GT Sinfonia Fall Concert

Posted in Extracurriculars, Molly, Music on December 11th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

This year, Molly auditioned for and was accepted into the GT Sinfonia. This is a countywide orchestra that is very difficult to get into. They have a 2 hour rehearsal every week at one of the local middle schools. They had their first concert after only 7 rehearsals, and they were phenomenal as you can see here. The first two songs I recorded up close, and the second two are wider to see the whole group.



Sinfonia concert

And here are a few pictures from before the concert started. Most of the kids were very serious when they came out to play. Molly… not so much.

Excited

Fake crying

Nice face

Walk to Bethlehem

Posted in Church on December 10th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Every year (for the past 10 years), our church has put on Walk to Bethlehem. This is a walk-through event where folks can experience the Christmas story. All four of us participated this year, with some new and fun roles.

A lot of people come through, and at times there can be a few hundred people waiting to get in outside. So, the church has a tent with chairs and entertainment alternating between music and magic. I was one of the entertainers, playing guitar and singing Christmas songs. It was warmer than it’s been in previous years, though my fingers were still numb by the end of each of my sets.

Jen worked a tent in the Bethlehem marketplace making macramé bracelets.

Bethlehem marketplace

Leah again worked the animal tent in the marketplace, helping patrons with little animals like hamsters and a hedgehog.

Bethlehem animal tent

This year Molly got her first larger role at Walk to Bethlehem. She played the child in the Simeon scene (when baby Jesus was presented at the temple).



Simeon scene

Baby Jesus looks a lot like Pastor Jen’s new baby.

Simeon scene

If any of you want to see Molly in another role, make sure to come to the 9:30am or 11:00am service on Christmas Eve at Glen Mar. I think she’ll be wonderful.

Tennessee Thanksgiving

Posted in Celebrations, Family visits, Field trips on December 9th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

For Thanksgiving, we went to visit G’Mom and Grampa, who live outside of Memphis, Tennessee. This is usually a flying trip for us, but I wanted to try driving it. I really hate flying, and Thanksgiving crowds make it all the worse. Since Jen got a nice new car last year, road trips have become much more comfortable. So, I managed to convince Jen to give driving a shot.

It’s too far to do in one day, so we stayed at a hotel in Abingdon, Virginia. We ended up with between 8 and 9 hours driving each day. We left Monday after school and got in Tuesday before dinner. I thought the driving was great. My family members were less enthusiastic, but they admitted it wasn’t that awful.

Wednesday afternoon, Emmie, JJ, Aunt ‘Chelle, and Uncle J arrived. Tennessee was having a cold snap (meaning it was about normal for us Marylanders), so the kids all had some hot cocoa.

Tennessee Cocoa

Thanksgiving was super special this year. G’Mom’s birthday fell on Thanksgiving day this year, which meant we got to celebrate with her.

Happy birthday G'Mom

Lots of music happened while we were in Tennessee. Molly and Leah even got introduced to JJ’s drum set. They teamed up to try them out, accompanying Emmie.

Drumming pair

Before our Thanksgiving meal, the kids helped Grampa set up the manger scene outside.

Manger setup

The girls decided they needed to ride the manger animals.

Riding the animals

Here’s the finished scene (with Grampa hiding in the background).

Finished scene

There was of course much eating on Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving meal

After eating, we took some family pictures (which you won’t find here) in front of the manger scene. Then we decided to take part in the scene, with everyone playing the part of one of the characters in the scene. Looks like the best live nativity I’ve ever seen.

Acting the part

These kids do have fun together.

Fun together

We finished Thanksgiving day with a concert including a violin/viola duet (which they practiced only a couple times briefly before performing), piano, violin, viola, and the Long family trio.

There was one more bit of excitement on Thanksgiving day. The kitchen sink decided to stop draining, meaning we couldn’t wash the dishes from Thanksgiving dinner. We ended up disconnecting the pipes, draining into a bucket, and washing by hand (occasionally emptying the bucket in a nearby bathroom). Thanksgiving plumbing problems are fun!

Friday morning, we decided to head to IHOP for breakfast instead of creating dishes. The girls thought it was amazing (they split red velvet pancakes).

IHOP breakfast

Thankfully, the plumber came out that morning and cleared the clog, so the kitchen resumed operation.

Friday afternoon Emmie, JJ, Uncle J, and Aunt ‘Chelle headed back to Alabama. Afterward, Grampa and I picked up a Christmas tree. The girls enjoyed helping decorate it.

Tree decorating

Tree decorating

I don’t think Leah is sure about the placement of this ornament.

Up high

The girls liked these ornaments so much, G’Mom and Grampa said they could keep them.

Ornaments for the road

Saturday we got up and hit the road for the drive back. Sadly, that meant we could not watch the Iron Bowl (where Auburn defeated #1 Alabama to win the SEC West), but we did enjoy listening to the broadcast in the car on our drive to our hotel. The drive home had a bit of traffic, but was mostly uneventful and took us almost the exact amount of time that it took to drive down.

Family Lego Night

Posted in Leah, Molly, School on December 8th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

The girls’ school had Family Lego Night again, (renamed from Legos with Dad to be more inclusive). As always, the girls had a great time building.

Family Lego Night

Family Lego Night

Family Fun Fair

Posted in Church, Leah on December 7th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Our church held a Family Fun Fair, with lots of fair games and food. We ate dinner there, saw lots of friends, and the kids really enjoyed the fair games. Here’s Leah on the cupcake walk.

Family Fun Fair

Jen had made cupcakes for the cupcake walk, but Leah opted for the emoji cupcake instead.

Emoji cupcake

Many of the games let you win tickets which could be exchanged for prizes. Our kids ended up with way too many prizes, but our neighbors (who have 3 kids) ended up with even more. Bob was excited to carry them all home (though he doesn’t have the giant beachball yet in this picture).

Lots of toys

This was the church’s first year doing it, but I really hope the organizers keep it going every year. It was lots of fun.

Singing together

Posted in Church, Leah, Molly, Music on December 6th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Most of the time, the girls are in two different choirs at church due to their age difference. But there’s an occasional year where they overlap, and this year is one of those years. Leah is now old enough to join Joyful Noise, and Molly won’t move up to middle school till next year. So, they get to sing together. Here’s there first performance in October.

In November, they sang again. I even got to accompany them on the second song.

Safety monitor

Posted in Molly, School on November 2nd, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Molly’s school selected some of the more responsible 5th graders to be safety monitors, and she was happy to get the job. So, now we have to get to school early every morning so she can stand at her post (outside Kindergarten) and make sure kids are being safe. She takes her job seriously.

Safety monitor

Safety monitor

Even on Halloween, all dressed up, Molly was ready to be a responsible safety monitor. She wasn’t even thrown by Leah’s photobomb.

Halloween safety monitor

Harry Potter Halloween

Posted in Celebrations, Family outings, Leah, Molly on October 31st, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment
Harry Potter Halloween

For Halloween this year, we all went with Harry Potter costumes (which I am very excited about). I am Remus Lupin (possibly my favorite character), Molly is Luna Lovegood, Leah is Hermione Granger, and Jen is a Quidditch fan.

Harry Potter costumes

Harry Potter costumes

The girls really got into character. They even had a wizard duel.

Wizard duel

And they cast their spells. I don’t think they’re trying to hurt each other, given the smiles on their faces.

Cast your spells

On Halloween day, the girls had a Halloween parade at school as usual.

Halloween parade

Halloween parade

Then they had their class parties. And perhaps even took some time to learn something afterward.

As evening approached, it was time for some serious trick-or-treating. This year, Molly’s friend Grace joined our crew of trick-or-treaters.

Trick-or-treating crew

We trick-or-treated for about an hour.

Trick-or-treating

Jen handed out candy this year while I walked around with the girls. We didn’t have very many trick-or-treaters visit us early on, so we thought it might be a light Halloween. But eventually they showed up, totaling 139 trick-or-treaters this year.

Trick-or-treating

After returning home, Grace really wanted to keep going. Leah was done, but Molly agreed to go back out after thirty minutes of warming up and eating candy. So, Grace, Molly, and I headed back out to a street further than we've been before. This was later than we’ve trick-or-treated before, and Molly learned that late-night trick-or-treating can be awesome as folks are trying to unload candy. Every time someone said “just take a couple handfuls” she was very happy. She ended up filling up her pumpkin twice by the end of the night.

Pumpkin carving

Posted in Leah, Molly on October 31st, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

We’ve been really busy of late, and failed to get to carving pumpkins until our last chance. So, Monday night (October 30), after homework was finished, we finally tackled them.

The girls started the pumpkin carving off by cutting open the tops.

Pumpkin carving

After scooping the guts out, the girls both applied their designs. Leah opted for a unicorn printout which she transferred to the pumpkin by poking holes through it with an awl. Molly had a Harry Potter pumpkin photo she found that she free-hand drew on her pumpkin.

Designs

Poking

Drawing

Molly had to be really careful with the Harry Potter glasses, as they have large pieces that are only attached by a small bit.

Cutting

Leah had lots of zig-zags in her unicorn’s mane.

Cutting

Cutting

Cutting

And here are their finished products - Molly’s Harry Potter pumpkin and Leah’s unicorn pumpkin.

Finished product

Pumpkins

Six Flags again

Posted in Family outings, Leah, Molly on October 30th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

It may have taken us a long time for finally go to our local Six Flags, but it didn’t take long before we headed back again. Six Flags had a Bring a Friend Free day, and Zach and Stacie were kind enough to offer to bring us. So, after church we headed there for fun again. After lunch, our first stop was the Ragin Cajun.

Six Flags again

The dads got to ride as well, though we were relegated to the car after the kids.

Dads too

The ride Leah most wanted to ride again was Wonder Woman. Jen and I were again happy to stand by and not ride this high spinner.

Wonder Woman

We rode lots of other rides, but I didn’t get pictures of them as most of them were the same ones we rode before. Molly continued loving roller coasters, and even added one beyond what she’d rode before. She was worried about riding Apocalypse (it’s a standing coaster), and said she didn’t want to ride it. Then Stacie bet her a dollar to ride it, and she of course did. She ended up saying it was her favorite ride of the day, and we ended up riding it a second time on the way out.

We left the park right as Fright Fest was starting, and our girls were ready to get out of the park then. Lots of zombies and other scary folks start wandering the park terrorizing guests, which was not their idea of fun. Next time we may have to leave a couple minutes earlier to avoid them entirely.

Thanks so much to Zach and Stacie for bringing us along.