Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A conversation with Chloe

I had a rehearsal with Joel's orchestra this morning, and I had to take Chloe and Sophie with me. This is a conversation we had on the way back home.

Chloe: Do you remember that Daddy bought a lots of choc'late yesterday?
Me: Yes, I remember.
Chloe: I remember dat, too, 'cause I said it! Wight, Mom?
Me: That's right!
Chloe: Well, can I have some choc'late?
Me: No, because it's 9:30 in the morning and you haven't eaten breakfast yet.
Chloe: Oh! Because we hafta eat somethin' good before we can eat choc'late, wight?
Me: That's right.
Chloe: Okay, I choose the choice to eat good cereal because I'm keeping the commandments!
Me: Okay, we'll get you some cereal as soon as we get home.

(long pause)

Chloe: Mommy! Guess what? I'm still keepin' the commandments!
Me: You are? That's great! How are you keeping the commandments?
Chloe: Because I'm showin' 'spect. Like I show 'spect to my room, and to my things, and to Mommys and Daddys and to other people and I 'spect my sisters. But right now, I'm 'spectin' good food!! Wight?
Me: That's right!

Although I'm not sure she totally understands the principle of respect, at least I know she listens in Family Home Evening.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Deja Vu

Yahoo! Avatars

Back when I started this blog, almost two years ago, one of my first posts dealt with my frustrations at having to learn a couple of arias from Bizet's opera Carmen to sing with Joel's ASU orchestra. It was fun to be able to perform again, even though the Gypsy Dance ended up being something of a disaster in the performance. Habenera went well, though. Very well.

So well, that Joel has commissioned me again to sing with his orchestra. I'll be singing this week. And, I'm again frustrated at learning the French. You see, memorizing the text has always been my weakness. I can sing all the songs I have ever learned for you, if you don't mind that I make up words or sing on la. I remember snippets of text, but, not really.

When I did my Senior Recital at BYU, I remember frantically writing down on notecards the words to all 20 of my songs (Yes twenty. Three Italian, Four German, Three French, Three English and Five Romanian. Okay. Maybe just Eighteen.) several times a day. And still, when the recital rolled around I sang a couple of the verses in one of the German Liederi twice and mixed up a bunch of words all over the place. I skipped an entire section of one of the Barber pieces because I started singing the wrong words and thought I was in a different place than I was. Thank goodness for a good accompanist who followed my every move and for an audience who was none the wiser.

So, even though this is the third time I have had to learn Carmen's Habenera for a performance, I didn't remember a lick of French past l'amour est un oiseau rebelle. Okay, so maybe a little more. But not much.

That picture you see up there is my Yahoo Instant Messenger avatar. I am on the IM often enough when I should be doing other things like the dishes or memorizing French that I figured I should change my avatar to remind me to go write out the words to Carmen or sit at the piano and sing it. And, I think maybe it's working. I think I have the whole thing down now.

Now, to find a dress that fits.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

How I know I married a musician

During family scripture reading the other night, Joel handed me the Book of Mormon and said,

"Honey, will you read measure 18?"

Monday, February 19, 2007

I need to get out more

I went grocery shopping today. Nothing earth shattering...totally normal, in fact. But it scares me just how obsessed I have become with saving my family money and paying as little as possible for things at the register.

At Albertson's, I saved $31.84 with my Albetson's savings card, saved another $6.75 with coupons and only paid $18.32 for my groceries. With that money I got 6 boxes of cereal, 2 boxes of taco shells, a cake mix and frosting for Chloe's upcoming birthday, 4 cans of Enchilada sauce, 2 boxes of fruit snacks, 2 boxes of Gogurt, 2 of the yogurt drinks that Joel loves, and a bag of those Terra exotic vegetable chips for me and my fancy diet. And the chips cost 4 bucks all by themselves...really missing Trader Joe's right about now.

Then I went to WalMart and finished my shopping and was able to get out of there for way under budget. That was even buying some material to make a throw pillow, some clearanced candles and candleholder and a couple other non-food non-essentials (all of which were for some home decorating/home organization project or the other).

All of this is good and great and grand...but what I don't understand is how positively giddy I was about all the great deals. A year ago I didn't care. Didn't read the ads or plan menus. Just went shopping and hoped that I stayed under budget. And since I usually didn't stay under budget I'd just sigh and think well, a family has to eat...what can I do?

Now I comb the ads instead of throwing them in the garbage as soon as they arrive. I make menu lists and shopping lists. I clip coupons. I am willing to go to 2 or 3 stores in order to get the best deals.

But, it's helping us to keep our heads above water and have financial peace. I only wish I'd figured that out a long time ago. Like when student loans were what we were living off instead of paying off.

Oh well. Live and learn. And get your kicks from bargain shopping.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A day filled with love

Chloe has been looking very forward to Valentine's Day this year. I guess because this is the first year she gets to hand out valentines and a party at preschool and everything else you get to do on this special day.

We bought her valentines last week: Littlest Pet Shop. This should not come as a surprise to anyone, since she is totally obsessed with those little animals. She has about 15 of them and she carries them with her everywhere she goes. Mostly she just likes to line them up and look at them in all of their cuteness. She added her valentines to her collection and has been carrying them around with her in a baggie for the last week or so. I'm not so sure she really understood that she would have to give them away eventually, but they were basically the best thing ever.

And then she lost them. Again, probably not surprising since she did carry them everywhere. She says she left them at Timmy's house in the trunk of one of his toy cars. But, my sister-in-law can't find them anywhere and neither can Tim. So, last night, I stayed up cutting a bunch of hearts out of red cardstock and gluing some jaw breakers we had in the cupboard to them. It was either that or the Easter candy that my mom just bought for us at Costco. Why didn't I go buy more? Because we're flat broke, that's why, and I am trying my best to be frugal...but that's another story for another blog.

Chloe slept with the baggie full of red hearts and jaw breakers and was just so excited to go to preschool this morning. We dressed her up in her red pants and her red shirt with pink and white hearts all over it and put her hair in pigtails with pink pretties. (Bria got all gussied up for the day, too. For that matter, so did Sophia, but Chloe was the most excited.)

I just got back from picking her up from preschool. Timmy goes to the same preschool and he had a very special Valentine's present for her, but I must give some background first:

Timmy had the following conversation with his mom a couple weeks ago:

Timmy: Mom, I need you to go to the store and buy me some chocolate in a heart box.

Mom: Why?

Timmy: Because I need it for my girlfriend.

Mom: Oh! Who is your girlfriend?

Timmy: Her name is Chloe.

You guessed it, Timmy had a big heart box of chocolates for Chloe behind his back. He gave it to her and told her he loved her. She got so excited and said, "Thank you! You're so sweet!" and gave him a very big hug. He also insisted on giving her more candy out of his own stash from his classmates and they walked out together holding hands.

And now we are home and she is going through her valentines bag and saying things like "Oh ho ho! I got a chocolate heart!" and "Oh yeah, you know it! I got a Cars valentine!!!" She is also opening up all her candy and putting each piece into plastic baggies by type. All conversation hearts are in one baggie, all chocolate in another, all lollipops (sans wrappers) in another and so on. Such organization!

Valentine's Day. So much fun for kids. I can't wait to see how Bria's day went!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

My little secret

Some of you may remember my post about entering the Creating Keepsakes Scrapbooking Hall of Fame contest last year. I am happy to report that I entered. I didn't win, but I entered. I have some really great layouts from doing that contest...a couple that I may have never done without it, like one about Joel and one about lipstick.

I also have a few layouts from that contest that I'd like to throw in the garbage....I won't actually do it, but I really don't like them. I attribute it to the fact that those particular layouts were the last ones I finished (and no, I won't be showing them to you here. ;) )

You see, I started really strong last year around October. Had some great ideas for the assignments and was excited about the contest. Then, in early December, I found out I was pregnant with Sophia. Not long after that I landed myself in the hospital with my "normal" hyperemesis of pregnancy. I was in the hospital for about a week, and while I read some scrapbooking magazines and tried to think of ideas for my remaining layouts, I didn't really make much progress on the contest.

When I got out of the hospital I had about 3 weeks to go before the deadline. It took me a week to gear myself up to finishing. I can remember just throwing those last 3 layouts together and not even caring. I only did it because I knew I would really regret not finishing up and not getting an entry in regardless of my health problems. I knew 7 of those layouts were my best work, and the other 3 I forgave myself for.

I wasn't surprised when I didn't win or even get a nod for honorable mention since I knew I hadn't turned in my very best work. So be it. There was always next year, right?

Well...it's next year. Hall of Fame entries are due on Monday. When I saw the rules and assignments for this go around back in October I thought I wouldn't do it. Why? Because I was (am) busier than I've been since I was Relief Society President and also because the assignments seemed uber difficult. Inventive technique? Yeah, right. I am the most non-technique oriented scrapper on the planet. Crafty combo? Okay...but I turned in my best idea for that in last year's contest under a different assignment. Mini album? No way. I don't do those. Journal your Passion? Do I even have a passion? Etc. Etc.

Then, my friend Jill from Arizona decided to enter and she talked me into it, sort of. I still put off working on it because I didn't have time. I made a couple layouts that could count for my free assignments (no requirements...just your favorite layouts) and put them away, but that's all I did until about 3 weeks ago. And even then, I still only got a couple more done, but at least I got a few assignments and all my freebies finished. So, I was still very non-committal about it all.

And then one day I realized: I will regret it if I don't enter and I can do it. So, I let my laundry folding go to pot...seriously, I had a mountain of clean laundry in my hallway...and I got to work. This was about a week and a half ago and I had 5 more layouts to complete. And, I am happy to report that I did it! Got it assembled Wednesday morning (took 2 hours of work!) and mailed it that afternoon courtesy of a wonderful husband who treated it like it was one of the children.

I really love all my layouts this time, but even then, I don't have too many hopes of winning. It's a slim chance and my photography is probably not where it should be. But, I'm a winner just for getting it in. If I don't win this year I don't know if I'll enter again...scrapbooking has seemed to be more of a sidenote in my life lately rather than the center focus it has taken for the past few years.

So, now you know. My little secret: I entered Hall of Fame 2007.

Cross your fingers for me.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Time out for entertainment

Time out is the discipline method of choice at our house. I could go on and on about how effective I think it is as long as we do it right, but I won't. Instead, I will go on and on about how hilariously funny it can be when we do it right.

The other day, Bria was in a very unreasonable mood and had to sit in time out way more than she usually does. She had already been in the time out chair 3 times that Sunday morning and we hadn't even left for church yet!

Well, she continued being stubborn and obstinate about something or the other, so I put her back in time out. First she growled at me and told me she'd scratch my eyes out (she was currently pretending to be a kitty, but still....such violence for a little girl!) and then she just started screaming.

Now, time out is just that. Time OUT. I don't engage in arguing with her because it's completely fruitless, ineffective and a complete waste of time, so I walked away and left her there screaming. I went about my normal chores and getting ready for church. And she screamed. And screamed.

And screamed.

And this is what she screamed:

"Time out is S T U P I D! Do you know what that spells? That spells a BAD WORD!!!! And that's what time out is!!! S T U P I D!!!! Do you want me to say it? Fine!! A BAD WORD!!! (I had to laugh that she still couldn't bring herself to say it...she's very strict about her bad words. In fact, when she's mad at Chloe she says, "You're a bad word!" Quite amusing.) You're a meanie!!!! You're the meanest one in the whole house!!!! I'm not your daughter anymore!!! I want DADDY!! No Faaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiir!!!!!! Why aren't you listening to me???!!??? LISTEN to me!!!!!!!" Ad nauseum.

Perhaps you had to be there, but I was trying extremely hard to hide the fact that I was laughing at her. Instead I got out a pen and started to write down her running commentary.

A few minutes later she was quiet. And a few minutes after that she was ready to be nice.

Time out. Works like a charm.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Little girls, Little girls, everywhere I look I can see them...

Although I often feel like Miss Hannigan, I sure do have some gorgeous little girls:




That is all. Carry on.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Fraudulent claims

I've been teaching a lot of voice lessons lately. I have those ten students in St. George, five at SUU, and three that come to me privately, with a couple more wanting to start up. On top of that, I've been vocal coaching the kids in the musical at Joel's high school. Not that I'm complaining...I'm really only spending about 10 hours a week teaching, and I know I couldn't make that kind of moolah at any other part time job. We definitely need the money and I am always amazed at how I seem to have lessons just fall into my lap whenever we're hurting financially. I feel so blessed to have this talent and skill so that I am able to help our little family make ends meet.

That's just it though. I often feel like a great big fraud while I am teaching. Sure, I can sing. And yeah, I have a piece of paper that says I spent a lot of time and money earning a degree in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy. That pedagogy part says I can teach and that I know what the heck I am doing. And yet, sometimes I just feel like I don't have any idea. Like I'm grasping at straws. Like I'm making everything up as I go along. Like I don't know why on earth people are paying me to teach them to sing because I'm not really sure if I can do it!

Of course, I would never let on to anyone that I feel this way. I act like I know exactly what I'm doing at all times. Like the vocalises I'm coming up with off the cuff were carefully planned out to fix the exact problem that the student has. Like I know just which song I would like them to sing as I look over their anthologies. Like I know the answer to any question posed to me (except "why does my hard palate hurt when I'm singing?" If you know the answer to that one let me know, because I've done a ton of research on it and I can't come up with an answer for her to save my life. And yes, I admitted I didn't know, don't worry.)

I'm not really sure why I feel this way, because I really do find teaching to be something I'm pretty good at. My students have been fairly successful and nobody is happier than I am when they get a concept. I had a girl at SUU last semester that has never sung, just wanted to try it out. She had no range. It was maybe a fifth, if not less. This very same girl, because I taught her how, now has almost a 3 octave range. I have seen huge improvement in the students that are teachable (we won't talk about the ones that aren't, and I have decided not to take responsibility for their lack of progress).

I guess sometimes I just can't believe that I'm not the student anymore. I always feel like there is so much that I don't know that I couldn't possibly be qualified to teach the things I do know. I guess I'll just have to continue walking into each lesson and pretending I know everything. You know, instead of walking into each lesson ready to learn something. The thing is, I do learn something. In every single lesson.