What Margin?


5DB8C368-8F2F-4268-875A-94EE7B7D41F8This year has taken all of our energy.

We have worked so hard. There have been times that we have had to cancel everything and do nothing, just to get back up again the next day. Our schedules have been pushed to the absolute limit, but somehow, everyone has arrived to school music programs on time, no one has been forgotten on a sidewalk somewhere, and we are the closest to being ‘on track’ with our academic goals than any other year.

8A775084-E47F-4FB3-9D6D-A6F818838AB3I am tempted to call it good and close up shop for the summer though. This spring we have had a particularly intense period of high demands on our time, plus family losses, and some sickness. In the middle of it all we took a road trip. {road trip=fun+exhausting} When you have had a year of pushing, those seasons can push you over the edge. The edge of what? I don’t know, the edge of the road you are on?

We have been blazing a trail through unknowns.

Vegas has been a full-time student at our local high school.

Elvis has joined the band at our local middle school. 44F62D10-BAAE-45B2-9505-294D0899DF64

There are FIVE kids to bathe, and launder, and lunch. Five. Plus a house to keep up with. So, you know, we added a few more things. Naturally! Elvis auditioned in to the Metropolitan Youth Symphony as a percussionist for the spring term. He is enjoying it very much, however, it is really challenging. He had two concerts coming up! One is for 5th grade band at the middle school, and one is for MYS. I cannot wait!  America started cello lessons again with a new teacher, which has been good for her, and also very challenging. Who else has a 5-year-old in music lessons? Do they love to practice? Do they listen well to their teacher every lesson? I didn’t think so. Those are learning experiences too, I keep telling myself. The struggles for discipline and respectful/intelligent listening are valuable battles to be fought hard. I believe they will be a benefit to whole life learning.


In the moment-sometimes I doubt myself.

Are we doing too much? Not enough? The wrong things? Do other people have house where everything is sticky?


In more positive news, all stickiness aside, Axel finished his first year of the PYP bass class, playing a wonderful recital, and truly amazing us with his ability to learn a difficult instrument. He listened hard all year, was respectful and hardworking with his teacher, and rose to the challenge of it all. I am excited to see what he does next! We are just renting his bass, but I hope to find him one he can keep soon!

8756AE42-2954-447C-A461-B5533FCADD48Vegas just finished all his state competitions, placing both individually and with his symphonic orchestra through the high school. He will probably be horrified that I posted this screenshot, but what are parents for? I believe one of my primary jobs is to proclaim the wonders of my kids to whoever will listen. Oh, and to embarrass them in the process.

Not really, but I still can’t help it. 45BAEC68-F09F-4AAA-B9A4-75F1307E583E


Vegas is already working on next year’s solo pieces. I don’t think I have ever had to ask him to practice. I am amazed in every way.

Next year the plan is for Vegas to take his academic classes through a community college, and continue to participate in the high school music programs that he is a part of now. This was his first year playing in Jazz Band, and he has really loved it-even though he was doubtful going into it. Thankfully, he can play in both the jazz band and symphony orchestra next year, provided the college classes don’t overlap. The only problem with this plan is that we need to find a good calculus class for him to take over the summer so that he can take the math he wants in the fall. Alright, that isn’t really a problem, more of a good hurdle to overcome. There may be some scheduling hairiness in the fall, but hopefully he can do some of the driving by then!


Through it all, Beatrix has been astonishing us with her letter ‘reading’, recognition, and musical aptitude. She can sing an arpeggio, knows several songs, and loves to dance. I have no idea what she’ll be doing by next year, probably first grade.


This post is titled ‘what margin?’ Because I literally have had no margin all year. The things I mentioned briefly here are not even a drop in the bucket of all the kids have accomplished over the past several months. I finally figured out how to post here without being tied to my computer, which is in the music room, and so consequently unavailable to me if someone is practicing. Being able to post mobile-y will be a big help, and I am planning  to create more space in my schedule for writing, so you won’t spend six months in the dark again.

Our go fund me is still active for this year, which seems silly, because we have all our books, but we do still have ongoing lessons and opportunities that come up. If you are interested in helping out the kids with a lesson or two, or instrument rental/purchase, they would be forever grateful.

Enjoying a few moments of silence before all the kids roll down the stairs,





  1. You are amazing, Shelley! How did you even find the time to write? I am SO proud of your children and their accomplishments! To us on the outside, it seems like it’s gone by so fast. I know that you are immersed in the daily tasks, so it may seem sluggish to you. But MY, OH MY it seems like it has been worth it! Love you all! Auntie Sue-Sue


  2. As an eye-witness to much of your margin-less life I can attest to the fact that you have given sacrificially to give your family an environment rich in music, art, science, literature, humor, curiosity and natural wonders. And in all your driving to and from lessons and rehearsals you have kept everyone safe and have stayed sane. Now that is remarkable! To top it all off, I have never seen you lose your temper; you are supernaturally patient and kind. That is true success. As amazing as Vegas, Elvis, Axel, America and Beatrix are the most important aspect of it all is that you love them. Congratulations on navigating another year! Have a wonderful summer!


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