Monday, February 28, 2011

Fiddling Fun!

Yesterday was a long day but a lot of fun. Haley's fiddle teacher, Brian Conway, asked her to play a couple sets with him at a library concert. So we drove up early to meet him at the library for a lesson. Then she and a couple of his other students played during his concert. Brian played a great concert with a variety of tune sets and gave a bit of history about Irish music along with information about the different tunes he played. Haley's solo set is in the video above. Brian and the kids also played a few sets together. 

After the concert the kids had fun selling Brian's CDs and talking to the audience members as they came out of the room.

Can you tell my kid loves a session?

We drove straight from the concert to Brian's new session at Mickey Spillane's in Eastchester, NY. What a neat Irish pub! They even had the good butter we fell in love with while in Ireland. We ate an early dinner then Haley joined in the session for the entire 3 hours. She loves sessions with Brian because he plays lots of tunes she knows so she can play for most of the 3 hours. She also likes making faces and having staring contests with Finbar, another of Brian's younger students while playing.  Our friend Patricia was there singing a song here and there. I didn't know she had such a great voice! We'd never heard her sing before, only heard her on guitar.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat...

Newt took 3rd today in the district championships and qualified to move on to the state regional competition this week. He has had a great freshman year with a 26-4 record, most of those either pins or tech falls. He won his final match today 7-2.

Prior to that win, he had a very difficult loss (3-2) in the semifinal match. As a mother who knows just how much work her child does and how many sacrifices he makes for his chosen sport, it is so hard to see him lose an important match. The reality is that there are lots of other boys working hard and sacrificing as well.

It would be easy to blame a loss on a bad call by the ref, or an injury or illness but sometimes it is just two equally talented kids out there on the mat and one has to lose. Maybe one makes an error in judgement and the other takes advantage or the roll of the coin gives one a slight advantage...doesn't really matter the reason. The nature of wrestling or any sport is that one person wins and the other loses. It must be easier in a team sport...there is always somewhere else to place the blame.

As a mom, sitting in the stands, you want your child to do his best and you hope it ends with a win. You know how much it means to him and you want him to be happy so your stomach is in knots watching. I hate that moment as the clock ticks toward the end when you realize there is no way he can pull it off. How different that moment is when yours is the one with the higher score!You almost wish to turn back time for him...give him another chance but you can't so you give him a few minutes to himself then give him a hug and assure him that it is just one match and time will go on.

I often think it is better mentally to leave a match with 3rd than with 2nd. Either place is determined by one loss and is only a matter of whether the loss was in the semifinals or finals. At least with 3rd you go home on a winning note! : )

The slate is wiped clean this coming week and the wrestling goes on. As I said in the beginning, he has had a great season. The rest is icing on the cake!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Warm weather!

After months of temperatures below 40 degrees, yesterday's temp above 60 was wonderful! There is just something about a warm , sunny day that gives one hope for spring and makes me feel like getting things done.

The house was a mess yesterday morning because we'd not been home all weekend between wrestling matches, orchestra rehearsals, and Irish music sessions. I spent the early morning straightening up, doing laundry, and cleaning. I did bills for the month and scheduled a few patients for work. I also got Haley's latest fiddle lesson downloaded from camera to computer and listened to it...deleting anything extraneous and marking things she needs to work on this week.

Once the boys were off to school, Haley and I showered then she did her Suzuki review practice.

Afterward, she did schoolwork...
Level H Review Test 4 in Spelling Power
Vertebrates lesson with PLATO science including tests (our goal for today is to make charts of all the different kingdom classifications)
Started Writing Strands Level 4...lesson 1 days 1-4
Thinkwell PreAlgebra lesson
Destinos Spanish lesson 8
Best Short Stories Unit The Tell Tale Heart and did review questions
Read a chapter in Unit 2 History of US (we have a DVD on the Revolutionary War we really need to watch)
"Paddle to the Sea" lesson #5 (geography)

In between schoolwork she did her classical music practice...scales, theory books, reading, and current piece. We ate lunch and read a chapter of Anne of Green Gables together. Then she did her orchestra practice for both orchestras, did some research on the computer to answer questions from her Paddle to the Sea lesson, and practiced her fiddling.

After picking the boys up from Poppop's where they worked out after school and wrestling practice, we ate dinner, Haley wanted a piano lesson so she got one then she worked through about half of a piano theory book she found in the piano bench. She made a scrapbook for her American Girls then played Barbies while I read until bedtime.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Websites I love...

I was recently introduced to because I was interested in finding Destinos, a Spanish immersion program, for Haley. There are so many resources on that site. I haven't even had the chance to look through it all. Haley and I have been enjoying Destinos, though.

I also love  Haley has not been liking Saxon 78 very much. She does it without complaint but prefers to do Singapore Challenging Word Problems or Hand On Equations. So, when Homeschool Buyers Coop came up with a discount on Thinkwell courses, I decided that if the discount went far enough, I'd get PreAlgebra for Haley to try. She is really liking it, though she laughs at the man giving the lectures.


First Newt and now Haley with pneumonia. Spring cannot come quickly enough for us. We're having a rough winter illness-wise.

Haley seemed to bounce back quickly last weekend but that cough never stopped. Friday she was healthy but she came out of orchestra rehearsal saying she wasn't feeling well and lo and behold! a fever 102.6 when we got home. Saturday morning she seemed to be healthy once again...maybe the room was just too warm on Friday night?

She went to orchestra rehearsal in the afternoon but we decided to not take a walk to Fergies for a session though both of us would have liked it. Saturday night, she's complaining of a headache and again, 101.9 fever.

Sunday she woke up healthy again, excited for the drive to NY. She couldn't wait for Brian to check out her new fiddles and give his opinion. We drove up with her doing a days worth of schoolwork and a bit of violin practice in the car. About halfway through the lesson, Brian leaves the room to make himself some coffee and Haley says she isn't feeling good. She fell asleep during the ride home and had a 102.6 fever by the time we got home and a pain in her chest when she coughs.

So, off to the doctor today. A quick check then off for an x-ray. Diagnosis...pneumonia.

Decisions, decisions...

Even though it doesn't seem like it, Haley is growing. Her violin teacher suggested it was time to move up to a 1/2 size fiddle.

Wednesday we went to David Michie's Violins. David brought out  eight different instruments for Haley to try and she quickly narrowed down her choices to these three.

She spent her hour lesson on Friday, playing the different instruments, listening to her teacher play them, then closing our eyes and listening to them being played. Haley initially had her heart set on a 1928 instrument but we discovered that there was a newer one she played better. On Sunday, we took them to her fiddle teacher to give his opinion which was basically the same as the violin teacher's.

So, she will be getting the darker, reddish instrument on the left of that photo. The difference in sound from her 1/4 size fiddle is amazing.

Thursday, February 03, 2011


I cannot remember a time before this week where the entire family has been sick with the same illness at the same time. This past week, it happened. All five of us down and out. We fell like dominoes...Daddy, Haley, Newt, Dylan, and Me. Headaches, fevers, fatigue, no appetites, coughing, aching...the flu? maybe? or a virus?

Haley and Dylan slept for two days and bounced back quickly and it took me three though we all have residual coughing.

 Daddy ended up with severe bronchitis.

Newt, of course, the one who always gets everything much worse than anyone else in the family just got diagnosed with pneumonia today. He got sick Friday night but didn't want to miss TriCounty Championships so went and wrestled anyway medicated to keep his fever down. He won his first 2 matches then lost 1-0 to a boy he'd beaten earlier in the season due to a bad ref call...should have been a stalemate but ref called stalling and gave the kid a point. (So even as bad as he was feeling he didn't get scored on but he had no energy to score either.) We had a nice laugh at the boy's interview with the paper saying he hadn't wrestled his best the first time he wrestled Newt....wonder if he knew he couldn't even score on a kid with the flu. LOL

Newt was feeling better on Monday and Tuesday. Yesterday he began feeling bad again but went to school then wrestled while feeling horrible last night...he did win anyway but it was not pretty. So, now he is out for who knows how long. Always during wrestling season and always close to championships. Hope he can get healthy and get his strength back quickly.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Beethoven for Beethoven?

Yesterday as Haley while playing her review pieces, she decided she must play Beethoven's Minuet in G for her betta whose name just happens to be Beethoven. He sat looking at her while she played but I think he was just waiting for her to drop some fish food in his bowl. Hmmmm.