We’ve absolutely loved having Alana participate at the Gymnastics Center of Chattanooga. It’s a fabulous facility, great staff, and Alana adores her time each week at Gymnastics. A few weeks ago, I was excited to hear that they were hosting a “Summer Olympics” that all of the kids and parents were invited to. The idea was to have the kids perform all that they’ve learned (with an audience of cheering parents), and they earn a certificate and trophy at the end. So we signed Alana up, and this past Friday, we spent two hours grinning ear to ear.
Alana has gone through 3 back-to-back 8 week sessions of gymnastics so far, starting with “super roos” then on to “mighty monkeys” and she just completed “beginner 1.” The staff had the “summer olympics” set up so that each group of kids rotated through all four gymnastics apparatus: Bars, Beam, Floor, and Vault. This was particularly exciting for the kids since we are in the midst of the REAL summer olympics and some of these girls (Alana included) have recently watched actual olympic gymnasts for the first time in their lives! It has brought a whole new level of understanding to Alana about how hard gymnasts work and how amazing they can become. Alana, I’m certain, will be far too tall to be a gymnast when she’s older, but it’s been fun to hear her remarks about the Olympic athletes. She’ll say “Wow! Mom! That’s amazing! I want to do that when I grow up!” Of course I don’t burst her precious little bubble by telling her she likely won’t have the petite frame that is necessary as an Olympic gymnastShe’ll just have to find something else to love when the time comes. Volleyball, perhaps? And if so, hopefully unlike myself, she won’t have a torn ACL (and an abbreviated volleyball college career) to show for it someday
The kids started off with some stretching and then they were divided into groups. Alana wasn’t with the kids who were in her class, nor did she have her normal instructor, Miss Emily. But she had a great time anyway, and Rich walked around with our “real camera” while I grabbed iPhone video footage of the cuteness to send to the grandparents
I LOVE that at four years old, Alana gets excited to see me and Rich no matter where she is or what she is doing. Parents of older children, you are not allowed to interject terrible things like “this won’t last long,” or “soon she’ll be embarrassed to be seen with you in public” or anything of the sort. For now, I blissfully enjoy my preschooler who loves to spot her parents even while she’s surrounded by her peers.
Alana’s group was on the bars first. Call me partial, biased, or just plain annoying, but I think she’s amazing, adorable, and has great form.
LOVE it when she remembers to “pose” before and after performing each apparatus. Kill me. So cute.
The younger girls haven’t had much experience with chalk yet, so they’re totally enthralled. I love that Rich captured this moment of the girls intrigued by their chalk-covered hands.
And once again, she gets all happy to see Rich. In my happy little world, she will always be this happy to see us. I’ll always be this happy to see her.
One more time on the bars. Apparently, they had a “warm-up” and then this was the “real thing.”
Next Alana’s group moved on to the balance beam. I love that Alana’s favorite teacher, Miss Emily, is in the background of this image. And you can get a feel for how awesome she is with the kids…her face says it all. We adore her.
Check out the concentration…and Alana’s little tongue sticking out! Ha!
I am 5’9″ and Rich is 6’3″, so this girl doesn’t really stand a chance of being short. But don’t you get the feeling that she could really be good at this? Love the pointed toes!
Next up was the floor routine, during which time the girls did a hand stand, forward roll, cartwheel, and a bridge. Alana’s cartwheel makes me laugh out loud (it needs some work, to put it mildly) but her bridge is fabulous. Rich couldn’t quite get a decent angle on that, sadly, so we will have to capture it another time. I think she was in the midst of a hand stand in this photo.
And lastly, the vault…which at this age, is comprised of a pose, a run, a jump onto the vault, and a jump off of the vault. It’s cute, and Alana loves it. I really can’t imagine being the parent of a gymnast who is advanced enough to leap off of this thing doing all kinds of flips and twists.
And then there’s the “high five” from this super cool coach…
And as if it could get any cuter, the girls were all presented with trophies and certificates.
I can not explain to you how excited Alana was about her very first trophy. She carried it around the house all evening when we got home. She set it on her toy chest so it would be the first thing she’d lay eyes on when she woke up Saturday morning. She loves the thing. And so, Gymnastics Center of Chattanooga, we thank you. For being awesome. And for making a four year olds’ week. Maybe month.