Dance Fever

So after months of taking Princess P to dance lessons, the season ended last night with her recital.

This year, Julia decided to do lyrical and tap, which made me happy because my mother tap danced for most of her life.

Julia did tap with three other dancers. A boy, who is pretty great at it, and two girls, who wanted nothing to do with it. The two girls – sisters – mostly screwed around during practice, and the older one was usually looking at her phone during classes. The younger sister at least tried, but not very hard.

The odd thing was none of the other three bothered to go to picture day, so Princess P’s “group photo” was her. No one else.

The good news is the recital went off without a hitch, and I was able to see both dances since my supervisor let me take a few vacation hours to see it. I think she was better at tap, but her lyrical performance was very good.

Julia is think if trying something new next season. She will still take tap, but she wants to do Hip Hop instead of lyrical. I’m always surprised how she can juggle everything between dancing twice a week, karate twice a week, teaching herself to play the guitar, and band practice during school.

As always, I’m always very proud of her.

Princess P Does It Again

Julia’s last day of seventh grade finished Friday, but before the students were dismissed, her school gave out awards for academic excellence throughout all the grades.

We were given a heads up a few days before the ceremony, and were told Julia was getting an award. Julia, like Kevin, is in the Math Matters program, which is effectively advanced math.

Julia thought she may get the social studies award, because she was doing so well. She was surprised when she won the Math Matters award, despite the fact she was running a score of 99 in the class.

Since Julia’s grades were fantastic this year, she was also invited to submit an essay for the Neumann Scholarship. The winners get a free ride to any Philadelphia Archdiocesan Catholic high school.

As always, I’m so very proud of Julia and her academics. I know she didn’t get her smarts from me.

Little Drummer Girl

This story is a little old, as we received the invitation in December, but we didn’t want to post about it until we were sure Princess P was selected. Julia has been playing for her elementary school band for three yeas now. She is a drummer, following in the footsteps of Erik, was also played the drums.

In December, we received this email from Princess P’s band teacher, and thought it was great news.

Good morning,

I am reaching out to see if Julia would be interested in joining the 2022 Northeastern Honor Band. Julia is an exceptional musician and leader, so I think she would do very well in this ensemble.

This year, the teachers are simply nominating students instead of a formal audition process. However, we cannot guarantee that all students who are nominated will be admitted. Participating in this honor band includes a registration fee of $25, three rehearsals, and the final concert in Springfield, PA. If you are not able to attend all the rehearsals and the concert, you cannot participate in this ensemble. I have listed more information below this email.

Please let me know if Julia would be interested and able to participate in this honor band! My nominations are due December 23rd, so you have plenty of time to decide.

Have a great day,
Mr. Roberts

Princess P jumped at the chance to participate, even after the Archdiocese changed the event to a virtual concert. Julia will record her drumming and it will be combined with the music of the other band members. This is the second time she was nominated, and she had a great time previously.

The girl has a lot of talent – dance, art, music – and I have no idea where she gets it.

Happy Birthday Julia!

Today, Julia – also known as Princess P around these parts – is officially a teenager. Our only daughter is now thirteen, and while she experimented with teenage moods a while ago, she can officially be grumpy from today forward.

Julia is our youngest – ten months younger than Kevin – and she was a surprise. We didn’t think you could get knocked up after having a child, and apparently that’s the worst time to try. Mrs. Earp thought I would be furious at the news, and I responded with, “Great, another boy.” You see, after three boys, we didn’t think we could get a girl, and during the ultrasound, I told the tech that she was wrong, despite her pointing out the girl parts.

Her delivery was very quick, as Mrs. Earp kept telling the nurse that Princess P was COMING RIGHT NOW!

The following thirteen years were pretty awesome. It’s nice to have a girl amidst the boys, and she definitely has her tomboy moments. She is a junior black belt in Krav maga, but she also plays drums in the school band, takes dancing lessons for lyrical and tap, while teaching herself how to play guitar.

Julia is also wicked smart, right up there with Kevin. She always gets good grades, is enrolled in the Math Matters class.

Of course, being a girl, she always tells me she thinks she’s ugly, and she wishes she wasn’t as tall as she is. She’s probably 5’5″ or 5’6″. But beyond that, she is my special little girl who still has no problem telling me she loves me, still gives me hugs, and apparently got me a fabulous Christmas present.

At least according to her.

Happy birthday, Princess P! We love you very much.

If Ya Ain’t First, Yer Last

You may remember a post last week, where I mentioned Princess P (the redhead on the right) was invited to a Sciathlon at one of the private high schools outside the city. Julia was chosen for the seventh grade team, along with three of her classmates, to attend the science competition.

On the way home from dance Thursday night, I told her to just go out and have fun. It’s not like this would have affected her grades. Her teammates were also her friends, so I think the stress wasn’t really a factor. The Sciathlon lasted about four hours, with a snack break, and the teams competed on the following topics:

1. Shark identification.
2. A Paper Bridge Challenge.
3. An Atom Carnival Escape Room.

At one point, Mrs. Earp texted she was glad she wasn’t participating, because she only knew a few of the answers to the questions. She also said the all-girls school was really nice…

Continue reading “If Ya Ain’t First, Yer Last”

Princess P Invited To The Nerd Prom

So last week, Julia brought home a flier from her school. Apparently there is an annual Sciathlon at Villa Joseph Marie High School – a private girl’s high school a few miles outside Philadelphia – where representatives from local elementary schools show off their math and science prowess.

Guess who was invited to participate?

The sciathlon is scheduled for Friday, and she seems pretty excited about it. She gets along with the other three girls on the team, and it’ll be a good experience, and something she can add to her resume. I told Princess P to just go out there and have a good time, and win or be jettisoned from the family.

Win or lose, I’m very proud of her.

P.S. – Almost forgot, Kevin is taking another test at Holy Ghost Prep today. This one is for finanical aid. The better he does, the more he receives. Please give him some good thoughts.

Princess P, Dancing Queen

This year, Princess P decided to change her dance school. Her previous school wasn’t sure they would be open because of the Chinese Wuhan Virus, and since the owner of the new school (Dance Kidz) is friends with Mrs. Earp, it seemed like a good alternative.

Classes were an hour, once a week, and when I took Julia, she always asked to stop at the store to get her Gatorade and a snack. Since I’m a pushover, I always agreed. Julia joined the lyrical dance group, which appeared to be more like ballet than anything else.

Last night was the recital, and unlike other recitals, we were able to go home after Princess P’s dance was over. The recital began at 7pm, and considering the amount of classes, it likely went until almost 10pm. Mrs. Earp, my mother-in-law, Kevin, Erik, and I all went to see Princess P dance. (Kyle was home sick; fighting a cold the past two days.)

Obviously, I’m biased, but I think Julia performed magnificently. She told me afterward that she almost slipped at one point, and claimed she was “just okay.” I disagreed, but when Julia thinks she made a mistake, she carries it around for a day or two. I can only tell her what I saw, and I saw her dancing very well. As always, she made me very proud, and she liked her teacher enough that she is interested in taking a jazz class.

I cannot wait until I see her pulling out “jazz hands.”

Black Sabbath

You may remember last May when I bragged about Kevin’s black belt test. It was a little intimidating for the boy, and even after getting injured twice during the test, he sucked it up and passed with flying colors.

Yesterday was Julia’s turn.

Princess P has a more even keel. Like Kevin, she was nervous about taking the test, but she was also very excited to test her skills. She is a little more timid – Kevin is a killing machine – but Julia’s punches and kicks are a little more fluid.

We arrived at 9:30am with eleven other students and the test lasted from 10am to about 12:15pm. The candidates began with basic moves, then progressed into string attacks, combo punches, and sparring as well as grappling. For the most part, Julia sparred with the other girls, but during the two-on-one attacks, Julia went up against two boys. She held her own.

During every water break – which lasted sixty seconds – I became Mickey from the Rocky films.

“You’re doing well, but you need to be faster.” “You’re halfway there. Pick it up, and punch harder.” “Almost done. I know you’re tired, but do not slow down.”

The testers always have to complete The 600 at the end of every junior black belt test. It’s the final event which everyone must complete. So after two hours of fighting, push-ups, sit-ups, and buckets of sweat, Princess P had to dish out 600 punches into a pad held by a parent. Guess who earned that job?

She was great. We counted fifty at a time, took a three-second break, then continued for another fifty. It took a while, and you could see how tired she was getting, but she did it, fully and completely. The look on her face when she knew she earned it made me want to cry. When she started martial arts, she was unsure if she would enjoy it. Now it’s a part of her.

The student gets to choose how their name is written on the junior black belt, and can choose a color for the name. This is going to shock you, but Julia wanted her name in script… and with pink lettering. Shocker there. When I left for work yesterday, Julia had changed her clothes, but was still wearing the belt around the house.

I am so very proud of her.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Most of you regular readers know I’m not someone who really gets into St. Patrick’s Day, but my kids certainly do. They’ll be psyched for a corned beef dinner, Irish potatoes, and the like, while I’ll likely get pizza or something a little more appetizing.

For the occasion, Julia built a Leprechaun trap. She posted a drawing on the front window reading, “Leprechauns, free money inside!,” so if we’re robbed today, you know why. When said Leprechaun enters the home, it will likely snif out the change Julia left, and work its way toward the trap.

Then, as Julia surmised, it’ll be FREE GOLD! for the rest of us.

Yeah, I know, the girl is a wacko.

The Ballroom Dance Semester Finals

So Princess P, like her brother last year, was picked to compete in the Dancing Classrooms Philly Ballroom Dance competition yesterday. Her class received the gold medal in the semifinals, and yesterday was the Colors of the Rainbow Team Match Semester Finals. The finals are always difficult, and Princess P’s class was going against eight other schools. Only four would move on to the City Finals in June. Last year, Kevin’s team won the bronze medal and did not move on.

Princess P began with the Tango (above), along with her partner Augustine. Their dance last week was choppy, but good enough to move on. Yesterday, the duo killed it.

Continue reading “The Ballroom Dance Semester Finals”