Monday, September 5, 2011

My First Music Monday and My First Blog Award!

I woke up to a wonderful surprise this morning! Stephanie at Connecting with Stephanie has blessed me with my first ever award! If you haven't been to her blog then I absolutely insist that you go and visit because she is a funny and inspiring woman that truly connects with her readers. She is also a single mom to 'Peanut' who has her own blog at Good Times With Rebecca and Barkley. This is another must read and my particular favorite post is her most recent video made on The Wonderful World of Cats! Branden and I have watched this about half a dozen times and it cracks us up but also impresses the socks off of us! For a 7 year old, she has a wonderful imagination and Branden says she is a much better video presenter than I am! (and when you see the video, you will all agree with him!). Getting to see how creative and confident Peanut is has been the icing on the cake for getting to see an even more honest and beautiful side of Stephanie. She is a terrific mother, an enchanting woman and an amazing writer. I'm so honored that she is the first person to award me. Thank you Stephanie!

If you remember back to Wednesday, I mentioned that I would be starting a new theme on Mondays called Maggie's Music Monday. So what better to do than to make it all about Branden! As I have said a few times on my blog, and for those who are newer, I am not a mom. Branden has 3 girls. They are beautiful, have 'voices like angels' and take up very little space. I can't relate to them very well but I love seeing them with Branden because I know wonderful things will happen when they are together. Their names are Doris, Shanaynay and Hanalei.

This is Doris on the left and Shanaynay on the right. Shanaynay is Branden's first girl and she is a 1993 Gibson Les Paul Studio electric guitar and was one of the first made in Nashville. She spent the majority of her time with Branden, rocking on stage with his band Zeo Doxa (which you will get a full run down on a later Monday). Doris is his second girl and she is a 1958 Gibson LG-1 acoustic. She did a bit of globe trotting in her earlier days, which included trips to Japan and Egypt, but she sat in a closet for about 30 years so she's in mint condition. Hanalei is the baby, which is evident by her size since she is an Ukelele. We bought her on our honeymoon in Hawaii and she is 2009 Kamoa tenor sized Ukelele.

Transporting Branden's precious girls was no easy feat! Hanalei wasn't so bad except that we got very odd looks through the airport as we carried around what looked like a miniature guitar case. When we first moved to Scotland, we really had to pick and choose what to bring and what to leave behind. Since we were limited to two 50lb check in bags a piece, 1 overhead item and 1 personal item, I had to limit Branden to just Hanalei on our first trip. Knowing we were going back for Christmas in a few months, he figured he could manage with just her for the time being.

On our second trip of transporting stuff to Scotland, taking Doris and Shanaynay was a bit of a nightmare. Both of these guitars are actually very valuable so there wasn't a snowball's chance in hell that we were going to let them be checked in! It took a lot of convincing and me breaking down into tears at the counter for us to finally convince the airline to let us carry them on. Except our first trip, every time we have flown from the States to Europe we always go from Seattle to Amsterdam and then from Amsterdam to Edinburgh (or now, Dublin). This is much faster and avoids stopping off on the East Coast and also the horrific Heathrow Airport. However, this trip back with the two girls saw us caught up in a massive winter storm that gave us the only options of being stuck in Amsterdam for a few days until a blizzard passed or flying into London and figuring out any way we could to get all the way up to Scotland. Wanting to get back to Edinburgh, we chose the second option, which meant trekking those girls through crowded London tubes and finally a train that took 3 hours more than normal due to ice on the tracks to get home. But they made it and they were safe!

We left them in Edinburgh with our wonderful neighbors when we went back to the States for 3 months at the beginning of this year, and then it was another journey on trains and a ferry to get them into Ireland.  I tell Branden that he better not change his plans and have us move back to America because I don't even want to think about flying them back!

This is a video of Branden and his younger brother Adam playing together. They almost have a telepathic connection when it comes to playing. It's almost magical to watch them play as they just come up with amazing tunes off the top of their heads without ever speaking a word to each other as they blend seamlessly. Adam's guitar in the video is an early 2000s Gibson acoustic, so I find the flow of sound of the 'grandmother' and 'granddaughter' guitars incredible.

If I'm not mistaken, they 'invented' this tune that same day and only played it a few times before performing.

I hope you enjoyed my first Music Monday and hearing about our wild and crazy adventures! At some point, we will be looking into adding a banjo and mandolin to our cherished brood but until then, we are very thankful for the 3 girls we have now.


  1. Way fun! I love the way you refer to his guitars as his children. At least you didn't mention a video game being his child. haha

  2. Your kids are quite pretty young one; just as I would expect from the two of you.

  3. Melynda, I probably would not be married to the man if his children were video games! ;)

    Boomer, yes they get their lovely dark features from their father and their curvy bodies from their mother! hahaha!

  4. Thank you for your kind words! Wow, I am speechless...and my heart is full today.
    I'll have to check the video tomorrow at work. The sound doesn't work on my silly computer at home. I think I'm going to see if Peanut wants to interview Barkley for her next video. :)

  5. Stephanie, thank you for honoring me today! I think Peanut doing a video interview with Barkley is BRILLIANT! Branden agrees!!

    Tony, he dressed her up with a custom made stainless steel pick guard which I think adds to her appeal ;)

  6. Very cool! Your husband is super talented. We're huge music-lovers over here, so I know how fantastic it is to have musicians in the family...keep up the great posting and congrats on your award!

  7. Paige, I'll pass on your sweet compliments on to my husband! Thanks for the congrats and now I realized that I was laughing too hard over your Laundry Fairies that I forgot to say congrats to you too for your award today! I swear, if I had a brain, I'd play with it!

  8. Such an awesome song!!! They are really REALLY good :0)

    Congrats on the award :0) My girls and I have watched "The Wonderful World of Cats" a ton of times too LOL!

  9. Wow, they're so good (just got to work and had to watch the video). I sure wish I had a talent like that! I'd love a whole CD of music like that.
    Have a wonderful Tuesday.

  10. Thanks Elisa! Unfortunately though, unlike your and your husband, Branden is the only musically brilliant person in our marriage!

    Stephanie, we have said that he and his brother need to make a CD of their guitar tunes but sadly it just hasn't been possible with the distance now. I'm glad you enjoyed it! Happy Tuesday to you too and I hope you have a great day!

  11. I have three guitars myself. Not as nice as those Gibsons, but they work for me. Well, the first one is a retired classical acoustic. The bridge has popped off twice, so she's resting now. The second was a classical acoustic backpacker guitar that I bought for ease of transport during college. Sadly, this one was crushed during a move. Still plays, but has a splintered dent in the face. The third was my birthday present back in 2004. A new Cort acoustic. Sounds great and The Kids love it.


Does this straitjacket make my butt look big?