4 posts categorized "Music"

May 25, 2010

Signs

I think we might actually pack up this week and move.  Despite the fact that we are still going about our day to day activities, little signs pop up here and there.

IMG_4618  IMG_4609 The bath toys are hanging up and drying out, the various and sundry awards, memorabilia, decorations, and bits of gear from the field office have been boxed up and are in the living room awaiting a proper packing.  The extra garbage bag has been purchased on the off-chance we go over our one bag* per week limit.  The handyman (to paint the girls' rooms), plumber, and housekeepers have been scheduled.  Utilities are set to go on in the new house, and are being scheduled to be turned off (in the rental) as I type this post. 

IMG_4604 The girls' schools know they are departing, Nicholas said his last good-bye (or see you later) to Miss "Rindsey" (Lindsey, of Kindermusik) today, and tomorrow is his last lesson with Janice (Jenny's replacement at All Star). Kelsey said good-bye to "Guy" (Brian, her swim instructor) yesterday, and we have plied all of said teachers with cards including a favorite photo of teacher and child..

The biggest sign?  The piles of clothes that are being stacked in preparation for being packed into the suitcases.  We are moving to the hotel tomorrow night, as there is nothing I loathe more than being in the house the night before pack-out.  Given that the movers could say they are coming at 8 a.m. (and show up at 7 a.m.), the kids have to go to school, and we really don't want our toothbrushes or dirty linens packed...we decided to ante up for an extra night at the Residence Inn.  We are packing tonight, and everything we need for the final 10 days to include Cait's chorus costume, Kelsey's Camporee needs, and anything for the cross-country trek in the Truckster will go to the hotel tomorrow afternoon. 

While it may seem like all is moving smoothly, we do have occasional setbacks.  Kelsey had a bad night last night, as she is terribly excited about the move, but can't get over missing Field Day or the end of the year party.  The straw that broke the camel's back was my insistence that her framed artwork (for the Art & Music show on Thursday) not be on display at the show, as otherwise the movers couldn't pack it.  I finally bent on that notion, and we are just going to beg them to pack one more box Friday morning.  Given all she is giving up (extra time with friends, birthday parties already being discussed, Girl Scout camp...), I think it's a reasonable compromise.  

Now I need to quit my procrastinating and get back to organizing.  I tackled the catch-all formally known as the "cabinet beneath the wet bar" last night and made a great deal of progress.  Time for another coffee, and then I think I can easily tackle the craft desk that has been calling my name for days...

*We normally produce about one normal kitchen size bag of actual trash per week, a big improvement for us.  Between composting, recycling, and the new green waste bins, we realized we could easily down-size our garbage bin that is used for weekly collections.  Over time, we have gone from a 65 gallon cart (left behind from the previous renters) to a 20 gallon cart.  It technically can hold two bags, but 1.5 bags is generally our max.  Unfortunately, we always seem have a bit more throwing away to do at moving time, despite the Freecycling, Craigslisting and just giving away stuff  to anyone who will take it.  We were grateful to learn that the Waste Management company offers huge pre-paid bags that can be left out with next week's waste pick-up.  Not that we want to have more, but better to be safe than sorry, I suppose.

March 18, 2010

Singing in the Rain

Scan0001 IMG_4072-1 was the title of Cait's concert this past weekend with the Danville Girls Chorus.  There were fewer photo ops this time, except of a certain little guy, but their voices were as stunning and passion-filled as during the Christmas concert.

Cait tried out for a solo (insert happy dance here), but didn't make it. However, she tried.  She has so much more confidence as a singer, and while I think the church choir helped, DGC has really enforced that, as she puts it so eloquently, "Singing is just my thing".  Mind you, this is when we discuss if she has thought about sports (other than speed-reading) at all.  Nope, not gonna happen unless it's purely for fun. 

We wised up this time, and Peter didn't just drop Caitlin off, but parked, and found a spot in line. Even at 8:45 a.m., he was chair #7.  Keep in mind, each chair could represent any number of people.  Kelsey, Nicholas and I took a little more time to get ready (postponing Nicholas's boredom during the wait), and remembered both the bouquet of flowers, and a cookie for our place-holder.

IMG_4068   IMG_4077 IMG_4079 What can I say?  It was fabulous.  Unfortunately, no video or audio clips (we are such the rule followers), but we should have a DVD from them in the next month or so.  Now, what I don't understand...when an organization goes out of there way to provide you with a free DVD which allows you to enjoy the show...why do people insist on crowding the back of the church with video cameras blazing away?   Sigh.

Another sigh as we are really going to miss this chorus next year.   Cait has really matured, takes the practices extremely seriously, and received an excellent rating.  We are so content with her progress, and with the nature of the group, that I am really sad to leave.  My only hope is that we find a choir equally as stimulating in our next location.  I have found a few online, but hopefully can also get recommendations from the current director.

Now that would imply, of course, that she is interested in joining another chorus.  My guess?  You betcha. I have a feeling there won't ever be another audition like last year's, and yet, despite the frustrations, it was such a crucial turning point for her.  Our heartiest congrats Little C, for a truly fantastically musical year!

September 20, 2009

Second Grade Shenanigans

I realized I posted Cait's first day of school almost immediately (in my mind), and then completely failed to put much up (anything) about Kelsey.  Second grade is no less important than middle school, especially to Kelsey, and she seems to be adjusting very well.

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I say "seems" as the drop-off/pick-up procedure is much different this year.  Drop-off is still in the back, but pick-up used to be at the classrooms.  In theory, it was probably not ideal for the teachers. Parents arrived early, congregated, chatted, and may have been a distraction for the kids still working.  Generally, no one arrived more than 5-10 minutes early, but when kids are already counting the minutes until the end of the school day...

Instead of seeing the teacher on a daily basis, even if to just wave hello and not bowl her over with 20 questions while she is trying to pack up and get home to her kids, we see her for a few seconds at drop-off.  Well, if we make it to drop-off.  Lately, we have had to zip around the front so she could hurry to the classrom, rather than congregate with friends in the back for a few minutes.

With Cait at a new school and this area not offering busing (really, folks who manage this area of school issues, what ARE you thinking?), we have to make it to two schools within 10 minutes each morning.  So, instead of one bus carting 50-60 kids, you have 40-50 individual cars dropping kids off.  I would gladly pay for a bus service, but apparently the powers that be prefer the additional traffic, pollution, and congestion of many cars trying to drop off several hundred kids in 15 minutes.

I will grant that many kids walk, ride their bikes or scooter.  However, most seem to live a lot closer, and have much lighter backpacks.  The daily cathunk-cathunk of Cait's backpack down the stairs still has me thinking something has fallen the first time I hear it each morning.  We are in a carpool, which helps immensely, but the school bus issue really needs to be revisited.  Though I am fairly sure if one ever showed up  that Nicholas would be tearfully jealous of Cait.  Who can forget Kelsey crying because she couldn't ride the big, yellow bus with Cait ?  Has it really been 5 years?

Since I do not have a daily chance to pester the teacher about Kelsey (as if), I move along believing that she is doing terribly well in all subjects.  Most papers come home stamped with happy faces, and a good or great on them.  She generally gives me a blow-by-blow, and I have not received any worrisome phone calls, emails, or FB updates. Well, we still have some math issues, but for the most part have vastly improved in that arena. Though if she spent half the time on math that she does on reading...NOT that I am complaining, but balance is a good thing, right?

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As Caitlin is in the Girls Chorus this year (and deeply enjoying it), we figured Kelsey should have an extra activity (read: sport).   She has always enjoyed playing soccer with Pete in the backyard, and even though (by San Ramon standards), she has practically reached retirement age, we decided it was time to try having her join a genuine soccer team.  Oh, and Pete volunteered to help assist the coach.  We thought that might add a nice bit of "quality time" to their day.

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Now, Coach Pete (apparently when you volunteer to help the coach, you actually volunteer to BE the coach) is having a grand ole time with two practices and a game each week.  Once on a team, the idea of playing soccer with folks other than her easygoing dad scared the pants off Kelsey.  I tried a small bribe*, it worked, and she practices, plays, and really seems to like it.  Maybe not her career, but she is enjoying it, and that's all that matters. It also doesn't hurt that she has a heckuva nice guy for a coach, and the few extra hours together each week have been really good for them.

*Yes, extremely bad parenting technique, and I normally don't use it.  However, it worked for the first few practices, and she then forgot about it.  Blast me if you will, but what's done is done, and she is having fun.

June 26, 2009

The skinny envelopes are the ones

that rip at your heartstrings.  The ones you receive after waiting weeks on end, imagining countless outcomes in your head?  The letters that you fear terribly (but since it could be good news), you run to the window every time you think  you hear the mail truck drive up?

Yes, that has been me for the past three weeks. Scared and nervous over a letter that is really not for me.  Silly, really, because in the end, I will be nothing more than a chauffeur at best.  The knot in my stomach started forming on the ninth of June, well, really the 5th...

It was the end of the year party for the children's church choir (yes, the one Cait was so nervous about joining last September, but ended up loving).  It was a two hour long affair with food, drinks, and, of course, music.  Cait was having a great time with a friend and when we came to pick her up, the choir director begged us to stay and eat leftover ice cream and strawberries (well, okay, twist our arms!).  She mentioned something about Caitlin and her singing, and we started discussing how things had turned out.  She had known that Cait might be nervous, and seemed happy with her progression throughout the year.  So much so, that she mentioned a local girls' chorus was having auditions the following week.

Cait was worried she couldn't do both, but I reassured her the two choirs were on different days.  Then she worried about other issues, while I fretted it was too late to get an audition.  Did I bother to think about how she would be the day of the audition?  Um, no.  Bad move, in hindsight. I emailed the address on the website, secured an audition (a group setting, it turns out) and voila, we were in...well, for the audition.

I relayed the information to Cait and she seemed more worried than I expected.  In fact, she was downright nervous by the time we arrived.  It got to the point where I actually agreed to leave, provided that she let me listen to the choir director speak.  The more I listened to him talk, the more I was so excited about the opportunity she was fearing.  He was so NICE, and funny.  He had a way of talking that instantly relaxed me, and I would have gladly auditioned had they asked (no worries on that end!). 

The auditions started, and she wanted nothing to do with it.  I decided we could leave, and she freaked...suddenly not knowing what she wanted to do.  I stopped to let the lady overseeing those waiting for auditions know that we were going, and she thoughtfully said we could wait to the side, have Cait sip some water, and see if she didn't feel better...if not, no worries, there was always next year.

So, we wait we did.  The first set of auditions ended, and miraculously, Cait was ready.  Nervous, face a bit streaked, but almost determined.  She came out after the longest 10 minutes of my life and admitted, "It wasn't so bad!".  Whew.

Then came the waiting.  The director mentioned that we would learn of their decision by mail.  I had all but given up, and simply assumed the worst.  Then today's mail came, and at the bottom of the pile (did the USPS lady KNOW?), there was the skinniest envelope I have ever seen.  I was tempted to tear up without reading, and recycle without further thought.  Instead I opened it and confronted things as my worst fears

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turned into a dream come true!  "Congratulations!", the letter practically screamed, as I became a bit excited and overwhelmed.  Poor Cait was happily chatting on the phone with a friend, and I am fairly sure, thought I had lost my mind.  She did it!  I was so ready to leave that day and let her not try, and she pulled up all her gumption and nerve, gave it a shot...and made it. Nope, I couldn't be prouder.