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!

16 November 2010

My stomach hates November OR does November hate my stomach?

Most people look forward to this time of year. Thanksgiving brings thoughts of turkey, mashed potatoes & pumpkin pie. For me, I secretly dread it. Well only if we're staying home.

My first Thanksgiving with Doug was when we were engaged, and was held at his sister's house. It was very nice. Our second Thanksgiving was less than a week after I gave birth to Sariah. My family was in town, and we had dinner in our small apartment. No big deal. Sariah even slept through dinner. So, all is well, right?

Then we bought our first home. That third Thanksgiving we shared, just the three of us. Or we would've of except the Wednesday night before I got food poisoning from bad sour cream and spent all night throwing up. Needless to say, the thought of preparing a turkey the next day was nauseating, and was not going to happen. We had our turkey dinner on Saturday that year.

The following year we had Thanksgiving at Doug's other sister's home. Very nice.

Last year, I was pregnant with Bryson. Approx. two weeks before Thanksgiving, Doug and I are at the TranSiberian Orchestra concert when he starts feeling really, REALLY bad. The parking lot never had a chance. The Sunday night before Thanksgiving, Sariah wakes up and vomits over and over. Things aren't looking good. Tuesday night I get it. There is something scary about being pregnant and not being able to keep even water down. I don't sleep at all, and by Wednesday morning I'm feeling a bit better, but exhausted because I had been up all night. We had our turkey on Friday last year.

So I'm starting to get a little nervous because the two times we've had Thanksgiving in this house haven't gone well. It is part of the reason I haven't started thinking about making that dinner yet. (The other part is Sariah's party tomorrow & my concert on Friday.) I'm worried if I even think about turkey & stuffing I'll start throwing up. We've talked about not doing it at all, but it doesn't seem right, I love that meal.

Well, this morning I woke up feeling nauseous and having all kinds of fun digestive problems. Yes, its not the day before Thanksgiving, but its the day before Sariah's birthday and her first birthday party with friends. I've got so much to do today, plus a choir rehearsal tonight. Its not a good time for this! My only solace is its not that severe, and I'm keeping it pretty under control with pepto. Just hope this ends quickly and it doesn't come back. But seriously, what is it about this time of year, my house and my stomach that doesn't get along?

15 November 2010

The last 5 songs I listened to on my Ipod

Cory Morrow: Second Chance - I got this song free off itunes, but I've known who Cory Morrow is for years. My brother and my dad were really into him. I'm not a big fan of country, but there's something about local Austin, TX country (which is what this is) that I enjoy. This is a pretty good song, but there's another of his that I like, "Not Coming Home Tonight", simply because its a great use of the word rondevue. Actually, that whole album, "The Man I've Been" was pretty good...

Festival Choir Of Madison: Sand County: This one of the songs that the Wisconsin Chamber Choir is performing Friday at our concert. It was written by Jean Ford Belmont. Sand County is the first movement in a 3 movement piece (also known as Sand County.) The words for these movements were taken from Aldo Leopolds's Sand County Almanac. (More on Aldo Leopold here.) Since its prose & not poetry its a little harder to sing (nevermind Belmont's crazy harmonies!) It took me several months to be comfortable with it. Its pretty though...

Zach Whedon: The Rap: Commentary! The Musical - This album is basically the commentary track from the Dr Horrible's Sing a Long Blog DVD. Its totally worth owning the music from the actual musical & from the commentary.

Kristin Chenoweth: Popular: Wicked - Doug and I saw Wicked for my birthday in October. It was amazing! I can totally understand why those actors love to perform it, people were clapping like they were at a rock concert. This song is probably my favorite one from the musical. (Defying Gravity would probably be the second.)

Lindsey Ray: Picture Perfect - this song I heard from one of the episodes of the tv show Castle. It was the end of an episode when we meet Detective Ryan's girlfriend, Jenny, for the first time. I love this song so much, its my new song for Doug & I.

14 November 2010

Let the Little Chilren Come Unto Me

Today, I have the best calling ever. You may think that your calling is better, but it is not. I am the Primary Chorister and today was our annual Primary Sacrament Meeting Program. That makes today extra special for me. Not because I was up there waving my arms around, no, today really had nothing to do with me. It was because I've been watching these kids all year long learn about the Savior's Love for them, and today they got to share what they learned with the adults.

This year's theme for Primary was "I know that my Savior loves me." We've spent the year learning about what the Savior did, how we can follow him, and the blessings we receive through that. The music was wonderfully choosen. Every year we get a booklet with 6 songs to learn through the year, then I pick two, so there's 8 in all.

I could sit and tell you about what we did in our program, but I imagine that most of you have seen similar programs in your own wards. Leading up to this day was kind of crazy, the practices with all the kids (our primary is 90+ kids, most in junior primary.) Wondering if they'll remember the words, or the order, or will even sit still long enough. In the end, the worry is pointless, because the kids do fine and the spirit is always there.

Three times I felt the spirit the strongest:

1. The opening song they sang was "He Sent His Son."
2. Near the end of the program the senior primary gave testimones they wrote themselves while our pianist played "I know that My Redeemer Lives". This led into us singing "I Know That My Savior Loves Me." I often get tears in my eyes from the Spirit when the kids sing this song, but the two things combined... well, it was really hard to keep it together. (I managed to do it, but even now, if I think about this, I get all misty.)
3. The very end because they all did an amazing job, and the spirit was so strong, testifing to the adults that what these children and learned and said is true.

One proud parent moment:

1. Sariah's first speaking part in a primary program "Obey My Parents" said into the mircophone loud & clear.

I love the primary program because it gives the children an outlet to show what they've learned in church this year and then express it. For some of them, its the first way they can bear their testimonies. I know I felt their testimonies when they sang today. They remind me how important it is to strenghthen my own testimony of the Savior.

Today I have the best calling in the world. Today I feel like the primary chorister of the best primary in the world. And this afternoon I get to start working on the music for next year's primary program... not because I have to, but because I want to. I'm working on it because I can't wait for them to share their beautiful spirits with me again.

13 November 2010


10 Things about 10 Month old Bryson:

10: Favorite foods are pears and green beans, but he loves to eat almost anything, as long as the family is eating it, too. No baby food for this baby anymore!

9. Likes trains & trucks. He's not so interested in driving them around, just how all the parts work.

8. He wants to be big like his sister. They already spend some time playing together. He usually wants what she's got. If its a toy, or a blanket, or whatever, he wants it.

7. Loves swim lessons. Both my kids are fish.

6. Usually sleeps through the night, although, sometimes his night ends at 4:45am...

5.He's got 5 teeth, and one more coming in...

4. Likes to "monkey" across the furniture, but not that steady on his feet. He a speedy crawler and made it half way up the stairs the other day.

3. Hates the sippy cup. He doesn't want anything to do with it. Yet, he's often too distracted for nursing. It makes it hard to get him to drink anything.

2. Speaking of distracted. He loves to observe the world around him. I like to watch him as he finds new thing. You can almost see the gears in his head whirl around as he explores.

1. He's my cuddle bear. When he's tired or if he's just gotten up, or doesn't feel well, he lays his head down on my shoulder and cuddles. Its the best thing ever.

12 November 2010

Screen Names

When you log on to websites (facebook, twitter, email, message boards, etc.), do you use the same user name? Do you have a handle that is distinctively yours? I've got two.

The more recent one I got on my mission. Most of you know it because its my email address. It seemed pretty straight forward at the time.

The other one is quite a bit older. See when we first got a computer and the internet back in the nineties, it was a much simpler time on the internet. The first website I ever was really interested in was a collection of information about the 60ies show The Monkees. They had episode info, and pictures that took forever to load, and midi files you could download of most the songs. I thought it was totally awesome.

There was also a message board & chat room. I knew nothing about screen names at the time, but as I talked to other fans about the Monkees, a new screen name for me was born. I'm not going totally give it away esp. since if you google its kind of embarrassing, but needless to say, it has to do with the Texas Prairie Chicken.

I don't really know much about the Texas Prairie Chicken, but in the later episodes of the show Mike would sometimes refer to a campaign to save the Texas Prairie Chicken. So since I was from Texas, I somehow became said chicken. I was cool with that.

As the internet evolved and I moved on, I've kept the handle for some things. Its silly, but I like it.

And that's your pointless story for today...

11 November 2010


(Just a random little post I started yesterday...)

I had Doug pick a random number and this is the picture that matches up with said number. This is Sariah on our vacation to Utah last June. We had gone to the Hogle Zoo in the morning (hence the bright zebra shirt, good for not losing your child in a crowd) then that evening we had dinner with Doug's parents, Aunt and Grandparents.

Aunt Karen brought this bubble thing for Sariah to play with. She loved it. This is her first real attempts at blowing bubbles and eventually she succeeded. She was totally cute doing it, too. She had a fun day that day and often talks about that trip to Utah. Hopefully we'll get the chance to visit again soon, or at least go on another vacation!

10 November 2010


Apparently, the vampire look is all the rage. I wouldn't know. Personally I'm not really into that. I did read the Twilight saga, but it was like gouging my eyes out. (I personally think Bella was less annoying once she became a vampire.) I think the movies are just awful. I don't like the other vampire TV shows or movies, I don't even care for Count Dracula (I'm okay with Count Chocula and The Count on Sesame Street.)

But now I've found a vampire look I can get behind. Check it out:

Bryson sported this look for a good month. I took this picture after the trunk or treat on Oct 29th, and now his two front teeth are growing in. I still think this is my favorite look so far.

09 November 2010

Worth It

Today I didn't do the dishes, even though my sink is full of dirty ones.

Today I didn't fold the clothes, even though they all got washed and half of them need to be put away.

Today I didn't clean a bathroom, or make a meal plan, or go grocery shopping, even though we've got food, but none that goes together.

Today I didn't get around to packing that sack lunch for our playdate.


Today I danced with my daughter.

Today I got to watch my kids play with friends they love while I talked with great women.

Today I worked on a sewing project while I explained things to Sariah.

Today I had a tickle war with my kids, I got down to their level and crawled with Bryson, played peek-a-boo, got covered in blankets.

Today Sariah drew me a picture, Bryson put his head on my shoulder and gave me snuggles.

Tonight my husband volunteered to go to the store with the kids and grab a couple of things so we can have a tasty dinner.

Tonight I get to go sing with a choir.

I didn't get a lot of "important" things done today, but today was totally Worth IT.

08 November 2010

Family Home Evening

What do you do for FHE? Lately we've been going through the 13 Articles of Faith and discussing them and singing the corresponding Children song. Tonight we're on number 7. Speaking as one who barely managed to get the Articles of Faith memorized, I'm hoping to get the whole family to have them memorized eventually.

Sometimes though we've been doing fun family activities. Sometimes FHE lasts for a quick 5 minutes, but it gets done. That's the important part.

So, I'll ask again. What's your FHE like? I could always use the pointers/ideas!

07 November 2010


I'm hoping to make my Sunday post a bit more on the spiritual side. I don't do enough bearing of my testimony or such late, well maybe that's not totally true, but I don't do it as much as I did when I was single. Testimonies for me are not so much the grand realization of spiritual topics like they once were. Then again, my audience has changed since I was single or a missionary. As the Primary Music Leader, and as a mom, my focus on the gospel is in much simpler terms.

Not that there's anything wrong with focusing on those basic building blocks of the gospel. The things that I teach those kids and my own children will be the foundation of their testimonies later in life. Plus it reaffirms what my own testimony is built on. That's partly why I love the children song book. The basic truths, set to music, are inside.

For example: In July, I had a friend get baptized. I was asked to give her talk on the Holy Ghost, and I was kind of excited. Not only do I love baptisms, but I was excited to talk in front of adults. Then, when I wrote my talk, I realized that the best way I could describe who the Holy Ghost is and what he does is right in the song we I had taught the kids in June called The Holy Ghost. So I used it for the base of my talk. So it wasn't some grand lofty adult themed talk like I thought it would be, but I'm thankful to know that if anyone wants to know how the Holy Ghost can influence them in their lives, they just need to learn that song.

Our Primary Program is next week. Its the culmination of all the work they've done this year learning the gospel and the songs they've learned. Sariah has a little part. Its "Obey your parents." She does a good job saying it. (If she'd only just follow it sometimes!) The senior primary kids wrote their own testimonies to share. It happens near the end followed by one of my favorite songs they learned this year "I Know That My Savior Loves Me." It is like a testimony set to music and I love it. I definitely feel the spirit when these kids share their testimonies. It gave me goose bumps when we practiced today, I know I'm going to cry next week.

A testimony is something so simple that a child can share it. Isn't that amazing? Sometimes I think as adults we'd do well to remember that. It is one of those "share what you know" kind of things. How do we know these thing? By learning the basics, studying the scriptures, letting the spirit influence our lives, prayer.

One of my most treasured testimony memories (in a meeting setting) happened at the very end of my mission. The last night before me and other missionaries were set to go home, President would hold a big meeting where the other missionaries would bring their investigators and the leaving missionaries would bear their testimonies. I don't remember what I said, but I know I was influenced by the Holy Ghost, and I think it probably ended up being a lot like the first discussion. But afterward, one of the investigators I had been working with for a long time came up to me and told me how much my testimony influenced her. It was one of those teach by the spirit, receive by the spirit things. It was simple.

One last thing about testimonies. One of the best ways to share your testimony is just to live it. If you believe the gospel, then you want to follow those teachings of Jesus. People catch onto that. Sometimes I think we're teaching our kids more about the gospel then we think we are because its just natural for us to live this way. We teach them the truths without even realizing it. For instance: Sariah really picked up on modestly. Not because we had a long sit down chat about why its important to be modest in our dress and actions, but because that's how we dress at home. There are standards to the way we choose clothes to wear. Its important to treat our bodies like the sacred gift they are. She gets that because that's the way we live. We've shown her what is important to us.

This blog post went a totally different direction then I meant it to go. I had another topic in mind when I sat down to write this. I guess that'll be for next week. Till then, keep living and sharing your testimonies. I know they strengthen me!

06 November 2010

Is Halloween Still Spooky if You Blog About it a Week Late?

Here are the pumpkins we carved. Doug and Sariah did the one on the left. Sariah drew, Doug cut. Bryson and I did the one on the right. I cut, Bryson watched. Here's Bryson at the Library dance party. He had more fun than Sariah. He also makes an excellent Alien.
Check out his cook alien space ship. Yes, this is the best picture I got of the two of them, my Astronaut & my Alien. Sadly, we're at a point were neither child cooperates when the camera comes out and they're in the same shot.
But Sariah is still a pretty cute Astronaut. She wore this costume all week, and not just because of all the parties, but because she likes it. It is probably pretty comfy!
Doug and I dressed up as people from the tv show Stargate-SG1. Yep, we travel in worms holes to other planets in our spare time, when were not wrangling our children. The trunk or treat was kind of stressful this year, I'm hoping next year will be better.

05 November 2010


Whoo... I'm almost forgot about this today, and I had a good picture post, pushing it off again until tomorrow. Instead you get this random post on a topic that Doug just gave me.

I like animals. I enjoy that we have a free zoo here in Madison and we like to go in the late Spring/Summer/early Fall. Its technically open in the Winter, but cold and snow prevents me from really wanting to go. I like pets at home as well. Although my hamster project didn't go so well. I could see in the future getting some sort of small dog or a cat, but I'm talking about like when we've got teenagers or something so they can help take care of it.

I'm not really good with fish, I've killed a lot of them, so that's right out. I wonder, though, what it would be like to be a fish. If I was one, I think I'd want to be an Ocean fish, more room to swim around in, since I get claustrophobic in smaller spaces. I can't imagine being a salmon and trying to swim upstream with all those other fish to spawn. I wouldn't want to be a really tiny fish or a really big fish (whales and other mammals are out as well) but a nice small to medium fish would be okay. Something blue and sparkly.

Although I do love swimming, I wonder if I wouldn't be happier being a land animal. Not a bird though, because I don't like heights. I do like airplane flying, but that's because I don't really get the sensation of falling while I'm in a plane. I don't really like landings though. Plus, I think feathers would be a pain. I do like to sing though, so that might be a fun part of being a bird.

So something nice and fluffy. I'm really busy and stressed right now, so a sloth seems appealing. I bet I'd get bored after a while. I do think herbivore is the way to go, I'm not fond of having to search for food. I want what I want when I want it with minimal effort. I think a koala might be fun, because I've always thought eucalyptus might be fun to eat. Or a panda and eat bamboo, which makes me think of tofu. Tofu, though, can take on any flavor and I don't think bamboo does that.

So I'm leaning on something calm and fluffy. That could change though. And yes, I wrote this in 5 min. Pretty good, huh?

04 November 2010

Darn Internets!

Today's post was going to be on why I can't get both my kids to actually smile cute at the same time aka the mess of Halloween pictures I have. But A) I'm too tired to actually try to post pictures and 2) Blogger is messing up how my blog looks from Internet Explorer. So instead you get a rant on how my relationship with the internet is love/hate.

First off, yay for all the awesome things I can do online. Its great to keep in touch or when I need ideas for church or preschool. Its fun to hear other people's idea on current events or tv shows I watch or what not. I like being able to stream General Conference or local talk radio (from Austin if I want to) or show the kids clips of lightening strikes when all my preschool experiments don't work. I like paying my bills online or get my latest homework for choir, buy tickets online, buy pizza online, or music or dvds or almost everything I buy nowdays except for groceries (although you can do that I hear if you want to.)

What I don't like is all the pain I have to go through to do those things. When I feel like something is taking forever to download because of the speed or when websites don't work correctly (like blogger today or the server was down on one of my other sites yesterday.) I know, selfish, huh? Yeah, now that I've typed it, it does seem like I'm whinning a little too much. I blame my lack of understand of computer code. So maybe I can blame my Computer Science teacher in High School? Maybe not, she was pretty nice & understanding about the fact that it was all gobbledegook to me! Thank goodness Doug understands it, that's the nice thing about marriage, filling out each other's weaknesses with our strengthes.... whoops off topic.

One more thing though. The internet can be a total distraction. And I'm easily distracted. So its hard to be the adult and try and stay off it as much as possible. I like being connected, but its also important to be connected in the real world. And its nice to get your chores done and make food and stuff. Everything has its place, right? Now... let's just hope that writing this post somehow fixes how my blog looks in IE. That would be magic, right?

Edited to add: I fixed what was messed up with IE, it turns out I got messy with code when I moved my pictures around (I tend to go to the HTML setting and cut and paste when I want to move pics, its usually easier.) See? My CS teacher should have totally failed me!

03 November 2010


I like vests. Especially vests on men. I think men should wear more vests. (Yes, this is really a post on vests, what did you think I could sustain blogging about important things for a whole month? Um, no...)

I'm not particular about the type of vest. I like a good button down equally as much as a sweater vest. I do think the important part is that the vest fits right. It can't be too small or too big. There was a guy at Target the other day who's vest was too short, it wasn't nice. So the right fit is important.

When Doug and I got married he had a really nice tux. It included a white vest. I thought he looked really smart. There's not a great picture of us, but one of the few of the vest, so here you go.

Handsome, right? I think so... so did all these ladies...

Okay, that was just an excuse to post the picture Doug thinks is the most embarrassing from our wedding.

My favorite show on television right now has to be Castle. Everyone I read online has been complaining about this season's wardrobe, but I think its particularly nice and not so generic for everyone. I'm especially appreciating Detective Ryan's vests. Check him out.

See, pretty nice, huh? See vests aren't just for suits or tuxes, but can be paired with jeans. Often Ryan takes off his jacket, the vest looks pretty good then, too. They're versatile.

I'm trying to get Doug to wear more vests. I bought him a sweater vest for his suit, but we need to get said suit cleaned, so he hasn't worn it yet. He did say he'd wear it when is suit is cleaned, so its a step in the right direction. I don't know if I could totally change his wardrobe, Doug's big on polo shirts, but I do buy most of his clothes now, so you never know, a change could happen.

In the mean time, buy your man a vest.

02 November 2010

Infant Learning Lab

Here at the UW they like to do all kinds of studies (don't most colleges?) A month or two ago, Bryson got invited to participate in a study at the Infant Learning Lab at the Weisman Center. The info said it would be about hearing, vision and language learning, and I thought it sounded really interesting, so we agreed to participate.

So after we dropped Sariah off at preschool, we headed over for our appointment. The study was pretty simple. They're trying to figure out how babies learn to understand languages, break apart words from sentences, etc. So this is how it worked. Bryson and I went into a big sound proof booth. For 3 min they play 4 nonsense syllables over & over to "teach" him the "language" while 3 lights flash randomly, one in front of us, one to the right and the other to the left. Bryson sat on my lap, I had headphones on with Italian playing in my ears, probably so I couldn't influence Bryson's actions.

After the 3 min. the nonsense stopped. At this point the test started. They would flash a light to either the right or left of us, and when Bryson would look that way, they would start some of the syllables repeating. When he looked away it would stop. Then they would flash the light to the front of us, to get his attention again, and then flash the light to the right or left and see if he would look that direction to get the sound started again. They would usually go 3-5 times on either side, then switch.

Bryson was really intrigued by it. The flashing light would catch his attention, but I think the babbling syllables kept it. Once he realized that the sound would start when he looked at the light, he started anticipating the lights on the side, even before the one on the front had stopped flashing. This is usually when they would change it up on him and flash it from the other side. He was really great about seeing it and switching, then anticipating from that side the next time. I think he was kind of dissappointed when it stopped. I was also pretty intrigued, although I tried to stay neutral, and let Bryson do his thing.

The researchers were really excited by Bryson's results and praised him for doing so well. They said that some of the time the babies don't want to play along at all. They gave Bryson a book about Trucks for participating. (He had been playing with the trucks while they explained everything to me before hand, so it seemed fitting.) I told them that we'd be willing to do studies in the future. I found the whole thing pretty fascinating. They'll be sharing their results with other studies and hopefully they can use this information in the future to help kids learn. It was a well spent half an hour.


Every year I think , hey I should really do the National Blog Posting Month, it always seems really fun, but I always remember 2 weeks in, and not on Nov. 1st.

Well today is offically Nov 2, but since I'm only a day late, I'm going to try this thing.

So consider this Nov 1st's post... Here we go!

(edit: I guess I should have explained that basically NaBloPoMo is a blog post a day for the whole month of Nov. :) )