Friday, October 31, 2008

Re-posting: This post is worthless without pictures!

Okay, for some reason people enjoy Googling that saying a lot. I don't know what they're expecting to find, except a bunch of picture-less, worthless posts. And mine. It's pretty funny, I admit, but I still blush a little bit when I think about it. And look at me posting it again! Why not? At least 5 perfect strangers land themselves on this post every week. Originally posted in November, 2008.

This post is worthless without pictures!

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Re-posting: Why a woman should always have Kleenex in her purse

It's a burning question, folks. Just what exactly should a woman carry in her purse, anyway? Lots of people Google this, and if they clicked on my blog, they found out that they should definitely have tissues. Hopefully I was able to help some poor, ignorant, purse-carrying girl compose her list just a little bit. Originally posted on the day after Valentine's Day, 2008.

Why a woman should always have Kleenex in her purse

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Re-posting: If the key doesn't fit in the ignition, it's probably not your car

This post was originally posted in October of 2007. I find it incredibly amusing that I get so many searches with some variation of "my key won't fit in the ignition." It certainly makes me feel a lot better about my own situation, and maybe it helped someone out there figure out why their key wasn't working. Or not.

If the key doesn't fit in the ignition, it's probably not your car.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Re-posting: Truth really is stranger than fiction

This post was originally published in August of 2007. It is my most popularly Google searched item. I consistently get searches for "funny sleepwalking stories" or "weird sleepwalking stories" or something along those lines. There were 82 searches for this in the last month alone! This post definitely matches that criteria, so I hope they all found what they were looking for. Enjoy!

Monday, October 27, 2008

So much to do, so little time

This week is going to be crazy. Insane. I will be surprised if I actually survive it, in fact.

Just a few of the things on my to-do list:

1. Finish the dang Halloween costumes. I am oh-so-close, but time is running out. Mainly, I have to throw together something for Joel to be the scarecrow, and it probably isn't going to be very true to Oz, but oh well.

2. Plan Bria's baptism. This includes rehearsing a musical number, taking photos, figuring out what desserts we'll make for afterwards, and when the heck I'm going to make them. And then actually making them. I am glad I will never have to plan a baptism for the day after Halloween's kind of overwhelming.

3. Edit a million (okay, so it's just four) photoshoots. With my slow computer and my carpal tunnel. Sigh.

4. Get my house guest worthy, since lots of family will be in town for the baptism. Some of them will even be here for Halloween, which is the fun part of doing this at this time of year.

5. Still do all the normal teaching of lessons, rehearsing, carting kids places, etc., which is often enough to make me crazy all by itself.

6. Stay sane.

So, you can see I have absolutely no time for blogging until maybe Saturday night. This presents a dilemma, because I made a random commitment to myself to blog every day for the rest of the year. I could break it, because, let's face it, blogging is certainly not the most important thing in the world, much as I enjoy it. But I won't. I thought of something even better.

I looked in Google analytics to see what my most popular pages are for the last year, based on Google searches. And let me tell you, those Google searchers sure know how to find the fun posts. I am going to re-post the top four-one a day-for the rest of this week. Then, of course, I will post Halloween pictures on Saturday and Baptism pictures on Sunday. Problem solved.

Don't miss me too much, and enjoy a laugh or two at my expense these next few days!

Sunday, October 26, 2008


It was our last day up north and the girls were making the most of it by playing in the backyard while Joel and I packed up our immense amount of crap. Why do we need to take so much stuff with us for just a week? I mean, we barely had wiggle room in the van, and we have two extra seats in there! Of course, I totally brought tons of photography equipment, not to mention my sewing machine (I'm falling behind on the Halloween costumes).

Anyway, they were sitting on the electricity box thing (what are those called anyway?) admiring all of the many pinecones they had collected. At least it wasn't bird feathers this time. They begged me to take a picture, so I found a delete worthy pic on my overflowing card and happily obliged. When I took the picture, Bria suggested they say (or, rather, yell) PINECONES! instead of cheese. And so they did.

Aren't they precious?

And they are all mine.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Bria climbed a tree and 22 pictures of everything else we did up north

There is no way I can cram all we did on our little trip up north into one post. Also, apparently there is no way to cram it all onto one 2 gig memory card, either. Unfortunately, that means I didn't take any pictures of our adventures at Thanksgiving Point on our very last day because my card was already full. Luckily my sister-in-law had a camera (and free memory) with her, and if you're dying to see, you can find a couple pics of my girls on her blog. Also you can read about my poor nephew who rode his big wheel into the window well and was at the ER getting fixed up before we met up at the Farm Country.

That said, hold onto your hats, because here comes a heckuvalot of photos and a quick-as-I-can recap of our time with family.

I arrived sometime Tuesday afternoon. Without Joel.

On Wednesday I went shopping with my mom and in the evening we had a birthday party for Bria. Joel got there sometime during the party. It was like her fourth party this year. Oh well, she's such a great kid that she deserves it. She was definitely spoiled. I didn't actually take pictures of this birthday party, but here is a picture of her blowing out the candles at her friend party two weeks ago.
On Thursday, I did a fun photoshoot for Maryann and her dog, Buddy. Buddy was not very cooperative, but he sure is a beautiful dog!
And he has a great smile, too, don't you think?

Then we watched BYU get thrashed by TCU. It was very depressing. At least, it was if you are a Cougar fan. And we are.

On Friday, my mom and I spent the morning working on Bria's Glinda costume for Halloween.

Then, I did a photoshoot for my sister-in-law Anne-Marie and our brand new nephew, Lucas. He is about 5 weeks old and cute as a button. Can you say that about boys? Well, I just did.

Sophie was enthralled with the baby. When we were all finished shooting and had moved on to pizza eating, (or salad eating, if you're me), she took Anne-Marie's boppy and just sat in front of his swing looking at him. She also enjoyed holding him in her lap and wouldn't let him go. Gives me hope that if we ever do decide to have another baby, that she'll do wonderfully with it.
On Saturday we went to the pumpkin patch with Mamah and Grandpa. The girls enjoyed choosing pumpkins and seeing pumpkins and sitting on gigantic pumpkins.

Sophia, independent child that she is, insisted on pulling that wagon. She did it pretty well, too, considering it had over 100 pounds of pumpkins in it! Have I ever mentioned that she is freakishly strong on top of being freakishly independent? Yeah, well, she is.
After the pumpkin patch, my mom and I went shopping again. Ah, Children's Place. It's like crack cocaine to me. But, I finished putting together the girls' Christmas ensembles and bought some awesome clothes (on clearance!) to give them as Christmas gifts.

On Sunday we went to Church bright and early (oh how I miss 9:00 church!). When we came home, the girls changed and carved pumpkins with Grandpa in the backyard. Chloe the artist was especially enthralled with this. Bria preferred to play with Daisy and Sophie preferred to kiss Mamah (love that little pucker).

Then we had a family dinner with two of my brothers and their cute girlfriends. This trip was the first time we met Nate's adorable girlfriend, Brittany, and Chloe absolutely fell in love with her. We're talking to the point that she declared her favorite color was now red, because that is Brittany's favorite color. I'm feeling a little slighted about that, because my favorite color is also red, and she's never changed hers just for me! After dinner, I took a few pictures of my parents for their Christmas card, and then even fewer of my brothers and my maybe sisters-in-law to be. Bria was really excited to be a photgrapher, too, because Nate and Brittany had given her a brand new Hannah Montana camera for her birthday. So, we'll be getting the film back soon and seeing her prodigious talent. I also think that she matched the grass so well, that she should look into being paparazzi, since she could be really sneaky that way. At least she could if she always wears that shirt and the celebrities all happen to be in my parents' yard.
Here are some of the pictures I took of my brothers and my parents. Ah, twitterpation!

During one of these photo sessions, Sophie snuck out of the house with her ball and began putting it in the sprinklers and watching it pop up in the air. She thought this was the greatest thing ever and was having a grand old time until she was stopped by her father. He was mad because she got soaking wet and we were supposed to go to his family's house for FHE immediately. So we were late. It's all Sophia's fault.
Unfortunately, I finished up my memory card taking pictures of my brothers, so I didn't even bother to take my camera to the Family Home Evening. Or Thanksgiving Point on Monday. I promise to be better next time. Or just buy a new card.

Hope your weekend is a fraction as wonderful as our vacation was!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Bad Mom confession #134

In Sophie's speech therapy appointment the other day, the therapist was working with her on her name. She has trouble with both the "s" and "f" sounds, so she can't say it. When she says them, both sounds turn into a "sh" sound, especially when she tries to put the two syllables of her name together. That's why she calls herself "Shishi."

The therapist got out a fish puzzle so they could work on the "f" sound specifically. Up till now, Sophie has pretty much called all fish "shishi" (sound familiar?), so it's definitely a word that is needing some work.

And it still does. After a half hour with the speech therapist, she went from saying "shishi" to just plain "$hit." She is very, very consistent with this. And instead of working with her like I should, I have been exploiting it several times an hour.

"Sophie, say fish!"


Does this make me a horrible mother?

I thought so.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Some girly shopping links just in time for Christmas

A lot of you asked me if I could tell you where I bought the hats and dresses my girls were wearing in this photo shoot. I am more than happy to oblige.

All of the dresses were bought at Stephanie's Boutique. She has both an online store and an eBay store (which is also online, amazingly enough). Her stuff is adorable, and rather popular, so sometimes it's hard to win the auctions, but it's always worth a try. I did manage to snag Sophie's dress for a mere 12 dollars, and Chloe's for 25. Bria's I ended up just buying because I kept losing the auction. I think it was 35 dollars.

I bought Chloe's hat at another eBay store. Kara makes beautiful hats and headbands, but it looks like only a few are listed at a time. I pointed my mom over to her store after I got Chloe's hat and she bought a similar hat for my niece, only it was brown knit with a light pink flower. I saw it when I was up visiting, and it is gorgeous. This store is just starting out, so run on over and give her some business. I definitely plan to buy a few more things from her as Christmas gifts for my girls.

I bought Bria's hat at Funky Fleece, also an eBay store. I like eBay stores. She has a lot of similar hats, headbands and fun (and funky, obviously) things like legwarmers and ponchos for little girls. I really, really like her stuff, and so should you. The one downside is that she is in Canada, so the shipping prices are a little hefty. Unless, of course, you actually live in Canada.

I'm sorry if you have only boys, because I am pretty sure these stores only cater to the girly crowd. But feel free to buy something for your niece or your best friend's daughter or the little girl you know you'll have someday. Or my kids. I certainly won't complain!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

You want an opportunity? I'll give you an opportunity!

Obviously, my post yesterday was written in a timely fashion. Oh, it's not obvious to you? Well then, please allow me to explain.

Yesterday was supposed to go like this:

Get up by 7:00 am, get kids ready, send Bria to school at 8:30.

Meet with Sophie's speech therapist (she comes to our house) at 9:45.

Clean up the aftermath of arriving home from vacation the night before.

Check Bria out of school at 11:00 and head to her 8 year well child check, scheduled for 11:30.

Well child checks at our pediatrician are always super fast, so I should have been done in time to check Bria back into school and have Chloe to her Kindergarten class at 12:30.

Go home and prepare and eat lunch (I'm on a new diet, which I might blog about later if I lose enough weight to make it blog-worthy).

Take Sophie for a walk.

Put Sophie down for her nap.

Finish cleaning the house.

Pick up the girls at 3:30.

Do homework and reading.

Take Bria to her violin lesson at 5:30.

Come home and eat dinner.

Young Women at 7:00.

Come home and relax.

I know that's a pretty busy day, and maybe even a little overwhelming, but that is NOTHING like what really happened. What really happened is much, much worse, and a definite opportunity for Lara to practice some major patience.

Since you're dying to know, here's what really happened:

Joel left the house around 6:30 in the morning, as usual.

The rest of us didn't wake up until nearly 9:15, even though we all went to bed pretty early. I have no idea how this happened. Bria and Sophie are both up by 7:00 on normal days.

I jumped out of bed and freaked out, then decided I would just have to keep Bria home until the end of her doctor's appointment.

I still did my morning computer surf for about 10 minutes while the kids were eating breakfast, since I can't eat till my thyroid medication kicks in.

Then I ran around picking things up and ordering children to brush their teeth and getting Sophie presentable for her speech therapy.

No speech therapist, so I continued reading blogs until my phone rang at 10:15.

It was the speech therapist, naturally. She'd been at the dentist and the appointment took an hour longer than anticipated. We rescheduled.

Then, I did a little more cleaning and making sure the kids were ready.

At 11:00 we all piled in the car to head to the pediatrician.

We waited for nearly an hour in the waiting room. This never happens at my doctor's office! They are always so fast.

Then, once we got into the room, we waited another really long time for the doctor to even come.

I was starting to get a lot annoyed. Tried to remember it's just an opportunity to prove that I can be patient.

Got back into the car at 12:45. Kindergarten was already starting and the kids were hungry.

Sped home, where I parked in the driveway and opened the garage door so Chloe could run in the house to get her backpack.

I got some crackers off the garage food storage shelf for them to eat in the one minute it would take to get to the school, and backed out of the driveway.

I pushed the garage door opener, and part of the garage door completely fell off the runners. I have no idea why it did this, but for me, it was the straw that broke the camel's back.

I left my garage door open, with my food storage free for the taking and took the girls to school, checked Bria in, made sure Chloe got to class okay, even though she was 20 minutes late at this point, and headed back home with Sophie.

I fiddled with the garage, but only succeeded in turning my hands black with grease and frustrating myself even more. It was now more than an hour past the time I should have eaten, so I just went into the house.

I called Joel, crying, while I made my lunch.

Then the violin teacher called and needed to change Bria's lesson to 4:00. Why not? My day is already completely shot anyway. Let's just lose our homework time, too.

I finally sat down at the computer and ate my lunch, while I let Sophie make messes.

Joel came home and put Sophie to bed for me.

I did nothing productive for an hour. I was just too frazzled by now.

At 3:30, I woke Sophie up, loaded her in the car, drove to pick up the girls and on to violin.

Chloe and I worked a little on her homework in the car while we waited for Bria to finish her lesson.

I came home and supervised homework.

Decided I should probably make dinner for my children since Joel was at jazz band.

Made the simplest dinner I could possibly think of.

We all ate.

I told the girls their room must be finished being cleaned by the time I got home from Young Women and I left.

I walked. It's always good to walk steam off on a day like today, especially when the planned walk did not work out.

Stayed at YW for a half hour and came home.

Cleaned the house.

Went to bed.

I suppose after the afternoon was over, it wasn't so bad. I'm still so ticked off about the garage door, though. Joel and I went out to look at it and even working together we couldn't get it back on track. So, if you know where I live, please don't steal my food storage or my Christmas decorations. You can totally have the old computer desk that I haven't gotten rid of yet, and if you really need little girl clothes, I guess you can have some of mine. I have a lot.

And if your husband can fix garage doors, send him right over.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Little reminders

The other day at my parents' house, Chloe wanted to watch Evan Almighty. I have never actually seen this movie, but my mom assured me it would be fine for a five year old, and I completely trust her, so I put on the DVD.

A little while later, I came in the room just in time to hear the following quote said by Morgan Freeman who plays God:

"Let me ask you something. If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other?"

After hearing that, I was instantly reminded of something I posted on this blog about a year and a half ago. I had actually learned that very lesson, but I had also forgotten it a little, as we all tend to do. I was really thankful for the reminder from God (even if it was just Morgan Freeman pretending) because I really needed it right about now.

I often get horribly discouraged with myself because I am not perfectly patient or calm or balanced or put together. I get frustrated when my prayers for patience (or whatever else I'm praying for) are seemingly being ignored, because instead of being given perfect patience, I'm only given the opportunity to be patient. Talk about a trial of faith.

There are a lot of personal weaknesses that I am currently working on, and I am so thankful for the quiet little nudge to remind me that I am doing okay. And to look at the opportunities to practice as great blessings instead of the trials I usually feel they are.

And most of all, I'm thankful for the gentle reminder that Heavenly Father loves me. He looks out for me, and He wants to help me be my very best self. I just have to let him.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Just call me Speedy Gonzalez

This was my second try at the test. I got lower on my first and third tries, and I am avoiding taking it again, even though Joel got over 100 wpm and my competitive instinct is totally kicking in. 102 wpm is like not even human. Shouldn't be allowed. He stinks.

I am sorry for all the silly memes and quizzes this week. I promise to be back to normally scheduled posting tomorrow. Alas, my vacation is over.

Happy Monday!

90 words

Typing Test

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Pumpin' up the party

This picture of Chloe from Bria's birthday party cracked me up. The party was Hannah Montana themed, and we had a dancing contest. I told them the crazier the better, and Chloe took me at my word. Needless to say, she scored perfect tens all around.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A very little quiz

Here's a fun little quiz. And I really do mean little, it's only 2 questions long! Can't even be counted as a time sucker!

I thought my result was pretty apropo, considering my Audrey obsession. :) It's not totally accurate, but several things definitely describe me quite well.

Your result for Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz...

You Are an Audrey!


You are an Audrey -- "I am at peace"

Audreys are receptive, good-natured, and supportive. They seek union with others and the world around them.

How to Get Along with Me

* * If you want me to do something, how you ask is important. I especially don't like expectations or pressure
* * I like to listen and to be of service, but don't take advantage of this
* * Listen until I finish speaking, even though I meander a bit
* * Give me time to finish things and make decisions. It's OK to nudge me gently and nonjudgmentally
* * Ask me questions to help me get clear
* * Tell me when you like how I look. I'm not averse to flattery
* * Hug me, show physical affection. It opens me up to my feelings
* * I like a good discussion but not a confrontation
* * Let me know you like what I've done or said
* * Laugh with me and share in my enjoyment of life

What I Like About Being an Audrey

* * being nonjudgmental and accepting
* * caring for and being concerned about others
* * being able to relax and have a good time
* * knowing that most people enjoy my company; I'm easy to be around
* * my ability to see many different sides of an issue and to be a good mediator and facilitator
* * my heightened awareness of sensations, aesthetics, and the here and now
* * being able to go with the flow and feel one with the universe

What's Hard About Being an Audrey

* * being judged and misunderstood for being placid and/or indecisive
* * being critical of myself for lacking initiative and discipline
* * being too sensitive to criticism; taking every raised eyebrow and twitch of the mouth personally
* * being confused about what I really want
* * caring too much about what others will think of me
* * not being listened to or taken seriously

Audreys as Children Often

* * feel ignored and that their wants, opinions, and feelings are unimportant
* * tune out a lot, especially when others argue
* * are "good" children: deny anger or keep it to themselves

Audreys as Parents

* * are supportive, kind, and warm
* * are sometimes overly permissive or nondirective

So who are you? Take the quiz and find out! The blog I stole this from was a Bette (as in Davis). I'm curious just as to how many 40's icons there are in a 2 question quiz! :)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Scare tactics

My parents have a wonderful large backyard with lots of trees and places to explore. Yesterday morning, Bria and Chloe went outside and found a surprising amount of bird feathers. Like hundreds of them. They were so excited when they brought their haul back into the house, that I almost couldn't bear to burst their bubble. I started to to say something about how maybe we shouldn't have them in the house and let's go wash our hands when Joel came downstairs and saw the abnormally large pile of feathers in front of Chloe.

He immediately freaked out and began telling them they could get bird flu and how many germs are on those feathers and that birds eat dead animals and did he mention the bird flu? And that they must throw them away right now.

Chloe sat there for a minute, looking at her beautiful feathers.

Then she said, "Can you get me a pair of gloves so I can throw these away?"

I think I can be pretty sure that my children will never pick up, let alone touch, another abandoned bird feather ever again.

Thanks honey!


My friend Carla tagged me for this. I'm obviously catching up on all the memes this week, so here you go.

8 T.V. Shows I Love To Watch

(Oh dear, I'm going to be showing off my extreme uncoolness from the get go, aren't I?)

1. 24
2. CSI
3. CSI: New York
4. CSI: Miami
5. Jeopardy!
6. Antiques Roadshow
7. The 10:00 News
8. Um...Um...Jay Leno? (But only on Mondays when he does Headlines. Then I'm done.)

8 Things that Happened Yesterday

(Now, please keep in mind that this is the yesterday from when I actually wrote this blog. I'm setting it to post a week later. Now you know my dirty little blogging secret.)

1. The stock market tanked and I refused to look at our 401Ks
2. I taught some lessons at SUU
3. I totally spaced going to the high school to work with the lead in the musical
4. I went to my book club (we read Austenland, which is fun, but not much to discuss!)
5. I cuddled with my kiddos
6. I went to my sister-in-law's karaoke birthday party (I didn't sing though. They didn't have any opera arias on the list. The nerve.)
7. I did endless dishes
8. I blogged, of course!

8 Favorite Places to Eat

(I live in a small town with not much in the way of restaurant offerings, so this is as good as it gets.)

1. The gourmet cuisine of my husband, in my own kitchen.
2. Costa Vida
3. Chilis
4. The Garden House
5. Wendy's
6. Carl's Jr.
7. The Pastry Pub

8 Things I Look Forward To:

1. Getting out of debt
2. Sundays
3. Date night with Joel (not sure why I felt the need to clarify that, because who else would I go on a date with?)
4. A good book to read
5. Joel getting his dream job
6. Halloween
7. Christmas
8. Bria's baptism

8 Things on My Wish List

1. A house to call my own
2. An L series lens for my camera (or 2 or 3)
3. A Canon 5D
4. A Grand Piano
5. Cool furniture
6. My pre-kids body
7. A house that stays clean no matter what
8. Organization skills that come naturally (ha!)

8 People I tag

1. I
2. don't
3. tag
4. people
5. so
6. go
7. for
8. it!

(But only if you want to.)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Road trip

On Tuesday we came up north. It's the Harvest Holiday time of year again. Everybody in Utah knows that this really just means "deer hunt" and since we don't hunt, we decided to come up and see our peeps.

Only, Joel still had school till Wednesday, so the girls and I came up by ourselves on Tuesday. I am never thrilled about driving 3 hours by myself because it's hard to pass out snacks, keep the peace and operate the DVD player while keeping your eyes on the road and your hands on the steering wheel.

At one point, I got sick of the DVD player (Hilary, you'd be proud) and we decided to play the alphabet game. You know, the one where you try and find signs with each letter of the alphabet. Bria's first reaction was rather violent, "I hate ABC order! This game is for little kids! I'm not playing! Hmph!" Chloe was pretty excited about it, though, since she's in Kindergarten and it's all about the letters right now. Sophie was asleep and didn't care.

By the time Chloe and I were on the letter B, Bria was all into it. The hardest part was the fact that this particular stretch of road between where we live and where we were going is quite possibly the most deserted stretch of road in the United States, with the exception of the boring bit of road between Reno and Tooele. When we were on X, which is usually the easiest letter, we didn't have an Exit sign for 15 miles. And then we got bored and turned the DVD player back on.

Once we got into town and off the freeway, Bria was a little worried that I didn't know how to get to Mamah and Grandpa's house. I assured her that since I grew up there, it was not a problem. She wasn't too convinced until she recognized the horse stable at the beginning of my parents' street. I actually remember feeling that way when we'd go visit my grandparents in San Diego. I was always pretty amazed that my mom knew how to get to their house.

Now I get it. She grew up there. She could find it more easily than any house in America.

I'm just glad that I'm driving home with Joel. It'll be a lot easier to win the alphabet game.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

A huge meme about my High School Experience. (You can just call it the H.S.E.)


1. Did you date someone from your high school?

Yes. I went out on lots of dates with lots of guys. I only dated one person very seriously, and that was probably the biggest mistake of my life when it came to choosing a date-worthy male. His name was Jason, and it isn't a pleasant memory. I was 16 and stupid. And isn't this a lovely way to start off these questions?

2. What kind of car did you drive?

Well, first of all, I was too chicken to get my driver's license till I was 17, the summer before my senior year. I did not have a car that was designated for only me to drive until my freshman year of college. So, in high school, if I had to drive, I drove the navy blue Chevy Celebrity family station wagon. Tres chic, indeed.

3. What was the most embarrassing moment of high school for you?

Honestly, I can't think of anything. I'm not super easily embarrassed, even though I definitely had a most embarrassing moment in college. Really, I got nothing here. Sorry to disappoint you.

4. Were you a party animal?

Ha! No way.

5. Were you considered a flirt?

Another Ha! Not even a little bit. I was super shy with the opposite sex. To the point that I would be tongue tied and make ridiculous conversation. At least, that's the way I remember it. It's not like I never went on a date or anything, though. I was just definitely not a flirt. The first time I ever called a guy that I liked was after my mission, in college, and it was Joel.

6. Were you in Band, Orchestra, or Choir?

I bet I don't even have to answer this question, and you'd all know the answer anyway. But, just in case you don't pay attention, I was in choir. I was even in two choirs at the same time. I was also a drama geek, if you care.

7. Were you a nerd?

I say I was. Not the kind that had a 4.0 average and a pocket protector, but I wasn't exactly cool. Plus, I got good grades and was involved in music and drama. In my mind, that made me a nerd. Or a geek. You pick.

8. Were you on any Varsity teams?

Uhhhhh, no. Unless you consider the Thespian Society a varsity team, that is. I am not so athletic.

9. Did you ever get suspended/expelled?

Of course not! The horrors! I was a very good girl, although I did occasionally sluff AP US History. If you'd been in my class you would have ditched, too.

10. Can you still sing the fight song?

YES! Do you want to hear it?

We are the fighting bruins of Mountain View,
Our song is heard our story told.
We are the team that's tough, we're telling you!
A victory will soon unfold!

Mountain View, we are the winning team!
See our colors gleam!
Always you, will remain supreme!
The cardinal, white, and goooooo-old!

We are the fighting bruins of Mountain View,
Our song is heard our story told.
We are the team that's tough, we're telling you!
A victory will soon unfoooooooo-old!

A vic-tor-eeee will soon unfold!


Aren't you glad I listened in the assembly where we learned and practiced the fight song every year? Me too.

11. Who were your favorite teachers?

Definitely not Mr. Williams, the above mentioned AP History teacher. I really liked Mrs. Peterson for AP English. Probably my choir and drama teachers, although they were both slightly off balance. I also really liked Mr. Spencer, who was another English teacher I had. English teachers must be nice.

12. Where did you sit during lunch?

Well, sometimes at a table in the cafeteria with my friends. And sometimes out in the hall by my locker with my friends. Sometimes I just went to Taco Bell with my friends.

13. What was your school's full name?

Well, if you were actually listening when I sang the fight song, then you know this. But just in case you missed it, it was Mountain View High School. And no, it isn't in Arizona.

14. School Mascot?

Did you listen to the song or not? It was a Bruin.

15. Did you go to Homecoming?

Yes. I went with little Alan. He was a nice boy. The only reason I went with him is because my locker partner, Rob, who was also Alan's best friend, asked a girl who wasn't allowed to go with him unless it was a double date. So he convinced Alan and I to go together even though I was taller than him.

16. If you could go back and do it again, would you?

Now why on earth would I subject myself to that kind of torture?

17. What do you remember about Graduation Day?

It was in the Marriott Center. I went with Bonnie and Annie. The choir sang. We had a huge class....I think over 800 it was incredibly long. And boring. But also exciting. I was done with High School after all!

18. Where did you go on Senior Skip Day?

Did we have one of those? I totally don't remember. Maybe we went to Lagoon.

19. Were you in any clubs?

Oh yes. I was in the Thespian Society club, the choir clubs, some dance club and the National Honor Society. Also, my best friend Bonnie and I created our own club, entitled FBLA. It didn't stand for Future Business Leaders of America, as you might think. No sir, it stood for Future Bonnies and Laras of America. Because everyone wanted to be us. Even if I was nerdy, Bonnie wasn't.

20. Have you gained some weight since then?

More than I care to admit. (coughcough50poundscoughcough.)

21. Who was your Prom date?

Well, for Jr. Prom, it was the aforementioned Jason. I finally broke up with him the next day, by the way. That's how wonderful Prom was. My senior year it was a guy named Chris, whom I didn't know at all, and who apparently had had a crush on me for all of high school, or so he said. He was even more nerdy than me, but a nice enough guy. I was just thankful that the group we went in was all my friends, or it would have been torturously awkward. Instead of just plain awkward, which it definitely was.

22. 10 year reunion?

6 years ago. Yes, I went. I sat at a table with my husband (who really did not enjoy his time there, and refused to attend his own reunion the next week), a good drama friend and her husband, a guy I didn't remember and his wife, two girls who were still single that I vaguely remembered and my good friend Chris, who just passed away a few weeks ago.

It was weird to see people ten years later. And now that it's 16 years later (Ack!) I'm sure it'd be even weirder.

23. Looking back, what advice would you give yourself?

Don't go out with Jason.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I am a good mom, I am a good mom, I am a good mom

Heather of the Extraordinary Ordinary challenged us moms to make lists of the things we feel we are doing well as mothers. I think this is such a wonderful thing to do, because honestly? I focus way too much on my perceived failures when it comes to motherhood. I had to think long and hard to come up with this list (feel free to add to it!) and while I am not perfect at any of these areas, I do feel like these are things I do a pretty good job at.

1. I am very good at allowing my children to be creative. I do have to catch myself to make sure that I am not saying no to a project only because it inconveniences me, or that I am not getting mad because they spewed art supplies all over the house without my permission even though they made me a lovely book or picture. I am thankful that they are creative and that they want to do these sorts of things.

2. I am good at letting them help me, or sit and watch me, while I am doing a project of my own. This can be sewing, scrapbooking, cooking (very rarely), cleaning or playing the piano. They usually have endless questions about what we are doing and I try very hard to put annoyances aside and truly teach them as I am working.

3. I foster independence in my children. I don't worry too much about the outcomes of things...if they want to do something by themselves, I will always let them (as long as it is safe!). If the outcome isn't perfect, and it's something that really doesn't matter, I try to let go of it. If it does matter, we work together to get it to an acceptable point, but I try to let them do as much by themselves as possible. Because of this independence, Bria is actually pretty good at doing her hair (although sometimes it still looks like she is an orphan child), they can all get themselves their own breakfast, Bria can cook a few things like scrambled eggs, and even Sophie, my most independent child of all, can do a ton of things all by herself.

4. I read to them daily. This is incredibly important to me. Bria is already showing the fruits of my work with this by reading at a middle school level right now. She loves to read anything she can get her hands on. Chloe loves to be read to, and has taught herself to recognize and sound out several words. She can also memorize a book after hearing it one time. Sophie doesn't quite have the patience to listen to a whole story, but she loves to get her books and look at them with me. We identify objects and animals and sounds and such.

5. I kiss my children often and say "I love you" many times a day. My reward for this, is that they return the favor.

6. While Joel is definitely "the fun parent," I can be pretty fun, too. I love to tickle and joke with my girls, and they love it, too.

7. I never speak down to my children. This includes speaking in oversimplified language (baby talk) or calling them demeaning names. In our house, stinker and booger are only terms of endearment, and they know it. I treat them like people who have much to offer, and not babies who know nothing. After all, my children have been my greatest teachers.

8. I enjoy the moment. If they make a huge mess, I always try to take a picture so that I can laugh about it later. I document these moments, and their little personality quirks, so that I will never forget them. After all, they will grow up one day and stop making huge messes and saying the darnedest things.

9. I love my girls and they have no doubt of this, even if I am not the perfect parent all the time. Or ever, actually.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Growing up Bria
(and a history of her hair)

Today is my Bria's 8th birthday! I just can't bring myself to believe that my tiny little baby is not so tiny anymore. I hate that she no longer likes Princess dress ups, and prefers Hannah Montana. She doesn't want to be cute, but is very concerned about being cool. She is beginning to be a young woman, rather than a little girl.

It makes me sad and happy all at the same time.

I thought that today I will remember the times when she was a tiny little baby, and a princess obsessed little girl.

On her actual birthday. Friday the 13th. Full moon. October. (Should these things worry me?) I had a relatively fast 4 hour labor and pushed for 15 minutes. She was a little peanut at 6 lb 5 oz. This is her hospital picture. She was a very alert baby, and she's never really stopped being alert and observant. She was also bald, as all my babies tend to be.

First birthday! I started a tradition (which didn't really last too long) of taking the kids for professional portraits on their birthdays. I remember buying this dress at the mall just for the occasion and being so excited about it. Bria was a precocious little one, already talking quite a bit at this age and just being her darling self. Still pretty bald, except for the funny little mohawk she grew. Maybe you can see it a bit in this picture. Second birthday! That year, I dressed her up in her Halloween costume for her birthday portraits because it was just too cute not to. The finger on the cheek thing was totally unposed. Just Bria being her adorable little self. At this age she talked to everyone she met, and astounded them with her vocabulary. I'll never forget the day my friend sneezed and she said "Gesundheit!" to her with perfect pronunciation. She's wearing a wig, so you can't really tell that she's still basically bald. although it's a bit more even and not quite so mohawk-esque. Shortly after her hair finally began to grow. Thankfully.
Third birthday! (Yes, I am scanning most of these out of scrapbooks....much easier to locate the pictures than trying to go through photo boxes.) We had just moved down to Arizona a couple months earlier. My mom couldn't wait to come down and visit, and came for Bria's birthday. She's the one that took her to the mall that year to get her portrait done. I wasn't even there for some reason. This was the year that she became thoroughly obsessed with princesses. She had several princess dress ups, and when she was wearing them she always referred to herself as "The Princess" and said funny things like "The Princess doesn't make her bed," and "Princesses don't go to time out!" She had been begging to start learning to play the violin, so we started her a few weeks after she turned 3, and she has shown incredible musical talent (phewsh!). She finally has some hair, and just continued getting more and more and hasn't stopped since.
Fourth birthday! I remember that in this photo session she had no qualms about being a little model for the camera. She used to be so extroverted, but sometime during this fifth year she started being a little more shy, and is now quite reserved. I am guessing it had to do with starting school. Once she warms up to a person, though, she'll talk their ears off. Around this time, she began pretending to be a kitty cat all the time. Specifically, she called herself "Cat Buttercup Princess Baby that talks Spanish" and she spoke in meow language (Spanish?) 75% of the time. The way she is wearing her hair in this picture was called "Bria hair" because that's how I always did it. Occasionally she'd ask for "Lara hair" which is a ponytail (since that's how I wear my hair 99% of the time) and she had other hairdos named for her friends and how they most commonly did their hair. This is around the time she stopped actually letting me do her hair.
Five years old! This is not taken on her actual birthday, but is her Kindergarten portrait (don't you think it's a funny school picture with the tree and everything?). I guess I stopped the birthday portrait tradition at age 4. Chloe's last one was at age 2. Oops. This one was taken a couple months after her fifth birthday. By then she was reading incredibly well, and she really loved being in school, even if she was a little shy. She is wearing her hair in "Lara hair" in this picture. My mom was visiting and did her hair that day for school pictures. She always lets Mamah do it, but not me. Hmmph.
Sixth birthday! Not the greatest picture, but I do know it was actually taken right on her birthday, so I'm using it. We had just moved to Cedar City and were up at Thanksgiving Point and she spent her birthday with family and cousins. She was really into Barbie and the 12 Dancing Princesses that year and got a whole bunch of the Barbie characters from that movie. She got glasses in the summer before she turned 6. She's missing her front teeth at this time (just like Chloe is now) and they didn't begin to grow in for a few more months! She came down with pneumonia the day after her birthday, and that's one of the main things I remember about her turning 6, poor thing! Her hair was very long at this point, cut into an adorable little layered do, that we actually had done this very day! Seven years old! I can't find the pictures on my computer that I took right on her birthday, nor have I scrapped them yet (I am so behind, I don't even want to talk about it!). This was taken a couple weeks after her 7th birthday, when she was a village child in Fiddler on the Roof. She really enjoyed that experience, and it helped get her out of her shell a little bit. She was still smart as ever, reading on something like a 5th grade level (she was in 2nd grade) and finishing up the Suzuki Violin Book 1. The thing I remember most about this birthday was the whole experience with facing her fears and getting her ears pierced. Her hair was pretty short this year, as she wanted it chopped way off at the beginning of the summer. I really liked to do it in a flip, when she would let me.
And now, today. Her eighth birthday. I haven't done her birthday portraits yet as I post this, so I will just post one from our photoshoot last week. I like this one because it really shows her personality. She may be shy at school, but at home she is fun and sometimes pretty sassy. She is my biggest helper and is learning to be very responsible with her little sisters, especially Sophie. She loves to read and play her violin. She is even starting to like math, too, thanks to her teacher this year. She practices her instrument most days without any argument, and looks forward to her Suzuki group lesson on Wednesdays. She tells me it's her favorite hour of the week. She is beautiful. She always tries so hard to make good choices and choose the right, even when her friends are not doing the best things. She is looking forward to being baptized in a couple weeks. She always reminds Joel and me to say prayers or do family scripture study or have Family Home Evening when we aren't on the ball. She is a joy, and I love her more than I ever imagined I could love a child. She is an excellent sport about being the oldest (most of the time), since that means that sometimes Joel and I are doing experimental parenting on her. After all, I've never had an eight year old before....I'm learning as I go. Oh, and yes, her hair is finally growing out from the super short cut a year and a half ago, and she loves it this length.
Happy Birthday, baby girl! I love you forever and always.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Holly Hobbie

This picture of Sophia from our photoshoot on Monday night reminded me of Holly Hobbie. Remember her? With her giant bonnet that hid her face and her boots and patchwork dress? I loved her.

And I love Sophie, too.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Bria's baptism

As this has become one of my most-oft hit posts, I thought I would also link you to the baptism invitation of my younger daughter who has since turned eight as well.  Chloe's baptism invitation.

Most of you know I'm LDS (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), but maybe some of you didn't know that. Anyway, in our church, eight years old is the age at which you can be baptized. Bria is turning 8 next week (I nearly keeled over when she turned seven! This is surreal to me), so she will be baptized a member of the Church on November 1. It's something we've been looking forward to for a long time and is a very exciting and special time for Bria.

I just finished making and ordering her baptism invitations, and thought I'd share them here. I'm quite proud of them. And quite proud of Bria, too.

I really love the way these turned out...nice and autumnal. :) Just needed to blur out stuff like my address and phone number in order to post it here, it's much prettier when that stuff looks how it should. I promise. Although, Joel just had to go and point out that I forgot the last period on the R.S.V.P., and now that's really bugging me. But I'm sure most people aren't as detail oriented as he is, and won't even notice. Right?
Of course, right.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Cleanliness is next to Godliness

Last night, we went to a birthday party for my sister-in-law. After a fun filled, but unusually late, evening of karaoke, food and family, we began our trek home. As we were driving, I began telling the girls that they needed to get in their pajamas and hop in bed as soon as we got home because it was so late.

I had already decided it would be okay to skip baths for one night. But then I remembered that they didn't have baths the night before, either, since I have choir rehearsal and they sometimes have to come with me. Wednesday was one of those tag-along nights, plus I had to help with new auditionees afterwards, so we didn't get home until 9:30 and they went straight to bed (whether or not they actually went straight to sleep is another matter entirely).

I quickly realized that baths would just have to wait yet another night, and they could bathe in the morning. This is fine for Chloe, who has afternoon Kindergarten, and of course it's no biggie for Sophie. It's a stretch for Bria. So, I started to prepare her for the inevitablity of a morning time cleansing.

Of course, she complained about it. Bria doesn't much like baths anyway, and would go without them for months at a time if she didn't have a mother to bug her about it so much. I reminded her that it had now been two whole days since she'd been in the tub, and I couldn't with good conscience let her go to school so dirty.

Her response to my superior logic?

"All right, Mom! It's not like I'm going down to that guy!"

"What guy?" I asked.

"You know, Satan. It's not like I'm going down to Satan if I don't take a bath!"

Okay, so maybe not.

But it's pretty darn close.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Some musical stuff from recent times

On Monday night, Joel conducted his High School Orchestra concert. It was very good, except, I brought all three girls with me, so I didn't enjoy it quite as much as I might have. I really do like to bring them with me to such events as we are a musician family, and it is always good to teach them concert etiquette while they're young.

Sophie may still be a bit too young, however.

We were running a tad late, as usual, so we arrived at the auditorium just as Joel's baton went down on the opening number. So, we waited out in the foyer and came in during the applause. That's when Sophie realized that Daddy was there! Up there! On the stage!

And she yelled in her loudest voice! "Daddy! Hi Daddy! Daddy, Daddy! Daddy, Mom! Hi Daddy!" ad nauseum. Joel was at that moment trying to speak to the audience about the next piece, and finally had to say, "Yes, that is my daughter." And I had to take her out.

Luckily, Bria and Chloe are champion concert goers, and they do a good job of staying quiet, even if I have to go out with the baby. Okay, so she's not a baby. She's a two year old. Whatever.

While out in the foyer, I talked to Sophia a lot about how to act if we went back in, and she did a fabulous job of staying still and quiet for the remainder of the concert. Mostly. She'll have the etiquette totally down by the time she's four.

On another musical note, the podcast of my performance with Jackie is up on the Orchestra of Southern Utah website. I can't really figure out how to link the actual podcast, so here's what you need to do:

Click on this link, which will take you to the Orchestra of Southern Utah Podcast page.

Scroll down until you see the little box thingamjig that you listen from (please let me know if it has a more technical name than that!).

Choose the podcast entitled "OSU Recital: Making Music Together"


We are very last in the recital, and if it downloads fast enough for you, (it doesn't for me, but I have a slooooooooooooooow computer) you can fast forward to about 34 minutes. I am the mezzo (lower voice) in all 4 numbers, and am the opening singer on the three first pieces....just so you can recognize my singing. :) Also, I biffed the middle section a little in the last one (Lakme Flower Song). Sigh. Overall, it was a great performance, though.

The other performers are very good, as well, if you want to listen to the whole thing. I especially liked the U2 meets Pachelbel's Canon performance.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Drumroll please....

First, I wrote all your names down on orange strips of paper.

Then, I folded them and put them in my glass pumpkin jar. It is a Halloween giveaway, after all.
Of course, that meant that I no longer had anywhere to keep my candy corn and mellowcreme pumpkins, so I just went ahead and ate them all.

Chloe is very good at drawing things, so I figured she should draw for the winner.

She closed her eyes, and reached her hand in....I could barely stand the anticipation!
Then, she brought out an orange strip of paper, with somebody's name on it! Could it be your name? Whose name is it, Chloe?
It's Holly! Congratulations, Holly!

Understanding Marcia Brady

Do you remember that episode of the Brady Bunch where the boys are playing football in the backyard and Marcia comes out of the house just in time to be hit square in the face by a wayward football thrown by Peter and then her nose swells up to three times its size and she can't leave the house or go to her big date with the coolest guy at school for whom she begged off another date because he wasn't cool enough?

Marcia got a lot of flak for that, you know. Even I thought she was a little bit drama queen about the whole thing. I do believe it's one of the most commonly parodied Brady Bunch episodes. I mean, on a quick googling of the words Marcia Brady football, I discovered this game (I got 20 points and hit Marcia's nose with the football twice), this extremely bizarre script between the Partridge Family and the Brady Bunch, and this video of the exact episode in question. All on the first page of results.

Well, I no longer think she overreacted. I now have extreme empathy and compassion for poor Marcia. Why you ask? Because, yesterday, I experienced a Marcia Brady moment: I was hit (hard!) in the face with a football.

Here's how it went: I was at Young Women, minding my own business and taking some pictures of the girls who missed our temple trip a couple weeks ago. Some Young Men from another ward were also on the church lawn, quite far away from us, tossing a football. One minute, I was directing a girl on how to pose and the next minute, my glasses were thrown ten feet from my face and I was knocked down on the lawn. (You'll be glad to know that both glasses and camera survived the ordeal with nary a scratch. Phewsh!)

In their defense, the boys were extremely apologetic, but that did not help my lip, which had already doubled in size. I'm also fairly certain I'm going to have a black eye. I'm a tough girl, but it took me a few minutes to snap out of it and be myself again, especially since that involved trying to take pictures when all I was seeing at the moment was stars. Also, I had a pretty massive headache the rest of the night. Who knew that simply going to do my church calling could be such a dangerous undertaking?

So, Marcia, I now understand your pain. Really, I do. I'm so sorry I ever doubted you.


I will be announcing the Halloween Giveaway winner at any second today, stay tuned! I know you can hardly contain your excitement!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

I have gorgeous children and I really like to take pictures of them
(a lot!)

Yesterday evening, I did an impromptu photoshoot with my girls. It was raining all weekend, or I would have done it Saturday. I'd spare you all the commentary and just show you a lot of cute pictures, except, I do have a teensy bit of commentary to say.

1. Bria threw a fit about the smocking on her dress. She really liked it online when I bought it for her, but when she saw the smocking, which I suppose doesn't show up well in a small internet photo, she nearly lost it. Had to talk her down...let her know that smocking is not the end of the world. I also let her wear one of my super cool necklaces. And then she was okay with it.

2. Chloe lost her other front tooth, as you'll see. Totally adorable and I'm pretty certain we'll be singing "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth" this year.

3. I didn't buy Sophie a hat, sadly. I should have. She wanted one when she saw her sisters wearing theirs, but was happy enough with a black velvet one (that doesn't match) that we already had.

4. I realize the pictures are Bria heavy. I'm trying to choose one to send out with her baptism invitations. Feel free to vote on your favorites.

And here are a lot of cute pictures. And I still haven't gone through all of the ones I actually took! That's what I call a success! (Don't feel obligated to look at all of them....they're mostly for my mom, anyway.)


Today is the last day to enter my Halloween Giveaway! You have till midnight tonight, and the winner will be announced sometime tomorrow. Good luck!