Six Flags

Posted in Family outings, Leah, Molly on June 30th, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

This year, we decided to get season tickets to Six Flags when they were on a super sale. So, now we’re enjoying taking advantage of it. We’ve already been twice this year.

The first time we went was in April, as a celebration of great grades for the girls. What we didn’t tell them ahead of time was that we’d coordinated with their best friends’ parents, and they were going to be there as well. So, after we got into the park they were shocked to find their friends there. Suddenly a good time was turned into an even better time.

ROAR

We rode a bunch of rides, ate some food, and had lots of fun together.

Riddle Me This

And it wasn’t all rides (well, it was almost all rides). In the New Orleans section of Six Flags, Leah danced with an alligator to some jazz music.

Six Flags dancing

On Memorial Day, we went back to Six Flags with old friends. Simon and Jake (on the left) have known Molly since they were very little.

Six Flags

We rode even more rides including the new Firebird coaster that opened that weekend. One of our favorite rides is The Joker’s Jinx, which Molly and I rode together. It was great, but the ride broke down as the next group (with some of our people) was about to go. So, we got stuck at the end of the ride, unable to disembark for 10 or 15 minutes.

Stuck

We look forward to more time at Six Flags this year (including a trip to Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey, we hope).

Black belt in the family

Posted in Molly, Sports on June 28th, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment
Black belt and Sensei

Molly is now a black belt in karate! We are so proud of Molly for all her hard work over the past five years. She’s just awesome. I want to tell you all about her black belt test, but first I just want to let her awesomeness sink in for a bit...

OK, on to the test. Molly tested for her black belt last night. This was an advanced belt test at her dojo, so it was just the brown belts working toward their next degree and black belt candidates. There were actually 4 black belt candidates, including Molly.

The test began with a written test, which she’s been studying for for years. Questions include things like who created the Kyokushin style of karate, where, and in what year.

Test questions

There are lots of exercises throughout the test, including jumping jacks, sit ups, burpees (lots of burpees), mountain climbers, and more.

Jumping jacks

Molly had to perform 17 katas throughout the test. Here’s one of the more basic ones - the 12 step kata.

12 step kata

As a black belt candidate, Molly gave a speech about her journey through karate.

Other students often help with the test, and there was no way Molly’s long-time friend Sarah (who got her black belt 2 months ago) was going to miss it. As soon as Sensei asked students to help with punches and kicks, Sarah ran straight for Molly. In fact, later this happened again, and Sensei immediately amended her request with “not Molly” to avoid having Molly continually evaluated by her friend.

Kicking

A couple of Molly’s katas involve the bo staff, including Dragon, seen here.

Dragon kata

The test also includes getting beat up a bit. Knowing how to punch and kick is important, but so is knowing how to take a hit. Here, Sensei is hitting Molly in the stomach to make sure she can take a hit.

Hit in the stomach

In addition to taking a hit, she has to take a kick. She’s done this before, but this was the first time she was kicked in the stomach from both sides. She says she’s still sore the morning after.

Kick in the stomach

After getting hit and kicked, she got stepped on too.

Stepped on

Here are photos from a few more katas, including Shadow, Heaven and Earth, and Tiger.

Shadow kata

Heaven and Earth kata

Tiger kata

Molly had been tested on every kata up to this point as part of previous belt tests, but there was one new kata for black belt - Gangasho.

Gangasho kata

As part of her black belt test, Molly had to break 3 boards. She could choose how to break them. She chose to break 2 boards at one time with a hammer fist, then the final board with a kick.

Part of the self-defense training of karate is knowing how to fight two-on-one. So, all the black belt candidates have to fight against two people at the same time.

Two on one

Molly sparred a bunch of people during the test, but I’m sure her favorite was getting to spar her old friend Sarah.

Sparring Sarah

The test was long and grueling. As it approached 3 hours long, Molly was exhausted. Then she took a hard kick during sparring from a bigger girl, and started to cry. But she didn’t let it stop her. She pushed through, kept fighting, and proved how tough she was. A hug from a good friend was also a big help when fighting through tears.

Hug from a friend

Each black belt candidate had to spar against Sensei. They don’t have to win, but they have to stand their ground and fight. It’s the first to 3 points. Molly did great, and even scored a point as you can see here!

Point against Sensei

After all that, the test kept going. They took off their sparring gear and Sensei sat on them as they held a push-up position. They also had to do a bunch more mountain climbers (not pictured).

Sat on

Molly did it! She got her black belt! She’s still a bit weepy at this point, but trying to turn it into a smile having accomplished her goal.

Black belt

The dojo acknowledges that all these girls have a family behind them, so we got to present Molly with her black belt certificate.

Family

Molly had her parents, sister, and grandparents there to cheer her on.

Family support

Black belt Molly

First Cello Recital

Posted in Leah, Music on June 21st, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Leah had her first cello recital. She’s been playing for less than a year, and is doing really well.



Cello recital

Here are all the cellists from Leah’s recital. She was the youngest and smallest.

Smallest cellist

Leah really likes her cello teacher, Mrs. Jen.

Teacher pic

Concert Orchestra Spring 2019

Posted in Molly, Music on June 20th, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Molly’s in two different orchestras at school, so she wasn’t done after her Symphony concert. Five days after her Symphony Orchestra concert, she performed with the Concert Orchestra, a strings group made up of sixth graders.

The music is great, but the best part of the video is Molly’s reaction after the 5th song a bit after 12:55, so make sure you don’t miss that.

Concert Orchestra

Concert Orchestra

Also, if you’re trying to find Molly throughout the video and having trouble, it’s not your fault. In order to give the kids different perspectives, Mr. Denne had them switch seats around throughout the performance. Molly was happy to get to her final seat up front for the last two songs.

Changing seats

Symphony Orchestra Spring Concert

Posted in Molly, Music on June 20th, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Four days after their performance in Hershey, the Symphony Orchestra performed their Spring concert.



Symphony Orchestra concert

Symphony Orchestra concert

Music in the Parks

Posted in Field trips, Molly, Music on June 19th, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Molly’s middle school sent 8 busses worth of kids to Hershey, Pennsylvania for Music in the Parks. While the 6th grade groups did not make the trip, Molly got to go with Symphony Orchestra, which has kids from all grades and meets before school at 6:50 to practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

I chaperoned the trip. Molly and I had to be at her school at 4:30am to organize ourselves, our stuff, and load into the busses for the trip. We arrived in Hershey a little after 7 and split up to go to 3 different local schools where the different groups would perform. Then the kids performed all morning.

Music in the Parks

After performing in the morning, the kids changed clothes and headed to Hershey Park for some fun. Here’s our group of 6th grade girls.

Hershey Park

They played around in the water park, rode a couple coasters, ate some food, and had a great time. I think their favorite ride was Tidal Force.

Prepare for splash

Splash

A bit wet

After the fun at the park, we headed into the arena for the awards ceremony. Molly’s group took 1st place in their division, as did several other groups from her school.

1st place

We then boarded the busses and headed home. We got back to our house a bit before 9pm, exhausted and ready for bed.

Birthdays

Posted in Celebrations on June 18th, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Jen and I both had our birthdays in May. For me, this meant hitting the 40 mark. The good news is that means I’m now old enough to play in 40+ tennis leagues, which doubles my opportunities for tennis teams. That’s assuming my old body can handle the extra time on court.

Jen made a lemon cake for my 40th birthday. She deemed it a tad wonky and a bit bolder in color than she intended, but no one turned it down, that's for sure!

Lemon ombré cake

Since Jen and my birthdays are nine days apart, we often celebrate with family together. So, the 40th birthday cake was actually half 39th birthday cake too.

Combined birthday celebration

Mother’s Day

Posted in Celebrations on June 17th, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

We had a busy Mother’s Day back in May. First, a morning full of church. Molly and Leah both sang with their choirs.

Sadly, Jen didn’t actually get to see them as she was teaching Sunday School. At least there was video for her to see later.

We then met up with Grams, Aunt Caroline, and Uncle Charles at Uncle Julio’s restaurant to celebrate. Sadly, they lost our reservation, but they did their best to get us a table as soon as they could. Sorry, no pictures from lunch.

After lunch, we headed home and opened presents with Jen, the all-star mom in our house (this necklace Leah made has #BestMomEver written on it).

All-star Mom

Jen’s excited about this big gift from the girls…

Mother's Day presents

It was a paper trimmer. No wonder she was so excited. Looks like she also like this bracelet.

Gifts

Happy Mother’s Day!

Sellers women

Not excited for shrimp

Posted in Leah on June 16th, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment
Shrimp

Leah does not like shrimp. She has not had it in a long time. While at Busch Gardens, she begged and pleaded to play a carnival game to win a stuffed toy (pictured here). Part of the deal she ended up striking was to try shrimp again back home (as well as mashed potatoes). Here she is trying shrimp, upholding her part of the bargain. She’s very happy about this, as you can tell.

3rd Grade Orchestra Concert

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

Leah played her cello with the Beginner Orchestra at school. Almost all the 3rd graders in the school are in the orchestra, and they sounded great (as did the 4th and 5th graders)! Congratulations to Leah for a great concert and for being the 1st chair cello!



1st chair cello