Sunday, December 30, 2012

Cute Fingernail...

I know, I know....I said I was finished blogging for 2012 but I have to post this. Haley found the idea for this on Pinterest then painted it herself. It is too cute.

Friday, December 28, 2012

The End of 2012!!

Our Christmas this year was a little different than all the other Christmas' we've had since the kids were born. Our tradition of attending the Christmas Eve candlelight service remained the same. It has been one of my favorite things to do at Christmas since I was young. I love the way the church looks bathed in candlelight while everyone is singing. When I was young and in the choir at church, I used to love when all three choirs sang "Do You Hear What I Hear" together. I loved the way it sounded when everyone sang the last verse together. We go to a different church now and instead of choirs singing, the whole church congregation sings "Joy to the World." The service always puts me in the mood for the holiday. Haley played "O Holy Night" for the service this year. She sounded wonderful...such a lovely song.

Christmas Day was very low-key and relaxing. We got up when we woke up...I love that the kids are a little older and don't wake at dawn, though the dog did wake me at 6:30am. We got dressed, ate breakfast, then opened our presents. Then we spent the day enjoying each other. Some of the favorite gifts under the tree this year....

Newt's biggest gift was not under the tree but outside. He got repairs made to our old Honda which he has inherited. The car has sat for a few years except for the boys driving it around our driveways now and then so it needed a good going over. Plus we paid his car insurance.

Dylan was all clothing this year. Except I did find him a How to Build an Acoustic Guitar book and I think he spent most of the day looking at guitar-making kits on the internet.

Haley got a sewing machine for Christmas. Haley is "little miss crafty" so she cried when she opened it. She spent most of the day with it in the basement on the craft table, going through the kid's sewing book she got, and by the end of the day had sewn herself a little purse.

I brined a turkey and made Martha Stewart's sausage and cornbread stuffing recipe (delicious!!). We watched a movie together and went to bed early.

The day after Christmas is St. Steven's Day for the Irish in our lives. Every December 26th we attend a Wren Party in celebration. The story is that St. Stephen was hiding in a bush from the invaders and a little wren sang giving away his position so he was martyred. So, in Ireland, the local boys would kill a wren, make hats of straw, and go around singing at doorways asking for a bit of money to bury the dead wren. It was their version of trick or treat.

Our wren party does not involve injuring a small bird but people do make silly hats. There is music, story telling, dancing, treats for the kids, and a hat parade. It is a lot of fun!

Thursday, we got a call from John Whelan saying he'd be in NJ leading a session and could Haley come out and play. I don't think John realizes how long NJ actually is or that we live in the very bottom of it because the session was almost two hours away. We went anyway. It was at a cute little pub full of people. We met a few new musicians and saw a few we've met before.

Haley had a blast playing with John and she got his new CD for a Christmas present. She is now busy learning all the tunes on the CD...original compositions. Haley is joining John for a huge accordion festival in Quebec at the end of this coming August.

OK...I am signing out for 2012. We have an exciting 2013 to look forward to...some of it planned already and most of it we're taking as it comes.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Pre-Christmas Concert...

This blog is becoming a "Who's Who" in traditional Irish music.

Haley meets all the coolest, nicest, best Irish musicians! She met another last night while attending a concert at the Irish Center. Accordion player James Keane was in town to play with his nephew, Haley's good friend Paraic, and guitarist (multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire) Gabriel.

                            Haley and Daddy being silly and waiting for the concert to begin.

                                                          Paraic, James, and Gabriel

                Marian joined them with a beautiful Gaelic Christmas song. She has the prettiest voice.

The guys invited Haley up for a few tunes. She played a set which she started with Dr. Gilbert's then Paraic went into another tune that Haley didn't know so she played quietly the first time through and learned it on the fly so she was going full swing by the second play-through with the guys. They then asked her to play a tune on her own so she played on of her favorite tunes, Mason's Apron.

It was a really nice concert with great tunes. Nothing is better than live music. I enjoyed the slow air James played on his accordion. It was beautiful. It was a wonderful way to begin our Christmas holidays. Now we get a week with no schoolwork but lots of violin/fiddle practice.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Bald Eagle...

This bald eagle is our neighbor. We see him in the fields around our neighborhood or along the side of the road eating roadkill for lunch. He usually flies away before we get a chance to take a pic.

A couple Sundays ago, I was driving home from church and he was really close to the road plus my camera was on the seat beside me so I was able to snap a pic before he flew a few yards further away.

I am really hoping he is a carrion eater and does not decide my chickens will make a nice meal.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Haley and Dylan on Comhaltas...

Haley, Dylan, and their friends, Jayne and Bram were recorded by Comhaltas while busking during the Fleadh in Cavan, Ireland. This video was posted on the Comhaltas website yesterday.... 

Thursday, December 06, 2012


On Tuesday, Newt took his driver's test. He passed the first time through, even parallel parking with ease. He is now an officially licensed NJ driver....everyone else beware! No, seriously. He is a good driver. I just can't believe he is old enough to be driving! Where did all that time go?

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

No time to be sick!!! Ugh!

The weekend before Thanksgiving, Newt came down with a fever and sore throat. He stayed home from school Monday then was fine with just a slight residual cough. He shared it with Ritch who had the sore throat and cough, no fever, Tuesday and Wednesday. No one else was sick Thursday so we drove to North Carolina.

That Friday evening, Haley complained of a sore throat and was burning up with a fever around 7pm (she always runs high fevers) so she and I spent the evening in the bedroom, away from all the others at the fish fry. She felt fine by Saturday morning with just a slight cough lasting a few days. Not her usual m.o. with a cold but we'll take it...maybe she's outgrowing her nebulizer needs.

Dylan and I both had the sore throat when we woke Sunday morning which was fine. Dylan slept all the way home and I rested and read while Ritch drove. Dylan stayed home from school Monday with a headache, slight fever, and sore throat.

I, on the other hand, have been sick ever since. I really don't have time to be sick. I felt better on Tuesday but lost my voice... I still don't quite have my real voice back. Wednesday and Thursday, I didn't feel bad...just couldn't talk. Friday, I woke up feeling okay but by evening, was feeling really yucky. I haven't slept a full night since. I cough non-stop from about 7pm until I fall asleep sometime after 11pm, even on medication, then wake again at 3am and go downstairs to keep from waking all those who are able to sleep.

Went to the doctor's on antibiotics and should be better in a few days. Hopefully!