Thursday, May 19, 2016

Eion's 4th Grade Band Concert

Tonight was E's band concert. His teacher is a complete rock star. She took a group of 4th graders, most, if not all, of whom had no ability to read music or play instruments, and in eight months, had them concert ready. For all the grandparents out there, I'll put a video in at the end!

After school, Tim and I went on a walk only to return and find Eion had dressed himself for the concert. It wasn't what I picked out, but I also didn't have to iron. We call this a win-win.

Eion chose to play the clarinet. I think he was initially interested in the tuba, but he didn't want to share an instrument.

During my recovery from back surgery this fall, when I was trapped in bed, Eion, freshly armed with his new clarinet, subjected, I mean treated, me to many, many renditions of Hot Cross Buns. I was delighted to hear the orchestral version this evening.

E with his captive audience.

The last song they played was the theme from Star Wars. Their teacher directed them with a light saber. I love that woman!

Eion with his teacher and band teacher.

It was an excellent band concert!

And for all those who wish, the video of Star Wars!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Hiking Cascade Falls

Not being satisfied with one day of getting the kids out, I corralled the girls into a hike today. Eion was adamant he stay home and we decided to oblige him.

How I picked Cascade Falls - we did this hike as a family about five years ago. I knew it was not too challenging and the entire hike was lined with rhododendrons. I've been keeping an eye on the blooms here and, since this is near Blacksburg, which is routinely a bit colder than us, it seemed they should be in full bloom.


Reality worked out just a bit different. The trail was over an hour away, longer than I remembered. This was not well received. It was colder, so much so that there were some immediate complaints. And I had completely miscalculated when the rhododendrons' bloom cycle. They were completely done. So much for the beautiful color display I promised!

But we had fun anyway. By the time we made it back to the car, everyone was all smiles. Score another victory for family memories!

It is Saturday and We Will Leave This House

So often when Tim is working over a weekend, the kids and I are more than happy to just hang around the house. As we are not blessed/cursed with all sorts of sporting events, we have many quiet weekends. In the winter, when there is nothing to do, I can roll with that. But this Saturday was (intermittently) pretty and we needed to get out.

The Taubman Museum has a special exhibit right now of Norman Rockwell paintings and this seemed just the thing we should do. Most of the other galleries had new displays as well.

Even though I don't think they were uber excited for the outing, everyone had fun in the end. They even nicely posed for pictures in the recreations of Rockwell paintings. And the promise of lunch after couldn't have hurt their spirits either!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Spring Musicals

Both the girls were in the spring musicals at their schools. Morrigan's was first chronologically, so let's start there!

Her high school had a production of Guys and Dolls. When she was cast as General Matilda Cartwright, she was excited. Having never seen the play, I had no idea if it was a large or small role. I guess the best answer, for those who also are G&D ignorant, is it is medium.

She plays a, self described, uptight yell machine. And she did great! One of the other parents told me they had doubts when she came out on stage. They said, "Here was this stern role and out came your tiny, pretty daughter. Then she opened her mouth and this giant,  booming , authoritarian voice came out. She was perfect!" 

Most importantly, she had so much fun and made many new friends.

She's planning to take a theater class again next year and is already talking about the fall production.

Maggie's middle school chose The Lion King as their musical. Maggie was once again cast as a villain, one of the hyenas. We find it infinitely funny that such a sweetheart is the bad guy two years in a row!

All the kids were in the big musical numbers so, for a supporting role, she had lots of stage time.

Their principal directs the show and it was fantastic! Dominick, who is a professional in these things, of course, said he was truly surprised at the performance level of these middle schoolers. As always, I was just happy she had a great time being part of the production.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Kentucky Derby Party

Saturday was one of my favorite parties of the year - the Kentucky Derby party! To make it even better, Ann, who has relocated to Richmond already (to be joined by the rest of the family after school gets out,) was in town for the event. Fancy hats galore and lots of fun!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Hello? Hello?

Is anyone there? Not that I would blame you for being gone. It's been a long dry spell and highly erratic before that. So let me explain....

First, I had a spinal fusion in October. That really took me out of commission for months. It was about a six month recovery. The first two months, I was almost always in bed. After that, I was out but sporting a stylish back brace. The next three months became increasingly better. And now I am recovered! The good/great news is that I seem to be a fully functional human again - I can even run and play tennis. I just walk around grinning all the time. But the downside was that spending months recovering is very dull blog fodder, even when I had enough energy to do so.

The other half of my prolonged absence was that old nagging feeling that if I continue to be as transparent as I like to be, it will negatively impact the kids. As they get older, broadcasting their troubles and trials, even when funny, can give mean kids material. And let's face it, there are lots of mean kids out there.

At the same time, there are a few faithful readers (ahem, family) who tell me they miss the updates and pictures of the kids. And some of these devoted viewers refuse to join the collective and get on the facebook where they might find more frequent updates. So here's the deal, I plan to post more often but, and it is a big but, for the first time in my life, I'm going to be a heavy editor. Which means it will look like I'm trying to portray my life as perfect. Only the good days and all acne will be photoshopped out.

If the updated style feels phony and you hate it, you won't hurt my feelings if you don't come back. If you do want to read the upside, just know that you can be sure there are bad days, my kids aren't perfect, and I am very aware of those facts.

So with no further ado, let me tell you about my brother coming to visit a few weeks back!

Dominick lives in Minneapolis. His company was recently bought out and he was forced to use or lose some vacation time, which he happily used on us. My parents were planning to come as well but unfortunately couldn't make it. 

We had a whole week and some great weather during which we went on several hikes and did a great deal of hanging out on the deck.

The week Dominick was here also happened to be the week of Maggie's play, The Lion King. She was delighted to have a professional help with her make up each night. Much better than Mom!

It was a great week, if a bit too fast. 

Check back in and I'll catch you up on all manner of McK excitement of the last six months!