Piano Lessons. It's such a love hate relationship for me. I hate the part of enforcing the kids to practice the piano and the battles that always seem to follow. Life is so much easier when there isn't piano (like when we take the month off of piano in summer. . . ahhhh, nothing compares!) but the guilt of having them quit is overwhelming. For whatever reason I just can't do it. So they continue to take piano even though I know some months are just a waste of money and the time needed to practice just wasn't there. Busier with football, school, soccer, whatever else and they didn't have the time they needed to dedicate to piano and I didn't have the time to sit down and help them with their songs (not that I could help Jack. He's long since left me behind.) but at least they are progressing, even if it is slow and steady. It's progression and that really is more than enough! And the big reward for all of their hard work comes once a year at their piano recital. They each played two songs and did a great job. And we are all now enjoying the two week break for Christmas vacation.
Grandma, Grandpa, Morgan, Griffin and Gavin excited to hear all of the talent!
Ryan got to go first. He was so nervous. He kept saying all day that he just couldn't wait for tomorrow. Knowing this was all behind him. He didn't really practice his songs until the day of his recital which probably didn't help calm his nerves. And of course he pulled it off like a champ!
Hadley had quite the time getting her recital songs. The first Christmas song her teacher gave her was a little advanced for her but something I knew she could learn with practice. She didn't even want to try and surprisingly, one day when it was time to practice, that piece of music just disappeared. The next week her teacher had to give her a different piece because the one that disappeared was her only copy. The new was full of octaves that her little fingers couldn't even reach. It was much harder than her original piece and I could tell one little girl was regretting the "disappearing music" from the week before. She practiced it for a few weeks but it was obvious it was going to take a few months, not weeks, for her to master the piece. So her teacher gave her two songs she already knew and changed the title of "Country Hoe Down" to "Christmas Hoe Down" and she was set.
Jack is busy with school homework and practicing the trumpet and piano every night. He does better with his practicing some weeks than others. He's usually trying to fit in all of his trumpet practicing the last week of the quarter and staying up until late hours and waking up early to fit in 20+ hours of trumpet. His recital songs were beautiful and he continues to learn and grow in his piano talent!
Why it that whenever you have a camera in your hand and you're trying to hold really still that your kids decide it's the perfect time to hang on your legs and talk to you? And not sure what happened to the sound while I was taping Hadley. Must've (is that not a word? It's showing up on my spell checker. Oh well) had my hand over the mic. Enjoy! I kept it short just for you.
We went directly from the piano recital to my extended family Christmas party. It was a little different this year. It was our first year without our Santa and we felt his absence. I spent most of the weekend putting together a DVD for the party. Footage from 1969 through the previous Christmas. It just reminded me how lucky I am to be a part of this amazing family. The memories and traditions of Christmas are so valuable to me. My childhood memories of Christmas always go immediately to my Grandma Norma's house on Christmas Eve. Sitting on Santa's lap. Sharing in laughter with my cousins. Eating yummy food. Being all together. So the tradition continues in it's own way. Santa got too old after 40 years of coming to our Christmas party and it just didn't seem right replacing the real Santa with one of his helpers. At least not yet. We still gather together. My aunts and uncles. My cousins. Their spouses and their children. It's crowded but it's full of family and just the way Christmas should be celebrated.
This year we had two new little girls join the party. Aren't they the sweetest little things?
My little one couldn't get enough of them. This girl LOVES babies! Really loves them. And she does really well holding them until it's time to give them back. Then she gets overwhelmed with her excitement and screams. It always scares the sweet little baby (and whoever is near). Thanks Doree for letting Morgan fill her cup up with baby love this night. It means so much to her!
There's lots of eating and catching up too.
And then it's time for the Christmas program. We used to do the program when we were young but now our children read the parts. I love seeing the tradition continue with the next generation. And it's impossible to do this program without fond memories of Grandma Norma. She cried through the whole program. Every year. Overwhelmed with the spirit of Christmas and love for her family. Oh how I miss my cute Grandma Norma!
Morgan read the last lines of the program. I don't know if anyone else could hear her soft words but I know I loved hearing her read about the birth of our Savior.
Instead of Santa . . . we had Christmas crafts.
Bracelet making for the older girls.
Sticker nativities and snowflake ornaments for the younger kids.
It's not a Christmas party without a forced picture. Jack and Ryan had been playing basketball in the court and were a hot, sweaty mess for this picture and not excited about putting on their sweaters to pose for this picture but they did it. They grow up too fast to not get a picture (even if it's forced) of all of us together every once in awhile.
P.S. The DVD was the hit of the party. The old, never seen before, footage was perfect for the evening even if it did make it that much harder not having Santa at the party!