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, 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 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!