Thursday, April 30, 2009

As written

I can't tell you how many times I have been in a choir, or some other musical situation, and someone asks the conductor a silly question such as, "How do you want us to sing that rhythm?" or "Do you want us to hold that note out for the full 4 counts?" or "Do you really want us to sing that C sharp, shouldn't we sing a C natural there instead?"

The answer from the conductor is invariably to sing it "as written."

Usually I just kind of snicker to myself and wonder why one would ask such a silly question in the first place. How else are you supposed to sing a particular rhythm except for exactly as it is written? Rhythmic notation leaves no room for questions. Neither does anything about musical notation. You just do what the music says and you're good.

Okay, sure, editorial error is a possibility, but usually those types of mistakes are quickly found and cleared up by the conductor who will let you know. We can't all just decide a certain compositional decision doesn't make sense, and do it the way we think it should be done. It doesn't really work that way. In the making of music, the score is our instruction book, and the conductor is our leader. If we follow directions exactly, the melody comes out just as the composer envisioned.

Aren't the words of God the same way? How often do we look beyond the mark, trying to find greater meaning in the commandments, when really, we should just be keeping them "as written"? How often do we try to twist the words of the scriptures and the prophets to justify our actions, instead of just trying to live the plain and simple truths of the Gospel? Why is it so difficult to just accept the things that the Lord asks us to do at face value?

Maybe there is room for some editorial error, if you can call it that. But, the prophets and the apostles tend to clear these things up quite quickly and make any changes that we need to know about. And they always tell us. And yet, so many of us decide that a certain commandment doesn't apply to our lives, or that it only applies in certain situations, with no regard for what the higher authorities are constantly telling us.

But then, I suppose there is always the danger of becoming like a Pharisee and only living the letter of the law. But doesn't Abinadi tell King Noah's priests that the reason they did not understand the commandments of God is because they are not written in their hearts? (Mosiah 13:11) I love that verse. I think that's where the true spirit of the law come into it. Do we keep the commandments because we love God, or do we do it for some other reason? Harold B. Lee said, "Truth is obeyed when it is loved." I think that's the key right there.

So the next time I question how a particular commandment should be kept, I first need to see if I love God enough to write it in my heart.

And then keep it "as written."

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bittersweet

For three years I have been driving down to St. George every Saturday morning to teach voice lessons. While it has definitely been a blessing, I have always had a love/hate relationship with this arrangement.

I love that it pays the student loan/car payment. Definitely a good thing. We knew moving up here three years ago that I would have to have enough students to pay for those two things. I have been very blessed to get SUU and Tuacahn and I am grateful. Very grateful.

I hate that it completely ruins my Saturday. Saturdays are for getting the house in shape and family togetherness. By the time I get home, one of the two has to go. Sometimes I choose to stay home and clean my heart out and slave drive the kids, and other times we all go out to see a movie and get pizza. Either way, I'm unhappy because the house is a mess or I didn't get to spend enough quality time with the fam.

I love that I have really awesome students down there. I mean, they attend a high school for the performing arts, it goes without saying that they are insanely talented. And if they aren't, they want to be and they work really hard. It's a vocal teacher's dream. All of my seniors this year received full ride music/theatre scholarships to their first choice schools. It's cool to know that I have been a part of that.

I really hate the travel time. This year I finally arranged things so that I don't actually have to leave my house until about 9:00 am. The first year, I was leaving before 7:00 am in an effort to get back in time to get anything done at home. It didn't really happen anyway, so I figured I might as well get a bit more sleep. But yeah, driving alone is not my favorite thing to do.

So, this last week I made a very difficult decision.

I quit.

SUU finals were underway, and with the upcoming move, I knew it was for the best. We might be a little bit tight on the fundage for the next month, but Joel actually has a summer job (at Tuacahn of all places) music directing, so we'll be okay. I told my kids if they were dying for a lesson in the summer that they could call me and I could come down with Joel every once in a while.

This last Saturday in April was my final time teaching. It was really hard for me. I really love what I do, and I really love these girls. They all cried, and I cried. My one student that has been with me all three years brought me flowers and her mom even cried saying good-bye. However, I know I made the right decision. My family needs me to be more present. Heck, I need me to be more present right now. The whole working mom thing has been a huge trial for me, and I have had an especially difficult time keeping it all together this last four months.

So, really, it's a giant relief.

But, bittersweet.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The (very cold) bend in the road

I kind of knew it was coming, but it still happened so fast. You're going along in your very comfortable, if imperfect, little life and the road seems to stretch on forever, but then you see it. The bend. The bend that sends you off into a completely unforeseen direction, but still takes you right where you need to go.

Our bend has arrived.

We will be leaving Cedar City this summer. A month ago, Joel was offered and has accepted a job with a university as the director of orchestras. (As you may have guessed, this is the decision I was agonizing about. Perhaps I'll share more of that crazy story later.)

We're excited.

And a little bit scared.

But mostly excited.

And very, very blessed to get a job with so many university searches being cancelled due to the crazy economy.

Oh, you want to know where, do you?

I don't think I'll tell you.

No, I'll just let you guess based on these clues. (No fair guessing if you already know! And I know exactly who already knows.) First person to guess right will get a treat from me--I'll edit the post as soon as someone posts the right answer. And I'm sure it will happen quickly because you are all such smarties.

ETA: Jillene got it! We'll be at MTU. Since it's mostly an engineering school, most of the student body is male and very smart. It will be a fun job for Joel for sure. There is a lot that I'm looking forward to, but I am a bit trepidatious about the cold.

Annette gets a prize, too, because she was very very close.


This place gets about 250 inches of snow every year, on average. This year was more than that.

Obviously, it's pretty cold. Looks like even in the summer it doesn't get much warmer than 75 degrees on average.

I will be using something called a "yooper scooper" to remove the snow. In fact, I will become a yooper myself by virtue of living there.

There are two universities in the area. One is the University at which Joel will be employed, the other's acronym is FU, which I find rather amusing.

A sauna comes included in just about every home. So does a snow blower, for that matter.

There is a very strong Finnish population in the area (hence the saunas).

You can see the Northern Lights year round.

The student body of the University at which Joel will be teaching is about 80% (or more) male.

So, I think that's enough of that. Yes, I'll be cold. I plan on investing in really great winter clothing, lots of blankets and hot chocolate. And wishing even harder that I still lived in Phoenix.

As far as our church attendance goes, we will be in a branch and not a ward. Our stake is headquartered in a different state than we are, and our temple district is in yet another state.

Think you know?

Happy guessing!

An insomnia-induced epiphany

Sometimes my insomnia is so bad that I just have to get out of bed and go do something. The other night was like this, so I decided to get online and look up youtube videos of some of the songs I am interested in learning.

In so doing, I found a fabulous new singer to love. Her moniker on youtube is psychosoprano, and I found her by looking up Songs for a New World, which is my latest obsession and I want to learn all of them.

Anyway, here's the first one I watched by her: Just One Step from Songs for a New World.

After I watched that I was so impressed that I started to watch everything she ever posted of herself performing.

I really liked this one: The Party Dress. And at the very end, when she sings her last note, I had an epiphany.

Oh. My. Gosh. She is Miranda! mirandasings08 of youtube infamy. The one that I honestly thought was real. I mean, what with all of the American Idol auditions, I've learned that amazingly enough, these people really do exist.

Don't know who Miranda is? She's been going around on Facebook lately, at least in my circles of voice teachers/singers. Look her up. Or, here are a couple of my favorite Miranda videos.

Free Voice Lesson


(Just so you know, just about everything she teaches in this lesson is dead wrong, but oh-so-hilarious.)

Miranda sings Queen of the Night.

Watching this one makes me laugh so hard that I cry. Every time.

But, it's all so much funnier now that I realize that she actually rocks the singing.

And just in case you don't believe me, here's the absolute proof I found a bit later. I'm just very proud that I made the connection all by myself. (ETA: This video has now been made private for some reason. Maybe she decided she didn't want Miranda outed. Oh well!)

now that I've sufficiently wasted all your time watching crazy videos...I think I'll go practice some of those songs that I'm so determined to learn.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Monday Diet

"I'm starting a new diet tomorrow."

Perhaps, when we were first married, this proclamation from my husband would have elicited more excitement. Or at least a glance up from the book I was reading.

But not this time.

I hear those six words just about every Sunday night, after Joel has eaten one too many of the delicious cookies or brownies or whatever he made for our traditional Sunday treat. He always vows to eat perfectly "starting tomorrow" and he usually only makes it until Monday night when he insists upon making yet another yummy treat for Family Home Evening.

Sometimes he even makes it until Tuesday.

And once, he made it for months and lost 40 pounds.

You never really know what might happen with a diet and one's willpower, but I do know this:

Every Monday without fail my husband will start a diet.

Some might say it isn't good enough, but I think even one day of eating well has to be better than none.

Right?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Color Coordinated Easter

I went a bit overboard on the Easter Baskets this year. Errr...I mean the Easter Bunny did. Everything in the basket matches their dresses, right down to the nasty Easter grass. And I think every time I saw something that matched all three dresses, I bought it. They have sidewalk chalk, bubbles, all manner of candy, pens, nail polish, bath poufs and who knows what else? Spoiled rotten.

The pictures are HORRIBLE because they didn't have time for a photoshoot...they needed to see what was in those baskets! And eat it all, of course!

Color Coordinated Easter

Friday, April 24, 2009

Apron winner!

Yes, I know I said I'd do this sometime on Saturday, but I just realized that I won't be able to until Sunday and then it just gets too overwhelming.

Tomorrow (Saturday) I have to teach at Tuacahn all morning, then I have to stick around in St. George all day and most of the night. My choir has a concert at the Tabernacle tomorrow night, but our first rehearsal is at 1:30 in the afternoon. Then I guess I'll grab dinner. Then the concert. Then I'll come home.

If anyone actually wants to come to the choir concert, it's at the St. George Tabernacle at 7:00 pm. We're combining with another choir from "up north" and it should be a fun concert.

Joel is leaving today to go "up north" for State Solo and Ensemble. He'll be gone all day tomorrow. Thank heavens for a wonderful Sister-in-law who doesn't mind having my kids all freaking day long.

Besides, I am pretty sure most of the entries are in, anyway. It's Friday at noon, and typically comments kind of taper off around that time for the weekend. And those of you who really want that apron have definitely gotten in plenty of entries!

So, just close your eyes and pretend it's Saturday morning.

There were 259 entries for the apron. I kept track of the comments in a word document as they came in.

Then I went to Random.org, where the atmospheric noise chooses the number. Did the atmospheric noise think YOU should have the apron?

Let's find out...





Cyndie wins! The Universe loves you, Cyndie, and so do I!

Happy Weekend, everyone!

Kids say the darnedest things

One of my favorite parts of being a mother is the precious and precocious things my kids say to me on a daily basis. I'm pretty good about blogging the best of them, and these are a few of my absolute favorites.

And yes, I realize that most of these are said by Bria. Bria is my chatterbox, and she says the most wonderful things. Her view on life is pretty unique, and always good for a few (secret) laughs. I don't post her stuff as often anymore, because she is starting to understand about blogs and the internet and she has begun to start swearing me to secrecy. However, she does give permission every once in a while.

Anyway, kids say the darnedest things indeed.

Who knew?

Say what?

It's gone beyond eating them, now she wants to be one!

I became a mother just to hear things like this come out of the mouths of my children.

How much do I love you?

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Any comments posted on the above links will result in your name being entered to win the apron!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Gospel-ish Principles

You may have noticed this label used occasionally on my blog. Unfortunately, I think I used it way more often in the earlier blogging days. Just reading through some of my thoughts back then really inspires me to be better about my relationship with the Lord, instead of getting mired in the day-to-day as I tend to do.

These are some of my favorite Gospel related posts:

Cast not away therefore thy confidence

The parable of Bria's glasses

Overcoming weakness through opposition

Perspective and the learning curve

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Any comments posted on the above links will result in your name being entered to win the apron!

My mom is famous and do you want to meet for lunch?

You all know my mother is totally famous, right?

I mean, people ask her for her autograph all the time. I'm completely serious.

I love the fact that I can turn on my TV in the morning and see her telling me how to be more fit. I totally ignore her advice, of course, since that is what daughters are supposed to do to their mothers. Perhaps if she wasn't the exercise guru, I might enjoy working out more often. The fact that I don't has absolutely nothing to do with my exercise-induced asthma and everything to do with rebellion. Besides, the only reason I turn her show on is so my girls can see Mamah on television. Which they think is the coolest thing ever.

But, really. My mom is the greatest.

So great, in fact, that she got asked to speak at Women's Conference this year. She's had about four months now to get over her initial shock and come up with something fabulous. Her class will be called "Your body is a temple" (or something like unto it, I can't be bothered to look up exact wording right now). Of course, I am going to go up to Women's Conference, even if I only go to my mom's class. And I promise to repent of my rebellious ways and do everything she tells me to do.

Anyway. I figure lots of the Mormon Mommy Bloggers will be around for Women's Conference, no? Are we having some sort of get together? Or would that be too crazy for the weekend when women take over Provo? (That's Thursday 4/30 and Friday 5/1, by the way.) I'm up for it. Who else is? Hmmmmm?

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Don't forget to get your entries in for my bloggiversary apron giveaway!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

National Disasters

I was noticing that a couple of my favorite posts have been on national disasters. So, I'm giving them their very own category in the contest.

My piece on Katrina

Remembering 9-11

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Any comments posted on the above links will result in your name being entered to win the apron!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The apron I'm giving away!

I finished it, but I'm not going to bother modeling it for you, because I don't look so hot today. I have a doozy of a cold, and haven't gotten a ton of sleep these last few days due to Chloe's illness. Speaking of Chloe, she is doing much better today. We went to her pediatrician to follow-up on Sunday's ER visit, and her oxygen saturation was up 3 points and her fever is low-grade now (it got up to 103.5 on Sunday). She has quite the cough going on, but we caught the pneumonia early so all will be just fine.

Anyway, without further ado, here is the apron I made for the giveaway. If you want to win it, go to this post and find out how! I have nearly 90 entries already, and there will be plenty more posts to comment on until Friday!

My latest obsession

(Hat, jewelry and purse do not come with. Sorry to disappoint.)

Motherhood

The main reason I started a blog was to keep track of my thoughts on the most important job I've ever had: Mommy. Today's posts are some of those thoughts.

An overstuffed brain??

Tent Work

A lesson in modesty

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Any comments posted on the above links will result in your name being entered to win the apron!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Happy Birthday to my Blog!

Sometimes I can't even believe I've been blogging for four entire years, but here it is. Tomorrow we are celebrating four years of Overstuffed. At least I am.

When I began blogging, it was indeed a novelty. Back then, I was heavy into the scrapbooking world and blogs began popping up there in early 2005, so I figured I'd jump on the bandwagon. Never mind that most of my friends and family had no idea what blogging was, and therefore never read it. Back then, I posted an average of once a week and had three readers I could actually count on: My mom, Hilary, and my sister-in-law, Ashley. Back then, I only read other blogs when I felt like it, and really had no blogs that were must-reads, with the exception of Hilary's. Back then, I was thrilled if I got 9 hits in a day and more than one comment.

Funny how things change.

Now, blogging is not so novel anymore. It has taken over as my main hobby, instead of scrapbooking. It seems nearly everyone I know keeps a blog, whether or not they intend to be a part of the "blogging community." Now, I post almost daily, and kind of miss it on the days I decide not to post. Now, I have a lot of subscribers and followers, and am sometimes overwhelmed by that fact. Now, I have plenty of other blogs which I read religiously and am excited to see updated. Now, I would be utterly depressed if I got only nine hits a day and just one comment.

The best part is, I have made so many great friends through blogging. Some of them have immediately turned out to be kindred spirits, but all of them enrich my life. So thank you. Thank you for reading my ramblings about my overstuffed life. Thanks for commenting. Thanks for caring. And thanks for writing your own blogs. Makes me happy.

So, what's a birthday without a party?

And what's a party without presents?

I made an apron* as a gift to you. One of you will win it at the end of this week. All you have to do is comment, comment, comment.

Every day for the rest of the week, starting tomorrow, I will link a few of my favorite old posts. Posts I love, yet nobody ever really saw, aside from my three original readers. (Okay, so some of them aren't quite that old.) Every time you comment on an old post, your name will be entered into the drawing for the apron. And if you comment on this post, and you happened to have commented on one of the featured posts (Hilary) (Mom) when it was originally posted, you'll still be entered in. If you want to win, you'd better start commenting, because I'm pretty sure that Hilary has it in the bag otherwise. Which is a good thing for her, considering her baby is due this week, and she'll be too busy to comment on my blog anyway.

I'll announce the winner sometime on Saturday.

Happy Birthday, Overstuffed!

*So, the apron isn't quite finished yet. But it's adorable. It's the same pattern as this one, just with different (and cuter, I think) fabric. I was going to finish it last night, except I ended up spending 3 1/2 hours in the Emergency Room with Chloe, who I strongly suspected had pneumonia. The doctor and a couple of X-rays confirmed my suspicions around midnight, and so my plans for the next few days are unfortunately going to be a bit altered. Again with the priorities, and the sick child will obviously come first, but I'm sure I'll find time to finish the apron. I'll post a picture the second it's done, just so you can be sure you really want to win it. But believe me, you do. Because I'm having second thoughts about giving it up...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Priorities

This afternoon, I glanced at the clock and realized that Bria and Chloe weren't home from school yet. I admit, they dilly-dally most of the time and I always expect them to be late, but they were already 20 minutes late this afternoon, and I had wanted to go run some errands with them as soon as they got home.

So, I went outside and looked at the school (we live just a block away) and saw no sign of them, so I figured I'd just drive the car up and save them the walk. Once I got there, there was still no sign of them, and Bria's scooter was still in the bike rack. Sophia and I decided to go in and look for them.

They were nowhere to be found.

Funny that my friend Deb just blogged about this today, because I found myself getting more and more panicky. I was trying to hold it together so I didn't scare Sophie, but she could tell something was up with me. I had the office page the kids, they didn't show up. I had a few of my friends who were still picking up their own kids looking for them and they couldn't find them either. None of the teachers had seen them. The knot in my stomach was getting bigger and bigger.

Finally, I decided I'd better go back home to see if they had somehow flown under all the radar and gone home without knowing I was looking for them. My anxiety got worse as I saw that Bria's scooter was still in the bike rack. As soon as I got in the car, I started bawling and Sophia asked me what was wrong. I told her that I couldn't find the girls, and I didn't know where they were and I was scared.

Then Sophia said, "It's otay, Mommy. Maybe girls home."

And they were. They said they'd only been in the house for about 2 minutes (which was at this point 40 minutes after school was out) and I still can't get a straight answer from them as to what exactly took them so long or where they were while everyone was searching the school.

Sometimes it takes an experience like this to realize just how important my children are to me. I would die, absolutely die, if I lost them. Even though the day-to-day craziness is often more than I can take, I'll happily take it.

And the day-to-day craziness is particularly crazy right now. Not to mention all of the decision-related trauma I have been putting myself through. I just don't think I can handle regular blogging for a little while, so I hope you'll forgive me.

Maybe I'll find time to post Easter pictures. We'll see, but there's still Easter grass in my carpet--no matter how much I clean it up, it just keeps multiplying. I also have a few things already set to post for my blog's birthday week, which is next week, so keep an eye out for that.

And maybe after my little old blog is a year older, I'll be ready to actually write in it.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter aftermath and a few of the darnedest things said by my kids

There is Easter grass all over my house. Every year this happens, and every year I vow not to ever buy the stuff again. And then I still do it. Please remind me next year.

We had a very nice weekend, and I will sit down and edit pictures and write about it sometime. Who knows when, though, because I have to pick up the Easter grass first.

In the meantime, I leave you with a few memorable anecdotes from this week:

Sophia

She was sitting at the counter eating some eggs, and she could hear the older girls in the bedroom having some fun and was dying to check it out. She looked at Joel and me, who were in the kitchen with her, and said, "Nobady eata my edds, otay?" Then she got down from her barstool, watching us suspiciously and checking on her eggs the entire time, and headed off to see what her sisters were up to.

As soon as she was halfway down the hall, Joel said, "Oh look at these yummy eggs!" and you've never heard a louder or more intense "NO!" as she came running back to save her breakfast.

He is such a tease. My poor daughters.

Chloe

Just tonight, as we were leaving Joel's brother's house, Chloe refused to come. She parked herself on her cousin's bed and said she was going to sleep right there tonight, thankyouverymuch. I told her that if she didn't start cooperating and get her shoes on and come that she would have to lose a day of doing artwork.

Instead of obeying, she snottily said, "I don't even like doing art, anyway! Hmmpph!"

So, of course, I informed her that she would be grounded from it for all of tomorrow then.

And then she screamed. "NO! Never mind! I was just kidding! I LOVE doing art! Please don't ground me from it!"

My ears are still ringing. (I think someone had too much chocolate today.)

Bria

While riding in the car, she and Chloe were talking about make-up and rosy cheeks and what exactly that term means. Chloe thought it meant that your cheeks were a reddish color, like a rose, but Bria had other ideas.

They asked me to settle the question, so I said, "I'm pretty sure that rosy cheeks means that your cheeks are red or pink."

But Bria held her ground. "No, I know that they can turn a little bit green sometimes. Like when you're green with envy."

Perhaps she has a point.

Hope you all had a happy Easter!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Why decorate Easter eggs when you can decorate Daddy?

Yesterday the girls had the wild idea to give Daddy a makeover. Joel was a very good sport about it and patiently sat at the table and let them inflict all manner of girly things on him for the better part of an hour. They painted his nails hot pink, did his hair with flowers and ribbons (I especially love the one barrette that is hanging by about two strands of hair), and painted his face with eye-shadow, foundation, mascara and lots and lots of lipstick.


Isn't this what you do with lipstick?

Giving dad a makeover

Some eyeshadow?

Finished product


Isn't he just beautiful?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Of two minds

I have so much to talk about, yet nothing to say.

Every time I sit down to type out any of the thoughts and feelings I currently have, I feel frozen. I don't even know if there is any way to accurately portray those things through the written word, and I simply don't have the time to sit and stare at my computer screen and hope that the words start flowing. I've tried for a week, and they haven't come yet, so I assume they're just not going to.

In a nutshell, our lives right now can be summed up as confusing. I often wish I had a little more direct access to what exactly the will of the Lord is for me in my life. Like, I want an angel to come down and say, "Lara, here are your instructions. These are the choices you should make, and here's why." I don't know how well I can trust my feelings on the matter, because it is so hard to tell what is spiritual and what is self-made. I do know that I absolutely want to do the right thing, and not make a choice that the Lord won't be happy with. I also know that sometimes both choices are fine with the Lord, and it just has to be made.

Basically, we have two choices right now (sort of....one may not end up working out and solve our dilemma for us). I have really weird feelings about one of the choices. Like every time that choice has been brought up in conversation in the last month, I get inexplicably angry and I don't even want to talk about it. And the other choice is not as good in a logical sense, but I don't have strange feelings about it all. I know that the Lord often directs us in ways that don't really seem logical, so that's cool. I just don't know if I'm making the other feelings up, or if they're not even from God or what they even mean.

Besides, I probably shouldn't begin freaking out until both are a sure thing.

Anyway.

Have you ever had a stupor of thought? How did you know that's what it was? What about two choices where you only feel bad and weird about one of them, but about the other you just feel nothing?

How does all of this personal revelation even work?

I'm so confused.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Giveaway winner!

Thanks to everyone for entering the kufi cap giveaway from The Crafty Moms.

I didn't have my kids around to do the drawing for me, so I was forced to do it myself this time:





Congratulations Sherrie! It must be good luck that you carry around in that flask of yours.

And, as a consolation prize for the rest of you, The Crafty Moms are offering 20% off your first order for the month of April. All you need to do is mention my blog (Overstuffed) and you're good to go!

Everyone's a winner!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Happy girl

Photographically, this is not a great photo. Sophia kept being silly and trying to grab the camera from me, so she was way too close to focus on her. But, I still love this picture. How can you resist that smile?

Or that crazy curly hair?

Or that blue sky?

Pure happiness.


Happy

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Chloe in her element

Despite the major snowstorm we had just a few days ago, yesterday Mother Nature graced us with some lovely spring-like weather. (Let's hope it sticks this time.)

It gave Chloe the perfect opportunity to try out her new sidewalk chalk that she received for her birthday. She's been not-so-patiently waiting, but the weather hasn't really cooperated until today.

The warm weather even inspired me to grab my camera and get a few fun shots of my little artista in her element. Sidewalk chalk artwork is not just fun to her, it is serious work.

The Artist

Sidewalk Chalk

The making of a masterpiece

In fact, she was so into it, I really don't think she noticed me taking pictures!

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If you haven't entered the giveaway, and you want to win an adorable hat, better do it quick!

Monday, April 06, 2009

A story and a good cause

I don't know how many of you actually follow (or care about) such things as who got the associate conductor position with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, but I do. And I was extremely excited to see that the job had been given to Ryan Murphy, a friend of mine from college.

After I got over the fact that yes, I am that old, I was really happy. Not just for Ryan, but for the choir. He is amazing and I know the choir will love him.

Anyway, in honor of his new appointment, I thought I'd share an old college story that involves both him and Dr. Mack Wilberg. It's probably one of my favorite Concert Choir stories ever, and those of you who were there probably already know exactly which story I'm about to tell. But most of you were definitely not there, and it's worth hearing (or reading, as the case may be).

So, anyway, Ryan was one of the accompanists in Concert Choir, and a superb one, at that. One day, while we were singing along and he was playing along, he must not have been watching Dr. Wilberg as closely as he should have, because he missed a major cue to slow down.

Dr. Wilberg stopped, looked at Ryan and said, "More on ritard!"

And the entire choir erupted in laughter, except for Dr. Wilberg, who said, "What? Did I say something wrong?"

At which Ryan calmly answered, "You just called me a moron and a retard."

Oh.

I don't really think that joke ever died. Not as long as Ryan was in the choir, anyway. In fact, under Ryan's picture in the next year's choir directory, it said "I enjoy being called moron and retard."

Now, lest you think that I somehow approve of the usage of either of these words, I will say that I definitely don't. It was only funny because it was completely unintentional. I always warn Joel to be careful what he says to his orchestra when he wants them to slow down more, as "more on ritard" is perhaps not the best choice of words.

You may have heard of the campaign the Special Olympics is running called "Spread the word to end the word." I think it's wonderful.

So I'm spreading the word.

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Don't forget to scroll down and enter the hat giveaway! Only a few more days to enter!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Stolen bouquet

Sophia stole my bridesmaid's bouquet at the wedding and wouldn't give it back. Of course, I took the opportunity to take some pictures of her with it. Turns out that they are my favorites from the entire weekend. She's actually smiling normally and not being overly serious!

Two is so my favorite age.


Stolen bouquet


I think I'm done with the wedding photos now. You are probably all bored stiff of them anyway!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

General Conference Cinnamon rolls

Every General Conference my mom makes cinnamon rolls. I finally started honoring the family tradition and doing it myself this past October conference.

I won't be making them today because I still have to go down to Tuacahn and teach, but I'll do it tomorrow morning and I can hardly wait! (Even if I can't eat any, I love the smell....)

Here is the recipe (from my chicken scratch after getting it from my mom over the phone...hope you can follow it okay if you want to make these):

Bowl 1:

2 Cups butter, melted
3/4 Cup sugar
3 tsp salt
1 Cup hot water
*************
mix together

Bowl 2:

3 Tbsp yeast
1 Cup lukewarm water
*************
Sprinkle yeast over water and let sit until it bubbles up over the side.

Bowl 1:

Add 2/3 Cups of yeast in Bowl 2 to the mixture.

Bowl 3:

Beat 5 eggs
Add 1 Cup cold water

Bowl 1:

Add 2 Cups flour
Add egg mixture from Bowl 3
***************
Add more flour 1/2 Cup at a time until you have sticky dough

Bowl 4:

Lightly grease bowl and add dough.
Cover and let rise until it doubles.
Punch down and rise again until double.

Flour counter and divide dough in half and roll out.

Pour melted butter over the rolled out dough, then add cinnamon and sugar mixture to your liking.

Roll up, and use thread or unflavored dental floss to cut into rolls.

Line up on cookie sheet and let rise.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, frost with cream cheese frosting.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Easter sneak peek

I let my girls wear their new Easter dresses to wait on the temple grounds for the bride and groom to come out.

They are way cuter than I could have ever imagined.

Of course, the cuteness level of my girls helps. They could wear anything and I would deem it cute.


Easter dresses


(And yes, that is Sophie's new "smile for the camera face." It's either that, or total seriosity.)

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Don't forget to scroll down and enter the giveaway for an adorable hat!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Spring giveaway!

So, it seems that these darling little kufi caps are everywhere now. The best thing about them is that they're not just for babies. I think even teenagers might like to wear these, and they fit most head sizes. I have a friend who makes them, as well as lots of other cute things over at The Crafty Moms, and she wants to give one to you!

This is the hat and one of the bows you will get. The bow can be removed, and you can choose bows in three other colors to go with it, if you win.



You can earn a total of five entries in this giveaway:

1. Comment on this post (one entry)

2. Link to The Crafty Moms (www.thecraftymoms.blogspot.com) on your blog (three entries)

3. Link back to this giveaway (one entry)

I will be announcing the winner next Thursday, April 9.
Please make sure that you let me know in your comment if you have linked up to The Crafty Moms and/or this post, otherwise I will not know to give you all your entries.

Good luck!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Twinsies

Sophia and my brother's daughter, Estee, are about 5 months apart. They are pretty much the exact same height, and they have identical hair. That strawberry-blondish, crazy-curly, absolutely wonderful hair.

In their flower girl dresses it was impossible to tell them apart from behind. In fact, all four of us parents would find ourselves chasing the wrong child, calling the wrong name, wondering why the child wouldn't even turn around.

It was humorous.

But look at these pictures, and you will agree.

Sophie and Estee

Twins

Little flower girls


Just in case you can't tell, Sophie is always on the left and Estee is on the right.