The Tuesday before Thanksgiving was the big fall concert for the Armstrong Atlantic Youth Orchestra, and Lola Gray’s orchestral debut. She looked incredibly grown up in her long skirt and black patent “high heeled” shoes! Lola played 3 songs with the Debut Strings Ensemble, and Fletcher played both with Debut and with the Lyric Strings Ensemble. (Videos of both groups are below.)
Fletcher’s sweet friend Skylar came to watch, as did our favorite first grade teacher, Mrs. Ferrell. The kids were amazing, as usual. I am constantly blown away by their skill and dedication, and could not be more proud.
Our fall has been so crazy this year, I feel like October just slipped past almost un-noticed. We only managed to get out a fraction of our Halloween decorations this year, but the kids helped put up the mice on the stairs and spiderwebs on the bushes, and even though Raymond was out of town we managed to get our pumpkins carved before Halloween Day. I consider that a big success!
And the kids’ costumes this year were definitely a big success! Fletcher knew from the start that he wanted to be Lucario – his favorite Pokemon of the moment. Lola Gray took a bit longer deciding, but finally settled on being a cloud. We made both costumes, a decision I was cursing in the weeks leading up to Halloween when I had waaaaaay too much on my plate and was totally overwhelmed. But in the end, both costumes turned out fantastically well (despite the fact that Lola lost fluff all over the neighborhood), and the kids were thrilled. They had by far the most creative costumes I saw that night, but then, I have by far the most creative kids I know so that shouldn’t be a surprise.
As an extra treat, the kids were able to wear costumes to school on Halloween day, something they have never done before. The costumes had to be book characters, so Fletcher’s Lucario worked but Lola’s cloud did not. Instead, she chose to be Lola from Charlie and Lola! A more perfect costume for her I can not imagine.
We missed having Raymond home for Halloween and trick-or-treating, but I know next year will be here before we know it. I think we might need to revive the Gaddy Halloween party in 2014!
My baby sister got married over the weekend. It’s strange, because in my head she is still 6 years old, as she was when I left home for college. It’s strange, because she lives across the ocean now and I have only met the man she married twice, including this weekend. But she is married, none the less. It was a beautiful wedding and a beautiful weekend (aside from the most humiliating wedding toast fail on my part, which is still making me cringe 4 days later – I really hope that starts to fade soon . . .)
Last week I was able to tag along with the JGS 2nd grade as they took a walking tour of downtown Savannah. We learned about General Oglethorpe, Yamacraw Chief Tomochichi, and the founding of Savannah. We saw the cobblestones on River Street which were once the ballast on ships sailing from England. We saw the spot where General Oglethorpe lived in a tent for 2 years until every other colonists had built their home, then we visited the location where he built his house (now the US Customshouse.) We visited Tomochichi’s grave and learned about Mary Musgrove and Toonahawi, and then we walked to Forsyth Park for a picnic lunch. It was a lot of walking, but the weather was beautiful and I was so happy to spend the day with my best girl and her sweet friends. And I learned something about the history of my city to boot!!
For the past week, a group of Tibetan monks have been in residence at the Jepson Center, creating an intricate sand mandala. Raymond and the kids went down on Saturday to watch them work, and the kids even got the chance to use some of the monks’ tools and explore the process, which they loved. I had to work an admissions event and couldn’t join them, but Raymond took lots of photos.
Sunday afternoon we went back to the museum and joined over 1,000 other spectators as the monks ceremonially destroyed the mandala and then carried it to the river. The place was packed, and my view looked like the photo below:
But honestly, that was ok. It forced me to put down the camera and focus instead on the amazing, echoing chanting of the monks as they prayed and swept up the sand painting they had worked so hard to create. It was a beautiful experience.
The kids managed to squeeze their way up to the front and were literally standing right next to the monks. Fletcher took some great photos and video where you can really see how close he was, and Raymond got some nice video over the crowd as well. I particularly love hearing Lola’s sweet whisper at the end of Fletcher’s video. Man do I have great kids!
These last 2 photos are from the newspaper’s Spotted section – you can see Fletcher right up front next to the monks.
This year we went to Charleston a few days before the start of fiddle camp for a mini-vacation and to enjoy the pre-camp fiddle festival featuring camp instructors. Friday night’s lineup included Fletcher’s group class teacher from last year, Michelle George, who was also Lola’s master class teacher this summer as well as Lola’s favorite teacher Hazel Ketchum and Fletcher’s favorite teacher the amazing Ellen Lee. It was so neat to see the teachers perform with their bands, doing what they do when they aren’t in the classroom!
Saturday we visited the Charleston Museum, with it’s odd collection of taxidermy, war memorabilia and textiles. We had a great lunch at Five Loaves Cafe, visited the farmers market and the old city market with it’s sea grass baskets and tacky t-shirts, and caught a River Dogs baseball game. (It happened to be Christmas in July, thus the odd Santa pictures.) It was a nice lead-in to the week of fiddle camp. We had plans to visit the aquarium but ran out of time – something for next year!
This past weekend found us in Roanoke for a quick visit before sending Fletcher and Lola Gray off to camp with their cousins. Though we really only had a day and a half in Roanoke (sandwiched between loooooong 8 hour car trips to and from Savannah) we certainly made the most of our time! We swam in the (freezing cold!) pool, walked the dogs at my grandparents’ house one last time before it is sold and picked apples from my grandfather’s trees. We took in a Salem Red Sox game, and when that was rained out we headed across the way to the Salem County Fair for some carnival rides and funnel cake. The next day we swam some more and then headed out for Camp Roanoke! The visit was short, but definitely sweet.
Somehow, we are suddenly well into summer and I haven’t posted in weeks. After our non-stop adventure last summer, things are pretty quiet around here this year. I will admit there are times when I feel like we are missing out, times when I long to hit the road see something new, do something different. I tend to over-do it sometimes, this wanting to make memories for our family. But when I stop and think about it, this summer is full of the kind of memories I want my children to have. There has been lots of time at the pool, lots of reading, lots of lounging around. We have picked blueberries, played with friends, and cheered on the Sand Gnats. And while I am shocked at how quickly July has come knocking, we still have weeks of fun ahead of us!
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.