Tuesday, April 29, 2008

New shoes


I bought these new shoes recently (aren't they cute?), and Sophia has completely taken them over. She seriously won't let me wear them. If I want to wear them she freaks out and puts them on herself. If I manage to get them on my feet without her knowledge and she sees me with them on, she physically tries to get them off of me. Even though I keep them in their shoebox in my closet, she knows which one it is and wears them all the time. I'm pretty sure she's worn them way more often than I have in the short time I've owned them.

I love this picture because it just reminds me how much my children look to me as their example. Sophie sees me look in this mirror every day as I get ready. She sees me wear jewelry. She sees me wear stylin' shoes. She wants to be like her mommy in everything she does. She's always watching me and often copying the things I do.

Just makes me realize I need to make sure that everything I do is copy worthy, because that is how I teach my children the most: not with my words, but with my actions.

This photograph is being entered into the We Spy: You Spy challenge for the week: I spy something new (my shoes). It is also being entered into the 5minutesformom Mother's Day photo contest: What does motherhood mean to you?

Back to health....finally.

So, I've mentioned a bit in the past little while that I thought my thyroid was off again. It's been an ordeal just to find out what's up since my doctor is up north and I am down here. I went and got my blood tested a couple weeks ago, but the lab forgot to fax the results to my doctor. So when I hadn't heard anything for a week or more I finally called and got that taken care of, then I just had to wait until I could have a phone consultation with the doctor.

I finally was able to talk to her this morning. And my thyroid was terribly low, people. So, she doubled my dosage and we will test again next month to see if it was enough. I'm just so relieved. I was gaining almost a pound a week (even with my resistance of fluffy pink cookies and my general adherence to my diet plan), my hair was once again clogging the shower drains and I was zapped of any energy. Much of the energy loss can be attributed to my lifestyle, but it was like a crash and burn, and as it turns out, it was my darn thyroid not working anymore. I say it's a relief because I tend to start freaking out that more is wrong with me than just that. Well, more actually is...but nothing I didn't already know about. She is putting me on something called spironolacton along with the metformin I am already taking for my PCOS and hopefully that will help with some of the female issues. She is also doubling my progesterone dosage.

In some ways the whole hormone thing is wonderful, but in others, it stinks. I found out the reason that I can no longer sing above a D6 is most likely hormone therapy. At least Richard Miller and Ingo Titze (famous vocal pedagogue and vocal scientist) seem to think so according to things they've written. The bottom of my range is also getting bigger and stronger. So basically, I've turned into a mezzo, and while I'm fine with that, I was trained as a soprano, so I sort of don't know what to do with it. Or maybe it would have happened anyway as I got older, who knows? All I know is I'll probably never be able to sing the Flute passages in "The Girl in 14G" (You definitely should click on that link....amazing!) which is the song I'm a little obsessed with lately.

Anyway, with my new prescriptions, my brain fog will hopefully lift and I will actually find something interesting to write about. For now, I'm just happy to know that I might have the energy required to do the dishes this week.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Living la vida overstuffed
(But at least I am living)

Yeah, I know I've been missing in action for nearly a week (I told you I was having a hard time coming up with anything to write). Unfortunately, if you're looking for an interesting thought or a funny story, you might as well stop reading now. I think my exhaustion has completely overtaken my life. Or maybe just my schedule has. Either way, I'm not feeling very witty.

If you insist on reading further, I figure I'll tell you all about my life the past few days. All the stuff I've done except clean my house, because, well....my mom did that for me. Thank goodness she was here, or I'd be drowning in laundry and dishes. I also didn't weed my yard, because my dad did that for me. Anyway...just remember, you have been warned about the possible snooze fest, so here goes.

Wednesday:

I actually did clean my house quite a bit this day in preparation for my parents to visit. Then I taught 4 lessons at SUU, with Bria in tow, since Joel was in St. George for Region Orchestra. Came home and shoveled down dinner. Went to choir practice where we rehearsed hard for our upcoming concert. (Also, I am a soloist in the Berlioz piece conducted by none other than the world's biggest Berlioz fan named Joel. The baritone is a guy I sang with in college who now lives in St. George, so it was super fun to see and sing with him again.) Came home to find my parents and their dog, Daisy, waiting for us. Yay!

Thursday:

Mostly I hung out with my mom and my kids. We shopped and stuff as usual. But this time we were shopping for bedding for our brand new bed, which was the reason for my parents' visit. Excuse actually might be a better word since they really just want to see the girls. But, also, they love me and Joel and they got us new mattress/box springs that they found on a great deal (had been drug through the dirt). We have been sleeping on some hand-me-down mattress/box springs that were really really really at the end of their life and causing us much grief and pain. So anyway, they borrowed a trailer and drove them down to us, and then hauled the old one straight to the dump. And a new bed requires new bedding, right?

Here is my awesome looking new bed (Thanks Mom and Dad!!!!):


In the afternoon I taught a couple lessons and then I got ready for book club which was held at my house. We read "Life of Pi" this month which was a pretty good read, I thought. Amazingly, most of the girls that came had actually read the book, too! (Apparently the discussions have been a little hard lately because people aren't reading. I wouldn't know because I haven't been able to attend the past few months.)

That night we watched "The Kingdom" with my parents. They found a company (which I'll have to link later), that sells edited versions of Rated R movies. I am not sure how they do it since these companies seem to get in trouble all the time, but I do believe they found a loophole. Anyway, my Arizona buddies know why this movie was interesting to me, as it was filmed on our student housing campus area. They were just finishing up filming when I had Sophie and moved up to Cedar City. It was cool and weird to see the place I called home for three years pretending to be an American military base in Saudi Arabia.

Friday:

Went and taught my LAST LESSON OF THE SEMESTER AT SUU. Sorry for the caps. It is quite the momentous occasion, you understand.

When I got back, I did more shopping with my mom and had more fun. I bought the cutest shoes I have ever owned in my life. Joel left to Salt Lake for State Solo and Ensemble. Then I went and got my hair chopped off because I was feeling very sick of it. I don't know if I love it yet, but I do think I need to buy some more product. After my haircut, my niece came and watched the kids while my parents and I went to dinner together. Went straight to bed after we got home.

Saturday:

St. George lessons of course. As soon as I got back, my parents left and I dropped the kids off with my sister-in-law to spend the night. Then I went to my friend's house and got in her car and drove to Lehi to pick up Joel at his sister's house. Then we went to Salt Lake to see Carmina Burana at the Utah Symphony. Salt Lake City is 4 hours away, so this was a little tiny wee bit crazy.

So we watched this wonderful concert (and the baritone was absolutely fabulous and unforgettable), and then drove back home to Cedar City, arriving at about 2:45 in the morning. That was a 12 hour jaunt just to see the symphony with my husband and some good friends. Did I mention it was a bit crazy? But fun.

Today (Sunday):

Slept in till 10:30, and then went to pick up the girls. They had a very fun sleepover in a huge camping tent in the basement. Hurried to get everyone ready. Went to Church. Came home and threw dinner down our throats. Went to Choir rehearsal to yet again work hard for our upcoming concert. Came home.

So I thought I'd blog. And you know? This is probably the most boring blog I have written in my life. I apologize if you are still reading. I'm a little sleep deprived and foggy.

But I am still alive.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

One word

K... this meme has been on a couple of friends' blogs recently, and because I am so blogstipated right now, I'm doing it. I think it's going to be really hard for me because I feel the need to explain everything, excessively use parantheses, and be just all around wordy.

Here we go...

One Word

You.
Can.
Only.
Type.
One.
Word.

Not as easy as you might think!

1. Where is your cell phone? questionable
2 . Your significant other? amazing
3. Your hair? dark
4. Your mother? energetic
5. Your father? athletic
6. Your favorite thing? creativity
7. Your dream last night? non-existent
8. Your favorite drink? water
9. Your dream/goal? exaltation
10. The room you're in? kitchen
11. Your ex? lawyer
12. Your fear? bugs
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? happy
14. Where were you last night? Tuacahn
15. What you're not? skinny
16. Muffins? pumpkin
17. One of your wish list items? lens
18. Where you grew up? Orem
19. The last thing you did? sing
20. What are you wearing? dress
21. Your TV? old
22. Your pets? gone
23. Your computer? slow
24. Your life? overstuffed
25. Your mood? swinging
26. Missing someone? sometimes
27. Your car? big
28. Something you're not wearing? shoes
29. Favorite Store? Target
30. Your summer? restful
31. Like someone? yeah
32. Your favorite color? red
33. When is the last time you laughed? today
34. Do you cry a lot? maybe

(That was incredibly difficult for me...I had to show so much restraint to not explain every little thing....at least now I have some ideas for blogs later this week. Good night!)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Oh, what a night!

So, last night was basically crazy. And I have some pictures to prove it.

I mentioned that I had a singing engagement, but I didn't really mention that I also had a photography engagement at the same time, and lucky for me, in the same place. My friend, Rae, who is a photographer was asked to do pictures for a masquerade ball benefit for a little girl in town that has cancer. She called me and asked if I would help her out, which I was happy to do, even though I was a little bit terrified since I know basically nothing about studio lighting. A little while later, Joel was asked to have his SUU Jazz Band participate in the same benefit and then his soloist dropped out and he convinced me to do it in her place.

At first I thought I was an idiot and totally overscheduled until I realized they were the same event and then I felt better even though I was still totally overscheduled.

Anyway, Rae and I got there a couple hours early to get stuff set up. Here are some pictures I took of her while we were checking light and space. Isn't she cute? The second one is what happens when we were in cramped quarters and needed to see if we could really fit more than one person in the frame. Don't be deceived, she is not a Trekkie wannabe even though her hand was doing very vulcan-like things. At least I don't think she is.
























I wish I could show you some of the pictures I took, but this is a family friendly blog and I had quite a bit of cleavage going on in every. single. photo. So you'll just have to use your imagination. Or not. Maybe that's better.

Lots of entertainment came, and some of them were belly dancers. I was pretty intrigued with them and took lots of pictures. I am not going to be showing you more than one though, because, well...it's a family friendly blog, and all of the belly and cleavage showing that belly dancers are famous for is just not really appropriate here. I do have to say that I was pretty impressed at how comfortable these women were to just bare themselves like that (well, their bellies anyway) since many of them were twice my size, and you're not going to see me up there belly dancing anytime soon. But here's a picture of my favorite dancer. Not only was she modestly dressed, she was the leader of the group and the best dancer of them all. Oh, and she had castanets. That alone made her uber cool. I just burned the background out because it was like DJ's gawking and people eating and stuff in an ugly hotel conference room.

After a while Joel showed up, having just arrived from up north. I sure did miss him. Then his Jazz Band played and I thought, hey! I just happen to have my camera, so why not use it? Even though in these pictures you can definitely tell we're in an ugly hotel conference room, I especially love the ones of my hubby. He is very fun to watch when he is conducting, and I usually don't get the pleasure of seeing his facial expressions since it's generally a rear only kind of view. But last night I did get to watch his face and it just made me happy. And then towards the end I sang my song and then we took down the picture stuff and went home, where we were all very tired, but still lived happily ever after. The end.




Sunday, April 20, 2008

Cookies (but no milk because they're allergic)

So, this morning (which is actually yesterday morning....don't look at the time of this post) I got up at 6:15 or so, and got myself ready. Then I packed the diaper bag and my voice lesson bag and dragged the girls into the car (they were not very happy with me) and took them to various locations around Cedar City (thanks to all who helped me out!). And in all the hustle and bustle and early morning grogginess, I forgot to eat breakfast or even grab something to eat in the car on the way down.

By the time I arrived at Tuacahn I was famished. So, I decided to head for the vending machine, which usually has healthy-ish options like Chex mix or Doritos, but was rather empty this morning. My only choices were a couple of little candy bars, those big pink frosted cookies and gum. I debated for a second if I should cheat on my diet, quickly decided that I was going to be teaching lessons for 5 hours straight and I had to have something to eat. Then I figured that the cookies were probably healthier and more filling, so I stuck my dollar in and punched in the number. And the cookie got stuck.

No amount of banging would make it come down, so I reluctantly put another dollar in so I could get my cookie (I was really hungry, and besides, I hate seeing a dollar go to waste), figuring I'd just save it for the girls when I got home. Well, I'll be darned if that one didn't get stuck right along with the first cookie! Just when I was kicking the machine my first student arrived with her mom. They came over to the vending machine and I showed them what happened and the first thing the mom said to me was, "I thought you were on LA Weightloss!" I sheepishly explained about my lack of breakfast and all, gave up on the cookies and went to teach my lesson.

When she came back to pick up her daughter, she actually brought me a bran muffin and a bowl of cantaloupe and honeydew and grapes and other fruit. "I didn't want you to ruin your diet just because you had a hurried morning!" she told me as she handed it to me. Now how sweet is that? And lucky for me, my next student slept in and arrived 15 minutes late, so I actually had time to eat it.

And I also had time to go kick the vending machine a bit more and finally get those cookies to fall down. They went straight into my voice lesson bag since I was sufficiently and healthily nourished and I took them home to give to the girls. But before I gave them the cookies we went to Roberts and bought balloons. You have never seen three happier children, even though Chloe's popped as soon as we got home (our ceilings are not balloon friendly).

I am now the funnest mom on the block, and even though the balloons aren't yellow (it's only fun if you let them choose their own colors) and we don't drink milk, I did live up to my promise as best I could before I had to drop them off at the sitter again.

Here are some pictures of them eating big pink frosted cookie goodness, and I will try to take pictures of balloons tomorrow. Because balloon pictures are totally awesome, and I am still on a photography kick.

Good night! Or, good morning, as it were.


Friday, April 18, 2008

No TGIF for me

You know how most people are so excited for Friday to roll around? Well, I'm not. Not since I started going down to St. George every Saturday at the crack of dawn. While I'm super grateful for the opportunity and for the fact that these early morning jaunts have basically saved our family from certain financial death, I just dread Saturday mornings.

I'm not so much of a morning person. Never have been, and while I am aware that this could change, I just don't see it happening. Ever. What I am is a night owl. And those two things together don't mix and they never will. Therefore, having to wake up at 6:30 am or earlier on the day when the rest of the world gets to sleep in (except my first couple voice students, of course) is a little bit depressing.

So I'm feeling just a little rundown the last few weeks. I mentioned before that I think my thyroid is off, but I am still waiting to hear back the results of my bloodtest. And I really hope that's the whole problem because I am starting to be almost below functioning. The schizophrenic weather isn't much helping me either. Like on Sunday it was all warm and nearly 80 degrees and we walked to church and everything and life was beautiful. Then the rest of the week it got colder and colder and colder until I felt like I was living in the North Pole and I could not even step outside without turning into an ice cube and life was no longer beautiful.

I probably have PMS which is causing me to feel even worse, but then Joel had to go and leave to Salt Lake this morning, and I had totally forgotten to arrange babysitting for the aforementioned dreaded trip down south (to be honest, Joel had forgotten to tell me about this trip until yesterday. He may have actually told me a couple months ago but am I really expected to remember things that far in advance?). I finally got it all figured out, but you know what I really want to do? I really want to just cancel everything and stay at home and pop popcorn and watch movies with my girls. Or if the weather decided to unfreeze itself, maybe even go to the park and lay on our backs and make pictures out of the clouds. And then we could go out for ice cream or, even better, we could have cookies and milk and yellow balloons, because that is what Saturdays should be about.

But alas, I can't afford to skip Saturdays in St. George. Then I worry that I also can't really afford to skip Saturdays with my kids. This is just one of many reasons why our current situation is not ideal. We do what we have to do, but we are stretched thin and it really has been a huge sacrifice. But also a blessing.

Sorry for the negativity. I'm just keepin' it real and all. These are my true thoughts, and that's what you blog about, right? And tomorrow, in the four hours between the time I come home from St. George and the time I have to cart my kids off to yet another babysitter so I can go to a singing engagement, we will have fun. Forget housework. We will have cookies and milk and yellow balloons if it kills me.

And it just might.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I spy something expensive

This week's challenge for we spy: you spy was to find something expensive. Now, I suppose I have a few expensive things around the house but mostly I don't. So what I thought of was Bria's violin.

And when I say that her violin is expensive, I don't mean just the instrument itself. I include the instrument purchases (we've bought her two violins so far) and rentals (we rented for a year or two before we bought the first one), the music books and CD's, 4 1/2 years of private lessons, the group lessons, and all the other little things like rosin and cleaning cloths and festival entry fees and lots of performance bribes. All said, I would estimate we've spent upwards of 6,000 dollars on Bria's violin. And she's only 7! Imagine what the tally will be when she's 18, because we're not letting her quit until then. All the moolah is definitely worth it though.

So, instead of playing the piano for her this morning, I documented her practice session with my camera. And I was very glad, because it's been a long time since I photographed her playing. (Don't you love how her shirt says "It's all about me!" I think it's pretty apropo given how much money I just figured I've spent on her music.)

This first one is my favorite. I love how her bow hand is blurry with her fiddling (she was practicing a fiddle song here called Devil's Dream).

Going for a shallow depth of field here:
And deep in concentration, working on Handel's Bouree:

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A picture is worth a thousand words

But, you know I'll talk about it anyway. In less than a thousand words. Maybe a hundred words.

Sophie has a new habit. After she is finished with her meal she dumps it out onto her highchair tray. Then she puts a generous amount on her hands. And then? Then she puts it in her hair.

She does this with spaghetti sauce, milk leftover from her cereal, macaroni and cheese, ketchup, ranch dressing. The list goes on.

Here is what happens if she had oatmeal for breakfast and I don't happen to notice her right away:

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Ten cents

On the way home from violin lessons today I noticed that gas has gone up another ten cents. Again. And I started grumbling and complaining about it.

Bria asked me why it was such a big deal and I told her it was getting so expensive that it was hard to afford to fill up the car anymore.

So, when we got home she got into her piggy bank and handed me a dime. "This is for you to get gas tomorrow with so that it's not too expensive."

That's the best ten cents I've ever been given, for sure.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Enjoying my girls

Three things I never, ever want to forget about my kids (one for each girl):

1. Bria's dramatics.

The other night we were driving home from the cousins house where they had fallen asleep while Joel and I had a concert. It was cold. And Bria was really, really, really tired. And when she is that exhausted, she acts as if the entire world is crumbling around her and that there is no possible way that things can ever be right and good again. During these moments she rambles and whines and cries and just generally goes into hysterics about anything she can possibly think to be hysterical about.

Two very dramatic sentences stand out in my mind from this particular drive home (and please remember that they are said extremely emphatically with a lot of whining and crying):

"Mommy, I feel like I'm going to burp and it's going to be a really long one that's going to last all the way until next weekend!"

"I am so cold I feel like I am naked! In Antarctica!!!!"

2. Chloe's deep emotions.

Sometime last week she was really mad at me because I wouldn't let her do something or the other. Or maybe I put her in time out or something. Regardless, she was so upset with me that she took the picture that she had just drawn of our family and she crossed me out with a determined slash of her marker. And then she informed me that she was not my daughter anymore because I was such a mean mom. Basically, I was out of the family.

That's all fine and good, but the funniest part is how she brought me the same picture a couple of days later with tears just streaming down her cheeks and so choked up she could barely get all the words out. When I asked her what was wrong she explained that "someone" (who could it possibly have been?) had crossed me out of her family picture and that it upset her very much because I was the best mommy in the whole world and she loved me so very much. She simply would not even listen to the idea that she could have been the one to commit such a horrible act. And she just sat in my lap and cried for a really long time.

It took me a while, but I finally convinced her it would be okay to just throw it away and draw another one.

3. Sophie's rigid routines.

My other two girls have never been very schedule oriented, most likely because I am not very schedule oriented. But Sophie has taken after Joel and really craves rituals. I love the way she insists on these things when it is bedtime. The only problem is that she has started adding more and more rituals to her bedtime routine, and it has become almost comical in the past few weeks.

Here's the rundown:

First, Joel and I say a prayer with her. Joel has to hold her while I hold her bottle and blankets and she folds her arms in the cute way she does all tucked up under her chin. Then she has to kiss us each on the lips. Then she points to the door, indicating that she needs to kiss her sisters good night as well. So we call them in if they weren't already present for the prayer. She always knows if a family member is missing for some reason and it really bothers her. After kissing the girls, she kisses Joel and I one more time, gets into her crib and lays down on her monkey pillow. And the monkey side has to be showing. If it isn't, she makes us turn it over for her. Then we have to lay her pink blankie just so next to her face, and cover her up with her bug blanket and give her bottle to her. After that she asks for "my baby," which are her yellow Care Bear and her blue teddy bear. And no, it isn't over yet. Once she gets her babies, we have to turn on, not one, but two, musical thingies. They play Brahms' Lullaby and Jesus Wants Me For a Sunbeam. Together they sound like something Charles Ives might have written. Perhaps she'll really be into 20th Century music when she grows up and she and Joel can have long discussions about it. Finally, once the music is on, she waves at us and says "Bye bye," puts her bottle in her mouth and goes to sleep.

The best part about it, is that she loves to go to bed. You've never seen a baby so excited about bedtime. Maybe there really is something to all these special rituals and schedules and things.

I'll have to look into it more for myself and see if there is a ritual that will make me excited about cleaning my house.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Daughter of God
(or, I didn't write this earlier because I was too busy trying to do what Elder Ballard said I should do)

Finally, my much awaited (if only by me) thoughts on Conference.

I'm sure it will come as no surprise to most of you that Elder Ballard's talk was the one that spoke most to my soul. Most of the LDS blogs I have read since Conference at least mention his as being one of the favorites. For those of you that may not be LDS, if you are a mother at all, and especially one of young children, it is an excellent talk to read and one from which women of all faiths can learn.

The thing that struck me most about his words, was the advice to live in the moment. To enjoy the journey, realizing that once we have "arrived" we will long for those moments when our children were young. To value the doing more than getting it done. This really spoke to me, because I really feel like I have lost that ability somewhat since we have lived in Cedar City. Our lives are so full of other stuff (another thing he said to avoid) that I don't feel like I am enjoying my children the way that I used to. I have moments. Just not nearly enough of them, I'm afraid.

But even though I have so much more on my plate than ever before, I should still be able to keep my children as my first priority. I try, but don't always succeed at this. But I learned from Elder Ballard that I should not compare myself to mothers who have a different situation than I do:

"There is no one perfect way to be a good mother. Each situation is unique. Each mother has different challenges, different skills and abilities, and certainly different children. The choice is different and unique for each mother and each family. Many are able to be “full-time moms,” at least during the most formative years of their children’s lives, and many others would like to be. Some may have to work part- or full-time; some may work at home; some may divide their lives into periods of home and family and work. What matters is that a mother loves her children deeply and, in keeping with the devotion she has for God and her husband, prioritizes them above all else."

He then gave several keys to "reduce pressure and enjoy your family more."

Many of the things he mentioned I feel I do well. I have always known that if I don't allow myself a creative outlet, I will be a terrible mother. Maybe you don't need a creative outlet, but every mother needs some sort of outlet. For me, photography, scrapbooking and singing have been the ways I keep my sanity and remember who I was before I was a mother. Who I still am. I think that is very important. Even though from the moment I had Bria it meant I would forever be a mother, mothering won't always be the same. My responsibilites are very unique now as my children are still young. If I allow myself to only be defined by my motherhood, I imagine I would be pretty unhappy once my kids are grown and married with children of their own. I also believe that remembering what I love, learning new things, and refining my talents will ultimately help me to be a better mother. I hope my children will see the things I do and want to try new things themselves. I hope that they will understand that it is a commandment from God to nurture our talents, no matter which stage we happen to be at in our lives.

But this brings up the point of overdoing. And this is where I struggle. Where I have always struggled. This week I have really tried to put my kids absolutely first, even if that meant I didn't get something else done. And you know what? I've been happier, and have gotten even more accomplished than usual.

Another favorite quote from the talk, having to do with my above thoughts:

"I am impressed by countless mothers who have learned how important it is to focus on the things that can only be done in a particular season of life. If a child lives with parents for 18 or 19 years, that span is only one-fourth of a parent’s life. And the most formative time of all, the early years in a child’s life, represents less than one-tenth of a parent’s normal life. It is crucial to focus on our children for the short time we have them with us and to seek, with the help of the Lord, to teach them all we can before they leave our homes. This eternally important work falls to mothers and fathers as equal partners. I am grateful that today many fathers are more involved in the lives of their children. But I believe that the instincts and the intense nurturing involvement of mothers with their children will always be a major key to their well-being. In the words of the proclamation on the family, 'Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children' "

I have thought a lot about nurture in the past, and what that really means. I have written my thoughts on it here. In short, what I learned is that nurturing our children is a huge responsibilty. Huge. And I am recommitted to doing just that. Life in Cedar City may not be ideal for my family, but it is where we are and there isn't much I can change about it. The one thing I can change is my priorities and how I choose to divvy them out.

And the biggest thing for me is going to be learning how to not waste time doing unnecessary things. Sometimes I feel like everything I do is completely necessary, but I know that isn't true at all. I've been working on it, and have a long way to go. I need to get back to my original goal for the year, which is simplification. I've done some good things, but now I need to hyperfocus on simplifying priorities.

I am so thankful for General Conference and the opportunity it always gives me to think about where I am in my spiritual progression and what I am doing to be better, or as the case may be, what I am not doing. I have a special spot in my heart for Elder Ballard particularly, as I was once able to kneel in a circle with him in a living room in Nauvoo and listen to him pray. I know he is truly a man of God. That was witnessed to me then, and I can never deny that. How wonderful it is that we have these men on earth to lead and guide us, and to teach us the things we need to know to survive this life and go on to better things someday.

And now, I go to live in the moment and find joy in my children.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

25 reasons why I'm exhausted

1. I couldn't go to sleep last night.

2. I stayed up later than I should have reading instead of trying to go to sleep.

3. Bria was up at around 5:30 this morning, excited for her field trip and worried she'd be late for school and miss all the fun.

4. Bria came in my room about every ten minutes from 6:00-7:30 wanting me to take her to school "right now!"

5. When I finally did take her to school, it was raining, which kind of depressed me.

6. A little while later I looked out the window and found it was now snowing, which REALLY depressed me.

7. I took Chloe and Sophie to a play this morning (which is also where Bria went for her field trip). But first I snapped a photo of Chloe in the snow.


8. Sophie was good for the first half, and after that I had to walk the foyer with her. Thankfully, Chloe is my musical theater junkie and she stayed put in her seat, absolutely enthralled. In any other situation she would have made it harder by trying to follow me.

9. I think my thyroid needs adjusting. I have been just dragging for the past couple weeks. Even after going off sugar again and exercising more.

10. I hurriedly cleaned up the house this afternoon before Joel got home.

11. When Joel came home he locked himself in the bedroom for a phone interview with a University. I have been nervous about it since they emailed him yesterday to schedule it. (Joel said it went well, by the way.)

12. I went and taught lessons at SUU for 3 hours.

13. I picked up Bria from her group violin lesson.

14. We walked out to the car (parked far away) having to stop every 2.6 seconds so that Bria could examine a rock or climb on a bicycle rack.

15. I drove home with my eyes barely open.

16. Thankfully Joel had dinner ready, and I tried to rest for a second.

17. I had to make cookies for the choir potluck at 6:30. (I burned them...big surprise.)

18. I rushed the kids into shoes, coats and the car.

19. Got to the choir potluck late, sans cookies.

20. Chased Sophie around so she wouldn't get into mischief before the babysitter got there.

21. Sang my heart out for a few minutes.

22. Sophie got brought back upstairs, so I dealt with her and then took her back down to the sitter.

23. Sang my heart out again.

24. Sophie came up again, this time for good.

25. Finally came home and collapsed.

I meant to blog about General Conference today but I just didn't get to it and my brain is like silly putty right now so I don't think I could form any coherent thought if I tried. Tomorrow. We hope. We can always hope.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Water

Didn't have a ton of time for the i spy challenge today: I spy something that shows water.

Took this in my front yard about 15 minutes ago. My hand is still numb from the water. It is definitely not feeling like spring.



Happy Tuesday!

Monday, April 07, 2008

The third time was NOT a charm

Well, Hall of Fame calls have come and gone and my phone did not ring today. This year there were only ten winners, as opposed to the 25 of years past. Also, they are not naming any honorable mentions this year (at least that's the scuttlebutt) when they have had 50 of those in prior years.

So, since the odds were dramatically lowered, and I totally sent my best work ever in this time, I like to think that had it been a 25 winner/50 HM year that I would have gotten something. But I'm happy. Not worried. Not even on a scrapbooking kick right now (thank goodness).

So, instead of recapping my favorite Conference talk (which was the original plan) I thought I'd share a few of my very favorite layouts from my entry here. I won't bombast you with all 9 layouts and I won't be posting my project. And I'll post my thoughts on Conference on Wednesday. Just keep in mind that I am not so good at scanning things well.

I guess I have a lot of favorites. I do like the 3 I'm not posting okay, but not in love with them. Enjoy!





Sunday, April 06, 2008

Getting my kicks

I tend to go on kicks.

I suppose it keeps my life interesting, to have these little obsessions that I fall in and out of. I generally rotate between the same old stuff and very rarely add anything new into the mix. I go on scrapbooking kicks. I go on music kicks. I go on health kicks. I go on reading kicks.

In case you haven't already noticed, I am currently on a photography kick.

Which is good. I like this kick. And you all will just have to suffer through the photos I decide to post.

Most of the following pictures were taken today (well, yesterday I guess, since it's 12:24 am):

These I took at the park while Joel was at Priesthood session...Chloe in the first one and then Bria and my nephew Timmy in the second. I finally got some good sunflare with interesting subject matter.



I joined a photo a day group challenge on flickr (yeah, yeah...we'll see if I actually follow through). My challenge for this week is yellow. I took the picture of forsythia today while walking to the park and the bumble bee/dandelion yesterday in my yard.

Finally, I did a photoshoot of my niece after the 2nd session of General Conference today (loving Conference, by the way). The first one was what Bob Ross would call a "happy little accident." I had metered for the shot when the sun was hiding in the clouds, and then when I actually took the shot the sun decided to come out in all its glory and I totally blew the whole thing out. But...cool effect, no? I think she looks like a rock star. The others are just a few from the shoot that I really like. She's graduating from SUU next month...isn't she cute?



And now I best get me and my camera off to bed so I can actually stay awake during all the talks tomorrow.

Good night!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Nothing to say today, so here's a picture

Or three.

I'm trying to have my camera out more. So here are some photos of Sophie's bath time tonight. They are not technically wonderful, but at least I'm getting myself some scrapbooking fodder.

And speaking of scrapping...Hall of Fame calls start Monday. I've hardly given it a thought this year, but started getting a tad nervous today

Anyway, here's the bathing beauty (and yes, she does wear clothes occasionally):


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

April Foolery

I admit it. I was taken a few times yesterday (shaking my finger at Aly and Karen) before I realized what the date was. And even then, I'm never quite sure what to believe. Although, really, who in their right mind would make a serious major life announcement on April Fool's Day? Aside from a baby being born that day (because it's not like you can control that), you can't trust anyone. And make sure you check your calendar early in the morning.

Chloe, my comedienne, especially enjoyed getting in on the fooling. And I must say that her five year old pranks had me laughing pretty hard for much of the day. It was a nice respite from the dramatic moments of checking Bria out of school and taking her to urgent care because she was having horrible abdominal pain (turned out to be strep).

Even late at night, while Joel and I were trying to watch the 10:00 news, Chloe kept coming into our bedroom and saying things like:

"Mommy. You don't have any eyebrows." (beat, beat) "April Fool's!"

What made it so darn hilarious was how seriously dead pan she was with the crazy things she was saying.

"Daddy. Did you know that my feet fell off?"

She never even cracked a smile until she yelled "April Fool's!"

And then there's Bria in all of her gullibility and literalness. She asked me how come I hadn't been playing any April Fool's jokes on them (I have never really gotten into this holiday...guess I'm just not a prankster at heart) so I immediately told her I was going to have another baby. You should have seen how her eyes got as big as saucers and the hope building up in her face. And then I said "April Fool's!" and the hope was dashed, but she still was able to laugh at herself.

If you wonder where Bria got this trait of believing whatever anyone says, you only have to look at Joel to find out. He was told by so many students yesterday that their instruments were broken or that they weren't able to come to the concert last night. He would always start to freak out a little bit inside when they revealed they had only been April fooling him. He initially believed every single one of all 32 kids who pulled this on him.

So, yeah, it's a fun day. But I'm kind of glad it only happens once a year because I'm afraid my head would explode trying to determine what is real all the time. Hope your April 1 was fun and that you weren't as gullible as I was.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

What is that, a chipmunk???

For this week's I spy challenge, the task was to find something funny. You know, in honor of April Fool's Day?

Anyway, as far as I'm concerned, nothing is funnier than my own kids. And the funniest of them all is Chloe. These particular pictures are highlighting a horrible, terrible, no good, very bad habit she has had for the past few months, that she happens to think is super funny.

I call it chipmunk facing. Bria taught her how to do this sometime around Christmas, and she hasn't quit since. All day long, she is obsessively putting her lips like this. I am constantly having to move her hands away from her mouth (see the second picture...this is generally how Chloe looks at any given moment of the day).

I actually don't think this particular thing is one bit funny (anymore). Chloe does though. And, it needed documentation. So there you go.

This last picture is just to prove that she actually has lips. I so rarely see them anymore, it's nice to know.