Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A different sort of Friday

I was a little surprised when I got the email asking if I would be willing to be a judge at the Davis School District Jr. High Drama Festival. And though I was flattered, I wondered if my friend Jason was getting somewhat desperate if he was asking me. All the same, Jason and I first met when we did a show together a few years ago and we take voice lessons from the same teacher so he knows that I monthly attend master classes where I perform in character. And though I'd probably be better at judging a vocal department's solo and ensemble....all the same, I supposed (and so did Jason, apparently) that I had what it took to judge a bunch of young jr high teenagers. Still, I was a little nervous. I wanted to do right by these kids. My theatre experience was of a more adult level. I was worried that it would take some adjusting to discover what was great and not-so-great at a jr. high level. I didn't want to find out half way in that I'd been judging the first few performances too harshly, you know?

I was worried for naught. The performers were amazing! I mean, obviously jr high, yes...but wow! They got up there in front of me and threw it all out there. And I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised, because that's what true drama geeks do. If they are serious about theatre, which obviously these kids are if they are competing in a big district festival, then they don't care about what others think...they just put everything out there on display as if to say, "this is me...love it or lump it, this is what I do." Julianne is the exact same way. And it always amazes me because I was so much more insecure and shy when I was her age, always too worried about what people thought, not wanting to stick out too much.

They were all so great that my biggest problem was how to rank them. Oh, I gave them constructive criticism and feedback as to what was really great and some little things that they could work on. But I was very impressed overall. I judged three sessions...pantomime, dramatic monologue, and humorous monologue. And then in between each session we were to take our judging papers up to the judges room. They had snacks for us to munch on. And, as theatre people in their outgoing, social sort of ways are wont to do, we all got to know each other really well. We sat around tables finishing up our comments on our judging papers, sharing experiences of what we had just judged, sharing experiences of past shows we'd been in or seen recently, and laughing. A lot of laughing.
But then as soon as my judging stint was over, I switched from theatre mode to hiking mode. I picked up Bryan and Lilian at the office, picked up Brandon and Andres from gymnastics (Rebekah and Julianne were at a young women church retreat) and then headed up the mountain. A quick stop to drop of the kids at Andres' house and to change from my little black dress and heels into jeans and hiking shoes...and then to the trail head where Bryan and I met up with Hade and Frederic (Andres' parents) and other friends of theirs to celebrate Hade's 40th birthday. Hade had worried earlier that the trail she wanted to hike was rather steep...but I wasn't worried. I mean, really...I'm in fairly decent shape, yes? And besides, how hard could it be? Well...it was actually quite steep and quite hard. And I have to admit that I was breathing pretty heavily. Trying to carry on a conversation was a tad difficult. But hey, it was beautiful up there. And truthfully, it really wasn't anything I couldn't handle...it just ended up being a very good workout.

At the top, Hade and Frederic pulled out a picnic. An assortment of drinks, sandwiches, chips, sushi and, of course, Bruges Belgium waffles. And while we ate, we watched the sun set over the valley and the Great Salt Lake. Wow. And again....WOW. Seriously one of the most beautiful views I can remember. And when the our picnic was complete, and we had watched the lights wink on down in the valley, we hiked down in the dark under the stars. We were hoping that the full moon would show its face but it was a little late on arrival. So to aid in lighting the trail, all the men pulled out flashlights. (Why is it that most men tend to carry little flashlights with them?) Bryan and I had such a great time....we talked about it all the way home. Something along the lines of...dang, that was really fun, maybe we should do that again sometime soon! And...next time I'm going to bring a better camera! (See woefully inadequate iPhone pics below...)

All in all, what a unique and fun Friday.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Changing up the decor

Over the past few months....

For Easter I got Bryan a huge painting of the Bountiful Temple. It was something I'd been thinking about doing for awhile. But especially after he started working there weekly as an ordinance worker, I thought it would be even more meaningful. They are not cheap....so I'd been just looking and waiting for a long time. But when Easter rolled around, I remembered back to our first Easter together and how I had the guys in the framing department of the store I worked at in Logan help me pick out a picture of Christ and pull it all together with a custom frame and mat. It was our first picture of Christ in our new apartment and it started our family tradition of keeping Easter basket gifts of a more spiritual kind. All of this went through my head as I stood in front of this temple painting at Deseret Book. And I decided to bite the bullet and spent the wad of cash. It was worth it. Originally I had thought we'd hang it in the front entry of our house as you first walk in the door. But Bryan preferred it over our bed. And I have to say, I've absolutely loved having it there. It changes the whole feeling of our bedroom.


I also added this vinyl just inside our master bathroom door. It's a place where I've had vinyl sayings before....but this one is especially meaningful because it was a gift from my friend Stephanie from my singing group Higher Ground. We did a whole slew of Relief Society programs through the month of March. One of the songs we sang in the program, and the one that became the most meaningful to the five of us, was called "Come to Jesus." So this vinyl on my bathroom wall reminds me every day of the lyrics to that song and the feeling I always get when we sing it.

I've also just recently added some vinyl to the hall bathroom that was being primarily used by Lilian. I'd recently changed up the decor as far as towels, rugs and shower curtain...but hadn't put anything on the walls until now.
(Side note: If you haven't noticed already, I have a thing for birds. It's no secret that I'm rather obsessed with owls. We have 5 parakeets as pets and also 2 ducks and 3 chickens waddling around our backyard. And now the bird motif in the bathroom? I have a friend who has teased me that rather than being a "cat lady," I am a "bird broad." haha)

After Christmas I decided to change up the mantle decor. I liked the look I'd had before...but was getting a little tired of it and was hoping to add more color and maybe some simplicity.
This gives you a bit of a before picture...it was November, hence the fall leaves, pinecones and pumpkins.

Here's the after pics. Hobby Lobby was having a big sale on all their huge wall hangings and I picked up this big canvas for 50% off. I added the plant and changed out the candle colors, but Julianne added the antique bottles. I wasn't sure I liked them there at first seeing as I was going for more simplicity and less knick knacks, but then they grew on me and now I love the look of them there. Bryan's mother found these 100 year old bottles in a dig of an area that used to be an old dump in Park City. We'd had them displayed in the hutch in the kitchen up till now...
I also decided that maybe the hearth needed something. Normally it sits bare unless I've got some sort of holiday decoration there.

The clock that used to be hanging over the mantle is now just moved over to the side wall. I used to have some paintings of Jerusalem there but the clock filled the space better. The paintings will find a new home in the basement eventually.

The downstairs mantle needed an update as well. I wish I had a before picture for you. The wall used to be covered in historical stuff...a framed copy of the Declaration of Independence, a painting of the WWII air craft carrier my Grandfather served on (The USS Savo Island), and that well known picture of George Washington praying at Valley Forge. The basement is in flux right now. We got the pool table in January. Next up is built-in shelves all along the side wall and window seats. So those pictures will go back up eventually. But as far as the mantle goes, at least...here's how it looks now.

And last but not least...Lilian's room. We took down the bunk bed. The novelty long since worn off, that top bunk was more of a collector of stuffed animals and other such toys than anything else. Plus, taking it down brightened up the room considerably. Also, we picked up a little desk at Office Max at Lilian's request. She's a crafting machine, that girl...and churns out art projects and drawings by the dozens. She wanted a specific place in her room to work. And I was happy to find a desk that had a drawer and a couple of shelves to hold all her supplies...


Monday, April 22, 2013


It all started with a phone call. A lady identifying herself as the mother of some boy named Aaron told me her son would like to ask Rebekah to Prom and was wondering if she had already been asked? I was a little confused. "When is Prom?" I asked her. I didn't realize it was so close...I thought Sadie Hawkins was next? She assured me that I wasn't going crazy...Prom was still a good 7 weeks away or so. But her son's friends were all starting to ask their dates and he wanted to make sure that he was early enough that he could get his date of choice....Rebekah. Thus reassured, I told her that Rebekah had not yet been asked and the two of us mothers arranged a time for this boy to come by when Rebekah would not be home to set up his "ask."

He showed up a few hours later with some instructions for me. He had a bright pink pillow case with the word PROM spelled out in stitched on letters that he wanted me to fill with her pillow and put on her bed. (It was seriously cute....I was impressed.) He also had his name printed out big and bold on white paper along with some glow in the dark stars...all of which he wanted me to stick to her ceiling. Then finally, a little note to give to her after she had seen the whole thing. I did as he instructed and then hoped, hoped, hoped that she actually liked this Aaron boy....I'd never heard of him before.

Rebekah came home shortly and was delighted to have been asked to Prom. She said that though she didn't know Aaron super well seeing as he isn't part of her hang-out-on-weekends group of friends, that he was really nice and they had been friends since 8th grade...and were in seminary together this year.

She answered him....an Easter theme, a basket with delicate little dyed eggs, the insides blown out and little pieces of paper inside. And then a few weeks later we hauled a couple of Rebekah's friends along dress shopping...she always does better with numerous people giving her advice and feedback, and she trusts her friends more than she trusts me. (I always smile a little when after I say something, Rebekah turns to her friends only to have them agree with what I've said. See? I'm not that old and unstylish....) We found THE DRESS at our first stop. But though Rebekah loved the dress, she still wasn't sure. I think our conversation went something like this:

Rebekah: "What if there is something I like even better at another store?"
Me: "Well, then it won't matter because you'll stop looking and never know."
Rebekah: "But I'll always wonder....."

We made a mad dash to our other favorite store. And we did find another contender. But within just a few minutes, Rebekah knew that the first dress at the other store in that other town 20 minutes away really was THE DRESS. I guess it's good to be sure. I mean, this is PROM after all, right? So the next day I made an extra trip to the original store to reserve and pay for THE DRESS before we went out of town for a week. Heaven forbid we waited and someone came in and rented THE DRESS out from under us!
This week was a flurry of of flowers, shoes, nails and hair...but the big day finally came. The day activity was actually the day of the dance rather than the night before, so it was a BIG day and a LONG day. Rebekah came home (happy and smiling) from the day activity with only a little over 2 hours to get ready. She immediately headed to a friend's house who had promised to help with her makeup. Apparently there was a whole group of girls there getting ready together and Rebekah got her hair done as well. Hallelujah! Because if it had been left to me, she wouldn't have had nearly as fancy of a hairdo with my limited hairstyling know-how. But this meant that Rebekah did not arrive home to put on her dress until only 15 minutes before Aaron was to show up! And when the doorbell rang, we were still frantically trying to lace the back of her dress up, corset style. How those women in the olden days wore those things every day, I'll never know. Because though it was nice to be able to lace skinny little Rebekah up nice and tight so that her dress would fit well....it took forever!

But Aaron was patient and smiled really big when he saw his gorgeous date. He was looking pretty dapper himself, even wearing a matching pink vest and tie. The exchange of flowers came next and Rebekah still feeling a little flustered from her mad dash to get ready in time, wasn't sure she wanted to tackle pinning on the boutonniere  So I did it. A little awkward....maybe. But Aaron seemed good natured about the whole thing. I took oodles of pictures and then as I was getting ready to shoo them out the door, Aaron handed me a piece of paper with his mother's email address on it and asked if I'd send some pictures to her. Ummm, can I just say.....brilliant! I am so doing that next year when Rebekah goes on girls choice dances. (Notice that I still have not posted any pictures from Sadie Hawkins last month? Yep...that's because I don't have any yet!)
(We were so rushed to get Rebekah out the door with Aaron that we didn't get any pictures of just her. So at 12:30 PM we did another quick photo shoot at her request before we helped her out of her dress....)

Rebekah came home a little after midnight, looking very tired but very, very happy. She'd had an amazing time, she said...so much fun. Dinner at The Mandarin, the dance itself up at the Capitol Building in Salt Lake and dessert from Cheesecake Factory. The more she told me about Aaron, the more I liked this boy and the sweet way he treated her all evening long.

And then I tried not to think too hard about the fact that I married the boy who took me to Prom my junior year....

We were watching Iron Man 2, trying to keep ourselves awake and alert while we waited for Rebekah to come home. We had about 5 minutes left when she arrived so she took off her shoes and corsage, and joined us.

 And then she and Julianne logged into facebook to see all the other posts about Prom and see pictures of their friend's fancy dresses...

Little sister wanted to "help" big sister get out of her fancy dress...

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Life according to my iPhone

My first thought when I walked into the bedroom was that Bryan was trying out a yoga pose...I was about to be super impressed. Rather, he was trying to work out a kink in his neck. But hey, that's one super creative way to work out a kinked neck so impressed I remained...

Sabrina was more than a bit panicked when Bryan plopped her into a bucket of water....until she realized that she is a duck and suddenly the whole thing started to feel natural. So that's what those big, webbed feet are for....

All the essentials for after school downtime....cell phone to stay connected to texting friends, a good book and a nice pillow for when you decide to lay your head down for a little power nap. I have no doubt she woke up with cramped legs. This I know from experience seeing as I have fallen asleep in this exact same position more than once.
Because she asked and they were only a couple of bucks. She was delighted about the finished product...even if she only kept them on for five minutes.

Two cavities. They don't call it laughing gas for nothing...she giggled through the entire procedure.

Well....it's probably good that Bryan and I had already decided that we needed a new trampoline pad. Because otherwise I might've been kind of annoyed...
(Sneak peak of the stacked rock going on the man cave.)

Rebekah singing with my voice teacher Gary. A last minute, late night lesson to get Rebekah ready for madrigal auditions. And when I say late night....10:15 PM up at Weber State University. (Yawn...)

Shopping with this 5 year old....
Well, maybe I'll just leave you with this picture and let you come to your own conclusions.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Spring Break-St George style

So, after what seemed like the craziest, most busy week ever in the life-of-Sarah....I woke up early the morning after Easter, packed speedy quick and headed south to St. George with Lilian, Rebekah and two of Rebekah's pals (Shannon and Patricia) in tow. We drove the 5-hour journey also speedy quick. Which I suppose means that really the drive likely took less than 5 hours. All this hurry, hurry, hurry so we could sit down, take it slow, and get that hurry out of our system for a few days in the sun.

Neither Shannon nor Patricia had ever been to St. George before so we enjoyed showing off the red-rocked beauty of southern Utah. Not that I'm a native myself, my visits only starting just within the past 10 years or so. And because St. George makes for a great Spring Break retreat, apparently half of the students from their high school were also down south. Which meant that within a few hours of arrival, the three girls had been asked out on a triple date. Some other friends, twin brothers, were visiting their grandparents in the very same subdivision where we were staying and we saw them every day. It was a teenager trip, Lilian and I were just along for the ride...playing the roles of designated photographer, taxi driver and bank.

But relax we did. And even if we spent our days somewhat on the go, it was a different kind of go which made it happy and welcome.

I have a feeling that we were probably not supposed to touch the tortoise, let alone actually pick it up. I believe they are protected in Snow Canyon. I'm afraid we let our excitement of actually finding one run away with us....

Apparently no visit to the dunes is complete without having buried yourself in the sand...


Lilian clambered all over those lava rocks like a mountain goat, giving me fits of panic as I imagined her tripping or losing her balance. Those lava rocks are ridiculously sharp and I could only too easily imagine a trip to the ER for stitches. But when I voiced my concern she calmly replied, "It's okay, Mom. I'm made for climbing." Well I guess that makes it all okay, then?

We hadn't originally intended to hike in Snow Canyon, just visit the sand dunes. But the weather was nice and the landscape seemed to be calling us so, despite the fact that our footwear was not ideal for hiking, we took the Butterfly Trail and explored some petrified sand dunes and lava tubes. I have to admit, I was pleased to discover that those $5 Old Navy flip flops gripped the rock quite well....
 God's handiwork is pretty darn impressive, is it not? The landscape and the girls... 

Isn't it interesting that the teenagers enjoyed chalking just as much, if not more, than the 5-year old? Although I have to say, Lilian looks like she has them beat hands down when it comes to ice cream joy.

Pool time. Every single day. 

Why does it seem each time I hike the crack it feels tighter? Some potential proof...I came out the end with a hole in my t-shirt from skinnying past the rock. That's never happened before. I suppose an easy explanation would be that maybe I am gaining weight? But Rebekah said she feels like things are tighter in there too. Maybe it's just a claustrophobic mind thing....