Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Call for creativity

Okay internet....I need your help.

My friend and I are doing a duet recital in September, and we are calling it "How can I keep from singing?" and will be opening with that piece.

We want each of the sets to be titled similarly, (for instance, the sacred set will be titled "How can I keep from praising God?") and this is where I need your help, because I'm at something of a loss. We can only come up with something for the Sacred set, and vague ideas for the others, but I won't share them here because I want to hear what you have to say.

Here are the sets:

Folk Songs:

He's Gone Away
Shenandoah
Homeward Bound

Sacred

***How can I keep from praising God?***

Laudamus Te-Vivaldi
Quis Est Homo-Rossini

Songs of John Duke (this set will be solo singing)

i carry your heart
I Can't Be Talkin' of Love

Broadway

What is this feeling?-Wicked

(We also need to find at least one other great Broadway duet, so if you have any ideas, let's hear 'em!)

Opera

Duetto Buffo per Due Gatti-Rossini (not really from an opera)
Via Resti Servita-Marriage of Figaro
Evening Prayer-Hansel and Gretel
Flower Song-Lakme

So, hit me with your creativity. Tell me the first thing that comes to mind. And don't tell me you're not creative. I read all of your blogs, and you are. Oh yes. You are.

ETA: I will even send a prize to whomever can title my sets. The only set I need adding to is the Broadway one, and if I use one of your suggestions, you get a prize, too. Help!!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Proud

Yesterday at church we had a special musical number during Sacrament meeting. Not just any ordinary special musical number, either. It was truly special.

Because it was my kids. And my husband. Also, the Bishop and his two daughters, Chloe and Brianna (I did not make that up. That is true fact. Yes, we had Chloe, Chloe, Bria and Brianna singing. But the Bishop's name is not Joel, just in case you were wondering.) They sang "A Child's Prayer," and it had the congregation in tears, I understand. I'm not really sure, since I was stuck playing the piano and didn't really get to see it. Or hear it, for that matter.

Bria hasn't been too hip on the whole idea for the entire two weeks we knew about it. In fact, during the times we rehearsed she would stand in the furthest possible corner from the piano and just look traumatized. I told her she didn't have to sing if she didn't want to, but just in case she thought she might, I bribed her with ice cream anyway.

Well, she agreed to sing (cue the Hallelujah Chorus here), but she had some terms. As she was getting out of the car to go into church she said, "I will sing but you are not allowed to be proud of me, or smile at me, or give me any compliments." I gave her my word, and so did Joel. Absolutely no smiling, complimenting, or being proud. She reminded me of the agreement in a fierce whisper that I'm sure the entire congregation heard as we all came down from the stand after it was all over: "Don't smile, Mom!"

But, I needed no reminders because I lived up to my word. After Sacrament meeting was over, I turned to Bria and said, "Thank you for singing. I'm not proud of you and I won't tell you that you did a good job," with the straightest, non-smilingest visage I could muster.

A strange look crossed her face, she thought for a moment and finally answered, "Well.....you can be proud of me. Just NO compliments."

I'll take what I can get.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Unfocused, but adorable.
Sophie's 2 year old photoshoot

And that title goes for both the pictures as well as the girl in them. I thought her 18-month shoot was hard, but it was a cinch compared to today! She was all over the place, and mostly not on the backdrop. When she was on the backdrop, she was showing me her belly button, doing somersaults, hiding under her blanket, or putting on jewelry. Whenever she left and Joel tried to put her back in, she threw a fit. Finally, we resorted to sticking her on a barstool, but by then, she was finished, thankyouverymuch.




Sophie is such a fun little girl, we so love her energy and her fun-loving personality. She's talking up a storm lately, much of which is walking around the house on a phone saying, "Hewwo? Hi!" in her adorable little squeal. She loves to call people, even if it's the internet service provider, and tell them all about her day. As her mother, I am starting to understand quite a lot of the gibberish, but the world at large is still not quite sure what the heck she is saying. She is very much a girl, always dressing up or putting on make-up. Ever the technology whiz, she still gets awfully excited about electronic gadgets or anything that makes noise and lights up.

She has quite the attachment to her blankets and her monkey pillow. A couple weeks ago, when we were at my parents house, my mom decided to wash them all and threw them in the laundry room. Not much later, Sophie was helping me put the dirty clothes down the laundry chute and saw them down there as she was doing it. She was absolutely beside herself and when I heard her freaking out I thought something horrible had happened, until she pointed down the chute and tearfully told me her "bebe" (blankie) and "pewpew" (pillow) were down there. I'm pretty sure she thought it was just a big hole you threw things down, and that there was absolutely no way to ever get them back again. She was more grateful and excited than I've ever seen her when I so easily went downstairs to retrieve them for her.

She loves to give kisses, and does it with the cutest pucker west of the Mississippi. She insists that both of her sisters, "Bibe" (Bria) and "Woeh" (Chloe), come to give her a hug and kiss before she goes to bed at night and before every nap. She adores her older sisters, but she also teases them to death. She loves to take things from them (even if she doesn't really want it) just to hear them shriek and chase her around the house. She gets a real kick out of that.
I am so thankful for this little stinker.
And I still can't believe she's two.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Too TWO cute!

I can't believe Sophia turned two today! I kind of hate it, actually....she's growing way too fast, and it certainly doesn't seem like two entire years since I had her in the middle of July in freaking hot Tempe, Arizona.

Age two, however, has always been my favorite time with my kids, so I'm so excited to watch her learn and grow, and to see her personality more fully emerge this year (although she has so darn much personality to start with, I may not be able to handle much more).

I had to work at Tuacahn this morning, and then when I came home, Joel had to play in a matinee at Shakespeare, so we had to wait until after dinner for celebrations. A few friends came over and we just had cupcakes and ice cream, and then she opened her presents. Hard to say what she liked best, but I'm guessing it was the dolly baby bottles Bria gave her. Except, she didn't want to feed them to her dolls, only pretend to drink them herself.

I wanted to do a two year old photoshoot with her today, but she was napping while there was light and I was home. So, I'll have to wait till tomorrow. In the meanwhile, here's a cute one I got of her tonight when she escaped outside as people were coming over to celebrate.
Happy Birthday beautiful Sophie! I love you!!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Answers

Not feeling the blogging bug lately. So, since I had asked for questions from you last month, and only answered one, I thought I'd finally get around to answering the rest. Here goes:

Ashley asked: What are you favorite colors right now? I know I have many and it is always changing, but their are certain color groupings I like better together than others. I was just wondering, what has been catching your eye lately?

My favorite color has always been red, but I also really like pink, although that hasn't always been the case. I used to hate it. I do prefer a bolder pink to the more fragile, soft ones.

As for color combinations, I have several favorites lately. I really like sky blue, deep red and off white. I've been using it a lot when I scrapbook (which isn't so often). Other favorite combos: Orange, sky blue and brown. Pink and brown. Teal and brown. Orange, pink and lime green.

Deb asked: Ideally where would you like to live, and what would your "dream" house look like?

I would love to live in a big, walking city. Like NYC. I could do Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia. Wherever. Love all of those. Not sure how ideal they would be for raising a family, but people do it all the time, sooo....

My dream house (although it probably would never be found in the above mentioned cities) would be big enough, but not too big. It would have a craft room, a music room with its own entrance for lesson teaching, a big laundry/mud room, and a play room, along with all the other normal rooms a house should have. Oh, and the master bath would be huge and luxurious.

Mary asked: How often do you do professional photo shoots? How much time do you spend editing photos?

Well, I don't really consider myself a professional by any stretch of the imagination. I do a few paid shoots here and there, mostly for family and friends. I've only ever done one shoot for someone I didn't actually know. I try to limit the paid shoots to one or two a month, and usually have no problem doing that. Often I go months without doing one. I am shooting a wedding reception next week and I am very nervous. At least they have a true professional doing the stuff up at the SLC temple and I am just doing the reception here in Cedar. I told her I wouldn't be comfortable doing it months ago, but she asked me again last week and I agreed.

I spend more time than necessary editing photos due to the lack of RAM in my computer. An average shoot takes me about four hours to edit. Sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on the nature of the pictures.

I edit my own personal pictures almost daily. I just go through and choose my favorites from recent days and edit them. The problem with doing it this way is that I miss a lot, and I rarely go back and edit or print some great shots.

And that's all the questions I was asked. Either I'm so un-intriguing, nobody cares to know much about me, or I've said it all already.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Shakespearean greenshow

Unless a small miracle occurs (and I still believe it could happen), it seems that we are staying in Cedar another year. In the spirit of having a better attitude about this, I decided we should get out of the house and enjoy the great town we live in.

Because Cedar City as a place is actually quite lovely. It's Cedar City the situation that I have had issues with. If we could just get a Target and a Costco, and Joel could get a substantial raise so I wouldn't have to work so much, it would be perfection.

One of the fun things about Cedar is all the festivals. We have a ton of 'em, since its nickname is Festival City, USA, after all. We have the Renaissance festival, the Groove Fest, the Family Fest, and a bunch more that I don't really know about. The most famous of all, of course, is the Utah Shakespearean Festival. SUU has a lovely outdoor theatre built to look like Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, and all summer and fall we have excellent productions going on, Shakespeare and otherwise. In fact, Joel is playing trumpet in the pit for Fiddler on the Roof, which is part of the Festival.

Every night at 7:00 sharp, there is a greenshow outside the Adams theatre (or the Globe, if you want to call it that). Anyone can attend, and it is just really nice and fun. So, this evening we decided to go, and we'll probably go a few more times this summer.

I, of course, took pictures.

This is my favorite of the day. Actually, it is pretty much an all time favorite at this point. How adorable is this kid? You can just see the impishness of her in this photo, and I want to eat her for dinner.
This is the carillon tower at SUU. It was playing Greensleeves just before the greenshow started. I love carillon music, it reminds me of my own college days at BYU, even if the song isn't "Come, Come Ye Saints."
A couple shots of the actual greenshow. I'm pretty impressed at how high those boys can kick, aren't you?
The Maypole dance.
Chloe being enthralled with the singing and dancing and spectacle of it all. She's my musical theatre junkie.
Bria was kind of in a sour mood for a lot of the show. She really wanted to buy some candy from one of the costumed vendors going around selling it (Cockney accents and all). But, she didn't bring her money, and I am poor. So is Joel.
Chloe waiting for the show to start.
Gasp! She does smile! Actually, I think she really enjoyed the show. And I do agree, those caramel things are to die for. Maybe next time. Aren't her freckles cute?
And finally Sophie again. Obviously she's up to something. Like running away. That's the problem with these outdoor shows.

Friday, July 18, 2008

What happens when we run out of paper at our house

With Chloe around (and, let's face it, Bria too), we go through an awful lot of paper in a very short amount of time. Reams and reams in a month's time, or so it seems.

Well, we're out. Have been for quite a while, and I keep forgetting to buy it when I'm at the store.

And Chloe's gotten creative.



Yes. That is a lovely Halloween rendition of a bat and a scary tree and a witch on her broom. The back of the shirt has a similar scene. She wanted to make her costume early. You know, so she could be ready when October 31st rolls around. In four months.

The medium? Best white tee shirt that was purchased for church wear only and black dry erase marker.

You can see she's none too happy with me taking a picture. That's because my kids know that in situations like this, I always calmly take a picture or two and then comes the discipline. It really is good artwork though, (the pictures don't quite do it justice) and I have no idea how to get dry erase marker out of fabric. So we just may go ahead and let it be her Halloween costume after all.

Meanwhile, I'd best buy some new paper.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The many faces of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and other artistic pursuits

For Chloe, everything is an opportunity to create art.

Even her lunch, as she so aptly demonstrated this afternoon, with absolutely no help or other encouragement from parents or siblings:
(No sandwiches were harmed in the making of these pictures....they were just a bit emotional, that's all.)

In other artistic news, the other morning when Chloe woke up (she is not an early riser by any means), Joel was out working on the backyard. Still in her pajamas, she went out there with him and started doing her thing with the sidewalk chalk. She did not feel the need to go about this in a normal way. Instead, she made as much chalk dust as possible, and then used a stick to create her picture. Then she just touched it up a bit with the chalk.
Cool effect, but incredibly messy.
But then again, who said art was supposed to be neat and tidy?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Buried

I suppose it's a good thing I didn't take any photos of us on vacation, since I have been buried in photo editing for the last several days.

I'm still not 100% finished, but you can see some of what I did on my photography blog.

Anne-Marie's maternity shoot.

Anne-Marie, Hank, and family.

Kanoa & Gabriel.

Matt & Andrea family shoot.

Zoie & Jonas.

Phewsh!

Back to editing...I'll come up for air later.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

I am so fired

On vacation, just me and the kids, for over 10 days. Did tons of super fun stuff.

And I took exactly FIVE pictures.

Okay, well, actually I took over 400 pictures. But those were photoshoots. Of my girls, there are only five.

I intended to do better, but I realized that it is difficult to be behind the camera without Joel around to tend to the children while I am clicking the shutter. I was always so busy having fun and herding kids myself, that I hardly thought of my poor camera.

Also, on July 4th, I brought my camera to the parade in the morning and then realized I'd forgotten the memory card. Then, at the annual Neves family South Fork picnic after the parade, I had my memory card, but my battery died after I took the five above mentioned pictures. (Yes, I have an extra battery, but I didn't bring my whole camera bag! Just the camera.)

So, I'm fired.

Anyway, here they are: My sole documentation of our Independence Day 2008.

Bria. Please notice her lovely hairdo. She thought of it all by herself, and I must admit, it is quite adorable. At least on her it is...I'm not so sure I could pull it off. And the outfit is one that took much blood and sweat and many tears to procure on July 3rd. Please remind me to do it earlier next year, because it has to be done. Tradition, you know.



Chloe. I let her put her own sunscreen on her face when we had gone swimming a couple days before. And, as you can see, that was a mistake. Her cute little permanent teeth are starting to come up on the bottom. And don't you love her patriotic skirt? So does Sophie. She steals it and puts it on whenever she sees it in the laundry (or the suitcase).



Sophie was off playing and running around, so this picture of all 3 girls is the only one I have of Sophie. Get a load of the mess of blondiness and curliness on her head. How sweet is she?

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Home again, Gone again, Flannigan

I've had a lovely time visiting "up North" these last ten days, and am finally headed home today. I've kept myself extremely busy by attending barbecues, doing photoshoots, visiting family and friends, swimming, shopping and eating too much. I had intended to do more blogging, but I never did get around to it. All of the posts from this past week, with the exception of the one where I called 911, were written before I left and set to automatically post...most of them posted while I was off having fun somewhere.

Though I've missed Joel terribly and he has been super bored, I'm glad I left him home. Because, in his boredom, he's deep cleaned the entire house AND fixed my piano. Bless him.

I'll have to remember this, and leave him alone more often. :)

Sunday, July 06, 2008

A guilty pleasure

Although, I don't really know what I have to be guilty about. Except Joel makes fun of me for it.

I like to read the Sunday comics. In fact, I rarely read any of the rest of the Sunday paper, because I keep up on all the news I need to online. Is that really so bad?

In conjunction with that, I keep up on my favorite comic strip by reading it online every day. It's been my favorite since I was like 12. So, for more than 20 years I've been reading Luann.

I admit, that's kind of sad. But whatever. I know lots of people who do the same with their various favorite comic strips.

I had to chuckle when Bria came in the living room Monday morning and found me reading the comics and got very excited.

"Can I read those things after you? I really like those, they're so funny!"

And later, I found her in her room like this:
And I really hope that she enjoys reading them for the rest of her life. I think it's something we should all do.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Homage to Audrey


Joel and I played "The Newlywed Game" on New Year's Eve this year with a bunch of other couples. (I think we won, or took second place...either way, we did really well.)

One of the questions posed to the wives was "If you could be any celebrity, who would you be?"

I totally chose Audrey Hepburn. It doesn't matter that she's not really a current celebrity, or that she's not actually alive. If I could choose an era to live in, it would absolutely be the 40's. Love everything about it: the movies, the fashion, the music, etc.

Anyway, I was surprised that Joel answered that one correctly for me. (He does listen!)

I think Sophie must have a thing for Audrey, too. Remember those shoes that she steals all the time? The style is called Audrey. Obviously because they are totally Holly Golightly. And, of course, that's why I bought them.

So besides loving the Audrey shoes, this is how Sophie came out of my room the other day:

Wide headband: check. Audrey shoes: check. Fancy necklace: check. Simple, but elegant dress: check. Big sunglasses: check. Stylish bag (who says Dora isn't stylish?): check. Classic beauty: check.

Yep. I'd say she has the Audrey look down.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Say what?

So the girls were happily playing together when, inevitably, an argument broke out.

By the time I got up there to see what was going on, I heard Chloe say, "...you big dong!"

And then Bria immediately turned to me and said, "Mooooom! Chloe called me dumb!"

Chloe immediately corrected her and reminded that she had not called her dumb, but in fact, a dong.

Then I asked, "Well, what is a dong, Chloe?"

Her answer?

"It means 'big mean sister.' That's what it means for now."

Thursday, July 03, 2008

If I called the police on you this afternoon: I'm sorry I ruined your day

I have debated whether or not I would blog about why I called the police today, but decided that I should. It's just too important not to.

So here goes:

I ran down to the store to grab baby wipes and a couple other things this afternoon. I was in the store for maybe 20-30 minutes. Even though I wasn't getting much, one of the things I was buying was a 4th of July outfit for Bria, who has a future as a fashion designer or the fashion police. Some notable quotes from our outing today were, "I don't want to look CUTE, I want to look COOL!" and "I am not a cutie, I am a cooooooool girl!" So, understandably, that part took a little longer than I had hoped.

Also, the lines were pretty long. Must have been the day before the 4th get everything you need for your barbecue rush. So, when I finally got out to my incredibly hot car I was very tired and really just wanted to go home and sit down in the air conditioning and contemplate how I ever survived living in the Phoenix area. Unfortunately, that didn't get to happen, at least not right away.

Because, as I was climbing into my van, I noticed that the car parked next to me had three kids inside. A baby, a 3-ish year old, and maybe a 5-ish year old, if I judge by the sizes of my own children. The windows were all rolled up, and since it was over 100 degrees I freaked out a little and immediately called 911. When I got out to read the license plate number to dispatch, I realized the car was running, so at least they weren't all going to die in there. However, that's just as negligent, and when I told the dispatcher that the car was on after all, she said, "Well, that's good, but they still can't be in there alone and an officer is on the way."

I had to stay and flag down the police car so he knew where in the vast parking lot we were, and when he got out and looked in the car, he was obviously angry. He asked me a couple questions and then told me I could leave. Another officer drove up just as I was leaving, and they opened the door to the car and talked to the oldest child. (Also, the two older kids didn't have any sort of car seat/booster, and the 5-ish year old girl was sitting in the front seat, which is a whole 'nother ball of wax that I may have tsk-tsked, but not called the police over.)

I feel a little bad that I most definitely ruined the day of the person who was in charge of those children. I know as well as anyone else just how hard it is to take 3 small kids into the store if you only have to grab a couple things. I know we all make mistakes. And I certainly would never want to walk out to the parking lot and be greeted by two cops because I made an error in judgment. I worried about all those things as I was talking to the dispatch, but I never hesitated in making the call, because I have seen first hand the devastation that can happen when a child is left in a car on a hot summer day. Not to mention things like kidnapping and having your kid decide to put the car in gear just to see what happens.

I stand by my decision to call, and I sincerely hope someone out there will make better choices where their children are concerned after this.

I certainly learned quite a few things from my experience today. One of them being that my hands shake and my heart beats incredibly fast when I call 911. Hopefully I'll not have to ever do it again.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall....all you have to do is call...

Misty asked: I'd like to know what you look for in a friend? What is a meaningful friendship to you?

When I was in 4th or 5th grade there was a girl who I'll call Sally that nobody liked. Looking back, I see that she wasn't well cared for: She rarely bathed, her hair was really greasy and gross, she didn't smell so good, and her clothes were dirty and unkempt. On top of all that, she was annoying.

One day, her class came into mine in order to watch a movie. They set up chairs in between all our desks so that they could sit and watch. Sally sat right next to me. I remember that she had some sort of toy she was showing to me, and she kept spinning it on my desk. I was afraid that she was going to get us into trouble so I told her to stop it. She didn't. So I told her again, a bit more forcefully. That time she stopped, but then I noticed that she was crying and I realized that I'd hurt her feelings.

I felt horrible. Nobody liked Sally, and I always tried to be nice to her since she had no friends, but I didn't necessarily want to be her friend either. But that day, I realized that 1) Sally considered me her friend and 2) everyone has feelings and that I had crossed a line. And I never wanted to do that again, to anyone.

In the 25 or so years since then I have always tried to include everyone. Consequently, sometimes I have an odd assortment of friends, but that doesn't bother me. What does bother me is when people can't understand why I would call this or that person my friend. Personally, at this time in my life, I think we're all a little too old for exclusive behavior, and I didn't like it back in high school anyway.

Anyway. I am willing to be a friend to anyone and I don't really look for certain qualities in a friend, because I see every person I meet as a potential friend. What happens though, is that many of my friendships are more one-sided, and sometimes people take advantage of my good nature (that's a different conversation). Again, I don't terribly mind...I am happy to be there as a listening ear and as a support.

However, I need all those things in a friend, too. And a friend that's willing to give those things and lend a listening ear isn't as easy to find as one might think. Consequently, my closest friends and therefore my most meaningful friendships are the ones who lift and encourage me. The ones that give me a shoulder to cry on when I need one. Of course they know they can come to me for the same, but the relationship is much more equal.

Also, I've never been the one who has a million girlfriends to go to the mall with. I usually only have a few friends that I am totally comfortable enough with to just call and do lunch or whatever. I'm still kind of shy, after all, despite my strange addiction to blogging. :)

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Like mother, like daughter

Or rather, mother has a thing that has lots of cool buttons, daughter wants one too!

I had my camera out the other day and while I was snapping some photos, I made the mistake of leaving my camera bag open and within reach of the technology obsessed baby. I turned around and saw she had my film camera out. She had the strap around her neck and was holding it up to her face and pushing buttons.


Maybe she really will be a photographer when she grows up. She certainly has a good enough start!