Sunday, September 25, 2016

Nick the Rock Star

Nick has been taking drum lessons for almost a year now at a music school near us called School of Rock. He recently switched from a "Rookies" class to a class called "Rock 101." It's pretty intense-a 45-minute drum lesson, 1 on 1 with an instructor every week and a 90-minute band practice with all the kids playing together. Today was Nick's first concert.

Nick's onstage at Q Bar in Darien, IL.

Yup, that's Nick on the drums in front of the "Budweiser Sound Stage." This school rents out local bars that have full stages and regular live music. They even charge a cover charge to listen to the bands, and there are teenage groupies who come sit in front of the stage to cheer the kids on.

For their playlist today, "The Super Rad Rainbow Unicorns" (Yes, that's their band name. They got to pick it themselves.) had on their set list: Wild Thing, Brown-Eyed Girl, Dirty Deeds, Done Dirt Cheap by ACDC, and Beverly Hills. Greg dressed Nick up in what we thought was cool rock star attire: a Beatles t-shirt with a button-down checkered shirt over it but unbuttoned. I'm not sure if this is what rock stars wear today, but it sounded good to me, who was a teenager in the 1990s.

Nick wasn't too nervous, all things considered. 

What does this sound like? Well, just imagine what a rock band made up of 7-11 year olds would sound like. That pretty much covers it. I was impressed because I could mostly recognize every song they played. They started out with "Brown-Eyed Girl."

This one is "Wild Thing," of course.

This next one is "Beverly Hills." Nick gets very serious when he's playing the drums. He opens his mouth slightly and really looks like he's concentrating.

I never really thought about the lyrics to "Dirty Deeds, Done Dirt Cheap," though I know I heard the song numerous times when I was a child.

Nick had his own fan club in attendance. Henry and Greg and I were all cheering and clapping near the stage, of course. (We took these pictures afterward, outside the bar where the lighting was better.)

Also attending as part of Nick's fan club was my dad and stepmom. Henry, by the way, wanted to be in every picture. I think he may have been a little jealous, though he was very complimentary to Nick after his performance.

Grandma Toni attended, of course, and stood next to Henry and clapped along with the music.

My mom and stepdad came, too, and my mom even loaned Nick her sunglasses so he'd look cool for this picture.

My musical education is practically nonexistent, so I truly have no idea what Nick is learning and practicing. Unlike most of his subjects, I'm utterly useless with his music homework. But I was very proud of Nick today. He was a team player, worked well with the other band members, and did his best. As far as I could tell, he's got some pretty good rhythm.  :)

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Buffalo Rock State Park

Today we took Nick and Henry on their first Cub Scout Hike. We went to Buffalo Rock State Park in Ottawa, IL, which is about an hour southwest of us.

During the first leg of our hike, everyone kept finding wooly bear caterpillars, who, by some accounts, can predict the weather by their color. I guess finding a lot of black ones with very little orange means this winter will be bad. Time will tell!

We decided to join Cub Scouts a few weeks ago, when I took the boys to a Community Festival at their school. Cub Scouts were recruiting, and they thought it might be fun. I was a Cub Scout counselor back in the mid-1990s, and I remember how much fun the kids had. For kids as active as mine, I thought something like this would be a great idea. Henry wanted to "wear a suit" like the scouts. So we joined, and they got their own uniforms.

Henry is officially a "Lion Scout," which is a pilot program to get Kindergarten-aged students into Cub Scouts early. Nick is a Wolf Scout because he's in 2nd grade. Doesn't Nick look proud of that fact?

He's not actually that close to the edge--our Cub Scoutmaster kept them all very safe. I was very surprised that this kind of cliff could be found in Illinois--in fact, the topography of this whole area was really gorgeous.

Lest you think that this was some kind of gentle stroll through the woods, check out this picture. We actually climbed down to the bottom and them back up and around to the top of the cliffs.

I was very proud of how well the boys did while climbing and on the hike. All things considered, there was very little whining and a lot of good questions.

Greg was a trooper and carried our lunch and water bottles in the backpack.

My Fitbit tells me I walked 11,120 steps today, and that this hike took us a little over three miles. It feels like more--this was quite the workout! My calves and feet are very sore, and I'm sure Henry's little legs are too, though he didn't complain too much.

I fell asleep in the car on the way back, just like a little kid. I figure I can handle more of these hikes in the future, though, so long as they're designed for Cub Scouts. If a five-year-old can do it, so can I! Henry and Nick were so proud of themselves today, and the best part? There were two stinky buffalo and a playground at the end of our long hike. You'd think they would've been too tired to play, but then you'd be wrong.