Thursday, May 29, 2008

Medicine Park and Wildlife Refuge (part 3)

One of the highlights of our Oklahoma visits is always the ride out to Medicine Park and the wildlife refuge. The kids especially love walking around Medicine Park and seeing all the animals out on the refuge -- the sights are even better when you are sitting in the back of Grandpa's truck!

Saturday evening after pictures we drove up and walked around the swimming area. It was a beautiful night and I was loving taking pictures of Medicine Park and the beautiful sunset. On Monday we went to the refuge, hiked around Holy City, and saw some baby buffaloes. On Wednesday Codi, Grandma, and I took the kids swimming at the "famous" Medicine Park swimming hole. We had a blast and it was an absolutely perfect day. The sun was shining, it was in the mid 80's, and there was a delicious breeze. A slush from sonic was the perfect way to wrap up the activity. Where my kiddos are concerned, a little sun and water make the best way to spend the day.

15 seconds... (part 2)

We started off our Memorial Day celebration by attending a ceremony at Ft. Sill National Cemetery. I wanted the opportunity to teach the kids what the day is really about. When we got to the cemetery there were several news stations represented. With our large group, I thought we would be shown on the news that night. It was a neat experience for our family to be asked for an interview. (Cyle even exchanged phone numbers with the reporter.) The kids loved seeing themselves on TV and it was a good exercise for us to try and articulate why this day is so important to us.

Trip to Oklahoma part 1...

Right after school was out last Friday, we piled the family into the van to make the drive to Oklahoma. Unfortunately, we didn't take off as early as we would have liked and we pulled into the driveway of my parent's home just before 5:30 in the morning. Ken got less than an hour of sleep before getting ready to go for the boys golf tournament -- they all had a blast!

We have had a wonderful visit together. I can't express how fantastic it was just being all together! Honestly, I absolutely cherish these times together! One of the purpose for our all meeting in Oklahoma was taking a family picture with everyone in it. The last one was 4 years ago. This was especially important to us with Clint and Cyle both going off to Iraq soon. The evening was beautiful and we got some fun pictures.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

"What's in a name..."

So I found this on Ayna's blog and had to try it. What do you think of the results? :)

What Carli Means

You are very open. You communicate well, and you connect with other people easily.

You are a naturally creative person. Ideas just flow from your mind.

A true chameleon, you are many things at different points in your life. You are very adaptable.

You are usually the best at everything ... you strive for perfection.

You are confident, authoritative, and aggressive.

You have the classic "Type A" personality.

You are wild, crazy, and a huge rebel. You're always up to something.

You have a ton of energy, and most people can't handle you. You're very intense.

You definitely are a handful, and you're likely to get in trouble. But your kind of trouble is a lot of fun.

You are relaxed, chill, and very likely to go with the flow.

You are light hearted and accepting. You don't get worked up easily.

Well adjusted and incredibly happy, many people wonder what your secret to life is.

You tend to be pretty tightly wound. It's easy to get you excited... which can be a good or bad thing.

You have a lot of enthusiasm, but it fades rather quickly. You don't stick with any one thing for very long.

You have the drive to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. Your biggest problem is making sure you finish the projects you start.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I voted...

...and under normal circumstances, I don't vote. But I was so inspired. Seriously, David Archuletta can sing. Holy crap! That was absolutely, freakin' fantastic! His voice is a gift. That boy can blow! I was so glad he sang Imagine again. That was my favorite of all his earlier songs. I also really liked his first song tonight.

That being said, I like them both, so it is a win win.

But David Archuletta is incredible! So I actually picked up the phone and voted.

Power of music...

Just quick thought about the gift and power of music. I am so grateful to have music in my life. I love how I am able to express and share myself in that way. Yesterday seemed to come full circle. I, with Triple Trio, was able to perform at three different nursing homes. It was beautiful to see how the songs we sang touched our audience. Even in the sunset of these people's lives, they were moved (many of them to tears) when we sang. I love sharing beautiful words and music with them, especially the songs that they know the words to and you can almost see it taking them to another time and place.

It was such a beautiful contrast to the young children singing yesterday. My group vocal classes had their recital last night. It was an absolute joy to see the looks on their faces as they performed. They loved sharing the talents that they have been developing. You could see that they loved having another way to express themselves. They were so proud of themselves and I was proud of them too. Even though they are still in the sunrise phase of their lives, they still could connect with and have fun with the music they were performing. I sincerely hope that music will always be a part of their lives.

How Can I Keep from Singing is one of my favorite songs. It seems to say all those things that I feel when I sing that I could never articulate very well on my own...

My life flows on in endless song;
Above earth’s lamentation
I hear the sweet though far off hymn
That hails a new creation:
Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear the music ringing;
It finds an echo in my soul—
How can I keep from singing?

What if my joys and comforts die?
I know that Truth is living;
What if the darkness round me close!
Still truth its light is giving:
No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that rock I'm clinging;
Since love is Lord of Heav’n and earth,
How can I keep from singing?

I lift mine eyes; the cloud grows dim;
I see the blue above it;
And day by day this pathway smoothes
Since first I learned to love it:
The peace from love makes fresh my heart,
A song of hope is springing:
All things are mine since truth I've found—
How can I keep from singing?

(This is from the arrangement we sing and the words are slightly
changed from the original hymn.)

Ode to Kirsten...

I am trying not to take it personally. But two of my dearest friends are both moving soon. Kirsten is leaving next week and Rochelle is leaving at the end of June. I have purposefully not thought too much about it because when I do, I start to cry. My only consolation is that they are both moving to Utah and that is one place that we seem to end up in at least once a year. I am already looking forward to those visits.

On Saturday we (thanks so much to Jamie for organizing it!) had a farewell BBQ for the McNeal family. It was a perfect, Colorado spring afternoon. The kids played at the park while the adults talked and talked. It was heavenly.

I will miss this dear lady so much! I remember when Ken came home from a church visit one night about 4 years ago and told me about this great family he had met with. They had kids that were the same age as our kids. I couldn't wait to meet them. In some ways that seems funny because it seems like Kirsten has always been my friend. Almost as soon as we met, we became close -- that wonderful openness is one of my favorite qualities about Kirsten. Whenever we are together, there is never a loss of what to say. I could seriously talk to her forever! She has so many incredible experiences to share and I learn so much from her.

Our kids have also been friends for most of their lives. Trevor and Conner especially love to play together. On Wednesday afternoon is their standing play date and almost everyday Trevor asks if it is Wednesday because he wants to play with Conner. :) I know Trevor will miss Conner so very much.

Kirsten has cared for my children and taught them on many occasions. She has been such an important influence for good in all of our lives. I totally appreciate the many times she has saved me by watching my kids (especially yesterday when at the very last second, she took Peyton and Trevor so I could go to my performances!).

I know the McNeal family will always be our friends and always in our lives. I admit, watching the "Holy War" is more fun when you have Ute fans to enjoy it with -- seems to raise the stakes a little. :) We will miss them so much when they leave, but they will always have a special place in my heart. The BBQ was a wonderful last hoorah!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Watch DOGS

Last week Ken had the opportunity to volunteer at Morgan's school. There is a great program of getting the father's involved at school called Watch DOGS (Dads of Great Students). Ken got to shadow Morgan at school and patrol the hall occasionally. He loved getting to see what Morgan does at school and meeting her friends. Morgan was thrilled to show off her dad and have him with her at school. They both throughly enjoyed the day!

Two-wheeler rider

Trevor is now able to ride a two-wheeler! On Saturday, we had him try Morgan's old bike before taking off the training wheels on his superman bike. He needed a little help getting balanced, but then he took right off. It was so fun watching the look of excitement on his face. Needless to say, the training wheels are off his bike.

We are so proud of you, Trevor! Good job buddy!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I don't ever want to forget...

It was late Sunday night and we were driving home from Holly and Brian's when, of course, we hit construction traffic. I try not to get too uptight about traffic, I mean, there is nothing I can do about that, so I might as well do the best I can with the time, right?

Well, Peyton and Morgan had fallen asleep so I was enjoying the time with Trevor. We started talking about what he had learned at preschool. I was asking about letters and he was telling the sounds they make. I was surprised to hear that he knew all his letter sounds. (Miss Jen is awesome!) I knew he could spell "pop" so I wondered if he could figure out how to spell rhyming words.

"Trevor, you know how to spell pop, do you think you could figure out how to spell h-h-h-hop?"

He thought about it for a minute and then said, "h-o-p." We went on to try bop, top, and cop (tricky, is it a k or c?). It was great seeing the wheels turn in his brain as he figured out out each word. I was so proud of him and his ability to focus and concentrate.

We were still slowly making our way home, so I asked him how high he could count. He made it to about forty pretty easily (who really needs 16 anyway?). He had copied Morgan a lot, but it was great to see how far he could get on his own. So he got to forty and then the wheels started to turn again. At each set of ten he would pause, figure out where he was on those adorable 4-year-old fingers, and then start on the next set. His eyes were lit up with the excitement of figuring it out and keeping the pattern going. At 99 he got stuck and so I helped him with 100. On his face was sheer joy as he exclaimed, "I didn't know I could count all the way to 100!" I think Ken, Grandma, and I were as excited for him.

I told him how proud I was of him and all he was learning. Somehow the topic turned to things that he sometimes struggles with. We talked about choosing the appropriate reactions when something happens. We talked about different situations and what good reaction he could choose. After a few minutes of this, in his most sincere voice he said, "Mom, I won't ever choose the wrong reaction again!"

I looked at my dear, sweet, tender-hearted boy with my heart exploding with love for him, thinking how all of us struggle with choosing the right actions and reactions. How many times I must have said these same words to my Heavenly Father in prayer, only to fail, again. So I say to him the only thing that I can think of, "Trevor, don't worry if you choose the wrong reaction sometimes, mommy and daddy will always be there to help you."

Over the last few days I have thought of this small moment in time I was able to share with my son. I have reflected on the great love I have for all my children. And then I can't help but think of the great love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ has for them and for me. I am so grateful for the gift of families and especially the the amazing blessing of being a mother. I guess it was fitting that this happened on Mother's Day.

I don't ever want to forget that moment! It has also made me think of some other things that I never want to forget...
  • How Peyton says "(ex)cuse-you-me" and calls Morgan "sissy"
  • The delicious, earthy smell of rain
  • That God knows who we need in our lives to help us know we are not alone
  • How easy it is to fall in love with Ken over and over again
  • That my soul feels lighter after time spent with good friends
  • Trevor when he sings
  • The look on Peyton's face as she blows me a kiss
  • The warmth of Ken as I get in bed beside him
  • When someone sees me, really sees me, and loves me anyway
  • How good it feels to be in the dirt planting things that grow (sometimes, anyway)
  • That occasionally I am a good mom
  • Listening to Morgan read from the scriptures
  • "Ah-ha" moments are priceless

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Pumped up!

I just got home and my adrenaline is totally pumping. For our church enrichment meeting tonight we had a self-defense class taught by Heather MonDee. She was incredible and very motivational. We talked about different scenarios and then learned about our personal defense tools. My favorite part was when got to actually practice our new skills on Heather's assistants. We did a simple palm, elbow, knee combination. But as I did those moves, screaming no at them, I felt really empowered. I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn these things. Now that was one awesome church activity!

Performance Videos

On Monday, Triple Trio had the opportunity to perform had a couple of nursing homes. I love singing and performing with this amazing group of women! It is so fun to prepare this music and then share what we have worked on. Here are two of our numbers. If you want to see more, click here and it will take you to the Triple Trio blog for the rest of our songs.

Anything Goes


It was a "Mother's Weekend"...

This last weekend we had such a blast, my mom came to visit! She got in on Thursday and we headed immediately to our favorite place -- Costco! We got home just in time for me to teach a voice lesson and then we got ready to go to the theater. We planned on taking my mom out for her birthday. We enjoyed a leisurely dinner at Hacienda Colorado and then drove down to the Denver Performing Arts Complex to see A Chorus Line.

The show is a classic and we were glad that we went and saw it. You really have to be a triple threat to be in that show! For it being such a "standard" show, I was surprised that I was not more familiar with the music. I enjoyed the show and you could see how it would have been very edgy and "important" for the 1970's.

Friday we had scrapbook day here. We had a wonderful time and we had some people that don't usually come. It was truly a treat to have them there. It great enjoying the conversation and everyone working on projects. I got a couple of digital layouts done for my first digital album I am trying to complete.

Saturday we just had a "get it done day", doing errands and tidying up the house. We hit the quilt shop down off of 144th. It was incredible and the assortment of fabrics was delicious. It confirmed to me that I need to stick to scrapbooking and cards, because I could easily see how how fabric could become a new obsession.

Saturday night my mom babysat the kiddos so Ken and I could go out on a date. We went out to dinner and then went and saw Ironman. That movie rocked! I love the idea that you can be a super hero just because you are wicked smart. That is certainly a good one to see in the theater.

Sunday after church I got to take a nap. Seriously, I think that is my very favorite thing ever -- a Sunday afternoon nap! Then we went down to Holly and Brian's house for a delicious Mother's Day dinner. I love watching the cousins play together. It was the perfect way to spend the day, with my mom and and lovely dinner.

It was fantastic having my mom visit for the weekend. My kiddos love their grandma so much! she always does fun things with them. This time was making monkey bread and monkey milk in their brand new monkey aprons that she had made for them. We always have a wonderful time when my mom is around. She totally knows how to light up a room. I am so grateful that she is my mom. I love her so much!!!

I always hate the part when she has to leave. Luckily, we will be heading to Oklahoma soon for a family reunion and we will all be together soon.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Today is Kristin Chenoweth day on my blog...

I love her performance of Glitter and be Gay from the opera Candide. This song makes me wish I were a coloratura. Sigh....

And I totally need to work this one up...

The girl in 14 G

And how cute is this?!?

Taylor the Latte Boy