Category: Videos (page 1 of 15)

Phoebe is 7!

Bee is 7!

If she looks tired in that picture (and she does) it is because we did a whole lot of celebrating. We spent the day at COSI.

The kids at COSI

COSI!

They just opened a new Thomas the Train exhibit.

Birthday girl Bee at the Thomas the Train exhibit at COSI

Phoebe and Jack loved it!

Fixing Percy's wobbly wheels

Phoebe taking tickets for Thomas the Train

Checking out the Thomas the Train exhibit at COSI

Look in here!

Julia rode the High-Wire Unicycle!

Julia on the High-Wire Unicycle at COSI

We thought COSI would be a fun way to spend Phoebe’s day, especially since we were already going to Columbus for Julia’s marching band competition on Saturday.

Grove City High School Marching Band Invitational Competition

They won second place in their class and were awarded Outstanding Percussion, too.

The outtakes are usually better than the good picture.

We were happy to be there to support them!

At the band competition

Really!

But before we left for Columbus, we got to celebrate another friend’s birthday at their party at the park. Jack was crazy about her balloons and kept running around with them. He was having so much fun, I wanted to get a picture and we accidentally reenacted the It trailer.

Reminds me of the It trailer

Wait for it.

Wait

Crazy eyes!

It was a great weekend. We used it all up, every bit.

Summer Lateblog #6: The Coldplay Concert

Julia and I had the whole summer to look forward to this concert. I gave her the tickets after the piano competition. I’d had them for a week before that and I could hardly contain myself. I was so excited! My mom took me to my first rock concert nearly 30 years ago. Guns N’ Roses and Aerosmith. I was 12.

Nearly 30 years ago, my mom took me to my first rock concert. Guns N' Roses and Aerosmith. I was 12. Tonight, I am so excited to be taking my oldest daughter Julia to her first concert. @coldplay #ColdplayCleveland

My mom was a pastor’s wife and plenty of people from our congregation hassled her about taking me. I didn’t know that at the time, but I’m glad she didn’t let it stop her. Music was so important to me, it was where I lived, and the fact that she went there with me is one of the reasons we are so close today. It still feels so good to remember the fun we had. So, of course, I was thrilled to take Julia not only to her first concert, but to see her favorite band.

Coldplay Concert in Cleveland 8/19/17

The trip to Cleveland was fantastic. I had butterflies! I’d read somewhere that anticipation is an important aspect of enjoyment, that it adds to your satisfaction and this was true for us. Just anticipating what was going to happen was fun.

Coldplay Concert in Cleveland 8/19/17

We arrived in time to grab a t-shirt and see the opening acts – Izzy Bizu and Alunageorge. And then, we waited to see what the bracelets they gave us were going to do.

Coldplay Concert in Cleveland 8/19/17

It was pretty exciting.

It was such a colorful show between our blinking bracelets, the lights, the confetti cannons and the balloons.

Coldplay Concert in Cleveland 8/19/17

I love Coldplay, too, and though it’s hard to pick a favorite song (Up & Up. But The Scientist. Also Fix You.), this was my favorite moment that I recorded.

Around then, I stopped trying to capture it all and just really enjoyed being there. It was fantastic. The best night.

After the show, about 45 minutes outside of Cleveland, we started to come down off our concert high and stopped for a bite to eat and coffee for me. We saw someone get arrested in a gas station parking lot!

Coldplay Concert in Cleveland 8/19/17

That’s Julia at 1 a.m. exhausted from exhilaration, happy, giddy, spent, and wondering when we can go again.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game!

Dave loves sports and baseball is his absolute favorite. He watches it. He plays it. He has a secret blog where he writes an alternate version of baseball history, recreating old seasons with some kind of twist. For example, what if Thurman Munson hadn’t died in 1979? Baseball is his thing and the Cleveland Indians are his team. We’re just far enough from Cleveland that heading up there feels like a big deal. So, for Christmas I bought him two tickets to six different Indians games this summer.

Dave's Christmas present! Six pack of Indian's tickets.

I thought he might like to take each of the kids to a game, get some one-on-one time with them, make some memories, and maybe pass on his passion for baseball. This may have been the best Christmas present I ever gave him. He had so much fun!

At the Indians game

At the Indians game

At the Indians game

All the games were on Sundays, which are Kids Fun Days at Progressive Field. The kids get to run the bases at the end of the game.

Lucy runs the bases at Progressive Field

And there are cool activities if you come early.

At the Indians game

Dave and Bee at the Indian's game

At the Indians game

His seats were in the family deck.

Indians Game!

That’s also where the Kid’s Clubhouse is. It includes a play area with a two story slide and all kinds of interactive games to try.

At the Indians game

Jack runs the Tribe Tracker at Progressive Field

He took me to a game, too.

At the Indian's game

We all enjoyed it so much. I hope we can make it a tradition to do this every year.

Summer Lateblog #2: The Recitals

So, the piano recital wasn’t officially a summer thing. It was on May 20th. But school was nearly out and in my mind, I was already on summer vacation, so I’m including it here, too. Julia, Lucy, and Phoebe performed. I made a highlight video.

2017 Piano Recital Highlights

It was the first time for us that the recital wasn’t on a Sunday, which was fine, but weird. The girls were great and Jack fell asleep.

My girls after the piano recital

The dance recital happened after school was out on June 6.

Recital ready!

All four kids were in it for a total of eight performances and I made a highlight video of that, too.

2017 Dance Recital Highlights

Julia received her ten year award. That’s TEN YEARS of dance! (Remember the first one?)

After the dance recital - Julia's 10th!

She got to take a limo to the recital and at the end, she received a trophy.

That’s a whole lot to be proud of.

Summer Lateblog #1: What Phoebe and Jack Did

I didn’t write here over the summer. I wish I had, so I’m going to play a little catch-up in the form of some lateblogs. (I’m not sure that’s a real word, but you know what I mean.)

Phoebe played tee ball this year. While softball starts in the spring and goes through the end of June, tee ball doesn’t begin until school is out. She was more than ready to play when the time came. I love these pictures of her playing catch with her dad before her first game.

Warming up with dad for tee ball

Warming up with dad for tee ball

Warming up with dad for tee ball

Next year, she’ll play coach pitch softball and Jack will be the tee ball player.

Jack and Phoebe both took dance over the summer. Jack did a six week predance session and Phoebe did ballet twice a week all summer, which she loved.

Phoebe also went to College for Kids at Kent State at Tuscarawas for a week.

"What are these called? Ballooney Guys?"

She took a Super Scientists class where she learned this cool trick.

Phoebe's Magic Trick

And she took care of her doll Camille in a Teddy Bear ER class.

Phoebe went to college this week! She had a great time being a Super Scientist and caring for her doll Camille at the Teddy Bear ER.

She had so much fun. She can’t wait to “go back to college.”

Mother’s Day Weekend and Also the Day After

Dave gave me two dozen roses for Mother’s Day.

Mother's Day roses

Mother's Day card

The youngest three kids made me breakfast in bed, which they ate themselves, in my bed. And they made me some lovely crafts which they forgot to clean up after doing, but it was alright because they decided they’d leave that to me. You know how moms love doing that stuff! After Julia woke up, they all presented me with a card, some cash, and a sweet poem she’d written telling me to GO SHOPPING! We ordered Chinese for dinner so I wouldn’t have to cook and could instead sit on the couch and cross-stitch while watching Twister with my mom. So I guess you could say it was a pretty great day.

The weather was beautiful all weekend. We spent some time outside and that felt good.

She had her hands behind her back and said she had two things to give me.

We took the guinea pigs out for a while and that somehow magnified their cuteness. I mean, LOOK AT SPOTTY RUN!

The guinea pigs!

Spotty

Phoebe and Waddles

Julia’s team won their first softball game of the season, yesterday.

After their first win!

I missed it because I was watching Prince Charming perform with his dance class for some nursing home residents.

Jack's Tap Routine

Jack's Ballet Routine

This would be the perfect spot for some emojis because there are no words.

Dynamite with a Laser Beam*

Yesterday was Julia’s first game of the softball season and her first ever pitching.

First game of the season and first time pitching

I am so proud of her for trying something new! Pitcher is a high pressure position. She is sharing it with another team member – when one pitches, the other catches. I get so nervous watching her! It actually stresses me out to watch any of the kids play. My stomach churns when they go up to bat and I pray that they’ll hit it. They usually do and I realize my anxiety comes from my own experience with sports. I was never an asset to any team I was on. I know how it feels to see your coach hang his head and hear the crowd groan at your performance. I was an outfielder at best. I did have a kickass volleyball serve that landed me a spot on the varsity team in high school. My coach was never so nervous as those moments between my serve and his first opportunity to take me out of the game. He would give an audible sigh of relief when I’d take my place on the bench. I created such conflict in that man. He hated himself for loving my serve. Any time I played softball, I just wished to be walked because I was scared of striking out. Julia is furious if she’s walked. She wants to crush it! I love that about her.

Here is something I love about Jackson. He sings. For me and to me.

True Colors

I know, his face is dirty. It’s always dirty. Last night, I washed it immediately before we walked out the door for the softball game. By the time I was strapping him into his car seat, it was filthy again. How did this happen? It is the mystery of age 4. He’s living his Filthy Face Years. He also has two warts on his face. And, a broken tooth in the front. Much of what is left of the tooth is yellow because there is enamel missing. People notice these things. But when he sings? Love and joy.

Phoebe has been singing, lately, too. She’s on a real Queen bender. We listen to Queen plenty, but she watched the video for Bohemian Rhapsody recently and was completely awed by it. She’s been working her way though all the songs on Queen’s YouTube channel. She can’t get enough of Freddie Mercury’s theatrics and pays close attention to the way he changed his look from one song to another. And of course, she is blown away by his voice. She has specific moments in each song that she especially loves. She’ll listen to an “oooh” or some phrase again and again and sing it herself. Anyway, now we’re trying to convince Julia to learn this so she can sing along.

*From Killer Queen by Queen because oh my gosh, we love it.

You know that A-Ha song that goes “do-do do do do do do do do-do do-do”

The weather was glorious this weekend, so we spent most of it outside.

They spent the whole day playing outside.

I did some mowing and they did stuff like make a tent and have a picnic.

They made a tent and had a picnic

Look at those faces

And they did some dancing.

You know that A-Ha song that goes "do-do do do do do do do do-do do-do"

“I had a moment.”

This is Julia’s phrase. The first time she used it was after she’d taken a bite of a Dairy Queen hot dog. She’d stopped still, closed her eyes, and raised her hand up to the sky.

“Julia?” I put my hand on her leg. “Are you okay?”

“I’m having a moment,” she’d whispered, without moving her hand or opening her eyes.

She told me it was the most delicious thing she’d ever tasted. She was so overwhelmed with flavor, she had to stop and savor it.

Julia won a writing contest a while back. I didn’t mention it then. Not because I wasn’t proud. I don’t think I could be more proud. I guess that’s the problem sometimes. Excessive pride. People do not like it. Sometimes it hurts your feelings to realize that, especially if you don’t feel like your pride is excessive. Then it just feels like people don’t like you or your kid. And that’s how I was feeling then. I’m trying to learn restraint in my everyday life, but not here. That’s what here is for, right?

Julia is, once again, taking part in a competition. This one is for piano. She had submitted an audition and has been selected as a finalist. On Friday, I took her to practice on the piano she’ll be playing for the competition concert.

Edward Montgomery Jr. Piano

Julia at Edward Montgomery Jr.'s Piano

It is a glorious piano. She ran her hands all over it, admiring it, and cooing “beautiful, beautiful” before she began to play it. She smiled and shimmied her shoulders as if electricity were passing from the piano into her hands and up her arms as she played some scales. “This is perfect!”

She played through her competition piece and we talked about the dynamics. She worked on a few areas, then played it through a few more times. I asked her to play the movement of the sonatina that precedes her piece and then her piece again, and I settled in a chair behind her to enjoy a private concert. She played beautifully and accurately, as she usually does. It was lovely. Then she turned and said, “Can I play something else?”

“Of course,” I nodded. “We still have time.” She turned back and began to play Yellow by Coldplay. (Here’s a version she recorded on her keyboard in her room.) This is the song that’s been in her heart lately and when she opened it up and let it out, her performance was so warm and tender. The song isn’t technically demanding or as impressive as the sonatina, but by the fifth measure, she’d coaxed the sun from behind a cloud and enticed its rays to dance in her hair and on her shoulder.

Practicing on Edward Montomgery Jr.'s Piano

I couldn’t hold my tears. She noticed this after she was finished and I told her, “I’m having a moment.”

Whatever the outcome of the competition, I’ll feel like she’s won so long as she keeps playing music from her heart. I am awed by that beauty.

I hit publish before I wrote a title, so now, this is it. (Because I can’t think of anything else.)

The girls participated in the Ohio Music Teacher’s Association Ribbon Festival –  Julia for the ninth, Lucy for the fifth, and Phoebe for the first time.

You can see Julia and Lucy’s past performances here:

2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016

I love the Ribbon Festival and look forward to it every spring.  It is possible that this isn’t true, but in my memory, every Ribbon Festival Saturday has been sunny.  I’ve been watching many of the same students perform alongside my children for years and it’s inspiring to watch them grow.  It makes me hopeful for our world.  So long as we’re nourishing that part of ourselves that music speaks to, the part where it comes from when we make it, I think we can be okay.

Lucy was the first of my kids to perform, so she was the one to alert me to the fact that my camera was switched to photo not video which is why the beginning of her song is cut off!

Lucy plays Allegretto I at the 2017 Ribbon Festival

I think this is her best performance to date, which I always seem to be saying because she is getting better and better at managing her nerves while playing for people.  This is what the judge wrote:

Good steady playing.  Nice effort to make mp & mf differences – can you make the differences even bigger?  Your posture and hand position are very good, and your stage presence is excellent – beautiful bow!  Keep up the good work!

Phoebe had a rough first performance. Nevertheless, she persisted!

Phoebe plays Cuckoo at the 2017 Ribbon Festival

Phoebe has worked hard on Cuckoo. I was surprised to see her struggle so much.  But she was proud to have done it.  And Jack was proud of her, too.  Did you hear his “Bravo, Phoebe!” at the end of the video?  He’s her biggest fan.

Here’s what the judge shared with her:

Congratulations on your first Ribbon Festival!  I hope you will play in many more.  You did quite well in playing the right notes, and in getting the hands together.  You show good promise as a young pianist.  Be sure to play the piece several times from memory for your family and friends so you strengthen your memory of the music before you play it in public.  I look forward to hearing from you again.

Julia performed last and did just fine.

Julia plays Sonatina Op.55, No. 1 Vivace at the 2017 Ribbon Festival

The judge wrote this:

– Good p to f contrast at m. 8.  At m. 22 – can you give more sound when you start the sixteenth to show us that it’s a sequence of earlier material?

– Nice contrast in mood at m. 53

– Smooth passagework in sixteenths.  Can you bring out the top note of RH chords?

– Can you pull your hair back so we can see your face and make a more direct connection with your beautiful performance?

– Very well done – please keep up the good work!  Solid preparation.

I am so proud of my girls.

Julia, Lucy, and Phoebe at the 2017 Ribbon Festival

I love it when they play the piano.

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