Molly Choir February 2020

Posted in Church, Molly, Music on February 3rd, 2020 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Molly continues to sing in the youth choir at church. Jen and I don’t often get to see her sing as we have other commitments on Sunday morning around church, but I got to see her this time. They sounded great!

Molly Solo and Ensemble Festival

Posted in Molly, Music, School on February 2nd, 2020 by c-had – Be the first to comment
Solo and Ensemble octet

Molly's orchestra director at school organized octets for those interested in smaller ensembles this year (as you may have seen at Barnes and Noble). Molly's octet performed at the Howard County Solo and Ensemble Festival in February. They were fantastic, and earned a superior rating and an invitation to the state festival later this year.

Molly Symphony Orchestra Concert January 2020

Posted in Molly, Music, School on January 24th, 2020 by c-had – Be the first to comment

In addition to her Chamber Orchestra, her GT Sinfonia, and her octet, Molly joined the Symphony Orchestra at school again this year. This group includes 6th-8th graders, and combines strings with winds, brass, and percussion. They meet at 6:50am before school every Tuesday and Thursday, so these are some dedicated kids. They had their first concert in January.

Leah concert times 3

Posted in Leah, Music, School on January 22nd, 2020 by c-had – 1 Comment
Chorus concert

Leah had a very busy concert evening in January. The evening began with Leah singing with the school Chorus.

After singing with the chorus, Leah transitioned to the stage to play her cello in the Advanced Orchestra made up of fourth and fifth graders.

Advanced Orchestra

Leah still wasn’t done, though. Next, she played her cello in the Symphony Orchestra as well.

Symphony Orchestra

Nice job, Leah!

Molly Chamber Orchestra January 2020

Posted in Molly, Music, School on January 10th, 2020 by c-had – Be the first to comment
Chamber Orchestra

Molly had her winter Chamber Orchestra concert in January. This is her main, during-school group that meets every day. They were great!

Batsons in Baltimore

Posted in Celebrations, Family visits on January 4th, 2020 by c-had – Be the first to comment

After spending a few days with the Batsons in North Carolina, we returned to Maryland for even more Batson time. We drove back Monday, then G’Mom and Grampa flew from North Carolina to Baltimore on Tuesday. First we exchanged more gifts.


Jen made G’Mom a shell ornament with shells the kids collected at the beach.

Shell ornament

But it wasn’t just a day for Christmas celebrating, as it was New Year’s Eve, which is also Grampa’s birthday. Jen made a chocolate cream pie.

Birthday pie

And there were birthday presents, too.

Birthday puzzle

G’Mom and Grampa stayed with us for a few days. Jen and I took advantage of having them in town to go see Come From Away at the Kennedy Center in D.C. It was great!

Come From Away

G’Mom and Grampa even went with us to drop the girls at camp for their 3-day Winter Camper Reunion (which the girls had a lot of fun at).

Bonus North Carolina

Posted in Family outings, Family visits, Trip on December 30th, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

We had one bonus day in North Carolina after the Batson family Christmas gathering. This was great, as it gave us time for yet another Christmas celebration - this time with the Long family. We met up with them in G’Mom and Grampa’s hotel room.

The cousins had fun sharing a couch.

Cousins on a couch

We opened presents.


Another gift exchange

We had lunch at Moe’s, hung out at Ann and Steve’s house for a bit, then headed out for a fun (and new to some) activity - an escape room! We made it out with over 19 minutes to spare.

Escape room

Then we met back up with cousins for some pizza and sweet treats.


This was the end of our time in North Carolina, but not the end of our time with Batson. More on that next time.

Batson Family Christmas

Posted in Celebrations, Family outings, Family visits, Trip on December 29th, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

On Saturday, almost everyone came to Ann and Steve’s house for the big Batson family gathering. Of course there was food, and before eating we all said the Batson family blessing (and a few even did the second stanza).

Batson family gathering

Jen, Leah, and Molly

Mike and Mary were not able to attend, as they were stuck in Arizona with newborn baby Jacob. So, we all gathered around and FaceTimed them. It was great to see them, though I wouldn’t generally recommend videoconferencing with almost 30 people on one end.

Newest addition

And here are the new parents and new baby.


I took a picture of all in attendance to document the occasion.

Batson family picture

Silly one

There was of course a gift exchange. JJ seems excited.

Present opening

Maggie’s now the tennis coach at her school, so we made her this bottle.


It was great to gather together with everyone!

North Carolina trip

Posted in Celebrations, Family outings, Family visits, Trip on December 28th, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

After our quiet Christmas, we hit the road. The big Batson family Christmas celebration was in Mooresville, North Carolina this year (which we love because it’s so close we can get there in 8-9 hours driving). We drove down Friday the 27th, checked into our hotel, then headed out for fun activities with everyone as they arrived. Jen joined a bunch of the ladies for dinner. The girls and I headed to The Pit.

The Pit has serious kart racing, an arcade, putt-putt, escape rooms, laser tag, axe throwing, and more. The kids played arcade games while we waited for others to arrive. Then we headed down to axe throwing. Best of all, their minimum age for axe throwing was 12, so Molly got to participate. She loved it.

Axe throwing

It’s very tough to get the correct rotations to get your axe to stick, but Molly eventually did it!

Got it to stick

And again!

Another stick

The axe throwing was a lot of fun for all. Afterward, the kids wanted to try the kart racing so a few of us headed that way. This was very serious kart racing (more serious than we needed). But a lot of us did it. They had a kids race first (with Molly, Leah, Emmie, JJ, and a bunch of very experienced teenagers). Then they had an adult race with several of us and a bunch of other people who clearly do this a regularly.

Kart racing

Molly driving

Leah and Emmie

Christmas Day

Posted in Celebrations on December 27th, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Christmas day was very calm this year. We got up at 7:30 and opened presents around the tree. We do not generally get our kids big expensive presents (though some of their other relatives might), but this year we changed it up. Leah’s wanted an iPad for some time, and the prices at Black Friday were very good. So, she now has her own iPad.

An iPad

Molly’s big gift was this refurbished MacBook Pro. She’s been using a very old laptop of mine, but it’s half-dead and struggling. In middle school she does a lot of her homework on her computer, so this was a tool more than a toy (though she plays on it a lot as well). She was very excited to get it.

New computer

Grams joined us at our house a bit later, and we ate and just hung out at home. It was quite lovely.

Christmas Day picture