Solo and Ensemble

Posted in Leah, Molly, Music on January 30th, 2021 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Our girls have participated in the county's Solo & Ensemble Festival most years, but this year's was very different. It was held over Zoom, and it went really well. In the elementary school festival, Leah played great. Thanks to Jen Retterer and Mr. Henley for some great teaching, and Joanne Alme for recording some great accompaniment.

Solo and Ensemble

And here she is playing the song, recorded after the festival.

A week later was the countywide virtual Solo & Ensemble Festival for middle school, and Molly played Concerto in Dm (transcribed from Concerto in A Minor, Op. 3 No. 6 for violin), 1st Movement on viola. Thanks to Margaret Lang for excellent teaching, Ben Denne for great teaching and providing the accompaniment track, and Chris Jenkins of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music for some very helpful feedback.

Solo and Ensemble

Separately from playing for the adjudicator, we recorded her playing the piece for all of you to view here.

Leah’s 11th birthday party

Posted in Celebrations, Leah on September 12th, 2020 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Leah turns 11 this week. That should have meant her big Harry Potter party, but we all agreed that was a bad idea with the pandemic. So we delayed it till next year. After all, with a September birthday, she wouldn't actually start at Hogwarts till next year anyway. But things have calmed down enough that we decided a small, outdoor gathering was OK. Leah had 3 friends over for some fun on the back porch. They played a couple games (Telestrations and Uno Attack), decorated cupcakes, ate cupcakes and ice cream, opened presents, and did some rather slow grass sledding. Leah said it was great!

Leah's 11th birthday party

Leah's 11th birthday party

Leah's 11th birthday party

Cupcake decorating

Cupcake decorating

Cupcake decorating

Cupcake decorating

Cupcake decorating




Cat ears

Cat card


Grass sledding

Grass sledding

Birthday cookies for Leah

Praise From Home – Unstoppable God

Posted in Leah, Molly, Music on April 26th, 2020 by c-had – Be the first to comment

In this week's installment of Praise From Home, Leah takes the lead with a song of her choice - Unstoppable God. And this is as close as we’re going to get to having 3 kids.

Praise From Home – Open Up The Heavens

Posted in Church, Leah, Molly, Music on April 21st, 2020 by c-had – Be the first to comment

And now the second in our series of praise songs. This time, Molly takes the lead in a song chosen by her.

Praise from Home – Oh Praise The Name

Posted in Church, Leah, Molly, Music on April 12th, 2020 by c-had – Be the first to comment

This will hopefully be the first in a set of praise songs from home by our family. The girls are now able to really contribute to praise songs, and it is awesome! This is the first praise song Leah has played on piano (and the first song she's played from a chord sheet), and she did great! I hope it warms your heart as we're all stuck at home.

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!

Halloween 2019

Posted in Celebrations, Leah, Molly on October 31st, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

For Halloween this year, Molly decided to be Cinder from The Lunar Chronicles series. So, she’s a sci-fi take on Cinderella, where Cinderella is a cyborg mechanic with a robotic hand and foot. Leah is a ghoul, and even got red bands on her braces this week to look bloody.

Cinder and a ghoul

Cinder and a ghoul


Halloween with friends

Halloween with friends

Practice Night

Posted in Leah, Music, School on October 31st, 2019 by c-had – 1 Comment

The orchestra/band director at Leah’s school held a practice night for parents to come and learn how to help their students practice. He asked a few students to come demonstrate their instrument for the parents to show proper technique. Leah was selected to be the example cello, and was very happy to help out.

Practice night

Kindness Week ensemble

Posted in Leah, Music, School on October 22nd, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

This week is Kindness Week at Leah’s school. Leah was asked to be part of a small ensemble to play as folks arrived at school to kick off the week.

Kindness Week ensemble

Kindness Week ensemble

One of the songs they played was a rock medley, including part of We Will Rock You. For part, the violins stopped playing to stomp, stomp, clap while the cellos took the lead. Then later the cellos stopped playing to stomp, stomp, clap while the violins took the lead.

You can also see here that the cellos and basses struggled with the morning sun in their eyes, some resorting to trying to hide behind their stands to block it.

We Will Rock You

Kindness Week ensemble

They had quite a large crowd gather to listen before school. The crowd only dispersed when the Assistant Principal came to tell them they all needed to get to class as the bell was about to ring. Nice job, Leah!

Slumber party

Posted in Celebrations, Leah on October 7th, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Leah has wanted a sleepover birthday party for several years, but we’d told her she had to wait until she was 10. This year was finally the year! The party began with a little painting.

10th birthday sleepover

The girls picked their designs ahead of the party so that Jen could have the canvases prepped and ready for the party night.

Personalized projects

Same design, different colors


Chatting while creating

While the paint projects dried, Leah opened her presents. She was very excited about a new fuzzy unicorn squishie.

Excited for presents

The girls returned to the table to remove the vinyl and reveal their painted designs.

Design reveal

They all did a great job creating one-of-a-kind designs!

Finished paintings

Leah decided she wanted her friends to decorate their own cupcakes at the party. So Jen made the cupcakes and frostings, then set them out with all the toppings.

Cupcake decorating

Leah had fun showing her friends how to use a piping bag to frost the cupcakes.

Future cake decorator?

There was some very original decorating on these cupcakes!

Completed cupcakes

After making them, it was time to sing to Leah and eat them.

Then Molly left to sleep over with some of her friends, leaving just the 4th graders. But there was still more to do. Next up - a fun take on the classic game of Spin the Bottle. The girls ended up with rainbow painted finger nails.

Spin the (nail polish) bottle

The girls then watched a movie (the new Dumbo) and then finally went to bed. They chatted for a while and fought going to sleep, but the last of them was asleep by midnight.

Donuts for breakfast has become a tradition on our house for sleepovers, but not just any donuts - Krispy Kreme donuts!

The best breakfast

Happy birthday, Leah!