Friday, April 30, 2010

Favorite Photo Friday: Julianne's "look"

This picture was taken at my sister Rachel's wedding in June 2007. A few weeks ago I was doing some spring cleaning of my email inbox and came across a bunch of pictures of the wedding. And although I'm assuming I must have looked at them when they first arrived, this one did not look familiar. A darling picture like this? How could I not remember it? I'm going to chalk it up to the fact that I'd just barely had a baby and was a little scatter brained at the time....
That look on Julianne's face? I've seen that look before. That's her "Excuse me, what do you think you are doing??" look. Or her, "Fine. (Sigh). I'll humor you if I have to" look. Julianne has many facial expressions. She is so expressive and can communicate fairly well just through the look on her face. Julianne is on vacation with cousins this week. And I'm finding myself missing her and all of her many "looks" so much!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Looking back at "Power In His Touch"

Got some pictures from "Power In His Touch" that a pro photographer took. I'm posting a few. Yes, I know it seems like a lot. But consider, she took over 500... all the sudden 16 seems minimal, don't you think?

The opening number, "Good Tidings," which takes place in modern times. Julianne is front row left, wearing blue. I am front row right wearing yellow.

"Good Tidings"

"King of the Jews." These are somewhat brutal pictures, I know. But I wanted to remember the chaos, the heartache, the emotion of this scene.

Both of these pictures are from "Through the Eyes of a Child" which is the number that Julianne had her little solo in. The kids are surrounding Judas Iscariot.

"Better World"....just finding out that John the Baptist has been killed.

I was blind and now I see.... This took place during the song "Power In His Touch."

"My Peace".... during the last supper.

"Thy Will Be Done" was the song during which the Cruxifiction took place.

"He Is Risen"

"He Is the Light" back during modern times again. It was our closing number.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

We Eat Meat

Went grocery shopping yesterday. We were out of just about everything. One thing I didn't have to put on my list? Meat. More specifically, ground beef, steak, roast...anything that comes from a cow. Why? Because our freezer now looks like this:That, my friends, is half a buffalo. Steaks, roasts, patties, ground...buffalo. Bryan assures me that it tastes just like beef. Just healthier, more lean. I'm going to throw a roast in the crockpot today and see how it turns out. Hopefully we all like it...because we are swimming in buffalo meat for the foreseeable future!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

You scream, I scream, we all scream for icecream!

We took the kids out for icecream on Saturday evening. But not to just any place. We went to Leatherby's. Which meant that not only did we partake of some seriously yummy (and BIG) icecream creations, it was also a trip down memory lane for me. Leatherby's opened when I was in elementary school. My first time was with my family, Katie and I having each received gift certificates to the place after winning the Reflections contest. It was decorated to have an old time icecream parlor feel. They had a menu chock full of yummy selections...all named after the owner's children. I remember being rather excited to order the "Sarah Sundae." Since then I have been back many, many times. After 9th grade Promotion where I downed a HUGE malt of some kind, egged on by a friend who said there was no way I could eat it all. (I spent the night sprawled out on the bed moaning...) In high school for cast parties on closing night of all our musicals. I had a boyfriend who worked there that I visited on lunch breaks. On occasional weekends home from college I would take my little sisters over. And now I get to take my own children. Brandon ordered some gigantic sundae that the waiter expressed concern about him finishing. He obviously doesn't know Brandon! Because that kid had no problem polishing off every last spoonful. I commented to the server about how busy the place was...specifically about how many big groups were coming in. "This is nothing," he said. "You should see it when the high school comes over for a cast party!" I laughed. "They STILL do that?" I asked, and told him that 20 years ago I was one of those kids that used to come over for cast parties and after football games. "Yep," he said. "They still do that."

Friday, April 23, 2010

Two girls holding microphones...

This girl here...she was the narrator in her 6th grade play, Shakespeare's "How You Like It." I was rather impressed with the performance. Because, honestly, thinking of a bunch of 6th graders doing Shakespeare? Sounds like a somewhat painful evening, with expectations of fumbled lines and missed cues. Shakespeare isn't easy. But I was pleasantly surprised. These kids delivered their lines smoothly and understandably. The costumes and sets were great. And, as usual, it's always great to watch Julianne perform...she continually amazes me.

And this girl...she sang, with her friend Jenny, the song "For Good" from "Wicked" in the Jr. High Talent Show. First Jenny convinced Rebekah that she should sing with her. Then the two of them spent ages deciding on a song. Then came practice, practice, practice. As much as I LOVE this song, I was getting heartily sick of it! Then came the auditions. Rebekah was nervous...especially because she had a bit of a leftover cold. But the next day she called from school to excitedly inform me that their names were on the official, final Talent Show list. Then came MORE practice. And phone calls back and forth debating what to wear. Finally, the day came. The talent show was being put on as two separate assemblies. Kind of nice that after all that practice they were able to perform twice. I went to the first one. My hands were shaking as I held up the camera to get some shots and I realized I was nervous for her! I know from experience what kind of nerves come with singing a solo in front of that many people. I needn't have worried because, wow! My girl up there was calmly holding a microphone and singing like it's something she does every day. They were great! The crowd clapped and cheered and I was so proud I could hardly stand it!

Singing In the Rain

I'm singing in the rain, just singing in the rain
What a glorious feeling, I'm happy again.
I'm laughing at clouds so dark up above
The sun's in my heart and I'm ready for love.
Let the stormy clouds chase every one from the place
Come on with the rain, I've a smile on my face.
I walk down the lane with a happy refrain
Just singin', singin' in the rain.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cell Phone Camera Dump

Like most of you, my cell phone has a camera. It's a great tool for those funny little unexpected shots that pop up when you are out and about. But then, a lot of times I forget they are on my camera. So this post is dedicated to those random shots that have been collecting over the past few months in my cell phone.

Lilian and I went to a wedding reception last night. It was in a greenhouse....all sorts of flowers, trees, fountains and sparkly lights everywhere. Very pretty. Lilian was having a great time wandering around. I thought I was watching her closely, glancing over and making sure I knew where she was every couple of minutes in-between talking to relatives. She seemed happy and content playing with the rocks on the ground and sniffing flowers. Maybe I wasn't watching as closely as I thought. Because all of the sudden I realized that she was not just sniffing, but picking flowers and daintily throwing them into the fountain. And then, less daintily, reaching in to pull them back out again...hence the soaking clothes. Argh!

Shopping at Old Navy. I was searching through a pile of pants, trying to find my size when I realized Lilian was missing. I found her up front holding hands with this mannequin. She seemed rather excited that it was just her size. It was a battle to keep her with me, she was just so obsessed with that darn mannequin!

Last month, a few days before "Power In His Touch" opened, Lilian and I headed over to the Union Station to help load and move scenery and sets to the theatre. In all actuality, it was my big truck that they needed more than my wimpy muscles. So while the heavy lifting was going on, Lilian and I got to check out the big trains.

It's not unusual for Lilian to fall asleep in the car. But like this?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Favorite Photo Friday: Bowling

February 2005. Julianne's 7th birthday. I think this might be the last time we went bowling together as a family. We had a great time. Hmmmm. Maybe we should go again sometime soon...

Thursday, April 15, 2010


I really relate to this painting. It is fittingly titled "The Balancing Act." The artist, James C. Christensen, said about it:

"Life is a balance between fun and work, spiritual qualities, education, nutrition … our lives are continuously balancing acts. Of course, some of us make it a little more complex by putting our only balancing foot on the back of a moving turtle. Why are there three clocks in the image? Because we’re always balancing time. There are many specific symbols in the image. Most of them are far from obscure, but the little neat secrets include a king statue, the symbol of the omnipresence of politics and government. The skull is a spring hare skull, with a little label that reads “spring hare – lost race.” It’s a joke, but it also symbolizes mortality. The owl and the pussycat represent marriage, which is a major balancing act. The Latin in the image means “Equilibrium (balance) is to be desired.” In other words, as long as you remain upright, you’re okay." Earlier this year, back when it's traditional to make goals and New Years resolutions, I noticed a trend. Instead of making a list of resolutions, people were finding a scripture or a single word that would be their focus or motto of the year. Something to keep in mind or shape everything they did. I found that interesting and immediately knew what my word would be. BALANCE. Last year I felt like my BALANCE was totally off. Especially in the spring and summer, as I was heavily involved in "Pirates of Penzance" and also trying to train for the triathlon and bike races. I felt like my responsibilities as a wife, mother and homemaker were sliding. That I was doing the minimum to get by. And it all translated into me feeling like I was flying by the seat of my pants. I did not know if it was because I had bitten off more than I could chew, or if it were simply me not prioritizing my time well.
And so, as the New Year started, I had the opportunity to join the cast of "Power In His Touch." I was also starting to look into races for this year. And then I remembered last summer, how hard and crazy it had been. So I thought long and hard about it all. And I decided that maybe this could be an experiment in BALANCE. Because the more I thought about it, the more I thought I probably could handle it all...if I watched things more closely. And was willing to step back if I had to.So BALANCE has been my focus the past few months. I even custom ordered the word in vinyl to put up on my wall as a constant reminder. I think I've done okay so far. Like any goal, it's always a work in progress. There have been days where Bryan has come home to me gone...but dinner on the table, a clean house and happy children. There have also been days where I've slacked and things have been a disaster. But overall, I think I'm doing better...I think it's working. I've pulled out of rehearsals to go to pack meetings and Jr. High choir concerts. After working for months, I did not end up competing in my NATS voice competition because it conflicted with Brandon's state gymnastics meet and he really wanted me there. A few days ago I made the (hard) decision to not audition for "Jane Eyre" because I felt I should probably focus any free time on the bike and running races coming up. It's hard to BALANCE. I want to do it all. Decisions on how best to spend my time can be difficult and sometimes come with regret. But that's life. And I'm pretty happy with my life.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Packing heat in Pahrump

Bryan and I just spent the weekend with Bryan's brother Steven and his wife Sara at a 2 day defensive hand gun course at Front Sight...a gun training center in Pahrump, Nevada. Yeah...Pahrump. Makes me laugh every time I say the name. I'd never even heard of it before. And in case you haven't either... it's a little town out in the desert about an hour out of Las Vegas.
Our 2 day course consisted of classroom lectures, range instruction and then, of course, plenty of shooting. The class was amazingly well organized. Front Sight itself is hugely impressive. And apparently we were there on a record breaking weekend....800 people there, all taking various classes.

Our weekend started out in Vegas. Other than on "Oceans 11," I'd never seen the fountains at Bellagio. Ummm...WOW!
We ate at the Cheesecake Factory at Caesars Palace. (I'm keeping a list.... I've now visited Cheesecake Factory in SLC, San Francisco, Orlando, Washington D.C., Annaheim and now Las Vegas.)
It was glorious weather...and after shoveling snow earlier this week at home it felt really nice to wander up and down the Strip in flip flops, sightseeing and taking in the sun... even if it meant that my shins were super sore the next day.
Seeing as it was Vegas, smut peddlers abounded, offering Bryan "girly" advertisements even as he walked hand in hand with me. At one point he turned to one and said, "Girls? I've already got one, thanks." It was kind of funny.
We ended up at MGM watching "Ka"...a Cirque du Soleil show. Very, very cool. Though I hate to admit it, I unfortunately fell asleep through part of it. Must have been all that sun, our long walk, and my very full belly. Oh, and maybe the fact that I hadn't gone to bed till 1:15 AM the night before? And we still had that hour drive to Pahrump after the evening ended!

Look at these two hot shot shooters! Looking good and having a fabulous time. Both of them on their second trip to Front Sight and enjoying watching their wives step out of the comfort zones, learn how to handle a handgun properly and become gun toting hotties! :)

Loading up on ammo and receiving instructions for the next drill.

This class was, at times, rather overwhelming for Sara and me. We definitely felt like fish out of water. So much information shoved into two very long twelve hour days. At times I felt like my brain was crammed so tight with info I couldn't hold any more. But we persevered and it was hugely satisfying to see the progress we were making as the class continued. And to see how excited our husbands were that we were there with them, guns strapped to our sides...a sight, maybe, that they thought they'd never see!

Front Sight was in the middle of nowhere. Nothing but cactus and tumbleweeds as far as the eye could see. At first I thought it rather ugly. But the longer we were there the more I realized that even the hot and dusty desert had a certain beauty to it.

Bryan, Sarah, Steven and Sara.

Can I just say, my husband is seriously impressive with a gun. I learned a lot just from watching him. He's dang cute too....

During shooting drills Bryan was line 1 and I was line 2....which meant we were able to "coach" each other. Not that Bryan needed much coaching. I flatter myself that I was able to remind him of a couple things in his form. Mostly, though, he was a great coach to me. And at time when I felt overwhelmed or inadequate, it helped immensely to have him right there behind me...talking me through things, gently reminding me when I made mistakes, and cheering me on.

Amazingly enough, I turned out to be a pretty good shot! Bryan, sweet as he is, even said he'd claim many of my shots as his own, they were so good.

Finishing up our 2 day class with a picture of our Range Master, Monroe.
It was an emotionally and physically tough few days. I was sunburned and filthy. My hands were red and sore from gripping the gun so tightly for so long. I already mentioned how overwhelmed and out of my comfort zone I felt at times. There were even moments that I found myself fighting tears because I was so frustrated. I'm not planning to start carrying a gun on a daily basis like Bryan does but I now feel that, if I had to, I could pull a gun out and defend myself and my children. I know how to load it and use it. I know how to make it safe. Originally I told Bryan that maybe next time he should leave me in Vegas while he went shooting... I could see a bunch of shows and go shopping. :) But maybe, just maybe, I'll find myself at Front Sight again someday. It was a lot of fun sharing in Bryan's hobby. And I'm pretty dang proud of what I've accomplished!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Power In His Touch

Yesterday was closing night for "Power In His Touch." Rehearsals started in January. For the past 3 weeks, it's been every night...getting home around 11:00 or later. Costume fittings. Helping with the set. Performing two nights at the Peery Egyptian Theatre and two nights at the Rose Wagner. We're ready to be done! We made a lot of friends and are happily anticipating the cast party. But we are ready to get our lives back.
"Power In His Touch" was an Easter musical. It explored a fictional back story of the woman taken in adultery in the bible, and also Judas Iscariot...trying to maybe understand what could've led them to do the things they did.
Some memories...
* In one of the opening scenes we sing a song called "King of the Jews." It's a chaotic scene. On the streets of Jerusalem, all of us acting out every day life. The Wisemen are wandering around "searching for a king..." Herod, nervous, decrees "this child cannot live..." and sends out his Roman soldiers who are then also "searching for a king..." A woman yells out "They've come to kill the children!" And then mass panic takes over. Screaming, running. The soldiers are killing babies. Julianne and I get shoved hard by one of the soldiers. We're screaming and running and crying....all while singing. Sounds horrible, doesn't it? It's both mine and Julianne's favorite scene! But what struck me as humorous every time we did the scene...because we didn't have enough men, and because the soldier costumes disguise well enough, two of the soldiers out there killing babies...were the men who later play Jesus and Judas. :) It always made me laugh a little that the soldier who was shoving me hard enough that I almost fell to the floor each night, was the one who in act two would heal me from my "blindness." Guess we both played different roles in the second half of the play. His was a bit more dramatic....*As I mentioned before, I played a blind woman who gets healed during the second act. Julianne and I would wait off stage till our time to go on. Julianne was always messing around, fake singing along with the song being performed out on stage, doing silly dances. I was constantly worried she wouldn't be able to calm herself and get into character before walking out on to the stage. She cut it so close each night! But within seconds of our cue, she would abruptly stop her silliness, hold out her arm for me to grab, wiggle her fingers in front of my eyes and say "blind face!" and then lead me out on the stage. All while I was trying not to smile or giggle at her transformation from silly, present day, 12 year old to young Jewish girl leading her blind mother to Jesus.*Speaking of backstage silliness.... We had some seriously fast "quick changes." Two different scenes we had to pre-set our costumes. We'd rush off stage, change clothes and be back on stage again within a couple of minutes at the most. I'm sure it must have looked hilarious to a bystander, to watch the flurry of clothes flying around.*Moments that made me cry.... The cucifixion. Oh my. I was one of the women on stage mourning and grieving. The scene was done so well I didn't have to fake the tears.
Mary singing a lullaby to baby Jesus. This is right after "King of the Jews." Normally I've just run off stage and am gathering my stuff to head down to the dressing rooms. I stopped last night and watched the scene from the wings. Ah, sweet.
Jesus telling the woman who was caught in adultery to "go thy way and sin no more." The tears catch me off guard every time.
And, being healed. I look into Julianne's face as if I'm seeing it for the first time. And she gazes back at me. And oh, how I love that little face! I'm so glad we were able to do this show together!