Sunday, September 21, 2014

Festival Time

Yesterday we made our yearly trek to the Walnut Valley Bluegrass Festival, where we spent the day listening to music and seeking shade, along with 10,000 of our fellow festival friends.
Tie dye is VERY popular at the festival, so we always wear our rainbow brightest. The girls had new tie dye shirts this year.

I have been to "Bluegrass" for most of the past 20 some years in all sorts of weather - hot, cold, wet, windy, and the rare perfect day. This year was a hot year. A steaming, sweaty, miserable 94 degrees. We drank a lot of water and snacked on anything cold.

But we don't go to the festival for the weather. We go for the music. Lots and lots of music. There are four stages of musicians playing non-stop from 9:00 AM to midnight. And it's not just bluegrass music. There is folk, celtic, western swing, gospel, and assorted combinations - anything that can be played on acoustic instruments. Yesterday, I heard the Hallelujah Chorus played on guitar, Charlie Parker jazz on a fiddle, and more than one Beatles song on whatever instrument was at hand! My personal favorites are John McCutcheon, the marvelous singer/songwriter/story teller/folk musician,
and the celtic music. There was a celtic group with the goofy name Socks in the Frying Pan who were straight from Ireland and were quite entertaining. They were rather astounded by Kansas heat!
Seeking some shade in the afternoon, we left the festival proper and wandered into the campgrounds. It didn't take us long to find Carp Camp, a loose group of musicians that share a love of traditional celtic music. They set up a big tent and invite anyone who wishes to come and play with them, or just sit and listen. We sat for an hour just watching in awe, as various people wandered in and out with instruments in hand. They'd listen a moment and then join in the jigs and reels (and an impromptu Yellow Rose of Texas) without any music or often even the name of the tune. It was wonderful!

My parents and sister were there, and we saw lots of friends. We had a good time just hanging out together.
And despite the heat and the dust and the sweat, it was clear that the music was good for all of our souls.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Gotcha! (X5)

Five years ago today (5!!), we welcomed Rachel Fu Shen into our family.
We were so thrilled to finally meet her, but we had no idea who she really was or what she was like. We certainly never imagined how much energy, laughter, excitement, and affection she would bring to our lives!
This girl stole my heart five years ago today, and I have never been the same. Love you, Rae!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Monkeying Around

Rachel's PE class has been getting baseline information on physical skills - running, push ups, sit ups, etc. One day this week, they did chin ups. Rachel hooked part of her left arm over the bar for balance, lowered her right arm, and then pulled her body up high enough to chin the bar. Six times. More than any other kid in her grade and more than the majority of kids in the building.  Rae gets to claim the title of Chin Up Queen!

So in honor of Miss Muscles, we went to the park this evening to document one of Rachel's favorite activities: climbing on top of the tall monkey bars.

It is quite a feat of strength and perseverence and Rae does it whenever she gets a chance. Katherine may have been born in the year of the monkey, but Rachel is my Monkey Girl!

I love birthdays!

the ladybug cake

The Ladybug Sisters


Jie Jie and Mei Mei

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
Peeking through the windows

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
Katherine and her toothless smile

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
The little one leads the way