Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Day!

Well, I really wanted to do something special for Leap Day, but there just wasn't any time. After the crazy, terrifying day that was Tuesday, I was just plain tuckered out. We had a lot of things to do and it was just another Wednesday.

Sammy had preschool and so we got him all ready for that and got him out the door. I then tried to clean the house and get ready for the four piano lessons that I had scheduled that day. I usually don't teach four lessons, but one of my lessons was usually on Monday, but for the next few weeks her lessons will be whenever we can schedule them--she's in the musical at her school!

So, my piano lessons are about to start at 3:30pm. Then I get a call saying that my student has family in town and that they would not be coming to piano today. Sweet, I could totally use another 30 minutes to clean up and feed my kids. My 4pm lesson comes and we had a great lesson. This student was able to pass some songs and make some headway, so that was very nice because we had kind of been stuck in a rut. My 4:30pm lesson came and we had a blast. She is one of my newer students whom I just adore! She is so sweet and funny and she never ceases to amaze me with her observations and her sense of humor. And then my Monday lesson came (she and my 4:30pm are actually sisters) and I also thoroughly enjoyed her lessons. It was a little rough because she is having trouble practicing, but I don't blame her--I have done the musical thing and with school, church, family, and piano it is really hard to juggle everything and sometimes piano is one of the first things that gets dropped. So, we did the best we could.

After my lessons, I had about an hour or so to make some dinner and get ready to go play piano for the young women in my ward. I was actually quite excited about it because I feel as though we are close to mastering the song. We have to perform it next Wednesday, so we better be close! I love being with the Young Women and getting to see my students in the group. They are always so sweet to me and make me feel so welcome. They always come and talk to me and it is so fun. The girls were also excited because the next day was Justin Bieber's birthday!

After practicing I went home. It was a nice surprise because I thought I would be gone longer and I actually got to see my kids before they went to bed! Holy cow! It was a busy day and thank goodness, an uneventful one. I have had enough with the crazy and unusual.

Day three of no computer was actually going a lot smoother than I thought. My son didn't even bother us to play the computer anymore. He did have an increase in wanting to play the games Trouble, Connect Four, and Memory. We also have been reading a lot of books, especially his new Dr. Seuss books! I feel like I am getting my nice, sweet, happy son back! Sometimes when he plays the computer so much he gets cranky and anti-social. It's nice to interact with him again.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Really Hard Day

Tuesday was a really tough day for me. I am not going to sugar coat it. It was probably one of the worst days I have had in a long while. I am so serious. Please do not judge me. But I feel as though this story needs to be told. My name is Celi and this is my story.......

I feel as though I have had a rough couple of days. If they weren't frustrating or embarrassing (or both!) they were extremely busy and hectic. From Friday on it just kept building and building. I was getting more tired and worn out as each day passed. So, after my busy Monday, I headed to bed. But my daughter and her crazy diaper rash woke me up a couple of times during the night. I am not used to waking up at night anymore. Far from it! When you are nursing a newborn it is one of the toughest things to do--the sleep deprivation is so brutal! And once your baby starts sleeping through the night, you are more than happy to sleep as much as your children will let you!

When Tuesday morning rolls around, I am so tired that my whole body feels heavy. My eyelids wouldn't open for the life of me. I felt like I was drowning in my sleep and trying to surface out of my slumber to wake up. But oh man, I couldn't get up! So, my kids wake up, earlier than usual and my husband takes care of them while I sleep as much as possible. Eventually he has to leave. I am sure that he told me he was leaving and good bye as he usually does, but I don't even know he does as I am in the midst of my sleeping oblivion. When I have mornings that I am sick or can't get up, my son usually comes in my room with my daughter and they watch movies. However, since they woke up so early they got their day started and it didn't include being in my room.

Once my husband left, my son and daughter decide they want to go for a walk in the falling snow. And that's exactly what they did! They got their shoes on and cranked their music way up and while I totally thought they were rocking out to the chipmunks (they do this often) they were actually wandering without coats in the snow in the neighborhood! They didn't walk on the tame side of the house, they decided to walk on one of the busier streets we live by!

Meanwhile, some of the lovely, caring women in my ward notice the state of my children and lack of parental supervision. They grab my children before anything serious could happen to them. They actually got to them so quickly that I don't think my kids were by themselves for more than 10 minutes. Thank goodness! Meanwhile they were thinking that maybe something had happened to me so they call me up to make sure that I am okay. Groggily I answer my cell (one of the women is the mom of one of my piano students) and I wake up really fast when I hear that they have my children and that they are bringing them back home. As soon as I hung up and jumped into some clothes my mind just starts going through all kinds of scenarios. I watch a show called Criminal Minds and all the episodes about child abductions start running through my mind and I feel so sick that my children had been in such a situation that something even as remote as that could have been a possible outcome.

I open the door as soon as I hear the bell and my children walk into the house so excited that they were able to play in the snow. They really don't want to come in the house, but man that is exactly what happened! Here I am falling to pieces in my mind about this whole ordeal and they are blissfully unaware of the precarious predicament they had put themselves into. I talked to my Sammy and explained that he can't leave without telling me and that they especially can't go outside without Mommy. He just says okay and leaves it at that.

After I calmed down and felt better that my kids were safe and at home, the guilt comes crashing over me. What kind of mother am I? What kind of mother doesn't even know their children are gone?! I totally felt like my kids were out of control. This was the last straw. And dang it! Why did my kids have to do things in front of the whole world?! Not only was I feeling so guilty, but now everyone knew what a horrible excuse of a mother I was! Was I crazy to have kids?! Was I crazy to even think about having more kids?! How could I have more kids if I couldn't even control the two that I have?! What was wrong with me?! These thoughts and others crossed through my mind all morning.

I felt pretty defeated. I was the worst mother in the world. I was so incapacitated by my guilt that I did not get much done that day. I was also amazed at how I wasn't even angry with my kids over this situation. My son knows better. And he unlocked our doors to get outside, so he knew he wasn't supposed to go outside. But I realized that I was so tired of being upset with my son that I wasn't even mad about this. I was too relieved he was safe and whole and that my daughter was as well. And I was too disgusted with myself to spend more energy on being angry.

Luckily, I had a voice lesson scheduled for that afternoon so it forced me to focus on something else and try to get over this whole ordeal. I am so grateful for music. Music is always something I can depend on to distract myself from some of the challenges I face in my life. So I picked myself up and worked on something that I felt I could handle. My kids also loved preparing and singing with me for my voice lessons. My Sammy even told me, "Mom! You are doing such a good job!!" So when the time came we headed over to my voice lessons. When we got there, my friend Kim asked if we could come later so that she could take her son to take the test for his driver's permit. I had nothing else to do so I said, yes! I remember being that age and how important that was! So we returned home and I worked on my songs more and then we headed back. Luckily my husband made it back in time to take the kids so I wouldn't have to worry about them.

My voice lesson went awesome--probably because I was so preoccupied about my day that I didn't have the ability to be nervous to sing! How crazy was that?! I am excited that I am getting close on my songs and I am getting some new songs! I have an Italian song, English song, and a new French song. I have never sung in French before and I am excited to learn. We also worked on my solo that I will be performing in church!

When I was done I talked with my friend Kim and her girls. I love them so much, they are so fun to be around and I just feel at ease. We talked about all kinds of things and the next thing I knew, I was telling them about how the kids escaped that morning. To my amazement, they thought it was so funny and proceeded to tell me that it happens to everyone. They told me some stories when some of their family members who are younger got lost. I laughed and I was starting to realize that this wasn't so bad. My kids were not traumatized by this experience and that someday, hopefully, this will be a great family story to tell.

I also was happy to realize that I am proud at how strong my kids are. They wanted to do something, they saw some obstacles but they thought it through and went for it. I hope that I can raise independent, strong children who aren't afraid to do what they need to solve their own problems. I don't know if I am ready for them to be quite so independent yet, but I think they are on their way. Maybe I am not doing as bad of a job as I thought I was.

I am so grateful for friends who looked out for my kids and for friends who lift me up and help me to be okay with my embarrassing moments. I am also grateful for a husband who loves me no matter what I do especially when it involves our children. I am thankful he understands me and knows how to handle me so I don't feel like he thinks I am ridiculous or crazy. And I am also grateful for a husband who knows when his wife needs some take out for dinner!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Marvelous Monday

I was extremely glad that I had a morning appointment set up for Monday because that would make it a little easier to deal with my son after he had his computer taken away. At 10:15am the kids and I were all ready to walk to our friend's house and learn how to cook authentic Chinese food! Yum!

So, my kids were so excited to walk and we talked about safety and staying on the curb, looking both ways, etc. It was fun and thankfully we didn't have to go very far. We reached our destination and set the kids up with toys and then I got to work. I felt so lucky to meet some new friends and get to know them and my other friends better. I love being a part of an organization that encourages us to get to know others and to be friends. We are different, but we have a lot of similarities. For instance, we all love Chinese food. So we had the opportunity to share with each other and enjoy extremely good food. Yum!

While we were there eating, my husband came to pick up our son to take him to preschool. We were smart enough to have his preschool stuff all ready to go. So off they went, taking the baby with them. I actually got to eat in meal without someone interrupting me and without having to feed someone else. It was a nice, needed break.

After that my husband picked me up and my daughter and I took Arnold to work. Then we went home and waited for preschool to be over. I enjoyed being with my Izzie and having one on one time. It rarely happens and it was good to give her all my attention.

We then picked Sammy up and rushed home to get the house ready for a new week of piano lessons. I put my daughter down for a nap and proceeded to prepare. My first lesson was moved to Monday and it was nice to have an extra moment. But it didn't last long. Then my awesome teenage guy came over and we had a great lesson. He passed his songs and it was nice. And all too quickly it was time to drive to my next student's house. We got there a few minutes late, but not too bad. I taught him and he did pretty well, considering he had been gone for one week at Disneyland and they spent the week after trying to master his songs. I was happy with the progress and it didn't interrupt the learning process. Sometimes you know never know with students in the early stages. Missed lessons can really throw them off. But it couldn't be helped and I was glad that not too much damage was done.

After that we rushed to get my husband. Than we went home and tried to feed the kids something quickly to hold them over since I had signed our family up to help clean our church building. I don't typically sign up to deliver meals to those who are sick because a) a lot of people cook better than I do b) my piano lessons happen everyday and they seem to happen when people want their food and c)I barely am able to get dinner ready for my own family and the thought of feeding another is daunting. So, I am more than happy to help clean and my family loves it and it happens at a time that is doable for us. So, I always make sure to sign us up for the cleaning assignment. It's still service, right?

My kids always have a blast. They think vacuuming and running around "after hours" is awesome. It makes me happy to know that we can do service and my kids think it is great. In fact, Sammy usually asks us on Mondays if we are going to clean the church. And I am always glad when I get to tell him yes!

Eventually, we got the kids home and fed everyone. And then we got them off to bed. No computer was a little hard, but I don't think my son misses it as much as I thought he would. One day down.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

I Am So Embarrassed!

Mommy and Sammy posing for the camera between cookie batches

Sunday started out great. We had a fun Saturday night and we had a busy Sunday lined up for ourselves. The kids were ok, except that during the night we had to wake up a few times to change Izzie's diaper because she has a majorly bad diaper rash. That poor little bum is raw because something in her poop is roughing her little bum up. So, I was a little tired, but I had to get going.

I had to get ready and go to choir practice and then after choir I had to go visiting teaching. During choir my friend suggested that I sing a solo in one of the songs since I never get to sing because I am playing piano! Again, I had a panic attack but I am trying to develop my vocal talents and part of that is overcoming my anxiety about performing in public. Later, I realized that this would be a great opportunity because I can sing a solo for two lines and then I would be able to duet with my husband and then hand the rest of the song over to the choir! So, I think I am going to do it! I still am nervous, but I think I can do it!

After choir I rushed to my friend's house. I was glad to talk about spiritual things with friends and just enjoy in each others company. And we made a date to go and see the movie, The Vow on the upcoming Saturday! I am so excited! I love having friends that I get to spend time with! It is so awesome!

After I got home the baby was asleep (thank goodness) so she would be happy at church! And since we were going to be doing some visits with my husband we had the idea to make sugar cookies in the shape of hearts to take to our visit. Sammy had been begging to make cookies for a while and it seemed like the perfect time to do so. So, my husband and son started the dough and when I arrived home I threw on an apron and we got those suckers done!

Sammy, Daddy, and Mommy had so much fun making cookies! It was definitely a hit!

We had fun but the cookies cut our time short on preparing for church. So we had to scramble around to get the Sunday clothes on and the bag together with treats and toys. Somehow, we made it! And it helped that we have friends who save seats for us so they can be with us! So, things were pretty good, the kids were happy. And then it happened. I don't know what, but something put Sammy in one of his moods where he doesn't want to listen to anything we say and he was determined to do everything opposite of what we wanted. This doesn't happen a lot. But man, when it does, he sticks to it!

My awesome husband is the only one able to fully handle Sammy when he is determined to get away. So, he was on Sam duty while I tried to distract and entertain the baby. The only problem was that the baby noticed that all of Daddy's attention was on Sammy, so she only wanted to be held by Daddy! So, we are in our church pew, my husband is holding our daughter in his arms while my son is attempting to crawl out of our pew. However, my husband has the wriggling Sammy between his legs and is doing everything humanly possible to keep him in the pew! At one point Arnie has to quickly give me the baby so he can grab Sammy before he fully escaped! But alas, he did. At first he stayed in the aisle and we tried not to do anything to distract those around us because every time we attempted to get him in the pew, he started making a fuss. And then he kept creeping down the aisle to the front, closer and closer until he was on the stand. At that point we knew we were in major trouble.

You see, we have had much experience in the antics of our oldest son and his ability to subterfuge attempts to corral him to do what we want. Oh man. We knew the moment we stood up to grab him he would run, all over the stand in front of the whole church! And it would be loud, distracting, and more embarrassing than it already was! At least at the moment he was sitting in a chair quietly, in front of everybody. And to be perfectly frank, he was behaving better up there than he was in the pew below with his family. So, my husband and I both knew what our first attempt to get him down would be--ignore him and deny him the reaction we knew he was trying to get from us. So we both tried our hardest not to look at him. I noticed when he did catch us looking he would grin really big and start bouncing up and down. okay. Don't look at him! And so it went for 20 minutes. Each second that ticked by became more and more unbearable! I was so ashamed and embarrassed that I thought I would die! At one point I was so frustrated with the situation that I had angry tears falling down my face. I cry when I get upset. Lame, I know.

At one point he started walking from one side to the other. Oh please just come down, I was thinking over and over in my head. Never in the whole time we had been in this ward had anyone had their kids do what my son was doing! WHY?! WHY DID IT HAVE TO BE MINE?! Mercifully, my child came closer to the stairs and when he wasn't looking my husband rushed in and he got my son before he even knew what got him! He was not happy for the rest of the meeting but thankfully, we only had a few minutes left. Oh man. I was thinking in my head, that kid is mine when we are at home after church is over!!

I will admit that my head hung a little lower as I tried to avoid everyone on our way to drop Sammy off at Primary and my Izzie at her Nursery class. I did think it was kind of funny that the teenage boys kept telling Sam how cool it was that he was up there and asking him whether he had fun. When we got to Primary, Sammy's sweet teacher from the previous year stopped me and mentioned how much she enjoyed Sammy up there. I told her that I am glad that she enjoyed it because I certainly was struggling about it. And she proceeded to calm me down and reassure me that every parent has these moments and that most parents don't have kids as special and energetic as Sammy. Her words and reassurances touched my wounded heart. I immediately teared up and thanked her for helping me to feel better.

As I was leaving another sweet woman told me how much she enjoyed Sam. I again told her how I was so embarrassed! I couldn't believe that we had to go through this! And she recounted some tough moments for her and made me feel as though I was not alone. It really humbled me to hear these women who I admire so much, reaching out to me to help me not feel badly about the whole incident and to stand back and laugh. Or try to laugh later.

As I walked to my class I had a lot of comments in passing or looks that were so kind and encouraging. It really buoyed me up. So, I felt better and that helped me focus on the lesson in Sunday school. During our lesson, our teacher asked if we had every felt uncomfortable in a room or any sort of experience like that. Nobody really shared anything and I had the previous day's experience at the master class pop into my head. So, I raised my hand and shared it. Everyone thought it was so funny since my voice teacher is in our ward and was sitting in that class. And after my quick experience our teacher commented on how anyone would feel uncomfortable in that situation, and one of the men in the class piped up, "That's how we all feel in Isaac's presence!!" and the whole room just dissolved in laughter. It was pretty funny.

After Sunday school, it was time to rehearse with the Young Women. I really enjoyed playing for them and just playing the song and hearing the words helped bring my spirits up even higher. I love it!

When we were done with that, I headed to Relief Society. And then before I knew it, church was over. I went to a food committee meeting that I signed up for. We were planning the food for an upcoming activity. Someone brought up the idea of doing Hawaiian Haystacks. Well, the Filipino woman sitting next to me and myself instantly became the "experts" on Hawaiian food even though we are both not Polynesian! However, we both knew enough between ourselves what to do. It took a little while but we pretty much got things squared away. I am excited for this activity!

After the meeting, my waiting family and I rushed home to frost cookies and hurry to our home teaching appointment. We made it and were able to visit with some good friends of ours. We had a blast sharing funny stories about our families. It was good to get to know them in such a funny way. We laughed so hard that we had tears coming out of our eyes and we were tired. It was so great. I was really glad that we got to share those moments together.

When we were done we went home and had some left over pizza. We still had not had the chance to talk to our son about how badly he had behaved. So, we talked with him and decided that his computer privileges would be taken away for a week. He was really sad about that. However, my husband and I both felt that this behavior could not be tolerated and that he needed to know that consequences happen. So, here it goes. A week with no computer. I know that will be tough on me because my babysitter will be gone as well! Bye bye, computer! We will miss you!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Last Basketball Game of the Season

Well, since I am behind on my blogging, I am going to report on the important stuff and things of note. I will try not to go on too many tangents, as I am apt to do. So, here it goes.

Saturday was great. We (ok, I will just admit it was me) slept in late! Haha. And then we took our time getting ready and doing anything on Saturday. However, I had a vocal master class to attend on Saturday at 1pm. I nearly had a heart attack when I received the email about this master class. Here is how it went down in my head.

(Opening email on iphone and reading email from my voice teacher)
Hmmmm. I can make a 1pm master class on Saturday. I wonder if the students that will be singing are the same ones I have accompanied before. I sure hope so because that makes my life a whole lot easier when it comes time to play. (Suddenly scary thought enters my mind) WAIT A MINUTE!! Master class?! I just started taking lessons and this sounds as though I am being invited AS A SINGER!!!! Oh my gosh! Do I have to sing?! I have only had 2 voice lessons?! I am going to be the worst singer there! They will laugh me off the stage! I wonder if I can skip the master class? Will I get in trouble?! OH MY GOSH!!

That is how my mini panic attack about singing at master class went. I then called my teacher and asked him if I had to sing and he said that only the students who were competing in the local NATS competition would be performing this month! So, I dodged a bullet--this month at least. I was excited to go and listen to the other singers perform. They did a great job! I was excited to be able to just sit, relax, and enjoy it. It was weird though. I felt extremely out of place, like a fish out of water. I had moments where i would think, What am I doing here?! I am not a singer! I am a pianist! It was very surreal. Hopefully, as I sing more and feel more confident I will be able to feel like I belong to the singer world as well as the piano one. Overall, I enjoyed myself and it was nice to be sans kids for something like this. And I smile that the person I talked to most was the accompanist! We enjoyed swapping stories about some of the songs that were performed and how difficult they are. He also asked me to play, but I didn't want to only because I knew he had worked hard and I was confident he would make it through just fine. It was awesome!

After I got home we had some lunch and then it was time for Arnie to get ready to go to the last BYU Basketball game of the season with some family friends of ours. They are actually family friends of my parents, but growing up with these kids who are in the same age range as I am bonded us all together over the years. The next generation keeping the family friendships alive. It is kind of cool. Anyways, Arnie was excited to go and watch the game since he had so much fun the last time. With my hubby away at the game it also meant I had the opportunity to go to Costco and Target with the kiddos by myself, again!

Let me just say that this time they were perfect! Not one incident and we got what we needed--diapers, wipes, certain foods--plus a few things we didn't. We of course got the Berry smoothie I use to bribe my kids to be good, especially when I am shopping by myself! And I was so happy because at Costco I found the solution to "What's for dinner?" Our friends were going to come back to our house after the game so I wanted to make sure I had something fun and fast to eat. So, I got an age old favorite, pizza! And the awesome thing was that the $9.99 take and bake pizzas were marked down to $5.99! Wahoo! easy and cheap! My kind of dinner!

Well, the smoothie line was incredibly long and I waited in it because I promised the kiddos. I hate to go back on promises, if I can help it. So we waited. However, this wait would make it so we arrived home AFTER everyone was at the house when the game was over. And we had the food. OOPS!

So we get home and rush around trying to get dinner on and entertain at the same time. What was making me laugh was that my kids who get plenty of attention at home from my husband and myself, suddenly became these attention-starved little performers. They were both fighting for everyone's attention. Look at my show! Look at my jump! Look at this! I can sing this! it was like that for the whole night. Luckily, our friends are extremely kind and were very obliging and praised and cuddled my kids until they no longer felt the need to dominate the party.

I love being with friends and I loved talking about what everyone is up to, enjoying good music and funny SNL skits. It was a little hectic there, but we all had a good time.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Crazy Friday

I woke up and Friday felt off. I usually love Fridays. I felt a little off-kilter and it stuck with me the whole day. My kids must have felt it as well, because man, they were crazy. The morning was chopped full of weird things that usually don't happen, happening. And not the good kind of surprises. They were both a little bit naughty, for instance, my daughter thought it was hilarious to drink apple juice from her sippy and walk around spitting her juice out. She laughed every time she spit it out! Guess who didn't think it was hilarious--that's right, me! Some of my least favorite type of messes are the ones that involve making my floor sticky. No matter how you clean and wipe it off it never seems 100% clean unless you mop the floors. And unfortunately, that was not on the agenda.

My son also had his own moments. He just was a little lippy and irritating his sister which in turn was irritating me because he wouldn't listen and kept setting his sister off! He also spilled his own juice because he was messing around and doing things he shouldn't have done. And he did it right after I had just finished cleaning up and putting things away. Yeah. It was a trying day. And it wasn't even noon yet.

Well, we got ready for preschool and got in the car and we get there and my son doesn't want to go. I kind of scratched my head because he had been excited to go 10 minutes before we got at school and then we park and he doesn't want to get out. And then I remembered what happened on Wednesday. I was late picking him up and he was waiting at the front desk. Well, when I got there I got out of my car and was getting my daughter out when he came running outside. No big deal, right? Nope. It's against the rules for the kids to walk without parents and to go out by themselves. I was grateful because I don't want my kid going outside and no one knowing where he is or keeping an eye on him. So one of the ladies at the front desk talked to him sternly about it. It wasn't bad, but sometimes my son takes stuff like that really hard. And it made him sad. Really sad. So, I think when we came back to school on Friday he remembered that experience and didn't want to walk by that lady to get to his class. Eventually he got out of the car to my relief.

Izzie and I drove home and I put her to bed. When I put her down I have to make the house silent for the first 20-30 minutes of her nap or she may not fully fall asleep. So, I took this opportunity to read the Ensign, a church magazine full of spiritual thoughts, advice, and inspirational stories. Man, this totally made a difference to my day. It helped me to calm down and resolve to have more patience instead of letting my kids get the better of me. I know it sounds like it wouldn't help, but it totally did. I really needed that at that moment!

Before I knew it, it was time to get Sammy from school. So, we got him and went home. When we got home the kids decided they wanted to play with bubbles. It was a nice day and I do not like playing with bubbles in the house so we all headed outside. I was happy to try to make up for my earlier grumpiness by playing with them outside, something they absolutely love and I need to do more. So, we blew bubbles and it was really fun! There were tons of giggles and smiles and running around. I really enjoyed it.

However they did start running around so we moved to the backyard because it is fenced. So we ran around and played and when we were done we had to walk back to the front so we could get back in the house. As we were on our way the kids threw the bubble bottles on the grass so I went to pick them up. I grab them and look up and the kids are running across the street! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Luckily, we live on a pretty tame street. So I hurry across the street and they promptly run away and keep going. I reach my daughter first and grab her. However, I can't leave her there while I catch my son and I can't catch my son carrying/dragging her--he's way too fast. So he runs and runs. And somehow, I catch up with him. Just when I thought things were looking up, this happens! It was definitely the icing on the cake. Or was it the last straw? hmmmmmm.

Anyways, I was glad when we were back in the safety and controlled environment of our home. And so I put the baby down for a nap and put my son in timeout to think about how he didn't listen to Mommy and how dangerous it was to cross the street by himself. And then I put myself in timeout so I would think about being nicer and happy despite all that my kids had put me through that day. I think we all emerged from our respective timeouts a little bit healthier and happier.

My nephews came over after 5pm for piano lessons. It was definitely a great teaching day for them! They all passed songs and two of them passed their assignments completely! I was so excited. That really helped me feel better about my day. It sounds silly, but it truly did. At least somewhere someone was succeeding at something! Because I sure didn't feel like I was!

While I was wrapping up my lessons my sister came over and we made dinner and ate all together. During our cooking my kids were playing and loving each other. It did make me feel good to watch my kids enjoying each other. It was a nice way to wrap up the week.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thursday 2/23/2012

I don't know if you have noticed, but I don't really like to play things too early in the morning. It is nice to have the option to get ready at my own pace and to enjoy my little kiddos. I'm enjoying it while I can, I know things will change next year when my boy is going to Kindergarten. Until then, we will live it up!

So the morning passed and we got ready and around 12:30pm I received word that my accompanying gig was canceled. Sweet. I can handle an extra 30 minutes before my voice lesson. I finished all that I needed to and headed to my voice lessons with kids in tow. Sammy LOVES going to voice lessons. He asks me pretty much every day if we can go there. He was in seventh heaven hanging out with his friends and his primary teacher who is married to my voice teacher. It was awesome.

So, voice lessons went very well!! I hadn't had a lesson for two weeks and I was extremely nervous to be singing my songs for my teacher. I have anxiety about singing so I was extremely nervous! I tore this poor piece of tissue to shreds while I was performing my song! And I was steadily getting more nervous during my warm-ups that I was actually performing worse and worse! Or so it felt! I feel lucky to have a voice teacher who is also my friend, so hopefully I won't be too nervous for long. Maybe as I get more comfortable I will be able to perform better. haha, one can only hope!

After voice lessons I had piano lessons! My girls, the teenage sisters came and man, they rocked it! I was so happy to teach them and build them up and hear their progress! The duet they are doing is going to be sweet! I can just feel it! We have a long way, but slowly and surely we are getting there! When I think of teaching those girls, I just smile because they truly are sweet and it is a pleasure to teach them! I love my students!

After my lessons my husband came home and we all hopped in the car. We drove to JC Penney's to pick up our family portraits! They came out pretty well. I am excited to have this new round of pictures. Now I just need to figure out where I want pictures and what frames, etc. It should be fun! After the pictures we went to the BYU Creamery to buy 3 gallons of milk for $5! We also decided to buy ice cream since we were heading to a friend's mission call opening.

We arrived on time and it was so fun to be there. So, this young man in our ward who we have had the chance to get to know better, as well as his family, invited us to come to his home to be present when he opened his mission call and found out where he would be heading for the next two years. It was this big get together with family and friends and they had two giant maps, one of the USA and the other of the world. Everyone had the chance to pin their guess as to where he was going before. I chose Nicaragua because that is where my sister currently is on her mission! Well, our friend opened up his call and he is going to Fort Lauderdale, Florida! I am excited for this young man and for the opportunities and experiences he is about to embark upon.

We left pretty soon after because our kids were hungry and tired. We headed to our favorite burger joint, Burger Supreme--Sammy chose it and I honestly didn't mind. Especially because after 8:30pm the cheeseburgers are $1 off the original price! Score! While we were driving I took a picture of the kids in the back seat. Izzie was so excited to be in her new seat and Sammy loves his new booster seat and was excited to be wearing a pirate hat. He sure looks like one pensive pirate.

I love looking in the backseat and seeing these two little faces.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Watering Wednesday

On Wednesday we woke up and we didn't have anything until the afternoon when Sammy would go to preschool, so we decided to watch Toy Story 3. ***If you have not watched Toy Story 3, please skip to the next paragraph*** Well, we watched the whole movie and we had gone through the whole going to college part and the Toys at the Day Care, their escape and trip to the dump and we were near the end when the Toys are given by Andy to Bonnie before he drives away into the sunset to college. As he was driving away and the Toys are watching him go, I tear up (every single time without fail I will tear up at this point!) and I am holding Sammy because he wanted to "love" me(right now loving is also another word for hugging) and I say, "Oh, Sammy. Someday you will grow up and go to college, too!" And he looks at me and cocks his head to the side questioningly and replies, "And be garbage?!" It was exactly what I needed to get me out of my little funk. You know, the funk when you realize that your babies, as crazy as it may seem, are going to grow up? Anyways, it was hilarious and I love that boy. He is the cutest, best boy in the world! :)

Well, after that we got going and got Sammy off to school and Izzie to her nap so we could be prepared for our day of lessons. Piano lessons went great! During my first lesson, my son decided he wanted to water the plants outside. I don't like him being outside alone and especially bringing water from the house to the outside because I usually have a watery mess to clean up, so I told him that after my lesson we could water plants before my next students came. So after the lesson we filled up the watering can and he loved it! He has been so excited to plants seeds and give them "love and sunshine to grow!" Every time we go out side that is what I hear! He is such a sweet, tender boy.

My students passed their songs and did great! However, I had a really funny moment with one of my newest students. She has had two lessons so far and this was her third. She was doing great and at the end she asked me, "So, do I have to hold the notes down with my fingers? If I hold it with the {damper} pedal it is so much easier!" I started laughing because I have never had a student on their third lesson ask such an advanced question! That and it kind of defeats the purpose of learning how to play and practice the piano if you don't have your fingers do the work! She is one smart cookie and I sure think the world of that girl! She is awesome!

After her lesson, I was through and I needed to go upstairs to make some dinner before I had to go to a church meeting with the young women. I hurried and tried to make something as fast as I could and got myself ready to go. While I was upstairs getting things together, I was able to watch my cute daughter and husband spending some quality Daddy/daughter time together.

I was so excited to play for the young women, since Sunday had been pretty exciting. But I knew this time would be a lot better. I had actually a) watched and heard the video of how the song should sound, b) practiced, and c) figured out additional chords and rhythms to make the song sound more like the original. When I showed up, two of the girls came with bongos and egg shakers and all kind of fun percussion instruments to add to the song. Oh man! It was so awesome! It sounded so awesome! I am excited to practice with them in the upcoming weeks leading up to the event because I know it will get better and better as their knowledge and confidence grows! If you can't tell already, I truly love music with my whole heart--playing it, listening to it, you name it, I love it!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Crock Pot Tuesday

Tuesday ended up being a nice day. I had an appointment set up for the morning, but it was canceled so we just got to relax the whole day. One thing of note on Tuesday was that I tried another new crock pot recipe. I was very curious to see how it would turn out--

Pork sandwiches with root beer barbecue sauce:
1 Boneless pork sirloin roast (2 pounds)
1 medium onion, sliced
2 tablespoons dried minced garlic (I used 2 fresh garlic cloves)
3 cups Root beer
1 bottle (12 ounces) chili sauce (I used Heinz Chili Sauce--it looks exactly like a bottle of Heinz ketchup)
1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (Tapatio worked just fine)

1. Place roast in a 3 quart slow cooker. Add the onion, garlic, and 1 cup root beer. Cover and cook on low for 9-10 hours or until meat is tender.
2. In a small saucepan, combine the chili sauce, hot pepper sauce and the remaining root beer. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat; simmer, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes or until thickened.
3. Remove meat from slow cooker; cool slightly. Discard cooking juices. Shred pork and return to slow cooker. Stir in barbecue sauce. Cover and Cook on low for 30 minutes or until heated through. Serve on rolls or hamburger buns.

This recipe was an even bigger hit than the one on Sunday! My Sammy, who is not into trying new foods tried it and loved it on the first bite! It was wonderful! And Izzie Bee is into eating everything and she loved it as well. Don't even get me started on how much my husband loved the sandwiches--he was the most impressed with the meat. I was worried he would eat all the meat while I was cooking the sauce! He kept sneaking bites of the meat and kept talking about how tender and tasty the meat was! Definitely a keeper.

While I was busy cooking, this is what the kids were doing.

Tuesday was lazy and uneventful. I can handle that.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Monday is a Holiday!

My sweet Izzie girl enjoying a laid back lunch on a holiday. She sure was happy.

So, today was a holiday which meant no school! It also meant that my piano students wanted to get their lessons done in the morning so that they could play during the day! So, my kids and I woke up, had breakfast and tried to clean our house up so it would be presentable for lessons!

My first lesson came at 10:30am. I think this guy is so great. He is a sweet, smart, and funny young man. It has taken awhile for him to get comfortable and feel comfortable around me. But I think we are getting there. I was happy with his progress and we are so close to passing some songs--it truly is exciting! I almost wanted to let him pass anyway, but I know that won't help him be a better pianist in the long run. So, hopefully next week we can pass!

My next and last student for the day came at 11am. I love this girl as well! She is kind of new and she still gets a little nervous around me. I try to make her feel at ease and comfortable because it is hard to perform your best if you are nervous. In my experience it just makes a pianist make mistakes. I also try to be accessible to my students. I try to make them feel like they can talk with me if they are struggling with their songs and also let them feel OK letting me know that they had a crazy week and they couldn't practice the way they should have or wanted. But I also want them to know that I am serious and I won't be taken advantage of. It is such a hard balance to be both, but I try and I hope they understand where I am coming from.

After my lessons it was time for lunch. So we whipped up some grub for these little kiddos and got some food in their stomachs. While we were finishing up, I was able to shoot this little video of Sammy singing and Izzie waving "bye bye." It was really funny because she spent a majority of the day walking around the house, waving and saying "bye bye" just like she does in this video. It made me smile every time I heard her little voice and seeing her wave to anything she came across. I love this girl. She is tough and feisty, but she is so darn cute.

(The video will be posted soon--I am waiting for it to upload to youtube. I will take this moment to let you know that I have uploaded videos to other posts I have written, so if you care, go ahead and look at some of my older posts just to watch videos that may not have been there when you originally read that post! Thank you!)

After lunch I put Izzie to bed and watched movies with Sammy. We spent the day watching shows and just relaxing--and we did the same when Izzie woke up from her nap.

After Arnie came home we hung out and I went shopping for some clothes. One of my favorite stores, Lane Bryant, was having a sale and I had a coupon so I grabbed a few shirts that were on clearance and a few other needed items. I had fun, but clothes shopping takes forever for me. I try on a ton of things just to find out I truly only like 3 or 4 items. Oh well, the work is worth it and I am glad I have a few new things to spice up my wardrobe. Thanks babe, for letting me go spend money and time at the mall!

To cap the night off, I watched some of our favorite TV shows with my hubby. We have watched House for a few years and I LOVE the new show, Alcatraz. I think it is so interesting. And it is also so cool that we took the Alcatraz tour last March when we visited San Francisco.

I wish my husband could have spent Presidents' day with us, but at least we got to take it easy for the holiday!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

I Love Sundays

Sundays are actually quite busy for me. BUT I LOVE IT!! There is nothing better than being busy with spiritual things. I love to serve others and work side by side with those who love our Heavenly Father as much as I do.

Well, I got ready for the day and said good morning to my family. I had to be at choir practice at 9:30am so I left pretty quickly. I truly enjoy playing piano for the choir. I love just playing religious music and feeling the spirit touch my soul. It was great. It was especially awesome because we are starting to work on our Easter music. It never ceases to amaze me that my Savior, Jesus Christ, atoned for my and every one's sins! He not only atoned for our sins but went through every hardship, fear, and travail that anyone will ever face. The hymn, "I Stand All Amazed" is one of my favorites, especially around Easter. I am excited that we may be working on that song for this upcoming Easter program.

After choir I came home and started to prep our dinner. I had decided to try a new crock pot recipe and was wondering how it would turn out. It was "Beef in Onion Gravy" from one of those recipe magazine booklets at the checkout in a supermarket. It was awesome! It was fairly simple:

Beef in Onion Gravy
2 cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
4 tablespoons onion soup mix
4 tablespoons beef broth
2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes

In a crock pot, combine the soup, soup mix, broth and tapioca; let stand for 15 minutes. Stir in beef. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until meat is tender. Serve over noodles or mashed potatoes.

It was a hit! We used noodles and we added a salad and green beans to the dinner and it was a fantastic meal!

At church we got there a few minutes after it started and there was a missionary homecoming so we ended up in the back. My husband and I realized that no matter how hard it may seem to sit in the pews in the front it truly is harder now to sit in the back! Our kids kept running around and making so much noise. Arnie ended up going out with the kids for a little bit because they were getting too crazy and it sounded like they were tap dancing throughout the whole meeting!

After Sunday school I was asked to play a song for the Young Women to help them learn their Mutual theme, "Arise." I am so excited that I got asked to help because I really like the song and the girls have such a sweet, bubbly spirit around them that it is an honor to be in their presence. I really enjoyed myself and they asked me to come play for them on Wednesday and help them practice and perform the song in two weeks and I am absolutely delighted. The only problem is that the song on the church website is more upbeat and "fun" (which also equals complicated) than the free printable music you can get from the website. I will have to take this home and play around with it to see if I can make it sound more like the website. Here it is and I recommend listening because it is awesome! A little repetitious, but it definitely made me smile and cry (because I was so happy!).

Arise: 2012 Mutual Theme Song

I am so grateful to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am grateful that my kids will be able to participate in such an awesome youth program that uplifts them and teaches them to be strong and stand up for the right and for their beliefs. But most importantly, teaches them about Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father who loves us and know us individually. I am glad that I had an opportunity to participate in this same program.

After church my sister came over and she shared in our delicious Sunday feast. While I was getting everything on the table she was going to paint her nails, but my little Izzie decided that she wanted her nails done! So, my sister painted her toe nails and they looked so adorable! Izzie amazingly sat still throughout the process and was pretty good. Her fingernails were a different story. She wiped her fingernails off before they were dry! They were so cute!

I sure love Sundays.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Opera Saturday!

This Saturday was no different from any other day of the week--my husband had to be out the door before 8am to go to work. Now, don't get me wrong, his job is pretty good to us and he rarely has to work on weekends. However, when he does I still miss him! Saturdays are just not the same without you, babe! So, my kids woke me up and breakfast started once again.

I will admit that I had a whole lot of trouble falling asleep Friday night, so the beginning of the day went rather sluggishly.When Arnie came home for his lunch break I was still in my jammies. I was also in bed because I was watching the Whitney Houston funeral on TV and the only TV is in our room. I thought it was really interesting and my favorite part of the funeral was listening to Kevin Costener. I am sad that Whitney Houston is gone but since I didn't know her it kind of feels surreal to think that she will never make another song or album again. I am sad that she never fully made a comeback from all her personal struggles and made it back to the top. I guess I am sad because I feel like there is so much more she could have and should been able to do. But, who am I to talk? I am sure there is more that I could be doing. = D

I didn't watch the whole thing because I had my own life and kids to attend to. I got ready really fast and took my hubby back to work so I could have the car and go shopping. *Big GULP* I can't even remember the last time I have attempted to go shopping with the kids, without my Arnie. It's kind of our thing as a family to do. We love it! But, I knew I wouldn't have time to go shopping with everybody after work AND make it to the opera by 7pm. So, the kiddos and I went.

We hit the local Costco first. I love Costco. I would buy everything there if I could. Alas, going to Costco with my kids is sometimes a different story. One time I went to Costco by myself with Sammy and I believe that I was pregnant. Extremely pregnant. And Sammy decided to run away and I couldn't find him because the little stinker had run in between two aisles! As in the slight middle aisle between two rows of big, flats of stuff. As in I could not fit my swollen body AT ALL in there to get him and he would not come out because he knew he would be in trouble for running away! Ever since that happened, I shudder a little when I have to go to Costco by myself. To my relief, today was not so bad. Probably because I bribed the kids with "If you're good, Mommy will buy a berry smoothie when we are done!" And every time they stepped a hair out of line I just said the magic words, "berry smoothie" and they would immediately stop what they were doing to ensure they got that smoothie. And they did. Costco went quite well.

It was Target that we had some issues. I knew from the beginning that I was pushing it going to two stores, but I really needed to go to Target to pick up my new glasses! Yes, my two years were up and I got a new pair! The kids were very good while I had my glasses fitted and lucky for me everything was paid for earlier so we basically were there in the optical office for 5 minutes. Thank you, Target Optical for being so efficient and sensitive to my needs!

Sammy saw one of those two kid carts right at the beginning and that was the one WE HAD TO HAVE. Unfortunately, those things never have working seat belts! It was a trip full of running after kids. I will admit it could have been a lot worse, but it wasn't so bad--until the end, that is! I only lost Izzie once (she ran out of the aisle we were in and went directly into the next one. Don't have a heart attack, Mom. I was only away from her for ten seconds.) and it scared her so bad that she never strayed far from the cart again. It was when she wanted me to hold her for the last 20 minutes that it was bad. I was trying to gather ingredients for a recipe I wanted to test and was having trouble finding two. I needed my hands two read my recipe, look at products, and push this heavy, awkward cart. But she wasn't having it. And every time Sammy looked at her she would start screaming. To his credit, he tried to help her and quiet her down, but after a while he kept trying to swing over her as she threw herself on the bottom of the cart, screaming her head off. And I am pretty sure he stepped on her fingers at least once, but I am not sure and he is innocent until proven guilty. I was a little frazzled by the time we got to the register. And embarrassed. I even told the girl checking us out that "I never thought I would be the mom with the crazy, screaming kids at the supermarket, but apparently that's who I am!" At least she thought it was funny and agreed that she feels that way with her own kids. We hit a new low when Izzie was so mad that I wasn't paying attention to her while I was paying (we had a minute left in the shopping trip!) that she kicked herself out of the cart and I couldn't see her because I was paying so the woman behind us was like, "Um, YOUR daughter. YOUR daughter is crying." Lady, I already know my daughter is crying, I am trying to hurry to get out of the store ASAP! But I had to stop what I was doing and grab Izzie because this lady was freaking out. I really missed Arnie today. He helps me a ton.

When we got home I got everything out, cleaned my car out and then put the groceries away. I then had enough time to grab the kids and pick Arnie up from work. When I was cleaning the car out I tightened Izzie's car seat because I noticed that she was taking liberties with the extra slack her restraint system had. When we went to get my husband she was so mad because she could not do anything but sit there! It was kind of funny.

After I got home I hopped in the shower and got ready for the opera! I was so excited to get all gussied up and wear jewelery (I haven't done that in years, besides my regular earrings and wedding ring! Don't get me wrong, I love my wedding ring and I never take it for granted!) And after the day I had, I was ready for a slight break. I was also excited because I got to go with my friend Kim! We had fun chatting and being each other's "dates" because her husband was in the opera and mine was at home with the kids. Her husband did a fantastic job and I really enjoyed the music and singing. Our only complaint was that they mic-ed the orchestra and it was hard to hear the singers, who were not mic-ed. But, La Traviata was beautiful, and it even made me cry. So tragic! It helped give me perspective about my crazy day--I am glad that my life is not as complicated as an opera!

Friday, February 17, 2012

It's Friday!

I love Fridays. Fridays are actually quite busy for me, but I just love the fact that it's Friday which means it is the weekend! We got up and got everyone fed. We also got ready for school because it was a preschool day! Sammy LOVES Fridays because it is his reading day! I was really excited for him because he has been doing so well in his reading that his teacher has decided to give him two books every week. And he is just going right through them! I'm just a proud Momma! Yea for Sammy!

My baby girl had a hard time going down for her nap and the more tired she gets, the more crazy she gets! Oh man. I was so glad when she did go down, but bummed that it was basically just in time for my piano lessons to start! I teach my nephews on Friday and I love having them here. However, sometimes it is hard having all three of them here playing while I am teaching them, one at a time. They are pretty good boys and don't cause much mischief, it is just sometimes they get a little loud and when I am downstairs and they are upstairs it makes it hard to help them keep the noise level down without adding to it. Let's just say the baby woke up within 15 minutes of their arrival. That was a bummer because not only was she woken up but she was uber tired! Not a pretty combination for my girl! At least she eventually mellowed out. She does love those boys so much.

After my lessons we hung out here and my sister dropped by. It is always fun to talk with her and laugh and joke. And I get a kick watching my kids love on her and just loving to be around her. She dances with them and does yoga with them (she does yoga and they want to do everything she is doing!) and cuddles and loves them. I am glad that they have such a fun, loving auntie.

I feel like there was a whole lot more to my day, but this is pretty much it. But that's how it goes sometimes--you feel like you were busy all day and then you realize it wasn't as crazy as you thought! This Friday would have been much cooler if my hubby didn't have to work on Saturday. Boo!
(Sidenote: Sammy loves to tell "spooky secrets." Sometimes I will say, "You wanna hear a secret?" and then I will whisper, "I love you!" and then he will say, "You wanna hear a spooky secret? BOO!" He could do that all day, and believe me, he has!)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Lazy Day

So, things had been a little crazy the past week or so and so we (the kids and I) decided to have a lazy day. We hung out in our pajamas until about 3pm. We read books, played some games, and watched Ice Age (for the umpteenth time, of course. I kept the remote--if Sammy has the remote he will rewind the same 10 seconds for an hour if I let him! It makes the movie watching a little boring and frustrating!) It was nice just to relax and enjoy the kids. That's the fun part, not stressing about making it to school, being in public with the kids, etc. True, I probably put more stress on myself than needed, but I am trying to work on that. I feel as though I am a lot better now than when I first had Sam. Hopefully, I will get better at maintaining stress the longer I am a parent. One can only hope.

There was something that happened during our lazy day that made me smile and laugh. So, many of you may not know but when it is just the kids and myself, they follow me around quite a bit. I don't think it is a clingy thing (maybe with the baby a little bit), I think it is more a curious issue--they just want to know what I am up to. I had to go to the bathroom, so I headed that way and didn't shut the door all the way so I could hear the kids, but also maintain a shred (just a tiny one) of privacy. That lasted all of 2.3 seconds. So, my kids are just hanging out in the bathroom while I am trying to take care of business, so I ask them to leave the bathroom for just a few seconds so I could have a moment (and I am also acutely aware of how much my little guy is getting so big and grown up!) but Sammy looks at me and says, "But Mommy! We are friends!!" It was just this little shocked tone that made me smile. I am glad that he loves me and thinks of me not only as Mommy, but as his friend.

So, Sammy's friend Lucy had a really cute Valentine that she gave to all her classmates--those little glasses with a fake nose and mustache attached to them! Sammy wore them all afternoon and evening. He cracked me up because he was convinced that when he had them on, he wasn't Sam!

Need I say more? He is so cute that I can hardly stand it sometimes! (Thanks for your patience with me as I attempt to learn how to use blogger. Sorry the pictures are a little uneven!)

I taught lessons in the afternoon, but I had a lot of fun. My two students, the sisters, came and I love hearing them play. And I have thoroughly enjoyed asking all my students about their Valentine's days and what kind of Valentines they gave/received. Talking with the older sister brought back a lot of memories--they were able to buy cookies and have them delivered to their friends at school. I remember the old Valentine gram program at my high school. It doesn't seem as though that was that long ago, but here we are on the eve of our ten year reunion! Time sure is flying at light speed!

After my lessons we decided to go buy the booster seat we have needed to get! Sammy's second car seat was a convertible car seat that turned into backless booster chair so he had been using that. However, Izzie Bee is finally big enough (and way too tall) for her rear facing baby chair and has been needing to get into that car seat. So, since booster chairs are cheaper than the car seat Izzie would need, we went to Target and let him choose a booster! He has been so excited about this event! So, we went and he chose this beautiful, blue seat. My only concern was that there may have been a seat or two more soft, but he wouldn't look at the others--he only had eyes for this blue booster chair! I trust that it will be soft enough, we haven't had any complaints yet! We also bought some Dr. Seuss book because they were on sale! Dr. Seuss books are not cheap, so we were really excited about this fun trip to Target! Yea Target!!

Last but not least, we went to Burgers Supreme for dinner! I love Burgers Supreme and I was excited that we had a coupon for a free combo meal and we got to eat inside. The kids really liked it, too. My only regret was that I didn't buy Izzie her own kid cheeseburger. I thought she would eat off me or Arnold, but she only would eat Sammy's burger. Oh well. Better luck next time! We still had fun anyways!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Family Picture Day!

My kids BEFORE picture day. Don't they look so happy and cute?

Family Picture Day! For me, that says it all! It is always a day, an extremely crazy day where pretty much everything seems to go down. We have not had a picture since May 2011 taken, but I really wanted to get some and also take some of the kids because I missed getting their photos taken around their birthday! I am not a really good scrapbooker/journaler/family record keeper but dang it! I try my hardest to make sure my kids have yearly pictures so we can at least remember what they looked like and from there remember some of the funny and sweet things they have done during that time of their lives. This is extremely interesting to me since I ended up majoring in History in college--I know the importance of keeping a history! So, I said, "Enough excuses!" this year is almost half past and I will get these pictures, if they kill me! And they so nearly did.

I missed my alarm. I needed to wake up early to wash my hair so I could blow dry it and make it look, "Niiiiiiiiiiiiice!" as my son would say. But, apparently someone put pm instead of am the evening before and it never rang. Yes, that was me that put the wrong time! Anyway, I had to nurse the baby and wait to get going, so I did. Then I tried to get myself ready as quickly as possible, but it's hard when you want to look your best and take your time so it looks good. Meanwhile I am trying to maintain a positive, happy atmosphere so Family Picture Day will be "fun" instead of the day everyone dreads because it makes Mommy a little crazy! I'm sure I did not do as good a job as I hoped. Oh well. I got the clothes the kids would be ready and tried to get us out of the door early. I was lucky that I got us out on time! But it could have been worse, I could have been late.

We got there and we had to wait, so when I was there I was ok with being on time--my kids would really not have lasted if we had been early. I must say that they were doing extremely well at home and there in the waiting room. They were running around a bit, but what else was there to do? Even my husband, who really does not like picture day was doing pretty well, for a picture day! = D I don't know what happened, but the moment we walked through the thresh hold into the room we would be taking pictures something happened that changed my kids from the sweet, happy, smiley kids they are to these uncooperative, frowny and crying children which they are not!

Sam would not smile. He would not sit. In fact there are pictures where my husband had to hold my son up so he would at least be in the picture! Not smiling, let me add. (I just laughed out loud remembering how crazy it was and my husband just asked what I was laughing about. I simply had to say, "I'm blogging about picture day." He laughed and said, "Silly kids!") Anyways, my son would not smile, even when we threatened to cancel our Chuck E Cheese outing later that day! That usually gets my son to do anything--even eat vegetables! He finally started smiling, but not listening. We had to try to get him to stop using the backdrop as a slide (something I am sure our photographer was worried about the whole time. My son could have broken that backdrop! I am so glad he did not!) throughout the whole session!

My daughter was smiling, at first. And then something happened and she cried. And it was over. We couldn't put her down, we couldn't get her to smile, even with every stuffed animal they had. I tried everything that usually gets her laughing, but it was not funny at the picture studio. So, we got one of her by herself, half smiling. Barely. It just kills me because both of my kids are usually so happy and smiley. But never on picture day. I always hope that this is going to be the one that is awesome! I guess everyone needs something to reach for, the impossible dream!

My husband rushed to take Sammy to preschool, and I stayed behind and chose the shots. I hate doing it, but someone has to. And in all reality, I am the one who cares. If I didn't push picture day, it would never happen. So, it is only right that I choose the shots. I was surprised that we had as many decent ones as we did. I can't wait to see our pics hanging up in our house! Thank you, JCPenney Portraits and Groupon for making this happen!

After my husband came back to get me, we went and got some lunch and came home because they baby had fallen asleep and we just had an hour or so to kill before my son was out of school and we would go to Chuck E Cheese. Based solely on the picture taking experience, my son should not have gone. However, he was mostly good leading up to the pictures and he has been doing well in school also, so we decided to go anyway. We had a coupon too. = D We explained why were going and we went! I love going to Chuck E Cheese. We always go during the day, when everyone is still at school and our kids are usually the only ones there. We let them run around and play with them and just enjoy them enjoying the place. We stayed for an hour which was perfect. We ran out of tokens just at the right moment. Perfection.

After that we rushed home so I could start teaching my piano students. I teach three on Wednesday. It was pretty good! I was proud of my students, they passed some songs. I was really excited for my last lesson because it was my new student and she was so cute playing her songs absolutely perfect. It was great. And she was so excited to get new songs and to learn more. I loved it.

After she left, I rushed upstairs just in time to watch Rio with my family. It was really funny and I was so excited that we got to watch it together! Sammy absolute loves to play Angry birds, so he really got a kick out of this movie because it had a lot of birds in there! After Rio, we watched Contagion. I thought it was really interesting to watch, but it scared me. I am afraid that something like that will really happen. I really don't like end-of-the-world scenarios. I don't care if it's an illness, meteor, global warming, etc, it all freaks me out because they seem possible! I couldn't stop watching the movie though. It was insane!

It was a fun day, but it was also bittersweet because my husband has to return to work. We had so much fun having Daddy with us that it was hard for the kiddos to realize that Daddy will be at work now. We'll miss you, Daddy! Please come home from work as soon as possible!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day!!!!

A picture of the ones I love most in the whole, wide world! They are the best! (My husband is so cute, he let me put this pic up, even though he is in mid-blink because it was the only one that both kids were looking!)

Valentine's day was a welcome change to our weekend of sick fun! my husband had to work some holidays like New Year's Eve, Martin Luther King Day (or are they calling it civil rights day?), and some other ones this past year so it was nice to have him be around for Valentine's Day. We had no school and I don't teach on Tuesdays so it was a more laid back day.

We were going to have family portraits done this day, so I figured it would be nice to have an extra day to make sure we were in the best shape possible, considering what we all had just been through. And I almost got to help a friend by watching her youngest daughter, but it didn't happen. So, I lazed around, slept in, and just enjoyed my family. My husband is a fabulous chef and made his famous crepes! They were soooo yummy! My kids can not get enough of crepes either. They loved it. Daddy was everyone's favorite person on Valentine's Day! We love you, sweetheart!

Around 1pm or so, I decided it was time to stop playing with everyone and get ready for my gig. The big day had arrived--my little high school flute playing friend had his big performance at 4:30pm and I was committed to start practicing at 2:30pm. So I got ready using my new spa sonic my sweet husband got for me! Now, my face is super smooth and it is fun to wash it! I love it! My love also got me the first season of Psych!!! I have seen a few episodes and I got really interested and I want to start at the beginning because I feel a little confused. So, we will be starting that as soon as our DVR is a little more clear! Wahoo!

Back to the music, so I got ready(performance dress) and my sweet husband was tired so he feels asleep while holding my baby girl because she refused to take a nap without being held. They were so cute sleeping all snuggled up together. And my son was in the bed next to them playing ipod. So, I said goodbye to my son and hurried to practice. I had asked my fabulous friend (the one we had enchiladas with) to come if she had a few moments because she was a flute performance major in college to help this kid with some flute pointers. He is a phenomenal pianist and plays the flute extremely well for someone who has never had any instruction whatsoever outside of middle school and high school band. But, we needed some help, so I called in a favor. It was amazing! I learned so much about the flute and that woman changed more in his flute playing in 20 minutes than I had heard the last few days of practice with this kid. It was incredible! So, we were both helping and this boy's mother came in the room and thanked us and was crying--it was so tender that it took me by surprise. she just felt overwhelmed and humbled that my friend and I would take the time and energy to help her son. We all attend the same ward so I didn't think it was such a big deal, but at the moment, I realized what a big deal it was to her. It also made me think about my own kids. I guess I hope that when my kids are older and need help in whatever they do that they feel they can ask for help from those they associate at church or from family or friends. I was proud to be able to have helped and be a part of this kid's journey, even if it was for such a small, trivial moment. it felt good, and I had fun too.

Now, I was prepared to do this gig pro bono, the kid had asked me himself and his grandmother is also a member of my ward and she is a sweet lady and I was happy to help her out too (she would have had to try to do it herself and I knew she was not comfortable with the piece at all). I had fun, but I did put in a lot of time into this. At least 10 hours or so. But I was not prepared for what this sweet, generous mother offered to do. She had heard from her son that my baby grand piano was not tuned and she called up her piano tuner and arranged for him to come, tune it and give me a consultation on whether it was a good investment or if we were going to run into any problems with it! Now it was my turn to be absolutely stunned! I have been wanting to tune this piano ever since we got it (for free! minus the cost of transporting it to Utah from California and moving it to a new house!) but I haven't been able to justify getting it tuned yet! I guess I have had a few very recent experiences that have taught me that when you are generous with others, others will be generous to you. It may not be everyone or everything, but it will come back to you, some how, some way. Just thinking about it, I feel incredibly blessed and humbled. I almost turned this opportunity down because it was going to be on Valentine's day. How crazy is this?!

So we went and played and it went fantastically. I am proud of the hard work we put in, and it definitely paid off! After the gig I came home and hung out with my family. We decided to go to Target and grab some much needed medicine for my baby (our baby motrin was out) and juice to make sure she didn't get dehydrated. And then we got Costco cheese pizza. Costco cheese pizza is my favorite cheesy pizza! It was so delightfully delicious! I LOVE CHEESE!! And so does everyone in our family. We also got those yummy Berry smoothies. It was a great Valentine's meal with the family! And there were some free codes for redbox, so we grabbed some movies--Jane Eyre, Contagion, and Rio!

After dinner we put the kids to bed and watched Jane Eyre! I liked it! I actually haven't read the book, which might be a surprise to many of you since I love to read. And I love Jane Austen and English literature in general, but I have never gotten into the Bronte sisters. Maybe I should give it a try now that I am an adult. But I enjoyed the movie, even though the ending made me feel like, "What?!" The END. It was abrupt for my tastes, but oh well. It wasn't bad. My husband fell asleep during it. Maybe that says something!

It was a day full of love. I loved getting my Valentine hugs and kisses all day from those I love best! But, I am really lucky. I have kids and a nice snuggly husband who gives me hugs, kisses, and love whenever I want and need them! I LOVE YOU, MY WONDERFUL FAMILY!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Momma Needs to Chill Out!

Oh my goodness. Monday was crazy. Monday was probably the hardest day I have had, in a long while.

So, Sunday was really crazy and I was exhausted. So, I went to relax and fall asleep but I decided to give myself a facial because we had family portraits coming up this week and I wanted my face to look fantastic! I washed, exfoliated, buffed and was about to put on my sulphur mask and wait for 10 minutes. OK, I am just watching TV, waiting and......I hear the baby cry. It's late, my husband is still sleeping his oncoming sickness off, so I know it is me that needs to get my girl. I get up and go to her and I go to her room and I am really surprised that she has pooped on her bedding and clothes because she has not had a major poop blowout since before my awesomely fun dinner party the evening before. I mean, over 12 hours has past. Aren't we done with this?! So I get her changed and try to do more than I can at once and I end up accidentally waking up my husband without meaning to. Oh well, it made my life easier and he was so cute with our girl, comforting her and attending to her while I got the clothes and changed the bedding and everything else you can think of. I know she loved it, she is a daddy's girl after all.

So by the time she was back in bed, and my face mask (it is still on throughout this whole ordeal) is washed off, it was late. So I sleep. But I knew it was gonna be a rough day on Monday because a lack of sleep is hard for me to get through everything. So, I wake up. I'm tired. I'm still not feeling 100% and I am trying to get going. My son has his school Valentine's party today and I need to get his Valentine's organized and labeled. I want him to help me because they are his Valentine's and he has been so excited about them. So I call him to me and he can't stop jumping/running around and wanting to do anything else. I finally get his attention and he starts telling me the name of those in his class. (We don't have a class list--I just know there are 12 kids in his class, including his self) He wants to write his own name, and I think, "why not?" He has been working so hard to write his name and he wants to do it! So, I would write his classmates names and he signs his own. By the way, he chose his Valentine's this year and I really thought they were cool! Target had this cool ones where you can make them into paper airplanes. This is really appealing to me because I have never been able to construct decent airplanes that actually fly. However, somewhere in there, he wants to write his friends' names on the Valentines and he wants me to sign Sam! Meanwhile, the clock is ticking and I should be getting him ready for school because we are only so many minutes away from school starting. I am getting a little frazzled, but somehow, we made. He also wanted to give bouncy balls as his treat, not candy. We offered to buy candy and he was adamant about giving his friends bouncy balls. Less sugar--I can deal with that and I am sure all the other parents can as well. Cool! I put them in the bag and get him off to school.

My daughter is still struggling today and she is sleeping by now! Whew! So I get ready and prep everything--after I pick Sam up from school, my day is going to get extremely hairy, it is just one thing after another up until 6pm. I am noticing by now that I am having a slight problem. I don't know why, but I am just feeling a little angry. I am not an angry person, at least I don't think so. But, I can't shake the feeling that I am ready to pounce on something, anything, and I have angry feelings just floating around in my body for no reason at all. I tell my husband about it during his lunch break and we both agree that it is weird. And I resolve to myself that I am going to do everything possible to make sure I don't let it effect me or those around me.

So, I wake my daughter up and we get Sammy and head to our first engagement: accompanying practice for my high school friend. We go to his house because his piano is tuned and we were having some tuning issues at my own. I hate accompanying or teaching at other houses and bringing my kids because I can't always focus on my kids and keep them out of trouble in those situations and it is hard for me to focus on my playing which makes me play worse than normal. Both situations also stress me out. My kids are troopers and I figure they can handle it. My son is usually a good-natured, pretty good listener but today was a challenge for him. We have been prepping him for our family portraits by promising a trip to Chuck E Cheese's if he does the portraits and everything in between with a good attitude and an obedient spirit.

Let's just cut to the chase and say that he does not listen to me on a number of things at this house that is not our own. And we are there for an hour. He wouldn't listen to me, or the kid I am accompanying for, or his mother. It stresses me out and makes me embarrassed, which as any mother knows are not a good combination. The temperature is rising.

We quickly go to my house where we get there just in time for my student to come over. I try to get my kids settled and start as quickly as possible. The lesson went well, but it always tricky to get everything done that needs to get done and end on time. I get everyone ready to leave because my next lesson is at my student's house because they are my friends and the parents are at work and it is easier to teach at this time for them and myself. And my kids get to play with other kids. But packing the kids up and getting there on time is always a new experience every week. Not too many crazy things have happened, but my son isn't cooperating as well as I would like, but he is improving. But I am still stressing, so that temperature is still going up.

My student is a new student, which means he is not used to sitting through lessons yet, so I am not only having to teach him, but I need to entertain him and keep his attention, constantly. It was a hard lesson. We end a little later because we got there a little late. This means that I am late picking up my husband up from work. So we rush to get him and he has already walked home a good distance. We get him in the car and go home. I have one more lesson left and miraculously, I have 5 minutes to rest (ha, right!) and prepare. As we are walking in the house, I grab my son's preschool bag and check through it to see his Valentines from his friends. I see this big bag of Valentines from his classmates, next to his Valentines that we worked on so hard before school! WHAT?! I ask him, "Sam, why are your valentines still in your bag? Why didn't you give them away?" And he calmly, and matter of factly answers, "Mom, my teacher asks, 'Did you bring treats?' and I say, 'No!'" He zeroed in on the word "treats" and felt that since he didn't have a candy treat to give that he didn't have anything to give!!!! The knowledge that during this crazy day, this thing that took so much time and patience and effort didn't happen because my son felt he didn't have a candy to give sends me over the edge and I can't help moaning and raising my voice, "This is the worst day ever!!!" I felt defeated. I felt as though I was trying to be Super Mom and I failed. My kid was that kid that didn't bring treats and yet everyone else gave him treats. And as I am trying to "help" my son feel what I am feeling (he didn't get it, he thought it was funny) the doorbell rings and I have to put my feelings aside and teach my last lesson of the day.

I am a very lucky girl. This lesson is supposed to be first, but today it has to be last. I love this student and it is a joy to teach her, so I actually find a lot of healing in this lesson because it is enjoyable and we have breakthroughs and it was nice. I am thankful that this helped put me back in a somewhat better mood so I can cope with the rest of my day.

Let's just say, I am grateful for leftovers and I am looking forward to Valentine's day because my husband has the next two days off.