Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Outside Classes....

One of the benefits to homeschooling is being able to change direction mid-year to take advantage of neat opportunities when they arise. Around Christmas, I received an email from a lady we know, Miss Kathy, asking if Haley would be available to play fiddle for a Civil War Ball in June. She explained that she teaches classes to homeschooling children and this coming semester would be teaching a class on the Civil War which would culminate in a Gala Exhibit Night and "Ball" in June. I asked her for more information about the class and it looked great so I signed Haley up.

So, we put the Ancients on hold until September and Haley will learn about the Civil War. Each student creates their own character who writes diary entries about different topics they discuss in class. There are lots of crafts to make up a lap book, songs to learn, and costumes for the upcoming ball. Haley said Miss Kathy's basement is completely decorated for the Civil War class. We will also take a trip to Gettysburg later in the spring.

Haley was so excited the first day of class that she came home asking to also join a writing class that meets in the morning so I also signed her up for that. They play games with words, write poetry, and stories. Haley and two other (a little bit older) girls are taking both classes together. I pack a lunch for her to eat in between and Miss Kathy has tea parties for the girls after lunch.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Live Music....

I don't think I ever attended a live musical event when I was a growing up except for an occasional church event like a handbell choir at Christmas (one of my favorite memories) or a concert I was singing in at church or a let me rephrase, I never attended a professional live musical event that I can remember.

I try to take my kids to live events as often as possible especially Haley because she has the most interest in that sort of thing...Irish musician concerts from house concerts to the Kimmel Center, classical concerts with soloists or orchestras, musicals and shows like Riverdance.

There is something about live Irish music that is so much better than music on a CD. I don't know exactly what it is maybe the spontaneity off the music at times rather than the polished mix of a CD or the banter among the musicians or sounds of the instruments in person rather than through a car stereo.

Haley's fiddle teacher often plays with a wonderful group of musicians who call themselves Pr*de of NY. Each is talented in their own right but get them all together on one stage and it is magic. We laugh at their banter and get tears in our eyes from the beautiful airs Joanie plays on her flute...Haley says they sound like they should be played in the movie Titanic. Haley's teacher, Brian, often asks Haley on stage for a set with him during the show and she loves this. This concert, they played a set of fancy hornpipes together.

The venue for this concert was a Gaelic Football club in CT. They get a wonderful crowd who love the music. After the concert, they quickly move the chairs out of the way for a few "sets" (set dances). Haley's teacher was busy talking to relatives and acquaintances so Haley took his spot on stage to play for the dancers. It is pretty incredible watching your child laughing and playing with some of the best Irish musicians in the world.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Savoring the moments...Happy New Year

Newt being silly with Haley's boa and book light.
Our neighbors had a new baby Thanksgiving weekend and last week we were finally all healthy enough to go visit. I looked at that teeny, little, perfect baby and remembered when my babies were that little and I had their entire childhoods to look forward to. I wanted so badly to let our neighbors know to savor every moment with their little one. Time goes so quickly. When you are a new parent everyone with experience tells you that but it seems so cliche at the time.

The new year always makes me nostalgic especially this year when my oldest is driving, my middle has entered high school, and my baby is now a pre-teen. It seems like the older they get, the more quickly time passes. Often we are busy running here and there but I still try to savor moments with my kids and let them know daily how much I love them whether it is through hugs or words or little deeds like packing them a lunch or washing their favorite shirt so they can wear it or picking up something they will really enjoy but hadn't thought to ask for. We spent a lot of time together over the holidays and I enjoyed the being able to unwind together before we head back to the weekly schedule.

It is so easy to enjoy those big moments and we do have many of those in our lives...

-getting a driver's license
-winning wrestling matches
-watching sports events
-musical performances, especially those with the kids playing together
-travel to cool places

But there are those little, more every day moments as well and I try to reflect on those moments to ingrain them in my memory. We have photos of the kids growing up on the walls of our home...looking at those and remembering those children sometimes makes me sad...I miss those kids, the babies, toddlers, pre-schoolers they once were, yet at the same time I want to enjoy the here and now.

-I love having Haley home to school. (Sometimes, I wish her brothers were still home as well.) I feel so blessed. I have gotten to spend so much time with my kids by having them home. I know who they are and like spending time with them. I have been able to watch her learn everything.

-I am so blessed she asked to play violin when she was 2. Sometimes when I am busy, I look at a day and all I could accomplish if I didn't have to sit for hours with her but I love sitting with her while she practices because in that time, it is the only thing I have to do and we are partners in this thing that she loves so much. I know someday in the not too distant future, she will not want me sitting there...she already asks to practice sometimes on her own but will still come to show me something she's doing. I dread the day she practices and doesn't come to show me what she's done. Sure, I will get so much done when that day comes but I miss all that time with her.

-I love sitting in pubs watching her smile and laugh while she makes music with other musicians.

-I love our long car rides to lessons where she reads to me or we listen to music or sing at the top of our lungs together or make up silly stories or faces at each other. I love riding in the car with the boys...they often talk more openly with me in those times.

-I love sitting on the couch and sharing a book with Haley.

-I love snuggling with her while we watch a movie...soon I may have to be sitting on her lap for that to be comfortable. My boys will sometimes come snuggle in the loveseat with me or come lay with me before they go to bed. I love that they aren't too old or cool to snuggle.

-I love the many nights we have dinner together as a family. We eat dinner together probably at least 4 nights a week...during wrestling season it is more difficult.

-I love playing video games with my boys. I had to learn to play because it is something they enjoy and I love spending time with them. I love that they will sometimes put off friends wanting to play with them and spend that time with me.

-I love watching them all grow up and seeing the incredible adults they are becoming. I love watching all the changes in them as they get older. Sure, it isn't always wonderful...they sometimes have attitudes or do things I'd prefer they didn't but all in all, they are great kids.

I didn't make any New Year's resolutions this year because those tend to be made to be broken. Sure, I could eat healthier and lose a few pounds. I need to do more scrapbooking because I am more then two years behind and counting.  What I really want is to slow down and be more cognizant of those little moments. I want to take time to enjoy the kids every day. They are growing so quickly and I don't have that much more time before they will be all grown up and living their own lives. I don't want to miss a moment of it.