Snowy Day






The Crazy 8


Madelyn has been rocking it out with her band recently.  Annually, Central Park School for Children has a band camp that gathers 4th and 5th grade kids  and musicians together twice a week for a month to create songs and work with music.  Madelyn was fortunate to be placed in Phil Cook’s group again this year.  Madelyn’s musician sponsor is none other than the Phil Cook from Phil Cook and His Feat.  Madelyn’s band, named The Crazy 8, was able to perform their song, Turn It Up twice at MotorCo Music Hall for our Save Our Arts Benefit.  I want to share these performances on our blog, but they were way better live!  Here they are….




Out and About

Our family has been on the go much more lately.  Between school, field trips, soccer, substituting, visiting with friends, church and such, we have stayed quite busy.  The good kind of busy that is.  Up above, Julian and Brayden are at the Eno River.  Julian and I went there with Brady’s Kindergarten class.

Brayden with one of his classmates, Liam.

 Up above our family is pictured at the NC Natural Science Museum in Raleigh.  Our little foster boy there has  a rocket in front of his face that he made.  He was so proud.  Here he is shooting it off outside of the museum with Scott.

Our pool is open and we have already been taking advantage of it.  Six kids at the pool is easier this go around because our little two are not as fearful and they are a year older.  Of course, our big four are practically fish when it comes to enjoying the water.  🙂

Scott coached Madelyn’s soccer team again this spring and here is a cute picture taken after the last game.  Madelyn is on the bottom far left.

Here’s our Brady with a throw in during his last game.

Here’s Madelyn helping out with the dishes.  I am trying to get more help these days from my kids around the house.  It sure does help when we are all so busy and life is so full.

Cute Jasper

Madelyn’s Band ~ Chemical Reaction

For the month of January, Madelyn has been in band camp.  It has been at her school on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Students that signed up for this band experience were divided into three bands formed by fourth and fifth graders. The counselors in each group were comprised of true musicians, such as Phil from Megafaun.  Phil was Madelyn’s leader these last few weeks.  I respect him so much!  (Sidenote- His wife, Heather, was actually Julian’s fifth grade teacher last year.)

Each band came up with their own lyrics and music for their song.  Madelyn’s group came up with an inspirational pop-like song.  Madelyn chose to play her bells and be a singer in the band.

To end the month long camp, the bands were to perform at FAM (Friday Afternoon Meeting) at their school and the next night at Durham’s famous Motorco Music Hall.  This event at the Motorco, along with a silent auction, would serve as a fundraiser for the arts at Central Park School, The Save Our Arts Benefit.

I couldn’t have been a more proud mama on Friday and Saturday watching Madelyn shine so bright.  She was a picture of confidence and happiness.  Here are a few pictures and clips from the performances.  


I filmed the FAM performance of Shout by Maddie’s band Chemical Reaction.  She is the on the far left in a her daddy’s grey hat.

The following clip was taped by Madelyn’s fifth grade teacher, Aaron, on the night of the benefit.  Maddie is on the right in the back with a purple shirt and bandana on, next to one of her best friends, Chace, on the drums.

11.5 Miles

Yesterday, Scott had this grand idea to take our family of eight on a bike ride.  This would be no ordinary bike ride.  We have access to a trail, the American Tobacco Trail, on the outskirts of our neighborhood.  This trail goes many places, but Scott’s idea was to take it downtown and end up at one of our favorite Durham hot spots, Mellow Mushroom.  Honestly, I bit my lip a little when I heard this idea as it quickly spread throughout our home.  This would be a huge endeavor.  Scott began getting water bottles and pumping tires.  He was serious.  So, the question came…”Anna, are you coming?”  He must have sensed some hesitation.  I nodded yes and joined the giddy troop swarming on their bikes outside.  We saddled up, telling each other that whenever we needed to turn around and head home, of course we could.  

It was a gorgeous day and the greenery that surrounded the trail was just breathtaking.  Brady and I stayed more toward the back of the pack.  Julian was our fearless leader.

You must know that I am not a biker.  I know how to ride a bike, it is just that I don’t spend time doing so.  I don’t have a real adventurous spirit.  I am working on that though.  It is important to know how to have fun, to let loose and laugh.  In this case (taking this bike ride), it was important to breathe deep, enjoy the breeze, savor the family time, forget the what ifs, sit back and enjoy the ride.

My sweet husband had our foster kids riding in our new bike trailer behind him.  He kept checking on me to make sure I was good.  He had such an amazing attitude.

Our foster little beauties did an amazing job.  Sure, all they had to do was sit, but for a 2 year old and an 18 month old, that can be tough.  There was the occasional swatting, but they’d recover and really rolled with the whole trip.

Brayden and I were cracking up as we rode together.  He is a hoot.  Take a look at that back tire, it changes during our grand adventure.

Madelyn Virginia taking a break for water.

 Scott showing that we had then travelled four miles.  Again, for our family, this was huge.

Me with Mads

Glamorous right?

This was the most exciting point of our bike ride.  If we were in movie, it would be the perfect time you would hear the hallelujah chorus.  We reached a clearing and saw downtown Durham.  We had almost achieved our goal!

Still smiling and so proud.

Here we are crossing the street in front of Mellow Mushroom!

So happy, proud and hungry!

Julian is totally in his element when it comes to being out in nature, riding bikes and being the leader.  I think he was pleasantly surprised that our family made it.

Kalen, with his wide eyes and adventurous spirit, was in heaven.  He is the type of guy that loves a challenge.

The picture within Mellow Mushroom didn’t turn out.  We had a wonderful time eating, laughing and celebrating.  We would not soon forget those moments.

Our trek back home was then under way.

This is Brayden just before his tire blew.  Poor little fella.  He was such a trooper though.  We did make it home.  And the timing was perfect.  A rain storm came just after putting our bikes away.  Whew!

Me and Mads

Recently, my daughter and I went out for an evening together.  Every time we do this, I am reminded how it gives life to both her and me.  For this special time together, we chose a local bookstore and a cute little dessert cafe.

Maddie used her money to buy a book called Just Mom and Me.  It is a clever little book for little girls to go through with their moms.  We had a good time taking some quizzes about each other.   For example, down below you will see a page that I had to fill out.  I would check the things that I would rather have; chocolate or vanilla, dog or cat, etc.  It was neat to study each other in this fun way.

Madelyn has a beautiful spirit.  In these moments with just me, she definitely lights up.  She loves the one on one attention.  She talked the entire night.

I am currently reading a book entitled Things I Want My Daughters to Know by Elizabeth Noble.  With every page turned, I think of Madelyn.  I think of all the things I want her to see, experience, love and know.  I know for sure that I don’t want to take one day with her for granted.