Molly

Chamber Orchestra Fall 2019

Posted in Molly, Music, School on November 15th, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Molly is in Chamber Orchestra at school this year, which is mostly 8th graders with a handful of 7th graders (like Molly). They had their Fall concert yesterday and did a wonderful job. If you’re looking for Molly, she is on the 2nd row in the viola section, but is mostly hidden by her music stand for much of the performance.

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

Cinder

Halloween with friends

Halloween with friends

Pink hair

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

Molly’s been asking to dye the ends of her hair pink for a while. Aunt Caroline has experience with this sort of thing, and told Molly she’d be happy to do it for her if it was OK with her parents. We agreed, and Aunt Caroline came up to treat Molly.

Pink hair

Here’s how it came out. Molly loves it.

Pink hair

Pink hair

Pink hair

Pink hair

Molly’s mission testimony and more

Posted in Church, Molly, Music on October 8th, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Last week, Molly had a very busy Sunday morning at church. She played with the youth orchestra at both the 8:00 and 9:30 services, but that was just the start. She also gave part of the sermon at the 9:30 and 11:00 services. It was Missions weekend, and we had a few testimonies from folks who had been on mission trips in the place of the sermon. Most of these were adults, but they did include a couple of youth. Molly was the only middle schooler to speak.

You can see her testimony here:

And if you’re interested in seeing all the testimonies from all 4 services, you can watch them here (Molly’s is at the 48:55 mark):

And here she is playing with the youth orchestra:

We’re so proud of you, Molly!

First day of 7th and 4th grade

Posted in Leah, Molly, School on October 6th, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

A month ago, Molly and Leah started school! 7th grade and 4th grade. And of course they had to wear their new jackets.

Molly first day of 7th grade

1st day of 7th grade

Leah first day of 4th grade

First day of 4th grade

Neighborhood picture

First big concert

Posted in Leah, Molly, Music on September 29th, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

3 years ago, Jen and I went to see Pentatonix in concert. When we saw that they were coming back to Merriweather, we decided to take the girls for their first big concert. This time rather than getting seats, we decided to try lawn tickets (which were great!).

First big concert

Leah’s friend Anna (and her mom and sister, unpictured) came too.

With a friend

The crowd at Merriweather was light, which was great as we got a spot up at the front of the lawn.

Light crowd

Rachel Platten opened, and did a great job.

Rachel Platten

Then we had a bit of a break before Pentatonix came out.

Pentatonix

Pentatonix

They did a chill encore song.

Pentatonix on screen

It was a great concert, and everyone enjoyed it a lot. It’s amazing what these folks can do with their voices alone.

Playing with the band

Posted in Church, Molly, Music on September 28th, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

After a week of orchestra camp, Molly had a bit more performing to do. She joined me and the band to lead worship Sunday morning. This was her first time playing viola with the praise band.

Playing with the band

National Philharmonic Junior Summer Strings Institute

Posted in Molly, Music on September 27th, 2019 by c-had – 1 Comment

Molly was selected to attend the Junior Summer Strings Institute put on by the National Philharmonic this year. This is a week long summer camp put on by folks from the National Philharmonic (who play at the Strathmore in Bethesda). Last year, Molly was in the Prep Institute (for 4th-6th graders), but this year she moved up to the Junior Institute (for 6th-10th graders). They only take really advanced students, so Molly was excited to be selected.

She had a great week working on lots of skills and some really challenging music. They put on two concerts at the end of the week for families to attend. Thanks to Grams and Aunt Caroline for joining us. Here's Molly with her Chamber Ensemble performing in the afternoon.

The evening concert was the full orchestra concert. Molly it very seriously, as you can see from her sticking out her tongue at me.

Serious musician

SSI concert

And here’s the full evening concert.

Here’s Molly and her entourage after the second concert (Aunt Caroline was unable to stay for the second concert, and we failed to get a picture at the first).

SSI concert

After the concert, we went to The Baked Bear for ice cream sandwiches. This place lets you choose two fresh baked cookies or brownies (fresh like still on the cookie sheet) and an ice cream flavor to make you a delicious ice cream sandwich. It’s as good as it sounds. I cannot understand why these places aren’t everywhere. These places should be as plentiful as fro-yo.

The Baked Bear

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Posted in Molly, Trip on September 19th, 2019 by c-had – 1 Comment

Back in August, Molly and I had a glorious adventure to New York together. You may remember that we (her parents and grandparents) commemorated Molly’s huge achievement of earning her black belt by giving her a trip to New York to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway. In August, that trip finally happened.

For transportation, we planned to take the train up to New York. We arrived at the train station early to make sure we didn’t miss our train, only to discover that our train was running late. We were supposed to arrive in New York at noon, drop our suitcase at our hotel, then be at the theater at 1:00 for the show at 2:00 (the show said we should get there an hour early as security lines could be long). As we waited, the train kept getting later and later. I called Amtrak to try to move to a different train and was about to change our tickets when we got word that our train had finally left the station in Washington. The train was about an hour late, but we finally got on and had no further delays.

Once we got to New York, we had almost no time. The good news was that our hotel (Row NYC) was right around the corner from the theater. The bad news was our hotel was 12 blocks uptown from Penn Station. I conferred with one of my New York coworkers, and came to the decision that it would be safer to walk it rather than risk further delay on the subway. So, Molly and I walked as fast as we could up 8th Avenue. I was very impressed at how well Molly did navigating New York crowds, weaving in and out of folks as we hoofed it to the hotel. Once there, we checked in, went to our room, Molly changed from her sneakers to fancy shoes, and we were back out of the hotel in just a couple of minutes. We made it to the theater without any trouble (getting there an hour early was unnecessary) and finally took a deep breath. We stopped by concessions to get a drink (we were both very parched after all that), and settled in to our seats.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Our view:

Our seats

For those unfamiliar, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a very long play. It’s got two parts, and you buy tickets for both parts. The first part was from 2:00 to 5:00, then we got a dinner break until the second part started at 7:30.

We planned to go to Ellen’s Stardust Diner for dinner, but the line was a full block long. After waiting in it for 15 minutes, we knew we didn’t have time to wait for it. So, we went in search of somewhere else to eat. We ended up at Pasta Lovers, which was actually fairly empty. The pizza and service there was great! Would recommend.

Pasta Lovers Pizza

Our dinner went so quickly, we stopped into the Times Square Disney Store to check it out before heading back to the theater.

Disney store

I won’t spoil the play for you, but it was fantastic! We loved it so much. Best show either of us have ever seen! I actually went into it a bit trepidatious, as a serious Potterhead worried they’d mess it up. That didn’t last long. And Molly was so into it. It was a lot of fun, and was a take on the Potter universe in a very different way from the books and movies. And the effects were just amazing. All the wire work, and the many creative magic tricks. It was just so good.

The experience was even more than the show itself. The carpet throughout the entire building was Hogwarts themed. They had Harry Potter snacks and souvenir cups. They even had house banners for people to take pictures with, and a staff person standing there all day to take pictures with your phone for you.

Hogwarts banners

Hogwarts banners

Outside the theater, they have a scene from the Sorting Hat ceremony on the wall, including a spot for you to stand like you’re being sorted. Molly tried it out after the show was over.

Sorting hat

After the play, it was late but Molly really wanted to get a sweet treat. So, we trekked all the way to Black Tap to get one of their Crazy Shakes. This is the Cookie Shake, which is an Oreo Shake with vanilla frosted rim with cookie crumbles topped with a ‘cookiewich,’ crumbled cookies, chocolate chips, whipped cream & chocolate drizzle. Way over the top, but so good!

Crazy Shake

We finally got back to our hotel room around midnight and crashed. We got up early the next morning, checked out, and walked toward Penn Station for our train home. We stopped into Liberty Bagels Midtown for breakfast. Molly went for the rainbow bagel with birthday cake cream cheese. She only managed to eat 1/4 of it (then 1/4 more later on the train, then 1/4 more the next day for breakfast). I had the egg bagel with dill & herb cream cheese, which was excellent.

New York bagels

It was such a great trip!

Baltimore Mission Camp

Posted in Church, Molly on August 21st, 2019 by c-had – 2 Comments

Our church does lots of mission trips, but a couple years ago started a new thing that’s kind of like a mission trip without the trip part. We spend a week working in Baltimore and sleeping in our own beds. This year, Molly was finally old enough to do it (must be entering 7th grade), so she and I signed up.

We had about 50 people split into 5 crews. Our crew consisted of 3 adults and 6 middle schoolers. Each day we’d spend the morning in one place, then the afternoon in another. Most of the time, we were volunteering with organizations throughout Baltimore.

Our crew’s first activity actually wasn’t even in Baltimore. Through the week, we come across lots of needy people throughout Baltimore. So, our first task was to buy some supplies and make 40 bag lunches. Each crew would take a couple lunches every day to hand out to those in need.

Fixing lunches

Monday afternoon was spent familiarizing ourselves with the city of Baltimore. Our crew did a prayer walk through Hampden, performed random acts of kindness, and we may have gotten some ice cream as well.

Exploring Hampden

Molly learned what a Hon was too.

Hon

A couple of days, we worked at Paul’s Place, which helps with feeding, clothing, caring for, and training the needy in Baltimore. Our first time there, we organized a couple of their storage units.

Storage organization

On our other visit, we served hot lunch to hundreds of needy people. These kids are ready for the doors to open.

Serving lunch

We spent several days helping out at Little Flowers, a charity day care.

Little Flowers

We changed things up Thursday afternoon and worked at Art with a Heart. They help the city through art projects. These pop art squares are put on trash cans to beautify the city.

Art with a Heart

Art with a Heart

We also spent an afternoon making things for Operation Christmas Child, but I failed to take a picture of that.

We took one afternoon off for some duckpin bowling fun. Very few of the kids had ever been duckpin bowling (it was Molly’s first time), so it was both a Baltimore experience and a chance for some fun.

Duckpin bowling

When we had an hour to kill, we toured Lovely Lane United Methodist Church, the "Mother Church of American Methodism." This congregation held the 1784 “Christmas Conference", at which the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States was founded and Francis Asbury and Thomas Coke were ordained as its first bishops.

Lovely Lane United Methodist Church

The ceiling in Lovely Lane United Methodist Church was created by a professor of astronomy at Johns Hopkins University.

Lovely Lane United Methodist Church

It was a fantastic week, and we definitely plan to do it again next year. It was awesome to be able to do this with Molly, and also great to be able to serve the city so near to us. Many of the places we went were very close to my office, and I have a whole new appreciation for the area I commute to a couple days a week.