Monday, June 30, 2008

Happy Birthaversary!

My friend Alison coined this word for those that have their birthday and their anniversary close together. This is exactly Ken's situation, so it is nice to have a word for the celebrations.

On Friday we all headed down to Holly and Brian's house. For Mother's Day Brian had given Holly and I gift certificates to a spa. We chose this Friday for our massages, manicures, and pedicures. I had never been to a spa before -- it was amazing and I felt so pampered. I especially loved the massage with how my neck has been so sore lately. I also loved spending the day with Holly (Brian had offered to watch all the kiddos). They had also offered to take the kids for the weekend. The best "birthaversary" present ever!

Friday night we celebrated Ken's birthday by going out to eat with Holly and Brian while Kelly watched the kids. It must be so nice to have a built in babysitter. After dinner we went and saw Get Smart. Hilarious!!! We absolutely love spending time with Holly and Brian. They are so fun and great to talk with.

The rest of the weekend we completely enjoyed being together. We went shopping, out to eat, watched movies, and talked, talked, talked. We went and saw Jekyll and Hyde on Saturday night. I have been wanting to see that musical for some time. I was impressed with the performance (for community theater) and liked the show despite the dark plot -- it had some great music. I love live theater!

Another one of the highlights of the weekend for me was watching our wedding video. It has probably been 10 years or so since we have seen it. A few things really struck me. First of all, holy cow, we were young! Ken looked completely shell shocked! Who could blame him? It was really the first time he met most of my large crazy family. :) Which brings me to another thing that impacted me. It is was so wonderful to see how many people loved and supported us by making the trip to San Diego for our wedding. Besides marrying my sweetheart, that was the best thing about that day!



The last 12 years seem to have gone by so quickly. Our wedding doesn't seem that long ago and it is also a lifetime away. Even though we were so young, I totally would marry him again. I think that Ken and I are a great fit for each other and I love him so much. I am so grateful for the last 12 years and all the experiences we have shared together. I feel so blessed and it just keeps getting better...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sun and sand...

Yesterday we had so much stinkin' fun at Union Reservoir. I can't believe that we have never gone there before! We are going back again next Wednesday for anyone that is interested. There is a great beach, shade trees, and a park. The kids had a blast and I can't wait to go again!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Ode to the Allreds


For months I knew this day was coming. Now that it is here, it is not any easier. Today our dear friends, Shane and Rochelle Allred, are moving. My heart is aching and there is this horrible lump in my throat that does not seem to be going away. I cannot say enough about this amazing family -- they will be so missed!

Shane and Ken were in school at BYU together and we knew he had also gotten a job with IBM and would soon be joining us out in Colorado. Even though I had not met them yet, I looked forward to the Allreds, DeBrys, and Klines (all at school together) all being here. As soon as I met Shane and Rochelle I knew we would be good friends.

This was before either of us had kids and we spent a lot of late nights hanging out, watching movies, and talking. I soon learned that I had to eat carefully around Shane. He is so funny-- on more than one occasion I have choked on my food because Shane says something hilarious right after I take a bite. (Maybe he does it on purpose?!?) I think it was during this time we became each other's "Colorado family." We started spending many weekends and holidays together.

We also started establishing traditions together. When we were in town for a holiday we would spend it together. The Allreds, Debrys, Klines, and Siders have had many a meal together. :) Even if we had family in town visiting, often they would join us in the celebration. After all, they were our family too. We also started going up to Montana to the Debry's family cabin. We started doing this when we each just had one baby, now we are totally outnumbered by kids. I hope we never fall out of favor with the Debrys because this is one of our kids, and our, favorite traditions -- every summer we go up to "the cabin." We all look forward to it every summer and count down the days until we go ( only 2 and a half weeks!). When the Debrys moved to Idaho we were so sad and Rochelle and I threw a goodbye dinner party for them. This too became a tradition. Every year since then we have hosted the Allred/Siders Christmas party. This past year before we had even figured out when we were doing it, we had people asking when it was so they could reserve their babysitter. :)

Then of course, there are the thousands of little things: play dates for the kids, who practically grew up together, fun trips and picnic lunches to the zoo, Canadian Thanksgiving, watching SYTYCD together, book club, and girls' nights. Too many wonderful times together to count. The Allred family is completely entwined with our life here in Colorado. It is very difficult seeing them go.

On Saturday we had a little goodbye party for the Allreds. We had it at the park because we knew there was no way any of our houses could hold all of their friends. It was a beautiful evening spent with friends and hopefully a wonderful last hurrah with the Allreds -- hopefully Becky will post some of them pictures she took soon. :) I think they really loved the scrapbook we made of just a few of their Colorado friends (they have many that call them friend!). I hope everyone had as much fun as I did and thanks to all those that came out to say goodbye.

My dear friend Rochelle is one of the greatest examples in my life. She is one of the best examples of Christlike love and service that I know. She has such grace and patience and handles just about anything thrown at her in such a beautiful way. She is always willing to serve -- I can't tell you how many times she has watched our kiddos for us. She is a true friend who always keeps confidences, thinks and speaks the best of others, and loves unconditionally. Rochelle is one of those people that you can count on and it is a great blessing in my life that she counted on me too. I am so glad that I was one of the people she would call if things got a little overwhelming (which was not very often because she is really good at rolling with the punches). She has a beautiful spirit about her and such a love of the gospel. She always wants to do what is right. I love her so much and I am so grateful for her example and all that she has added to my life and to all those who knew her.

I will miss you my dear friend. This morning it was hard to say goodbye. As the tears were flowing (you know, the the UGLY kind) and Ken was hugging me to try and ease some of the pain, I asked him if he and Shane were upset too. He assured me they were crying on the inside. :) I wish you all the very best. Utah is not really that far away and I am always up for a road trip. I love you very much!

Monday, June 23, 2008

It's the little things...

Yesterday I was struck again by how fortunate I am to be married to Ken! I pretty much always feel that way, but I have to admit that I love it when he does something to remind me. :) Sundays are usually kind of hectic, Ken is busy with church meetings so we don't get to see too much of him and I have my hands plenty full with the kids.

Somehow yesterday I forgot my Sunday school manual and I had to teach my class. After I realized that, Ken helped me look several places to find an extra one, but no luck. So I headed to class to teach something off the top of my head, (I was going to do favorite scriptures and then teach them how to use the footnotes and look up scripture chains) hoping for the best, and wanting A LOT of class participation. We had just finished the opening prayer when Ken showed up at my door with a manual. He had continued to look for one even after I had gone to class. So kind and thoughtful!

I was asked to sing a solo for the closing song in Relief Society. It really tickled me to see him come in and sit down in the back. He had come into that room full of women to support me and hear me sing. Having him there while I sang really meant a ton to me. I am so thankful for the many little things that he does for me and our children that help us and make us feel so loved. It made for one of those days that I could truly say that my love for him grew and I loved him more than the day before.

It was a wonderful day!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Good friends...

One of the greatest blessings in my life is wonderful friends. Throughout the years, in whatever place we may be living at the time, I have been privileged to have amazing people be my friends. Besides my family and the gospel, these people have probably had the biggest influence on me. I have been thinking a lot about friendship lately because one of my dearest friends, you know one of those friends that become your family, is moving next week. But more on that later...

Last night we had my friend Shannon, her husband Mike, and their 6 month old baby, Aaron over for dinner. Shannon and I became best friends in 6th grade when we both lived in Quantico, VA. We lived in the same cul-de-sac. I think 7th grade was really when I started becoming me and she was there every step of the way. When I moved that summer to Okinawa, she was one of the people I would miss most. Lucky for me, we didn't have to miss each other very long. The next summer before our freshman year at Kubasaki, her family moved in directly across the cul-de-sac from us and we picked up right where we left off. I moved again after our sophomore year and we both graduated from high school, went on to college, and both eventually got married. And then I got lucky again.

About 3 and a half years ago she moved with her new husband Mike to Colorado. I hadn't seen her in over 12 years, but our relationship was exactly the same. Sure, we had stuff to catch up on, but WE were the same -- she really knew me and I really knew her and all the years and miles had not changed that.

Last night we had such a blast with them! We don't get to see them very often; we both seem to have real life going on. :) But I was struck again by how, even though we don't see each other as much as we would like, we pick up right where we left off. That, to me, is so cool!

I am so grateful for good friends, like Shannon, that have made my life so sweet.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The moon...

I am a sucker for a beautiful moon. Last night when Joette was leaving she quickly came back and told me to come out and see the moon. It was a beautiful, full moon. It was also a gorgeous color-- slightly pinkish orange. One of those moons where you could see all the details of it. The kind where you know in ages past, before we knew it was rock and dust, people must have wondered what kind of magical place it was.

I quickly grabbed my camera and despite my efforts, I was not successful in catching the beauty of the moment. I did get one that was not too bad though...







"When I admire the wonder of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in worship of the Creator. " -- Gandhi

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ouch!!!!

Pardon me while I whine...

I have not been in so much pain since my c-section with Peyton. When I woke up on Saturday my neck was a little stiff, but I tried to ignore it. Throughout the day I just kept getting worse. I was doing the whole, turn my whole body thing instead of just my neck, and I could not bend without it killing. Advil was not even touching this sucker so luckily, Brandie hooked me up with some vicodin and that took a little of the edge off.

I couldn't figure out how to work Sunday. I knew it probably wouldn't be such a great idea for me to go to church, but I was teaching Sunday school, subbing in Trevor's primary class, and of course wrangling the kids during sacrament meeting while Ken was up on the stand, so off I went with my sweet kiddos. Just a few minutes into the meeting and I knew I had made a horrible mistake by coming, not to mention the grimace on my face was, I am sure, not that attractive. The pain was horrible and I was not coping well. It was such a blessing when my friend Joette saw me, asked what I was doing there, took my Sunday school manual, and told me to go home. When I got home, I quickly fell into a drugged sleep and slept for the next 6 hours.

In other words, it was a lousy Father's Day for Ken. He had to do most of the lifting considering I could barely move. (I promised him that we would celebrate -- complete with blueberry muffins, his favorite -- next Sunday.) Bless his heart for helping get everything ready for Holly and Brian's family that we had for dinner that night.

Monday I was slightly better, but I was still in a lot of pain. I was grateful for the chiropractor that Tasha recommended. He was able to fit me into his schedule and I feel like I am slowly on the mend. I am still pretty sore, but I am actually able to do some things around the house. I am so blessed to have dear friends help me and my family while I am on the mend and my wonderful Ken that has picked up my slack. Boy, it sure makes me glad for a healthy body (most of the time at least).

Friday, June 13, 2008

Bravo...

I am so proud of all my students that performed last night. They all did an outstanding job! It is thrilling for me when the best time they have ever sang their song is at the recital and that happened for several of them. I am so proud of their progress! For those that have been with me awhile, it is great to see the difference from last year and hear the improvement they are making. I love knowing that I have a small part of that. Ken was the accompanist for everyone and, as usual, he rocked. We enjoyed a great evening together; beautiful singing and yummy treats. Maybe next year ALL my students will be up to performing.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

An invitation...

For those that would be interested, my private vocal students will be performing in recital on Thursday at 6:00 at the Frederick building of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am really looking forward to them showing what they have been working so hard on. There will be Art Songs (Italian and English), a spiritual, and lots of Broadway songs (My Fair Lady, Guys and Dolls, Wicked, Hairspray and others). There will also be some yummy refreshments served, so come on down and enjoy and evening of culture. :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Star-Spangled Banner

I love singing with Triple Trio! I have such an amazing time with these incredible women. Yesterday we continued the recording session we started about a month ago. We laid down another take of Chili con Carne, Anything Goes, and Operator. We recorded Anything Goes and Operator in layers, first recording the piano, then the "back up" voices, and lastly, the solo over the top. In some ways, doing it that way seemed more difficult, but the sound quality and mixing should be a little better. I can't tell you how exposed I felt recording my solo with no one else singing. I was a little uncomfortable, but it was also fun. I almost felt professional. :) Sadly, I never sound as good as I would like when I listen to the playback.

We also decided that we needed to have an arrangement of The Star-Spangled Banner ready to go. Good thing we have Liz! She just whipped up a four part arrangement for us -- she is incredible! We learned it last week and recorded it yesterday. We also took a video of it because we thought it would be fun to try and sing for a Rockies game or something like that. I'm sure all our husbands would love to go to that performance. :) Here it is.

video

Best of intentions...

Like many others, I usually have the best of intentions. My problem is that I sometimes have a hard time following through -- whether it is going back on South Beach, getting up early to exercise, or giving up something I know is not good for me. This summer I am working hard to follow through on the routine I have set up for the kids. I made the cutest chart for them to mark off when they have made their bed, picked up their rooms, watered the plants, practiced piano, and done their homework. For the first couple weeks they have enjoyed checking off what they have completed, now it is getting a little harder to keep them motivated. I know that these habits we are trying to form will pay off in the long run. This time I will follow through with my good intentions.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

"No! I do it!"

I think the parents of any two year old knows these words well. :) I do believe that these are Peyton's favorite words and she says them often. Just this morning, I tried to help her wash her hands. "No! I do it," she says and proceeds to get water and soap everywhere and the hand towel all wet. Good thing these little ones are so cute because they sure make their fair share of trouble.

Seriously, I think this popsicle grin says it all...

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Colorado Republican Convention...

Yesterday I had the opportunity to be a delegate at the state republican convention. It was a neat experience to be part of our political process. I felt official wearing my credentials. :) I loved hearing the speeches from Colorado and national politicians. We had Tom Tancredo, Marilyn Musgrave (I really admire her!) and Wayne Allard give great speeches. We also heard from Bob Schaffer who is running for the US senate. He really seemed like a "salt of the earth" kind of guy. I think he will be a wonderful senator. We voted on party resolutions, delegates for the national convention, and national committee men and women. For me, the highlight was hearing the key note speaker, Governor Mitt Romney. He spoke on behalf of John McCain. (I still don't know if I can vote for him in the fall, but he is far less scary than Obama.) His speech was inspiring and reminded all of us what a great nation we live in. I really hope McCain puts him on the ticket, he would be an incredible asset. It was an eventful day and I am really glad that I was able to be there.

Mitt addressing the convention