Monday, December 23, 2013

Weekend Ramblings....

This weekend Tinkerbell became a reindeer.

She wasn't happy becoming a reindeer but she liked her sweater without the hood.

Newt won his first three wrestling matches of the season becoming a 4X Pine Barren Tournament Champ! Woo Hoo!  Haley and I were able to watch 2 of his 3 matches then had to take off for New York City. We walked around the city for a little while then went to see her friend's quartet and orchestra concerts at a certain music school.

Haley eating a macaroon at Lincoln Center.  The only photo I took in NYC that came out. Ugh!
 After the classical concerts, we walked to the Irish Arts Center to see Mick Moloney's Irish Christmas Show. Mick was nice enough to invite Haley to play with them onstage at a certain part of the show. So, during his interview time....he always invites someone from the audience to be interviewed during his Christmas programs and after he finished interviewing an author, he had Haley up. He interviewed her a bit. She played a tune solo then went into another tune with the other two fiddlers in the show.
We were excited to just see the show. Mick not only has Celtic music, songs, and stories but also has people from other cultures demonstrate their traditions.

We went from the concert to a session a couple blocks away and stayed until Haley said she couldn't keep her eyes open...which was sometime around midnight. We drove to her fiddle teacher's house, stayed for the night, had a lesson in the morning and drove home.

Once home, Haley practiced her classical music then decided she wanted to learn how to make snowflakes so we looked up some instructions and came up with these...

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Cookies...

Haley and I spent all day last Saturday baking Christmas cookies with Grammy. It was a fun day and we made all my favorite kinds of cookies I get only once a year. Monday, Haley decided to make her own gingerbread cookies. Here are the results...

Daddy went to the Thift Store yesterday and found this little treasure. My children think is it so sad that this was our option for listening to music at their age...along with 8-track tapes. Luckily we have a treasure trove of records in our basement from Newt's wrestling coach. They had fun listening to them last night. I feel so old....this is "retro" ??? Ugh!

I remember in high school sitting with my best friend, Deanna, in her room listening to record after record.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas Sessions!

We've had a rather calm (for us) December which has allowed us to attend a number of Irish sessions on our free evenings. One of Haley's favorite sessions to attend is at The Plough and the Stars. She has been hanging out with the men sitting on the tiny stools to play there since before her feet hit the floor. She was 5 years old the first time we took her in to play. The musicians are friendly and the best in the Philly area tend to show up which makes for a great session. Christmas is great because they bring in a huge Christmas tree that goes all the way to the extra high ceiling and decorate every surface with lights, elves, and greens. The pictures last night were taken by one of the musicians, Dave....the second one was from the balcony. (cool!)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Let It Snow!

Haley and I spent Saturday night in New York so she could have a lesson early on Sunday. We had heard on the news they were expecting some light snow or a dusting. When we left New York at 11am, it looked and smelled like snow but there was none falling. We drove 90 minutes before we hit the first snow flakes and it got bad really quickly! No plows or salt trucks out. Inches of snow on the road. We couldn't go over 20 mph without our tail end sliding. We saw 29 hits car, car hits tree, car in ditch, car hit guardrail.

At one point, I pulled off an exit so we could get gas, take a potty break, and grab a bite to eat since we hadn't eaten since morning. I also needed a break to let my hands relax from white knuckling the steering wheel. I thought about calling a friend to ask if we could crash for the night but after the quick break, I decided to try and get home. We went 4 mph with a lot of stopping and traffic between two exits about 20 miles from home and I thought we might never make it but we eventually did 7 hours after we left NY!

Then it rained all night and the snow melted off the roads so Monday night we went to Paraic's new session in Media. I took those pictures last week. Dylan came with us Monday night but I didn't take any photos then.

Tuesday was another day of snow but the roads stayed pretty clear so I was able to work a few hours and take Haley to a violin lesson. If this is a sign of things to come, we are going to have a really snowy winter! Yuck!

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Our Southern Family Thanksgiving 2013

We enjoyed traveling to visit our many relatives in North Carolina last Thanksgiving. Having 50-100 people any one of three different evenings enjoying food and each other is a blast. This year the mood was a bit more somber as my husband's father, one of twelve brothers and sisters, passed away in September and we were taking his ashes back "home" to be interred near his parents and having a service with his family (10 of the 12 siblings were present...the only one who couldn't make it was the eldest uncle who lives in CA and whose wife is very ill).

We drove on Wednesday. We waited until the boys got home from school so didn't leave until almost 1pm. We were slowed a bit by traffic. The drive took 11 hours instead of 8 but we expected that. We stayed in the "Grandmother's home"...the house that my husband's grandmother lived in which has been owned by her youngest son who keeps it available for visiting relatives and large family gatherings like Thanksgiving weekend.

Thursday relatives started arriving early in the morning to cook and deliver food they'd already cooked. By noon, there were over 30 people gathered and more food than we had room on the kitchen surfaces for. A little later, prayers were said and everyone lined up to fill their plates. Following dinner we sat around talking and playing games until late into the night.

Friday morning, Ritch and the boys headed to the graveyard to prepare the site and bury the ashes so everything would be ready for the service on Sunday. Once they came back, Ritch headed with Uncle Shep to get the pig for Saturday's barbecue, Dylan was off helping Uncle Doug, and I took Haley and Newt into the city for our yearly fresh-made doughnuts. We got back to Grandmom's house just as Aunt Kim, Uncle James, Michelle, and Meredith arrived. It was a little warmer so we all stood around outside talking and the men began getting things ready for the fish fry/oyster boil evening. Fires were available in cans so we could stand around and stay warm. Fish and shrimp were fried. Oysters and shrimp were boiled and dumped into a huge metal table shaped like a sink. People brought casseroles, dips, and cheese grits (my favorite). Some ate outside and some ate inside. People everywhere! The kids had a great time hanging out and playing games with their cousins.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving is always Pig Roast Day. We have attended this event on occassion since Newt was a baby. The uncles get up early in the morning (5:30am) to start the pig.

Cousin Chuck made some oyster stew from the leftover oysters for breakfast.

Later on the chicken is started on another cooker. Around noon the women show up with casseroles, side dishes, and desserts. Over ninety relatives were in attendance! I always look around this gathering and think how amazing it is that everyone there is related. They come from all walks of life and have so many different personalities. They may not always get along but for this one day a year, they all put aside their differences and enjoy each other. I picture Grandmom looking down from Heaven smiling to see all her progeny on a day like this.

Sunday morning was the service laying Ritch's father to rest. The preacher was a cousin. Haley played him a slow air, Ritch's brother Heath said some words, and Uncle Shep brought us to tears with his farewell to his brother...talking about the twelve siblings as a clock missing number 4. After the visit to the graveyard, we headed home. The traffic slowed a bit but we were pleasantly surprised to make it home in decent time.