Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas Performances

If you haven't caught on with my blog posts, I like to throw in all those random photos before I broach the subject at hand.  Sometimes I just do a random photo post too.  Anyway, here are the random photos.

Lee snapped a couple of pictures of the kids with Santa at our ward Christmas party.  Not super great ones, and only two kids to show you, but there you go. I guess "Santa" (Jerry Wright) looks forward to this every sweet!
Dec 12 2014 Ward Christmas Party

Dec 12 2014 Ward Christmas Party (2)

I have been loving all of the Christmas cards coming in!!!  That is something I love about Christmas-hearing from friends and family near and far, and getting photos too!  My friend Mary sent this card to me.  I couldn't believe what an awful job USPS did on handling it.  I am guessing it got caught on something in their sorting center.  So much for the great commercials promising great care in handling packages and cards--like "Aunt Cathy" would take of them. Have you heard that one on the radio?
Dec 13 2014

Now on to the performances.  We have been to quite a few the past few days!  First Piano Guys, and now number two....Clark and Cal's Christmas piano recital.  It was Cal's first recital and he didn't seem too nervous at all!
Dec 14 2014 Clark and Cal Piano Recital

Dec 14 2014 Clark and Cal Piano Recital (6)

Dec 14 2014 Clark and Cal Piano Recital (7)

Dec 14 2014 Clark and Cal Piano Recital (2)

Note to not let the other kids "color" again during performances.  Sometimes the "coloring" was a bit too loud!
Dec 14 2014 Clark and Cal Piano Recital (3)

As soon as we walked in the church Clark said "I don't want a picture of me by the piano".  Ha ha.  After Clark was done playing he said something about being glad the pain was over.  Maybe it's just me, but I think it's good to go through the emotions of preparation, some nervousness, tackling the task at hand in front of an audience, and then the feeling relief and of accomplishment.  I guess for me it's a good lesson on pressing forward and sticking-with-it till the end.
Dec 14 2014 Clark and Cal Piano Recital (4)

Our great librarian and friend, Ms. Kim and her mom came to the recital.  I should have taken a picture of them with Clark and Cal.  It was very sweet of them to attend.  At the Christmas recital their piano teacher, Ms. Kama, always has treats and snacks.  The kids of course loved that part.
Dec 14 2014 Clark and Cal Piano Recital (5)

After being home for about an hour after the piano concert we took off again to see the "Joy to the World" concert at our church building in Charlottesville.  Members from my church, along with another church and county singing group performed.  A bell choir from a local church performed and I really wanted to see/hear that.  It was fun hearing the bells and the other performers.  That concert made it number three for us.

One day this past week was a really fun card/package day!  We rotate siblings in our family for gift giving-on Lee's side and my side.  I love it!  It's pretty easy to figure out who we give to each year and we can give whatever we want.  A family gift, or gifts for everyone, or whatever! It's up to each sibling to decide what they want to buy and spend.  My sister Stephanie "has" me this year.  She had all the gifts sent to her house, wrapped them up and then sent them to me!  I am excited to open them Christmas morning!  She sent an early Christmas gift too--a Christmas music CD.  Thank you Steph!  We are lacking in the Christmas music collection department, so it's fun to add another CD to it!
Dec 15 2014 (11)

For family home evening treat we had ice cream sundaes.  I also had the kids open up their Christmas pjs.  Usually we have them put them on for the first time on Christmas Eve.  But I read on someone's blog (Rachel's maybe?) that she has her kids open them early so they can wear them all month long.  What a great idea!  (I must say....see those rolls in the picture? They were simply perfect!)
Dec 15 2014 (3)

Dec 15 2014 (4)

Dec 15 2014 (5)

Then the party got started...ha ha ha...
Dec 15 2014 (6)

Seeing Elden in his stripped pjs and a baby Santa hat made me think of the Elf on the Shelf. We started taking "elfie" pictures.
Dec 15 2014 (10)

Here is the boy that inspired me with the idea!
Dec 15 2014 (12)

The "evil" Elf on the Shelf" or something along those lines (made up by Clark).
Dec 15 2014 (13)

I got Cal some new "regular" pjs so he didn't put on his Christmas ones that night.  I am sure the Elf on the Shelf doesn't wear red pjs all year, right?
Dec 15 2014 (2)

Dec 15 2014 (8)

On to performance number four.  Shanna and Haley were in their 2nd grade play/Christmas concert on Tuesday.  It was entitled "Pirates of Pinataville".  They performed in the morning for the whole school and then in the evening.  It was fun going to both performances.  You'd think with the kids at school during the day, I would be on time to stuff like this.  I was late to the morning performance. But when I watched the whole performance that same evening I realized I had actually only missed a little bit.  But late is late. 
Dec 16 2014 2nd grade Pirates of Pinataville

Dec 16 2014 2nd grade Pirates of Pinataville (2)

There was a cute set and some fun costumes.
Dec 16 2014 2nd grade Pirates of Pinataville (3)

Just throwing this one in because I thought what Clark did to his gloves was kind of funny.  Reminded me of a blue octopus.  I am sure there is a blue octopus out there somewhere...
Dec 16 2014 2nd grade Pirates of Pinataville (4)

Shanna decided she wanted a speaking part and did a nice job!  She didn't forget any of her lines.  Though one of them I couldn't decipher...even the second time I heard it. I was very proud of Shanna though in another regard with her assigned speaking part.  I am pretty picky about certain words here at our house that I don't want my kids to use.  One of her lines had a word that I don't care for.  Obviously it's not a swear word by any means.  Shanna told me about it but I didn't say much about it because it wouldn't have been the end of the world if Shanna would have said that particular word in the performance (which I didn't tell Shanna that...great parenting right?!). Well, Shanna didn't forget about it and one day her teacher said that they could switch lines with someone else if they wanted.  She was so glad because she didn't know what do to, but when her teacher said that, she asked to switch lines.  Go Shanna! 
Dec 16 2014 2nd grade Pirates of Pinataville (5)

It was fun seeing Shanna and Haley get into the performance.  Haley didn't want a speaking part, but she sure enjoyed singing and doing all the motions to the songs. Very different from seeing one of my boys just stand in the choir yawning and looking bored one year...
Dec 16 2014 2nd grade Pirates of Pinataville (6)

Dec 16 2014 2nd grade Pirates of Pinataville (8)

Dec 16 2014 2nd grade Pirates of Pinataville (9)

I was looking through the program and I was so touched that the 2nd grade teachers mentioned me under the appreciation part.  I did not help at all with the play.  I do make copies for them every week though--they seem to really appreciate that!  The stairs on the stage were decorated with poinsettias, and I got to bring one home!  So fun.  
Dec 16 2014 2nd grade Pirates of Pinataville (10)

Oh, the same day as the performance, it was pajama day at school.  Handy that we broke out the new pjs the night before!
Dec 16 2014 (3)

Also that same day the girls' friend brought over her Elf on the Shelf to our house.  They had fun with him.
Dec 16 2014 (2)

Dec 16 2014

Performance number five....Clark's 6th grade band concert! That was just last night.  We enjoyed attending and hearing them play. You could tell that they were definitely beginners! Where Clark was sitting and where I took pictures was not a good mix. He was in back too, so that didn't help much, plus I forgot our camera and had to use my phone.  But here are a couple pictures during the performance anyway. 
Dec 17 2014 Clark 6th grade band concert

The 6th grade band performed three pieces.
Dec 17 2014 Clark 6th grade band concert (2)

Clark and his baritone. From my limited knowledge and untrained ear, he is sounding pretty good to me when he practices at home! I didn't know this, but apparently his grandpa Robertson played that same instrument too!
Dec 17 2014 Clark 6th grade band concert (3)

Clark with his band teacher Mr. Todd.  Clark loves band!  I am really glad too because we "forced" him to be in it.  Actually I think it's his favorite class so far this year. 
Dec 17 2014 Clark 6th grade band concert (4)

We've been enjoying these Christmas performances (though I know one child is getting sick of them!).  It's nice too because I have been able to attend them, and not perform!  I've been in several choir and band concerts in middle school and high school.  Even a couple of piano recitals.  It is nice being on the other end!  Christmas is only a few short days away!!!  Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Piano Guys and then some...

Are you all ready for Christmas?  We are just about ready here.  I need to buy two more things for me and we'll be set.  We'll probably wrap Christmas presents tonight too!   I am getting very excited for Christmas break and being with family for the New Year! 

Last week I attended a babyshower for a friend that is moving back West.  I am so sad that she is leaving!  Well, as far as a I know, they're on their way right now!  Shanna, Haley and I went for a little while, then did a little shopping before heading home.  My friend Megan made these yummy petite fours. I had a chocolate one.  She makes great cupcakes and cakes too!
Dec 9 2014 Abby Hurd babyshower

Last week I went on a field trip with Haley to the JMU planetarium.  I was pretty tired and dozed off a few times during the presentations!  Haley loved the field trip.
Dec 11 2014 Haley JMU field trip (2)

The same day as the field trip we took off around 4pm and headed to Baltimore!  We surprised our kids with a trip to see the Piano Guys Christmas Concert.  It was soooo great! If you haven't heard about the Piano Guys check out their great videos on YouTube.  Here is one of our favorites: click here.  The sunset was so pretty on the drive.  Haley took some pictures, but with our camera it's hard to capture pretty sunsets! Here is one of photos.
Dec 11 2014 Piano Guys Concert

At the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall during intermission.  Thankfully some of the kids took a nap on the way up because the performance didn't start until 8pm!  On the way we stopped at McDonald's for dinner.  The kids were so excited.  Clark said this to the other kids: "This probably won't ever happen again."  Ha ha.  Good expectations Clark.  Thankfully we found parking very quickly, and it was next to the Meyerhoff.
Dec 11 2014 Piano Guys Concert (2)

Dec 11 2014 Piano Guys Concert (3)

I asked a lady to take our picture.  It was funny because she said "The kids just keep coming!"  Ha ha.  Wouldn't she be shocked if I would have told her I came from a family of 10 kids, one of my sisters has 7 kids and a friend of mine has 8 kids? 
Dec 11 2014 Piano Guys Concert (4)

A few of the water fountains had a cup dispenser....what a great idea!  See Shanna in the background...
Dec 11 2014 Piano Guys Concert (5)

Dec 11 2014 Piano Guys Concert (6)

The concert was AMAZING!!!  It was so fun seeing Jon Schmidt and Steven Sharp Nelson live.  Our seat were at the very top, but they were in the middle and we were pleased with them.  No pictures were permitted during the performance, sadly.  Steve showed us some cool things about his cello, they talked about how Piano Guys came about, and played some of their "classics" plus Christmas songs. 
Dec 11 2014 Piano Guys Concert (7)

Steve has 13 cellos...if I remember right. On one song they did different cultural variations on it.  I think it was to Good King Wenceslas. They played what it would sound like in Germany, Russian, India with probably a couple other countries.  That was fun to hear.  At the end we clapped and clapped and when they came out for the encore they performed Silent Night, with us joining in to sing a verse.  The kids all seemed to enjoy it a lot too.  It was wonderful hearing fantastic music and feeling the spirit too.  My kind of concert!  We would love to see them if they are ever in the vicinity again.
Dec 11 2014 Piano Guys Concert (8)

We got out of Baltimore about 11pm.  I felt tired so took a nap right away.  We told the kids we'd stop and get a treat afterwards but I think they all fell asleep pretty quickly.  Elden was asleep about 10 minutes after we were back in the van.  Lee and I switched driving about half-way through, and I drove the rest of the way home, arriving at about 1:50am.

I slept till about 8am and Lee got everyone up and going for school.  I met Elden that morning as his class and reading buddies put together gingerbread houses.
Dec 12 2014 Elden gingerbread houses kindergarten (2)

Dec 12 2014 Elden gingerbread houses kindergarten (8)

Lots of frosting later, and on his shirt, he was done! 
Dec 12 2014 Elden gingerbread houses kindergarten (3)

Elden and a very tired me.
Dec 12 2014 Elden gingerbread houses kindergarten (4)

I stayed with Elden for a little while and headed back to his classroom with him.  His teacher has the kids help out with which day of the week it is and the weather (maybe some other things too?). His teacher is fabulous! Elden actually was in charge of the "weather" that morning.  It was cute seeing him walk over to the window, then look out to determine what kind of weather was happening at that moment!
Dec 12 2014 Elden gingerbread houses kindergarten (5)

Dec 12 2014 Elden gingerbread houses kindergarten (6)

They had snack time then too.  I think the little cups are so cute! After I walked him to gym then left.  It was fun spending time with him that morning. 
Dec 12 2014 Elden gingerbread houses kindergarten (7)

Enjoy your preparations for Christmas!  Nine days left!  YAY!