I’ve got a BUNCH of pictures that I meant to do blog posts around, but instead, I’m going to just lump them all together and tell you a little bit about them. Think of it of a bunch of mini-posts!
My good friend Lisa just posted about our fun time at Witches Night out last weekend. Since she used my pictures, I feel perfectly justified in sending you over to her blog to read about it. So, go HERE for the fun details.
Natalie finished up her volleyball season. They even had a tournament this year.
This is my favorite picture. She’s the one ducking away from the ball. Love it! But in her defense, that was just one time. She’s actually pretty good, and she’s got a wicked serve.
This one is a little dark and kind of blurry, but she JUST bumped it. Can you see that blur that is the ball there?
The girls and I went to see Thriller by the Odyssey Dance Theater. It was, as usual, AMAZING! I enjoy it more every time I see it!
I spent a day with my parents making and bottling applesauce. They have the apples, the know-how, and all the proper equipment, so it was much easier to go to their house and do the work with them, than to bring the apples here and do it myself.
They’ve got the operation down to a science, and it’s all set up outside! Which keeps your kitchen from getting totally stickified from apple juice and sauce. Jenna was home from school that day, so she even helped. Here she is with my dad.
I ended up with 26 quarts of applesauce and about 13 quarts of apple juice. Yum!
Every where you drive in Utah County, there is construction.
And every road that gets to my house is torn up. My friend Tammy wrote about the ongoing headache or the construction on her blog HERE.
My kids have been working on entries for their schools’ reflections contests. “Together we can” is the theme.
I’m relieved to NOT be in charge of our school’s reflections program this year. I have scrounged around and gotten prizes, but I’m not in charge. Happy Dance!!! But the kids are still entering, and since they are due today, we got 6 entry forms, 6 media release forms, and 6 entries ready last night (and this morning. Who am I kidding?)
We picked up our Japanese exchange student, Kuzuki, on Tuesday night.
(Sorry about the sideways picture-erg. — Fixed)
He seems like a nice kid. Yesterday he went to a farm with his school group, then had sloppy joes (we want to give him the American Experience, right?) and then played Wii with the kids. Tonight we plan on taking him out to dinner. We’ve also got carving pumpkins and trick-or-treating on the agenda. He won’t be here long, so we’re trying to make his stay enjoyable. Too bad it got so flippin COLD here all of a sudden! He and the other boys were playing in the snow yesterday, so I guess they don’t mind.
This picture just does my heart good. For any of you who have had little boys who hate reading, you’ll understand my frustration. All of my other kids are very advanced readers, and were reading well by the end of kindergarten. Two of them were reading before Kindergarten, actually. Then, my youngest is all boy, with no interest in reading or any of that school stuff. But he’s finally getting it. He can actually put words together and he told me the other day “I love reading, Mom!” Thank you Mrs. Barker!
Do you ever feel like you are “up to your neck”? Well, here’s John in the sand.
He let his sister and some random boy bury him while at Thanksgiving Point’s Dino museum the other day.
So, there you have it. A bunch of random mini posts! Stay tuned for pictures and the run down of all of our fun Halloween activities!
Some days it feels like there are too many demands.
–Mom, can you drive me to school?
–Mom, can you help me make lunch?
–Mom, can you pick me up?
–Mom, can you take me to (fill in the blank)_________?
–Mom, help me with my costume!
–Mom, did you buy ______?
–Mom, did you wash my ______?
And it’s not just the kids.
–Mrs. Erickson, could you come to the school and help with red ribbon week?
–Mrs. Erickson, would you be able to organize this_______?
–Paige, would you please help me with such and such.
And then there’s the church stuff.
–Sister Erickson, how’s the primary program coming?
–Sister Erickson, please help your daughter write a talk.
–Sister Erickson, I won’t be there on Sunday, could you take over singing time for me?
–We have this little assignment, Sister Erickson. It’s not a calling, it’s just an assignment. We’re sure you’d be fabulous at it.
–Sister X had her baby. As her visiting teacher, would you mind taking in dinner for the very large family?
And then there’s the self imposed stuff. The stuff that I think I need to be doing.
–Let’s host a Japanese exchange student, it will be so good for the kids and it will be such fun!
–The PTA is run by volunteers. If I don’t do it, who will?
–My friend had surgery. I want to help ease her burden.
–The house needs to be cleaned, all sheets changed, all carpets vacuumed, all bathrooms cleaned before our exchange student comes. We don’t want him to think all Americans are slobs, do we?
–It’s a holiday! Therefore we must do all the fun holiday stuff that comes with it. Even if we don’t have the time or energy to do it.
It’s times like this that I need to step back, think about what’s important, what’s necessary, what’s essential, and what would be nice, but it’s not going to hurt anyone if it doesn’t get done. I’m reminded of Julie Beck’s fabulous talk at Women’s Conference this year, where she said,
“Sisters, you are each like the lioness at the gate. This means that there has to be some prioritizing. I was taught years ago that when our priorities are out of order, we lose power. If we need power and influence to carry out our mission, then our priorities have to be straight.
“Years ago I began using a system that works for me, and maybe it will work for you. There was a time when I needed to prioritize, and in one of those sacred meetings between me and the Lord, He gave me three categories that I have worked from, and they have been a guide in my life. The categories are the essential things, the necessary things, and the nice-to-do things. I started writing those things down. I asked, â€œWhat has to go in the category of essential?â€ What things must be taken care of, and if I donâ€™t take care of them, the blessings of eternal life wonâ€™t be mine nor will they be my familyâ€™s.”
What a wonderful talk she gave! You can read the whole thing here I’m going to try to remember her advice over the next few days, when the demands of the moment seem to cloud my vision and bring me down. I’m going to take care of my family, get the house in the best shape I can, and welcome our little foreign exchange student, and try to make the most of the week ahead of me. That’s all I can do, and I shouldn’t expect more.
When Our Director, Tom, told us about the Advanced Ringers Workshop, it didn’t sound all that exciting. Another all day bell thing? Those are SO exhausting. But when he explained a little more in detail about what a great opportunity it would be and that he needed 13 of us to go, I considered it. Yes, that would mean sacrificing a few Saturday mornings for rehearsal and one entire Saturday, but when I looked at my schedule I saw that it was possible, so I volunteered.
Even though I have been ringing hand bells for over 5 years, I don’t consider myself an â€œadvanced ringerâ€ by any stretch of the imagination. I’m more of an â€œok ringer who tries really hard to handle my own part and not mess everyone else up.â€ But I love playing, and I love our choir, so any time spent with them would not be wasted.
When we met for our first rehearsal, we had some interesting bell assignments. Everyone seemed to be just one note off from their familiar ringing spot. Instead of playing F and G, I was assigned E and F. That shift was harder than any of us thought it would be. Even though we are reading the notes right, the wrong hand would ring, out of habit. Then we would find ourselves looking at the bell in our hand with the look of â€œBell, what’s up with that?â€ Maybe you know that look. But the music was fun, and challenging.
On October 9th, (my husband’s birthday)we met in Springville, and set up. I wondered who the friendly looking guy in the ponytail was. Oh, that’s Dr. William Payn! I didn’t know much about him, but if I’d had been prepared and looked up his bio, I would have been impressed. He’s been playing hand bells for longer than I have been alive! He plays, directs, composes, teaches… he does it all. He has a calm quiet countenance, and he directs like he loves the music. Even as we were playing his piece, â€œPsalm of Peaceâ€, he was not critical or demanding, but positive and encouraging.
Throughout the day, Dr. Payn taught us techniques, tips, and tricks. He was hands on, and took the time to demonstrate what he was talking about. He was engaging and energetic. Even during the most difficult of passages, he was full of praise, applauding our efforts. It made me want to play even better. Yes, it was a long day. But even though we were tired, it was worth it. After we had worked the four pieces we had prepared, we sight read about 5 pieces. Some were new, some were more familiar. It was refreshing to just play those pieces as well as we could. Not rehearsing for a performance, but just to play. Sometimes we may forget that playing a song together should be a joyful experience.
I hope that everyone in attendance felt as involved as I did. I was on the front row, really close to Dr. Payn, but I think he brought us all in. The group was not huge, so we all had a chance for personal interaction. Dr. Payn even sat among us at lunch, answering questions, laughing and talking. And lunch. Did I mention that lunch was GREAT! A variety of sandwiches, fruit and saladsâ€”it was all so yummy. Thanks, Karen for the super lunch and the nice snacks.
When the workshop was over, I felt like I was leaving a better ringer than I had come. The instruction and the day full of ringing together made that happen. Yes, my back was aching and I was feeling my age, but I was happy. If felt good to be with fellow ringers who were there not to compete or to perform for each other, but to learn together. Thank you, Dr. Payn, and thank you to all those in AGEHR XI who put this workshop together. The only thing missing was a â€œI rang bells with Dr. Paynâ€ t-shirt.
This is an article I wrote for my director about our experience. It’s probably not all that interesting to the general public, but I thought I would post it here just to share what I’ve been doing the last month.
I came across a fun pattern for some Halloween decor, this “sock skeleton craft kit.”
Then, even better, I found that Martha Stewart had a video and instructions here.
So, I bought some nice clean socks (yes, I know, I could have recycled some of Ryan’s or Cole’s socks, but they have gray on them, and I needed white, and do I really want to make a holiday decor item out of old socks?) and went to town. The instructions were easy and it was fun. I realized that I was enjoying myself.
Hey, there, sewing machine, what have you been doing over here in the corner of the room all by yourself? Getting things piled up on you so that you couldn’t even see out? Yeah, that’s totally my fault. Sorry about that. Yeah, I’ve missed you, too.
I even let Jenna get into the act, and she was a great help in stuffing little skeleton arm pieces. I got him done the next day (coincidentally, while watching “Project Runway”) and am happy with the result. He’ll be a great addition to our Halloween decor!
Why does my daughter freak out if her ponytail is a tiny bit higher than her everyday ponytail? Why must she wear a ponytail every single day of her life? When is she going to grow out of this ponytail stage?
We’ve been having quite a bit of rain around here lately. When I went out to the garage, I noticed a big fat worm struggling to survive in the dry garage. Why did you even crawl in here, worm? Don’t you know there’s no dirt and water in the garage? Well, ok, there’s a puddle over there, and now that I look around, I see that there is an awful lot of dirt in the garage. It must be time to clean and organize in here–but generally there’s no water or dirt in the garage. It’s not a hospitable environment for a worm. Darn, that worm is going to dry up and DIE in here, unless I help it out. Giving a little sigh of grossoutedness, I picked up the worm and tossed him as far as I could to safety. While he didn’t quite make it to the grass, he landed in a puddle on the driveway. I walked around the car feeling pretty good about myself. I’m a worm rescuer, after all. Oh, there’s another worm on this side of the garage. But he’s already dead, so there’s nothing I can do for him. But I did save that one worm, and for that I was feeling a little bit proud of myself.
I then proceeded to get into my car, back out into the driveway and pull out into the street, when I was struck with a horrible thought. More likely than not, I just drove over the exact puddle where I had throw the worm to “safety”. Um, sorry about that, worm.
A few weeks ago, I won tickets to the Utah Shakespearean festival, but when Ryan went to go pick them up, they couldn’t find them. They promised they would mail them out to me. Well, days came and went and I had assumed that I would never see those tickets, and really, when was I going to use them, what with the trip to Atlanta and all? On the day I was leaving, I got a call from Laura Bedore, asking me if I’d like two seats on the “Bard Bus” instead of just the tickets to one show. Wow! Of course I would. Three plays and hotel room instead of just one show? You bet. Of course, that only left me a week to find someone to go with me. I set out to find a friend who could drop everything for a Friday and Saturday and come with me.
I must say I am saddened that my friends are all so over-scheduled that they couldn’t come. They all had valid excuses, to be sure. A husband running a marathon, friends coming into town, school obligations and work. I know, I know. I was just lucky that it happened to be a Saturday that I didn’t have too much going on. I’ve had extra bell rehearsals on most every Saturday in September, and next Saturday have a bell choir commitment, as well. So I understand! We live busy lives. But this was SO worth taking the time.
Since I couldn’t find a friend to go with me, and my dear sweet husband has been out of town for about 50% of the last 8 weeks, and we just took a trip together, I asked him to stay home for this one. I took my 14 year old daughter, Megan. Actually, she was my second choice. First I asked Natalie, since it was her birthday weekend. But she actually didn’t want to miss school on her “birthday” and didn’t want to miss her volleyball game. So I asked Megan, who had NO problem missing a day of school. “That will give me more time to study for my test!” she said happily. Although I don’t think she got much extra study time in.
We met the “Bard Bus” on Friday morning.
As we got on the bus, it was pretty obvious that Megan was by FAR the youngest person on the bus. There were a few people younger than me, but most of them were older. But we didn’t care. We said hi, picked out a seat, and got comfortable.
We stopped in Scipio to stretch our legs and get snacks, and there was a little petting zoo right there off to the side of the road. Well, isn’t that random?
When we got back on, someone suggested we watch a movie on the bus wide DVD system, so we watched the Prince of Persia for the rest of the ride. Not a bad way to get to Cedar City.
Once we arrived, our hotel rooms weren’t ready to check in, yet, but we walked over to the nearby Subway restaurant and got lunch.
After lunch, the bus driver took us over to the Randall Theater for our first show, Greater Tuna.
Such a funny show! It’s a two man show where the two men play ALL the characters. So funny! It reminded me of my friend Kevin, who in High School did a scene from Greater Tuna as a humorous interp back in our drama days.
After that we had a couple of hours to rest, and I went back to the hotel and took a 45 minute nap while Megan watched tv. Then we headed over for the literary discussion about the new show The Adventures of Pericles. It’s not one of the Shakespeare plays that I was familiar with, so I was glad we attended the discussion, where we learned the basic plot of the show, and some interesting things to look for. While not my favorite play, it was interesting, visually beautiful, and well done. Very enjoyable!
The next morning, we had a FABULOUS breakfast spread at the Crystal Inn. And by fabulous, I mean that I wish I could have just eaten more breakfast and then not had to eat anything else for the rest of the day. After my Belgian waffle and hash browns, I was pretty much full up, and I hadn’t even had the biscuits and gravy or the scrambled eggs. I did manage to stuff down a piece of watermelon and a mug of hot chocolate.
But alas, I had to stop eating or I wouldn’t have been able to move. We checked out of our rooms in order to be over to campus for the 10:00 and 11:00 seminars. The first one was sort of a question and answer, where we discussed both Greater Tuna and Pericles. The next seminar was with the prop master, and that was SO interesting. Those prop guys work very hard scrounging, borrowing, buying, finding, adapting, making and changing those props. He said that in The Diary of Anne Frank, he’s even in charge of the food. They have soup, bread, and a cake. And wouldn’t you know it, in the cast of 12, there’s a diabetic, a celiac and someone who can’t have salt. So he had to find a salt free, wheat free, sugar free cake that they can eat 4 times a week. Megan came out of that one wanting to work in the prop shop.
During our lunch break, we decided to walk and explore a little bit. After sandwiches, we shopped a little in town. I decided I wanted this here chicken. Wouldn’t he look great on my porch or in my yard? I know! We also played with the hats for sale in the gift shop. I SO wanted to buy this Medusa hat, or this crown, or this mask, or this wizard hat but they were all a bit pricey.
The afternoon show was the Diary of Anne Frank
We went to a discussion before hand about the history of this adaptation. Originally they took out a lot of the “Jewishness” of the play to make it more relatable for everyone, but this version has a lot of that put back in. It was touching and beautiful. Yes, I cried. I knew I would.
After that show, we stayed to watch the changing of the sets. It was so interesting! Since they have three shows going on the same stage, they have to get the WHOLE set and all the props OFF the stage, and bring in the next set. The set manager talked to us while they did the whole change over thing. It took them about 20 minutes to completely change the stage. I loved these little extra learning experiences.
Then it was time to grab some dinner to go, and start the drive home. Megan and I had picked up Letters to Juliet on Redbox, so we put that in and it made the drive seem a little faster. By the time we got home, our legs were stiff, but we had had a wonderful time.
Now–friends who couldn’t pick up and go at a moment’s notice, next year I will find out way in advance when the Bard Bus is going, and WE ARE GOING! It’s such a bargain. Granted, this trip was free for me, but if it hadn’t been free, it would have been SO worth the $149 they charged for the trip. You pretty much pay for the play tickets, and the bus and the hotel are free. Think about it!
A good time was had by all.