Sunday, April 28, 2013

Spring For Changes

 Spring time is bringing lots of changes to the Baird Family.    Natalie is living at home now after graduating from the AVEDA institute in Provo, and passing her state board exam.  She now has a Virginia license, and a job at Beau Totale, a salon in Burke, as an assistant.   She turned 21 on April 6.  We had a little family gathering to celebrate and honor her.

Spring is bringing changes to the Ryan Baird family.   Lillian is going to have a brother!   We're being told his name is Royden.   Lillian has no idea what that change means to her.  She's still figuring out what it means to be Lillian.     Dara has been sick, and we got to help take care of Lillian and Dara at our house for awhile.   We enjoyed walks outside (Walking is a big change for her!), watching her favorite shows on TV, playing playmobil people, and trying new foods. 

She showed Grandpa how she can dance!

We're looking forward to Ryan's graduation from UVA May 19th, which is the prelude to even more change for their family as they look for a new job, as well as welcoming a new baby.

Kara's middle name is change, and this spring brought another change of address for her.   She is living in the Phoenix area now, after spending a couple of months with her aunt Jamie in Colorado.   She already has a job at Red Robin, with the prospect of a couple more part time jobs as well.   She's planning to go to aesthetician school in August, to help make her even more marketable as a spa specialist.

Laura and Kart's family are coping with their family changes in Orem.  Aiden turned 7 on April 23rd,  and Laura keeps busy with Emma (5) and Owen (3) at home.  They're looking forward to the change of Kart going from student status to college graduate! 

Skip and I are looking forward to a week long spring trip to Las Vegas to see Beth.   We're excited to see her conduct her high school orchestra in their spring concert.   After a visit with her, we'll drive to Utah for a little visit with Laura and family in Utah.

Keeping busy at Forest Park High School isn't much of a change for me, with festival, then a trip to Atlanta for a Heritage Music Festival.   The kids did amazing, and brought home 3 trophies.   We had fun enjoying the Atlanta sights such as the aquarium, the Martin Luther King sight, and Six Flags.   It was a change though when I decided to take on  playing keyboard in the pit for the spring musical - CAMELOT!   It was a challenge to spend extra time at school for a week, but it was worth the effort to help them put on a great show.

Camelot Cast

My piano students will be featured in my studio recital May 18th.   They've been working hard on being ready to perform for that.   Five of my students have earned festival trophies this year!

Skip's big change is his new passion for creating beautiful pottery pieces!   He has enjoyed getting back into this art that he discovered back in his college days.   He's created several beautiful pieces already, and doesn't want to stop!   

Today in church we had an announcement about another change coming our way.  They're going to create another ward in our stake!   There will be a meeting next week for the three wards involved where we'll find out what the new ward and it's boundaries will be.   

Change is exciting!   I can hardly wait to see what the next season brings!

Anniversary Trip

This year's anniversary trip was a three day, two night getaway from home, seeing a few things we'd never seen before in Virginia and Maryland.   We started by driving south on 95 to Fredericksburg, then east along Highway 3 to Stratford plantation, home of the Lee's of Virginia.   It is the birthplace of Robert E. Lee, the civil war general, but he never owned it or lived in it after the short time he spent there as a child.   It was nicely restored and preserved mostly because of the connection to him though.  

We had a beautiful, although a bit chilly spring weekend to enjoy time inside and out of this large plantation home.

There were some interesting looking chickens wandering around on the grounds.

Skip tried to make friends with one.

It was a short drive down to the Potomac River.   It was quite cold then, and we were tired and ready to be on our way, so we just got out to take a picture.   The cliffs in this area and all around are full of fossils from a time when this area was an ocean.  

 Our destination was Solomon's Island, Maryland.  We had reservations at a Bed and Breakfast there called the Back Creek Inn.   It was a beautiful location with a boat dock near the water.  The owner name is Carol Pennock, and she's an artist that had many of her paintings on display and for sale around the different rooms.   The first night we had a suite on the ground floor, then an upstairs room with a view of the water for the next night.   (Same room was not available both nights.)   Solomon's is located where the Patuxent River meets the Cheasapeake Bay.   We got checked in and had time to rest before heading out to dinner.

Here we are at the restaurant - specializing in seafood of course!   I had crab cakes, and Skip had surf and turf.  

The sunrise at the Inn was incredible.   So glad I made the effort to get up and enjoy it!   There's a river walk in town along the river with signs every few feet that talk about the history that happened there.  That made for a nice morning walk.     

We spent the later morning at the local marine museum, enjoying exhibits on local boatbuilding, wildlife, the prehistoric aspect of the area, a playful otter exhibit, and a ray and skate pool.

We tried another local restaurant for lunch and then went to check out a local sculpture garden.   You don't usually see anything like this outside of a big city.   It was a beautiful setting and featured several large and some smaller sculptures or art installations - mostly modern.

It was a half mile loop to see everything.   The evening we spent at the Inn and ordered pizza.  The next morning brought another spectacular sunrise.   We headed out around 11:00 and made a stop at a nearby park, where we could wander the bay shore and look for fossils and other treasures.   I enjoyed getting my feet a little wet too!  (Sporting my new pedicure.  We both got pedicures the day before too!) 

It was a fun weekend, full of relaxation, beauty, good food, learning about where we live, and enjoying time away from our routine to celebrate the two of us! 

Monday, March 25, 2013

32 Years +Forever

Skip and I are celebrating 32 years together.  Really we try to celebrate everyday by being the best we can for each other.   On our actual anniversary (March 21st) I had to say goodbye and go on a choir trip to Atlanta.  I'm back now and on Spring Break so we plan to take some extra time, to have some adventures together.   We always like to go somewhere special away from our daily routines.   Sometimes it's a day in the temple, but often we try to do an overnight trip away from home. 
I'm not sure where we'll go this week, but wherever it is, we will be sure to learn something new, laugh a lot, have some good food, and enjoy being together.   

We both love exploring new places, and trying new things, not just on our anniversary, but whenever we can.  Here are a few away from home pics from summer and fall last year: 

This is outside Gunston hall, the home of George Mason.   Skip insisted on taking a walk down a hill to a river bank.   I had doubts about Skip making it back up in the state of health he was in that day, but with prayers, and a lot of stopping and resting, he finally made it.   It has interesting exploring that day, learning about George Mason, and the Mason Neck area.

 Here we are at the Kennedy Center, hearing Lang Lang conduct 100 pianists (including one of my students) in two duets.

We love jazz music, and try to get to the sculpture garden at least once a year for the free jazz concert they have almost every Friday.   On this day we saw the Dixie Power Trio doing zydeco, Cajun, and Louisiana Funk music.   Very FUN.

This was taken on a summer saturday adventure at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge.  We took a nice flat walk that day to another river front.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

I'd Like to Start Blogging Again

I know it's been about half a year since my last post, but I'd like to try again to share some thoughts and memories with my family, and anyone else who happens upon this.   So, to catch up, here are just a few highlights of life since the last post:

We had a beautiful Fall, and in between raking leaves, I filled up my schedule with Forest Park High School choirs in the morning, and 20 piano students throughout the week.

We were fortunate to spend several weekends with this sweet little granddaughter.  We even got to go solo with her for a few days!

 Skip and I did an Herbal Life Weight Loss Challenge together.  We both lost some weight, and Skip won the prize for the most inches lost!

This cute girl passed her Cosmetology/Barbering License exam, and came back to Virginia to live with us.   She already has a job now at a cool salon in Burke, Virginia.

I continue to love spending time with my fabulous parents who have been married for 50 years now. They celebrated by taking TWO cruises in one year - one in the fall to Canada, and one in January from Chile, past Antarctica, through the Straits of Magellan, and ending in Argentina and Iguazu Falls!

We celebrated Christmas with the fun of a little one this year.   Lillian got her first car!

We were blessed at Christmas to have Valerie with us.   We're hoping she can come and stay a lot longer next time!

At Christmas time, we also got to meet Beth's boyfriend, Aaron Gubler.   We enjoyed sharing some of our traditions with him, and hope he isn't too scared to visit again!

We're well into 2013 now, and I feel like life is rolling by at unimaginable speed!   We're seeing the first signs of spring already with a bit of warmer weather, daffodils, and pink blossoming trees.    Skip and I will celebrate our 32nd anniversary this month, and are hoping for little get away as we often do.   Ryan will be graduating from UVA in May, then we plan to visit Beth in Las Vegas.    We'll have a new grandchild this summer, and hope to have time to visit Laura, Kart, and our sweet grandkids  in Utah.    New opportunities await us all, and we're on the edge of our seats, watching as life unfolds.  God has been very generous with his blessings, and we are full of gratitude for all that we have.