Monday, November 28, 2011

Irish Music Fun!

This weekend was a lot of Irish music fun. Saturday we cleaned house and got out the Christmas tree. It is up, still not decorated but the lights work and the angel is on top. In the late afternoon we collected Grammy and Dylan's friend, Katelyn, then headed to the city for the Irish session at Fergies Pub. Haley had gotten in touch with her friend, Paraic, and he joined her for some tunes. She was excited to show him the Chieftains tunes she learned this past week and play them with him.

I laughed when we walked into the pub and the waitress immediately brought over our drinks without even asking for an order...kinda funny that my 9yo is so well known at a pub, she doesn't need to place and order.

We couldn't stay for the whole session because we had to drive down the shore for the monthly Irish Ceili. The kids love going and learning the dances. It is a great group of people who are very welcoming to beginners and are always willing to dance with whoever needs a partner. The kids play music during the breaks or sing along with the two guys who enjoy performing a funny song. Haley talked one into singing the Unicorn song so she could do the hand-motions with him.

Sunday, Haley had a make-up violin lesson then we headed back into the city for the Irish session at Plough and the Stars. Haley's friends from NY, Jayne and Bram were visiting relatives in the area so they joined us at the pub as well as her friend Alexander. The kids had a lot of fun playing tunes together and with the other musicians.

The evening started with just a few musicians but the number of musicians grew as the night went on.

We stayed until the session ended at 9pm then headed home to bed. We had a full day of school and practice today...kinda nice after having a light week last week with the holiday.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Beautiful Fall Day in NYC...

 This weekend I drove Haley to NY for her fiddle lesson on Saturday then we stayed over and spent Sunday with her friend Sofia and family. We met and drove into the city to ride bikes in Central Park.

Parking was fun in a van with bike rack on back. We had to park half-way then remove the bikes from the rack and leave them on the sidewalk to get the van all the way into the spot.

The weather was perfect. The kids had so much fun riding their bikes around the path. There were a couple close calls with one particular young one who was not quite as competent with steering as the older kids.
This might have been the only picture I could capture of Alik without his tongue sticking out.
We stopped in Sheep Meadow for a picnic lunch. Alik enjoyed laying on the blanket to look at clouds, Anya enjoyed eating, and Haley and Sofia had fun climbing the large tree shading us.

What a cutie!!!

The big girls having a powwow.

Let's see...if Sofia jumps up and grabs the branch then Haley might be able to jump up and reach it.

With a little team work they both made it onto a branch.

Here are the girls! Ready to get back on those bikes.

A quick stop for some yummy ice-cream.

A post-icecream zombie. Grrrr! Gotta love those rocket pops!

Here's the Quidditch match we saw on our way back to the van. We, Muggles, had a hard time figuring out how they play but we enjoyed watching.

After our bike ride we stopped to check out an Irish session in a local pub. Haley and Sofia joined in for a couple tunes. We then got some pizza to eat and headed home.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Video of Smithsonian event

Here's a clip of my Towheads performing at the opening of the Smithsonian Institution's New Harmonies exhibit at Wheaton Village....

Monday, November 14, 2011

Maryland Celtic Festival 2011

Yesterday, Grammy and Poppop drove Haley, Dylan, and I down to Maryland so we could attend the Maryland Celtic Festival. The festival is held at the Maryland State Fair grounds and has lots of musical performances, vendors, food, and crafts and activities for the kids. Haley and some of her fiddle playing friends took a fiddle workshop with Brian.

They then competed in the Maryland Fleadh instrument competitions. Dylan took 1st in the under 15 accompaniment competition accompanying Haley with his guitar. Haley took 1st in the under 12 solo fiddle competition. Their friend Alex took 1st in the under 15 solo fiddle.

Alex's father took these great photos....a big thank you to him for sending them to me!

Haley competing

Dylan competing with Haley playing melody for him.

Waiting to compete...too bad they aren't having any fun!!

Just a really nice pic of Dyl.

Smithsonian Institution Gig

The kids were asked to perform for the opening of the Smithsonian Institutions' New Harmonies traveling exhibit on Saturday night. We attended a reception then walked through the exhibit. The kids did a sound check then the concert started. The emcee for the evening was Down Jersey Jim Albertson. He told some jokes and played his dulcimer while he sang some songs. Also playing were Steve Burns who sang blues and played guitar and two other local bands, The Belaire Boys and The Snake Brothers playing Bluegrass style music. We enjoyed all the performances.

The kids performed after the intermission and played a great set. They were really on together Saturday night. They even received a standing ovation! (I hope to add a couple video clips in the next few days.)

Here are some photos of the kids enjoying the exhibit and performing...

Happy Halloween!!

My boys are now too old to go Trick or Treating with their mommy but Haley still enjoys it. We went back to our old neighborhood so she could go with friends...our new neighborhood is houses spread far apart all with long driveways.

Here's my little flapper...

Weekend in CT

Last weekend we got up very early in the morning and drove up to CT with a mom and two Irish music playing little girls around Haley's age, Emily and Livia, for a CCE Irish Music and Dance Weekend. We attended morning and afternoon fiddle workshops. Haley's friend Sofia who lives in CT also came to the morning workshop which was a lot of fun for Haley. She had a whole group of friends to play Irish music with.

After all the workshops...four hours of workshops, Haley took an hour fiddle lesson with her teacher, Brian. Then we got diner suggestions from John Whel*n and drove for dinner. It had to be a quick dinner because we had to get back for a concert that evening. We watched the teachers from all the instrumental workshops perform. They asked Haley and another of Brian's students to join them for the grand finale. Livia would've played as well but she and Emily were in a deep sleep by the middle of the 1st half of the concert.

Here are some pictures of the finale of the concert...

Thursday, November 10, 2011


A few weeks ago we did a bit of remodeling on the living room. My husband tore out the makeshift computer desk in the corner that we have hated since we moved in and painted the walls then we were able to move the furniture around creating more open space on the floor. Haley has spent a lot of her free time every day doing cartwheels in that free space and....uh, counting them. She not only does them at home but also did them at Dylan's football practices and in Grammy and Poppop's living room.

She keeps a running total of number of cartwheels done and yesterday hit 900 cartwheels...this is in almost 2 weeks! She is hoping to reach 1000 cartwheels. I am wondering what she'll do once she hits 1000. She was a little upset to know that her number cannot be verified and put in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Snow in October?!! and Kevin!

 I cannot remember ever having snow in October around these parts. At home there was just lots and lots of rain but as we drove closer to the city for music workshops, we began to see snow on cars and then snow on the road while sleet came down. Just as we approached the Irish Center, I got a call that the workshops were going to be cancelled due to Kevin and Cal's flight being held up in Atlanta (surprisingly not due to the snow but due to a computer problem on the aircraft. Hmmm.)

They were still expected for the concert later that evening. The kids were not wanting to miss that and I didn't want to have to drive more than necessary in the mess so we hung out at the Irish Center. The kids played some tunes, Haley practiced a bit, we talked to Terry Kane about music and learning Gaelic, and the bartender got us some food so we didn't have to go out.
Closer to concert time, Rosie came with her Red Riding Hood costume which Haley absconded with and she ran around as Red Riding Hood during Kevin and Cal's sound check.

Here they are playing their concert...Kevin Burke and Cal Scott. It was a wonderful concert. They played all Haley's favorites (except Stella's Waltz).

Dylan was excited by Kevin's shadow on the fireplace behind him and tried to capture it with a photo.

By the time the concert was over, there was about 2 inches of snow on our car and about 4 on the ground. Dylan brushed the car off while Paraic hid behind a bush and lobbed snowballs at him. Dylan threw a few Paraic's way but I don't think there was direct hit on either side. The drive home wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it might be. By the time we got out of the neighborhood where the Irish Center is located, the roads were just wet. So we made it home safely in good time.

Fall Festival 2011

Every fall, our church hosts a Fall Festival. This is a day of  fun for the entire community with food, music, games for the kids, crafts, petting zoo, and bounce houses. Everything is free. The church raises money and the members donate items to make it a free day of fun. The number of people who attend is really is a great community event. For the past few years, I think Haley was 6 years old the first year, the kids have been performing a bit of Irish music for the event. I don't think it has ever been rained out and this year was no exception. The weather was relatively warm though a bit windy.

Here are a few pics....