Saturday, December 15, 2007

I'm Back!

Oh my! It's been a month since I've posted?

The highlights:

Piano auction for the piano studio (so much fun!) All my students have earned music dollars for practicing, performing, answering questions in group class, etc. Twice a year or so we have an auction where everyone uses their music dollars to bid on enticing prizes. The prizes range from 2 liter bottles of soda to gift certificates to the dollar movies to art supplies to nail polish to practice coupons (one day off, pass off a song you're tired of, etc.). The older students act kind of like they're too old, but I think they secretly all enjoy it.

Thanksgiving in Spokane with Paul, Cindee, Bill, Rachelle, and Dave's mom. Long drive, but lots of fun. We even tried a cousins photo shoot in their matching Christmas jammies. The babies would not cooperate.

Four concerts for Viva Voce. It was nice to be back, after taking off the spring season because of Ben, of course. One concert was in the Assembly Hall and my longtime friend Nicole was the featured guest artist on cello. We played some Schumann together and it was a fantastic time. We hadn't played together since right after college, and it felt so wonderful. Oh, and that piano...nine feet of Steinway bliss. It's one of my favorite pianos.

Josh had a cello recital and did very well. Sophie had to get a new violin. She outgrew the 1/8 size, so we moved her up to a 1/4. I have to practice being nice while they practice. It's hard to keep my mouth shut and say positively reinforcing things. I need a lesson in being a better practice mom.

Brent came to visit, and we had a wonderful time. I didn't even know he was coming for sure until I heard a male voice coming down my stairs while I was folding laundry. Heart attack. We had so much fun going to dinner with Kurt, Ash, Eric, Nina, and then the lights on temple square the next night.

Ben turned 8 months old. I'm in denial. His sleep is still terrible, his smile is still wonderful, and he is cruising all over our furniture. Also, he's in love with pulling our CDs off the shelf.

And of course I'm working on Christmas. I want it to be calmer and more enjoyable than last year's Christmas season. So far, it's a mixed bag. I've done well with some things, but not as well as I'd like with others. But most of our presents are bought and I have just a few more projects to go. Here's hoping for peace, joy, and love. I don't want to forget that this season is all about Christ and the gift He is to all of us.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Fall Pictures

Yesterday was such a gorgeous fall day. The weather was warm, the sky was deep blue, and the leaves were piled up in the front yard. I think that my kids borrowed neighbors' leaves to get a pile like that. We usually are leaf-deprived. We played outside with our friend Andy and had a great time.

Sophie's Baptism

We have waited so long for Sophie to be baptized! She wanted to be baptized as SOON as she was eight, but the schedule didn't allow it. So finally this Saturday, Nov. 3, at 11:00, she was baptized.

Nana, Bapa, and Chelsea drove up from California on Friday to be with her, and she was surrounded by family and friends of many faiths who love her and wanted to support her in her decision to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. David baptized her and she asked my dad to confirm her. (David's dad confirmed Josh.) We are so proud of our Sophie girl. Being baptized was her own choice, and she has a sweet feeling about Christ and his teachings. She has a tender heart and cares about those who need help. Sophie and her friend-from-birth Tess. I hope that Sophie (and all of the rest of us) will always be surrounded by such supportive people in her path in life. We can make it through almost anything when we have such love given to us freely, without judgment or expectations. This is the kind of love I hope she can always feel from me, from the rest of her family, and from Heavenly Father.

Halloween, Take Two

The Greenhouse had a fun Halloween. It just kept going and going and going (as you will see.) The thing I like about Halloween is that once you've got the costume thing under control, it's a pretty low-maintenance holiday.

The photo shoot I posted about last was the first Halloween activity we did after getting our costumes together (my costume choice: a tired mother of four).

Next was Kate's preschool Halloween program: old school and hysterical (until you've seen 25 4-year-olds do the Monster Mash, you haven't lived.)
Then came trunk-or-treating at Rachelle and Bill's church in Park City. Alysha was Little Red Riding Hood. She was darling.
Next was pumpkin carving. Sophie did one of those cool stencils of a cat. She was very ambitious and her cat turned out great.
Tuesday night was the Utah Symphony Halloween concert. David took all the children that can behave at a concert and I got a much needed rest with little Ben. (The kids were out of school on Monday and Tuesday, and I was a little...a lot...worn out by the end.)
Finally Halloween was here! I went to the school to take pictures of the Halloween parade, and then went home to set up my makeshift backdrop stand. I went to Inkley's to buy one, but the one they recommended was $180 (WHAT?), so instead I went to Home Depot and bought PVC pipe, connectors, and a pipe cutter, then I made my own. Yes, indeed, I did. For $25, including the pipe cutters, I have my own semi-adjustable backdrop stand. Woohoo.
Here are the Halloween day results with some of the neighbor kids. Abby, Will & Ezra came over, too:
Finally, the kids from the circle all gathered and we went trick or treating, after which we went to our friend Laurel's house and had our traditional Halloween party.

The sugar rush is over (mostly, although I have to admit to eating more than my share of candy yesterday), the costumes are put away, and the jack-o-lanterns are rotting on the front porch. Must be time for Thanksgiving!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Halloween Pictures, Take One

I've been wanting a backdrop for a while, so I bought some black fabric, just to play around with. We had a mini photo-shoot on Friday. The kids wanted to see how their new Halloween costumes looked and I wanted to try out my makeshift backdrop. I tied it to the curtain rod in the sunroom and used the available light. The results were mixed, but we had a good time.

You can't really tell what they are, since we don't have any full body shots, so here's the rundown: Josh is a secret service agent, Sophie is a 50's girl, Kate is Barbie Island Princess (arrgh...), and Ben is a peapod. I am planning to dress as a tired mother of four.
I'm planning to do another photoshoot on Halloween or thereabout, so I'll post those later...I know you'll all be waiting anxiously.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

They say it's my birthday...

Well, it WAS my birthday yesterday. The big 3-6. It was a fun day, overall, although I made the mistake of trying to give the big kids their piano lessons...I had to lay down on the couch after that. There is a reason I teach them on Saturdays, and it's called stress.

I ran 4 miles with Ben (we got to run through fallen leaves on a perfect autumn so so gorgeous), met David for lunch at Red Rock, (creme brulee...yummmm), took Sophie to violin and Josh to cello, then we all went to Bombay House for dinner, despite complaining for the kids. Once they had Chicken Pakora in front of them (glorified chicken strips) they were happy and so was I. Then we opened presents (new running shoes, slippers, sunglasses, a shirt and some fun things from my mom) and had lemon sour cream pie from Marie Callendar's. Didn't David do well? He also wants to get me a new lens or backdrop and lights for pictures indoors...we'll see. I think he did PLENTY, so maybe he can save the rest for Christmas. The kids made me cute cards and tried to be nice to each other.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Braces Stink

I want to use another word, but Mom might read my blog...

Questions I get asked:

Why did I get braces? Hmmm...I got braces so that my teeth would be straight.

Am I glad I got braces? No.

Will I be glad I got braces when it's all over? Ask me then.

David and I always thought it would be good to get braces when I was pregnant so I could get the ugly all over with at once. No. That's NOT a good idea. Because when you're pregnant, you feel like a whale, your face gets all swollen, and you need to feel lovely whenever possible. When you have braces AND you're pregnant, it is next to impossible to feel lovely.

Pregnancy only lasts 9 long months, but then there are all those months when you're just fat. And then there are all those months when you're not really fat, but you're lumpy. And having braces does not help you feel like you're getting back to your old self. Because now you're a lumpier version of your old self, but with metal brackets on all of your big teeth. And you drool more. And you spit more when you talk.

So, this is what I do not like about having braces at 35:

1. Having braces at 35.

2. Eating a salad and having green stuff stuck in my teeth until I can find a sink and toothbrush.

3. Eating a sandwich and having sandwich stuff stuck in my teeth until...

4. Eating...ok, you get it, I think.

5. Having a 2nd grader that I just met look at me like I'm an alien and say "Why do YOU have those on your teeth?"

6. IT HURTS! It hurt to get them, it hurts when they're adjusted, the inside of my mouth hurts...

7. Flossing. Honestly, I hated flossing before. But now it takes 20 minutes. TWENTY MINUTES??? Like I HAVE TWENTY MINUTES EXTRA IN MY DAY???????

8. Pictures of me in braces. (There are no weddings in my family for 12 years, and then both Bri AND Kurt decide to get married. What's that about? Not to mention pics of me with my Ben. There and I thought my delivery room pictures couldn't get any scarier.)

9. Braces cost a lot. I could have a lot of fun with the money I'm putting into my mouth.

10. I'm sure there's more, but I don't want to think about it anymore.

There must be positives about braces. Hmmm...

1. I'll know what my kids are going through when they get braces.

2. My jaw problems are actually improving.

3. My teenage piano students think it's great when they get their braces off but I still have mine.

4. I actually went ahead and did something for myself that I'd been considering for years.

So here I am before braces and during braces.

With Cindee last summer With Sophie in May

Until next summer, then, my mantra will be, "I'll be glad when they're off, I'll be glad when they're off, I'll be glad when they're off."

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Beach

For Kurt's bachelor outing, the guys all went sea kayaking. Nina and I brought the kids to the beach to play in the sand and watch their daddies. While I would have loved to be out on the water, watching kids at the beach is one of my favorite things. I love their intensity, their ability to focus on the task at hand, their creativity, and the way they carry home more sand in their swimsuits than exists in most sandboxes.

Josh and Sophie

Ben and Ez

David and Eric

Kurt, the man of the weekend
Later in the day, we went to the tidepools below our hotel. I love the much to do or not do. Everyone had fun exploring, finding hermit crabs, and trying not to slip on the mossy rocks. Is there moss in the ocean? Whatever it was, it made it hard to walk!

Ben and Nana

Our cute Kate

Dad and Ben

I love the ocean. I miss it in Utah, although the mountains are its counterpart for my nature needs. Viva Voce commissioned a piece for our 10th anniversary, based on a poem by ee cummings that I love. Why we chose a piece about the ocean, I'm not sure, but it captures the wonder of the ocean and childhood:

maggie and milly and molly and may

went down to the beach(to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang

so sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles, and

milly befriended a stranded star

whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing

which raced sideways while blowing bubbles: and

may came home with a smooth round stone

as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)

it's always ourselves we find in the sea

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Kurt and Ashleigh

Kurt and Ashleigh were married September 29th in San Diego. What a beautiful day! The weather was perfect, the setting was perfect, and Kurt picked a perfect sister for me! Hooray for Kurt and Ashleigh!

We've been waiting for this wedding for such a long time. Honestly, I think we all wanted Ashleigh in the family from the first time we met her. Oh look, I even have a picture from the night we met!

This was March of 2004 with Sophie (4 years old) and Fifi, our cousin's dog. They've all grown up so much, haven't they? Well, all but Fifi.

We think that Kurt and Ashleigh are a wonderful pair. She's a little calmer, he's a little more firey (it's the red hair, bro, I tell you.) She has a heart of gold, and so does he. They care about people, they want to make a difference in the world, and we love them both. Kurt's always been special to me, and I am thrilled to see him moving forward in life with a partner like Ashleigh.

Abby, Kate and Sophie loved being flower girls. Ashleigh gave them beautiful silver heart necklaces and a gift bag. They felt very special and very beautiful, especially after getting their hair done with all the bridesmaids, moms, and Ashleigh.

Here's our little family. Ben was a trooper all day, except during the family pictures.

We can't imagine having any more fun. We loved the food, the chocolate bar, the dancing (Josh doing the Robot in front of all the bridesmaids and groomsmen is a great moment), the money dance, the cake attack (as you can see, Kurt did NOT hold back). We loved talking with friends and family, making memories together, and celebrating the beginning of a new family.

We love you, Kurt and Ashleigh!