Category Archives: Music

Has it really been over a month? (a random post)

Wow. I’ve been writing so much, I haven’t realized I have neglected my blog so terribly. Another NaNoWriMo has come and gone and I while I have completed the goal of 50,000 words in a month the first draft of this book still isn’t completed. I have come to the conclusion that it is really hard to keep up the blog while I am writing a book – I feel guilty if I have time to write and I don’t spend it on the big project. 🙂

At the same time – I miss all of my blog friends 🙂 So, with November being done with I am hoping to be around more.

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About a week after Jacob was kind enough to bring the police over to the house James got a hold of the phone and dialed 911 – seriously – 3 visits from the police in just over a month is NOT my idea of fun. Thankfully we haven’t had any more visits since then.

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I had the most awesome piano recital! I only have a few students and while I am a firm believer in piano recitals and such, it seems silly to have a recital with only one or two students playing (my adult students don’t have to play, and about half of my students right now are adults). So, this time I contacted a local rest home and held the recital there. It was a hit! The residents loved it as well as the piano students, in fact, the students asked if we could do that for the piano Christmas party this year. 😀

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I get to be in a bell choir! It is so much fun 😀 I have always wanted to be in a bell choir and it is just a hoot and a half.

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Surprisingly enough, we have been able to dodge all the sick stuff – well until last Friday anyway. Jacob and James had their H1N1 shots on Friday morning and then out of the blue that night James was sick with the croup – bad enough we wound up in the ER in the morning because, though we had managed to get his breathing better, it was still very labored. He’s doing a lot better now with the meds he’s on, but he had us quite worried there for a while.

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I am revelling in the freedom and novelty of having a child old enough to babysit her siblings. The idea of being able to run an errand without five children attached is mind blowing. The idea of being old enough for that to happen is even more mind blowing.

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The best and final randomness – Paul will be done with school tomorrow! Like graduated done! This last term has been the hardest ever. Partly because he’s been taking two classes, and partly because we are so close to being done I can taste it. It will be wonderful to have him around again in the evenings and such. Not to mention, having the stress of grades and all that done with. Now we just need to figure out a job to allow us to buy this house or any house anywhere. So, while we’ve been job hunting all along, it is going to begin in earnest and where the wind blows us is where we will land.

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Filed under Every Day Life, Jacob, James, Music, Writing

Hairy Tales

If you hair is down to your ankle
and your eyebrows can’t be found.
If your curls and locks really rankle
and bad hair days are common ground….

Have we got a do for you!

Hairy tales, hairy tales,
Hairy tales, Hairy tales…..

Just kidding! We don’t really want to torture you with ALL the strange renditions of Veggie Tales that we come up with. So, no more torture, here is the post:

Paul has been promising Jacob and James haircuts for a while. (Poor guy is swamped with work, school, church, family) The other day Jacob came running into our bedroom just after Paul had left for work.

“Dad! Dad?”

I though the distressed call was because he had forgotten that dad gave him kisses while he was still climbing out of bed. “Daddy left already. He gave you kisses, remember?”

“But he needs to give me a haircut.”

I smiled and tousled his hair which was beginning to curl and poke out in little wings above his ears. “He will when he has time, son.”

“But mom,” his tone was now exasperated and he reached up to tug on his hair, “I’m starting to look like Emily!”

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Filed under Children, Humor, Jacob, Music, Things Kids Say

Veggie Wars

For days on end, possibly even weeks my husband and I have had the theme song to Veggie Tales stuck in our heads – to the extant that we have both memorized the entire song. We can’t seem to go anywhere without spontaneously breaking into song. On the rare moment I might acutally be thinking of something else one of the children inevitably starts singing the catchy little tune.

It’s hummable, it’s singable, it’s cute and quirky and about fun-loving vegetables, but after the four thousandth, five hundreth, and seventy third time something has got to be done.

And do it we did.

We re-wrote it.

This is the parent’s version. The version where all parent’s relate because we know what would really happen if we turned our children loose (especially the boys) in the produce aisle.

I give you:

Veggie Wars

If you like to squash ripe tomatoes
And can throw them half a mile
If green beans can become fiery missiles
Launched at people in the produce aisle.

Then have we got a show for you.

Veggie wars, veggie wars,
Veggie wars, veggie wars
Veggie wars, veggie wars,
Veggie wars – veggie wars.

Potato Bombs
Thrown at moms
Give no qualms
Veggie wars

Bazooka beans
In camo greens
Go unseen
Veggie wars

Cauliflower
With Ninja power
Makes you cower
Veggie wars

There’s never ever ever ever ever
Been a war like veggie wars
There’s never ever ever ever ever
Been a war like veggie wars

It’s time for veggie Wa-a-a-a-a-rs!

(please feel free to sing, and if you aren’t sure of the tune, click on the link above – it will take you to the real theme song so you can practice 😉 )

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Filed under Every Day Life, Humor, Music, Writing

If I had lots of money, that’s what I would want to do

There is a couple in our small town that has down great and marvelous things for our community. They have donated land for schools, parks, and I am sure numerous other things. One of the neatest things that they do is to bring the Oregon Symphony to our small town once a year. They play in the college auditorium, and the best part about it, is that the tickets are free. What an amazing opportunity! We can’t begin to afford tickets to the symphony for the two of us, let alone the children.

So, early in March I laid anxiously in wait for the tickets to arrive at our chamber of commerce. Once they did, I pounced and recieved five tickets for Paul, myself, and our three oldest. We figured the boys were a little young yet. 🙂

The day approached with mounting excitement. The concert was a pops concert – I typically prefer the classical concerts, but that night it was amazing! Byron Stripling was the symphony’s guest. He is absolutely amazing! He just wails on that trumpet hitting unearthly high notes that left us in awe. He can sing – his Louis Armstrong impression is fabulous, play amazingly, and is a comedian to boot. The girls were in hysterics, and Paul and I were laughing so hard we were near tears.

The entire concert featured jazz – I wasn’t too sure about a symphony orchestra playing jazz – but it was fabulous! I was amazed at the talent not only the director had, as he arranged all but one or two of the pieces, but the orchestra members as well to play pieces that must be so far out of their comfort zone.

The girls loved it, and Paul and I did as well. How often do you get to hear a world class trumpet soloist in person – and for free! If I had lots of money, that’s what I would want to do. I would want to bring in the orchestra (or something similar) and let people enjoy it for free.

A big thank you for the wonderful couple that gives our community such wonderful opportunities!

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Filed under Music

The Marvel of Music

Traduccion al Espanol

I don’t know exactly how it started, though I think it may have originated with my brother who started attending Ricks College the summer before me. Every Sunday a small group of us would walk off campus, past numerous student housing apartments to a small nursing home on the hill.

I was recruited namely form my piano ability, the rest came to sing. There was a beautiful grand piano in a large lobby area where the residents would gather. I’d crack open my hymn book and we would sing until voices were hoarse. We started with only about five of us. The piano plus a quartet, and we gradually grew. Before long there were easily twenty to thirty of us on some Sundays.

Small groups would break off and roam the halls, singing as they went. It was wonderful to see the face of the residents. How music stirred and lifted them. Brought cheer into their lives. Often we woud visit afterwards, and they had such wonderful stories to tell.

It was the first time he held my hand, on our way home from one of those visits. One of the girls in the group had hinted upon our arrival at the nursing home that my hands were terribly cold, so as we walked back to campus he suavely scooped my hand into his and tucked into his pocket. I still remember the thrill and grin like a giggly teenager whenever I think of that moment.

Those were some of my favorite times, playing and singing at the nursing home, expecially when he was with me. We didn’t have the oportunity much after we were married. We had kids, and it seemed that making it to a nursing home to play music was too hard to juggle with the children.

Then a couple weeks ago someone supplied me with a brilliant idea to have our upcoming (not until May) piano recital at one of the nursing homes in our town. Of course! I thought. Why hadn’t I thought of that.

Arrangements were made, and then it got me to thinking. It’s a Friday night. We need to go on the best date ever. So, I packed up as much old time music as I could find quickly, fetched the babysitter, and Paul and I drove to the nursing home.

We had called ahead to tell them we were coming, and they were waiting. They chuckled when they asked why we came and we said it was our date. We played and played, and sang and played. Paul brought his spoons as well. The memories were grand, and we played for an hour and a half. The smiling faces, the joy – this is the marvel of music.

We wound things down to a finish, put on our coats and headed back to our car. Paul reached down, scooped my hand into his and slid it into his pocket, sending a giddy girlish thrill shivering through me.

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Filed under Love and Marriage, Memory, Music

Aida!

The Friday before Mother’s Day was an amazing night.  A week before Paul recieved a company email from his company owners that they had opera tickets they would not be able to use and they would give them away to who ever contacted them first.  Paul fired back a swift reply and that was why that amazing Friday night found us walking into the Keller in downtown Portland for Aida! 

The tickets were amazing tickets, as the owners of Paul’s company are huge contributers. It was opening night and we were only about 19 rows or so from the front with a clear view of everything – there were even compimentory chocolates on the seats we were to take.  Free chocolate, especially good ones, are always a major bonus. 🙂

The opera was absolutely amazing, they did a fine job with it.  Usually I am a lover of the deep male voices as they belt out their songs, but this night had me entranced with the lead Soprano playing Aida.  Her voice was amazing. It wasn’t heavy with vibrato and shrieky, it was sweet and clear, a pristine voice that I could have listened to for days on end.  Her highest notes were exquisite and she was so expressive in her facial expressions and acting, she really made you believe that she was Aida torn between the love of her father and country and the man she loved and his country.

I her voice singing in my head all the way home. 

One of the other really neat things was that I had helped our babysitter’s mom with some things and in return she insisted on covering the babysitting bill for the night, so the night was totally free!! 

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Filed under Music

Idaho Weekend

The post I had planned to do, about our trip to the pumpkin patch a while ago, has been temporarily bumped until tomorrow to make way for a post about our really cool weekend.  We headed to Idaho Friday for the Rick’s College (BYU-Idaho) Symphony Orchestra reunion.

 After a long drive of 12 hours, during which we told the kids the story of how Mom and Dad met,  we finally landed at our friend’s house in Rigby, just a few miles away from the University.  The kids were wired to the hilt after sitting in a car all day so we didn’t hit the sack until midnight or so, but had fun visiting with our good friends we hadn’t seen in three years.

Saturday morning the fun started.  While Paul and I got ready, the teen-age daughter of our friend did all the girls’ hair and painted their nails. Rides on the four-wheelers were next on the list as all the kids bounced around and had a grand time. It was quite the picture with their hair looking all sweet, girly, and perfect, to see them racing along on four-wheelers.  I just wish I had the camera up to catch Dot’s face at the moment she thought she was going to run me down – it was classic. 

Jacob is Rarin' to Go

Family Fun

Eek! Elizabeth is driving!

Jacob's turn to drive (with Dad's help, or course)

Wild woman Dot at the Wheel.

Then we headed into Rexburg. We drove around looking at the changes in the town and pointing out all the places we mentioned in our story.  We stopped at Smith Park for some lunch – Paul and I had been to the park numerous times way back when and the kids had fun playing and listening to Mom and Dad reminisce.

Emily and Daddy thrown in the Clink
(Paul and I have a very similar photo from back in the day…)

Smith Park

Can I please have some more?

We wound up on campus shortly after.  We wandered around the music building and barged in (with permission) on a Jazz band (small group) rehearsal.  Jacob stared fascinated at the drummer the whole time. We took a tour seeing all the new buildings and changes that have been made.  I used to live out in the boonies, but the campus has grown so much that my old apartments were right across from many of the buildings.  It was neat to see how much it had grown in just 11 short years and for the kids too see our favorite spots to hang out. After the tour we waited in line to recieve our tickets for the Halloween concert and changed the kids into their costumes.

The Halloween concert is a long standing Rick’s/ BYU-Idaho tradition.  I was in orchestra for one semester, my first, before my schedule began to get in the way and I switched to band only.  During that semester I got to participate in the Halloween concert. The conductor dresses up as the count, our band director and associate orchestra conductor, is Igor.  The two banter back and forth and really ham up the show.  We sat with great anticipation in the back row of the auditorium.  The lights dim and Igor limps out on the stage directing his helpers to place a coffin in front of the conductor’s stand. He chooses some poor unsuspecting individual to come out of audience and instructs them to push the button on the box – with much humor and anticipation. The button is pushed and every thing goes black except for the wild flashing of the strobe light. We see the coffin open and from it raises The Count and begins to conduct the orchestra in the traditional opening number: “In the Hall of the Mountain King” by Edvard Grieg. The children gasp in awe as orchestra members begin to dance across the stage and taking their places. The music builds and builds as the orchestra grows. Finally everyone is in place and it turns into a wild frenzy as dancers leap and flip across the stage, the strobe lights flashing madly. The song ends and the kids whisper excitedly (I want to see that again).

Then the concert takes off with amazing music, hilarious performances and side shows. And, as it was a reunion concert, there were many video flashbacks to past concerts that had us all laughing, cheering, and remembering days long past. It was definitely a memorable experience for us and the kids. Elizabeth asked me urgently many times, “This isn’t the last Halloween concert is it?” When she found out that the tradition would continue she sighed in relief, “Oh good.”  It was exciting to know that she hoped to see it again someday and maybe even play in it.  It also reminded me that I have a video tape of the concert I played in and I promised the kids we would watch it this week – I have a feeling it is about to become a Halloween tradition.

After the concert we met up with old friends and chatted and returned the children to our friends who were kind enough to babysit for us. Then we headed back to the University for the reunion banquet.  There we met up once again with Paul’s old friends Dan and Darren that extended far beyond college years into childhood.  We were able to sit and hang out with Laural and Becky.  It was awesome to see you guys! 🙂 and others too! 🙂  We were able to meet up with our conductor – mainly for the symphonic band and visit with him as well.  It was a fun evening of re-acquaintances and memories.

A small group of us…
Orchestra Reunion

And then we found Brother Neilson and a few others (and spouses)
Reunion 2

After the dinner Becky and Ed offered to take us up in the helicopter they flew here. We have always wanted to experience fly in a helicopter, but have never had the opportunity. Thanks you guys! It was definitely a highlight of the trip. 🙂 It was amazing to us how smooth it was and the view over Rexburg and the campus at night was simply amazing. We tried to take a few pictures, but the vibrations were bad enough that it made taking a clear photo difficult, especially at night. We did get a couple of amazing pictures of the Temple though.

Helicopter Ride!

Arial View of Rexburg at NIght

Arial View of Rexburg Temple

Then we returned home and spent the remainder of the evening chatting and playing until we turned in. Sunday we were up early and heading home. The trip home passed rather uneventfully, except for the one time the van overheated. We discovered that the fan must have gone bad. So we sat at a rest area for an hour or so until the van cooled down and took off again. As long as we kept moving and didn’t leave the van idling we were fine.

The kids were excited to see their home again, especially Jacob and while it is always fun to go on exciting trips, it is always wonderful to return home.

It was a memorable and fun-filled trip for all of us, and so good to see some of you! 🙂

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Filed under Dot, Em, Family, Jacob, Lizy, Music, Photography

Y is for Yakkety Yak Don’t Talk Back

Encyclopedia of Me Meme

 A problem we have been having in spades with a couple of our children lately.  I have been finding myself coming up with  quick little anecdotes such as, “One butt is enough for me thanks, I don’t need all of yours”, “I see you have a but, why don’t you sit on it in time-out”, or “Goats butt, kids behave.”  Every once in a while I will say, “we use bum, behind, or bottom in this house, no butts.” They look at me confused for a second and then continue, “But mom, that’s not what I meant…”   But, but, but….  *sigh* 

I think I have decided to have them start doing push-ups every time they start talking back and arguing.  Commet has gotten so good at it that she could be the queen of debate.  She’ll even start arguing the good things, until she realizes what we said and then the clamps up pretty quick before we change our minds.  Quick kid, that.  If nothing else, I would end up with some pretty tough cookies for kids. 🙂

Y is also for Yippee! Yahoo! and Yay!

Just my of letting you know that even with all the yakkety yakking I am a happy camper and all is well in family land.

Oooh, and lastly Y is for “Yingle Bells”.  

 A really fun, Swedish version of Jingle Bells that my granddad used to sing to us kids as he played his banjo.  For a great recording of it (not my granddad, the song) click on the link and turn up the volume.  It still makes me chuckle and now I play it on the piano as my family gathers around, singing “Yingle Bells” at the top of our lungs.

StinaLisa’s Recording of Yingle Bells

Be sure to sing along, should you have the notion too!

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Filed under Humor, Meme, Memory, Music, Parenting

J is for Jazz

Encyclopedia of Me Meme

My senior year in high school I signed up to be the pianist in Jazz band.  At school I always played the French horn for everything, and was looking forward to using some of my other talents and to something different as well.  I had talked with our band director and he had agreed that I, and one other person, should be the Jazz pianists.

On my first day of class I entered the band room to find three girls hovered around the piano.  I recognized the one I was to co-play with, and to our amazement the other two girls were there to play piano as well. they just hadn’t asked our band director’s permission.

Mr. E started called the class to order and scanned over everyone assembled and ready to play, “We end up with four pianists and no one to play trombone. How on Earth did that happen?”  He thought for a moment and disappeared into his office. When he came out he had a book and a trombone, though no one really noticed as we were all chatting once he disappeared.

“J-” he called to me.  “Here’s a trombone and here’s a beginner’s book, go teach yourself how to play and then come and join us. You can be our lone trombone player.”

Well, I had wanted something different, but not quite like that.  I did learn to play it passably well however, and by the end of the year I finally accepted all the jazz solos Mr. E kept trying to push on me.  I don’t think I could remember how to play a trombone now, but it sure would be fun to try if we had one. 

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Filed under Meme, Music, Youth

Again! Again!

I was sitting in the rocking chair beside the piano wishing for the waves of nausea that have been plaguing me for nearly 2 months now to subside and for my body to be suddenly infused with energy that I seemed so devoid of lately.  All the kids were playing outside with Dad except for Jacob who was rummaging through the music rythm instrument bin near the piano.

I watched through half opened eyes as he pulled out his favorite drum and prepared himself for a grand concert.  Then he looked at me, then at the piano, then at me, then at the piano.  Finally pointing a small chubby finger at the piano he looks at me, “Pay!”  I have an idea what he is asking, but it is too much fun to just do it, I have to encourage him a bit.

“Do you want me to play the piano?”

“Mama pay!” he says again.

“Can you say please?”

“Pease,” comes the plaintive little cry and I launch in a rollicking Joplin rag to which he beats and pounds upon his little drum. 

 I finished the piece and sat a moment thinking I should get dinner ready when Jacob pipes up, “again.”

“You want me to play again?”

“Pease,” he is catching on at this point and I launch into another fun frollicking piece.  What can I say, he is stroking my ego a bit.  There is something special about your child begging you to play and to keep playing.  I don’t recall any of the other kids begging me to keep playing, even though I know they enjoy it.

He put up the request of “Again, pease” one more time and then I really had to get dinner ready.  It sure is nice to know that my kids love music as much as Paul and I do. 🙂

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Filed under Children, Jacob, Music