Monday, November 24, 2008

Happy Birthday to Newt...

Friday night the boys, Daddy, and Poppop spent a feezing night at the hunting camp so they could rise early and head into the woods for Youth Hunting Day on Saturday. Newt happened to be the lucky one, and rightly so being the oldest and with his birthday on Sunday. He bagged his first deer.

It was not a particularly large deer. He said it looked bigger when he was in the stand. It was a buck and he took a good shot so they didn't have to track it. Yesterday, for his birthday, he got to butcher it and they got a good bit of meat from it.

Speaking of birthdays, my Newt is now officially a teenager. It seems like only yesterday I held that little preemie in my arms, worried that he wouldn't nurse. Now he is growing into a young man. I am very proud of the young man he is becoming. Happy Birthday Newt!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Graduation Concert...

Today, Haley did her Suzuki Book 2 Graduation Recital at our church for a few friends and family. She performed beautifully with a clear, rich tone and demonstrated her love of playing. At the end of the classical pieces, she invited her brother, Dylan, on the stage to accompany her with his guitar in a few fiddle pieces. They both did a great job. Now, we can look forward to learning Book 3.

As a result of the concert, she was invited for a few other playing opportunities. The mother of a neighbor who attended is going to ask her pastor if Haley could perform for their church and our pastor and his wife asked if the kids would like to play some Christmas music for the church's Christmas program.

Gone Fishin'

On Wednesday last week Poppop took Daddy and the boys fishing on the bay. It was a perfect day with water as smooth as glass and a slight chill in the air. The collected a boutiful harvest. The first picture is Newt holding his Dad's huge striper.
This photo is Dylan with his two blue fish (32 and 30 inches). Needless to say, we had a wonderful fish dinner on Thursday night cooked by Daddy and we have enough fish in the freezer to have fish all winter.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Norm...

As I am sitting here typing out this post, my little one is putting in CD after CD of music and playing along. She has listened to and played with her Patrick Street CD, and worked on bits and pieces of various other songs we have including Vivaldi's Spring, spending extra time to listen over and over to the part that sounds like chirping birds and trying to get it just right.

Now she is working her way through Suzuki Book 4 piece by piece. I have to smile because she started trying to play Suzuki Book 4 songs back when I bought it for her. She was about 4 months shy of 5 years old and playing in the beginning half of Suzuki Book 1. At that time she would get the first notes and a few others here and there in the song. Now she has nearly every note only missing a few here and there when she tries to shift further than 3rd position or the song moves too quickly. She occassionally stops to listen to a section then works it out on the repeat. It is amazing how much of all those songs she has figured out for herself. They sound almost completely right though I am sure her bowings are not correct and some of the fast sections need work.

This has become the norm in our house. Evenings spent trying to watch TV but at the same time listening to Haley doing what she does with her violin whether it is to her CDs or to youtube videos. I could never tire of watching that look of sheer determination and focus on her adorable face.

She and I had a "Girls' Day" today and spent most of it playing violin. Since her Book 2 recital is scheduled for this weekend, for the past 2 weeks we have broken practice into 3 segments and split them throughout the day...Book 3/scales/theory/shifting work, Book 2 recital practice, and fiddling. She has about an hour of focus at a time (with a break occassionally) so splitting it into 3 segments has increased her focused practice time. Someone on a Suzuki chat I frequent mentioned that kids have no concept of time...maybe that is to my advantage when trying to get so much done.

Almost perfect handstand...

A couple months ago, I signed Haley up for classes at The Little Gym. Her friend from the boy's wrestling practice goes there, it fit into our schedule, and Suzuki group class was not going to work this year (no one playing at Haley's level) so I thought it would give her a chance to be around other little girls.
She loves it! The classes are fun with lots of obstacle courses and a little gymnastic skill learning in a completely relaxed environment. She gets to pal around with her friend, Taylor, which is an added bonus.
Nearly every night, well when she is not playing violin, she practices handstands and cartwheels. When she first started a couple months ago, she had a cartwheel that looked like a little monkey with bent legs going to the sides of her body but now she gets both legs straight up over her head and lands on her feet. Her initial attempts at a handstand looked like mule kicks but look at this beauty (one set of toes is even trying to point) and she can hold this for about 5 seconds!
It is neat to see her knowledge of the need for practice transferring from violin to other aspects of her life!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Suzuki Day...

Here is a picture of Haley enjoying the morning play-in at the Suzuki workshop on Saturday. Due to height restrictions, she had to stand in the front row with the pre-Twinklers and Twinklers. LOL
She didn't seem to mind as she played away. I think they are playing Twinkles in this picture.
The day was full of music. A play-in, group class, repertoire class, music theory class, and a wonderful class on music and art from the Middle Ages to the Classical Period (supposed to go to Modern times but not enough time for the class so it was shortened unfortunately).
Haley played her violin all day, played it all the way home (a 1.5 hour ride), then watched youtube clips for 2 hours that night playing along. She taught herself two Christmas tunes and played a lot of the Suzuki songs she wants to know. I would think a day of violin would wear her out but those Suzuki workshops just seem to energize her more.
Sunday she did a masterclass then went the the Next Generation Kids session. So we had a really busy violin weekend and she loved every minute of it.