Sunday, September 30, 2007

Play Date with the Haney's

The boys went over to play with Max and Maris yesterday! It was a great day... great weather, the kids played well (and hard!), and it was just nice to get to just 'hang out' for a change! Asa and Addison LOVE their backyard, especially the trampoline!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

We had another group class today. First of all, the boys get so much out of not just the classes they are taking, but simply by going to the music school itself. They are regulars on campus. They are comfortable there, carrying their doll-sized instruments alongside the college kids. We often walk into the lobby of the music school and see a case that catches their eye, or a student with an instrument walking past. Asa and Addison are fascinated by what they see, and the students there are happy to see them. There is some mutual fascination, and I nurture it every chance I get.

Once, a grey haired professor walked through the lobby with a rectangular case. The boys have stopped bass players, cellists, and violinists, and can recognize the cases they carry. This one was a mystery. They must have been able to sense the professor-ness of this man... the aura that most of them possess.. and they were intimidated. They whispered to me about the case, they stared. The man was talking with a student and they watched him. Had he been a 20 year old student they would have approached him with only a slight hesitation. This man was different. Was it okay?

When he was finished talking, I encouraged them to approach him and ask their question. "What is in the case?" "What instrument do you play?" I knew Asa would not. He is admittedly shy. Addison, however, loves to talk and will talk to anyone with ears. Again, this man was different somehow. The man started to walk away and a panic went over them both. Tears welled up... will they never know? I lead them to the man and let him know that they would like to ask him a question. "Of course they can." He did not smile or tell them how cute they were. He basically just said "yes". But, that was all they needed. Mom talked to him, he seems okay, Mom approves. He's no danger to us and Mom is right here.

They asked and the man told them that he would open the case for them, but they would have to guess what the instrument was. Their eyes widened. He's going to OPEN IT! He loosened the shiny latches and revealed not one, but two polished trumpets; one silver and one brass. They both yelled, 'Trumpets!" and were pleased. Then, he asked them what was in their cases. He guessed, "Are you in the mob? Are they tiny guns?" They smiled, proudly told him they were violins, and skipped away. I thanked the man and he looked at me and said, "This is a music school. That is my job."

On this day, we walked into the lobby to find a group of students (sophomores maybe) sitting in the chairs. One had a guitar and they were working or discussing something. The boys fixated on the guitar as we walked across the tile floor. We were a little early, so we picked a chair in the center of the huge room. Some of the girls in the group had cooed over the boys as we walked in, pointing at their little cases. We sat in the chair and Asa and Addison watched them work with the guitar.

Addison wanted to ask them what they were doing, and watched my face for approval. I told him that they seemed very nice and that it was okay. He walked over with absolutely no problem and asked, "How do you play that guitar?" They laughed and talked to him for a bit and asked him if he would like to try. He plucked the strings. This was motivation enough to propel Asa from his perch on my knee (where he was telling me how sometimes he gets shy) over to take his turn plucking the strings. They talked for a minute and then Addison asked them, "What are the names of your strings?" The boy answered, "E-A-D-G-B-E". Then, he asked Addison what instrument he played. "I play the violin." He asked him what his strings were called and both boys told them "E-A-D-G". They were having a conversation about their instruments and I sat across the room and grinned. The lessons they are taking may cost money, but we are all learning much more than what we are paying for. We are gaining confidence (not that Addison needed much help in that area), we are learning about people, we are leaning about social interaction, we are learning about ourselves, and we are learning about the value of learning.

When we go to class, Asa and Addison usually get to see our friend Brian (McLucas), who works there. Sometimes we run into him and occasionally we go to his office to say 'hi'. It's a small thing, but I think it plays a roll in making them comfortable there. I feel like all of these interactions help them to feel like the building is their school, too.

The boys' classes are taught in the Suzuki method. Here are a couple quotes that I liked from Shinichi Suzuki

Teaching music is not my main purpose. I want to make good citizens. If children hear fine music from the day of their birth and learn to play it, they develop sensitivity, discipline and endurance. They get a beautiful heart.

“I am mentally preparing myself for the five-year-old mind. I want to come down to their physical limitations and up to their sense of wonder and awe.”

“Music exists for the purpose of growing an admirable heart.”

Monday, September 24, 2007

Violin Lessons: From the mouths of loud mouth babes...

Violin lessons are going very well! The boys are getting really good at their posture and bow holds, which are things that you definatly want to master before learning to play. They know their musical alphabet and can name the stings on their violins. We're moving right along! Miss Becca said that we are getting close to putting those bows to the strings. They'll be so excited!

Group class with Miss Kristen has started up and it's interesting to see the different dynamic in a group setting. Addison won't stop talking, just like he does in front of church during Children's Moments. He wants to be the one to answer every question, and at a volume of 10. Asa, on the other hand, is shy in a group. He raises his hand and waits to be called on... and it's bad news if the teacher doesn't call on him... Last week Kristen asked the class to describe Bugs Bunny (in violin you learn to hold the bow by starting with "bow bunnies" with your hands). Lots of kids answered (and Addison answered loudly) but Asa sat with his hand raised. She didn't get to him and he stewed about it the entire class. He came up to me halfway through almost in tears about it. After class, he went up to the teacher and told her, "I wanted to tell you that Bugs Bunny has long ears". He felt much better.

I think I may separate the two of them as they sit around the circle in group class. Addison talks SO MUCH that I'm afraid she may not realize that he is the only one of my pair that speaks up. As time goes by, Asa will no doubt get more comfortable in there and loosen up some. He usually does.

Last week Kristin wanted to go over the parts of the violin with the class. Some of the kids are just starting their private lessons, so a lot of this is review for the boys. She explained that the violin has some parts that are the same as we have on our bodies. Then, she asked the class to name parts of the violin that we also have. Before she even asked the entire question, Addison's hand was up and as she finished up the question he yelled out, "F Hole!" Now, Kristin knows the fancy cut holes in the front of the violin are called f-holes... and I know this... and some of the kids and parents may have... but it was no doubt big laugh for the adults in the room.

Article from the Red & Black

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Deep thoughts

Addison and I went to the grocery store yesterday and left Asa and Jeff working in the yard. Actually, I was going to take both of them but Asa refused to go because he had to play with Daddy! Jeff called me to tell me this little conversation he had with Asa as they sat in the yard.

Out of the blue, Asa told Jeff, "I am going to do all kinds of things when I grow up... like be a trash man." After a little thought he added, "And drive a car. My own car. But, you'll have to teach me how to drive it 'cause I've been a little boy a long long time".

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Random vacation thoughts...

What a great trip! The kids got along great! The only time we heard any complaints among them was over the choice of bedtime music, and even that was pretty polite. We absolutely wore them OUT! The last full day we were there, Jeff and Brian brought sandwiches down for us to eat by the pool. Asa hadn't touched his sandwich... he was sitting there with his head propped up in both hands. When I asked him what was wrong he told me that he couldn't eat his sandwich because he couldn't hold him head up... could he PLEASE take it upstairs and lay down? Wow. Success!

Twice we spotted schools of dolphins from our balcony of our room. We found lots of seashells, and even caught some pretty big crabs out at the sandbar. (Asa said that he likes crabs best when they're dead... so we can eat 'em!) Asa assisted in making a sandcastle with a neighboring family. As the father dug in the sand he came across a dead minnow. Asa's eyes lit up. Can I have that dead fish?!?! I can feed it to my crab! I think the man was amused. Sure enough, the crab chowed down.

The boys got to sleep in a bunkbed (rotating the top bunk with Anna) and loved it. Now they want to know when we can bunk their beds, which luckily is a possibility as long as we can find the ladder in Mom's barn.

One day he and Jeff were hanging out in shallow water and Addison asked him, "Daddy? Do sharks live in lakes or in the ocean?" "The ocean." Jeff replied. He thought really hard for a while and asked, "Do they swim in shallow water or out in the deep?" Jeff told him they swam in both. Addison sounded a little more nervous with each question. "Do they swim in the daytime or at night?" Again, the answer was both. Without a word, he stuck pretty close to the shore the rest of the trip.

Hey, at least this time was based on fact... unlike when Jeff told him before we went to the circus (even as we pulled into the parking deck and walked into the stadium) that the tigers came out and ate little boys in the audience.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Slideshow of our trip

I'll post the narrative tomorrow (hopefully), but as for now you'll have to settle for pictures from our trip. We had an absolute blast and we wore those kids OUT! You'll see pictures of the kids water playground... that was in the resort! The beach was gorgeous, there was a "lazy river", covered and uncovered pools, hot tub (which Addison had no idea was hot and plunged into... luckily I was there to quickly scoop him up. He was a little shocked. "Daddy, why do you go into a pool that is hot??"), grills by the pool, an arcade, miniature bowling and fabulous rooms including a kids' room with bunk beds. If any of you have kids and want to head to Panama City, I highly recommend staying at "Splash".

For those of you surfing the web on the job, you may want to turn your sound down, or off, unless you want your entire office to hear the Ramones coming from your cubicle.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Off we go... again!

Whew. We just got back from a trip yesterday, and now we're off tonight for the next one! Sunday, Jeff and I caught a flight to Orlando. Jeff had to work on a certain park's system, and I came along for the ride. The boys got to see Uncle Charlie, Aunt Kristi, Taylor, Cameron, and even the allusive Uncle Hal while we were gone. We came back late Tuesday night and left at 6am yesterday morning to get Jeff to work and the boys to preschool... last night they had their violin group lesson (they have their private one this afternoon), and then I've been speed-packing and getting ready to tonight! Whew!! I'll be sure to take lots of pictures as we play on the beach with Ellen, Brian, Anna and Bennett this weekend!

The other night, Addison took a look at his tummy scar (where he had his pyloric stenosis surgery while in the NICU) and said... "Is this where they sewed Asa and I together?" Um... I have no idea if he thought they were stuck together and this is where they separated them, or if he thought they were apart and the doctors sewed them together at some point?? I have no idea. I hopefully cleared that one up before anyone has their preschool class ooing and aahing over having Siamese Twins in the class.