Olivia takes a ballet class in Balboa Park one evening a week.  First, I should say that this is the best little ballet company, the San Diego Civic Youth Ballet.  Not only is it extremely affordable, they are well organized, wonderful teachers, and the perfect combination of teaching the girls discipline and technique and giving them an opportunity to love ballet and the experience.  In other words, it is not up tight and over done.  It is ballet, for 4-8 year olds, as it should be.

The first semester, the other three and I would tour around parts of the park we did not know.  Balboa Park is a treasure trove.  After class, we would meet up with Olivia for a picnic.  This park is full of every kind of crazy you can imagine, including your own kind.  There is hidden talent - our classically trained cellist neighbor plays there all the time.  Then there was that couple playing what appeared to be homemade instruments, dressed in some sort of bohemian costume, chanting and dancing.  I was not sure whether I needed to shield the kids' eyes or have them take notes.  

There are voices of deception every where, some on mega phones.  And some, sadly, with Bibles in their hands.  I have jogged through this place and been invigorated as I ran.  There have also been times that I could not get out fast enough - the burden of oppression and lies of sin and culture heavy on my shoulders.

This year Olivia and her friend, Avery, were in the same class.  This is them after the Spring Showcase.  I still think that the lipstick is their favorite part of ballet.  Avery's mom sent me a picture of the girls in their costumes, but I can't download it.  They were cute, trust me.  

Cute little ballerina.  Next year we'll have two!

The youngests in spring

I sure love those grubby little fingers and hacked off bangs.

Idle fans

I'm glad the players are into this game because the fans seem more concerned with their seating arrangement.  Probably happens at a lot of sporting events.

Miniature table gardens and peace

This was one of my favorite projects from the school year.  Our botany studies over lapped with some of our history of Japan and so, as we learned about the parts of plants and how they grow and the parts of a culture and how it grows, we planted our own little garden.  As most of you know, some Japanese religious thought teaches that happiness, wisdom, strength, peace, etc are found in isolation, quiet, order, pensive thought.  Now, while functionally I often live as if my strength is found in quiet and order, I find that my efforts to produce such things are often foiled and when they aren't, I never really do find as much strenth as I anticipate.  We ALL had a good reminder that our happiness, wisdom, strength, and ultimately our salvation is found in only one thing.  Jesus.  Thank you, Jesus.

Greta spent the entire end-product picture taking trying to get these gloves on.

Still together...after all these years

They've had their moments.  Like the time Lilly hit Greta with a croquet mallet - which brought the friendship to a screeching halt for about 2 weeks - but other than that they press on.  They are so different.  They beg to play with each other, but sure know how to push each other's buttons.  You really have to coach children, you know.  They do not instinctively know how to do relationship.  They know how to instinctively protect their own interests (and stuff), but not how to consider another better than themselves or that a soft answer turns away wrath.  Most adults can't even get the hang of this.  It's constant, this parenting job.

Bunny's still there

Her name is Alley, by the way.  Cindy, Irma's daughter, found her in the alley.

Mondays in Balboa Park

Olivia takes ballet on Mondays in Balboa Park.  Usually Mike takes everyone over there for an hour so I can get supper ready.  It is a great little routine we have.

 So weird looking at this picture.  Joseph no longer has those front two teeth now.

 Sun grins

 This kid has got some abs!