Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Very Hogwartsy Halloween

IMG_2480 Halloween web

So the girls wanted to do a big Halloween theme again this year and they chose Harry Potter. Bria was going to be Hermione, Chloe was going to be Harry, Sophia was going to be Hedwig, Daddy was going to be Dumbledore and Mommy was going to be Professor Trelawney. But then, Mommy actually turned out to be a complete basket case and had no time to put together the costumes and she told the girls that they were going to have to just go through the Halloween box and figure something out.

And indeed they did--for the first Halloween party they were invited to, which took place on October 22. Bria went as the same vampire she went as last year (except she's grown so freaking tall that the skirt was now about 3 inches too short). Chloe used the Ginormica costume, and Sophia found an orange and black witch costume that she was happy with. Oh how I love seeing things reused!

But they really and truly had their hearts set on Harry Potter.

So frazzled mommy got to work. Mamah had purchased them each some HP accessories: Bria got a Gryffindor tie, Chloe got a wand and some Harry glasses, and Sophia received a Golden Snitch. I posted on FB to see if anyone had any robes and stuff and got two answers. One robe and scarf that would work for Bria that she could borrow from a local friend. And a friend I've known since Elementary School who lives several states away said she had a robe and scarf sitting in her Goodwill pile and would be happy to send it. And so she did. She totally saved Halloween (and they fit Chloe perfectly). Daddy had a tie in his closet that was close enough (though probably too long) and that took care of Hermione and Harry. Except, Chloe decided she didn't want to be Harry anymore, so she was just "some kid in Gryffindor." Excellent.

IMG_2487 Bria Halloween webIMG_2488 Halloween Chloe web

Now, what to do with Sophia?

Well, she had this Golden Snitch that Mamah had brought her, so she became dead set on actually being a Snitch for Halloween. Which left me in somewhat of a quandary, but then I went and bought some golden material and dug up the pattern I had used so long ago to make a pumpkin costume. I found some angel wings at the store and made a golden snitch necklace and in just a few hours, the Golden Snitch was born. And let me tell you, she was the fastest golden snitch in Quidditch history. Every time she put on that costume she raced around faster than lightning. But everyone who realized what she was thought it was the greatest costume ever and she felt very special. And I must say, it was rather unique. I certainly didn't see another snitch, even though I saw a million other Hermiones and Harrys and kids from Gryffindor.

For more complete directions on how to make the Golden Snitch costume, click here: How to make a Harry Potter golden snitch costume

IMG_2490 Sophia Halloween web

And as for Mommy and Daddy? Well, we went as Mommy and Daddy. Maybe next year we'll get it together enough to actually do a family theme again.

IMG_2469 Halloween web

Happy Halloween!!!


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Let's Pretend I Wrote This on October 13th

Eleven Candles
ELEVEN years ago today (or, if you aren't able to pretend with me, eleven years, two weeks and one day ago), my first child was born. I'll never forget the moment when that tiny 6 pounds and 5 ounces and 18 inches of baby was handed to me. She was so alert. And she looked up at me with these eyes that were so full of a wisdom that only a brand-new baby can have. I always wish I knew just what she was thinking then as she stared into my own eyes. Such a poignant moment for me in my life. You just don't ever understand how much you are capable of loving something until you are handed your very own baby.

That tiny little baby is now eleven years old. And she looks more like she's fourteen. She's 100 pounds and some-odd ounces and 63 inches now. I'm not so hot at math, but that's a lot of growth, and I'm not really sure I like it. I can't even remember the last time I was able to lift Bria and I kind of hate that feeling.

That little soul with the wise eyes is now in middle school. She can play concertos on her violin. She loves art and is really into drawing cats right now. She loves reading and has started looking to me for her book choices (I convinced her to read A Wrinkle in Time this week and she loved it). She loves dogs. We need to get a dog just for her. Seriously. (Are you listening, Joel?)

There is so much I can write about Bria, but I am particularly proud of the way she has begun to internalize our family theme this year. Our theme is "I Will Go & Do" with a sub-theme of "I Can Do Hard Things." She decided that she would get up every morning at 6:00 am to practice because last year it became painfully apparent that practicing just doesn't happen when we leave it until after school. She has diligently done this this school year, and even though she sometimes doesn't make it down until nearly 6:30, and other times she seems to fall asleep mid-bow, she hasn't missed a single morning except for the one day that she was sick with a fever. And her progress is showing her diligence. She was given a difficult fiddle piece to play on the Halloween recital, and when she first saw it she immediately said, "It's too hard. I can't do it." I gave her a look, and she amended her statement to, "But I can do hard things." And she did indeed do it. I've never been so proud of her at a recital.
Halloween Recital
Here she is (she's Hermione) playing in the Halloween recital. A group of kids played this piece together and it definitely stole the show. I love her face. She's been playing the violin for a long time, but performing in front of people has always been akin to dying for her. Just in the last year or so has she finally been okay with it, but she still tries to keep all traces of enjoyment off of her face while she is playing. But during this Hoedown she kept having smiles creep in because it is just so fun to play, but she tried to squash them down, silly girl! Can't have anybody knowing that she actually LIKES playing, now can we?

I did post a video to Facebook a few days ago of her practicing in the dark of the morning and I think it will work to embed it here. This is not her best playing (in fact, Joel said it was some of "her worst playing ever" after I posted on FB), but she had just rolled out of bed and I couldn't trick her into letting me film it again because she had my number after it was over. I guess my little lie about reading my email on my phone while she practiced didn't quite work.

Another hard thing that she has tackled this year is math. She's really trying harder, and it is showing.

Bria is just such a delightful girl, and so many of the things that have caused us to butt heads in the past are fading. It's really awesome to be her mother.

And I still can't believe I've been her mother for eleven whole years! (And two weeks and one day.)

But then, I also can't believe I've ever been without this little girl ever in my life. I love her so much.

Happy Birthday, Breezies! Love you forever and a day.

Monday, October 24, 2011

You Are Not So Smart


I like to think that I know just how advertisers are trying to sway my thoughts and opinions and gain my buying power. I also like to think that I am in complete control of such things as my thoughts, opinions, and buying power. But, evidently, I am not so smart.

I like the color red. I also like to think that I know exactly why I like the color red. But, David McRaney says that I am not so smart.

I like to think that I am a good person who would rush to the help of others in an emergency. I also like to think that I can think quickly on my feet and would know exactly what to do in such an emergency. But the book I just read tells me that I am not so smart. (Sometimes I like to think that I would have no idea what to do in an emergency. Just so we're clear that at least sometimes I'm smart. Maybe.)

I like having friends. I also like having Facebook friends. I like having more than 150 Facebook friends. But apparently, I am not smart enough to have more than that. You know--because I AM NOT SO SMART.

I could go on, but I will spare you, and let you read about it for yourself in David McRaney's new book You Are Not So Smart (though I bet you were smart enough to figure out that that was the title already) which is based on his popular blog by the same name (that I wasn't smart enough to hear about before now, but have now read daily since).

McRaney has taken his blog and moved it to book format with small, blog-sized chapters which announce a misconception (when you are around others, you feel as if everyone is noticing every aspect of your appearance and behavior) and a reality (people devote little attention to you unless prompted to). McRaney then uses psychological studies and examples to explain the misconception du jour and help us all understand exactly how not smart we are.

Fascinating stuff, people. I really enjoyed reading it. It's the kind of stuff that I can really eat up because it is just so interesting.

That said, I found myself being just the teensyist bit angry at the lack of control I have in my life. Everything around me is apparently manipulating my thoughts and views and I am so unaware of it that I make up lies and reasons to explain my actions. I also don't like how psychology and the brain are the everything. Some of the studies and misconceptions/truths don't match up with my religious views. Especially my beliefs that God answers prayers and that the Holy Ghost can lead and guide us through personal revelation. I'm sure that my brain does play a part in that, but I don't think it's ALL my brain.

But then, I am not so smart.

Want a copy of this book so you can see that you're not so smart, either? I know you do. I have one copy to give away--leave a comment and tell me how (do I really need to type this?) YOU ARE NOT SO SMART.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Your Medical Mind


I was supposed to post my review of this book this morning. But I have really good reasons why I didn't, and they are even apropo to the topic--lucky me!

I spent the majority of today in the urgent care, and then the rest of it in the ER.

Fun times.

So, I went to help in Sophia's classroom early this morning, and got back home around 9:20 am, to find The Maestro still in bed. His breathing sounded awful, and when he finally did wake up, he felt horrendous. So I told him to get in the car, 'cause we were off to the Urgent Care.

Now, I must give the tiniest bit of backstory here. Joel was sick with a pretty bad cold/crud/whatever's going around last week. A week ago Sunday, he finally decided to go into the Urgent Care and get a Z-Pack. He always gets one without any problem when he starts getting the crud, and it always clears it up within a couple days. Now, this is not what I would do, and I have always thought he's a little bit silly for insisting, but who am I to tell him what to do? Well, the doctor he got last Sunday was a little more on my side of the fence, antibiotically speaking. In fact, you might say she was anti-antibiotic, which would make her probiotic, I suppose. She would NOT give him the Z-pack no matter how he argued for it. She basically called him a baby for coming in at all when he just had a "little cold" and sent him packing with some cough suppressant and Sudafed, and told him to only come back if he wasn't better in two weeks.

Note: I was not there. I am getting all of this information from The Maestro, who is a known exaggerator. But she definitely refused him the hoped-for Z-Pack and told him he'd be fine.  And, he can be a bit of a baby when he's sick, even he admits that much.

After a couple days he was feeling better. Except there was always this kind of lingering cough and chest congestion. And THAT kept getting worse.

And then came today.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Family Photo

Remember the impromptu photoshoot our friend did for us on Friday?

Famiia Mea

Turned out pretty well, all things considered. And I don't even think I look *too* fat, though I still think these pictures are a nice impetus for buckling down on my long-lost diet. My unruly hair behaved, and we all look fairly put together.

_DSC0022_ family photo

And WHY earth are we so picky about photos? Especially of ourselves? (Notice I'm only worried about how *I* look in the pictures.)(Because everyone else looks wonderful, naturally.)

I'm thankful to have these pictures.
_DSC0078 family photo

They make me happy.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sophia's Very Fancy Birthday Party
(Three Months Late!)

Bria's 11th birthday is Thursday. It has completely snuck up on me, and the proof is that I never even posted about Sophia's awesome birthday party.  Which happened on her birthday.  In JULY.

In case you weren't aware, last October I made a resolve to be the most awesome birthday party mom for the following year. In so doing Bria had this very scary birthday party, and Chloe had her adorable tea party. Sophia also got an awesome party, and I will post about it now, but not before I tell you that Bria is not getting a super awesome party this week. I think the awesome party mom got tired and maybe she'll be ready to come out again after she rests for a year. And it's not like the parties I threw were all THAT awesome, as I've seen much more awesome parties both in real life and in blogland (which I know is somebody's real life, but anyway...my sub-par awesomeness is going to have to take it easy for a bit).



Sophia really loves Fancy Nancy. Heck, she practically IS Fancy Nancy. She insists upon wearing a dress to school nearly every day, and I have to convince her to wear pants or shorts on gym day. She loves fancy jewelry, make-up, clothes, and also soccer. She is so very girly, but also kind of tomboyish.

But her birthday party totally capitalized on her girlishness.

IMG_9349 Sophia party web


All of her guests arrived decked out rather fancily, and we set upon making cute little door hangers. Because a "do not disturb" sign is something Fancy Nancy would totally love. And she probably even knows the fancy name for "door hanger" but I don't, sorry.

About five minutes later, they were done with that and moved on to the next thing. (Why are five-year-olds so dang quick to be finished with activities at birthday parties?)(Being a Kindergarten or preschool teacher must be very fast-paced!)

The next thing was.....

IMG_9346 Sophia party web


...getting makeovers from Bria!

She painted their nails whatever color they chose (I think blue was most popular), and put eyeshadow and mascara and lip-gloss on each of our fancy guests.

IMG_9374 Bria Sophia party webIMG_9352 Sophia party


Then they walked the red carpet and posed for the camera. Aren't they cute? And I don't know why Chloe didn't participate. Actually, I do. She was probably still working on her door-hanger. When art is involved, she is quite focused.

We played a few more fancy games, like learning some fancy words for things and dancing to fancy music (this was after musical chairs failed miserably) and then it was time to eat. I have no pictures of most of this because keeping up with a bunch of fancy five-year-old girls is quite the job by itself, and adding photographer to the mix was too much. Sigh.

We started with parfaits. Which is, of course, the fancy word for ice cream.

IMG_9375 Sophia party webIMG_9378 Sophia party web


After the parfaits, we needed to open presents for a while to let that digest so we would have some room for the not-so-very-fancy cake.

IMG_9387 Sophia party web

Sophia was thrilled with all of her fancy gifts.

And then we were ready for cake.

IMG_9393 Sophia cake web


I told you it wasn't very fancy. But it did taste good.

IMG_9398 Sophia cake web


After cake, we sent the girls home with their treat bags. I made them out of some fabric and ribbon and they were filled with all sorts of fancy goodness: necklaces, bracelets, rings, lipgloss, and so forth.

IMG_9351 Sophia treat bags web


And then I had an official five-year-old. And I have loved every minute of her five-ishness so far.

Happy Birthday (three months ago), Sophia!

Friday, October 07, 2011

Fall has Fell and Other Friday Thoughts

I took this with my phone on Monday morning as I was walking back to my car after teaching. Autumn is here. And I've been so spoiled by the weather this last week...70 degrees every day. Blissful.


So, apparently, we are having our family pictures taken today. Joel golfs with a guy in our branch who offered to do it, and I guess it MUST be done today. The offer was made yesterday while they were on the links. Okay. Cool. So, really, instead of blogging I ought to be figuring out what the heck we're going to wear!

I am happy, though, because this means that I'll have a family picture. The last good one we have was taken two years ago, just before we moved here. My friend Rae did my headshots, and since the whole family was there (at a park in St. George on a hot July day), I asked if she wouldn't mind doing a couple of the family. So, it's a great picture, but you can kind of tell that the kids were running around in the heat and it's not like they're dressed nicely or their hair is done. But it's real, and it's us. And a canvas of it hangs in my dining room.

It will be nice to have a current one, with an Autumn backdrop. I'm excited.

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I have been reading a cool book that was recommended to me by a friend. I had been hoping to help Bria feel more successful in school after a very difficult 4th grade year. I never actually read it, because for 5th grade she had such a great teacher that she began to do really well in school without the book's (or my) expertise.

Anyway. It's called The Way They Learn. Another friend recently brought it up during book club, and the things she said were so interesting that I pulled out my copy and finally started reading it. I was totally fascinated and wish I had read it earlier.

I learned a lot about my learning style, The Maestro's learning style, and the learning styles of my children (as it turns out, Bria is kind of an enigma, having parts of all learning styles--which must mean she's a genius, of course). The Maestro and I are both poster children for our respective learning styles (like, I wondered how the author had met us and written these chapters about us), and we are POLAR opposites of each other. It was funny and enlightening to understand that.

I even understand myself a lot more now....like how I go on my "kicks," get bored of them before things are finished, and move on to other things. Also, I apparently LIKE having a million balls in the air, which is why I can't ever seem to get rid of stuff. I get depressed when I don't have enough going on. So, I guess if it's between overwhelmedness and downright depression, I choose being overwhelmed.


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The kick I am currently on?

Home improvement. In the last week I have painted both our playroom and living room, which are the two largest rooms in the house. I still have the trim to do in the playroom, and probably we'll replace the (pink) carpet soon, too. Which would be good since I painted it a pumpkin pie sort of color.

I will try to post pictures soon. Except that I'm not on a blogging kick or a photography kick right now, so I can't make any promises.

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I just interrupted writing this post to go pick Bria up at the middle school. She's been at a camp a few hours away for the last few days with the rest of the sixth graders. All of the parents were waiting in the parking lot for the buses to get there, and when they did, Bria was one of the first kids to get off the bus. I yelled her name, and when she saw me she ran to give me the biggest hug ever. All of the other moms were jealous. I sure have a great kid.

And I sure missed her.

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Finally, my General Conference picture is one of the finalists in Stephanie's contest over at Diapers and Divinity. I really want to win the book she's giving away, so hop on over and vote for me.

Pretty Please?

I'll even give you the link: Go here to vote!

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And now I'm off to figure out what we're going to wear for our family pictures, wonder what I'm going to do with my hair which is in dire need of a haircut, and get Sophia and Bria in the shower. Especially Bria. She stinks like campfire.

Happy Friday!!

Monday, October 03, 2011

Filled

Saturday morning session of General Conference.  Sophia just back from a soccer game, Chloe still in her PJs, and Bria dressed and ready to listen.  They were particularly excited about the tie worksheet I gave them to do.


I love General Conference Weekend.

(General Conference is when we don't go to our regular church services, but instead watch our church leaders in Salt Lake City via television or satellite or internet or radio all weekend.)

Sometimes I feel like my life is so go-go-go that I don't have much time to sit down and contemplate what I'm doing. I appreciate being forced to do just that at least twice a year. It fills my empty motivation stores and replenishes my reasons for living. It's a good thing.

Today is Monday and life has continued on at its breakneck speed: Lessons, girl scouts, choir, Family Home Evening, dinner, cleaning, music practice, homework, dishes, laundry, painting.

I am barely keeping up.

But I do my best.

Because yesterday I was reminded of all the reasons why I should.