Overstuffed: March 2009 Overstuffed

Monday, March 30, 2009

Flower Girls

I admit, I didn't take a ton of pictures of the trip. So much going on and with three kids to chase it wasn't easy to have my honking camera out much.

But I did take a lot at the reception. Which was absolutely amazing. I can't even begin to explain how fabulous it was. There was not a detail missed and it was all just gorgeous. Every girl's fairy tale wedding.

The photos I took are, of course, mostly of my cute little flower girls.

So, here's some of the favorites. The first couple are upstairs after they first got ready, but before they got their little headpieces. All four of them (my three girls and my niece were the flower girls) were just in heaven when they saw the dresses and the baskets.

The rest of the pictures are taken outside around the house (Nate's bride's home...or I guess her parents' home) where the reception was held.

Getting ready

In the dressing room

Blooming Rose

Chloe

So pretty

I love her teeth

Sophia

Bria

The little wedding party

Beautiful


Me and my own little flower girls.

Me and my flower girls


Me and my mom. (I know it's horribly out of focus, but I never have pictures of us together, so I'm posting it anyway...just pretend it's all artistic or something)

My mom and me


That's all for now.

Our little adventure

We drove down to Phoenix for my brother's wedding on Friday and had a wonderful time all weekend. We spent time with family, got to see a few friends, and the wedding itself was spectacular. I'll post pictures soon.

We intended to drive home yesterday, but the weather decided differently. We did drive most of the way, hitting major dust storms the entire 100 mile stretch between Flagstaff and Page. It definitely made that very boring leg of the drive a little more interesting, but I think I prefer boring to worrying whether or not we'd blow off the road and not being able to see more than a few feet in front of us.

The high winds continued from Page to Kanab, but it wasn't too horrible. As it started to get dark, though, we found ourselves in the middle of a blizzard. When we were about 10 or 15 miles outside of Kanab, we saw what we thought was lightning, but it was actually a transformer or something going down, because when we arrived in Kanab, it took us by surprise because you couldn't see a darn thing. The entire town was blacked out.

Our car was badly in need of gas (since we had planned on filling up in Kanab anyway) and we couldn't get any without electricity. So, I called my mom (Jill, make fun of me all you want), and she and my dad managed to call around and find a hotel for us to stay the night. There were quite a few refugees in town and the hotels filled up quickly, because, as it turned out, the two highways we could have taken to Cedar City were closed for weather. So, it was a blessing we were out of gas, otherwise we would have just continued on our merry way only to have to turn back or sleep in our car or something.

So, we checked into the hotel, along with a crowd of campers and other stranded travelers. It was kind of a strange experience, walking up to our room and not being able to see a darn thing. Thank goodness for the light of a cell phone, so the girls could go to the bathroom and I could dig through the suitcase (full of dirty clothes only) to find pajamas to wear to bed. We were all in bed asleep by 10:00 pm, since there was no TV to watch or anything else.

Good thing, since Joel woke us all up at the crack of dawn to go down and eat breakfast and leave. The highways were still closed, so we had to drive down through Colorado City/Hildale. Interesting experience, that. Joel stopped in Hurricane and got ready for work in a Chevron bathroom and he made it just in time to start teaching.

I then did a photoshoot that was planned for this morning and I think now I'd better start unloading my car in the freezing cold weather we're having.

And the entire time I'm doing that, I'll wish I was back in Phoenix.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Three little clowns

Nothing makes my heart happier than to see my kids getting along together. All three at the same time. Usually there's an odd girl out, but the other day they were sitting on the love sac we just inherited from my parents singing silly songs together and just having a blast. So I blew the dust off the camera I rarely pick up anymore and snapped a few photos.

My three clowns


Silly girls

Friday, March 27, 2009

If the shoe doesn't fit...

Next to lipstick, shoes are my favorite.

Lately, every time I go into Payless Shoes (which is really the only place I can afford to dress my feet right now), I am horribly disappointed at the selection in my size. I wear a 9 1/2, and the section takes up half the room the size 8's do. Is it that freaky to wear a 9 1/2? I mean, I am kind of tallish. Tall people should be allowed cute shoes! Besides, I am one of the lucky ones who can wear pretty high heels and still be only an inch or so shorter than my husband. I probably wouldn't wear heels if I would end up taller than him.

I digress.

So, the other day I was in Payless looking for the annual white Easter sandals for my girls. I saw a pair of red heels that I really, really liked. Especially since I've been looking for months for some red heels that I like. And they were even on sale! Score!

But do you think they had them in size 9 1/2? Nope. They had them in 9 and I tried to squeeze my feet into them, and it was sort of doable, but I knew I'd be miserable by the time I walked around for more than one minute. I looked in size 10, and didn't find them there.

So, I decided to ask.

And you know what I found out? Payless will special order them for you in your size.

But that's not even the best part!

If you do a special order, you don't have to pay a fee like you do at so many places. Oh no. Payless pays YOU if you special order. You automatically get $3.00 taken off of the price. Which, for me, was already a sale price.

So, next time you go to Payless, you'd better hope the shoes you like best can't be found in your size!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Families can be together forever

Ready to launch


Last week, my friend Crystal lost her 8 month old son to SIDS. Yesterday (Wednesday) was his funeral. Since she lives in Arizona and I couldn't attend, my family released balloons for him yesterday afternoon, which is what Crystal asked everyone to do.

Ever since I found out about Sage's passing last week, I have been very introspective and teary. I have always admired Crystal for her dedication to motherhood. It is obvious that she enjoys every minute of it and she always has a smile on her face. I will never forget the day she showed up at my doorstep with a bouquet of daisies because I was sick and pregnant with Sophie, even though she was sick and pregnant herself. That's just how Crystal is.

I have been so thankful this week for my children, and for my knowledge that families are forever. I can't imagine having to go through such a loss. I am so glad to know that Crystal and Spencer will be with their sweet baby again, and I am grateful that they know it.

Sage's balloons

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Out of the mind of Bria

On the way home from violin lessons:

Bria: "Mommy? Can you be whatever you want to be when you grow up?"

Me: "Sure you can."

Bria: "But, does it have to be what your talent is?"

Me: "Not necessarily."

Bria: "Good."

Me: (A little scared that she doesn't want to be a musician....not that it should matter, but, you know...) "Why is that good?"

Bria: "Because I don't want to have to be a runner when I grow up. I'd get too tired."

(Phewsh. I guess she discovered today in P.E. that she is the fastest girl in her class...we're still good with the music stuff.)

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While waiting to meet some friends who were running late:

"When are they coming? We've been waiting for a hundred years! I'm practically an old lady now!"

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While watching me make dinner (gasp!) for the sister I visit teach:

Bria: Why are you making dinner for her?

Me: Because she had surgery today and she can't do it herself.

Bria: Well, why can't her husband just do it?

(I can see that living in a household where Daddy is the main cook has skewed her point of view quite horribly.)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Attention Arizona peeps!

We will be driving down on Friday morning for my brother's wedding. Since the wedding will be involving most of our time, we have talked about a way we can somehow see everyone. Alacey had a great idea that we should all meet at a park, so that's what we're going to do (and we really hope some of you actually come!).

Now, you may not like the time and place, but our hands are a little bit tied. But, if you want to see us (and we want to see you!) this will have to work.

We will be at the Pioneer Park across from the temple on Saturday, March 28 at 9:00 am. We can stay for about 2 hours, at which point we must go get ready for the sealing ceremony.

After that we have pictures, the reception and then we have to leave Sunday morning. So that is that.

Let me know if you can come, I'm so excited to see everyone!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Perspective, and not just of the eternal variety

Alas, I cannot come back and report to you that I have found chef. Not when it's snowing outside and starting to stick as I type this.

What I did find this week was some perspective.

People are always talking about eternal perspective, but I don't generally have a problem with that. What I'm missing is temporal perspective. Perspective for the here and now. It is so easy to get myself all bogged down in the trial du jour, that I forget the fact that the trials always end. There is always another spring after the long winter.

I also forget the fact that I have numerous blessings. So many, in fact, that I can easily call myself spoiled and undeserving.

I think a lot of people think I don't like living here because I don't like Cedar City itself. That is really not true. Cedar is a great place to live and I like it fine. Sure, it's a little on the small side, and there's not really anywhere to shop, and it snows a lot, but there is a lot of good in it, too. Besides, I'm not sure there exists a perfect place to live, there's always something. Anyway, the reason I have struggled with living in Cedar City is simply because I do not like the feeling of having to work in order for us to make ends meet.

I have never before felt like a working mom, nor have I ever had so many other extraneous demands on my time as I have this last 3 years. Basically, I feel like I have to give so much of myself to other areas, that I don't have much to give to the three little people who matter most. Sometimes I can find a balance, but most of the time I'm just treading water and trying not to drown in my overstuffed life.

Once, when I was in college, a professor had us all sit in a circle and share the most difficult things we were dealing with in life right then. As I listened to the trials my classmates were going through right then, I became more and more grateful for my own hardships, and was a little embarrassed to share them when it came my turn because they seemed silly in comparison. And yet, as it turns out, many people came up to me and told me that they couldn't do what I was doing.

I have had a similar experience this week, and as I look at the trials others around me are facing, I have been given some perspective on my own. So what if I have to work right now? At least I can. The hard part is figuring out how I can more fully enjoy my children and not get so bogged down in the fact that my life is more full than I'd like it to be. My kids are the most important thing right now, no matter what, and I could lose them at any time. I need and want to be able to find joy and fulfillment in motherhood like I used to be able to.

I still don't have the "how" nailed down, but the desire is there. And the perspective. And that's good.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

It's spring break and I have no chef

So, I've been lacking any real chef these last few weeks, and it truly shows in my posts and my commenting habits.

Chef, by the way, is a Romanian word (pronounced kef). It has no wonderful English translation, which is why I have to use it. It sort of means motivation or desire. And I definitely don't have it. I blame the winter blahs, as I usually feel this way every year just before spring makes her grand entrance. It's that hibernation thing.

Spring break is this week. Only for me. The University and the School District obviously don't communicate with one another, so I have all this time off from teaching, and yet Joel and the girls still have to go to school.

I'll be using the free time to find some chef. And it isn't likely I'll be finding it on the computer because the computer is a chef-sucker, especially when I'm feeling like this. So, while I'll miss you (and hope you'll miss me), I won't be around for the rest of the week.

Farewell, my lovelies, and I'll see you all when the chef has found me. Keep your fingers crossed that it will!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

There's always another bend in the road

At least, that's how Anne Shirley puts it.

And she's right.

Do you ever look back on your life and find yourself a little surprised by the twisty-turniness of it all? Sometimes I can hardly believe the paths my life has taken. And yet, at the time, it was just life.

If you told me just three years ago, that I would be teaching voice lessons at the University and at a High School for Performing Arts and running my own photography business on the side, I would have laughed at you. Ha! So very unlikely!

But it's what I do. And it's just normal life today.

Two years ago, I would have been surprised to learn that our lives hadn't changed too much in 2009. I was sure that Joel would have secured a full-time University job by now and that we would be off on a new adventure long ago.

But here we still sit.

Sure, we've definitely had a few small bends in our road this year. Just nothing quite as major as I was expecting.

And now, I feel like we'll be here forever.

Of course, whenever I feel like that, life changes pretty quickly.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

It's that time of year...

...when mothers of girls are looking for Easter dresses.

Matching Easter dresses.

I found some, and ordered them (from my favorite store, of course!), but I hope that I like them as much as I think I do.

What do YOU think?

For Bria:



For Chloe:


For Sophie:


Plus, I bought little sweaters to go over each of them. They should arrive on Monday...can't wait to see how I really like them!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Tower of Strength: Annette Lyon


True confessions.

While I love to read, I admit that I have stayed away from LDS novels in general. The first LDS fictional novel I ever read was by a very popular author, and I read it in High School. It was so cheesy that I had no desire to read another one, but here and there friends would tell me I had to read such and such a book by the same author, so I did. Still cheesy. Still awful.

I will say that I did find some LDS fiction that I actually enjoyed. In college I found The Work and The Glory series, which I really liked. I love Church History, so those books were a good read. Although I haven't read them for a decade, I seem to remember that they were written well. And they weren't overly cheesy or sappy.

I've tried out a few others over the years, and have never been too impressed, regardless of the author's popularity. Maybe I'm pickier than most people, and really want to read books that are actually good. And not full of typos and grammar mistakes. And I have never done well with the cheese. Why did most LDS books have to be so cheesy?

So, when I "met" Annette Lyon a few months ago in blogland, I really liked her. We had lots in common and I loved her blog. In fact, one day, I was really sick and I spent the entire day reading her archives. I absolutely adored her writing style and her posts were very interesting to me. However, I was just a little worried that she was a novelist writing for the LDS Market, due to my prior experiences with the not so great LDS novels. But, I hadn't read any of her books, and since I liked her blog so much, I thought I should try and find them.

Unfortunately, my library only had one of her books....the first one: Lost Without You. I read it, and I truly enjoyed it. None of this less than desirable writing, nauseous sappiness, and obvious Sunday School lessons. Just a great story, well-written and with interesting characters and themes.

I was then very excited for Annette to send me a PDF copy of her latest release in her historical temple series: Tower of Strength. I read it at my computer in one evening and I loved it! The plot is well-formed, the characters have depth and I loved getting to know them, and the writing is definitely to Annette's high standard. Now I can't wait to get my hands on the rest of her books.

I decided to play Barbara Walters, and I asked Annette a couple important questions about writing in the LDS Market. Let's see what she has to say.

Aside from the smaller audience, what is the most challenging part of writing in the LDS fiction Market?

The stigma of LDS fiction being substandard. It comes largely from some of the early writers in the market who weren't that great (but who blazed a path, so I'm grateful to them). But there are still some poorly written (and poorly edited) books on shelves, and those really don't help convince people that the overall quality--and sheer quantity--of good LDS fiction is going up all the time. The competition is getting much tougher, so publishers can be pickier. And that's a great thing. I never know how to respond after someone tells me they read one of my books then add with a surprised tone, "And it was good," as if it shouldn't have been. (Um, thanks, I think.)

Ah. So I wasn't alone in my thinking. But now that I know that Annette is so good, I also know that I can walk into Deseret Book and be more likely to find an LDS novel I will enjoy than I was 15 years ago. And now that you've read this, you totally want to go buy Annette's new book. And all the books she wrote before that.

What is your favorite part of writing in this market?

Being able to be me. My next book didn't start out as an LDS novel at all, but I suddenly found a character in a Relief Society Enrichment meeting and another needed a priesthood blessing. I realized that in a lot of ways, this kind of book is just what comes out. It's who I am.

And that folks, is why we need good LDS writers. How refreshing to be able to read about the important stuff like Priesthood blessings, and yet not have to worry about cheese!

One of my favorite things about Annette's blog is her mini-series about her journey to become a writer. It was always on my list of things I'd like to do someday, but my life took a little different path. I'm young yet, so I suppose I could still become a writer and publish a book at some point, so I am very intrigued by the story Annette tells in this series. I have learned a lot!

But I had a couple questions that I knew she probably wouldn't address on her blog, so I figured I'd ask her.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I had no idea what to say on this one--not that I'm not quirky, but it's hard to know what constitutes a "quirk" when it's you. (I'm probably a ball of quirks.) So I asked my husband. His immediate response: my heavy use of em dashes. I do use a lot of them (my editor takes out a bunch, but you'd never know it). My poor husband (also my webmaster) has to deal with them on the coding end, and they provide a lot of extra work for him. (Sorry, hon!) I really do love me an em dash.

Thanks for answering that one. I like to know about people's quirks, because it makes me feel somewhat less quirky myself. FYI: My husband loves em dashes, too. They made him take them all out of his dissertation. I'm sure he feels your pain.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in your journey to become a writer?

I had no idea how many truly great friendships I would develop as a result. Writing is such a isolated endeavor that I never pictured such a great community of support. I've been blessed to be part of writers groups that have yielded some of my dearest friends. Even better, they "get" me in ways no one else can, because they're writers too.

Which of your characters would you most want to hang out with for a day? (Can be from any of your books.) Why?

This is a really hard question. Part of me wanted to say Maddie, and then I switched one at a time to all my historical heroines, landing on Tabitha. I thought through of several of my male characters (Abe, Joshua, Ben, Samuel). I just couldn't pick.

Then I realized why none of them felt right for this answer--in my head, they all lived over a hundred years ago. They had great lives, but they now have graves somewhere. (I'm mildly deranged, I know--but they're real to me.)

So the one I'd both LIKE to hang out with AND can picture myself doing that with is Brooke. She's a riot, loves good food, enjoys theater, and has a great sense of humor. And (in my head, at least) she's still alive!

I don't think you're deranged at all! The characters seem very real to me, too. And I would love to hang out with Tabitha or Brooke for a day, too.

But guess what? I can! I can go pick up the book and read. And so can you! I know you'll love Tabitha. And Samuel. And everyone else in the book (well....maybe not so much Tabitha's Mother-in-Law, but she grows on you once you understand her).

In summary, Tower of Strength is a really good read. The historical aspect makes it even better. Annette's thorough research and knowledge of the Manti area and of the history of the temple brings some fascinating detail to the story. A story which is less about the building of the temple than it is about finding the strength to deal with the trials our lives hand us. And then finding someone you can share them with.

Thanks, Annette!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I tried to cancel her birthday, but time marches on.


Today, Chloe is 6 years old! It feels a little impossible to me, since I tend to think in terms of where we're living, and Bria turned 6 years old here in Cedar City, too. Unbelievable!

Unfortunately, the little Birthday Girl is also very sick today. (You know Chloe is sick when she wakes up at 9:00 am, sleeps from 10-12, 4-9 and then 10-morning.) We got up this morning and she opened her presents from my parents and promptly went back to bed. Hopefully she'll be in better shape tomorrow, when Joel is fixing a luau for her. Her birthday portraits are just going to have to wait until she is feeling well enough.

Chloe is such a sweetheart, always wanting to cuddle with me and draw me pictures and write me love notes. She's been a night owl from the very beginning, and when she was around 2 years old she used to sit in her crib evey night and yell for us for hours. Whenever we would finally give in and say "What?" she would say "I love you!" and start the process over again.

She is loving Kindergarten, and her teacher is amazed at her love of learning. She is excited about everything, whether it's math, reading or art. She writes pages and pages in her writing journal every day and her teacher has to remind her that it's time for the next activity. Her reading has taken off in the last couple months and she is reading everything she sees. It's like a whole new world has opened up to her.

And then, of course, there is her love of art and her huge talent for it. She still goes through reams and reams of paper in very short amounts of time. Also markers and paints and pencils...she can use up a cheap set of watercolors in one sitting. Can't wait to see what she does with her passion. Just the other day, while we were in Las Vegas, she told the cashier at the store that she was an artist.

And she is.

Happy Birthday Goose! I love you forever!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sleepwalking

Las Vegas skyline


Yesterday I went to Vegas. In the end, I decided to take the whole family with me, and I'm so glad I did. It was a nice break from the norm and we enjoyed ourselves tremendously. Even though everything with the photoshoot didn't work out as planned (when do things ever work out exactly how they're supposed to?), we had lots of fun together.

Then we went to dinner with our friends and headed back up to Cedar. I was really happy Bria got to come because Mikelle was one of her best friends from Arizona and they still get along fabulously. Even if they were a little too excited to see each other in Applebee's.

Rolling into our driveway at nearly 1:00 am combined with the time change is killing me. Plus, Chloe woke up sick (eyes swollen shut and a horrid cough) this morning. Again. Which is even worse news, considering it's her birthday tomorrow!

So, today, I leave you with a picture of the Las Vegas strip taken from the temple grounds. (Can I just say how nice it was not to go anywhere near the strip?) I also leave you with a very important link. Annette Lyon is having a mega giveaway this week. You'd better go check it out because there is chocolate involved. And books. And perfume. And hairbows. And plenty of other great stuff.

And I'm going to go cuddle with Chloe and try to wake up.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Proud

Bria has been playing the violin for about 5 years now, and she does it well. Just not in front of other people. Historically, her recitals have been absolute disasters where she flat refuses to play, keeps skipping her turn and promising that she'll go next, but never making good on the promise, or playing only if her teacher plays along with her.

When we moved up here, we found the Southern Utah String Festival. If you participate in it for three consecutive years, and if you earn a superior each of those years, you get a trophy. The coveted Gold Cup.

That possiblity is the only thing that has motivated Bria to participate in the Festival. She really wants that trophy.

The first year, she earned a Superior rating. She was nervous, but Joel's mom was here and had an amazing calming influence on her and she did wonderfully.

The second year, she earned a Superior rating, though one of the three judges did give her an Excellent. It still counted for Gold Cup points. She was really nervous and her bow was kind of slipping everywhere because she was looking at me (accompanying her on the piano) as if I could somehow save her from the situation. I was very worried about the outcome, but was happy we had two judges who realized how much her nerves played into her performance.

Saturday was her third time to participate. I ended up not going down to St. George that morning because there was a major blizzard and tons of snow and I was just not going to drive in it, so we practiced a lot that morning. Her practice session was less than stellar and that's all I'll say about that.

Once we arrived at the Festival, I was really impressed with her ability to stay calm and collected. She was originally slated 4th in her session, but the first two had various problems and she was suddenly made to go 2nd. She normally freaks out about any change in schedule like that, but she was fine. Came right up, introduced herself (a bit quietly, but very brave for her) and played practically perfectly. She didn't have a single intonation issue. She didn't have a single memory lapse. She had beautiful tone. She even did a lot of phrasing and dynamics, which very few kids her age managed to do.

Since I was tabulating that session (not judging yet...that was a little later, and went fine), I got to see all the judging sheets and write the final rating. Bria was the only one in her session of ten players to get straight Superior ratings. Plus, some lady I don't know came up to her afterward and told her she was without a doubt the best in the session. Joel said she finally played up to "Dr. Neves standards" in a public performance. Most of all, Bria was very happy with how she did and of course, thrilled that she finally earned the coveted Gold Cup Prize. I wish I had a video or even a photo, but that wasn't allowed at the festival.

And that's my mommy bragging story for the month.

You're welcome.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Silly meme for Sunday

It's going around on Facebook, so I thought I'd post it here, too. Only because my results were so funny, I couldn't resist. It's akin to the "your name needs" meme on Google, but it's "your name is like" instead.

So, I Googled "Lara is like" and these are the first ten results:

1. Lara is like steering a battered shopping cart.

2. Lara is like a brother to me, both on and off the field.

3. Lara is like hot, so this new girl is like Lara.

4. Lara is like practising a dark art.

5. Lara is like a super adventure machine that does everything perfectly.

6. Lara is like holding a lamp to the sun.

7. Lara is like stardust, is like svelte pottery forged in passion flames, is like thin wire holding up planets, is like smiles, is like Sandman Queen, is like dry ice wet with eyes that infuse.

8. Lara is like greased lightning in everything she does.

9. Lara is like the cutest girl (woman really).

10. Lara is like Batman, a character that teeters dangerously on the edge of camp.

Number 7 is definitely my favorite. I think it will be my new motto. And thank heavens for Lara Croft, or these might not be nearly as interesting.

The end.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Things rattling around my brain this weekend

Today I have to judge a music festival. Sure, I do that quite often, but this time I'm totally freaked out about it. Because they want me to judge violins. What on earth? I normally judge vocal solos, duets or choral groups. I can do that. But violin? When I talked to the director, she said they were desperate for judges (obviously) and she felt that I would do well considering I am at least a musician, have experience adjudicating, and I have a daughter that plays violin and she knows I help her and attend her lessons. So, she's not giving me anyone that plays on a higher level than Bria, but still! Wish me luck.

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There is a little girl in our neighborhood that is driving me crazy. She used to come over every day, multiple times to see if my kids could play. I always tell her that our rule is that they can't have friends over or play with friends until Friday and Saturday. I know that seems strict, but we have so much going on during the week, that I can't possibly keep track of friends on top of my own kids while making sure they get homework and practicing done, not to mention lessons and other activities that are constantly happening. That's what works for us.

Anyway, this little girl finally stopped coming by every day, but Bria gave her my cell phone number (which is normally fine with me, most kids are pretty reasonable), and she calls all the time. All. The. Time. I often just ignore it when I see her number pop up, but I'm not a total wicked witch, so I answer it when I know my girls can play. Half the time when I answer, she won't talk.

The final straw, though? She called yesterday at 1:30 in the morning. What the heck is that? When you get a call at that hour all kinds of thoughts go through your head: Somebody had an accident, somebody died, somebody had a baby. So, I groggily got up to go find my phone, but didn't get there in time. When I came back in the bedroom, Joel was up, worried about what the news might be and we both just groaned when I saw who it was.

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Going to Vegas on Monday to do family pictures for a Phoenix friend who will be there picking up her sister from the airport. Kind of excited about that. It will be a nice little mini-getaway for me.

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The other day, while I was cleaning out my desk, I found an uncashed check of mine from the University. It was my December 15 payment and I never cashed it? Crazy. While I can't believe I didn't notice I never cashed it, hooray for a little extra money (especially when you just gave your life savings to the mechanic)!

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My brother is getting married at the end of this month. While I love his fiancee and am just thrilled for them, I'm even more thrilled that she is from the Phoenix area. Which means they're getting married in the Mesa temple. Which means I get to go down to my old stomping grounds. I don't know how much time we'll have, but I really want to see everyone, and I know Joel does, too. So if anyone has any great ideas, let me know.

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It's March already? I just realized I am more than halfway finished with my lesson commitment this semester at the University. Where did that come from?

Oh yeah.

I've been in hibernation. That would do it.

Anyway, I think I'm starting to wake up.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Talk about a heart attack

Yesterday, Joel forwarded an email to me that he received at his school email. It was from the district, and it said this:

Subject Line:

Important Survey

Message:

All,

By now, most of you have become aware of the significant budget cuts across the district. Because of this we are evaluating the possible options to reduce costs. We would like to hear your opinions of the two options that we have come up with. The two possible options are:

1. 10% reduction in force across the district
2. 10% reduction in pay across the district

Please click on the link below and take the time to provide feedback in this survey.

(Link provided)

Thank you,
HR Department


Name of School District

So, I spent the rest of the day fretting about which would be the better choice. I hate to say 10% reduction in force, because who knows what that means for a music teacher? Besides, isn't it better for everyone to make do with a little less, than for a few people to get axed altogether? Then again, a 10% reduction in pay is kind of a lot. We barely survive on what Joel makes now, and with 10% less, that would be really difficult. What a hard choice! And besides, no matter what we answer on the survey, the district higher-ups would just make whatever decision they thought was best anyway. So why was I giving myself an ulcer worrying about it?

Then we learned that the district sent these emails out as a test to find out how many people would actually respond to a survey you had to click on from the following email address:

hr @ sneaky.nameofdistrict.k12.org

Yeah.

Not nice!

Anyway, they found out that their employees need to more carefully avoid email scams.

You think?

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Being an adult: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The Good: You get to have your very own car. You can drive it where you want, when you want. It's wonderful!

The Bad: You have a monthly car payment. Or you did, until you paid it off.

The Ugly: When said paid-off car decides to break down to the tune of $1500 dollars in repairs, you have to pay for it. Or go without a car.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Excuse me, is this thing on?

My friend Robyn gave me some questions to answer for a blog interview. I'm very grateful, because I'm still in hibernation and I really needed something to inspire me blog-wise.

1. Which is your favorite season, and why?

Fall. I just love everything about it, and I'm pretty sure I've gone on and on about it here before. I love spicy smells, I love changing leaves, I love the blue, blue sky, I love the perfect weather, I love college football, I love pumpkins, I love Halloween, I love apples.

2. Where did you go on your Honeymoon?

We went to Lake Tahoe for 4 or 5 days and then we went to San Francisco for a few more.

3. Which is your favorite book, and why?

This is a toughie for me to answer. I don't really think I have any one favorite book. I tend to change my "favorite" daily, and usually the most recent great book I read is my favorite.

So, with that in mind, I will say that my current fave is "Bel Canto" by Ann Patchett. I absolutely adored this book (as I know many of you did). I thought the writing was beautiful, and of course, I loved the themes of opera and linguistics. Wonderful story. Go read it if you haven't yet.

4. Describe your favorite outfit.

Well, if I were to describe what I wear most days, it's blue jeans and a casual shirt of some sort. Today it's a red knit shirt with a hood.

But my favorite is to dress up. I'm really not a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl, but being a mom sort of necessitates that most days. I would totally wear a dress and heels every day if it were practical.

5. What is your best childhood memory?

I think I really have a hard time with superlatives. Whether or not it's the "best" one, one of the ones I really love thinking about is the time when my grandparents came to visit us. I was 3 or 4 years old and I rode up the canyon with them in the back of their jeep. Just me, no parents came with us. I remember we went to the Provo river somewhere and gathered lots of pretty rocks. I brought them home for my mom and she put them around the trees in our yard. I really treasure that memory, especially since both of those grandparents (and in fact all of my grandparents) are now passed on and I never had a chance to see them very much since they lived far away. I think it was one of the only times I did something with just me and them.

Now, the other part of this meme, is that I can interview you, should you choose to participate. If you want me to, just say "Interview me" in the comments and I will send you some questions.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

All I have to do is move an hour south and my Sainthood will be assured.

For Family Home Evening last night, Joel read a scripture out of Acts (I think....anyway Paul was talking to people somewhere). When he said that Paul was speaking to the Saints, he asked the girls what Saints were.



Chloe: The Latter-day Saints!



Bria: The people of St. George?

Monday, March 02, 2009

Career change?

My passport expired a couple years ago, and since I will actually be using it soon, I need to get it renewed.

Oh, I didn't tell you? Joel and I are going on an Alaskan/Canadian cruise at the end of May with my parents. We are totally excited! More about that later.

So, anyway, I have to renew my passport.

I went and got some passport pictures taken at the post office the other day. I should have thought harder about how I looked, since it had been one of "those days." Sophia was sick and grumpy all day. I was kind of grumpy myself. And frumpy. And I was mailing several things at the post office anyway, so I figured I might as well get the pictures done with so I didn't have to make another trip later.

When Joel came home later on, he noticed the new pictures sitting on the counter and commented that I looked like "a housewife."
Not sure how I should take that.

Especially since he has always said my old passport picture looks like I am an exotic Russian spy.


I say that he would have looked like a housewife, too, if he had dragged three children to the post office after the kind of day I had.

Besides, I thought it was mandatory that one look horrible in any sort of identification photos, passports included.

I was just trying to follow the rules.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

That about sums it up


Yesterday (Saturday), the whole family decided to come down to St. George with me. They like to do that as it gets warmer and warmer down there, but not warmer and warmer up here.

Unfortunately, as soon as they dropped me off at Tuacahn, Chloe threw up several times. (And you all know what that means for Bria....she freaked out. She has a serious case of emetophobia, just in case you actually don't know what this means for Bria.)

They still had a somewhat warmer day playing at the park, sort of. It wasn't as warm down there as it has been the last couple weeks. And then there was the vomiting issue.

So, the photo of the week is the view from the front seat as we drove up to our house. But they looked like this for most of the drive home, I just didn't have my camera. Sophia still doesn't feel great, Chloe obviously didn't, and I think Bria was just tired. Hopefully she isn't sick as well.

Oh, the myriad joys of winter.

ETA: Sophia threw up all night. This meant a 2:30 am complete change of the sheets on my bed. As soon as I send Bria to church with the neighbors, I'm going back to sleep.