Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Creative Endeavor


I’ve had a pit of uneasiness lately during a few of my students’ piano lessons. 

It has nothing to do with them or the fact that January seems to be the hardest month to rekindle motivation and practice with purpose again…   

but more to do with this little monkey ^^^^ who as of late, vocally protests any piano lesson that he’s awake to hear.  Thankfully, I have understanding students and helpers who demonstrate kind patience.  I tease my students that he does not prefer that song they are playing; it’s really just a matter of taste (j/k).

I feel like he’s doing this all day long - poor thing.  


And when I enforce stroller (or highchair), this is the look he maintains:


Oh, it tests my patience sometimes…but I just have to remind myself that someday he’ll be a man (possibly with facial hair as Carlie discussed today), and these moments won’t last forever.  I’m a different (hopefully, more patient) mother than I was with my first, and I see his anxiety as opportunity to realign priorities and try to figure out this budding personality of his. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

I’m Right Behind You

Carlie made it back from Idaho yesterday, and it’s been so nice to have her home.  This was the first time she’d been away from me, and I think it was good for both of us.  I was able to better recognize what I love about Carlie.  She brightens up our home with her funny personality and her thoughtful stories.  She has a way of cracking us up!  I love her so much!

She’s been fighting a cold all week long; I feel bad that she was sick on her vacation, but regardless, I know she had a great time. 

Carlie has been taking a weekly gymnastics class, and this morning, there was a Gymfest in which the participants did an obstacle course demonstrating certain skills they’ve learned in class.  I didn’t want to push it, but since there were personalized trophies involved, we decided to take her.  When we got there, we quickly realized that it was going to be a bigger obstacle course than we thought it would be, and honestly, Carlie was not feeling good at all by this point. 

AnnMarie suggested that she follow and encourage Carlie the whole way.  We all agreed it was a great idea.  With every obstacle AnnMarie would say, “I’m right behind you Carlie!”  It was touching to see the love they had for each other in that instance.    


At the end, when Carlie stood on the podium to receive her trophy, she told the photographer that she wanted her sister, AnnMarie, to be in the picture.  I think this photo captures just how proud AnnMarie was of Carlie.  She was not expecting to be in the picture.  AnnMarie was completely content to let Carlie shine.  She was genuinely so happy for her sister, and I felt lucky to be there with them in that moment. 


I hope that when the real obstacles of life come their way, they’ll continue to be each other’s biggest fans, and that they’ll lovingly be able to say, “I’m right behind you.”      

Thursday, January 23, 2014




Last weekend we went to Leavenworth, WA - a quaint Bavarian Village that looks like it was scooped up from the Alps and set smack down in central Washington.  Leavenworth is known for having year round festivals, so we planned our trip around the Bavarian Icefest.

We stayed in Wenatchee (about 20 minutes away), and as we were pulling into our hotel, AnnMarie nonchalantly asked, “What language do they speak here?”  Oh, that made me laugh!  I’m glad to know that she understands how diverse the world really is. 

The Icefest was pretty much a winter playground for all ages, and my kiddos were no exception.  The girls enjoyed the snowball toss, ice fishing…for kids (it was totally fake) – but still fun, AND their all time favorite, the ice cube scramble. 


Ready, Set, GO!


There was a little toy frozen in each ice cube.  The kids loved it.  It was almost like a winterized Easter egg scramble or something. :) 

I couldn’t get enough of the shops!  Check out that kitty cat sweatshirt in the background.  That beats the wolverine tees in Jackson Hole hands down.  Oh yeah. 



Gabe looks worried about something. 


Maybe it’s these:


Yes, it’s definitely those.  Can you believe AnnMarie found those for $3 each?  Of course you can believe it!  AnnMarie is a natural radar to all things panda. 

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There are more than 6,000 nutcrackers in this museum on display from 40 different countries! Wowzer


After carefully inspecting each one individually (no, not really), I decided that this one was the one.  And if I would’ve had over $300, I would’ve definitely bought it for my bagpiping brother – the wee li’l lassie he is.  



Two tired panda bears waiting for hot cocoa and one cheesy mama bear waiting for a cheesy pretzel:

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Now back to being creative during these cold days (sigh).  There’s nothing like a little get away to help January out. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A week without Carlie


Dear Carlie Joy,

How are you doing?!  Are you having fun in Idaho with Dad?  I bet you are having a great time with your grandmas and grandpas, too.  We miss you!  On Monday night, after spending our first day without you, AnnMarie said, “I miss her already!”  She was talking about you.  I’ve been going through the pictures of our trip to Leavenworth last weekend, and I found this cute one of you in the Nutcracker Museum!  We love you and hope you have a good rest of the week.



Monday, January 20, 2014

Growing Gabe



We live in choo choo train range.  We hear a train whistle almost 3-4 times p/day.  Gabe loves it, and today he said “ooh ooh aaa” when the train went by this morning (making sure to hold the ‘a’ out extra long).  He’s into everything right now, and sometimes (most times) I want to pull my hair out, BUT he’s trying extra hard to be a big boy even though he does NOT like to be away from me for a second. 

I’ve been teaching piano lessons in our home since September.  I have almost 15 students and most of them come on weekdays between 6-7:30 am.  These time slots allow me to do something I love without interfering with my motherly duties.  As long as I go to bed at a good time (unlike tonight :P), I do just fine during the day, and it’s amazing how my little ones consistently sleep through lessons each morning.

Inevitably there have been a few times during my once a week evening lessons when Gabe has been in need of my attention, and even though my husband is here, he clings to me with a death grip that can’t be removed.  He’s going through some major stranger anxiety right now, and I’m not exactly sure how to help him other than to keep integrating him into normal every day encounters and to keep being patient with his uneasiness in regards to pretty much any social situation! 

In the meantime, we’ll keep helping him to discover the world around him.  He’s at such a cute age right now, and I love trying to see the world through his eyes.   

Thursday, January 16, 2014

driveway graffiti & a smidge of sunshine


The sun decided to say hello on Tuesday.  It felt so amazing to bundle up the kids and send them outside - except for Mr. Gabe was being a stinker and kept taking his coat off every two minutes.  I really wanted to try out my new camera, too…which I did.  I’m so excited.  Cheers to learning a new device!  Yikes.

The girls are writing something like, “piano lessons available, only day to sign up is now.” 

Piano lessons are NOT available at the moment.  Funny girls.  This piano teacher’s cup over-floweth. ;)

These January skies here in the canyon have been soothing.


This is Gabe being 19 months old and being stressed out about it (j/k).  Our boy has a concerned look most of the time, but I’m hoping he’ll soon relax and enjoy himself a bit more.  I think a puppy might be in our near future. 


Saturday, January 4, 2014

There’s No Place Like Home

Happy New Year!!  I’m so ready for 2014 it’s not even funny. 

I didn’t always love change, but all this change I’ve been through in my short married life has weathered a new me, and I can honestly say that I love the refreshment change offers. 

The winter months of November & December have quickly come & gone, and the fury of it all is starting to settle in.  Where did the time go?!  I honestly can’t believe that Thanksgiving & Christmas 2013 are a memory now, but oh, what sweet memories we made. 


Jared & I decided that we wanted to stay home…in our home…for the holidays.  It was so sweet to be together, and wow, how grateful we are for the family members of ours that made the trek up here to be with us.  My parents, little brother, big brother (and family), grandma, grandpa, aunt, and cousin drove all the way here from Idaho to join us for Thanksgiving dinner, and we had such…a great…time.  My grandpa’s little sister lives close by (blessing), and her & her husband were able to join us, too.  It was a full house on Thanksgiving Day – filled with love & laughter – and amazing that it was our house.   I’m so happy to know that we’re ingraining some memories into these walls. 



We had an early morning outdoor breakfast the next day…as if we weren’t still stuffed from the day before, right?!  But honestly, it was one of my favorite parts of the 3 days we had together. 

Jared + pajama pants + spatula (all on front lawn) = awesomeness.


Fast forward two weekends later:  I was the piano accompanist for a community Christmas concert two nights in a row, AnnMarie played in her first piano recital, and Jared’s parents paid us a visit.  It was wonderful to have them here, and I know AnnMarie was tickled pink to have her grandparents at her first piano recital. 

The warm-up:


My folks surprised me and came to the first night of the Christmas concert I was a part of.  :)  Talk about dedication - driving over 8 hours to see their daughter play the piano.  I have been spoiled throughout my life with unconditional support & love in ways that I can never comprehend, but I will always be grateful for their involvement and ‘thumbs up’ in all I do.

And of course…the Decking of the Halls, the lighting of the Christmas tree, the wrapping of the gifts, the honoring of our Savior’s birth. 

We enjoyed so many cozy nights with hot cocoa in front of this magic, and yes, I call it magic, because the majority of these gifts were delivered to us by loved ones (Santa’s helpers), and were not my doing. 


We spent the rest of our stay-cation being together – board games, movies, service projects (more on that later), ice skating, bowling, storytelling, reading books, taking naps, and feeling blessed for good health, peace here & there, and basically, just being together.




And of course, Sit and Be Fit, with Mary Ann Wilson on PBS.  I think my kids are ready to go back to school now.