Thursday, May 15, 2014

Feis Season Has Returned

A large portion of our family time is spent doing Irish dance or dance related activities. This past fall we made a very dramatic move for our family and changed dance schools. A lot of prayer and discussion went into this decision because it would mean leaving a lot of friends that we really loved. As well, it would mean a six month ban on competition under the North American Irish Dance rules. It’s not something to be done lightly. However, we LOVE our new school Rince na h’Eireann. Miss Lisa, our teacher and school operator, is wonderful. Our Raleigh location is one of six locations in NC. We knew a number of people at our new school prior to our move and they welcomed us with open arms. The kids have made lots of new friends, as well, Andrew has other boys to dance with. But now our six months are up and we’ve already got a number of competitions lined up for this year.

I decided to post on our latest trip to Charlotte, NC. A feis is an Irish dance competition. It’s pronounced ‘fesh’. I’m assuming it’s a Gaelic word. The plural of feis is feisanna. Competing is not mandatory but it sure is fun and the kids enjoy it. We try to pick competitions close to home that don’t require a long drive. Charlotte is only about 3 hours down the road. This feis was put on by our school. It’s an annual fundraiser for a home for special needs children who’s care is more than their families can handle on their own. All the proceeds from the feis go to the Holy Angels Home here in NC.

In Irish dance there are several different types of steps and shoes, jigs, reels, sets. Aria and Andrew each competed in 5 different steps based on their skill level and age level. Andrew is a skill level ahead of Aria so he gets a solo costume. For a boy that means a fancy vest. His vest is covered in sparkles that don’t really show up in the pictures very well. Some of the girls costumes are COVERED in crystals. And, yes, I made Andrew’s vest. I took his old plain black one apart. I’m pretty proud of myself. Hopefully, when Aria is that level I’ll be able to make her first dress too.



Aria is still an advanced beginner so she’s wearing her school dress and of course her little wig. Almost all the girls in Irish dance wear wigs. As she moves up she’ll get some ‘bigger’ hair. Right now she just wears a little bun wig but she loves the curls.



For each dance all the competitors line up at the back of the stage. A judge sits at a table in front of them with a tally sheet. The kids dance 2 or three at a time and bow when they finish their steps. The results are tallied and then posted. Depending on how big a venue is will determine how many stages they have. This place was small so there were three stages going at once with three judges.

One of Aria’s soft shoe dances. She’s in the middle of the line.


She’s next to start dancing.


Andrew was the only boy in most of his dances, makes him easier to spot in the pictures. His group is from the edge of the stage to the white line.  In this dance Andrew took second place.


Aria and Andrew both did very well. Aria received two second places, a third, and a fourth. Andrew got a first, second, and a third. We’re very proud of how well they do but also of how they are learning to win and lose gracefully. Travelling, sleeping in a hotel, up early, and working hard means sleeping on the way home.


Aria’s hair after the wig comes out.


The results are in and they’re ready to go again.

This fall Joshua and Christopher will be joining in the fun. They’re eager to start collecting those medals too.

Friday, May 02, 2014


The Saturday of the St. Patrick’s Day parade dawned bright and warm. Little did we know that when we got downtown, instead of warm and sunny, it was cold, windy and shady. BRRR! The kids danced really well but it certainly was an adventure in chilly.

This was on the front steps before we set out.


Friday, April 11, 2014

The Swing Set

*coming soon…all the other stuff I’ve been meaning to post
Nathan spent many hours last week putting our new play set together. When it says 9-12 hours for assembly go ahead and assume they mean triple that. But, it’s finally together. And it’s a hit.
The children did help where they could but this was definitely a labor of love.
There’s our play set…on the back of a big truck.image-9
Poor delivery man carried it all by himself from the road to the back yard.
Putting the first pieces together.
Nathan took a vacation day to get as much as he could in one day. (view from the laundry room)
A day of progress. 
By Saturday we were finally making some progress.
Time to assemble the roof!
Aurelia was napping so William got the first swing ride. He’s seven months old now and such a sweetie.
That roof was heavy. And kind of awkward. image-1
There she is! And boy is that slide fast.
TADA! And now for some ‘action’ shots.
Chalkboard in the tree house.
Ladder and back view.
Front view.
Glamor shot!
Monkey bars that come off that back.
Climbing the rock wall with the rope.
She’s a beauty and the kids are having a blast. Thanks so much!!!!!DSC_0586

Monday, November 25, 2013

Aches and Pains

also known as Andrew’s birthday party. Andrew had a big party with friends and a sleepover last year. This year we decided to do something just as our family. There’s an indoor trampoline place in Raleigh called Defy Gravity. Monday night is family night and for a very reasonable price. We got a babysitter for William and Aurelia and just took the big kids. They ALL had a blast. We will definitely be taking advantage of that again. Here are a few pictures and videos from that night. I only had my phone so the pictures aren’t great quality. There are several videos at the end of the post for Grandma. I figured she would enjoy watching Nathan jumping since he spent a lot of time as a kid jumping on her trampoline.
A view of most of the space.

 Christopher in relation to the trampolines.

Nathan flying high.

Andrew taking a dive into the 8 foot deep foam pit.

There are things hanging from the ceiling, eg-basketball goal, punching bags, ball, etc. You can jump up and sink a basket here. Christopher and Nathan shooting hoops.


Pretty much the only picture where Joshua isn't a blur.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Trick or Treat

For Halloween the boys wanted to be the Robertson’s from Duck Dynasty. They’re a Christian family that is about as redneck as they come. And I say that will all love. Don’t forget-I’m WV and KY bred and born. Aria was unsure what to be. I decided I had some things I could remake and she and Aurelia could be matching little black cats. After trick or treating for awhile Andrew and Joshua came home to hand out candy with me. They ended up hiding in the bushes and jumping out to scare the middle and high schoolers who were out. They totally cracked me up!

Here are some pictures before they headed out. Nathan took Aurelia with them in the stroller and she had a blast strolling around the neighborhood. She was much admired!




And someone had too much sugar and face planted right on her bed, ears still on.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Pumpkin Carving

Here are some pictures from our recent pumpkin carving. It took two hours to finish these pumpkins and even longer by the time we roasted the seeds. The pumpkins look great. Andrew and Joshua chose to make their own design. Aria and Christopher picked patterns from a book. They traced over their designs with something similar to a sewing/tracing wheel. Then they sawed away and cut them out. Aria and Christopher had help from me and Nathan.


Clockwise from top left. Andrew, Joshua, Christopher, and Aria’s pumpkins at night. photo