Friday, October 26, 2012

Birthday Boy!

Dylan turned 15 years old on Wednesday. Time sure flies!

Dylan has been lifting and exercising plus has grown a number of inches this past year so has gone from that awkward phase to handsome young man. He started high school back in September and is playing football for the JV team and plans to go out for wrestling this year as well.

This is his 2nd year playing football so he's still learning but he's loving it and working hard.  He is playing on both the offense, as center, and defense. He understands the game much better and is getting faster. He has made some great plays this year. He suits up for varsity but the team has not had any run-away wins so he hasn't gone in to play yet. Below, notice the bright neon green shoes...I love those because I can always find him on the field.

Dylan is doing well in school and studying hard. He and Haley have been playing together a lot this fall. He loves playing guitar and has been composing a few tunes lately. People always comment on what a great brother he is because he lets Haley have the limelight and plays the supporting role for her.   I love when people, usually other guitar players, recognize how talented he is in his own right.
Here's a little clip of them entertaining at the Comhaltas AGM last weekend.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Funny Kid!

There was a lot of giggling coming out of the music room where Haley was making crafts. These pictures show the reason why.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Weekend Report....

Comhaltas (pronounced more like "colt-us"...yeah, it's Gaelic) is a group that promotes traditional Irish music and culture. There are branches all over the World. The All Ireland competition is run by Comhaltas.

We belong to the Delaware Valley Branch and many of the members have become like family to us. They provided help with our trip to Ireland this year (as they have every year) and as a "thank you," Haley and Dylan performed for their annual meeting.

After their performance, Haley got to do her other favorite Irish activity... dancing! Haley loves to do set and ceili dances. She usually has a full dance card and doesn't even mind that her dance partners are often more than six times her age and they don't seem to mind having to bend themselves in half the whole time they dance with her. No, really, it is fun for everyone! Dylan and I even join in on some of the easier dances.

Dylan helping with the 50/50 drawing.

Haley enjoying some cool refreshment.
This weekend, Haley and Dylan had their first wedding gig. It was a very small wedding at a little local bistro. The kids played while the guests arrived. It was lovely.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Good Old Fashioned Fun!

The Notre Dame Division of the AOH were amazing in the support of Haley going to Ireland this year. In return, Haley and Dylan had agreed to give a performance. The format was an old fashioned "house party."

Haley and Dylan took turns with their friends Emily and Livia providing the music and in between their sets people in the audience told stories and jokes or sang a song.  One grandmother had kept a journal of all the funny things her grandchildren had said over the years. When they turn 18, she goes through her journal and takes out the funny things each child has said to give to them on their birthday. Isn't that a wonderful idea! (I hope to steal it when I am a grandmother!) She shared some of the funnier stories with us.

There was a huge spread of food with everything from sandwiches, veggies, and fruit to amazingly delicious desserts. The people were like family so friendly and welcoming. We got to see some people we've met before at different functions and also made some new friends. I wish there were more opportunities for these types of get-togethers. It was a lot of fun!

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Haley's Mexican Omelets...

We have a lot of eggs lately. Ha!

Haley came up with this recipe for a Mexican Omelet and it is delicious! We were a little skeptical at first but once we tried it, it is a new family favorite.

Haley's Mexican Omelet Recipe

2 large eggs (or 3 small)
salt and pepper
Mexican blend cheese
Chopped jalapeƱos
Picante sauce
Sour cream
Fresh squeezed lime juice

Directions: Whip together eggs, add a little milk if desired,  pour into a hot, lightly greased omelet pan. Cook one side pulling up the sides to get all liquid egg cooked. Salt and pepper as desired. Flip omelet then add chopped jalapeƱo and cheese to taste. Let cook a minute then fold in half. Remove from heat to a plate. Top with picante sauce and sour cream. Then squeeze 1/4 lime's juice over top. Enjoy!

Monday, October 08, 2012

Weekend Fun!

Even on a weekend when we have nothing planned, we still manage to find a lot of musical fun. Saturday, Haley contacted her buddy Paraic to see what kind of fun he knew about and he asked if she was "coming out to play." He let us know the session at Fergies was going to begin at 1pm rather than the usual 4pm. So, we headed over early only to find out it wasn't a normal session but an Oktoberfest street festival and some musicians from the session were performing for the pub. It was difficult to get a good group photo since the lighting was low under the tent but bright on the outside. I did get some good individual pics though...

Notice how everyone is dressed on Saturday. Sunday was a complete weather change....cold and rainy. We spent the morning cleaning house and practicing violin or fiddle/guitar then Haley, Dylan, and I headed over Plough and the Stars for the session there. It was a nice evening with a lot of friends even some we've never met up with there before. The kids played and talked for hours. Unfortunately, the lighting was not great for photos in there either.

....And where was Newt this weekend...ah, wrestling. Newt had a team tournament and a great wrestling weekend winning five out of five matches. His team took 5th out of 16 teams. Way to go, boys!

Today was a football game for Dylan. Boy, was it cold! We dressed in sweatshirts, coats, mittens, hats, and took a wooly blanket to cover up with. Dylan is the one playing center with the bright lime green shoes. I love those shoes because I can always find him that way.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Homeschooling My "5th Grader"....

We have been officially homeschooling for the 2012-13 school year for a month now. I use the term "5th grader" very loosely because it is the grade Haley would be in by age but nothing she is doing is remotely close to 5th grade work.

School is going well so far. We seem to be getting to everything we want to get to each week...Algebra, English, and Languages a good 4 days a week and Science and History alternating so they get done 2-3 days a week. I just put Music Theory back into the schedule as well.

Due to a summer that was busier than expected, Haley did not do any math for a couple months so we are working through the beginning of Algebra 1 slowly. The beauty of homeschooling is that we can stay on a topic until she has it. Dylan is doing Algebra 1 Honors in high school this year and is moving at roughly the same pace covering similar topics each week.

The K12 Literature course is going well though it requires quite a bit more work every day than she's ever done before. Haley wrote a wonderful essay on a literary character last week and I was impressed. She used evidence from the book, transitional words, and organized it with very little help from me. It was her first non-fiction work. I like having everything laid out so I have very little planning to do and it is such a complete course.

Chemistry is going well. We are moving right along learning about the Periodic Table. In history we are learning about the Ancients using a high school level text and Haley is working on a lap book where she is compiling everything she is learning.

Haley is doing a wonderful job with her violin practice. It is really neat to see how she is maturing in her ability to focus on what needs work and learning to practice with purpose. I am mostly just sitting there and being a sounding board at this point. Heh, not always the best one because often if she is playing a wrong note and it sounds good, I just don't catch it. Haley likes for me to sit and listen to her practice so it works well. She has everything she wants to practice on a chart and works each day to get it completed.

My biggest job during her practice is to play PT and remind Haley about her posture. Six months ago at her well check-up the doctor noticed a slight curvature in her spine (2-3 degrees). I started having her do core muscle strengthening exercises and I became more in-tune to how she was standing during violin practice. When you are doing something 3-4 hours a day, it is important to use proper posture and Haley often, especially when fiddling, will tilt onto one hip. She went back to the doctor yesterday to have a scoliosis check. It has not progressed and the doctor feels it is postural rather than fixed...Haley can correct it when she thinks about it, so they aren't going to do anything except watch it at this point.

When her school day is finished, Haley enjoys watching videos on crafting and making either the crafts she has seen in the video or something of her own design. She has tiny little doll things all over the place. She also makes jewelry. I think learning to knit again would be a good project for this winter...I hate to knit when it is hot out for some reason (something about the feel of wool when it's hot).