Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Real Group

Last week we had the opportunity, nay, the PRIVILEGE of the seeing The Real Group in concert up at the Greeley Jazz Festival.  I have loved this Swedish acapella group since being introduced to them by Dr. Broomhead at BYU some 15 years ago.  A few years ago we took on their arrangement of Chili con Carne in Take Note and my love affair with them grew.

The Real Group doesn't perform in the United States very often so I wasn't about to miss this concert only 45 minutes away.  It was on book club night, but I couldn't miss it!  I was glad that Ken, who had just gotten home a few minutes before from Washington DC, decided at the last minute to join me.

From the first chord they sang I was completely blown away!  It was so locked in and in tune!  Their range and tone made such an amazing palate of colors they could use.  They seamlessly sang many different styles; jazz, pop, rock, contemporary, and classical.  Some of their songs were incredibly innovative and I kept thinking "how did they come up with that?!?"  But most of all, their skill and musicianship was probably the best I have ever heard live.  It was like a 90 minute orgasm in my ears. Really.

So you can all enjoy some of the The Real Group, I am including a You Tube video of them singing the song they sang for their second encore.  Freaking AMAZING!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Mountain Biking in Moab

One Saturday Ken came home from one of his mountain biking excursions and mentioned the idea of a guys trip to Grand Junction and Moab to mountain bike.  I thought it sounded like a lot of fun and if anyone deserves a break, it is Ken.

They put a group of guys of guys together and took off on Thursday morning, drove to Grand Junction, biked there for the afternoon, and then after dinner, drove down to Moab and checked into the hotel.  For the next two days they biked, ate, and had a blast.  I sure hope they decide to make this an annual get-away!

I am hoping Ken will update this post with his 2 cents, because after all, it was his trip. :)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Our choice.

My blood is boiling this morning. Last night during an interview on CNN a democratic adviser attacked Ann Romney as not understand women's problems because "she has never worked a day in her life." It takes a great deal to offend me and this does. If raising 5 boys, serving in church and community, and battling breast cancer AND multiple sclerosis is not work, I don't know what is?!?

All this hullabaloo made me reflect on the choice I made to be a mother and the choices Ken and I made for me to be able to stay home with our kids. I always knew I wanted to be a mother and raise a family. Much of this had to do with the example of my own parents.

My mom and dad are fantastic! My mother especially was a powerful example of someone making many sacrifices for her family. I didn't really know it at the time, but financially it was tight at our house. For my parents it was a priority for my mom to be home with the kids. Now having 4 children myself, I understand how difficult that is. In fact, I have called my mother many times to apologize for things I'm sure I did as a kid and now I am experiencing those same things with my kids. Through my parents priorities, I could tell that family was the most important thing.

When Ken and I were first married the plan was for him to continue with his schooling, to get the advanced degrees, etc. that it would take to allow him to be a college piano professor. After being married a few years and many conversations about the family we wanted to have, we came to realize that our original plan would be very challenging. It would require me to work outside the home for many years to support him through school. It took Ken almost a year to make the decision to get his master's in information systems instead. We hoped through that path, we wouldn't have to put off having our family longer than necessary and that he would be able to get a job that would support our family. I know this was a great sacrifice for him to make. He chose to put off his dreams primarily for me to have the opportunity to stay home and raise our future children. Just one of the MANY reasons I love him.

Staying home with 4 children is difficult, but extremely rewarding. To be honest, sometimes I am jealous of Ken for getting to work adults everyday. I admit I have shed many a tear that almost every job I do is quickly undone. There is always another diaper to change, meal to make, more dishes to do, more dirty laundry, more crumbs on the floor, and ALWAYS messes to clean up. (Will I ever be able to look out the back door without the dirty hand smudges?) Luckily the awesome parts of kissing "owies", trips to the park, reading stories, snuggling when they don't feel good, and the joy of watching our children be happy and succeed far outweighs the other stuff.

Yeah, it's work. Being a mother is hard. It is a constant balancing act. But it is so worth it! It is the most important thing I could EVER do. I am always trying to improve and I have a long way to go in being a great mom. But this I do know, despite my many failings, I am the best one to love and care for my children. I am lucky that Ken agrees and supports me in my job as I support him in his. Families are eternal and the job of teaching, caring for, and loving my family is one I am incredibly blessed to have.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Spring Break 2012

I was so glad I was finally able to get off the couch and enjoy spring break with my kiddos!

Monday: We had lots of friends over. I was glad the weather was so nice so the kids and their friends were in and out all day.

Tuesday: I ventured out for a short drive and took the older kids to the rec center to swim. I was not however brave enough. I sat reading a book while they swam with friends.

Wednesday: Finally felt like a could drive a bit farther and we went with friends to Jumpin', an indoor bounce house place. I was worried that it would be packed, but the empty parking lot alleviated my fears. Other than our group, I think there was only one or two other families. the kids had the run of the place. I was worried that Cooper would have a hard time, but he LOVED it! It helped that there weren't a bunch of big kids so he felt really comfortable on everything, especially the giant slide.

Afterward, we went to Claire's were Morgan got her ears pierced. Exciting stuff!

Thursday: The weather was absolutely gorgeous! We packed our picnic lunch and headed to the zoo. It truly was a zoo there -- it was crazy BUSY! We drove around for quite awhile before lucking out and finding a spot right in front. Score! We all had a good time and it was the perfect way to spend the day.

Friday: My friend Kris had to help at a funeral, so I watched her kiddos much of the day. They brought Just Dance 3 and we all got our "groove thangs" on.

Saturday: We stayed home to watch General Conference. When Ken went to the Priesthood session, I took the kids to Chick-fil-a where we met friends for dinner. After the kids got bored with the play area we headed to the park where the kids ran off the sugar from their ice cream cones. We also got to witness a beautiful sunset.

Sunday: We LOVED getting to watch more General Conference. It is always such a blessing to hear counsel given to us by servants of the Lord.

At the beginning of the week, I was concerned, but it ended up being a great spring break and I loved getting to do so many fun things with the kids.

"You spin me right round baby, right round..."

One of the strangest things I think I have experienced.

Late one night a couple of weeks ago, Ken were watching some basketball while I was going through the kids school folders. All of a sudden, I didn't feel so well. A crazy bad dizzy spell, even though I was just sitting on the couch. I leaned my head back and waited for the dizziness and motion sickness to pass. After a few minutes I thought I was just being ridiculous and sat up again and tried to finish the check I had been writing. I must say, I was a little freaked out when I couldn't even sign my name on the check.

At that point I mentioned it to Ken and said that I need to go to bed. I tried to walk up to bed, but I kept falling. It must have looked pretty funny because Ken was totally laughing at me. I finally crawled up the stairs and got into bed with Ken's help. Ken and I then started looking up my symptoms (dizziness, nausea, and tingling in my face and arms) on WebMD. He started asking me questions and to perform simple tasks, like smiling, etc. I kept telling him I was not having a stroke and that I was sure I would wake up and be fine in the morning. But I wasn't.

Over the next several days I spent a lot of time in bed and on the couch. Me driving was pretty much out of the question and the motion sickness got really bad while being a passenger (but it was worth it to sneak out and see the Hunger Games with friends). I finally visited my doctor first thing Monday morning. He thought that it was simply fluid trapped in my ear that was throwing off my equilibrium and told me to get on some good decongestants. I still had to lay low for Monday. I was hoping those meds would work quickly. It was the kids spring break and I didn't want to spend it on the couch. By Wednesday I started to feel better.

I can tell I am STILL a bit off, but I can function now. Yay! Who knew a little fluid could make such a difference?!?

Before and After

For weeks Morgan has been asking to have her hair cut short. Now that it is longer, she has a more difficult time taking care of it. Most days it just ended up in a messy ponytail.

Over spring break we decided it was time and we headed to the salon. The stylist cut off a ton of hair. I thought Morgan would be at least a bit nervous, but she wasn't. Not even a little bit. Okay, I have to admit, I was a little nervous.

Now that her ears show more, I suggested that she could get her ears pierced. We did that a few days later. I think she feels pretty grown up. We both LOVE her new look and it is so much easier to take care of.

I had hair similar to her short hairstyle when I was in 5th grade. I can't tell you how many times I have looked at her since she has gotten her hair cut and am struck with how much she looks like me. But with her dad's beautiful green eyes. :)

You keep rockin' it Morgan!