Wednesday, May 25, 2016


I thought Doors were an interesting topic for the photography challenge, and I knew right away what I wanted for my picture.


But not just any doors. These doors are special. I have gone through them so many times over the years. In to help in the library, in to volunteer in the classes, in to drop off a forgotten lunch, in to pick up a sick kid, in to watch a presentation, in to do baggie books, in to be a guest reader, in to watch countless programs.

And this week, I will probably be going in for one of the last times. One of my kids is graduating from Elementary and moving on, but my other three are switching schools. So this particular Elementary and these particular doors that we have gone through for eight years will be in our past.

I am so sad. It is the end of an era. There are many good things in front of us, but I will look on these doors with fondness forever.


Yard Work Photo Shoot

My kids will find almost any excuse to take a picture. Wait, me too.

So, it wasn't surprising when the kids borrowed my phone for an impromptu fashion show one sunny Saturday. While we were mowing, trimming, and weeding, the kids found a use for some of the small blossoms on our bushes.

June did Pearl's hair first.

Then she handed the phone off to Pearl. You can tell, because MANY of the pictures have her finger in them somewhere. She did a good job documenting her sisters beautimous personages.

Then because she had the phone, she decided to document the day.

But she must have felt like the color pictures were stifling her creative genius, because she changed to black and white. (For the record, I looked at all the buttons and gadgets on my camera app and I still cannot figure out how to take pictures in black and white.)

There you have a somewhat typical Saturday. I like Moxy's damp fur from a bath. And how you can only see part of Tyler as he works hard on the yard. I am not normally outside for long due to allergies, but I was waging my own personal battle against the dandelions. (I am currently winning.) I appreciate my guest photographer. I think she has potential, if she can just get those fingers behind the lens. :)

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Everyone Needs a Little Music in Their Life

My thoughts have run a bit deeper this week. Partly because of books I have been reading. (I always feel like I am a part of the stories. A piece of me stays with them and fights their battles and sympathizes with their plight.) But mostly I've been thinking about death and life. Loss and remembrance.

I had a few friends in my college French class. There was a boy in our class named Andrew. He was such a nice guy. Very cute too. But his heart was already taken since he was 14. He married his high school sweetheart the same year I married Tyler. I would say our lives have been similar right up until the point where Andrew's wife contracted Bacterial Meningitis and passed away last week, very suddenly.

Death does not shake my testimony of the gospel. I know we will see our loved ones again. The scriptures say the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ, and I believe that, but it doesn't take away the dull ache left here in mortality. It is still hard to lose people, or hear of others losing their loved ones.

I always struggle when a mother is taken. I didn't know Andrew's wife. I went to the funeral and she sounded amazing. She had five kids (like me). She homeschooled (unlike me). Surely her work was not finished. It is not my place to say. I believe she will have an even greater work on the other side and her guidance and protection of her children will continue from beyond the veil. But it makes me feel vulnerable. I tell myself that I still have a lot to do here, but I don't know.

We should enjoy each day. We should find the good and be kind. Maybe hug our kids a little longer and tighter. Appreciate what we can, while we can.

Today I was practicing piano with Pearl. She is the newest addition to piano lessons. She is already not thrilled. Piano practice can be tricky and frustrating. I think it is good for her to struggle with something. It made me happy that all my kids have some musical training. I doubt any of them will go on to become concert pianists, but I sure hope that music is a part of their lives.

We had a recital recently. We don't have them often because Becca only teaches my kids. But it was still fun to see them dress up and play for us.

Robyn plays very well now. She creates her own music and arrangements. We still are working on her rhythm, but I imagine a lot of that will come when she takes percussion next year.

June is still taking piano lessons, although her true musical heart resides with the violin. I'm sure bother instruments compliment each other as she learns.

Daisy is doing well. I admit that she often falls through the cracks. She seems to do well at whatever she tries, so I don't worry about her too much. It was very fun to listen to her play.

Ivory continues to plug away. Sometimes I have no idea who is playing piano in the other room and I'll be surprised to find Ivory. She is doing a good job learning piano. I wonder if she will want to play another instrument in the future.

Here is a picture of all the girls with their instructor. Pearl did not participate in the recital. She started lessons the week after.

A bonus was that Becca's kids also participated in the recital. (They take lessons from their grandma.) Ashley is also taking voice lessons. She did such a cute job singing Castle on a Cloud and Dites Moi. She really has a great voice. I'm sorry I didn't get a picture, but you can see her cute blonde hair as she sits on the side here.

I think music is something that makes life just a little sweeter. Whether singing in the shower or rocking out in the car, it builds memories and cements shared experiences. Today I'm appreciating music and I'm glad that I am making my kids take part in its wonders. I'm sure they'll thank me later.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Painting the Town Red...and a Little Blue

Our dating adventures have been going very well this year. Shall I bring you up to speed on the months we have done so far?

November - Temple
December - Eating Exotic
January - Murder Mystery
February - Museum (Ice Museum in our case)
March - Puzzle
April - Painting

I haven't blogged about the most recent two, so I'm here to fill you in today.

March was puzzle month and I admit that we waited until the last minute to do that one. (Sometimes even parents get busy.) Tyler found what looked like a fun, interesting, easy puzzle online. Five hundred pieces, and the patterns were whimsical and easy to piece together. Look at our finished masterpiece.

There are many puzzles you don't want to do again, but this one we have done multiple times. The kids have all contributed and put together some of the owls on their own. All in all, a good choice, Cazier.

Now for our April date. I scheduled this back in March because I wanted to make sure we signed up for a painting we liked. If you haven't done Paint Nite before, I would recommend it. You find a location near you and choose a painting you like. Then you pay (get a groupon deal because it is pricey) and show up. They provide all the supplies, like apron, paint, canvas, etc. You follow the steps and leave with an original piece of art, because even though you are all making the same painting, I promise they all look different in the end.

The only down side that I can see, besides price, is that the evening is associated with drinking. Most venues are restaurants with a bar so people can buy alcohol throughout the event. Not being a drinker myself, and not enjoying the smell, I was not excited about that part. But low and behold, we somehow signed up for one of the ONLY non-drinking nights. How serendipitous.

We painted at a Pier 49 Pizza place. It was a little squished. We had upstairs seating and the light wasn't great, but they were doing the best with the space they had. (But drinking. Totally worth the cramped space.) Here is a panoramic view of the loft area.

A blank canvas has so much potential.

There was some instruction, but not as detailed or quick as we would have liked. The beginning steps were well outlined, but then there were long pauses as they waited for everyone to catch up. When we reached the tree, the instructions were basically 1) Paint a tree. 2) Add leaves. You can see why everyone's was different. There was an example that everyone could view, and it was meant to be free expression.

Here I am working on the moon-like background.

Tyler was astute enough to remember to take some pictures. He put them together so you can see us in action.

Here are the finished products. I think they both turned out very well.

It is funny, because when we left, I thought mine looked more like the example and I was sure that I had done a better job. But the more I looked at Tyler's, the more I liked his best. It just goes to show that there is beauty in many styles and you should let the artist inside you express her/himself. We had a really good time and I think there may be another paint night in our future.

p.s. I have the hottest husband. It is so great to hang out with him and go try new activities. Always delightful to spend time with my best friend.

The Fuzzy Chick Post

Looking back at these pictures, I totally should have used one for the domestic bird photo. However, since I never actually submit any photos to the challenge, I guess it doesn't really matter.

Back in March, our home teacher came over one Sunday and brought along all his new chicks. They have chickens (no, they aren't the chicken neighbor either) and had bought some new ones at a good price.

The girls were thrilled to have a bucket of soft feathered friends to play with. All the chicks were very mild mannered birds; as birds go. We took turns passing them around and loving on them.

Please notice if you ever see a chicken upside down with its eyes closed, it is merely hypnotized. Drew and Jessica taught us how to do this by holding the bird on its back and spinning your finger around the bird's head. It eventually knocks them out.

Here is Robyn doing 'foreheads.' She does this with the dog all the time. It is similar with a chicken.

Here is the bird whisperer himself. Like I said, it has been awhile since we took these pictures. I couldn't remember any of the birds' names, but June helped me out and I think we got most of them correct.

Ivory finally hypnotized hers and put it on the ground to make it all official. (It is trickier to put them down without waking them up.)

Nothing quite as sweet as a dog and her chicken.

Except maybe the shoulder chicken. We believe it persuades June to do good.

They are birds, so they did poop some while we were holding them. Luckily (or unluckily) I was the only one who ended up with bird poop on me. One was sitting in my lap and got me, right on my Sunday dress. She will be the one to lay deviled eggs later in life.

As if the chicks weren't enough, Drew and Jessica even brought over cookies to celebrate Pearl's birthday. Are they the best or what?

Update: I asked Jessica about the chicks today. Turns out one was a rooster, so they will have to get rid of that one. Too bad, although I don't know which one it was.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Portrait of a Mother

I find it lazy to take pictures of people in this house. Well, not lazy on a day to day basis. It actually takes quite a bit of work to keeps things documented. But for a photography challenge, emphasis on challenge, I feel like I should stretch beyond these walls now and then.

However, for the last three challenges, I went outside. (Granted, not all that far for some, but at least away from the house.) And I think I should have more pictures of myself on the blog. Not because I am amazing (or photogenic sadly) but because my kids will want to see me. They love me despite all my faults, I have noticed.

Being a mother is no walk in the park. There is nothing anyone can say to prepare you, because your kids will never be their kids. Your struggles can never be their struggles, because your brain is not their brain. This isn't an admonishment to stop giving advice. Give it away. But until you are there, it is not real. And when you are there, it is all TOO real sometimes.

I want to be a good mother. I want to do the right thing for my children and see them happy and resilient. Functional. I hope they all can make it when I am no longer here. I want them to enjoy music, and read books. I want them to have hobbies and laugh a lot. I want them to be kind and put others first. Learning to be selfless is a beautiful diminishing trait. I want the world to not hurt them (too much) and not break them. I want them to be themselves. Although I wouldn't mind if they were a little bit like me.

And I really want for them to be mothers someday. So they can feel some of what I feel for them.

Next week: Doors