Overstuffed: April 2010 Overstuffed

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Change of Heart

I planned on coming here tonight to complain about my life.

How it's just too busy and I have sick kids and I don't feel good either and my voice students have a recital tomorrow for which I am completely unprepared and I'm fat and apathetic and I can't sing a high C# and my husband is never home and I crave carbs and even though the kitchen is an absolute disaster area all I want to do is sit around reading blogs and eating popcorn.

And that is just what I set about to do.

Then I went to get my popcorn bowl out of the cupboard, and I found a note from Chloe inside.

Dear mom, i will claen....the bath room's + bed rooms, the kichane, and scrub the walls and be kind and gentell and i will claen the play room!
and i will make the bed scrub the floors. fold the landree and i will clean the dinner for sunday room! and i will organis the droors.  and organis the shellvs.
and i promis i will not cry abote evrything i Promis! and i will be Quit whene you tell me and i will be Quickly obying and i will teach the holy Gost.
and i love you.
thee END!
love, Chloe

And I read it, and I cried.

I cried because I love that little girl so much.  And I've not been giving my best lately.  And she wants to scrub the walls and be kind and clean the dining room and every other room and even teach the Holy Ghost because she knows I haven't been so happy lately.

But really, she teaches me.

So tomorrow I won't complain.  I will clean the house with exclamation points and I will be kind and gentle and I won't cry about everything and I will be quickly obeying.

Just like Chloe.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I May Not Know Fourth Grade Math, but I Can Sing a Mean Lullaby

Yesterday our Spring edition of BYU Magazine came in the mail.  You know, the magazine you get from your college alma mater? We all get them, no matter where we went to school.  I have to say that Joel and I both look forward to getting BYU Magazine, while the ASU Magazine usually gets recycled without even being cracked open.  I love BYU Magazine.

This issue had a particularly interesting article* about mothers and how they use their education with their children.  There was a mother who was an art major who used her daughter's princess phase (they all have them) to teach her about art history and period clothing.  There was a mother who loved geography and kept maps on the kitchen table.  There was a mother who majored in business who constantly used business tactics as she disciplined her children.  Plus many others.

I loved the way this article illustrated that our educations absolutely do not go to waste, even if we choose to be (gasp!) Stay At Home Mothers.  I hate it when people assume that a woman's education isn't being used, just because it isn't being used in the workforce.  

I've been thinking about my own college education, and how I use it in my mothering.  As far as my major (Music--Vocal Performance) goes, I certainly make sure my children play their own musical instruments.  I am pretty well equipped to help them practice, and to teach them theory.  I love to talk to them about the songs we're listening to, even though once we were listening to Erlkonig by Schubert, and I scarred them for life by telling them the story behind it.  I have been teaching Sophia solfege lately, and she really loves it.  She got very excited last night at Bria's choir concert when they sang Do-Re-Mi from Sound of Music.  And if nothing else, I can sing the best lullabies for miles around, just ask my kids.

I'll need to think further on how I use the rest of my college education in the home, because I really hope I do.

But now, I want to know what you do?  How does your college education manifest itself in your mothering? Or even if you didn't go to college, because that's okay, too.  We've all been educated, and we should be using the things we've learned!

*The article is not online yet, but I have linked the archive page, so maybe they'll put it online in a week or so. It's in the Spring 2010 issue, and is titled "Homework."

Monday, April 26, 2010

Life Shifting

For the last few months, Bria has been learning how to shift (change the hand position on the violin).  When the idea was first introduced to her, it came as a bit of a shock--she is not a child who enjoys change.  She resisted quite a bit, too, telling me that she could play perfectly fine in first position, she's played like that for years, and why should it have to be any different now?

Of course, her teacher didn't see things quite the same way, and persevered in teaching her how to shift.  Slowly, but surely, she's warmed up to the idea and is even beginning to see how it actually makes her playing easier, not more difficult.  She has more flexibility, and will be able to play a much larger range of notes when she masters all of the positions.

But it's still hard, and it still requires a lot of practice and concentration.  It can be frustrating for her, but in the end, it will totally be worth it.


First position

First position



Third position

Third position

I was watching her in her lesson last week (hey look!  My cell phone camera again), and thinking about how we have those same types of shifts in life.  Many times we get very comfortable in our positions--as employees, students, wives, mothers, friends, family members--only to have to learn how to change everything at what seems like a moment's notice.  Suddenly we have a new job, we've graduated from college, we get married, we have a baby, we move to another state, or we gain a sister-in-law or two.

I've had a lot of life shifts this past year, and while sometimes I really hate them and long for my comfort zone, mostly I realize that they make me a better person in the end.   I have had to do things that I might not have done if we didn't move to Michigan.  I have had to get out of my shell and make friends.  I have had to make myself be a better person.

And it's often hard.

But in the end, it is the best thing for me, and very worth it.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Men Are That They Might Have Joy

Pure Joy


We went over to Sophia's preschool the other night for her art showcase.  After we saw all of the neat things she's made this year, we let the kids play on the playground for a bit.  Sophia headed straight for the sandbox, and had the time of her life throwing old leaves into the air.

Pure, unadulterated joy.

And pure, unadulterated Sophia.  This photo perfectly captures the little girl I adore...right down to the plumber's butt.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Shiny Happy Chloe

Jumping Rope


Yesterday afternoon, I walked into the classroom where Chloe was finishing up Girl Scouts without her noticing me.  Amidst the chaos of a dozen first grade girls, I found my daughter.  She was wearing a crazy sweater that reached to the floor and was not unlike Joseph's coat of many colors.  She was sitting at a table drawing something with great concentration and I just stood there watching her for a while.

Suddenly, she popped up from the table, put the papers she had been working on into a big, funny-looking purse and walked over to another girl sitting at a toy cash register.  She then dug out the papers, handed them over and in a perfect Cockney accent said, "I got you some money, may I please have some food now?"

I had to smile (I mean, wouldn't you?).  This is Chloe.  At home, her personality sometimes gets lost in the middle.  There is too much competition for attention between her and her sisters  Chloe is uber sensitive, and sometimes spends her entire afternoon crying over the fact that Bria looked at her wrong or Sophia ruined her drawing.  And sometimes, she just disappears into her room and her art, like a good middle child.

But amongst her peers, Chloe shines.  She is the social butterfly--everyone's best friend.  When she turned six years old, I told her she could invite 6 friends to her birthday party.  We had a hard time narrowing down her list, but we managed.  I made the invitations--SIX invitations--and sent them off to school with her.  And on the day of the party not six, but TWELVE little girls showed up.  All with gifts and everything.  I'm still not sure how she pulled that one off, but there it is.  Chloe.

At parent/teacher conferences last week, her teacher said that she counts on her to help all the other kids feel happy.  Chloe is always happy at school, she said.  In fact, the only time she ever caught even a glimmer of sadness was when another little girl wasn't going to be able to come to Chloe's 7th birthday party last month.

When Chloe wants to learn something, she dives in with her whole entire soul.  She is focused.  She has astounded her piano teacher countless times, because she'll learn a difficult piece in one week, while ignoring the easier piece she doesn't like much.   She and Bria have both been really into jumping rope lately, and she spends hours out on our deck practicing, hurrying to do homework and piano so she can go out.  And she'll stay out until after the sun goes down if I let her! (And I did, last Friday.)

Watching her live her life always makes me happy.

When I grow up, I want to be just like Chloe.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Escape from Housework

Last week, I was an amazing housekeeper.  Even despite the fact that my schedule was unusually full on top of all the normal things (parent/teacher conferences, dentist appointments, several make-up lessons, birthday parties, Joel's concert, and more).  Somehow I managed to keep the dishes done, stay on top of the laundry and even do some deep cleaning of the playroom.

I am often more effective when I am so busy I cannot handle my life.  I don't know what sort of coping mechanism this is, but I wish it would go away.  Because this week?  My schedule is considerably lighter, and I have been a big, fat slacker.  On Monday I barely got myself ready enough to get grocery shopping done.  And that's about all I did, besides teaching one lesson.  Yesterday, I taught my lessons at the university in the morning, and when I came home I absolutely did not want to face the mess in the kitchen.  Or the living room.  Or in every other room in the house.

So I thought about what errands I might have to run, and Sophia and I got the heck out of there.

We went and bought stamps at the post office, and mailed a couple letters.  It was a nice day, so we walked downtown and stopped at the music store where we bought a new scale book for Chloe. Then we walked across the street and got Sophia a strawberry ice cream cone.  We sat at the table by the window while she ate it and discussed important preschool matters like who she played with in the sandbox and why her ice cream was pink.  I was really wishing for my camera...nothing cuter than preschoolers and ice cream cones, I say.

Then we headed for the library.  They were holding a book for me (Catching Fire...I read The Hunger Games last week and was hooked), so I was anxious to pick it up.  Sophia picked out a DVD, and then played on the kids' computer for a while so I could sit and read.  Then my mom called, and I realized that I actually do have a camera!

So I took a couple pictures of Sophia deeply involved in her Barney alphabet game. Not bad for a cell phone...I'll have to use this option more often.



Headphones




Library fun


Then we headed home, and I was able to face the dishes again.  But that's all, because then we were off to get the girls and go to violin and piano lessons and see Sophia's preschool art show.

And you know what?  The world didn't end because I didn't make my bed.  In fact, the world was just that much nicer yesterday.  I think I'll do this more often.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Grateful

I am grateful for the bus that comes too freaking early, because it makes me wake up and enjoy the beautiful morning.

I am grateful for a new day.

I am grateful for the overload of lessons I teach each day, because it makes me use my talents and find joy in helping others.

I am grateful for my talents.

I am grateful for my insane daily schedule, because it makes me treasure the little stolen moments with my husband and children.

I am grateful for my family.

I am grateful for an imperfect body, because it makes me try harder to be healthy.

I am grateful for health.

I am grateful for the hard times, because they make me realize the good times.

I am grateful for life.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Toodles!

No, I'm not going anywhere, I just had a word epiphany.

Now, I'm nowhere close to having the vast knowledge of the original Word Nerd, but I am in love with language (which doesn't necessarily include being an amazing grammarian, FYI). I actually minored in linguistics in college.  Besides that, I was a vocal performance major which required me to take quite a bit of foreign language.  I took Italian, German and Latin.  I tried French one semester, but had to drop, and now I don't even remember why.  Anyway, I didn't learn anything beyond "Je m'appelle Lara" that semester, and consequently, my French has always been pretty sad.

But, I can still understand a great deal of it--not spoken, mind you--because it is a Latin-derived language and if a word doesn't have a similarity to Latin itself, it is likely to have a similarity to Italian or Romanian.  (Oh yeah, I speak Romanian fluently because of my LDS mission.)

Lately, I've had an Agatha Christie obsession, as all who are my GoodReads friends know.  More specifically, I've had an obsession with her books that feature the adorable little Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot. The thing about Monsieur Poirot, is that he speaks French. A lot of French.  And Agatha Christie never bothers to translate it for us, so you either have to figure it out from context or actually know French.

So, like I said, I can read French okay.  Nothing great, but I can get a very good sense of what is being said, and get the rest from context.  So, that's cool.  The other problem I have with French is pronunciation, and I'm sure many will understand this particular conundrum.  I've sung in French enough to do it okay, but it doesn't come so easily to me.  Not like German and Italian, which are much more straightforward.

So I've been using the opportunity to try and improve my French diction.  Joel makes fun of me, sitting in the corner, reading my murder mystery and muttering French phrases to myself.  I suppose it is a bit strange, but whatever.

Last night, while I was reading, I came upon the phrase a tout a l'heure.  I hadn't ever seen that before, and I quickly figured out it means "see you soon."  But as I said it aloud several times, I got really excited.

It sounds just like Toodle Loo!!

So, nerdy person that I am, I ran to the computer and Googled to confirm my suspicions.  And there it was.  That's why we say Toodle Loo. (Probably no surprise to all of you Francophiles and Word Nerds out there.)  It isn't nonsensical after all, but then, language rarely is.

And that's why I love it so much.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

My Apologies, Mr. Taxman

You know what today is, don't you?

April 15.

Tax day.

A day that all procrastinators dread (probably).

Especially me.

In my defense, I did do my federal return way back in February.  I e-filed using Tax Cut software, and we even got our refund just in time to head out to Utah.  I also prepared the returns for both Utah and Michigan.  But we owed them both money, so I did not send them in right away.

And, also, I did not print them right away.

(Or ever.)

For that matter, I did not ever print my federal return, either.

Last night, I figured I'd better get those state returns printed, put together and mailed.  With big fat checks included, of course.  So, I sat down at my computer and looked everywhere for the 2009 Tax Cut program.  It was supposed to be on my desktop.  It had disappeared into thin air.  No files or anything were left.

I suspect my darling 3-year old mischief-maker.  Last week she wanted to play "dotcom" on my computer, and was too impatient to wait for me to get the internet up for her.   When I came into the room I found all manner of windows and dialog boxes on the screen.  I also discovered she had renamed Google Chrome "xcjkaroei  sdkedj fl" and that my desktop icons had been rearranged.

I'm guessing she also managed to obliterate any proof that I actually had done our taxes for this year.

And so, last night, I found myself in quite the bind, on hold with Tax Cut customer service for nearly an hour.  I was pretty impressed that it only took them that long to answer, since it was April 14 and all and I'm sure business must have been hopping for them.  But, as it turns out, it was only because their systems were down and they couldn't actually help anyone.

Just my luck.

I tried to do the taxes myself, using all of the online forms, but they kind of require knowing what the heck your federal return says.  So, I sat at the computer and cried for a while.

And then I filed extensions.

Thank goodness I had actually bothered to write down how much I owed each state.

The moral of the story?

Never assume that a file saved on your computer is safe.  Print immediately.  Especially if you live with Sophia.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Miscellaneous


I have been entirely too introspective lately.  I just read the first page of this blog and, seriously, what a drag I am!  Not that being introspective is a bad thing, but one can only take so much.

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Joel is doing a super cool concert this weekend with his orchestra.  Leonard Bernstein's daughter, Jamie, is actually coming to narrate it and they are playing all sorts of Bernstein's music from West Side Story to Mass and everything in between.  Joel has been communicating with her for a few months now and I'm just in awe that in the whole six degrees of separation game I am now only a couple degrees away from Leonard himself.

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My sister-in-law posted this recently on her Facebook, and it totally tickled my funny bone.  I'm still laughing at it.

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Spring was ordered awfully early around these parts.  My crocuses have already bloomed and the tulips are coming up!  I'm counting my lucky stars, because everyone keeps emphasizing that we normally still have plenty of snow on the ground.  And I believe them.  But I will totally take this weather, thank you!

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Only a few more weeks until the University is done for the summer, and we enter into the summer of no paycheck.  Joel is supposed to have summer classes, but with all of the economic downturn and stuff, nobody is enrolling and the University cancelled a bunch.  We're still hoping he gets to teach his second term class (please cross your fingers, pray, call the University, enroll) but currently we're buckling down to ride out the whole no money thing. My wonderful mother has helped out a lot, since I call her freaking out about the topic often enough, and we have been saving for this eventuality and we'll be fine.  Just poor.  And poor is better than a lot of other things, so it's fine.

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One of the ways we're going to make a little bit of money this summer is opera!  I get to sing in the chorus of La Traviata and Joel is going to run surtitles.  I'm thrilled.  It's been eons since I've been in an actual opera and I can't wait.  Except I had to take all my measurements the other day for costumes, and that was rather depressing.  Sigh.  And I've completely ignored my music besides singing through the first three pages once or twice.  But I still can't wait!

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There just isn't enough time in the day.  Life is pretty crazy right now, and I feel like I'm neglecting friendships. And so I'm sorry.  I'm sorry if I don't call you, answer your email, IM you, facebook you or comment on your blog.  I'm on the computer a pretty bare amount of time lately, and while it feels really good to be getting a lot done, I do miss the friends that live in my computer.  I wish you could just come over to my house sometime instead.

Love you all!  Have a fabulous day!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

To Mourn With Those That Mourn


"...And now as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called His people, and are willing to bear one another's burdens, that they may be light; Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times, and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in..."

A few years ago, I arrived into my office at SUU to teach voice lessons.  After waiting about 10 minutes for my first lesson to show up, I turned on the computer to see if she had perhaps e-mailed me about missing her lesson that day.

I did find an e-mail regarding her lesson, but it was from the department chair instead.  As soon as I read its contents, I burst into tears and could not stop crying.  My student  had been found dead by her roommates the night before.  I had no other details--those I found out later--but I was absolutely upset and contemplated cancelling the rest of my lessons and going home to cry it out.  I didn't have time to do that, as my next student was knocking on the door before I knew it.

She walked into the room and recognized that I had been crying, so I told her why.  Her response was to laugh.  I'm sure it was just awkward for her, and that is probably her knee-jerk reaction to tragic situations, but it bugged me.  I don't think I expected her to cry, as she did not really know the other girl, except to pass her in lessons, but I definitely didn't expect her to laugh and it bothered me greatly that she did.

Every time I hear of any sort of tragedy, I cry. A lot.  It doesn't matter if I know the people or not, crying is my own gut reaction.  I think of those left behind, I think of how it would hit me if the person had been one of my own loved ones, and I usually mourn the situation almost as if it had been me, although I know I will never understand the true depth of the tragedy as those who are actually in it (and hope I never do).

I have been blogging for five years now, and I have seen many a tragedy crop up in the blog world.  I have mourned for each of them.   I have religiously read updates on the situations, and thought about the people affected more than one might think is normal for someone I have never actually met in real life, or perhaps have only met once or twice.  Most recently, I have been praying and crying for Susette and her family as they deal with the loss of her teenaged son, as I'm sure many of you have, as well.  And I have met Susette once.  She's such a great lady, and my heart just hurts for her.

I've been thinking about this promise we make--to mourn with those that mourn--and why we are commanded to do so.  I get the comforting those that are in need of comfort, but why do we need to mourn with them, too?  What good does shedding a bunch of tears do for someone, when they've certainly shed more than enough of their own?  Surely, getting up and doing something for them would be more helpful?

I've come to the conclusion, and I don't know if it's the right conclusion, that we must mourn with those that mourn to learn compassion and empathy.  After all, the Savior felt all of our sadnesses and tragedies for us as well.  Perhaps, in order to become a little more like Him, we need to do that for those around us.  How can we begin to comfort someone before we have put ourselves in their shoes for a while and truly tried to understand what they must be feeling?  Even if it is certainly on a much lesser scale than they are feeing it themselves, it is a taste.  In the end, it helps us to be more sensitive to the Spirit, I think.

Besides, I don't think we can comfort or lift burdens, if we can't at least understand just a little bit of the burden ourselves.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

No Clever Title Here

Do you ever feel like you hit the ground running and never stop from the moment you roll out of bed in the morning until the moment you fall back in at night?

Me too.  And I haven't even done the dinner dishes yet.

Joel and I are making a concerted effort to be more present for our children.  There are always so many distractions.  So many.  And sometimes I think our kids suffer for it.

After school is an especially difficult time for me.  I'm already so tired from the day, and then pure craziness ensues.  I'm only one person and they are all vying for my time and attention for those 4 hours or so before bedtime.  It's absolute chaos, and I think that homework and practicing and whatever else needs to be done usually gets done rather haphazardly.

So, I'm trying to change.  And in order to do that I have to eliminate all of my distractions during that time.  That means all of my own chores must be done before 3:21 pm every day.  The computer can't be on during those after school hours, and I have to stay present.  I have to help with scales and spelling and note-reading and long division and music technique and keep Sophia happy all at the same time.

It's absolutely exhausting.

But it's working.  We're being more effective.  Let's hope it sticks.

(Any tips for the after school melee?) 

In other news, I was tagged to do a meme by Rae of Lulu.  Since I feel like I am fresh out of great stuff (or even not-so-great stuff) to say, here is the tenth picture in the first folder of "My Pictures" on this computer.

Which is not my computer, be aware.  This is Joel's laptop, and I am currently being lazy (ignoring the dishes and everything) and lounging on the couch as I blog.

So this is it.  The girls and I were having fun with Photo Booth a few weeks ago.


By the way, that's Chloe.  I'm thinking it's pretty hard to tell.

And, since we've started, we may as well finish.

Here's one of Bria.

And Sophia.

And, yours truly.

I must say, this picture makes me feel 78% better about my current state of inability to lose weight no matter what I don't eat.  I remind myself of Harry Potter's Aunt Marge!  Things could certainly be a lot worse.


And I'll definitely be leaving Photo Booth alone for a while.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

A Confession

Easter/General Conference weekend proved to be rather difficult for me in the willpower department.

And I caved.

I ate some cinnamon rolls and a Cadbury egg.

But before we get all depressed about it, let's talk a little bit about what I ate last Easter weekend. And last General Conference weekend. Probably about 25 Cadbury Eggs. And maybe even that many cinnamon rolls. Not to mention all of the other chocolate Easter fare.

So, I am not despairing. I have fallen off the wagon for but a small moment.

Mostly, I am awesome.

"As you attempt to make big differences, remember to appreciate the small differences. And remember that you don't always have to reach the goal you set in order to make a difference." - Win Borden

Monday, April 05, 2010

The Great Jell-O War of 2010

If you're a Mormon, you understand the phenomenon that is Jell-O salad.  You may not actually like it, but you do understand it.  Or maybe you don't understand it, but I'm pretty confident that you've at least eaten it once or twice.

When I was a kid, my mom always made the same green Jell-O salad for Thanksgiving dinner and other special occasions.  It was the same Jell-O salad that her mother had made before her.  Oh, how I loved it!  Besides pumpkin pie, it was my favorite part of the Thanksgiving feast, and I looked forward to it all day.

Naturally, I have perpetuated the tradition.  I make the same recipe (sans walnuts) (I never did like the walnuts) for Thanksgiving dinner, Easter dinner, and any other time an occasion might call for it.  Just like their mother, my kids love it and get very excited when they know it's on the menu.

However, my husband hates it.  And so does pretty much his entire family.

Once, when we were newly married, we were assigned to bring a Jell-O Salad to some family dinner.  So I made the one I like best (besides, it's the only one I know how to make!) and nobody touched it.  Not one person.  Well, except me, of course.

And yet the icky red concoction made with whipped cream and walnuts was devoured.  That's the Jell-O salad that Joel looks forward to at holidays.  But, to each his own, I say, and I'll stick with mine, thankyouverymuch.  So I make it for every holiday, and Joel never eats it.  But, I don't mind--more for me, right?

Well, this Easter, Joel insisted on  making HIS Jell-O salad.  I agreed, supposing that it was about time he did.  Unfortunately for him, we were also invited to an Easter celebration for Saturday afternoon and I was assigned to bring--you guessed it--Jell-O salad.  So, I made mine, too.

On Sunday at our own Easter dinner, Joel set out his Jell-O salad, and I put out the leftovers of mine.  The kids completely shunned his, poor guy.  Finally, he asked them straight out which one they liked better.  Sophia was very honest with her father and said "I like the green one!  The red one is yucky!" while Bria and Chloe were more diplomatic and swore that they liked them both exactly the same.

It's just that their plates told a different story.

Sorry, Honey.  But, hey!  More for you, right?

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My Grandma's Jell-O Salad Recipe

1 large box green Jell-O (lime)
1 bag small marshmallows
1 block cream cheese
1 can crushed pineapple
2 Cups boiling water


Pour Jell-O and marshmallows into large bowl.  Cut cream cheese into small chunks and add to mixture.  Pour 2 Cups boiling water over mixture, and stir.  The cream cheese and the marshmallows should *mostly* melt.  Add can of crushed pineapple, pour into 9x11 pan and put in fridge for a few hours to set.


You can add maraschino cherries and/or walnuts if you like.  But I usually don't.  

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Coming Full Circle

When I was about six years old I wrote down what I wanted to be when I grew up in my journal.  I obviously had big dreams, because I wanted to be a "singer, dancer, actor, entertainer, musician, mother."

As I grew older, I suppose I was all of those things.  For a really long time I focused only on the "dancer" part of the equation.  I was going to be a ballerina in some big professional company.  I went to ballet class at the Utah Regional Ballet every single day.  I stretched out in my bedroom every night and sometimes I even worked on my pliés and my échappés before climbing into bed.  I loved it.  The greatest day of my life was finally getting to be en pointe and going to buy my new pointe shoes.

Then, one day, my hips started to pop during barre work, and soon I could no longer lift my leg very far off the ground.  It was discouraging, especially after I had worked so hard to be able to get it up to my ear!  My mom took me to a doctor and basically we found that I had some strange condition that caused my tendon to pop off of the bone and then swell up with all of the repeated movements in ballet.  There was nothing to be done.

I had to quit.

And so, at the age of 14, my dreams of being a dancer were pretty much dashed to pieces.

So then I focused on being a "singer" and "actor.".  I took voice lessons and enrolled in choir and drama classes.  I became heavily involved in the Thespian troupe at my high school, and decided to major in Musical Dance Theater in college.  However, a twist of fate landed me in the Music Department instead, majoring in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy.

Now I was really focusing on the "singer" and beginning to learn what it really means to be a "musician."  Somewhere during college I may have lost sight of the "mother" part of my original dream, because I was pretty sure that I wanted to sing professionally and that's all.  Then, the Spirit kicked me in the pants and I served a mission and came home with a new focus.  I met Joel, and while it isn't exactly a short story, the rest is history.

Sometimes in quiet moments I wonder just how I got here.  I am a woman who spends half of her time doing dishes and folding laundry.  Another quarter of my time is spent in the car shuttling kids to their various schools, lessons and other activities.  Even my nights are full of comforting nightmares, changing sheets or helping sick little girls.  Sometimes I even wonder just why I ever wanted to be a mother, as it certainly isn't as glamorous as being on the stage.  I wonder what my life would have been like if I hadn't married and had children.

In the nearly ten years that I have been a mother, I have had various levels of career mixed in.  Lately it's been at a much higher level, but there were times there when I had only one or two vocal students and I was able to focus on motherhood in a way I really can't right now.  It was during those times that I developed some of my other talents and interests, such as scrapbooking and photography.  For a while I even thought that if I were to go back to school I wouldn't get my Master's degree in music, but that I would do it in photography.

But lately, I realize that my true love really is singing, and performing, and being on stage.  And I'm thrilled I get to do it more and more.  However, I don't know how to balance the motherhood side of things.  Sometimes I wish I didn't have the drive to do something more.  I wish that being mom was enough for me. 

I've come to terms with the fact that this is my nature.  I don't think I could truly be happy if there wasn't a little something else to do.  After all, even as a little girl I wanted to do it all.  My focus now has to be how to find balance and give my girls all that they need from me, while still giving myself what I need.  Some days I fail miserably, and others I do pretty well, if I do say so myself.

I may not be everything I wanted to be, but I am a singer, musician and mother.  (Entertainer is debatable.) 

What's more, is that the "mother" part is no longer an afterthought, like it seemed to be when I was six.  While the music I am supposed to be learning is sitting on my piano, neglected for weeks, my children are my first thought as I wake in the morning, my focus during the day, and the last thought before I finally drift off to sleep.

It is who I am.

Friday, April 02, 2010

And, I Believe in Matching Easter Dresses

I Believe in pink.


Pink


I Believe that laughing is the best calorie burner.


Burning calories


I Believe in kissing.  Kissing a lot.


Kissing

I Believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong.


Silly


I Believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls.


Happy Girls

I Believe  that tomorrow is another day.


Looking towards tomorrow


and
I Believe in miracles.


My Miracles


{Audrey Hepburn}