Sunday, October 11, 2015

Fall pictures from this weekend

I love autumn. I have spent a lot of time outside in the past few days. Yesterday I attended a local fair and today was so beautiful that I just kept going outside. These pictures are not the highest quality but they show what it looks like around here lately. Looking over these pictures, I feel like I had the camera on the wrong setting. The colors looked a lot more vibrant in person. Guess you'll have to come visit me in MA if you want the real thing!

 This row of aliens just made me laugh.
 You know what else made me laugh? This man with a Minecraft sword. Matt couldn't believe I snuck a picture. Seriously though, when am I going to see this again?

 Tim tried his hand at riding a mechanical bull. He did pretty well. He's concentrating very hard as you can tell by his tongue hanging out in almost every picture. (Which is also why that cut on the side of his lip won't heal.. )

 Pretty scarves
 Animals at the fair

 I loved this cute little goat

 Eating the paint? Surely the hay isn't THAT bad.
 Sand sculpture.
 Displays outside the flower building done by a local nursery.

 Inside the flower building.
 Look at these amazing flowers and displays. I am not usually one to insist upon getting expensive flowers, but you have to admit these are beautiful. (If you insist on buying me expensive flowers, I have recently come across this site. How beautiful are those!?)

 There was a really cool bird with this bird but I couldn't get a good picture.

 This painting was done by a friend of mine. I just took a picture of it because I was proud of her. Way to go Judi!!!

 Outside my house this afternoon

Pictures from a walk with Timmy. 


Friday, October 9, 2015

A Lovely Night

  A Lovely Night... did you get it? (It's a song from Cinderella)  As promised, here are some pictures from when I went to see Cinderella at the Boston Opera House.
    David before the show started. We were waiting for our 2 friends that we had invited along.
Intermission selfie. I figured I'd take a matching picture with David. Can you tell I took this with my horrible cell phone camera?

 David, Andy and I. (I rescued him from that throng of girls behind us.. lol)  I've already mentioned how proud I am of him so I won't gush. I love how little David looks next to him. This is a really nice picture that I'm going to frame and put in my office at school.

    This is another cool, but somewhat surreal, photo. The woman on the left was one of my first music teachers. She encouraged me to sing, started me playing the flute (Which I had to quit because my parents made me choose between flute and piano) and has been an encouragement to me since we reconnected. I've been thinking a lot about influence lately and watching how many people have gone to see Andy. (Friends, former classmates, teachers, family)  I believe that we are all made up of the little moments where someone has invested in us. Sometimes influence can be negative or push us into an "I'm not going to be that way" route but many times small moments in time weave us into the people that we become. I'd like to think that this is one of the teachers role who was helped me to become a better musician and music teacher and that that has spread down to every student I have had. Andy's parents were also extremely supportive and encouraging to me when I first started teaching, so all of these relationships are definitely  give and take situations. 
      Many of you reading right now have also been influences in my life. Thank you for being part of my life. I am richly blessed by knowing all of you. If you've been reading the blog and I don't know you (I've seen a lot of people from UAE reading lately), please drop me an e-mail or comment and introduce yourself. I love getting to know new people. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Currently 10/7

     I've been watching the newest season of Castle.
 I've liked that show for a while. I like all of the characters. I'm not sure about this season yet, but hopefully it holds my interest. I like all of the actors and actresses involved in the show too so I feel a weird loyalty to the show. I know I'm weird.
     I'll probably watch Survivor tonight to wind down.

     James Patterson's Unlucky 13.
   It's a quick read but I'm finding it a little slow. I enjoy it when I'm reading it, but I'm not really invested in the characters or the story. 

    To all of my new choruses. Personality wise, they are VERY different from last year. Here's my thoughts so far:
5th grade- super chatty and "young" but they have potential. Once people stop talking to their friends instead of singing, things will move quickly. They are doing very well moving quickly, singing different parts from each other and following directions... when they stop talking. I'm about 20 chairs short in my room for this group, which doesn't help. (I have about 65 chairs in my room already. I don't think we're going to be able to fit 20 more.)

6th grade- Lots of potential. I'm very excited about this group. Many of them continued from last year. I lost a few great singers (Chorus is opposite what is essentially a study so the "busy" kids figure out they can get their homework done IN school and I lose them.) and a few chatty kids who distracted the group. I also gained a few new students to the district. We continued right where they left off last year and they are doing great.

7th/8th- I lost a TON of really responsible, kind, talented 8th graders last year and I'm feeling their loss big time. My 7th graders are good and hard-working but my 8th graders are probably weaker than most of my grades. (Weaker in leadership skills and effort.)  There are a handful of kids who are where I hoped they'd be but it's hard to have them after a year of having stellar students. I'm anticipating that the 7th graders are going to step up as the leaders of this group. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. On a good note, I started off with 3 boys (Gasp... horrible. I had 28 in there last year. Did I mention I miss last year's 8th graders?) and now I'm up to about 10, so that is good. I worked with the 7th grade boys yesterday and they're really working hard for me.

Chorale- This is my after school group. They are shy as a group but they are serious and are following many theory things I've given them. I've worked through some pretty complicated concepts and skills over the past few rehearsals and they're exceeding my expectations with a few things. They need to come together as a group a little bit more. Once that happens, there will be more growth.

     Nothing. I have been so busy. It's sad.

     I've been feeling a little... cluttered lately. I have had a lot of my mind and a lot to do. I have been craving some quiet time with God and some quality time with friends. I have also examined some of my relationships and I've discovered that I am drained by negativity and that some of my friendships are way weaker than I had thought. I need to re-prioritize my time and energy. (Coming in November I think...)

     Working on revamping some music curriculum at school. I'm also trying to adjust to Matt's changing work schedule. For the first time in many, many years, each week is different, which is creating havoc in our schedules.

    My boys and musical theater. Timmy and I went to go see Billy Elliot last week. It was pretty good. If I hadn't seen it for the first time on Broadway, I would've been blown away. The boys who played Billy and Michael are getting a bit old for the role. There were some notes that Billy strained on, but I loved him. He was very knowledgeable about how to make his voice work for him and if I didn't teach voice, I would have barely noticed the strain. Michael, on the other hand, had some notes that were out of his range or out of tune.
     This is my favorite song from the show. (Take out the tissues) I seriously cannot listen to this without crying. I think if I was going to try out for a show, I would like to be Billy's mom. Here's me and my real boy :)
    Tomorrow I get to take the other little guy out. This is going to be a really special night. 1) I'm going out with David. 2) I'm seeing Andy Jones, one of my former students  play the role of Prince Topher in the national tour of Cinderella. (I'll also see his beautiful fiance again) 3) I'm seeing another one of my old students, Shane, there. 4) My friend Jessie and her daughter, Teagan, will be joining us. I think this is Teagan's first real show and I know she'll be mesmerized. 5) My first music teacher, Ms. Kelley, knew Andy was one of my students so she planned to be there on the same night. She is treating David and I to appetizers and I'm going to introduce her to Andy after the show. It will be such a special night to me to be with so many important people in my past and present. I'll put a cute picture up sometime over the weekend. 

Lovely Letters Penpal Exchange

    I stumbles upon Local Adventurer one day a while back and saw that they hosted a little penpal exchange. Being a snail mail nerd, I of course liked the whole idea of being paired up with someone random. On the other hand, I feel horribly behind in life so I debated whether or not signing up was a good idea. I decided to give it a go to see who I would be matched up with. The expectations for the swap are very clear so it wasn't any pressure.
     I got matched up with a woman named Karm from Arizona. She writes a blog about her family and their adventures being a football family. She also takes wonderful pictures! (Check out her blog here)  The theme for the letter/package was "back to school."  She has 4 sons so I could've sent some school supplies but I ended up sending football related treats instead. I wondered if back to school for her was also a time where she and her family got excited to getting back to the football season. (Kind of like I do for baseball season,) I sent her a travel mug that would hold hot or cold drinks, some Land o'Lakes Mint Cocoa *yum* and a puzzle of Gilette Stadium. I was a little nervous about sending New England Patriots stuff after this past season but... I hoped her sons would like it.
     I received her letter and package last week and it included some great stuff. I'm really excited to get to know her better. Here's a picture of the items she sent.
There was:
- a letter from Karm
-2 cups of tea. I'm drinking the white pomegranate tea right now. It's pretty yummy and nice for a chilly MA evening.
-a postcard
-an Arizona pencil
- Creme Brulee hot chocolate. I've never tried anything like this before. When I busted into the package tonight that's what I was going for, but the tea called me. :) I'll save this for another day!
- Stickers. 1 sheet for my students and the other 2 will be reserved for my penpals!
- Brown craft labels
- Blackboard labels.   I have always wanted to try to get crafty with labels, but never have. Thanks for the opportunity. I'm searching out the perfect use for them.
       Thanks again, Karm! I look forward to writing you back!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Fall is coming!

     This is what I felt like when I saw the weather forecast this week. I'm pretty sure that I've mentioned that I am NOT a hot weather person. These past few weeks my classroom has been unbearably hot and I'm excited to say that it looks like it will be lower 75 (outside at least) every day.  Many of my friends are mourning the end of summer but I love the autumn. Here are things I'm looking forward to:
    At the beginning of October, I am bringing Timmy to see Billy Elliot. It has some language and themes that are a little mature for him but I think he'll be fine. I know he will LOVE it. It's one of my favorites. We are seeing it at a local theater near our house (bigger and more professional than just a local community theater company.)

    This guy hits the double digits on October 4th. He is quickly catching up to my students.
Cinderella - Production Photos - National Tour
   Bringing David, my friend Jessie and her daughter Teagan to see a former student in the national tour of Cinderella. (He's Prince Topher here)  We're going to the Boston Opera House. David has only seen one show before and I'm sure we'll get a chance to chat with Andy after the show.  (This photo was by Carol Rosegg. I copied it from the website so I wanted to give proper credit) 

     Apple picking. (everybody on this tractor is a relative on Matt's side.. and it's not even all of us.)  
    My birthday!

    There are so many more things too- hot chocolate, firepits, changing leaves, chilly nights, apple pie, apple crumb, even cooking warm dinners- like a roast beef dinner. Yum. I don't look forward to anything pumpkin since Timmy is deathly allergic.
     What are some of your favorite fall things where you live?