Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sophia


I decided every Sunday I'm going to post my favorite picture of the week.

Since my actual favorite picture this week is probably the first one I posted on Chloe's first day of school, this is my second favorite.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The worst job ever

Most household chores give me a sense of accomplishment. When I vacuum, I see all the crumbs and whatnot left by my three messy ones come up, and a clean floor instead. When I make the beds, obviously it makes a huge aesthetic difference to the room. Cleaning just about anything gives great fulfillment (unless it was already sparkly clean to begin with...but who does that?). Even folding the laundry, which I procrastinate as long as possible, makes me feel good when it's all done.

But there's one job that never gives me any fulfillment.

Unloading the dishwasher. I open it up and spend several minutes putting everything back just where it goes. And then I close it again.

And yet, after all that work, my kitchen still looks exactly the same. Which means it is obviously somewhat messy, because the whole reason for unloading the clean dishes is to make room for the dirty ones. Yet, somehow, unloading the diswasher makes the task of cleaning the kitchen seem that much more overwhelming.

Maybe I'm just weird that way, though.

What job doesn't give you any fulfillment? Inquiring minds want to know.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Happy Feet

The other day, Joel went out in the backyard and emptied the pool out so he could do a bit of yard work. Sophie followed him out there, dressed only in a diaper and princess shoes, and proceeded to have so much fun in the mud puddle created by the pool water that I couldn't help but take a million pictures.

I'm only posting eight of them, though, don't worry.


Sitting in the mud puddle via running jump (and aren't her curls precious?) will tend to make your diaper somewhat soggy and very dirty.



Oh to be a toddler, and experience so much exultant joy just by jumping in mud puddles. And then doubling that joy by adding your princess shoes.
Maybe I'll try it sometime.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A great big, giant photography post complete with millions of links

Last week, my friend Lara, who has a cool name, awarded me this:
I'm supposed to pass it on to my photography buddies. Unfortunately, I only have a few of them, and Lara is one of them! (If you love interesting pictures of European culture, take a peek at Lara's blog. She lives in Romania, so if you're one of my mission friends, you'll enjoy it even more. She also has lots of photos from Austria and other cool places.)

So, I'm giving the award to Hilary, Melody, Brooke, Rachel, Kim, Sam and Rae. (Okay, so I guess I have more than I thought...pass it along girls (and guy)!)

Speaking of Rae, she and I were IM-ing late the other night, and were sharing links to our favorite photo sites. There is nothing more inspiring than looking at another photographer's work. And then there are all the great websites to help you learn how to be a better photographer. So, prepare yourself for some major linkage here. (And probably only the 8 previously mentioned "photography buddies" will even care, so if you don't care you can stop reading here. Or, if you're interested in learning more about photography, have at it!)

Eye Candy (in no particular order)(update 2015: Some of these blogs and websites are no longer up and running, so I have deleted the clickable links):

Bare Baby
Photography by Detra
Jessica Claire
Chris Macke
Audrey Woulard
Heather Bauers
Jesh de Rox
Captured by Carrie
Photography by Teya
Jordan Krogman
Jessica Bell
Phreckles Photography
Giggles 'n' Grins
Nichole Van
Blue Candy
Christie Carl
Blue Lily
Heather Gibb
Photography by Jess
Stephanie Tueller
Urban Photo
Sara B photography
Amy Howe
Emin Wedding Photography
Simplicity Photography
Blueberry Lane
Bryan Peterson (of Understanding Exposure fame)
Mika Beth Edwards
Jasmine Star
Becker
Tara Whitney

The sites that I just posted generally fall into two categories: 1) A photo flash website and 2) a blog. If it's a blog, most likely they have a photo flash website linked there. If it's a photo flash website, there will often be a blog link, too. And they're all chock full of good, inspiring stuff. At least if you're interested in portraiture. Since that's my passion, that's what I look at. Amen.

And take another deep breath, because here comes yet another (not as) big pile of links.

Educational sites (also in no particular order):

Digital Photography School
Morgue Files
The Pioneer Woman's photography section
Wedding Photography 101
Pro Photo Life
Pop Photo's how to section
Better Photo Tips
Studio lighting and posing tutorial
Two Peas in a Bucket photo board
Learn the Exposure Triangle
Mom Shots Tip of the Week
Double Exposure
Photocritic

Some of these are message boards, some are free online photo classes, some are blogs and some are just random. Some teach about composition, others about the more technical aspects of using your camera, others include post processing hints. All are very helpful. I read the Digital Photography School Blog every single day. The others I will go through when I am bored. Two Peas is a nice board of women who are both new to photography and seasoned pros. If I have a question I can often get it answered there. Finally, Flickr is a great site to visit. I find a ton of inspiration there (and a lot of the eye candy websites I found by playing on Flickr).

So, now I have carpal tunnel from posting all those links.

Enjoy! (If you got this far.)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Three cheers for good kids!!!

Our local high school (the one where Joel teaches) has a cheerleading clinic every fall during the second week of school. Which is this week. Bria has always wanted to go, and I have never let her do it. Money issues, blah blah blah. Really, though, the biggest issue with me is that while I don't have anything against cheerleading in and of itself, I do have a problem with all that comes with it.

Anyway, this year I let her do it. I figure it's only for a week, she'll have fun and that will be that. And so far, that's been true. Yesterday I just left her to do her thing since she is so sensitive about being watched and complimented. I hung out with Joel in his office and only snuck to the cheer clinic a couple times to spy on her. She was having fun, and that's what mattered.

Today, I was supposed to be in the auditorium with the drama teacher to help her with auditions, but those ended early and I decided to take Chloe and Sophia to go sit and watch the little cheerleaders with the other parents. Bria didn't really notice me, so it was all fine. And she was still having fun, and that's what matters.

The two moms I happened to be sitting by were obviously former cheerleaders themselves (I know this from their conversation). And just sitting near them made me start feeling all self conscious and high schoolish again. Not because they were cheerleaders, but because they were snots. I promise I'm not making a rash judgment, either. I could hear their conversation. I could hear the backbiting and shallowness that was going on. And these are grown women! It kind of shocked me.

Anyway, that is what I don't want my daughters to turn into. I want them to be down-to-earth, kind, accepting individuals. I don't want them to be so caught up in what they look like, that nothing else matters. I don't want them to feel like they have to be popular (whatever that means) to be a good person. I want them to be themselves and be confident in who they are. I want them to dress modestly and not feel they have to flaunt their bodies to be accepted or liked. I want them to be good and make good choices.

I'm not saying that cheerleaders can't be all of that. I'm sure many of them actually exist. It's just that a lot of the ones I've had experience with are just the opposite. (If you were a cheerleader, don't be offended. You were probably one of the nice ones.)

So, we'll continue this little clinic. And it will be fun. And I will be grateful that Bria will probably be too tall and uncoordinated (like me) to make a cheer squad anyway.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Kindergartener

Well, Chloe finally had her first day of Kindergarten, after watching Bria go to school for a week and a half. She was so excited! She knew she had afternoon Kindergarten, which meant going a little later than Bria, but she was still dressed in her cute outfit when we walked Bria to school. When we got home, she ran and got her backpack and was hoping we could leave for her class in 15 minutes. She then wore her backpack for 3 and half hours while we waited for 12:30 to roll around.

When we got there, we walked around the classroom with the teacher and learned the proper order to do things when she gets there every day. She turned in her little paper doll that she got at her testing meeting, which she was supposed to decorate/dress to look like her. (On a side note, I was flabbergasted at how many of these paper dolls were obviously done by parents....complete with fabric or felt outfits, elaborate hair, and pristine coloring. Chloe did hers 100% by herself, and I wouldn't have touched it if she had wanted me to help. I really thought the teacher had said it was an assignment for the child, not the parent.) She put her things in her cubby and then I left her doing a puzzle.

She was happy seeing Sophie and I go, and thrilled to be there.

And yes, I cried.

Here are the pictures we took this morning:




You'll notice she has a shirt just like the green one Bria wore on her first day. She always wants to be just like Bria.

Now I don't know what I'm going to do with myself every afternoon! Sophie will be sleeping and I have all kinds of free time! Too bad I have a lovely pile of laundry that needs folding...I would have hoped I could do something a bit more fun.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Miz Independent

Sophie's newest word is "mahsewf!" She says it quite often, too, because her latest hobby is to insist upon doing everything herself. And when I say everything, I really do mean everything. Every. Single. Thing.

Some of these things I can handle, even if they do take a bit longer. Things like putting on her shoes or pants, getting clothes out of the dryer, wiping her own bottom when she is changed, and getting herself a spoon to eat with. These things are not life threatening, and if I have the time, she can do it herself.

I can even handle it when she tries to forage for food herself. The other day she wanted some juice. Unfortunately, the juice she found was in the garbage can so she was unsuccesful in filling any of the cups she found in the cupboard.


She often tries to get her own milk, but in the end usually allows me to help her. This includes climbing up to the microwave, putting the cup in, and pushing all the right buttons. A few days ago I even found a lot of little bites taken out of the block of cheese in the fridge. The reason I know it was Sophia who did this was because she couldn't open the ziploc baggie, so instead she bit right through it. I'm fairly certain my other children can deal with the zipper, and wouldn't bother eating the plastic if they couldn't.

However, a few of the things Sophie demands to be able to do, I am not so comfortable with. In the last week she has been caught: 1) getting an otter pop out of the freezer (fine), and attempting to open it with a very sharp knife just like Daddy does (not fine). 2) Climbing on a barstool (mostly fine) and then climbing onto the pantry shelves to get herself a treat off the top shelf (not fine). 3) Asking Daddy to scramble an egg for her (fine), but then when he turned his back on the hot stove, climbing up and trying to crack the egg in the very hot frying pan all by herself (not fine).

All of the above potential diasters were averted by yours truly. I am usually alerted to the fact that something is up by the sound of the barstool being dragged across the kitchen floor.

Sometimes I think I should never, ever take my eyes off of this child.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Why our house smells like Italian food all the time

Nope! It's not because spaghetti is the only thing I can make well, but I forgive you if you thought that. (And thanks for all the easy recipes yesterday. I now know where to look if I'm stuck making dinner again.)

Around July 4th, when the girls and I were up north, Chloes hands, feet, and knees started to peel. This wasn't any small ordeal, either. Her skin was literally coming off in sheets. Naturally, this worried me, but since we were 3 hours away from our pediatrician, I just watched it carefully and did some online research.

Well, watching it carefully showed that it was only getting worse, and online research didn't turn up any real answers, either. Then, a couple days later, she started a fever while we were at a friend's house for a BBQ. Then I was really worried that the peeling extremities and the highish fever were somehow related, and that she might be dying of some rare disease like leprosy or something, so of course, I took her to Urgent Care.

The Urgent Care doctor thought maybe it could be Hand, Foot and Mouth disease, but at the same time, he highly doubted that. Then he thought it could be the rare and dangerous Kawasaki disease, but her symptoms were presenting in the wrong order and she didn't seem to have enough of them, either. He was very worried, though, and gave me his card and told me that if the fever wasn't down in two days to come to his private practice and he would make sure she was seen.

Thankfully, her fever was down by then, and she started throwing up, anyway. I knew my nephew, who she'd hung out with, had had a little stomach bug, so that mystery was solved. Which still left the strange disease of the peeling skin. More vigorous internet researching unearthed the fact that sometimes a virus will cause the hands and feet to peel even months after the fact. So that's my best guess.

Well, it's been about 6 weeks, and while the peeling has stopped, her poor hands and feet are really dry and cracked. Her feet especially can get so bad that it really hurts her to walk on them. Her toenails seemed to have contracted some sort of yucky fungus during the whole ordeal, and her knees are dry and scaly. I had been putting Vaseline on her feet every night with socks on, and it was helping, but not really enough.

Then my parents came to visit last week, and, naturally, my mom was worried about the state of Chloe's skin. She went over to the health food/herb store and asked about herbal remedies. She learned that Oregano can kill fungus, such as what was growing in her toenails and that it was also helpful for ecxema (which is what a lot of her skin looks like now, especially her knees and the tops of her feet and backs of her hands). She also learned that petroleum products like Vaseline only encourage fungal growth, and so we should not be using that on her. Instead we should use olive oil, which the body/skin can metabolize better.

And so we've been slathering my daughter with Oregano spray and olive oil every night before she goes to bed. It's definitely helping things, but she sure does smell like she lives in an Italian restaurant!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Cooking Lessons

I've said it a million times, I do not like to cook, therefore I cook as little as possible. I just can't be bothered with all the details involved in making a gourmet meal. I can hardly bother myself with the details involved in cooking macaroni and cheese, for that matter.

Well, I also happen to be extremely spoiled, because I am married to a man who loves to cook. And he's good at it. And nothing gives him more joy than all the details involved in making a gourmet meal.

Except, he also teaches high school and middle school and plays in the Shakespearean Festival and conducts the local orchestra on Thursday nights and teaches at the University. And school has now started, so guess who's been stuck making dinner every night this week?

Me. That's who. The chica who can't be bothered. I exhausted my possibilities of easy meals which require no forethought by Tuesday. So on Wednesday, we had the dollar menu at Wendy's (I have choir that night and really, it was just the only thing that would work for dinner). By last night, I had no idea what I should make to feed my family.

So, I did what any housewife who hates cooking does, and called my husband to beg him to make dinner. Unfortunately, he wasn't going to have enough time. So I did the second best thing and begged him to tell me what on earth to make.

He told me to do Teriyaki chicken. My heart was immediately stricken with worry, because I have never made that before. So, he very sweetly walked me through it on the phone and I got to work.

When he got home, I was just cutting the chicken into strips and putting it in the wok. I thought I was doing such a great job, but he immediately fixed all my mistakes and told me he was going to have to give me cooking lessons. Don't worry though, he didn't hurt my feelings. First of all, it's true. And second of all, he made sure to add that there were plenty of things I could be giving him lessons about.

Like doing the dishes. I'm a champ at that.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A little to say about a lot of things

I've started several posts the last few days, but realized I just don't have a lot to say right now. Or, at least, I don't have a lot to say about any one particular topic. Just a little bit to say about a lot of things. I guess that's the nature of back to school time. So much to be thinking about and so much to do...not a lot of time for ruminating.

The thoughts swishing around my head:

1. Sophie probably needs speech therapy. My doctor doesn't think so, but I do. Today a lady came over to evaluate her for early intervention, and while she is on track with how many words she says and what she can understand, she is not very understandable and doesn't articulate her words well at all. The speech lady said they will come next week and do an articulation test and then we will see if she qualifies for help.

2. How to get Bria organized in school? She totally takes after me in this regard, and has already lost her homework this first week. Last year, her teacher told me at parent teacher conference that Bria was one of the most creative children she had, but that with creativity often comes disorganization and she needed to work on that. So, working on it we are, but the success so far is little.

3. Chloe knocked her Kindergarten teacher's socks off at her evaluation. She's a smarty pants for sure, and can't wait to start school next week. I can't wait, either.

4. I was spoiled rotten on my birthday. My parents bought me a gorgeous necklace and a new couch to replace my ugly one. Joel bought me a backdrop stand for photography and several books that were on my wish list at Amazon.

5. I am starting to freak out about my upcoming recital. And now I have a little cough that really only makes an appearance while I'm singing. This makes it difficult to practice. Augh!

6. I have been somewhat obsessed with following the story of the couple who crashed their airplane in Arizona through family blogs. I do not know them, but the gal is originally from Provo, and I do know some of her family members, and I wonder if any of my Arizona friends know them. They have been on my mind a lot, and I pray for their speedy recovery.

7. I rearranged my whole house (well, as much as possible) since I know we're here another year. That, along with my new couch, will make it seem more bearable. I will post pictures someday.

8. I haven't had a very good summer in the weight loss department, but the weight gain department did quite well, unfortunately. I'm trying to find out more about various weight loss programs that can really help me.

9. Nearly every toy Bria and Chloe own is in the mad bag (our time out for toys). Much of Bria's clothing is in there, too. I've stopped yelling about a clean room, and instead give them a deadline (1 hour before bedtime) and as soon as the timer rings I calmly go in and confiscate anything that is out of place. The problem with this, is that I don't really have anywhere to put four bags of Barbie crap.

10. I can't wait for Joel to be done with the Shakespearean festival. It was surely a godsend for our finances this summer, and I am so grateful. But now that school has started, it means I never see the guy (not that I would see him so much more without it). Only one more week.

11. I must now get my duff off this chair and go exercise or clean or something.

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

More wedding shots

I finally finished editing the wedding.

Still unhappy with it, because of the lighting. Thank heavens for my nifty fifty and Noiseware.

Here are some favorites. (If you missed the ones I posted last week, click here.)

Throwing the bouquet.
Cutting the cake.
Eating the cake?

Helping dad with his tie before the guests come.
The centerpieces.
Beautiful bride. (The way the lighting was makes everything look from the 70's. Kind of cool I guess.)
Standing in line. (Depth of field/focus issues from shooting wide open in the no light.)
Niece of the bride at the punch bowl.
The gift table.
The end.

Should I post these on my photography blog? Not sure I want to get in the habit of shooting weddings.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The art of procrastination

So like a year and a half ago, maybe two years ago, I bought some canvases to paint for the girls' rooms. At the time, we had just gotten them new bedspreads that were adorable, and I wanted to paint the canvases to match.

I started the project, because I am very good at that. It's the finishing part I usually don't get around to doing. Anyway, I gave both canvases a base coat (Bria's was blue, and Chloe's pink) and started working on Bria's. I even got around to painting stripes and flowers on hers.

And then, the project got put away. Shoved underneath my craft desk for days that turned into weeks and months and finally, years. And then they got new bedspreads again.

And then I was cleaning out my craft crap and I found them. I decided that I would just be a fun mom and let the girls paint the things themselves.

They loved it!

Here are some pictures of them working on their art.

Don't you just love Chloe's little tongue sticking out in concentration? Also, she made a lovely work of art and then decided she didn't want the background to be pink, so she painted over the whole thing (with the exception of a small area she liked) in purple.
Bria was feeling like she hated the flower she made. She is a perfectionist through and through, but she isn't into painting over things she doesn't like. I finally helped her make it more like she envisioned and she was happier. For what it's worth, I thought her flower was lovely to begin with.
The canvases are now proudly displayed above their beds.

No pictures, sorry. I'm a lazy mom.

But I am a fun, creative and artistic mom. So there.

The Olympic Spirit

Is totally interfering with my ability to get to bed at a decent hour. Thus causing me to have a hard time getting up early. Thus causing me to be a grump all day because I don't feel like I'm getting much done.

And yet, I stay up late watching China win yet another gold medal in gymnastics, or Michael Phelps win yet another gold medal in some swimming event or Romania winning a gold medal in women's floor routine (Hai Romania! Joel and I always root for Romania....is that un-American of us?).

Anyway, this is totally the first time I have ever found myself wishing for a TIVO.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Interview with two cute girls

So this meme for kids has been on a couple of my friends' blogs recently, and I decided I'd do it. I asked both Bria and Chloe the questions, but made sure they didn't hear each other's answers....wouldn't want to sway them in any way, after all! Their answers are amusing. They are also rather revealing....like that first question? It shows that Bria talks all the time, and Chloe stays up till midnight. Also, you'd think the ONLY thing I care about in the world is that they have a clean room. Okay, so sometimes it seems that way to me, too.

Enjoy!

1. What is something mom always says to you?

Bria: Be quiet.
Chloe: Go to bed.

2. What makes mom happy?

Bria: A clean house.
Chloe: Cleaning our room.

3. What makes mom sad?

Bria: When the house is not clean.
Chloe: Not cleaning our room.

4. How does your mom make you laugh?

Bria: Tickling me.
Chloe: By telling funny stories?

5. What was your mom like as a child?

Bria: You looked kind of like me?
Chloe: I don't know!!!

6. How old is your mom?

Bria: About to be 34.....I mean, she IS 34!
Chloe: 14

7. How tall is your mom?

Bria: 6 feet?
Chloe: (stood on a kitchen chair with her hands up in the air) This tall to the ground!

8. What is her favorite thing to do?

Bria: Clean your room.
Chloe: Scrapbook.

9. What does your mom do when you're not around?

Bria: Computer?
Chloe: Scrapbook.

10. If your mom became famous, what would it be for?

Bria: Singing.
Chloe: Singing.

11. What is your mom really good at?

Bria: Singing.
Chloe: Scrapbooking.

12. What is your mom not so good at?

Bria: Violin.
Chloe: Umm........are you good at dancing? I don't know!

13. What does your mom do for her job?

Bria: Singing lessons.
Chloe: Wash the dishes?

14. What is your mom's favorite food?

Bria: Fettucine alfredo
Chloe: Deviled eggs?

15. What makes you proud of your mom?

Bria: Helping me do violin.
Chloe: Cleaning our room for us.

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?

Bria: Alvin & the chipmunks, 'cause they sing.
Chloe: Cinderella.

17. What is something you and your mom do together?

Bria: Get ready for school.
Chloe: Go on walks.

18. How are you and your mom the same?

Bria: Our color of hair.
Chloe: We both have brown hair.

19. How are you and your mom different?

Bria: Our freckles. 'Cause you have them on your chest and I don't.
Chloe: You're big and I'm small.

20 How do you know your mom loves you?

Bria: You help us clean our room.
Chloe: You kiss me and hug me and say I love you.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Third grader

Bria started third grade today! I can hardly even believe it. Next thing I know she'll be graduated from high school.

Here's a couple pictures from before we walked to school.




And now, I must go take her lunch to her since she forgot it this morning. Probably because her backpack was so jam-packed with new school supplies and stuff.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Since it's my birthday and all....

I've seen this on a lot of blogs, and I have been very bad about actually posting a comment on these posts. I figured I wouldn't post it on my own blog, since I didn't want to put anyone on the spot or anything. And, also, I felt bad for not posting memories on your blogs.

But, today is my birthday, and I'll post if I want to. Especially if y'all can dig up memories of me from before I got so old. (I know, I know, I'm young yet....it's just that this birthday is the first time I have ever felt *gasp* middle aged. 34. Yikes.)

So here's the meme:

1. As a comment on my blog, leave one memory that you and I had together. It doesn’t matter if you knew me a little or a lot, anything you remember!

2. Next, re-post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you. It’s actually pretty funny to see the responses.

And I promise to dig up some memories for your blogs in this very middle-aged, forgetful, little brain of mine.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

She has a point

Last night at dinner we had taco salad in an assembly line. Chips, meat, refried beans, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, sour cream. Yum.

Well, as Bria was going through the line, she lost her grip on her plate and spilled it everywhere.

I reminded her that she needed to keep both hands on her plate so that things like that didn't happen.

Her response was to roll her eyes, let out a huge sigh that clearly said "parents can be soooo clueless," and say:

"I am using one hand to hold my plate so that I can dish stuff up with my other hand, Mom. I'm not an octopus."

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Ceasing

Last week for Family Home Evening we wanted to do a lesson about several things that have been problematic in our home the last few weeks. Namely, room cleanliness and fighting. Part of the problem in keeping their toys picked up, is that every time they go in to do it, they just sit there. Unfortunately, the point system has lost a bit of its luster (partly my fault), and they don't care too much anymore if they earn or lose points.

So, we read the following scripture and talked about it:

"Cease to be idle; cease to be unclean; cease to find fault one with another; cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated."
~D&C 88:124

In giving this lesson, I realized that I have much to improve on in every single one of these areas. I also realized that much of my stress is totally self created, and it would be so much lesser if I would just adhere to these principles.

Idleness? Guilty. Sure, I need a bit of downtime every day, but let's face it, I waste a lot of my time doing pointless activities. Can anyone say internet? It's just too easy to sit down to check my email and get carried away looking at various blogs, Facebook, scrapbooking message boards, and photography websites.

Uncleanliness? Guilty. Any of you who has even one child, let alone three, knows the destruction that can be had on a clean home within 5 minutes. I admit, sometimes I just give up. Sometimes I can't keep it all in check.

Fault Finding? Guilty. Well, I think this is one of my lesser problems. However, I do get a bit impatient (okay a lot) with my children much too often. They don't tell me I'm mean 20 times a day for nothing! I need to work on building them up more, and not sweating the small stuff (like the tasmanian devil gene they all seem to possess).

Sleeping in? Guilty. Now, I highly doubt that I sleep longer than is needful, since I get very little sleep at night due to my insomnia issues. That said, I still need to get myself out of bed every morning and get going. When I do this, I am happier. And I usually sleep better, so there is something to it.

Going to bed late? Guilty. I am a night owl. I think though with getting up earlier I can work to change this a bit, although I know I'll never overcome completely. On my mission I dutifully awoke every morning at 6:30, but it was hard. I know I can do it again with a bit of willpower.

I have worked on these things quite a bit this week and am happy with the small changes I have made. Having a garage sale, and hauling all things that didn't sell to the local thrift store, helped to get rid of much of the clutter that drives me insane. I also rearranged my furniture in a way that seems more conducive to keeping the front areas of the house clean. I have tried getting up earlier and being more productive in the morning, but have a long way to go! School starts this week so I'll be a bit more forced to be good in that area. I've tried hard to lose the impatience with the kids and be more understanding, and they're noticing.

Amazing how the scriptures can touch us and teach us to live our lives a little better. I've read that verse a million times and never had it prick me in quite the way it did this last week. I have lost sight a bit of my word for the year (simplify), and I think I'm back on track.

Now to get the kids on board!

Friday, August 08, 2008

My little chatterbox


Bria has been talking pretty much since the day she was born. She was the baby who was constantly babbling, who learned to speak in sentences far too early and who just walked around the house narrating her every move. In short, she hasn't shut up in nearly 8 years.

And it really doesn't drive me nuts, unless it's past bedtime or she's interrupting a phone call or I have PMS or something. I actually love to hear what's going on in that astute little mind of hers. It's fun to have her home all day in the summers because I get to hear her stream of consciousness conversation from the time we wake up until the time we go to bed.

Here are three conversations I had with her yesterday:

Conversation #1, while driving in the car

Bria: Mommy? Why does Grammy Venturi put walnuts in every single thing she makes?

Me: I suppose she must really like walnuts.

Bria: But doesn't she know that I'm allergic to them?

Me: Well, I think it's hard for her to remember things like that. She likes walnuts, and so do lots of people, so she puts walnuts in things.

Bria: I really wanted to eat a brownie at the July 4th picnic, but she put walnuts in them.

Me: I know.

Bria: I mean, I love her so very much with all my whole heart, but I wish she wouldn't put walnuts in everything.

Conversation #2, just after she'd been singing Alvin and the Chipmunks songs to herself in the mirror

Bria: Mom? Can kids my age take voice lessons?

Me: Yes. Or you could sing in a group.

Bria: I want to take voice lessons.

Me: I could teach you voice lessons if you want.

Bria: No! You can't! I want to learn to sing ROCK. (The word rock was said something like I imagine Ozzy Osbourne would say it.)

Conversation #3, just before bed. Bria has decided to sleep in only a t-shirt because it's too hot

Bria: Mommy, you still love me, even if I'm not wearing any pants, right?

Me: Of course I do.

Bria: Yeah, because when I came out of you I wasn't wearing pants. And I wasn't even wearing any panties either!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

It's starting...

The craziness, that is.

Joel is back to school full time, attending faculty meetings, getting his classrooms set up, and all that fun stuff. Bria starts school next week. Chloe doesn't start until the 26th, however...some weird thing with Kindergarten testing. SUU starts up the 25th. I started In Jubilo rehearsals last night. We're working on schedules for helping out with the musical at the High School again. I have my recital coming up (September 17 at the St. George Tabernacle...mark your calendars and be there if you're in the area!). We're having a garage sale on Saturday.

And, I'm in the middle of editing that wedding reception I did last week. So far, I've only looked at about 20 pictures out of 200. I have a long way to go, and hope I can find the time!

Here are a few from that 20 that I liked:



I'm not so happy with any of my people shots, (horrible lighting situation...a church with the lights OFF) but I have a lot of details shots to go, and I think I'll like most of those. I'm so thankful they had a real photographer at their other reception and the temple. :)

Now I'm off to prepare for the garage sale.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Recital update and awards!

So, thanks for all your suggestions for my recital.

Here's the low down:

We decided to nix the Broadway set altogether, because the recital is coming up super fast and we are both pretty darn busy. We had hoped it would work out, but since that's the set that wasn't really put together we just decided to leave it off for now. I loved your duet suggestions, and we are hoping to be able to learn some of them for something else, someday.

Instead, we added a little set to give us a break. We're going to have our accompanist play a Beethoven sonata, and then Jackie's (my duet friend) daughter is going to do a violin piece, something by Vaughn Williams.

As for the set titles, we are using the following:

Sacred Set-How can I keep from Praising God?

John Duke Set-How can I keep from loving? (Steffani wins!!!!)

Folk song set-Still untitled! Help! I did realize that most of the songs have to do with going/leaving home.

Opera set-How can I keep off the stage? (Alyson wins!!!!)

The set with piano and violin-Still untitled. Help!

I know this is such a fascinating topic for you to read about, but I am thankful for all of your ideas. If you have more, please share. Mailed prizes still available. Speaking of which, Steffani and Aly, since you're both scrapbookers, tell me your favorite color and I'll get a little something in the mail for you. Also, I don't think I have your address, Steffani, what with all your world traveling this summer.

Thanks all!

Smooches!

Monday, August 04, 2008

National phenomenon

Last summer, when the final installment of the Harry Potter series came out, I was in San Francisco with Joel. Even though he isn't much of a reader, he willingly went with me to find a bookstore that was having a midnight release party. We searched an unknown city and finally found a good party, stood in line till nearly 1:00 am, drove back to our hotel where he crashed and I stayed up reading as long as I could.

The next morning, we left San Francisco and headed out to Lake Tahoe for a family reunion (I, of course, threw my propensity to car sickness out the window, and read until the road got too full of twisty turns). I had to laugh, because everywhere I went in Tahoe, there were people reading the book. I counted over 10 people reading on a small beach, 4 family members (including me) were reading every chance we could, and only conversed together to talk about the book, and I saw people reading in restaurants as they ate. I thought it was the coolest thing that the whole world was joining together for a book, and I was kind of sad that it would be the last time that ever happened.

Of course, at the time, I had only heard of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series. I didn't have much interest in reading the saga, even though I had a few obsessed friends and everyone seemed to be talking about it. But, a month after I finished Harry Potter 7, I had a birthday, was given a gift certificate to a bookstore, and I bought the first one so I could finally see what all the hullabaloo was about.

I didn't like it, I'll admit. I was very underwhelmed...I think perhaps with all the hype, I expected to be transfigured on the spot. However, I knew it was her first book, and the story was intriguing, so a few months later I got around to reading the next two installments. Still didn't like them much, but I can see why people do. (My reasons for not liking the series are varied and many, if you want to know, ask me.)

I actually did go to a midnight release party the other night for Breaking Dawn. I went with my Twilight obsessed fanatical sister-in-law, and it was fun. Even if I basically failed the extremely difficult quiz they made us take. Anyway, I caved and bought the book. (Again, if you want to know what I thought....ask. All I'll say here, is that I sincerely hope that we don't have that awful name on the top ten list next year.)

Again, I've been seeing it everywhere. On blogs, of course. I've been hearing my young women talk about it, eavesdropping on random people in the store discussing it and seeing it analyzed to death on message boards. I even saw a couple people with it at the play I went to see on Saturday afternoon. And I still think it's so fun to have the world come together over a book.

Maybe we really can achieve world peace. At least, maybe we could if JK Rowling and Stephenie Meyer were writing the treaty.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Talkin' in my sleep

I used to do it really often. In fact, it's likely that I still do, it's just that Joel is such a heavy sleeper that he usually doesn't notice. Only the times when I am super loud or want him to kill the bug that I think is in our bed (totally genetic dream, by the way: My mom did this to my dad on a regular basis) does he actually wake up.

Well last night I had a lovely bout of insomnia. It was so bad, that I got out of bed and read blogs and the like on the computer until I felt like I could fall asleep around 2:00 am. No go, though. It was probably 4:30 in the morning before I was actually out. One of the things that was on my mind when I went to bed was how on earth to print labels from the 700+ addresses I have in an excel file. I am supposed to have this all figured out soon, and I'm not quite sure how to do it (I'm working as the administrative assistant for the Orchestra of Southern Utah, and this is their mailing list).

I vaguely remember asking Joel a question having to do with all of that, but by the time I woke up, I had mostly forgotten. Until he brought it up, of course. He asked me if I rememberd our bizarre conversation from 7:30 in the morning (due to how late I had fallen asleep, I was out, but he was actually awake). I told him I remembered having a question about the computer or gmail or something. He firmly said it wasn't anything to do with the computer, and reminded me of my somnorous rambling:

Me: (tapping Joel on the shoulder) Tidal wave! Tidal wave!

Joel: What about a tidal wave? There is no tidal wave, you're asleep.

Me: No! Not tidal. Title. (Empasizing the "T" sound) Title line. Like Mr. or Mrs.

Joel: They call me Dr.

Me: No! How do you do the title line?

Joel: I don't know what you're talking about. Go back to sleep.

And, apparently I did.

As he was relating the story to me, I actually remembered it a bit. I remember feeling very frustrated that Joel didn't know what I was asking him, and kept telling me nonsensical things. Because I really was asking him about the computer, not tsunamis. I was trying to figure out what to do with the title line on the mailing address. You know Mr. and Mrs. John Doe?

I'm just not very good at explaining myself when I'm not actually awake. That's all.