Our opening number in Fiddler on the Roof is TRADITION. We sing of families and how each person in the family is important and has a role to play.

We have many family traditions as well. For the past decade or so, we’ve held a Coleman Family Campout. Most of the time it’s at Payson Lakes, which is about an hour south of our house. Some bring their nice big trailers and campers, and some of us are setting up tents. Sadly, we are still of the tent variety. The way it worked out with our schedules, I took the kids (plus Larissa) up on Thursday, we stayed over night that night, then Ryan came up on Friday, and I took Natalie back home with me Friday afternoon to get ready for our play that night, and Ryan stayed until late that night, and brought everyone home.

We were pretty full with our tent, 6 chairs, 6 sleeping bags, and our stuff AND our food.


One suburban doesn’t hold all of that stuff too well, but I didn’t want to have to haul up a trailor, so we stuffed it in.

I decided to stop at the Grotto trail so we could take a little hike as a family.

It’s a short hike so we didn’t have to haul water or snacks with us, and it’s fun to cross the bridges back and forth over the tiny river.

When we got to the top, there was the small waterfall and a little pool. I guess if you go in spring that pool is bigger and you can wade deeper, but right now it’s just a few inches deep, which is PERFECT. SO cold, though.

It was fun to get our feet wet, and Natalie even put her head in the waterfall.

And of course we had to take some selfies.


What’s that on Larissa’s knees? Oh, she went roller blading the day before our camping trip and wiped out. Major road rash. I feel so bad. So, we bandaged her up the best we could, but the bandages weren’t sticking, and what with going camping and all, we didn’t want her wounds to get dirty, so we secured the bandages with duct tape.


When we got up to the campsite, we were pretty chill, reading our books and relaxing. Later, after the tent was set up and we had eaten dinner, we went to the lake for a bit. It was beautiful.

I’m so thankful my mom was so organized. We planned our meals together so I didn’t have to figure out by myself what we were going to fix for a couple days, and we even cooked it inside their trailer.

That night we roasted marshmallows and made s’mores. Can you believe Larissa had never had a s’more before? Shocking, I know. We played some games, then went to “bed”. There was plenty of room for all our sleeping bags, but it just wasn’t comfortable at ALL. Add to that the fact that we hadn’t put the rain fly on, so the top window was open, made it too cold in that tent. I’m used to sprawling out on a King bed, not confined to a sleeping bag, and I tossed and turned all night. Oh, and the COWS. The COWS were MOOOOOOING all night. It sounded like a cow was in distress, mooing and mooing for his friends to come and find him, or help him out of a barbed wire fence. I don’t know what the problem was, but that cow kept us awake for a very long time.

Anyway, we made it through the night. The next day, after breakfast, we went to the lake to play.

Everyone got a turn in Grandpa’s blow up canoe, some kids swam, we talked, they played with cousins, and it was a very nice day.
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I’m so glad that we have this tradition.

Opening Night


We have finally arrived at Opening Night for Fiddler on the Roof.

I am so lucky that I get to play Fruma Sarah in this show. It really is the best part, even if I’m only in one scene of the whole show (I do get to play a village woman as well, in half of the shows). I LOVE this part.

I mean, who wouldn’t want to play a dead first wife who only exists in Tevye’s mind? There are no rules and I can be as over the top as I want. I have come to love my double cast buddy, Celeste. I think she looks creepier than I do, but I just couldn’t do the contacts.

There have been major obstacles and challenges with this show. The logistics of staging a play in a new location have been enormous. The theater is an old theater, but it’s been unused for years, so it has to be refurbished for us to use it. Painted on the wall by the stage, it says Saturday’s Warrior 1999,and My turn on Earth I heard from a friend that they filmed the My turn on Earth production at this stage. With new carpet, new lights, new sound equipment, there have been boxes everywhere, and things weren’t ready for us.

Our set designer, set construction team, music director, and stage managers are all new. The sets have had huge set backs and haven’t been ready, most of them, until last night. When we should have been rehearsing, they were assembling set pieces on the stage. Set pieces that don’t really fit in the wings, and the stage crew hasn’t learned when and where they go.

In addition, we’ve suffered injuries and other afflictions. Our assistant director sliced her hand open on a work day and had to get stitches. One of our stage managers has kidney stones. Two nights ago our other stage manager dropped a 40 pound block of dry ice on her foot while getting it out of the car and broke her toe. Our costume director wasn’t there for our final dress rehearsals (and won’t be there for the next week) because her brother died suddenly, and she needs to go and be with her family.

There is no greenroom and hardly any backstage area, so the cast sets up chairs outside.

There’s supposed to be a big tent for us to congregate around and under, but the wind often comes up quickly and threatens to whip our tent away, so we’ve just had the tent frames up for a couple of nights.


Last night was our last dress rehearsal. Amid sudden rain, everyone pulled their chairs back into the theater and we congregated mostly in the back foyer or in the theater.


Among these challenges, our Tevye has been amazing! He wrote today,
Tonight is opening night of Fiddler On The Roof. We have witnessed miracles in how fast things have come together. There have been significant challenges for this production. It is as if someone doesn’t want this musical to happen. That tells me it really needs to happen.

I have really loved performing as Tevye. I do hope you will take the time an come see it – not because I am in it, but because the message of this production is profound. The message of tolerance and love is needed today more than ever. Hold your families close.

When you think of Fiddler on the Roof, do you think, “Oh, yeah, we did that play in high school. Fun!” like I did? Or do you think, “That old thing? Why are they doing a show about Russian Jews in 1905?” Maybe. But Fiddler on the roof is about keeping your family and your beliefs, even when among strong opposition. The story centers on Tevye, the father of five daughters, and his attempts to maintain his family and Jewish religious traditions while outside influences encroach upon their lives. He must cope both with the strong-willed actions of his three older daughters—each one’s choice of husband moves further away from the customs of his faith—and with the edict of the Tsar that evicts the Jews from their village. Does this relate to our lives today? Absolutely it does.

We need to have tolerance and acceptance for others, but at the same time, we can not let go of our own values. In a devotional address delivered on September 11, 2011, Dallin H. Oaks said, “Our tolerance and respect for others and their beliefs does not cause us to abandon our commitment to the truths we understand and the covenants we have made. That is a third absolute truth. We are cast as combatants in the war between truth and error. There is no middle ground. We must stand up for truth, even while we practice tolerance and respect for beliefs and ideas different from our own and for the people who hold them.”

While I always discourage people from coming to a show on opening night, I do hope we have an audience tonight (and every night). I hope we can properly convey the importance of family and religion and hope that we can touch some hearts with this show.

Museum of Curiousity


I may have mentioned my love for Thanksgiving Point. It’s SO fun, and so close to me, and such a great deal if you have a family pass (which we do).

I love that we can take a couple of friends and just go for a few hours, and not feel like we need to see every. single. thing in order to get our money’s worth.

So, on Monday, I invited a couple of John’s friends to go to the new Museum of Curiosity with us. It’s half price for any guests that we bring, so it was only $6 each for his friends.

We’ve already been twice, but it’s always fun, especially with 10 year olds that I don’t have to worry so much about them getting lost. I stayed in the same general area and told them to stick together so we wouldn’t lose just one of them. They started out in the jungle area, climbing, climbing, climbing.
Then we went to other areas and tried out experiments with movement.

They loved racing things to figure out which one would go faster, or maybe, being boys, they just love RACING anything (these three tend to get competitive).


In Kidopolis, I was reading my book out in the center, not really sure where those boys were, and John came out and called me in to watch their play. Sure enough, they were in the cutest little stage, where there are a couple of backdrops and some costume items, and they did a “play” for me.


Then we went over to the movie making area and they made a short stop motion film and then a movie with the green screen.

If you haven’t taken your family to this amazing museum, you might want to try it out. Go with a friend who has a membership (like me) so it’s half price!

Dreaming about my Grandma



I seem to dream about chickens a lot. The kids tease me that I dream about chickens more than I dream about them. Hmm. Last night I dreamed I was at my Grandma’s house. I was there to water her lawn and plants for her while she was gone. My grandma passed away several years ago, but I could still hear her voice telling me to make sure to water the roses. Then I went and collected eggs from her chickens. I was thrilled to collect SO many eggs, and I didn’t even know she kept chickens.

Funny. Now I miss my Grandma, AND I want my chickens to lay more eggs.

First week of summer!


We’re coming to you live from summer break. Looks like we made it through the first week of summer with very little injury, and not TOO much complaining.

We tried to do some fun this week, and I think we accomplished it.

We went to Thanksgiving point farm
We oohed and awed over the animals, went on a carriage ride, John got to ride the pony,
and ended up purchasing 5 more chicks (you can never have too many, I always say).

Jenna taught two of her art classes.

Natalie and I went to 3 rehearsals for our play, “Fiddler on the Roof”.

Megan went to work 4 days.

John went fishing with a friend.

Natalie went to a party at the park.

Jenna spent LOTS of time playing with her friend, Marin.

Paige had two bell rehearsals.

We played with our birds.


We went to the museum of Curiosity at Thanksgiving Point.

Ryan rode about 80 miles on his bike this week. Jenna, John and I joined him on a bike ride on Saturday night and we went 7 miles. Today my butt hurts.

We also read a lot, did a bunch of weeding, pulled out two dead bushes, the kids each had a turn to make dinner (with my help, of course), had 3 piano lessons, and we implemented FOLD Friday, where everyone is supposed to fold their laundry. It didn’t go over too well, but we’ll try again next week.

I would say we did pretty well for our first week.

Kitchen paint– failures, flops, and finished


I was all excited to paint my kitchen. I bought paint that I thought would work and got right to it.

Unfortunately, the lighter of the two colors (called cucumber something) just looked like hospital green,

And the darker of the two colors (called gumdrop) I liked at first, but after painting all day, wasn’t so sure.

It was just too….. Bright Kermit the frog green. Too…something. While I like that color and it makes me happy on it’s own, with the hickory cabinets, it was just too much. I put a picture up on facebook and commented that I wasn’t sure about it, and got many comments. Many more comments than I wanted. It’s not THAT bad, folks. But, that prompted me to figure out what color it should be, and to repaint it even though I had spent a whole Saturday painting already.

So, I searched the internet for greens, earthy greens, greens that go with hickory cabinets, etc. I even tried the gold paint that I have in the front room, thinking that might look good. It didn’t.

For someone who can usually pick a paint color pretty easily (and I scoffed at my neighbor who has repainted her kitchen 3 times and had painters tape up for months. How cocky I was. No more), it was frustrating to not be able to paint. And I had kind of lost my confidence. I finally ended up on the shirwin williams paint site, and uploaded the picture of the bad green paint behind the stove and used their little program to visualize how different colors would look there. It’s hard to get a good shot of the kitchen, so many shadows from cabinets, etc, but I finally thought I had found something. I went to the hardware store and had them make up two samples for me.


Oh, yeah, that looks good…. NOT.

I tried in a different spot.

I decided to go with the lighter of the two samples, which, turns out, was called “Bengal Grass” (only someone who knows my high school mascot would realize how awesome that name is), and went and bought a gallon in semi-gloss. Thankfully, since I had already done the scrubbing, the taping, and taking off the plug covers, it went pretty fast to cover up that bright green with the darker, more earthy green.

But then I had to start on the wall above the upper cabinets. Climbing, vacuuming, dusting, cleaning (who cleans up there? NOBODY, that’s who!), climbing back down…ick. And so exhausting! Kind of frustrating that it took me so long to paint up there, plus, there were some spots in the corners that I didn’t know how I was going to paint. Need longer arms.


I got a lot done the day that Megan got out of school by 10 am or something. There I was, up on a ladder, and she agreed to help me. SO much easier with another person to hand you things, joke with, and who actually paints.

Oh, and she fits back behind the fridge better than I do, too.

I got most of it done that day, but was still frustrated about the parts I couldn’t reach, even with a ladder. When I came home from an extra bell rehearsal last Saturday, I was surprised to see that Ryan had finished off those difficult parts for me! Hooray! He said he ended up sitting ON the fridge to get that top corner spot.

I’ve been meaning to post a great picture of the finished room, but it turns out my kitchen is clean for about 2 seconds and then it’s a disaster again. Plus the lighting is not great in there, with just the one window over the sink, and I haven’t gotten a great picture that shows off how nice it looks (at least I think it’s nice, and since I’m the one who does the cooking in there, it’s my vote that matters the most, right?), but these will have to do.



I’m happy with the color. I’d better be, because I don’t anticipate that I will be wanting to do that again real soon.

My husband is such a geek


Ryan is such a geek. He doesn’t even try to hide it. He embraces his geekness. I don’t mind. It’s good to have a little geekiness in the family. Like when my computer isn’t working, or when the neighbor’s computer isn’t working and he calls to see if Ryan can fix it (he had two such calls this weekend).

He’s always got some project going, and since he got the lawn mower fixed (Hooray!) with minimal cost, he’s got to move on to his next project. He’s building a 3-d printer. Since we have this budget thing going on, he has been patient and bought the parts out of his discretionary money a little bit at a time, until he had this whole thing made out of wood and parts that he bought.

He also bought this plastic filament that feeds through the printer, melts, and lays down a thin layer of plastic in the form you have specified, then it goes over it layer by layer, adding height to make the THING that you are printing.


At first, he would bring me his failed or almost succeeded parts.

Finally he got most of the bugs worked out and then he started printing parts. Parts for a 3-d printer. It seems the wooden one he made was just a first draft, and he’ll be using these parts and some aluminum pieces to make the “real” version of the printer.


Kind of like making your own legos. But not really. When asked what he will use this printer for, he doesn’t really know. It could be used to make parts for things that break, to make art, to make clamps, clips, blocks, I don’t know. But it’s cool, whatever it is.


Saturday, as I was painting the kitchen green (turns out I don’t love the green and I’ll be painting it again) and it was wet outside so he couldn’t mow the lawn, Ryan was working on this printer. When these parts take four hours each to print, it’s a long process. Usually he can start it, make sure it’s going correctly, then check it every half hour or so, but he had one that the computer went to sleep halfway through the print and it ended up just goobering out plastic waiting for the instructions to come through. Darn.

But he’s had success, too, and he’s almost ready to build the NEW 3-d printer.

It’s good to have hobbies, right?



Anyone who has ever been to our house knows that we have birds.

And one special bird is Sundance.

When Ryan and I were first married, Sundance was given to us by a friend of a friend. I have always loved birds but hadn’t had a cockatiel before. We were happy to take such a friendly and cute bird. Of course, we weren’t supposed to have pets in our apartment, but I think the manager looked the other way.

He loved to sit on our shoulders and nibble on crackers and would whistle the theme from the Andy Griffith Show.

Sundance had been a member of the family since before our first child was born. He moved with us to Illinois and back (which was quite a production, including a vet visit in order to take him on the plane, and staying in the hotel with us for a week before we could move into our house).

Later on, we added other cockatiels to the family, including Zuzu (the only one I ever bought), and Linus and Popcorn. People started giving us their birds when they couldn’t keep them any more.
We’ve taken in Churt, Simon and Guido, and most recently Jack. Some bird have gone on to other homes or died. But we still had Sundance.

Sundance has been so gentle and sweet. When Megan was about two, I found her in her room with Sundance. She had pulled out all of his tail feathers. I couldn’t believe he didn’t even bite her.

Because he’s so old (at least 21 years old), I’ve often worried about him when I come home and can’t find him. Afraid he had died, I would call for him and go looking. I always found him.

Lately he’s been getting old, and we can tell. He doesn’t fly much, and walks slowly. Not grouchy, but an old bird.

Today, after church, he sat on the bottom of the cage, and we knew his time was near. We picked him up and petted him, and tried to make him comfortable. All the kids got to hold him, and they were all standing around him crying. I encouraged them to take Sundance outside, that maybe he would like to be outside one last time. I told the kids (and Sundance) that it was ok for him to go. He has been a very good friend to us, and we knew he was not comfortable, so I just wanted him to stop trying to hold on. All four kids were sitting outside on the grass holding him, tears streaming down their faces. They weren’t out there more than ten or fifteen minutes before they brought him in. He was gone. We all cried. We made a little coffin for him out of a kleenex box, but had to wait to bury him until after dinner, as we had invited over the new family who just moved in behind us. We had to put our sadness on hold for a bit. John wrote a letter to Cole to tell him the sad news.

After our guests had left, we were in better spirits, but still sad to bury our friend. We had a little funeral and burial in the back yard.

We are really going to miss that bird. Not many families get to keep a pet for over 20 years, and I know we were lucky to have such a sweet and gentle bird be a part of our family. When I think of all the conversations he has heard, all the family time he was a part of, it really is like losing a member of the family. For 20 years, he was a fixture in my kitchen. He would sing to me, share my lunch, and snuggle with you when you were sick. He really has been a friend.

Thank you, Sundance. We will never forget you.

Seminary Grad


Sunday was Megan’s Seminary Graduation.

It was a nice evening with talks from young people. And it was much shorter now that they’ve split our stake (12 wards? Way too many!).

Afterwards, we got a nice picture of our senior girls who are graduating.

I know I have said it already and will say it again, but I’m really proud of these girls. They are each GREAT girls and have been such a good influence and friends to Megan.

Later I wanted to get a picture of Megan with me and Ryan. You know, a picture with the parents, right?


It was a little windy.





But we finally got a semi acceptable shot.

Then we tried the selfie thing with all three of us.


Good enough.

Megan was excited to graduate from seminary because now she can skip and have a long lunch on seminary days.

Hey, she graduated, right?

I belong in Anatevka


After 6 auditions (that’s 3 auditions and 3 callbacks) in 3 weeks, I finally am DONE auditioning! It was a long week with call backs on Tuesday and Thursday night, but we are finally done.

Natalie and I both got parts in Fiddler on the Roof at Alpine Community Theater. She’s a villager/laundry girl, and I’m a villager/Fruma Sarah (the butcher’s dear darling departed wife). While I’m a tinge disappointed that I don’t get to play Golde, I am excited to play Fruma Sarah. It’s not a big part, only one scene, but it’s the best scene, so it will be fun.

PLUS, since there were SO many women who tried out, they double cast the women. That may seem like a bad thing, since we only get to perform half the nights, but for me, that’s good. That means I can hopefully not have to be in the show on the two Wednesdays, so I won’t have to miss more bells rehearsals. Bells is, after all, my all year long commitment, and I don’t want to jeopardize that by missing too many rehearsals for a play.

So, we know what we’ll be doing for the next couple of months.