Category: Videos (page 1 of 15)

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.

Laughing so hard it no longer makes a sound.

Dave showed me this video and I was like, “Huh?” We watched it again with the kids and I laughed. Now, countless views later, we sing and quote it like it’s Monty Python and the Holy Grail or something.

“That log had a child.”

Oh, let’s watch it again.

Sometimes picking the title is the hardest part.

I rolled up to school drop off with my van looking like this.

Driving Purple Poopmobile

We call it our one-eyed, one-horned driving purple poopmobile! It happens each fall that the birds start eating berries and hitting the van with purple bombs. I will wash it today and it will look like that again tomorrow, but people don’t know that and it mostly looks like I just don’t care! This is what happens when you park under a shady tree. I should clean out my garage and park there instead. It’s on my to-do list after clearing the stairway into the attic. I don’t really want to do either of those things. They are things that would make my life easier once I do them, but not so much easier that I’m all that motivated to get on it. There are so many other things I could do!

We have a six year old in the house again.

Phoebe is 6!

Happy Birthday to Bee!

Blowing out the candle

She’s still young enough to get away with running around in nothing but her underwear. The best thing she got for her a birthday? A hungry kitten she and her sister found. The kitten doesn’t belong to any of the neighbors and it’s beginning to look like she belongs to us.

Phoebe and her kitten

Kitten love

Phoebe named her Mabel.

Sweet Mabel

Adorable Mabel

She’s adorable and I can’t even try to pretend that I don’t already love her to pieces.

Julia participated in her first marching band competition over the weekend. When we shared with people that Julia was joining the marching band, more than five people said, “Oh, they win everything.” And they do. They did! Someone incredible made an awesome recap video.

Yes, that’s Julia licking the Best Percussion trophy at the 1:04 mark. She said it tasted like victory.

Vacation, all I ever wanted.

This is what Phoebe looked like yesterday – her last day of preschool.

Phoebe, on the last day of preschool

A few hours later, she graduated.

Preschool graduate

Phoebe graduates from preschool

Phoebe with her preschool teachers, Miss Heather and Miss Jen

After Julia and Lucy’s last day of school today, we celebrated the start of summer vacation with the old balloon wreath dart game, per usual.

Welcome to Summer Vacation

Balloon wreath dart game

Jackson won a whoopie cushion and it looks like we’ll be entertained all night.

Whoopie Cushion

Keep Calm and Play the Piano

Julia and Lucy had their year-end piano recital earlier this month. Everyone calls it The Cookie Recital because parents bring cookies to share after the performances which I love because baking cookies is my jam. I long for that feeling when someone chooses my cookie from the tray, takes a bite and exclaims, “Oh! These are delicious! Who made these?” (It has happened before!) Or at least finding that at the end of the event, none of my cookies are leftover? Yeah. I like that. But there was none of it this year because the glass in my (brand new!) oven door was broken by a flying step stool, so I had to take: *hangs head low and whispers* store bought cookies. Now, no one ever really knows who brought which cookies and it truly does not matter to anyone if they are homemade or store bought. As long as they aren’t poisoned or stolen, people are alright. But the shame I felt about those cookies was real. The fact that this is a ridiculous reason to feel shame makes it all the more shameful. These are the things I think about while I eat Little Debbie Salted Caramel Cookie Bars in my closet! I will tell you this, though: all of my store bought cookies were eaten.

The girls have had a great year with Ms. Winn. We love her. She is a wonderful teacher. Our hearts were broken when Mr. Palmer retired. I worried that the transition to a new teacher would be tough, but Ms. Winn made it an exciting opportunity. Julia and Lucy have made a lot of progress this year, thanks to Ms. Winn.

Julia, Ms. Winn, and Lucy

Lucy was the first performer at the recital. She played Long, Long Ago by Bayly and did a lovely job. She started to lose her way in the middle, but pulled it together without having to go back to the beginning or repeat a whole section which is a testament to how much she is growing musically. She has a better grasp of her music and I’m so proud of her.

Julia played Minuet in G Minor by Petzold.

She was disappointed in her performance because it was not her best. She was worried that she’d let me down, too. She wasn’t the only great performer to flub their piece. It happens. I still love hearing her play. I’m not sure she realizes that she cannot ever disappoint me by playing the piano.

Phoebe kept calling it The Barn instead of The Farm.

Last week, my mom and Jack and I accompanied Phoebe on her preschool field trip to The Farm at Walnut Creek. We had a great time feeding all sorts of animals, many with amazing tongues.

Phoebe feeds an animal with the largest tongue we saw all day

You can see more pictures here. I wish I had gotten one of Jack feeding the giraffes because he was so excited to do it. He told me about it, though.

Way big giraffe

I took all the photos with my phone. I haven’t carried my big camera in a while, which I feel guilty and sad about because 1) I have a pretty great camera and 2) I haven’t put as much effort into taking pictures, lately. The camera on my phone is so quick and convenient! And life moves so fast! I also need new rechargeable batteries.

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