Friday, February 22, 2019

On Helping Your Sister


I remember when Abigail was 4 and it was time to start thinking about her starting an instrument - it was a 'no brainer' for me because I thought of my schedule. She would play the viola just like Anna so that their lessons could be back to back. There was no way I was going to have her with a different teacher (like Cello, for example) because that would be a different teacher, different day, different schedule. The group classes and even some concerts would be on a different schedule. And long before I went back to the classroom I was all about keeping our family calendar as open as possible for more time at home, more time for them to play, more time.

And so Abigail would play the viola too.

I never thought back then how very helpful it is to have 2 violist in the house and Anna able to help Abigail.

This is learning how to 'sift' which is a very difficult skill needed to play the pieces that Abigail is playing now.

I love that Anna jumped right in.

Thursday, February 21, 2019


We had a four day weekend. And I have hardly any pictures. Mostly because it's a really tricky time of year to be in teaching. There is so much mid-year data due, mid-year report (tons of questions) due before a meeting with the principal, looking at data, annnnnnd report cards are due at the end of the month. I can go fast, but each report card takes me about an hour. So yeah, there was a LOT of that this weekend. But there was a lot of time at home to and it fed my soul. And we went to Mystic Aquarium again because the girls love it there!

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I know that these long 4 day weekends are "supposed to be bliss" but in the middle of the school year they are too full for this teacher. I'm okay with it though. God has been teaching me lately to live in each relaxing moment that I do get with my precious family, the times in His Word, the extra sleep, a bit of extra time in my workouts and not to focus and get all ugggg that I do have work. I'm blessed to be a teacher. And I don't take that work lightly. And neither do I take my role as a mama and wife lightly either. With all of this paperwork done by the end of this week my weekends will belong (soon) more to them, to me... and I can't wait!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

On So Many Concerts

This was another concert - because I was so behind they are all mixed up in my mind. This one was in the middle of January and it was Abigail's select orchestra at her middle school and the select chorus - somewhere there must be a recording - but I just can't find it!





Take a look at little Abigail's stand partner.


Red head like her, but just a bit taller.


His name is Jacob - and I'm pretty sure he wasn't thrilled to be paired with a tiny 6th grader!



It was fun to have Grandma and Grandpa there



There really are so so many concerts in our evenings. We love to be all in a row, lined up listening to what our girls can do!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Luv Concert


Abigail performed at a choral concert at her middle school. It was really cool to see her 6th grade perform:



and then the entire high school join together with the 6th grade. Each choral group was taught different parts of the song and then they only put it together this night. Really awesome!

(she's in the front row right in front of the piano music stand)



Make these concert days last forever!


Monday, February 18, 2019

On Finally Being All Caught Up

A snow day will do that to you... help you finally get caught up!

So here's the end to what is going on in our lives.  And I've gotta say, it feels good!


When we redid our kitchen oh how I wanted it all classy and clean and white but I wanted a vintage stove (post back here) and it just wouldn't work. So move ahead a few years and now that this project is done it frees up a space for a baking center. And we found this!!

A 1932 Hoosier cabinet that will be a part of my baking center (build in to it)


It's gonna be so awesome when it is done. (this summer)


My heart was skipping a beat watching that get loaded into our car.


This I found on my phone in the middle of the day - posted on the schools instagram account and it made me smile.


This is the principal at the elementary school I teach at. He's awesome.


My favorite place in the whole wide world.


In my classroom.


College stuff starting


She's got big dreams


This is what the first 3 hours of a snow day looks like


Friday, February 15, 2019

On Going To Concerts

Someday these will be gone and I will miss them. Someday I will teach school and come home and there will be no concerts at night.

What do they say?

"The days are long, the years are short?"

So I enjoy the concerts. Because they are amazing.

This one Anna played in:

And this

And this from Indiana Jones

And this

And this

Yes, we go to a lot of concerts. How lucky am I?

Thursday, February 14, 2019

On Trying Your Best and Not Getting In

There is an orchestra in our town that is ranked nationally as the best in the entire country. The highest level high school orchestra. Most of the children that graduate end up studying music at Julliard in NYC or Harvard school of music in Boston.

This orchestra travels to Europe and around the US. It's that good.

It is quite amazing to listen to.

And even more amazing is that Anna has had a dream to be in Solisti since - well as long as I can remember.

And Anna is good.  She's been playing year round competitively since she was 5.

But sometimes it's just not enough.

This year the Solisti orchestra were accepting  0 (yes, zero) to 1 (yes, one) violist.

So let's look at her chances already.

There were no senior violists graduating - so her chances were basically zero.

Unless her audition was flawless.

She knew that.

She still gave it her best. "Well, my chances are basically zero, but maybe"

And so one cold Friday afternoon in January Abigail and I sat in the hallway as she walked in to her audition.


and basically I didn't breathe until it was over.



Abigail and I held hands and prayed the entire time. We heard one mistake in her scale but her Bach was just beautiful, flawless. Her sight reading sounded just amazing. But there can't be one tiny mistake to get into Solisti. And her hands shaking while she was playing just couldn't help one wrong note.

Abigail and I listened even with so much going on around the school. I knew there was magic happening behind those muffled door. I could breathe those notes in - I knew them by heart. And we covered her in prayer as she played.

When she walked out of there I was so proud of her my heart swelled. Although we had a wait a few weeks to hear back, I didn't care. I didn't care if she didn't get in I was just so so proud of her.

She is currently still in Camaratta (the orchestra one level down - still such an amazing accomplishment - just not her dream)

(Abigail was worried when the song stopped suddenly - but they cut you off as a certain time)

She has one more year to try again for her senior year. (she will audition in the winter of her junior year) And maybe, just maybe it will happen. But it might not.

I think it's good that kids don't always get what they deserve, what they want, reach every goal, every dream. It's a life lesson that can't be taught, it has to be felt. Only God can decide the big details and the little details in our lives.

And this was one He decided for her. And we love her for trying.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

On Letting Go of Baby Clothes

This has been a long time coming - okay - so I'm 11 years behind on baby clothes.

I love children's clothing. It was my hobby (seriously) when they were little. Still is. Peter Pan collars on a holiday, sweet cardigan - that fills my heart with joy. I will always love classic, old-fashioned, beautiful clothes on my daughters. But really, I didn't need all of this. So one weekend in January this happened.

And I'll be honest. It was easy. Until the 8th hour in when I was ugly crying, sobbing in the middle of it all.

For the stages that I'll never have again.

For the little that I'd do anything to hold.

For life changes.

I had a good cry.

And then I cleaned it all up.

32 bins!!!!


Kept some, gave some, donated the rest... all 32 bins that were packed to the brim!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

On Choosing a New Viola

Anna started taking Suzuki viola lessons when she was 5 - Scott and I figure it'll be our college plan - meaning that when she goes to college we can use the money we pay each year for her lessons and orchestras and use that to pay the bills for college... ha!

A few years ago we decided it was time for Anna to stop renting a viola and to buy her one. It was a process that took a lot of time and it was a learning curve for us - her wonderful (since she was 5 teacher) walked us through every step of the way. (here is that post back here)

And her "new viola" suited her a long time. A really long time.

But lately, playing at her level, she's 'out grown' it, so to speak. It was time for a new one.

Having 'walked through' the process already we knew that it would take several violas to find 'the one'. So on Christmas morning, Anna found 2 violas under the Christmas tree.

Almost 2 months later we were still trying violas and searching.

I wish that at that I wasn't so behind back then on Christmas photos because I would have loved to have blogged the whole process but I don't have any pictures, really. Just a few.

But I want to remember.

She started with those 2 Christmas violas and 3 new bows.

She brought both to her lesson and worked with her teacher.

Neither were a sound fit for her.

But one of the bows was.

So then we sent one of the violas back and 2 of the bows back. They sent us 2 more violas.

Neither of those was the sound she was looking for.

So her teacher suggested she go up one size to open up more choices.

So 2 more violas were sent to our house to try.

And one of those was 'the one'.

Her teacher called it "the closest thing to a soul mate until she falls in love some day".

And so at the very very end of January she had chosen.

But she didn't like the case.

So her daddy drove to Boston on a Friday night to get her the case of her dreams.

And now the new viola and the new bow and the new case are all in our house... make beautiful music.

And that's the story of choosing a new viola!


Some day {soon} I'll photograph Anna with her new viola. She's a beauty and she's here to stay!

Monday, February 11, 2019

Simple Things

So there are about a 1,000 things I found on my phone on my quest to get all caught up with memories. Too many for one day.  Here's the first batch! Ha!

Just us chillin - when was that? I have no idea! We've had a lot going on in our house lately - ugh! Had to rip apart the walls in the new mudroom so it's been crazy lately!


My guess is this was on the way to Mass in late August! I miss sundresses.


Scott hanging shelves in my classroom. I love when I can make a bulletin board 3 D and not flat. I'll have a to take a picture to show you how it looks NOW!


This was back in the last week of August - I think I made this clip for a friend, can't remember. Here's part one

and here's my room tour part 2 (I laugh now at how 'empty' the room looks - it's so filled up!)

and this was a Sunday night I stopped into school to do a few things.

I love that when we go to a restaurant they bring a book with them for the wait.



This one... Abigail in her pjs... singing along with a show tune!

I want to forever remember Saturday mornings, in pjs, medicine in her hand, singing. Just stay little!

I can tell she had a cold - but still sweet

In September (Scott's new school) helping him decorate his new office. I used all of the beautiful art work he was given from the elementary school he left.


This is the face of Abigail just moments after her audition for Beaux Strings (auditioned orchestra at her school)


Me... on Halloween



A Sunday night at my school - with a science observation the next day - Scott was helping me calibrate my pan balances.


Caught this beauty just before Christmas

And this one too... this one is old ... not even on her new viola... now when she plays it feels like it opens the roof.

These little phone pictures and little captures make up my life. Little things. Simple things. And they make me happy. One thing I know for sure is that I'm living in the good old days...

more to come soon!

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

The Rest of December - and lots of pictures of cakes!

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Let's just categorize this into 'the rest of December' because I'm starting to mix this all up and I'm really longing to blog closer to when things happen because:

When I'm realllly behind on my blogging I tend to not take any pictures of everyday moments. And I just don't like that. I've honestly gone weeks without picking up my big camera with all the lenses and I haven't even bothered to take a bunch with my phone! When I'm up on my blogging then I'm more motivated to capture life. So here's to being {mostly} caught up as I throw the rest of December right here on this post!

New Years ~ We celebrated the New Year sleeping {aren't we so exciting} Yes, I was almost asleep at midnight!  Although Scott was holding me as I was falling asleep and I could hear the faint booms of fireworks from our nearby city.  That was good enough for me.

But really, we did celebrate with a yummy dinner and a cake I ordered from what we call the "Abigail Bakery"  It's soy free, peanut free, tree nut free, dairy free, gluten free.  And it's so so good!  Look how pretty!

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Our house was undecorated the day before so an elaborate cake for our little family of 4 is necessary to brighten things up! I brought it in the family room and we cut into it as we played a bunch of board games in front of the fire.

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And then I turned 46.

Scott cooked one of my favorites.

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And my parents came over for cake. Another allergy free beauty!

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From the time I was a teenager I knew I wanted "Happy Birthday Mommy" on my cakes - I'll never take it for grated... mommy on my cakes!

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And look at what a pretty job they did decorating it!

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I was spoiled with lovely presents from my parents

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and my lovely daughters too.

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I think I might be almost caught up... now to dust off that camera and capture what is happening around me.

I can't believe that I did it! I blogged all of the wonder and magic of the Christmas season ... all the way from Thanksgiving to New Years Eve! Phew... I'm quite proud of myself!