Lauren’s Christmas Concert {2016}

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Lauren played in a band concert on Tuesday, December 13, 2016, with the local homeschool band. Here are a few videos for our family (and anyone else).

James Bond Theme (Advanced Band only)

In the Mood (Advanced Band only)

Silent Night (Intermediate and Advanced Bands)

Frosty the Snowman (Intermediate and Advanced Bands)

Jingle Bell Rock (Intermediate and Advanced Bands)

I took the first four videos with my Nikon, but my battery got dangerously low, so I took the last one with my iPhone.

We are pleased that Lauren is able to play with the advanced band after only two years of playing ever. Of course, it’s always great to see and hear Dad’s trumpet being put to good use. I know he would be proud.

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We are so thankful for the many opportunities we have here in Oklahoma. The Lord is so good to us!

Merry Christmas!

Love,

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Seventeen and Sweet as Ever

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Today, our sweet Lauren Kassidy turns 17. Lauren is our firstborn and has carried the burdens of that place in the family very well. She has set a good example for her siblings by being hard working, honest, and trustworthy. She has faced many challenges in her few years: six moves for one thing, and the intense pressure of being a “PK”. She has been with me the longest and through some of my darkest valleys. She has endured a lot of pain herself, but still keeps smiling and making others smile, too. She is a testimony of the grace of God, how He can heal our hearts and carry our burdens, and turn our mourning into dancing. When I want to quit, I need only glance down the hall at my Lauren to get encouragement.

I have many wonderful stories about Lauren, but I think my favorite is the time Terry was going out soul-winning at our first church in Texas. When she heard she could go with her dad, our seven year-old Lauren eagerly ran for her Bible and notebook, and clipped a pen to her shirt, for writing down prospects’ information. Her enthusiasm was contagious. (Of course, I had to take a photo.)

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Whether she’s seven, seventeen, or anything in between, she has always been sweet.

Lauren has a vivid vocabulary and a sharp wit. She is a thinker, and it’s hard for her to hide her frustration when she sees injustice occur. She is passionate about her interests, and therefore, she does nothing by halves.

When I held her in my arms seventeen years ago, I had no idea what I was doing. My prayer was simple: Lord, help! And He did exceeding, abundantly, more than I could ask or think.

I love you, Lauren, and I’m so thankful to call you mine.

Happy birthday!

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The Symphonic Honor Band Concert

On February 6, 2016, Lauren took a long-shot and auditioned for Southern Nazarene University’s homeschool symphonic honor band. I say, “took a long-shot”, because she has only been playing the trumpet for a little over a year. We knew the competition would be fierce, after all, homeschoolers from all over the state were auditioning! We were thrilled – ecstatic really – to hear that she made it! She was eighth chair out of nine total, but she made it!

On Friday, April 22, she and one other girl from our regional band went to Oklahoma City to practice all day with the honor band. They spent the night and then rehearsed all morning of the 23rd, to perform that afternoon! The only drawback was that none of our family could attend this exciting event with us. I was seated near the front and center of the auditorium to get good videos for our loved ones. Actually, Terry and I were both videoing at the same time just in case something went wrong.

Lauren is near the back of the group, so she is not visible to the camera. I couldn’t help but get a lump in my throat as I heard my dad’s trumpet being played in such a grand setting. His melody, charisma, and enthusiasm can still be heard through his granddaughter.

I think he would have been proud.

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There was a slight glitch in our recordings, so the “Salvation” piece is in two parts. The second part is here:

I want to thank the wonderful people of Bethel Baptist Church for their tremendous encouragement to Lauren. They have invested in her life, in all our children’s lives, as if we were their relatives, too. But then, I guess we are family, the best kind of family, God’s family. From the bottom of this mother’s heart, I thank you.

With love,

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The Christmas Concert

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Lauren is thoroughly enjoying playing in the homeschool band! She had the opportunity to play at a Christmas concert last Tuesday night. I wanted to share her performances for loved ones near and far away who would have liked to have joined us.

This last one was my favorite of the evening.

I hear Lauren practicing long and hard everyday, but I admit that the long pauses in her music and the odd portions which have no true rhythm on their own, sound much more lovely when I get to hear her perform with the entire band. The other instruments fill in the gaps; they add their melody to her harmony and vice versa. I love hearing them play! It is wonderful that she is learning music and teamwork at the same time. Our band directors, Mr. and Mrs. Haas, are excellent!

Lauren is in the “Advanced Band”, which, as the director explained to us, means you have been playing your instrument for 3-5 years. For Lauren to be in this category after only 1.5 years of experience was a great blessing! I know her Papa would be pleased, and I can’t help but hope that he was able to pause for a moment in Heaven to listen.

Thanks for reading, and for watching.

With love,

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It’s Recital Time!

Lauren, Mitchell and Leslie competed in the Schubert Festival, a musical competition in our town, on May 2nd. Those who received a “superior plus” rating were allowed to play at a recital the following week. Lauren and Leslie both received this honor. Mitch was a close second, earning a “superior” rating for his arrangement of the song “Let It Go” from the movie, Frozen.

Here are the recital performances, in case our family would like to hear them:

My sweet Lauren was so very nervous. She takes after her mother in that way! This was her first time to play with an audience staring back at her. I was pleased with how she kept going, even after becoming distracted. This was a wonderful experience for her. I wanted to get a photo of Lauren with her teacher, Mrs. Pihulic, but she did not attend the recital.

It was so special to hear my dad’s trumpet being played after all these years. If I close my eyes and concentrate, I can still hear him belting out “A White Sport Coat (and a Pink Carnation)”, “Reveille” and “Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White”. He was able to earn a scholarship to college with his trumpet. I just hope Lauren can receive the same enjoyment from it that he did.

Leslie was less nervous this time around, since she just went through all of this in March for another competition.

Thanks for tuning in,

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Work in Progress

Beside my desk is a stack of used textbooks. It seems like yesterday…okay, like last month, that those books were brand new. I’ve been throwing away the empty test and quiz booklets all week. On Monday, Lauren will be taking her final Algebra II test, and Mitch and Leslie will also being taking finals in math. Then it’s over. Laci finished up all of her books yesterday. I am now in full swing in planning our next adventure, I mean, school year.

In the midst of this craziness, I managed to sprain my ankle. On Tuesday, I did my normal morning run around 7 AM. At about 10 AM that day, I noticed sharp pain in my right ankle. I figured I was just sore. But the pain got worse and worse until I could barely walk. The next day it was no better. I headed to the doctor who informed me that I’d sprained it. I told him that I hadn’t tripped or fallen or twisted my ankle in any way. He said, “It’s all just part of seasoning.” That was his nice way of saying, “You’re gettin’ old, sister!” *sigh* The good news is that it should heal on its own if I follow the RICE method: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.  I’ve been doing it as much as I can. It seems to be improving, though I admit I’ve been afraid to walk on it very much.

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Some of you might remember that we were blessed to have our master bathroom remodeled in December. The job wasn’t finished at that time, so the workers came yesterday to start on the next phase, which is the installing of our new door! Here are some before photos:

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Here’s the progress from Friday (we hope this phase will be completed on Monday):

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This view is from inside the shower area. I’m looking forward to having this wall finished. 😉

The last phase will be completing the tile on the wall and on the floor. It’s getting close!

In other family news. . .

  • Lauren just completed Driver’s Ed and got her learner permit!

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A selfie before her first driving practice!

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There she goes! Her first time out was in the rain, so she had a tough fist day. The second day was cloudy, but no rain, so that was much better. Upon completion of driver’s ed, passing a reading test and submitting several forms of ID, she earned her PERMIT!

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I’m not sure why she didn’t smile for the license photo. She told her dad it was something about “crushing stereotypes”. All I can say is this girl is ALL Basham! I love it!

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She is a careful driver. *insert huge sigh of relief*

  • The boys got haircuts yesterday. I couldn’t resist snapping a photo. They just look adorable – yes, even my almost-13-year-old boy looks adorable! (Says his completely UNbiased mother. *wink wink*)

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Mitch had to get on his knees for the photo since I’ve been limited. I guess he’s trying to crush stereotypes too?

We’ve also been busy with recitals and soccer, but I’ll save those for another day.

  • Oh! I forgot to share a photo of my Mother’s Day flowers with you. My family is so wonderful to me. They gave me flowers, candy, cards, and Terry bought us all my favorite food for supper – Burger King.

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 Notice my smile – not the stereotypical “Mother’s Day grin”, but from a heart bursting with joy.

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My Little Scientist

Lauren, who is in tenth grade, has enjoyed her biology experience. This is a huge relief to me. I admit that I have been more than a little nervous about high school science.

I thought I’d share a few photos of my “little” scientist at work for our loved ones far away. Be warned, one photo is a graphic image of an earthworm dissection. Scroll at your own risk!

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We purchased a microscope for her Apologia Biology course. Lauren has enjoyed using it. I have to say that one reason I love homeschooling is that I get to have all kinds of new experiences. I had never touched a microscope before this, (as I think I’ve mentioned previously) so this has been fun for all of us.

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She got a lab coat to protect her clothing during experiments; she got the mask because she is sensitive to the smell of formaldehyde. The gloves are to protect her skin from the chemicals. Doesn’t she look adorable? (Don’t tell her I said that!)

WARNING: Following photos contain a dissection. . .

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It was a bit disgusting. But we are learning, and that’s what it’s all about.  Thanks for reading. I hope you all have a happy weekend.

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