stores and stopped at the Wizard's Chest to find gifts for one of Abby's friends' upcoming birthday parties before driving home.

I sure wish we had the time to do this more often!