Mother’s Day weekend we finally were able to make another camping trip with our dear friends the Heidels. Fletcher brought along his best buddy, Benjamin, to even out the boy/girls count.
We camped at Crooked River State Park in St. Mary’s, Georgia in a campsite that backed up to the river and was within shouting distance of the playground. There was plenty of room for the kids to run, and Friday evening we were able to see an armadillo run though camp (the first wild, living armadillo I have ever seen!!) and watch dolphins playing in the river at sunset. Not bad at all.
Saturday morning we boarded a ferry and spent the day on Cumberland Island. It was a truly magical place. The ferry ride took about 45 minutes, and at one point we saw a pod of dolphins following the boat and playing in the wake. They were jumping and diving it was so incredible to watch! Shortly after that we came to Cumberland and saw wild horses grazing near the first ferry stop. Sadly, they were the only horses we saw that day (unlike our experience at Assateague where the horses were everywhere) but the island itself was so amazing it didn’t matter a bit. Somehow I wasn’t expecting the canopy of live oaks that greeted us as we walked across the island to the beach. It was like we had stepped into a movie. Just unreal. Next time, we plan to camp on Cumberland so we can spend more time and explore more of the island. As it was, we spent our few hours picnicking on the pristine beach and hunting for shells. Raymond found an enormous conch shell with a huge animal inside! (I guess it was a conch?) The kids were able to earn another Junior Ranger badge, and then we boarded the ferry for the ride home.
Saturday night it rained, so we headed home early on Sunday. It gets so hot down here we likely won’t be able to camp again until the fall, but I am ready!
I will never get tired of seeing this child in a bow tie. So handsome. And really talented. He outgrew the Debut Ensemble this year, and it wasn’t much of a challenge for him. In the fall he will audition for the next level up, and I think that will be much more interesting!
After the concert, Lola Gray told me she wants to audition for orchestra next year too. It seems she is in love with the shoes the girls were wearing. Hopefully that will carry over into a love of the music as well!
Play Streets is a national initiative offering a high-impact approach to encouraging and increasing physical activity, particularly in neighborhoods that lack sufficient open space for activity. Savannah is one of 10 cities selected for the 2013 program, and this past weekend was their first big event. The program closed Lincoln Street to traffic and hundreds of kids came out to play in the streets. There was dancing, music, hula hooping, dodge ball (a much friendlier version than I remember as a child!) and – the main event – Savannah set a Guinness Book World Record for the most people playing hopscotch simultaneously! (The previous record was set in London in 2011, with a total of 358. We heard Savannah had around 400!) Fletcher is immensely proud to hold a world record, and we all had a great time to boot.
Lola Gray loves pesto more than almost anything in the world. She also loves digging in the dirt, hunting for bugs, and doing things her own way. This weekend we combined all these loves into Lola’s private garden. She planted basil, purple basil, snapdragons, lavender and daisies. It was quite the hodgepodge, but it was exactly the way she wanted it.
Another week and another weekend have come and gone. How do they pass so quickly?? This week found us enjoying beautiful spring weather in the backyard. It is amazing what a difference the sod has made! Not only is it significantly prettier out back now that we have grass instead of dirt, but we find ourselves spending a lot more time out there. This weekend Lola planted her very own little garden full of basil (for pesto!) and flowers. We played with friends, ran screaming after the ice cream truck and ate ice cream before dinner, attended our first Sand Gnats game of the season, and helped set a world record for the most simultaneous hopscotch games! Not a bad weekend, I’d say.
A more apt title for this post might be “What have we started???”
This past weekend, we took our little fiddlers to north Georgia, in the foothills of the Appalachian, for the 2013 Bear on the Square mountain festival in Dahlonega. It was amazing. The festival brought together traditional musicians and craftspeople for a weekend of festivities, and while the headline acts on the main stage were certainly impressive, the really exciting thing about the festival is that the entire downtown area turns int one big jam session. You couldn’t walk 10 steps without coming upon a group of folks just playing music. And, as we predicted, it took no time at all for Fletcher and Lola to want in on the act.
They picked a sunny corner and each played a few tunes. Right away people stopped to listen, and within a matter of minutes, they earned their very first (gold) dollar! We did other things – listened to some great music, ate ice cream and shopped for souvenirs, learned to felt soap and build boxes with clay. The kids even got to pan for gold and Lola found a raw ruby! But after that first taste of playing fiddle for an audience, those kids really only had one thing on their minds.
It was an amazing thing to watch! Crowds gathered whenever they started playing. People threw dollar bills into their open violin cases and told them they were investing in the future of fiddle music. I can’t even begin to imagine how many photos and videos of my children are out there right now – everyone pulled out their cameras. And the kids loved every second of it. They quickly figured out a system where they took turns playing songs – Lola even started to dance a little while Fletcher played. That girl was born to be on stage. We forced the kids to stop playing so we could sit and eat a late lunch at the Crimson Moon, but no sooner did we walk in the door than the band invited the kids to come on stage and play a tune! Guess who jumped at the chance (and dragged her brother with her!) I honestly don’t know where she gets it. The child is fearless.
All total, the kids earned just over $86 in tips for their fiddling. Not bad for a days work. But more than the money, I think it was a huge boost to their confidence – Lola in particular just blossomed. She only knows four songs, and she played them over and over (and got a lot better in the process!) but even when she was just playing scales people would clap for her. These kids have big plans for the next festival – I can only imagine that next year they will show up armed with a plan and ready to perform!
I love Thursdays. For the past year or so, Thursday afternoons have been for violin lessons which means I get some precious one-on-one time with each of my kiddos while the other one is in their lesson. This week the weather was beautiful, so we spent the time on Miss Erica’s front porch, listening through the window as Fletcher learned Peek-a-Boo Waltz and Lola Gray learned Amazing Grace.