Wednesday, September 26, 2007

You don't know what you've got till it's gone

There is an excellent reason that I have never been a morning person: For the majority of my adult life I have been an insomniac. Not because I want to be. Just because I am. Even as a teenager I remember lying awake and watching the minutes tick by on the clock beside my bed. Consequently, I have learned to use the wee hours of the night to be productive, or at least to read a good book.

Several months ago, I went and had my hormones tested. They found several things to fix and started me on a regimen of herbs and bio-identical progesterone, among other things. And almost immediately I was sleeping. Like, I could actually fall asleep a few minutes after my head hit the pillow, instead of listening to my husband sleep and being jealous that he actually could.

Suddenly, getting up early wasn't so difficult anymore. I don't think I'll ever be one of those people that just bounces out of bed at 5:00 am, but I could at least be nice and pleasant at 7:00. I also found myself wanting to go to bed earlier, and not staying up reading or doing dishes or surfing the internet until past midnight.

Unfortunately, I have become an insmoniac again the last few days. The other night I found myself lying awake, willing myself to just fall asleep, while music from Fiddler on the Roof played over and over in my mind. It happened again last night, and I really hope that's it.

I think I was actually taking my newfound sleep for granted. I didn't realize what a major change happened in me. Besides sleeping, I have just plain been nicer to be around. (And I definitely mean that sometimes I don't like being around myself, and the last few months it hasn't been so bad.) But yesterday and today, I have been a total crank. I have felt horrible. And I just can't believe that I have felt like this for so long. Wow. And I know I did, too, because that's the thing that finally made me go get my hormones checked.

I'm thinking it's time to get a job as a napper.

Oh wait, I already have that job. Better start doing it.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam

Today was our annual Primary program. Ever since Bria first performed in one (with Joel sitting behind her so she would actually stay on the stand), it is something I look forward to every fall.

This particular program was special for a couple reasons: 1) Bria said her part without help, bribes or cajoling in any form. She was a little quiet and hard to understand, but she did it! She also had no problem going up to sing...she was actually excited to do it! and 2) It was Chloe's very first Primary program as a Sunbeam.

The Sunbeams sat on the front pews on either side of the chapel while other children were doing their speaking parts, and when it was time to sing, they stood on the stairs that lead up to the stand. While standing there, Chloe would lift up her dress and show her underwear to the entire congregation, get a kick out of making funny faces to herself, and when she thought about it, sing the words at the top of her lungs. I was actually really impressed with how many of the song lyrics she knew.

Best of all was when the Sunbeams did their speaking parts. These are all of the 3 and 4 year old children, and they only had to stand at the microphone and say what they were most thankful for. They were grateful for motorcycle bikes, Jesus, family, food, pet fish, and even tootsie rolls. Chloe was most thankful for her room. (Actually, what she said was, "I'm thankful for my rooooooooooooooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM" )

So, naturally, when it was over I asked her if that meant she wasn't as thankful for me as she is her bedroom. She looked at me for a little while and she finally said, "Well, I still love you!"

For which I am indeed grateful.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Tutus. a photography experiment and is it Friday already?

Technically, it's still Thursday, but by the time most of you read this it will be Friday. And the week sped by.

The good news is that I'm not nearly as overwhelmed as I thought I'd be. I've even had time to make some tutus for the girls' Halloween costumes, keep the house relatively clean (if it weren't for Miss Sophia, it'd be a heckuva lot cleaner!), and take plenty of photos.

I've been reading a lot about backlighting and thought I'd give it a go today. So I sat Sophie up on the kitchen table in front of the window (believe it or not, the blinds aren't even open!), set my exposure, and shot away. The results are kind of cool. They are not perfect by any means and I definitely still need to fine tune a couple things, but I was excited to learn something new. Of course, the other girls wanted to get in on the action and it gave all of them a chance to model their new tutus. (These are not complete costumes by the way, tutus only.)

Bria (who is too big to be sitting on the kitchen table, but I let her do it anyway):

Chloe (who is getting so big...really starting to lose her babyness, and it's making me sad):


And finally Baby Sophie (who is a total wiggle worm and needed tealights to keep her on the table):



Sunday, September 16, 2007

In her eyes

Due to Grandparents day, Bria has been studying about grandparents at school. When she found out that her teacher was inviting the children's grandparents to come to the classroom and talk about how school was for them, she came home and immediately called my mom to invite her. My mom lives 3 hours away and has a job, so it wasn't too easy for her to get here (and that isn't even including all of the car trouble she had the day she came down) but she realized how badly Bria wanted her there, so she came.

Bria had made a little booklet about her grandma. Part of it was a little pedigree chart, where she drew herself, her mom and dad, and both sets of grandparents. She decided she would add occupations onto the pictures.

For my mom she wrote yoga.

For my dad she wrote UPS.

For Joel's parents she didn't write anything, because she didn't know. (They're basically retired.)

For Joel she wrote orchestra.

And for me? The word napper was written next to my picture.

I asked her about this and she said, "Well, you're always tired, and I don't know what else you do."

So, yes. In Bria's eyes I am not a cleaner, a cook (well, that's valid), a voice teacher, a scrapbooker, a "picture-taker", a reader or even a mom.

I am a napper.

Who, by the way, very rarely actually naps.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Murphy's law of photographing your kids

Inevitably, the only picture where all children are looking both pleasant AND at the camera will be the only picture that is also out of focus.

Okay, so maybe Murphy didn't say it, but he should have.

You may remember my Easter photo fiasco. I haven't tried to do any pictures of all three of them together since then. Until yesterday.

And the same thing happened:

This is the second best. We changed the position of the chair, so I'm not in love with the lighting, but everyone is looking at the camera and in focus, just not necessarily pleasant:
There are a couple I decided I really like though:


I love them to death and they're cute as heck.

But they're still uncooperative little stinkers.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

What kind of Weeble are you?

The other day, Chloe was walking around the house singing the Weeble's theme song. In case you either don't remember it from when you were a child, or you don't have a preschooler now, it goes like this:

"Weebles wobble, weebles wobble, weebles wobble, but they don't fall down."

After a few minutes of singing, she asked me why weebles don't fall down. I told her that the way they were shaped made it so they couldn't fall down. And the conversation just went downhill from there.

Chloe: I wish I could be like a weeble and never fall down. That would be good, huh?

Me: It sure would! I wish I never fell down, too. (If you know me very well, you know I wasn't just saying that.)

Chloe: Do you want to be a weeble then, Mommy?

Me: No. I think I would look pretty funny if I were a weeble.

Chloe: Yeah. If you were a weeble you'd be a big fat one. I wouldn't though. I'd be a really skinny weeble. Right, Mom?

Uhhhhhh......right, Chloe.

Five

It's another tag. But I wanted to do it....my friend Lacey tagged me.

Five things I was doing 10 years ago:

1. Ten years ago this month I was released from my mission in Romania.
2. Getting a job teaching at the Senior MTC.
3. Sneaking my way into the Concert Choir at BYU...thanks to Annie asking Dr. Wilberg if I could sing even though I wasn't enrolled in school that semester. (He said yes, and I didn't have to audition!)
4. Also sneaking my way into voice lessons at BYU. Just paid the professor privately until I enrolled in Winter semester.
5. Trying to adjust to things like talking to boys again, and eating American food. It made me totally sick for the first few months I was home.

Five things on my "to do" list today:

1. Write my syllabus for SUU.
2. Do a bit of grocery shopping.
3. Take Sophie to her 12 month well child check, even though she is now 14 months.
4. Work with some of the Fiddler on the Roof kids at the high school.
5. Clean the kitchen.

Five snacks I enjoy:

1. m&m's (but not for a while).
2. My LA Weightloss bars, which are surprisingly good. (Yes, I joined.)
3. Raw veggies. (My problem is I'm too lazy to cut them up.)
4. Crackers: Especially Triscuits and Wheat thins.
5. I can't think of a fifth...popcorn?

Five songs I know the lyrics to:

1. I am a Child of God
2. The Rose (Barbra Streisand)
3. Someone like you (from Jekyll and Hyde)
4. Vieni, non tardar (from The Marriage of Figaro)
5. Somebody (Depeche Mode)

Five things I would do if I were a millionaire:

1. Pay off all the dang student loans.
2. Buy a house...or better, build my dream house.
3. Buy the best camera and lenses out there.
4. Put away for the girls' college tuitions/missions.
5. Go to Disneyland. :)

Five bad habits: (I am assuming that these are bad habits I have, and not just random bad habits I can think of.)

1. Sitting at the computer doing nothing important.
2. Procrastinating till the last second.
3. Impatience..
4. Speeding.
5. Disorganization (not so much a habit as a way of life).

Five things I would never wear again:

1. "Mom" jeans.
2. Big huge long man shirts.
3. Big glasses. (I just cringe when I see the specs that I used to wear!)
4. Vests
5. Anything super frilly.

Five of my favorite toys.

1. My camera.
2. My piano.
3. The internet
4. Scrapbook schtuff. Especially pretty paper.
5. Books to read

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Overheard

Chloe: I'm so excited! We can play princess dress up when we get home Bria!!!

Bria: Whatever. I'm getting too old for princess stuff. I'm starting to want to wear cool clothes now.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Thanks for the opinions

Thanks all for your opinions on the photography stuff. (If you haven't yet given an opinion, feel free. Please!)

Just a note about the ordering options.

I guessed that the CD would be the most popular with people. It certainly is in the customer's best interest to be able to do whatever he/she wants with the images, including post them on the web or email them. Printing the images yourself is definitely cheaper than the mark up a photgrapher charges. Because of this, the photographer has to make up for the profit lost from selling prints by charging a higher price on the CD. All of the editing work that goes into making a CD with images that are fit to print in all sizes (each size has to be cropped differently, and the photographer will want to maintain control over the crop instead of leaving it up to the printer) as well as having each image in black and white and color is huge. It can take an hour to get one image ready for printing.

Someone else asked what the advantage was to order prints through the photographer versus printing them yourself. The answer is quality. If I decide to go this way, I would use a professional printer and I would verify that the color and light are what I expected before giving them to the customer. If they aren't, I would have them reprinted. When printing yourself, although cheaper, the quality isn't controlled, especially if you decide to use somewhere like WalMart or Costco (which sometimes do pretty good work, sometimes not...depends on the technician that day).

Anyway...just some explanation. I'm still not sure what on earth I'll be doing with all that, but I'll be sure to let you know soon!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Unveiling, and a question (or six)

Remember when I decided to unveil my scrapbooking blog? Well, that was a bust. I mean, I still update it, but knowing myself, I will never be able to really keep it up. I have hardly scrapped in the last few months, and don't see myself doing it really regularly at least until October.

So, because I'm totally insane, I've decided (at the urging of many friends and family) to start doing a little more with photography. I've put up a photography website---well, blog, since it's free---and I need your feedback.

Go look here: photographybylara.blogspot.com Then, please answer the following questions:

1. Does it make sense? Can you figure out how to find the photo galleries, the session and pricing information and all that stuff?

2. Do you like how it looks? If you hate it, do you have suggestions?

3. Do you think the pictures are worthy? You can click on all of them to see them a bit larger. (I'll be adding more gradually, I've just been pretty swamped. I've been making this website for nearly a week now.)

4. Would you hire me to photograph your kids/family?

5. How much would you pay me for a session? (You may notice that I do not have pricing information up yet. Because I have no clue what to charge.)

6. Please vote in the poll on the top of the sidebar about your preferred method of purchasing prints.

That's a lot of questions. Hopefully I'll get lots of answers!

(And in case you're wondering, I'm hoping to do only 1 or 2 sessions per month, and probably not any this month. I can do a bit more once Fiddler on the Roof is finished since that is taking up about 6 hours a week right now.)

Friday, September 07, 2007

A Tender Mercy

I started freaking out a little today.

I mean, I have a million and one things going on in my life right now. I was freaking out about how much time I am having to spend out of the home and away from my kids for the next little bit. I feel like I'm in something of a bind, because we're desperate for the fundage, and I am blessed with the abilities and the opportunities I am. But, the mother in me is conflicted.

So, I had my little freak-out session, and then I went and took a shower. Because the shower is one of the best places for me to think through things, since I'm not bombarded by life (kids) in there. And, also, I just really needed to take a shower.

While I was thinking, I decided that my life would be so much easier if I could give up teaching one of my lessons. Nothing against that particular student, but the time her lesson is scheduled gives me great stress, and it's the only possible time she can come. I guess all the hot water made me realize that the money I was getting from this lesson was not worth the extreme stress it was causing me. I started trying to think of ways I could "fire" her. I've never actually done that before, and it's not something I really want to make a habit of doing, so I was at a loss. Even after all that thinking, I couldn't come up with any bright ideas, so I got out of the shower and got dressed.

Not a minute after I came out of my bedroom, the phone rang. Guess who was calling?

The mother of the same student I needed to drop.

She was calling to quit.

I breathed a huge sigh of relief, and gave an even bigger prayer of thanks for yet another tender mercy.

Yes, my Heavenly Father loves me.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Choose well, for your choice is brief and yet endless.

I'm sure I slaughtered the quote, but Voltaire said something along those lines. I first read it in high school and I really loved it. I had never thought about the lasting consequences our choices carry with them, and that quote just spoke plain truth to me.

It's something I've been thinking about quite a bit lately. Choices. Agency. Decisions. I don't think we realize often enough that something that takes a split second to decide can have such huge repercussions. Now, just to clarify, I'm not talking about little choices like what you are going to eat for dinner or which jeans you are going to wear today. Of course, they could end up being huge decisions if you get food poisoning, your pants split at work or your future husband asks you out for the first time because he loved your outfit.

No, I'm talking about bigger choices than that. The kind that can lead to happily ever after, or that can ruin lives and tear apart families.

My question is this: Why do people even make these horrible choices? From the outside looking in, I am often amazed at the things people do (especially those who definitely know better). But, I am not exempt from making bad decisions. I've done it many times. However, because I've seen what choosing certain things will result in by watching people around me, there are a few decisions that I feel confident I will never make. At least, if I were faced with them right this second, I wouldn't. But in a weak moment? Who really knows what I would do.

So, the question then becomes, how does one stay strong? I have some ideas about that, and I won't share all of them here, but I guess the biggest thing is to decide before you have to decide. Like they tell kids with drugs. Decide now that you will "just say NO" if you are ever in the position where someone is offering the option. If you truly mean the decision you make before hand it should be easy--well, easier--to stick to your guns.

Anyway, I want to be better about this. Especially as a mother. There are so many choices I can make each day that will affect my children for either good or bad. They may not seem huge, but many of them are.

And I want to do the things that will have wonderful lasting effects on my girls.