31 December 2010

Happy New Year 2011!

Wishing you all the best in the New Year. May you complete your resolutions, be happy & prosperous, and overcome all your obstacles in the next year.

Much love from us: Doug, Marin, Bryson & Sariah

2010 Year in Review

2010 has been a whirlwind of activity for us, we jam packed it full of goodness, I'm almost sad to see it go. Here's a recap of our year:

January: We started the year off right with the birth of our second born, Bryson. We were thankful to have Doug's mom stay with us, followed by Marin's mom. Sariah was excited to have the extra attention of Grandmas. Marin was thankful that her doctor induced her a week early. We're all thankful to have Bryson in our lives!

February: Sariah started swim lessons and dance classes again. Its something that she does all year round and loves it. I love the creativity that dance brings her and the exercise she gets from both.

March: Doug's parents visited again for Bryson's blessing. We're thankful to have to priesthood in our lives.

April: We celebrated Easter, and enjoyed the coming of Spring. Marin finally got the hang (almost) of having 2 kids and sleeping more as Bryson started sleeping better.

May: May marks the 4 year anniversary of us moving to our current location.

June: Doug took a week and a half or so off and we took a family vacation to Utah. Bryson and Sariah did great during the flights and we loved seeing family & friends. Highlights included seeing all 9 temples between Logan & Provo, the Children's Museum, Hogle Zoo, and many, many more. Sariah was sad to see it end and begs constantly to go back.

July: Bryson turned half a year old! We spent our Summer enjoying outdoor fun at parks and splash parks and other activities. In July, we decided to try and sell our house, so we started getting ready for that.

August: Our house went on the market. We celebrated Doug's 28th birthday in Chicago. (Although if you ask him, he still thinks he's 26...) Doug was on a business trip the day before, so we drove down and met him at a hotel near the Chicago temple. We spent lots of fun swimming in the hotel pool and Doug enjoyed a birthday session at the temple.

September: Sariah started preschool! We joined a mother's co-op where the moms take turns teaching the kids. She's learning with a fun bunch of kids, and Marin enjoys teaching when her time comes around. Marin also auditioned and was invited to join the Wisconsin Chamber Choir and started practices. Bryson started swim lessons this month as well. It was a busy month!

October: Marin turned 31! Doug and her celebrated by going to see Wicked. The show was awesome! We had a fabulous time. Halloween was celebrated as well. Sariah was the cutest astronaut, Bryson a crazy alien and Doug & Marin went as members of Stargate SG-1. We had a nice time at various parties but didn't trick-or-treat since it fell on a Sunday. Next year, look out! Sariah's very excited.

November: This month was jam packed with goodness. Marin led our ward primary program as the primary music leader and Sariah got to participate. Everyone did a great job singing and Sariah loved saying her part "Obey my parents!" This was followed by our little girl turning 4 and celebrating with her very first "friends party." The theme was Space Princesses & Knights, and Marin somehow managed to pull it off. Two days later Marin had her first concert with the Wisconsin Chamber Choir, which everyone told her sounded great. (Since, she's listened to the recording and modestly aside, thinks its amazing.) The next week was Thanksgiving and true to form, somebody threw up Thanksgiving week. This year's unlucky contestant was Sariah. Poor girl. She felt better by Thanksgiving, but outside of making real mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie, our feast was nothing special. We enjoyed it, though.

December: After re-assessing the market, we decided not to sell our house at this time. Interest rates are rising, so we worked to lock in a rate and refinance instead. We're disappointed not to be moving closer to our friends and getting a new home, but we hope to someday, and for now we still enjoy our house. Sariah calls it the Yellow Castle. We had a wonderful Christmas! Its been a great holiday. Doug was able to take the last two weeks of the year off. Its been nice to have both of us to watch the kids and just relax as a family. Santa was good to us this year. Plus Bryson has loved his first Christmas, and we were able to return most of the kids toys back to the house from storage, so there's lots to play with now. Our finale to the year was buying a new 2011 Kia Sedona minivan to replace our 2 door Chevy Cavalier that Marin had before we got married. Its a great addition to our family.

We feel so blessed and hope that everyone has a wonderful new year and many to come! There's so much we're excited for in 2011!!

24 December 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from us to you! We're celebrating the holiday by spending time as a family. Sariah drew these "cards" for Santa to thank him for coming tonight. I thought I'd share...

The first one says "Sariah" on top and "Santa along the side. She's pretty good with her letter if she has someone helping her spell. This first picture is a self portrait.

The next says "Thanks" on top. This picture is Santa. I think that scribbling is his beard.
And now our holiday gift to you. Here's a video of us making our family Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. Feel free to write it down and use it. Or just enjoy watching us make them. :)

Once again, wishing you a very Merry Christmas from us! Hope your Christmas eve is a time of family, love & happiness! We'll be enjoying our traditional "breakfast for dinner" and singing songs and reading stories together while we watch santa on NORAD so the kids can make sure they're asleep before he gets here!

21 December 2010

Happy Anniversary!

(This picture does not do Doug justice. First of all, it was super early Sunday morning because we had 8am choir before church and he was tired and a little sick, but he's still super handsome!)Five Years...

Five Years of love, of kisses & hugs.

Five Years of caring and trust and growth.

Five Years of kids and laughter and fun.

Five years down, forever to go!

Love you Doug!

13 December 2010

11 Pictures of an 11 Month Old

Its hard work being 11 months...
Your mother puts you in silly hats...

But its lots of fun, too!
(Mommy calls this my "John Watson" outfit. If you've seen the new Sherlock, you might know why.)

I'm always on the move!

I love to babble. Esp. Da da da, but sometimes a ma...

I'm very curious about everything, more so if mommy or sister has it...

But I love my mommy!

My favorite game is peek-a-boo!

The library is fun, and I love story time.

I'm a very handsome guy!

But its a lot of work being 11 months old.

p.s. Bonus Picture! Mommy trimmed my hair for the first time today, doesn't it look nice? I sat in the sink, while mommy cut and sister stood on the toilet held a baggie for my hair and made sure I didn't turn on hot burning water. Pretty nice, right?

01 December 2010

The End?

Yes, I know, I missed the last day of November. All those blog posts done and I missed the last day. It was partly because yesterday was super busy (preschool, story times, and choir on Tuesday) and partly because I wanted to post something that wasn't "okay I did it! the end..." or totally random or whatever.

Here' what I did learn from this month. Blogging is hard work. It takes time and thought process. In fact right now I'm trying to type this while we listen to the Tangled soundtrack and Sariah is telling me about how she misses the fireworks and how they miss her, too. I have a hard time concentrating on reading or writing when I listen to music with words, then to have Sariah talking over that... well that's kind of what its been like while I've been blogging this month.

I also learned that I like writing when I have the brain power to do so. This month I've been writing for me, and while comments are fun to get, they are not necessary. I've realized that with my short stories, too. Which is fine, because in the end it is my satisfaction with what I've written that is important.

I also like writing about my kids, because they do or say the greatest things. Its fun to watch them grow, but it is hard to record all the little things they do or say in a day or a week or a month. I wish more of our family was close so they could also witness how great my kids are, because I'm not good about recording it.

So the challenge was to see if I could do this, and I did. Would I do it again? I don't know, ask me in a year...

29 November 2010

The Leaning Tower of Christmas Tree

Saturday we had a Christmas decorating adventure. As we pulled our our pathetic fake Christmas that I bought on clearance after Christmas of 2004, we found out that when we put everything away last year, we managed to misplace the slats for the bottom that make the tree stand up.

Enter Doug "Never Give Up! Never Surrender!" I run upstairs for a bit and when I come back he's found this old pbc pipe in the garage and is doing this with it and duct tape.
Okay, I think, sure, why not? It does seem to be working, that is until I put the lights on it, then we get this...
So he wrangled with it for a bit and got it to stand up right, so I think, great! Let's decorate this thing. (The other thing I was thinking is we are SO buying a new tree after Christmas this year when they are on clearance...)

Bryson got to go first, since its his first Christmas and he only has one ornament to put on the tree.
Buying Hallmark ornaments for each of the kids is a tradition for my family. I've been buying one for Doug and I, too since I'm in the middle of collecting a series and I can't stop until they finish this series (and I hope they do it soon, its a series of mischievous cats, and they're are cute, but our tree is starting to look like a crazy cat lady's tree.)
Sariah put her's on next. This year she choose a blond angel. I think it looks a bit like her, so I'm pleased with her choice. She was leaning towards Ariel for awhile before choosing this one, which would've been fine as well. I just don't want her to regret any of her ornaments like I do one or two of mine. (The disastrous Hugabunch ornament of '86 comes to mind...)
After we got the tree decorated, Sariah did some dancing for us to Christmas music. I managed to upload all our Christmas music to my ipod, which is great, but she only wants to listen to the fast songs, so I might need to make some playlists just for her...
This was also the point where we realized that the tree was leaning again, and all the tape in the world wasn't going to keep it upright. So Doug ran to the store and bought a tree stand for $7.50. The problem then was that the slats for the new stand didn't fit in the tree slots, nor did the old tree base fit in the new stand.

So now we've got a fully decorated tree, that I'm basically holding upright because it has no base. Long story short, after breaking the tree in half, using 2 wrenches and a lot of muscle, we got the tree in the new base and it back together. Its sitting pretty downstairs. Whew, what an adventure!

(And I now realize I don't have a picture of the finished product. I'm too lazy to go downstairs and take one, so I'll post it later... :) )

28 November 2010

Primary Music 2011

This post is for all the Parents and Teachers in my ward. If you are looking for digital copies of the songs we are singing this year in primary, look no further! To download the mp3s of the songs, right click the link and save.

January – If I Listen with My Heart music & voice music only pdf

February – I Will Follow God's Plan (Children's Songbook 164-165) music & voice music only

March – Stand for the Right (Children's Songbook 159) music & voice music only

April – I Lived in Heaven (Children's Songbook 4) music & voice music only

May – Praise to the Man vs 1&3 (Hymns no.27) music & voice music only

June – Choose the Right Way (Children's Songbook 160) music & voice music only

July – I Love to See the Temple (Children's Songbook 95) music & voice music only

August – The Lord Gave Me a Temple (Children's Songbook 153) music & voice music only

The Books in the Book of Mormon (Children's Songbook 119) music & voice music only

The Books in the Old Testament (Children's Songbook 114-115) music & voice music only

The Books in the New Testament (Children's Songbook 116-117) music & voice music only

Book of Mormon Stories (Children's Songbook 118) music & voice music only

Scripture Power music & voice music only pdf

27 November 2010

Cities to Visit

Do you know that you can find random topic generators on the web if you ever need a random topic to write about? Well you can, so...

Marin's Top 5 Cities she'd like to visit she's never been before.

1. Japan - no, its not a city, but I'm not picky about it (yet.)
2. Salzburg - I really wanted to serve here, but never got to see Austria. I'd go anywhere Doug want to revisit, as well.
3. London - touristy London & not so touristy London.
4. Frankfurt - because I'd like to visit the Temple there. At one point I lived only 90min. away, but it was the other mission.
5. Sydney - It would be neat to see the "land down under."

Marin's Top 5 Cities she's been to before but would like to return to.

1. Nuernberg - The Bahnhof is beautiful, but I'd sure like to see more
2. New York - Its darn expensive, but I'd love to see a couple more Broadway shows, and visit the Temple in Manhattan again.
3. Orlando - Well, Walt Disney World actually, maybe when the kids are older
4. Muenchen - Because even though I lived there twice, its so big I want to see it again.
5. Winter Park, Co - Went skiing here on a Orchestra trip freshman year of HS, would love to return.

Bonus: Austin, TX - because, hello, its Austin, TX!!

26 November 2010

Its beginning to look alot like...

I'm feeling grinchy this year. I'm not looking forward to the hassles of Christmas. So we're trying to cut through the "getting ready for the holiday" stuff, the decorating, the cards, the "what the heck are we going to get the extended family this year?", and get down to feeling the spirit of Christmas.

So we pulled the decorations out this morning. And I ripped all my Christmas cds and added the music to my ipod. And we tried to trim the tree, but the stand is missing, and all the lights don't work, so we'll try again tomorrow. So I'll work on our cards tonight. And we bought almost all our immediate family gifts online today.

So I'm starting to feel a little less grinchy, just busy. So check back with me in a couple of weeks and see if my mood has improved...

25 November 2010


I could write a standard "what I'm thankful for" post today. So could you probably, and I bet our answers would be similar, the players would all be there, maybe the names would be different. Things like our home, our country, the gospel, family, etc. There is truly so many things to be grateful for.

Now think about 6 months from now. Do you think we'll be thinking about all those things we are thankful for? Or do we just remember once a year?

So here's your Thanksgiving challenge. Take time each week to recognize the things you are thankful for in your life. Maybe take a day, say Thursdays and in all your prayers on those days tell Heavenly Father what you are thankful for and don't ask for anything. I know that if we take the time to realize all we've been blessed with, we'll find that there's even more stuff that we probably just take for granted in our lives that we'll then recognize. So take a thankful day once a week for 6 months, and let's check back on May 25, 2011. Deal? See you then...

24 November 2010

My Favorite Things

I thought this was a great post idea. (Thanks Jenifer!) Now, I'm no Oprah, so don't expect me to buy any of these things for you, but feel free to go out and purchase them yourself, because I recommend them!

First off, my new favorite snack: Popcorn, Indiana's Kettlecorn! Oh my yummy goodness... nom, nom... You'll notice that both these bags are empty, because I ate it all gone. This stuff is fantastic. If I'm looking for something kind of salty I go to the aged white cheddar, but if I want sweet, the black & white is pretty fantastic! I also recommend the drizzled frosted cinnamon. I bought the cheddar for a road trip, and now it is a must have. The only place I've found it here is the Super Walmart in Monona, but I hear you can get it at Costco... Their website is here. They've got other flavors, too.This next one is my deep covered baker from Pampered Chef. I love PC stoneware. I own 4 pieces, but this one gets used the most. Why? I'll tell you why. Its because it makes perfect dinners without having to turn on the oven. Want to bake chicken breasts? No worries about thawing and preheating. I just throw the frozen chicken in this, season it (I love BBQ sauce) and microwave it for 20 minutes. Bam, done. Perfect chicken. I think its better than when I use to bake it at a third of the time it use to take to cook. I often make tilapia in it as well. Also makes fantastic apple or peach cobbler and it doesn't heat your house up in the Summer.
Next up, my 16GB Ipod Nano (6th Gen.) Apple often intimidates me. I use to own a 2GB Sansa Shuffle, but I wanted something with more memory. The only thing is I didn't need lots of bells and whistles. I just want something that plays music and audio books easily. An Ipod touch can do too many things, a shuffle doesn't have a readable front, so I wasn't interested in those. They just came out with this new Nano a couple of months ago. Its small, with a touch screen and it does all I need it to do. The touch screen is easy to navigate and the menu screens can be customized. It also has a clock function, so I bought a $10 watch strap and often just wear it on my wrist since it has a clip on the back. If I want to clip it somewhere else (like my choir folder pocket) you can "pinch" and rotate the screen so its always readable, which is awesome. I can also put photos on it. The only thing I wish I had is a pair of wireless headphones (it is not bluetooth enabled, they should have done that) because I have to snake the headphone cord up through my shirt if I want to wear it on my wrist, but hide the earphones.
These next two are the shows that I'm sure Doug wishes I'd stop watching. I'm totally addicted to Castle and Sherlock right now. What is it about a murder mystery that I find so intriguing? I have no idea. Anyway, the acting in both of these is spectacular. I recommend any season of Castle (season 2 is pictured, they are currently playing season 3 on tv.) Sherlock was just on Masterpiece Mystery on PBS, which is were I first saw it, but PBS cut of about 10 min. of scenes, so when I watched the dvds some scenes made a so much more sense! There are 3 ninety min. episodes which end in an (evil!) cliffhanger, more episodes to air in a year(!)
One more. I love foam hand soap. I buy cheap soap for the kid's bathroom, but my bathroom gets foam soap from Bath & Bodyworks. I like citrus smells best, this white citrus is awesome! The Thieves soap is what we use in the kitchen. I get it from Young Living Essential Oils through my mom. Its the best stuff, it smells fantastic, like lemon & nutmeg, and it cuts through all kinds of grime and grease, which is why we keep it in the kitchen.
Anyways, there you go, some of my favorite things. I went totally material on this post, but I think that's okay once in awhile. Stay tuned tomorrow for more of my favorite things that have nothing to do with possessions.

23 November 2010


So the only person to give me a blog idea was my brother, Jason, and he said to blog about him. So guess what? I'm giving you a blog about my brother, Jason.

So my brother, he's kind of cool. I can't say I've always felt that way, but I do now. See when we were kids, we didn't have a lot of common interests, but that's okay. I enjoyed being his older sister until he grew taller and stronger than I was. See, part of my babysitting tactics was being bigger than my younger brothers so I could throw them around by their hair or their ears (yes, I feel bad about this now...) But once he got bigger than me, well, lets just say he gave me the smack down once and that's all it took. We left each other alone after that.

Jason likes things I just don't understand, like NASCAR or country music. On the other hand, I can talk to him on the phone for like an hour and its all good. We talk about politics or football or our families. Once I won a big sweepstakes, one of those where you drop your info in a big bin of other cards and never think about it again. Of all the things I could've won, what did I win? A trip to a NASCAR race in Detroit. I was single at the time, so was my bro. So we went together. It was a pretty cool weekend.

Here's the thing about Jason though, he likes to pull my chain. I sometimes don't know if he's being serious or not. It kind of drives me crazy. Also, he mumbles, a lot. What's up with that?

Jason's wife, Jodi, is awesome. I love her to bits. She's amazing. They're kids are pretty adorable, too. We're looking forward to seeing them next Summer.

Jason's middle name is Hod. Its from our Paternal Great-Grandpa. His name was Horace, but everyone called him Hod. His son, Sheral, was my grandpa, and they called him Little Hod. According to the children's museum here a Hod is a box for carrying bricks or mortar. Yup.

I love my brother. I love his twin, Justin, too. I wish they lived closer.

So there you go. Now, if you want to hear about other things, you better give me some better topics! I can't be responsible for the contents of this blog if you don't!

22 November 2010

Harry Potter & other Randomness

I don't feel like blogging today. That's maybe because I've been blogging for 22 days straight and although I had a larger amount of topics in my head last week, I used the last one Sunday.

So let me just say that Doug is awesome for giving me a Saturday "off" from being Mommy. I went to the 10am Harry Potter (which I won't review, lest someone hasn't seen it, I will say that the thought that came into my head as I watched it was, this is deliciously slow), then I went to Subway and picked up my favorite tuna sandwich that I'd been craving, and since I went to the Subway in the Super Walmart, I picked up 4 bags of the Indiana Popcorn Co.'s popcorn (2 white cheddar, 1 black & white chocolate drizzle and 1 cinnamon drizzle and they were all excellent. I'm addicted.) Then I came home and read a book, took a nap and avoided my children all day. It was fantastic.

I like scarfs. I was getting a cold last week, which was no good with a concert on Friday (which was fantastic, thanks to everyone that came!) So I wore a scarf all the time. My neck was nice and warm, and I was happy. I'm currently crocheting 3 scarfs (one's time consuming, one I ran out of yarn for and I have to go back to the store and one I'm just starting.) Its fun. My crocheting is getting better. My Great-Grandma Rigby would be pleased.

Seriously, I'm out of blog post ideas, well except for Thanksgiving, that's a gimme, and I can post about my Christmas decor when it goes up over the weekend, but until then... I need some ideas... got any?

21 November 2010


I'm so thankful for the family. A family teaches us all to be selfless, to look beyond our wants and needs and see what we can do for others. Together we strive to be better people when we are in a family unit. Families teach us about love and charity.

I've been thinking about families a lot. I remember when the First Presidency and the Quorum of the 12 put out the Proclamation on the Family. My family seemed quite broken at the time, and I wasn't in any position to be starting my own family with a spouse, but I knew it was brilliant. I do believe that functioning family units are central to a prosperous society. Strong families support and teach one another morals and standards to help them live righteously in society.

Take for example bullying. I honestly believe bullying wouldn't be such a problem today if we saw stronger marriages of people that loved one another and parents that taught their children proper ways to behave. Teaching children respect, showing them that we are all God's children, providing them positive examples of proper behavior in all settings is the way to stop bullying in our society. Governments can pass laws, but that will not stop behaviors that are learned inside the homes. Rules do not make me feel safer. Parents to helped me see why we have rules, and taught me right from wrong so that I don't end up with consequences that I regret have made me feel safer. Have I been bullied in my life? You bet. But I knew how to handle myself in those situations, to stand up for myself by walking away. These are things I was taught in the home. Other people's opinions of me don't influence me because I know I am loved by my family.

Everyone in a family has a job or responsibilities. Often, these responsibilities overlap. Doug and I as husband & wife, father & mother share responsibilities for our family and our children together as equals. We use our unique abilities and talents that Heavenly Father as given us to respond to the challenges we face in our lives. Are we the perfect family? Definitely not. We're simply doing the best we can, and asking daily for guidance from our Heavenly Father. I know he helps us with our roles as parents and spouses.

I've come to realize that there are a lot of things as parents that we need to teach our children. Its not just book learning, reading, writing, or simple things like hygiene or what to eat. We have to teach our children the gospel. It will help them understand God's plan for them. It will help them understand and give them purpose. It will help them understand how to treat their fellow man. It teaches them how to be polite and respectful to one another.

I want to teach my children how to love. I've been accused of saying "I love you" to much to my spouse and children. Some have expressed that the more I say it, the less meaning there is behind the words. I disagree. I want my kids to know that I love them. I think in my family I grew up with, we weren't sure how to express our love for each other. I remember wondering if anyone did love me. So I tell the people I love that I do love them. But that's not all, I back up those words with my actions, or at least I try to. I love to hug and kiss my children. Its not about giving them whatever they want. I don't try and buy my children's love. I do want them to have what they need, but sometimes what they need is discipline. Sometimes what they need is to hear no, or to receive an unfortunate consequence to their actions. Does that mean I don't love them? Of course not. So I try to explain it to them. Sometimes explaining why something is going on is the hardest thing I've ever had to do. By all means, I'm not perfect, but I do hope as my kids get older they understand that I love them, and they can confide in me because I'm here for them, and I'll take them seriously, no matter what. I imagine often what I say to them won't be what they want to hear, but that's okay, as long as they know I love them.

Everything behind Jesus's teaching and actions was love. He loved us. He wants us to love one another. I know that starts with our family. If we can love the people we spend every day with, it makes it easier to learn to love other outside our family.

Love isn't the only reason we have families. I can catch glimpses of the divine purpose of the family unit. I'm thankful for that and for the family that I've been given.

20 November 2010


Do you remember when I made this dress? (side note: I can't stop looking at Sariah's little baby feet here... check out her chubby ankles!)It was back in 2008, Sariah was a year and a half old or so. I had only been sewing for maybe a year. It was maybe the first dress I ever made. The pockets were on funny, the hem was awful, the sleeves, well, I hate sleeves... But I do love this dress pattern. Its a simple A line, Sariah loved to put her hands in the pockets, and she wore it forever. When I put it in storage, I think it still fit her. (It might fit now... who knows...)
Fast forward 2 years. Sariah wanted a new dress for her birthday, and I needed a present for her cousin, Evaline, who's birthday is two days after Sariah's. Plus, because our house is on the market, I haven't sewed anything in forever and I was dying to sew again. So I pulled this pattern out again. Its simple and quick and cute.
Sewing it went much faster this time. I know a lot more than I did 2 years ago. So, even with having to make two dresses, it wasn't too bad. Sariah helped pick the fabric.
The pockets were so much easier, and even the sleeves were a cinch, I was surprised.

I miss being able to sew more regularly. Most of my craft stuff is in storage. This is my favorite time to sew, during the holiday season. There are so many different things you can make. I think these dresses turned out really cute. I know (and you can see from her party pics) that Sariah loves her dress. I hope Evaline likes hers, too!

19 November 2010


My first WCC concert is tonight. I'm a little bit excited, and just the teensiest bit nervous. That's a good thing though, because it is going to be a fantastic concert.

Since the concert is foremost on my mind today, I thought I'd share how I even got started singing. I, of course, learned my first songs in primary and sang in the primary program. In elementary school (I esp. remember 4th & 5th grades) we put on a concert every year. I have a vhs of my 4th grade Texas themed concert. I can even remember most of the songs we sang.

Music is always a large part of church life, so even if I didn't participate in choir in middle school, I kept on singing. It wasn't until I was about 13 that I realized that the melody to songs was sometimes too high for me to sing right. I remember sitting next to Sabrina during Sacrament meeting and us both deciding it was maybe time to learn how to sing the alto line to the Hymns.

The first Hymn I learned the alto to was "Our Savior's Love." I remember picking it because it has a neat moving alto line. I would sit at the piano and play just the alto line, then I would sing it and play it. I did it over and over. Then I'd play both the soprano and alto lines and try to pick out the alto. Finally, when I thought I really had it down, I'd play the soprano while I sang the alto. Then I branched out to other songs.

After a while I was able to hear just the alto lines from the songs and it was easy to pick them out. Sometimes now its hard for me to sing melody to Hymns, since the alto is second nature. Once in a while I like to challenge myself and learn the tenor. A couple of times on my mission I sang tenor on some pieces for musical numbers. As a teenager I learned a lot about choir singing in church choir. There are some fabulous people in the church.

I was blessed to have a fabulous duet partner in my friend Lisa. We would often sing together in church and in High School, we sang in German Contests together, winning awards. Some of my best memories are of us singing together. Finally, my senior year in HS, I had an open period to take choir, and we sang varsity together. We sang Haydn's Te Deum that year for contest.

Since High School, my only outlet for singing has been church choir. I love church choir. I love the openness of it. Our current choir director in our ward is fantastic and we've sung some amazing pieces. Usually our ward choir breaks for the Summer, since most people are vacationing. When that happened this year, I was sad we weren't going to sing for several months, so I started thinking about joining a community choir.

Joining a community choir was actually an idea I had when we first moved to Madison. The timing was always kind of off, I was having a baby or what not. So this Summer I started looking for choirs. I came across the Wisconsin Chamber Choir one week into their auditions. I email the director on a Thursday or Friday night and got an audition for the next Tuesday. By Wednesday morning I had an email invitation to join the choir.

Did I really have any idea what I was getting myself into when I auditioned? I don't think I do. But I do think that Heavenly Father had a hand in helping my choose this choir. The WCC is doing Haydn's The Creation this year, perfect because I've sung Haydn before. Even better? The WCC often sings in German. Our director studied in Germany for a year an a half. So how awesome is it that the choir I joined sings in the other language I know? Well it sure makes it easier on me. We're singing 3 pieces in German tonight. They are all from Brahms.

I'm thankful for singing. I'm not the best singer by any means, probably because I was self taught. But I do think that anyone can develop any talent they want if they try. It takes time and work, but like any worthy thing, the reward is great. Tonight's concert is going to be great, and I'm looking forward to future concerts.

17 November 2010

How to Host a Outer Space Princess Party

1. Don't Panic

2. Plan your activities and games. May I suggest:

a. Guess how many planets (glow in the dark bouncy balls) are in the jar.
b. Decorate crowns (girls) and shields (boys) with foam sparkly space stickers.
c. Pin the man on the moon. Use your space helmet for a blindfold by putting it on backwards
d. Play "Who had the moon rock in their shoe?" Have one child leave the room and put the moon rock in one of the other kid's shoe. Have the first child come back in the room as the other kids all dance around, pretending they have rocks in their shoes (except for the kid who actually has a rock in his shoe, he doesn't have to pretend.) The first kid then has to guess who has the rock in their shoe until he guesses correctly. Repeat.

3. Make a Castle cake & eat Astronaut Ice Cream

4. Presents!

5. Fill up 150 balloons in your play room. Let the kids have a ball.

See below for visual representations:

Decorating their crowns & shields

Lea had the closest man to the moon, but she also had the closest guess of how many planets were in my jar, so we gave the prize to Ellis instead. They all did really well I thought, considering how dizzy I got them!
Playing "there's a moon rock in my shoe"
The birthday girl & her castle cake
Why yes, there are red motes in outer space!

Blowing out her candle
We scream for Astronaut Ice Cream!

Not shown is the massive amount of balloons in the basement because all I have is a video of it. If I can some how resurrect the laptop and get the video online, I'll post it...

Result: Resounding Success!

Happy Birthday to Princess Sariah!

Four years ago when we had Sariah and named her, we knew what her name meant, "princess of light," but I don't think we realized how true her name is for her. She is most def. our princess, she loves being one, too. Plus, she's a light in our lives. We love having her in our family. So today we celebrate 4 years of having our own princess in our family!

To say Sariah is excited about today is an understatement. She got up this morning and had to put on her birthday dress Mommy made her. Then she helped Daddy make her special birthday breakfast of scrambled eggs. She even helped grate the cheese!Mmm... breakfast is tasty when you make it yourself!
Then it was time for presents! She's really excited about all the wonderful gifts she has gotten this year. I think she's going to have a lot of fun with them.

Doug and I got her some new dress up clothes. She's excited to see Tangled, and she's been asking for this Rapunzel dress for months, plus the matching shoes.

Her other favorite right now is Mermaids, so when I saw this on Halloween clearance for half off, I knew I had to buy it! What luck! You almost never see the princess dresses still around after Halloween.

I'm going to post all the other pictures from this morning later on facebook.

Right now she's on a special Daddy/Daughter lunch date. Doug took the day off to spend with his daughter. What a blessing it is for him to be able to do that. Later this afternoon we have friends coming over for a Princesses and Knights in Outer Space party! I'll blog about that tomorrow.

I love Sariah so much. She's at such a fun age where it is great to see her personality blossom. She loves going to preschool and learning with her friends. She's even more creative now. She's always dressed up and pretending. She's even acting out her own stories. That was one of my favorite things to do as a kid was to come up with adventures to act out and its fantastic seeing my own daughter do that now.

We're so excited to see what this next year of being four holds for her! Happy Birthday Sariah!