Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Best Christmas Present Ever

The older Soren gets the better Christmas is for us. Even though he isn't sure Santa is real now - logic is starting to kick in - he still was very excited for Christmas morning. Alan and I stayed up late setting up what we hoped would be a HUGE surprise. Months ago we purchased a Wii, as we knew it was going to be the 'hot ticket' item this Christmas. I'd been purchasing accessories for it since October and tried to keep everything well hidden. However, Alan and I both had concerns that Soren knew we'd purchased it. So, we devised our plan.

Part 1 - Remove the XBox and all accessories from under the TV.
Part 2 - Insert Wii and all of it's components under the TV.
Part 3 - Close cupboard and hide all traces.
Part 4 - Sleep
Part 5 - Get up and head downstairs to open presents.
Part 6 - Open all presents that are under the tree and empty out stockings.
Part 7 - Eat Breakfast
Part 8 - Play a card game
Part 9 - Casually ask Soren to setup the XBox for a round of Battlefront with mom and dad.
Part 10 - Watch him discover his last Christmas present.

There are no words to describe his reaction. Instead, we've uploaded 2 video clips.

So - needless to say - that was an AWESOME reaction. Awesome.

I'll update on the rest of our Christmas later, but I had to get these up.

Friday, December 21, 2007


Christmas is just around the corner! I can't believe it. I have so much wrapping to do it is ridiculous. I also should really go out and get ONE MORE THING at the store, but I'm like - ugh, fight with all the crazy for one more thing? Or just buy it the week after? I go to the mall (ew, hate the mall) on Jan. 1st to buy calendars anyway, so I could just get it then. Yes, that's what I will do.

I've done all the grocery shopping, again, except one thing. We started a new tradition last year - french toast with this KILLER bread. It's Hawaiian sweet bread (I think). This year, however, we will be having STUFFED french toast, so I probably should get some fruit as well. I have apples and pears, but I think berries would work best. So, I will probably run to the store in the morning. But just the grocery store. And just the one that is super close.

Soren had a class party yesterday. He begged and begged to wear a Santa hat to school, so I let him. Luckily it made it home, too. He had a great time and I'm glad for that. Today is the last day of school and then he gets a whopping 7 (school) days off before he's back to school on Jan. 2nd. I swear I remember Winter Break being much longer than that when I was a kid. Anyway, today he was distracted by the great UNO war and forgot to grab his lunch on the way out the door, so after water aerobics, shower, and cake baking I had to run over and drop it off to him. It's only the second time this year that he has spaced it, so I can't be too upset. Especially because I won UNO 4 times and he only won 3. Rematch is scheduled for after school.

Alan recently was called to be in charge of the basketball program for the entire stake. Not a big shocker. It's like his life's mission or something. So he's now in the EQ presidency, in charge of basketball and sports for the ward, and in charge of basketball and sports for the stake. Plus coaching basketball for Soren. Plus - oh yeah - working full time. Hee hee. He's becoming almost as busy as me!

Speaking of me and busy, I just keep piling it on. I'm singing with a small women's choir on Sunday at church and then singing a solo the following week. I'm also going from just being over the little kids singing time at church to all the kids under 12. So.... yeah. And Jan. 3 outside work starts up again and then I, of course, have the inside work. My poor house is falling apart around me! It's just by the time I finish work, cleaning is the last thing I want to do. I have no idea how moms work full time - although sometimes I wish I had just one full time job instead of 4-5 part time jobs.

Somehow I did find time to get Christmas cards out, though. And mail a package. Now I've just got to get the birthday cards for December in the mail before the month is over. I can do it!!! At least I think I can.

Maybe after a nap.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Another Week Closer to Christmas

Can you even believe that Christmas is only a week and a day away? A week from tomorrow we'll be opening presents, playing games, going to the movies, and celebrating my BFF Jen's birthday. (BFF, for those of you who are unsure, means Best Friend Forever. . . it makes me laugh and when I say it out loud I do it with that California, Valley Girl accent. Well hey, it makes ME laugh - no one was talking about you. You don't have to laugh. Hee hee!) I do not think any packages I need to send will get to their destinations in time. I only have 1 package to send, though. Everything else is small. I feel as though I am not nearly ready enough, though, because things have been rather stressful the past few weeks.

I started my new job 2 weeks ago and have been trying to get into the groove of things there. It is a lot more structured than my other web design gig, so I'm learning the ropes. I'm also trying to remember how to use certain aspects of Photoshop because it has been a while since I did much designing in that program. However, I think I've finally got a handle on things and so hopefully things will settle into a nice pattern and I can just add it to my list of things to do. The great thing? We don't work on weekends. I love that!

Tomorrow is my last day of teaching musical theatre until the new year. I'm planning on doing some work on our new show, but reserve a bulk of the time to just playing fun improv games and goofing off. My last voice lesson is on Thursday night. Next week I will not really be working at all. It will be nice to have a week of down time.

Since we don't have any family near for the holidays we've had to make adjustments in our life out here in the EAST. Usually we have had the missionaries over on Christmas Eve, but this year things are different and I do not believe that is an option. So we are heading over to my sweet friend Nancy's house. She was my roommate in college and up until about two (?) years ago lived up the street from me. However, she ran off and bought a house and moved about 30 minutes away (depending on traffic). Even though she isn't too far away geographically, our lives are both pretty hectic and we don't get to see each other much at all. So, we're going to go have food over there, hang out, do the whole Christmas Eve story of Christmas thing and what not . . . ya know, usual Christmas Eve stuff. This will be fun! I haven't seen Nancy and the kiddos since like . . September. I don't even remember the last time I saw Richard (Nancy's hubby) and Alan mentioned that he thinks it has been a year since he's seen them all. Crazy! So, good times. And no major cooking (which means the kitchen won't be dirty lol) at our house on Christmas Eve. Yay!

Soren had something exciting happen this past week. At his school they do a Geography Bee. I had only ever heard of a Spelling Bee, so I didn't even know this was happening. However, on Friday he came home and informed us that he made it to the semi-finals in the Geography Bee at his school! Of course, being Soren, he has now become not proud of this, but freaked out. He doesn't want to "look like a dufus" in front of the whole school if he gets an easy question wrong. We had a long talk and I think he's feeling better about things, but we'll be doing quite a bit of studying this afternoon and in the morning tomorrow. I just told him to go and do his best. We'll see how that all turns out!

It's time for me to get some things done around the house before Soren is home from school. Monday the kids get out of school at 1:15pm, so I don't get as much time to do stuff as usual. I also need to shower - I still smell like chlorine from my water aerobics! Later!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

I wish I could say that so many exciting things have been going on that I haven't had a chance to post, but I'm afraid that is not the case. The truth is, nothing exciting has been going on, so I haven't posted. Haha!

We did have our ward Christmas party on Friday night. That was fun. I led the kids in singing a few Christmas songs and then the crowd as well. We also sat by a family that is newer to the ward that we are getting to know, Shasta & Doug - a really fun couple with 2 cute little girls. It was the first ward function we had since our really good friends moved out of the ward, so I was concerned about who we would sit by and then Shasta saw me and waved me over to sit with her and Doug. It was nice that she felt comfortable enough with us to wave us over and it was nice to not have to go searching for someone to sit with. I always get really whacked out at ward events, even though we've made quite a few friends in the ward. I worry no one will want to hang out with us. I probably shouldn't so much, but I still do.

Our first snow on Wednesday led to all after school activities being canceled on Wednesday night. This included basketball for the boys. However, our girl's night (attending Cooking Club taught by the aforementioned Shasta) was not canceled. With the snow and the people here who can't drive when the roads are dry, I decided to stay home rather than risk my life. The boys and I snuggled up together and spent the evening just hanging out. Soren and our next door neighbor, Madina, played out in the snow and dreamed of a Thursday with no school. When morning came, the snow had stopped but ice had formed. This caused a 2 hour delay and a ton of traffic issues. The kids were glad for the delay and I didn't mind, either. It meant I did not have to drag Soren out of bed - which I only have to do on school days. The rest of the day proceeded as normal Thursdays do, so there is nothing that exciting to report.

I did get to see Enchanted on Friday, an adorably fantastic movie. It was just a feel good movie and I giggled a lot and had one of the songs stuck in my head the rest of the day. There aren't a lot of movies coming out this holiday season that have me excited about the movies. In fact, this is the first movie I've been to since Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix. I am looking forward to National Treasure II, though. I think that is what we'll see on Christmas Day this year.

Well, Alan has started watching Tin Man without me - HOW RUDE! So I better head in and try to stay awake for at least the first hour or so. For those that are unaware, it's a miniseries from the Sci-Fi channel - a new twist on The Wizard of Oz with an actress that intrigues me, Zooey Deschanel. The actress who plays Chuck, from Pushing Daisies, totally reminds me of her, too. Makes watching that show a little nuts for me sometimes - especially because Jim Dale narrates and he also reads all the American versions of the Harry Potter books on CD - which I've listened to a lot.

Right, I need to get off my tangents and go watch Tin Man. Alan's throwing water bottles in my general direction. Don't worry, they're empty. :D

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Outside the snows is falling . . . .

Our first snow started sometime in the middle of the night. I woke up to a light sprinkling of snow outside and said to Alan - it's like the Frost Fairy sneezed! It isn't that exciting, but it's just nice to have snow as a testament to how freaking cold it has been the past few days. Yesterday I thought limbs were going to fall off, it was so crazy cold. And I was out and about all day starting with a 9am trip to the grocery store, followed by a mad dash home to unload the car (BRRR), then off again to the bank, pay rent, order my contacts and look for a new pair of glasses, and then out to lunch with my roomie, Marie. Following lunch it was another mad dash home so I could conduct my first design interview for my new job. After completing that, it was time to freshen up and head off to my musical theatre class, where I had 2 new students and one returning student. Then I taught a voice lesson. Then I came home and actually got to sit and eat dinner with my family. After that, though, Alan headed off to a basketball game in DC and it was time to get Soren ready for bed. Once Soren was safely tucked in, I made a run to Borders, but came back empty handed. BOOOOO! Then it was - work on a layout for my new job and wait for Alan to get home. Alan gets home and boom, crash into bed.

Yes, yesterday was busy.

Today, however, is a bit more relaxed. I do have work, but it's all at home. All my errands were run yesterday. Soren will most likely get out of school early if the snow keeps up like the predictions say it will. Hopefully this means Alan will be able to come home early, too. This will also mean that all after school activities will be canceled - so no basketball for the boys tonight! It would just be nice to have an excuse to hole ourselves up for a few hours, cuddle on the couch, put in a movie, drink some hot cocoa, and just relax.

If, however, the snow isn't as snow-ish as I hope . . . I'll be heading to Ikea with a friend mid-morning, then spending the afternoon working, then head to cooking club tonight in lieu of girl's night. My friend, Shasta, is showing us how to make truffles. I think I'll bring some carrots and an apple!

Maybe on Saturday I'll get to relax a bit . . . :)

Thursday, November 29, 2007


I'm doing this Holiday Challenge thing that involves working on ways to improve how healthy we are in our lives. It's a 6 week goal to get us through the holidays without destroying our bodies. I'm all for this, seeing as this is prime time for eating like crap and being too busy to exercise. Each week we are given a new challenge to complete. This week it was to add something new into our exercise routine. I groaned because I love what I do and am not really a fan of change. I go to water aerobics 3 times a week and I dance with my musical theatre kids 2 times a week. I am moving a lot already, thank you very much! However, I decided to give it a try and asked my friend to bring over a few of her exercise videos, I'd pick one, and I'd try it. The result?

Pilates is BORING.

Almost as boring as yoga, but not quite at that level of boredom.

I've learned through the years (I have tried billions of things to motivate me to exercise) that I have to be moving a lot and there must be fun music. Also - if you throw in water - you can almost guarantee that I will be there. And this concept was confirmed again today. I just can't do all these 'sit and breathe' and 'slowly roll up' things. I practically fall asleep. So tomorrow it is back into the water for me and I think that is where I will stay. Preach all you want about how wonderful Yoga and Pilates are for your mind, body, and spirit - but I just can't sit still long enough for that. I can't sit still period, really. And if someone tries to force me to do it, my stubborn instincts kick in and . . . . well, let's just leave it at that. Water Aerobics is just a better choice for me. But hey - I tried.

In other news, the boys are feeling much better! And I have, thus far, managed to stave off infection. Soren headed back to school yesterday and Alan was back to work on Tuesday. I happen to have a pleasantly slow week where out of the house work is concerned, so I can focus on things here at home.

Today is the offical "get the decorations out of the boxes/bins so I can have my living room/dining room back" day. I shall blast my Christmas music loudly all day and decorate like a mad woman. I teach a voice lesson at home today, so it would be nice if everything could be in order by the time my student shows up. We'll see how that all goes. I also need to finish up laundry and clean the ruddy kitchen. Stupid kitchen. No matter how many times I clean it, it just gets dirty again.

That's really all there is to say today. If I think of something else, I shall be sure to return and post about it!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Because I'm Not Busy Enough . . .

I got a new job today! My web design boss referred me to a company (because work has been really slow the past few months) that I could do design work for! I was really excited because I love designing much more than maintaining websites, but you get what you can, right? So last night I threw together a portfolio and sent off the information to the company. Less than 24 hours later, they offered me a position!!! How awesome is that? I now have 3 web design jobs - self employed, with my boss, Amy, and now with a new company! Plus being a voice teacher, teaching musical theatre, and teaching straight theatre. Plus being a wife, mom, housekeeper, etc.

No, I'm not a busy person. Haha!

What is so nice about web design is:

a - I can say no to a project if I don't have time
b - I get to do it at home
c - I get to set my own hours - 3am, 10pm, whatever
d - I get to be creative
e - I get to sit at the computer messing around in Photoshop, which some people may have questioned earlier in my life - possibly even calling it a waste of time.....
f - It's FUN

If this pans out and I make a fair amount of money, I may even get to buy myself a laptop so I can take work with me everywhere! Because that is my dream. Hahaha . . . really I'd just like to be able to sit outside and soak in the sunshine (in the brief time here where the sun is out and it's actually comfortable to sit outside) and still be working. Or just sit on the couch, pop in a movie I've seen a dozen times, and work while that's on in the background. Must. Have. Laptop. Someday, anyway!

So that's the latest news from me. I am very excited! Yay!

Thanksgiving was good, by the way. Aside from the sickness that has attacked my house, anyway. Alan was miserable all weekend. Soren is just recovering from the miserable - he came home from school early and is home today, but he'll be back tomorrow and ready to roll. I, miraculously, have managed to avoid getting the sick and hope to keep it that way - at least for a couple of weeks. I've got teaching to do. I'd rather be sick when I'm not going to miss work.

Alan starts coaching Soren's basketball team tomorrow! He is really excited and I think Soren is, too. They have a few practices before the holidays and then the games start after the first of the year. We've had to shuffle piano lessons around a bit, but it will only be for about 2 months or so, then we can go back to normal.

On Sunday, all 3 of us had the lovely privilege of speaking in church. Even Soren - who is only 9. There was another speaker, too - a girl who was about 16, I think. We all spoke on Malachi 3:10 - that's the one about tithing. Soren did an AMAZING job and wrote the entire talk by himself. I was so impressed! Alan did great with the time he had left. . . . I'm afraid that I went on for quite a while. We thought, between the two of us, we'd have to fill about 20 minutes each. My talk, when I timed it, was only about 16 minutes. I told him that was all I could do - there was nothing left in me. Apparently I either went longer than that or we didn't have 20 minutes each. He was left with about 10 minutes and told a few stories about his family and about our little family. It was cute. Plus, he and I are both about getting people to laugh, and we both succeeded in that - so mission accomplished.

That's really all there is to say about our little family. I've got to take care of my boy, finish up some work, and then get ready to GO to work. Fun, fun, fun!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

What Have They Done To The Cookie Monster?

Have you heard? I haven't, simply because my child is way beyond the Sesame Street years. And, truth be told, he was never that interested anyway. So, even though this has been apparently going on for two years, I had no idea until today. Cookie Monster is ruined. COOKIE MONSTERS EATS CARROTS! AND ENJOYS IT!!!! What kind of insanity is that? Please, tell me. Cookie Monster eats and loves cookies. He would have cookies for every single meal if he could find them. He would eat through a brick wall to get to a plate of cookies on the other side. Or that's how he used to be. Now he eats fruits and veggies - even dreams about them - and counts calories. For. Real.

I can't tell you how offended I am.

If we ever have more children, I will boycott that show much like I boycotted Barney when Soren was a toddler.

And get this - they've released "Old School" Sesame Street Volumes 1 & 2. Here's the thing - unlike other TV shows they have put out on DVD, they did not release the entire seasons as they aired. They sort of picked out what they'd put on there. And apparently these DVDs are not for today's child. Adults only.

Sometimes I miss the more carefree parenting age. I love my kid, but I try not to smother him. It seems like more and more parents are encouraged to smother their children, to overprotect them from the world, to keep them from making mistakes that will teach them valuable life lessons.

But seriously - why must they mess with Cookie Monster? WHY?!?!?!

Gah - if they've touched Grover, heads will roll.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pizza is Evil

Today I ate pizza. This was a stupid choice as my body reminded me why I stopped eating things like pizza. I can't believe that food can create such a horribly horrible reaction and that people learn to tolerate/ignore/adapt to the effects of said food. Don't get me wrong. It tasted fantastic. SO fantastic. And it was just cheese pizza! But my body told me later why I shouldn't listen to my mouth when I'm hungry. I have learned my lesson, body. I promise.

This week I have entered back into the world of art doing something I haven't done in a couple years - making something called 'cartoon dolls.' It's a strange passion, but it was a gateway for me into the world of web/graphic design which I now make money doing, so no one can say it was a waste of time for me. Here is something I made yesterday. It was my day off, so I thought - why not:

Cute, no? Considering I haven't made one of those in probably a year and a half, I'm impressed! Maybe I'll make more and actually update my website.

Speaking of websites, I think I might be moving my blog to my domain, www.ladyshanae.com. Keep an eye out for that and other things that will be located there. Before I can tackle that project, however, I've got some other work to do on other websites. I'm finding it hard to spend much time at the computer lately, though, so we'll see how long it is before I get ladyshanae.com off the ground.

I feel like updating about the family, but I realized it is almost time for Christmas letters to go out and if I'm going to motivated myself to send them this year, I better not spoil all the news here. So keep an eye on your mailboxes and if I don't have your address, well you better send it to me!

I'm off to spend time with my boys now. Or at least attempt to before I fall asleep.

Monday, November 12, 2007

It's been a rough weekend, so I have not really felt like adding my complaints to what should be a cheerful place. I had a rough dress rehearsal on Saturday with my little ones which made me feel that I had to have an all-call rehearsal TWICE this week. I don't know what I'm thinking, really, but I know they need the practice. Maybe Saturday scared them into learning things better? Or maybe it's freaking them out because they are just little kids. I don't know. What I do know is. . . that sometimes I question my employment choices. However, I love the kids. I just forget how many unimportant questions they can ask at the most inopportune moments. "Who's playing Maid Marian?" for example, was a popular question even though more than half of my kids don't know any of the older kids by name. Somehow my answering "Julia," was supposed to make them all nod in understanding but my answer was, of course, followed by, "Who is Julia?" It's times like Saturday that I think - just get your Master's Degree and go teach older kids. And then I remember high school and all the reasons I would never want to teach that age group. I think I'll just settle on what I have and try not to lose my mind in the process.

Other things happened this weekend which I won't bring up because it's too depressing and I've already cried a few times and don't want to start again. Needless to say, I am actually grateful for Monday (wow, that's a first) and a fresh start to a new week full of hopes, dreams, and maybe a few pieces of chocolate. Speaking of which, I found some killer chocolate at the store the other day. My friend, Jen, loves Dove Dark and is always going on and on about how it helps her get through her day. Seeing as I have adopted a fairly sugar-free lifestyle, I have bemoaned my loss of chocolate - though I did find a killer sugar-free hot chocolate recipe that I love! At any rate, I was strolling around Wegman's (my grocery store of choice) and found Sugar-Free Dove Dark MINT. I thought, ok, I'll try it. However, a lot of sugar free chocolate is just... bleh, so I have basically just stopped eating it altogether because the taste doesn't satisfy so why eat it just to eat it, right? It should at least taste good, not like cardboard, right? Ok, I am now officially in love with the sugar-free Dove chocolates (because, of course, I had to try another kind besides the mint. . . . ) and must keep myself away from them because, if consumed in excess, I may as well pull out a Snickers bar and call it a day. Or I should just keep them far away when I'm having a bad day because now I'm out. Haha! That's what 2-3 bad days in a row will do to you.

I spent all day yesterday in bed because every time I tried to sit up (let alone stand up), I felt like I was going to vomit in all directions. Luckily I had Season 1 of The Gilmore Girls to save me from myself. I literally only got out of bed to use the bathroom yesterday and spent the rest of the day watching Gilmore Girls. Which I am, of course, now completely in love with and must harass my friend Laura to lend me the rest of the series because it's like crack. Not that I have an intimate relationship with crack. Crack and I have no relationship at all. Just thought I'd make that clear.

Today is the final performance for my On Stage class - thank goodness. After today I get Monday's off for about 8 weeks before it all starts up again. That will be nice! Also, with the holidays, I get quite a bit of time off from my other jobs as well. While this will (hopefully) be wonderful for my sanity, my bank account is going to start making lots of echoing noises, which is, of course, bad. I could also actually lose my mind due to lack of things to do. I am programmed to be very busy and when I'm not I usually wind up in a funk. I must try my best to avoid that over the next few weeks.

So I fail at making blog posts that are simple, concise, and have a point. This is very apparent. However, I've just looked at the clock and realize it is time for me to wrap up here so I can get a few more things done before Soren is home from school. Any "break a leg" thoughts for my On Stage class are more than welcome - so send them on over!

Oh - and Happy Veteran's Day! :)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

We're All A Little Neurotic

I took a fantastic parenting class in college from an amazing teacher who had 8 children of her own - one of which was in our class. This, I believe, kept her very honest because her daughter would have spoken up, I'm sure, if her mom had said something that wasn't accurate. She would tell us stories about her family and raising her kids and I was always so impressed with her! Which is why I believe one of the things she said to us all - we are all a little neurotic. It can be as small as making sure all the cans in our cupboard face the same way or as big as having to walk through a door three times before entering a room, but it's all a little crazy.

My neurosis took over yesterday during my Water Aerobics class. I tried to fight it, but it got me thinking about the little things I do, for no reason, just because of that little voice in the back of my head. During my class we used barbells of varying sizes. We also use noodles. My instructor asked the lifeguard to get some out and he obliged. But when he tipped over the huge bin that holds the barbells, half of them fell into the water. No one was really using that are of the pool at the time, so they weren't really in the way, but the fact that they weren't neatly stacked inside the bin or along the edge of the pool made me CRAZY. Like - I could not stop thinking about how they were just FLOATING THERE IN THE POOL AND PLEASE SOMEONE PUT THEM AWAY!!! And no one did. People actually walked past them, moving them to the side, so they could exit the pool but not one person put any up on the side or back into the bin. My focus was all about those stupid barbells floating around the pool and at that moment I was like - oh look, my neurosis is kicking in. There was no reason they HAD to be in the bin or up on the side of the pool, like I said - they weren't in anyone's way - but the fact that they were all there all untidy was making me crazy. I decided I would fight the urge to stop my exercising in order to move them, but it took so much willpower and my brain kept on telling me to look at them and move them and take care of them and AHHHHHHHHH! But I fought it because I knew it was so stupid! Haha! In the end, after we'd all picked up our barbells for that portion of the workout, most of them were either in people's hands or on the side of the pool. There was one rogue barbell that, despite all my efforts, I had to pick up and put away. But it got me thinking. . . . about all the crazy things we do for no other reason than our brain tells us to do it.

Another example is my dinner plate. I am a separatist. I do not like my food touching. If my food touches another food, I either don't eat it or my brain complains about eating it the whole time it's in my mouth. "Just swallow and get it over with," I tell myself, but my brain is blaring sirens and screaming that the lettuce I just put into my mouth had actually touched the chicken and had some wonky sauce on it and it must me stopped - don't eat the lettuce! Don't do it! And check the chicken for signs of lettuce infestations! Luckily I am not so neurotic that I can't eat anymore if something touches something else, but I do wish my brain would chill-ax sometimes. I mean, seriously, it's all going to the same place anyway.

I think we all could do with a little 'chilling out' about certain things that aren't important. I stress myself out sometimes with the little things that have to be 'just so' and my dear hubby has to remind me to relax because the world will not end if the fruit bowl on the table isn't right in the middle of the table. After 10 years, I have definitely decreased the stress in my life by just having him around to remind me to simmer down.

In other, less contemplative news - I did practically nothing yesterday and it felt wonderful. This was followed by an evening of Girl's Night, which rocked. We played a game called "Nuh-Uh! No, He Didn't!" which is so popular that I can't even find a link for it anywhere . . . I bought it for $3 at Five Below. I'm all about the quality. It's a goofy, girly game where you just end up chatting about various things. There was much talking and a lot of laughter. We also snacked on treats (fruit with Nutella, which is love. However, I don't eat sugar, so I just had the fruit lol) and stayed up way too late. Oh well - Girl's Night is worth it.

Today I am suffering from a lack of sleep hang over. I need to go grocery shopping, get gas (what is WITH the gas prices going all stupid again!?!?!?!), and get some laundry done so there are clothes to wear. My boys might like being naked, but the world doesn't need to see that. I also have excessive amounts of work to do (web design + my Little Stars + voice lessons), so I should get all of that done as early as possible to leave time for work. Joys!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Ohio & Halloween (Photo Overload)

I finally have a chance to sit down and cover my trip to Ohio. I'll also throw in a few Halloween pictures, just for kicks.

The drive to Ohio was beautiful! The colors of the trees have been less than vibrant down here in Virginia where there has been very little rainfall. Most of our leaves are falling off without even bothering to turn red or orange or even brown first! How rude! So we enjoyed the gorgeous colors, even though we ended up driving through rain almost the entire way there.

We met up with my dad at the hotel around 7:30pm, unloaded our stuff, and headed out to eat at a place we discovered after moving to Ohio:

That's right, Bob Evans. Seeing as we live in Virginia now, we happen to have a Bob Evans right around the corner. My parents, however, only get to eat at Bob's when they come to this side of the Mississippi, so we humored my dad and took him to dinner. Then we settled down in the hotel room, played a round of Guillotine! I love that game. Killing French people has never been more enjoyable! And then we headed to bed!

On Saturday we bummed around until my mom arrived at the airport. Then we headed off to explore the world of my late teenage years. We drove by the house I spent a few years in (and loved):

And then past my old high school which, incidentally, never looked like a high school to me. The first time we drove past I couldn't believe it was my school and said it looked like an office building:

We drove up to Kirtland, Ohio and thought about doing the tour of the local LDS church historic sites, but decided that we'd rather do other things and save that for Sunday. But - WOW - what a change! I spent quite a bit of time in Kirtland during my few years there and they've changed so much! We drove past the Kirtland temple and Sidney Rigdon's home, but spent the rest of the time driving around Hudson, Ohio - where we had lived. We also ate at some little pie place I'd never heard of but my parents had, so that was nice.

That night we played Ticket to Ride, which is a super fun game that my parents hadn't played before. I won by a landslide and that rocked. By the time we finished it was really late and we all had to be up, packed, and moving early on Sunday, so we called it a night. I think we must have played a round of Guillotine that night as well.

On Sunday we went to church in Kirtland and then toured the LDS church sites.

The Newell K. Whitney Store looks pretty much the same as it always has.

His house, however, is nothing like I remember it. Mainly because it just wasn't there before . . . or it was, but in a different spot and definitely not that color.

The John Johnson Inn was definitely NOT there, so that was new!

And neither was the saw mill or the ashery! So that was exciting!

We also ran into some old friends and that was quite a surprise and very nice! Then it was time to say goodbye to my daddy and head home. Luckily the weather wasn't too bad, so the drive home was much more enjoyable than the drive out.

The past week my mother humored me by joining me on errands and what not. She taught me a few sewing things (though I'm still terrible with that machine), and we watched some silly shows on TV, played card games (our tradition) and chatted about various things. She played with Soren while I went to work and helped me pick out all the various Halloween clearance items I should not have purchased but couldn't resist. I'm a sucker for Halloween. And speaking of Halloween, she helped put Soren's costume together:

That's my mom on the floor and there's Soren, in all his mummy glory. If you didn't know, Soren loves ancient Egypt. This is my friend (and basement-dweller), Marie, doing Soren's makeup. He wanted to be a decaying mummy:

He has the look down perfectly, eh?

After Halloween my mommy helped me take down all my decorations and get ready for Turkey day, which is just around the corner. She also came to Soren's last soccer game of the season on Saturday and watched me direct the singing time for the little kiddies at church on Sunday. I just got home from putting her on a plane and now I will have to wait to see her again until the summer when, unless something bizarre happens, we shall all be at the family reunion together.


It was nice to see my mommy and daddy. You sometimes don't realize how much you miss someone until you see them again. Then it just makes the parting again that much more of a bummer.

However, onward and upward. Yesterday was dress rehearsal for my On Stage class. Our performance is on Monday and then I get a few weeks off (and my paycheck - haha) before that class begins again in January. This Saturday is also dress rehearsal for my other classes - they are called my Little Stars - and our performance is on the 17th. Then we get some downtime before we start preparing for our next production - Adventures of a Comic Book Artist. Yay!

Soren is off of school today (teacher work-day + parent/teacher conferences + voting), so I need to go poke him for a while. I'll be back to updating more frequently now that life is returning to some sort of semblance of normal - however loosely I may use that word - for the time being.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Still Alive

For those keeping score at home, I am still alive and well. Cleveland and the yet-to-be-finished visit with my mother is taking its toll on me and I am, truthfully, exhausted. No idea why, after only 13 hours of being awake, I've felt like crashing. Seriously. I've been waking up after 8am all week and by 9:30pm or so I am ready to go to bed. Looking at the clock, of course, one might noticed that it is almost 11pm and I am still awake. It's because 9:30pm seems like such a silly time to go to bed. Plus I had to watch The Office and Scrubs. :D

Ok, there isn't really a whole lot to say. Or rather there is, but I am too tired to say it. Cleveland was awesome - pics forthcoming. Halloween rocked (as it is one of my favorite holidays) - pics forthcoming. I am tired - no pics forthcoming hahaha!

I just wanted you all to know that I am still alive and just in need of excessive amounts of sleep. That is all!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

No day is so bad it can't be fixed with a nap.

Today hasn't been bad, but I did take a nap. I've done that twice this week - napped in the middle of the day, I mean. This is odd for me, as I usually can not sleep when it is light outside. Maybe it's because it's finally been raining and the skies have been covered in clouds? I'm not sure. It could also be that, after about 3 weeks off, Alan and I started getting up early and walking again. My body could just be saying - hey, um, I need a little more sleep if we are actually going to add that back in again. And me, being stubborn, saying - no, I don't like to go to sleep before 11pm! My body then revolts by saying - FINE, but you'll take a nap, darn it! And I acquiesce. I've needed the naps, though, as both have happened a few hours before I run off to teach my musical theatre classes.

Let me explain. I love musical theatre and have for as long as I can remember. I also love teaching and have, for many years (off and on) wanted to be a teacher. However, I did not realize until I started teaching how much energy teachers need to get through even one hour of class. I teach various age groups, but my musical theatre classes consist of 5-8 year olds at 4:30pm. Let's just say I am grateful that I can use music to allow these kids to get their wiggles out because I don't know what I'd do otherwise. We are in the final weeks leading up to our first performance of the year - Robin Hood: The Musical (Nov. 17th). That means we all start to freak out and hope the kids know the songs, dances, and any lines they have been assigned. It's even more important for me to have energy in these classes leading up to the performance because it helps the kids be excited about it all. So that is where I am off to in about a half hour.

Some of you asked about our 'new' car. It's a 1994 Honda Accord that has it's fair share of problems - but we purchased it for $800 below trade-in value, so I'm not going to complain. It will serve it's purpose just fine - that being getting Alan to and from work. Right now he is only working two days a week at the campus of George Washington University located in Ashburn, VA and the rest of the week he spends at the downtown DC campus. However, this eventually will become full time and we wanted to be prepared for the inevitable. It was also getting very stressful having to juggle who had the car when because, while Alan just has to go to and from work everyday, Soren and I have very busy schedules with activities at various locations and this complicates life. So, now we have a car that will spend a fair amount of time sitting in the parking lot but when it isn't sitting in the parking lot it will be used for important reasons!

I have a very difficult time keeping blog entries brief. I'll sum up the rest of our week with bullet points:
  • Alan plays for a DC Basketball League and their team won this week! Yay!
  • Soren improved his math grade this week and is learning to take more time with his homework instead of rushing! This makes us all feel good.
  • For girls night last night we played Karaoke Revolution Party - which included dancing and duets. What a freakin' riot!
  • We leave for Cleveland tomorrow and will come home with an extra person - my mommy!
  • Halloween is next week and I still need to figure out how to transform the white sheets I bought at Kmart (an entire set for $10! What a steal!) into a mummy costume for my Egyptian obsessed son. I also have not purchased any candy yet.
I think that sums it all up! I'll report on Cleveland when we get back and hopefully have some pictures of the Buckeye State for you all, too!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Cleveland Rocks!

Even though the Indians lost the AL Championships, I still have a soft, squishy spot in my heart for Cleveland. This is why I am excited for the weekend! Me and my boys are heading to Cleveland for 2 reasons: 1) My dad is going to be there on business (plus I talked my mom into joining him so we could see her, too!) and I haven't seen my parents in over a year and 2) I have not been back to my old stomping grounds since Dec. 1997 - 10 years! Squeee!

I really only lived in the Cleveland area for 2 years - my last 2 years of high school. However, those 2 years shaped who I am now in more ways than I can count. While I wasn't thrilled with the prospect of moving almost all the way across the country and away from the friends I had spent a large chunk of my life with, it was the best thing for me in the whole wide world. So - lots of warm feelings about Cleveland and Ohio in general. I am most excited to visit Kirtland again, as I know it has changed tremendously since I was there last. PLUS Soren has never been to Ohio, so that will be fun!

Today I must make my third attempt at registering our 'new' car (read: used). There was all kinds of drama and I almost yelled at the DMV (yes, the entire department! HAHA! - no, really, just the chica who sits at the front desk saying 'no' all day) yesterday because I seriously think all the bureaucratic nonsense we go through to register a vehicle is ridiculous. I understand WHY all the nonsense exists, but it is ridiculous. It seems the state... I mean COMMONWEALTH of Virginia is much worse than many other states. It took me 2 years to get my driver's license because of the stupidity. Oh well. At least the vanity plates are cheap. And yes, we are getting one for Alan's car: 2METER2 *giggles* That's how tall he is, after all!

Aside from the car drama, I am helping a friend clean her apartment that they just moved out of (I was assigned the microwave because I'm tall - hee hee!), and I have to go beg CVS to reprint some receipts because Soren, in his attempt to be as thorough as possible in taking out the recycling, made off with ALL of our receipts from the past 2 years. Yes. All of them. I almost had a heart attack this morning when I realized this. Now we just have to pray that nothing we have purchased breaks. Our Flex Spending card is freakish and doesn't accept transactions from CVS without a receipt to prove we aren't spending our money on junk food and cheap drug store merchandise. I keep the CVS receipts out usually so Alan can take them to work, but alas . . . I missed one.

Luckily, I do not have to work today! Wednesday and Friday are my days off, so I get to run errands, do service, do laundry, and clean the house! This is especially important on Wednesdays because Wednesday is girls night at my house. This is when I send the boys upstairs and I have a handful of girls over. Sometimes we just chat, sometimes we play Karaoke Revolution or DDR, sometimes we watch a chic flick, sometimes we play games, sometimes we even LEAVE THE HOUSE.... but whatever we do, we get time off from kids and husbands and just get to be girls together. It's awesome and I highly recommend it!

With that, I leave you. I have babbled on long enough for one day. It is now time for me to shower, as I currently smell of chlorine from my water aerobics class, and get ready to fight the demons at the DMV!!!!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Let's Give It A Try

So. Here I am. I'm trying this whole Blogger thing, as I've noticed a fair amount of my friends/family have jumped on the Blogger bandwagon. I usually use Live Journal, but to make life easier for all involved, I've decided to do some cross posting here, as well as adding things that make this more of a 'Here's What's Going On In My Life' blog versus a . . . well, rant about everything and sometimes update on the status of life blog.

And now, as I promised my sister I would do this, here is what happens when I trust people with my hair. I had about 8-9 inches taken off and really had a fantastic hairdresser. My neighbor does hair (she focuses more on color, so she colored it) and was a sweetie and gave me a gift certificate to get a cut and color. So I'm trying to get used to the new look.

I've got to run for now. I'm teaching today and have decided that, since it is an amazingly beautiful day, that I'll be walking to work. Today the kids are off book (no scripts in hand), so I'll be spending 2 hours prompting, I'm sure. We also have to discuss costumes and props. After today we have 2 more rehearsals and then it's show time! This class will be referred to as "On Stage" from here on out, so if I use that term, it means a class of 12-16 kids ages 8-12 doing a short (30-45 min) straight (non-musical) play over an 8 week period of time.

Here's hoping I can keep up with the blog! :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007




We'll see how long this lasts.