22 February 2011

Snow Day

On a recent winter day, when feet of snow were predicted and schools were closed the day before the actual snow event, we had an infestation in our yard.
These critters moved right in. They burrowed deep in the piles of snow. We were unaware of the great lengths they were going to to make a home in our hills of ice and snow. They used whatever they could to set up residence for the long haul.
We thought it might be a good idea to feed them out there, so they would not come into our home and ransack our cupboards. They were all snowy and would probably make a big mess.
Colin, Liam and their friend Tyler spent all day outside, literally hours. It was awesome.
And their igloo was pretty awesome, too. They had the front entrance (with a sled for a door) and an escape hatch in the back(with another sled for a door). It was huge inside - all three fit in there pretty comfy.
They wanted to make dinner out there, so Hero sent out a tub filled with pancake mix, syrup, pan, plates, forks and spatula to make pancakes on the little camp stove. They loved it. And they cleaned up, too.
And I was loving it, too. I love that they can spend hours working hard together in a united effort. They had time to enjoy their labors. They had a great time. They did not need any electronics to make this happen. They made it happen.
Lots of lessons here.
Sadly, the magic did wear off. After that first long day, it was abandoned. It looked a little more shrunken each time I saw it, until it disappeared in the 50 degree weather.
The evidence of the infestation was gone, but I am sure the memories will last forever.
We still have the critters though. Good thing we like that kind.

15 February 2011


Solo and Ensemble Festival for Middle Schools 2011
This was a first for me. Yet I have done it bunches of times. The first part for me was the instrument. All of Liam's siblings that have participated in S&E were string players.
Liam paved his own way by choosing the trombone. Liam paves his own way a lot - it is not easy being the youngest of five. I think "paving his own way" sounds better than "stubborn".
Anyway, Liam was not sure that he even wanted to play in the school band this year. I think what finally convinced him was the band teacher. Michael Rais is so cool, and he is excited about music (not to mention young - only about 6 years older than Alex!) He makes music fun. After meeting with him, Liam decided to give it a try.
When he started in the fall, Liam could play about 3 notes. I am not surprised - That trombone is tricky! It is all about the lips. At first, Liam tried and tried to make the notes, but could not quite get them, and relied on the rest of the section to sound good.
But, after lots of practice (not at home though), he was stringing different notes together that sounded like music. We could recognize stuff! Very exciting.
Registration for S&E came around in November. Liam was really not on board for this at all, but with some convincing from Colin and I (and most likely Mr. Rais), he agreed to participate. Once he had Rachel Clawson as an accompanist, he was actually pretty excited.
Until he got his music. And then had to learn it. And then had to practice it. And then had to go to the recital. And then had to actually go perform.
That kid.
(Liam performing with Rachel Clawson accompanying on the piano. What a good friend!)
The escort came for Liam a little early, but he was as ready as he would ever be, so he jumped at the chance to get it over with. She was very friendly and helpful, making sure Liam had everything ready and was tuned to the piano. It all came down to that moment.
And he performed. He did stop in the middle, as he lost his place (many of the measures look the same), but he got right back to it.
And then it was over.
The judge was wonderful. First appearances may have been deceiving, but Liam could not have asked for a more compassionate judge. He talked with Liam, gave him counsel and pointed out all the great things he was doing. Told him he should hang out with trombone players and jam. Very good experience all around.
Made his mom so pleased. May have shed a few tears pleased.
Waiting for the score can be stressful for most musicians, but Liam did not seem to concerned. But when the escort brought out the music book and score, there were big smiles. Liam had medaled with a score of 2 (1 being the top score). We packed up and got the award. Lots of good feelings at that point.
Even the next day, when the Bishop gave a lesson in Liam's class about trials and hard things, and overcoming and succeeding, Liam totally made the connection with this difficult thing he had done. He was very pleased with himself that he had succeeded. I was, too. I figured this would clinch things for next year in the band (which I was hoping he would do).
Last week, Liam brought home his schedule request for next year.
No band.
Seriously? No matter what approach I took, I could not guilt him into convince him to change his mind. No band next year. No band in high school. No marching band in high school. No more band concerts or performances. No more fundraising (OK, I will definitely be good with out the fundraising!) Bummer.
But, although Liam is stubborn, he knows what he wants. He gets to decide. I have to be okay with that.
Who knows what direction Liam will go. Next year, he has lots of different electives on his schedule. He may discover something really great that he loves.
Here he goes, paving his own way.

Liam has changed his mind! He is going to play in the band next year, and most likely play forever. A friend at school convinced Liam to keep on playing.
We pretended we were not thrilled.
But really we are.