Wednesday, August 20, 2014

This One Time...

Friday night was the night for the marching band preview performance at band camp!

I talked to Andrew only one time the entire week he was away. He called me one night before their dance that night to check in.  That was it.  He received mail from a couple great family friends, his Papa, and Aunt Pam the Great throughout the week! It meant a lot to him and it means a lot to me.

Friday night, the girls and I were heading up to see his show! We stopped to pick up our friend Tracy's oldest to come with us too. It was a surprise for Andrew and something new for Dominic to be able experience. George had to work this year, so he wasn't able to go.  We were all disappointed at that. Andrew knew ahead of time, but was still disappointed.

When we arrived, the band was warming up off somewhere in the woods.  We could hear them, but not see them.   I got the kids situated on the hill to watch the performance. Violet hung out in the stroller for a little bit and Lily had a little picnic of snacks in the grass.

Our view of the performance field.

From the distance, we hear a long whistle which immediately quiets the crowd and the familiar, "We Are North Hills!" in unison from 197 members of the marching band and we know it's time for them to begin marching out to the drum cadence.    There are really no words to describe watching and hearing that all happen, but the goosebumps that cover my body and tears that fill my eyes remind me what a special journey my son is a part of and how fortunate I was to be part of a wonderful marching band community in both high school and college.  Those moments emerging from the woods are pretty incredible!

Being that this is only our second year involved, I'm guessing they play a "pop" show, a march show annually along with their pre-game performance and another show that, this year, is The Lion King. They played a medley of the Armed Forces songs and invited members of each branch to stand as their song was being played.  It was a tribute that again brought me to tears.  My heart swells with patriotic pride when our military is acknowledged and I'm so glad these kids are also able to witness and honor these servicemen and women during their performance.

Andrew is 3rd in from the right in this picture. 

He's in the 2nd row, 3rd band kid from right. {behind the clarinet kid}

The girls enjoyed themselves as well.

This is the longest performance of the year marching wise since they're playing all of their shows. They take water breaks between each show, but after a week of 9 hour marching/rehearsal days to say the kids are tired by the end is a huge understatement!  When the performance was finished, we waited for Andrew to come take a few pictures with us before we headed off to his cabin to get his luggage and then head home. The band kids had a dance and some more fun to have before leaving band camp behind in the morning. 

We're looking forward to an exciting season of football game performances, band festivals, parades, and a trip to New York City!  

I'm so glad that Andrew is loving marching band and hopefully next year he'll remember to call his mom more than once during the week while he's gone. :)

The band director with Andrew and some of the other freshman boys~Class of 2018.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Band Camp Send Off

Another year of band camp in the books.

Andrew's freshman marching band season has begun!

Actually, summer band began in June, went through July and then pre-camp started the first week of August and then a full week at band camp. Andrew's summer is full simply with his traveling to see his dad and dad's family. I'm so grateful to be able to work hard with his dad to ensure Andrew gets good time with all of them, but is still able to honor his commitments.

With our trip to Arizona, Andrew ended up missing almost all of July summer band. Fortunately, the band director is understanding and accommodating. Precamp and band camp both are required and we knew he'd be back for those.
1st day of precamp

Picture day

Precamp is a week of a lot of rehearsals at home the week preceding going away to band camp where the rehearsals even further intensify. The week ends with a performance preview for families of all the shows the band will perform throughout the season. I was looking forward to seeing the performance after loving it so much last year!

A week ago Saturday was the send off for band camp.  The parking lot is filled with parents and cameras, traditions of tshirts and signs for the band, sections, squads, classes, boys and girls and I'm sure many more things I know nothing about. The kids are excited and anxious to get going while the parents are a little less sometimes. I watched senior parents just as sentimental as the rookie parents sending their nearly grown kids off to band camp for the final time.  The marching band community is one that I am so proud to have been a part of as a teenager and young adult. I am loving it as a parent as well.  Band geeks for life!

 freshman boys

I didn't cry this year as he left like I did last year, however.  I think last year was a combination of it being Andrew's rookie year, as well as me being pregnant and emotional. {Although, I do have emotional moments thinking about him starting high school. :)  I really like that he will go into high school knowing upper class students from band and the transition into high school will hopefully go smoothly as a result.}  

Bags packed with snacks, trucks loaded with instruments and luggage, and busses filled with 197 kids.

Off for a week at band camp he went...

Monday, August 11, 2014

Pittsburgh Play is on Sale at The Children's Museum!

One of my favorite places to visit in Pittsburgh is the Children's Museum!

There are so many events and activities the museum offers and being lucky enough to be in Pittsburgh where Mister Rogers is from, he is celebrated in this museum in several different ways within the museum and my favorite-- free admission on Mister Rogers birthday! If you don't want to wait until March 20th to visit next year, August is a fantastic time to visit with "Play Is On Sale"!

There are lots of creative, fun and educational exhibits to explore throughout the Children's Museum ... in fact, Play Is On Sale! this Summer at the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh!

Enjoy Museum admission discounts* and giveaways every day of the week through August 29, 2014. 

Fantasy Weekends (Saturdays & Sundays)
--All Museum visitors dressed in a costume relating to the weekend's theme receive $3 off admission:
       Dress like a Movie Character - August 9-10

       Dress like an Alien, Monster or Space Hero- August 16-17

       Dress like an Animal - August 23-24 

  • Member Mondays
Museum members park free (as space permits) and have a chance to win prizes. Learn the weekly prizes here.

  • T-Shirt Tuesdays
Free Museum t-shirt to the first 200 children visiting the Museum

  • Weather Wednesdays
Child admission for children 2 and up is based on that day's forecasted high temperature for Pittsburgh, PA, by the National Weather Service, as forecasted at 5:00 pm the previous day 
e.g. 73 degrees = $7 child admission, 87 degrees = $8 child admission, etc.  July 23: 84 degrees = $8 child admission
If purchasing tickets online, use code WEATHER when checking out to receive the discount 

  • Throwback Thursdays
Child admission = $7 - the child admission price in 2004 when we opened the expanded Museum
If purchasing tickets online, use code THROWBACK when checking out to receive the discount

  • Hot Dog Friday
A free hot dog to the first 500 children visiting the Museum

*Play Is On Sale admission discounts (Weather Wednesdays, Throwback Thursdays and Fantasy Weekends) cannot be combined with other admission discounts.

10:00 am - 5:00 pm Every Day
Our Studio and MAKESHOP close at 4:30 pm daily.

Latest Children's Museum of Pittsburgh Deal -
Get more details here!

 Be sure to get your picture taken on Trolley! :)
My Lily in 2013 on Mister Rogers' birthday