Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Haley's Blog

Haley has started her own blog. She is very interested in writing so is working with a mentor to improve her skills and creativity. Her mentor suggested a blog as a way to keep a journal since she has so many cool experiences with her music.

She's only posted her introduction so far but please check her out...


Monday, January 20, 2014

Fiddling Friends...

Haley and Alex at 5 and 8 years old
Haley met Alex when she started fiddling with Next Generation Kids at 5 years old. They were the youngest two in the group for a couple years so they gravitated to each other and became good friends. I have been catching up on scrapbooking that is years behind and finding little gems like some of the pictures in this post and others have been sent to me by Alex's mom because she has been organizing her pictures lately as well.

Here they are at 6 and 9 years old.

Again, at 7 and 10 years old.

I think they are 8 and 11 here.
 It has been fun watching them grow up together. They take lessons from the same fiddle teacher and attend some of the same workshops and camps. They compete in the MidAtlantic Fleadh together in a trio with their friend, Keegan, on uillean pipes and hope to qualify for the All Ireland this year. Their first year competing as a trio, they decided at 10pm the night before the competition to put their names on the list and worked up a couple tunes while playing in the session. They had no idea what trio playing should be like but entertained the judge. They qualified by placing 2nd in the under 15 last year but the boys weren't able to make the trip to Ireland. Time will tell what this year will bring. They really enjoy swimming during the day and playing music together all night long while at the Fleadh for the weekend.

This one was from two years ago so...9 and 12?
Yesterday, we went to help Alex celebrate his 15th birthday...he had an Irish session style birthday!

These kids have all grown up together in Next Generation Kids. It is hard to believe they are all in their teen years with Haley not far behind. Mike and Alanna are Newt's age and heading off to college next year! Time sure does fly! The all share a common passion for Irish music and their age differences don't seem to matter at all in their friendships. Alex's mom said he thinks Irish music might be "weird" to people who don't understand it and love it. We think it is awesome!

Thursday, January 09, 2014

One Hundred and ONE!

Last night Newt won his 100th high school wrestling match. I was glad he wrestled a decent wrestler and had a good match. He is only the 6th wrestler in the high school's history to break the 100 win mark and will join his Uncle Karl on the banner in the gym.

I was a proud Momma last night but more for what he did at the end of the match. This year a young man with autism joined the team and yesterday was his birthday. Newt wrestled him in a match with the ref coaching, the score kept on the board, and people cheering. He let the young man work his moves and win the match. It brought tears to a lot of eyes in the gym watching how excited he was after his hand was raised. He ran off the mat with his arms raised into the crowd of other wrestlers congratulating him and then they all sang Happy Birthday to him. I am so proud to have raised such a wonderful young man!

Monday, January 06, 2014


I didn't do a very good job blogging over the holidays. So, here it goes....a whirlwind catching up post (more of a photo montage) of our holidays and recent travel.

Our Christmas tree....

My little feather tree. Haley decorated it this year and added some of the snowflakes we made.                                                      

Haley heading to church for the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service.

Tinks in her new Christmas sweater. She looks like she hates the sweater but she is really just afraid of the camera sucking out her soul when I take a picture.

Haley making us Christmas morning pancakes for breakfast. Yummy! She made a few different varieties to please her picky family...cinnamon, cinnamon walnut, and chocolate chunk.

Here we are lazing around opening presents.

One of Haley's (and my) Christmas presents was her bedroom being remodeled...and for me the stairs (previously carpeted) and hardwood floors upstairs...still in progress. Here is Dylan putting in trim for Haley's windows. We got new windows a couple years ago when the wind blew the siding off the house and shingles off the roof but the upstairs windows had yet to be trimmed inside.

Aren't these stairs just beautiful. My husband does good work. He did all the staining, painting, trim, and bead board. I wish I had a before picture....think ugly off white matted down and slightly stained from use cheap carpet and you will have an idea of before.

We spent all day on Sat. (the 27th) at a wrestling tournament....when I say "all day," I mean all day. We didn't see daylight on Saturday. He ended up 2nd for the day...winning 2 and losing his last match. Yeah, Newt!

On New Year's Day, I drove Haley and Dylan to Burlington, VT. Daddy was supposed to go, we were supposed to drive on Thursday, and we were supposed to drive to Portland, ME first to visit a violin maker...but a huge storm was forecasted for Thursday so I took the kids a day early and went straight to Burlington so we would be there for the gigs the kids were scheduled to perform for Young Traditions Vermont on Friday and Saturday nights.

We arrived at the hotel on Weds. night and I took the kids to the hotel pool and gym can guess which kid went to which room. Haley had fun swimming in a room surrounded by windows with snow all over outside. Afterward we got our free cookies and milk...I love that Best Western...and went to bed. 

We woke on Thursday morning to snow already falling and the coldest weather I think I have ever experienced...-11 temps with wind chill of -30 deg. We drove carefully...and slippery-ly into town to visit a violin shop for Haley then a music store for Dylan. (One of my kids' favorite things to do when we travel is try out instruments in whatever stores we can find.)

Here is Dylan in his version of heaven....surrounded by guitars and time to try them all.

Friday night the kids performed in a showcase kind of concert with many other young trad musicians. I think they expected a better turn out to watch but the weather was really bad and I think, kept people away. (I did not take the photo below but plan to buy a number of the ones this photographer took because they were wonderful.)

My daughter behaved like a seasoned professional Friday night as she had her first big challenge as a performer. Haley and Dylan were being announced, they stood up, and started to walk toward the stage. Haley passed me then turned around with a shocked look on her face and handed me her bow with the bow hairs falling all over the place. As I was trying to process what had happened to her bow, she quickly turned to the girl walking off the stage and asked to borrow her bow. I am not sure if the girl even knew what was happening but she handed Haley her bow and the kids proceeded up to do their set as if nothing had happened.  Lucky for us, we had borrowed a full size fiddle from the violin shop on Thursday so Haley had the bow from that to practice and play the next day.

Saturday the Young Traditions people had scheduled a session at the hotel for performers and whoever else wanted to come. It was a nice time for the kids to get to know the other young musicians. They had fun playing together.

Stealth photo taken of's the only way (other than when he is performing) I can get pictures of him without him making faces or putting his hand over his face.

Saturday night we had to drive an hour to Stowe Mountain for the final performance. They have a lovely new venue there. The kids performed an awesome set then did a grand finale with the other musicians and dancers. We drove home in the rain with freezing rain in some areas....had a lesson with Brian on the way to break up the trip. Now we are back to the daily grind...with a trip to the luthier to see about a bow this week.