Sunday, September 30, 2012

School Days

School started too early this year!  The kids started school while I was filling in at Joseph's office so it was a crazy time.  I have nothing but utmost respect for working mothers - that is one hard lifestyle!!!  I'm grateful I get to be a stay-at-home-mom most of the time.  It's so good to be there to drop off and pick up and run around, but most importantly BE HOME with them.  
So here they are - squinting into the early morning light with rather unflattering pictures, but I did actually take them on the first day of school!!!  
Yow!  How did I get a FOURTH grader??!!
 Do you like J-boy's Christmas green-and-red socks with his sandals??  He's always had his own sense of style....
 Little Girly-A is doing preschool at a sweet local Christian church MWF for 3 hours in the morning.  She's loving it.  We got out K-lady's 4T clothes that had been in storage for 5 years, and seeing Girly-A wear K-lady's clothes to preschool (the same ones K-lady wore to her preschool!) is sending me into crazy flashbacks.  I thought K-lady was such a big girl when she was 4 going to preschool (probably because I had a 2 year old and was pregnant at the time...).  But Girly-A is such a little half-pint to me.  Makes me think that maybe I've been making K-lady grow up way faster than she needed to.  Time to slow that down for sure!!!  
 Grandpa and Grandma L made the 2-hour-one-way drive to go to the kids school for Grandparents Day.

We all did little art projects and ice cream the school supplied.  It was a smashing success.
 J-boy had specifically requested that they bring him some goat milk - he was terribly pleased that they remembered!  We had strawberry- and chocolate-flavored goat milk for a snack as soon as we got home, then sent Grandma and Grandpa on their way back home - they had to get home and milk those goats again!!  :) 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Home Sweet Home

 Almost a year ago we closed on our house!  I thought maybe it was time to show you around the place.  So we'll start with the living room, shall we??  I'm a sucker for before and afters, so that's what I'm doing here.
Here we are a day or two after we closed.  Previous owner had left us a few treasures and a lot of messes to clean out, but this is mostly what it looked like when we closed.  This is the view from the front door (the white door in the orange wall opens to the garage)
And the same room from the opposite side (now you can see the front door behind the half-wall-with-balusters).  We decided to start the process by tearing out those half-walls.
 What does a can of vintage Grapette have to do with the living room???  This is what we found in one of those half walls!  Our very own time-capsulized blast-from-the-past some thoughtful construction worker left for us to find 30-some years later.  :)  The soda was long gone.
Goodbye half walls, goodbye orange wall! 
 Goodbye popcorn ceiling!  Hello newly painted every single surface in the entire house!  Hello electrical fiasco moving the 4 switches that had been on that half wall!
 And whoops - I missed a few steps of the process.  Then we ripped out the carpet, kitchen flooring & little square of entry tile, repaired the subfloor (did you know I can fit an entire sheet of 3/4 inch plywood in the back of my swagger wagon and close the tailgate?!  I have to scoot my drivers seat as far forward as possible, knees hitting the dash, but it can be done.)  Then we started installing the new wood floor through this room and the kitchen.  Then we moved in before we finished installing the new wood floor.  It got done eventually....
 So here's the official afters - the view from the door...
 the view from the other side....
 a naked family tree - I'll get some illustrious ancestors names on there someday....

 It is good to be home!  :)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tender Mercies

The past month has been kind of crazy for me.  Joseph had a staff member out of town for 2 weeks, and I am their permanent temp, so I got to go work at the office.  During those two weeks, the kids had their first day of school and I started rehearsals for not one, but THREE big recitals/concerts.  [Between you and I, I'm thinking that that is why I have the complexion of a high schooler.]  :)  The head of the piano department at our little university is on sabbatical, which means that the faculty had no one to accompany their big fundraiser concert, or their get-to-know-the-faculty recital for the students.  And the flute professor does a recital every September - I played for her last year, as well.  She's really fun to play with, but she picks CUHRAZY music.  This Jolivet piece was the beast of the recital -

Mr. Bouriakov takes it at insane break-neck tempos - he does it in 10 minutes; it took us 11.  But you get the idea. :)  CUHRAZY, right??  The big fundraiser concert was the night of K-lady's birthday (she's 10! more on that later), another recital was the night of her birthday party. (I have serious calendaring issues)  So last night was the last of those three big recitals, and I can't even tell you how good it feels to have made it through them all successfully - not perfectly of course, but I feel pretty good about calling them each a success.

Anyway, to the point:  I've been having off-and-on issues with my left wrist.  When I over-practice I end up with some strained muscles in  my fore arm that limit the flexibility in my wrist - I can't bend my wrist forward or back w/o pain.  My fingers can't move as fast; more practice just makes it worse.  Really not a good thing for a pianist.  It's just been within the last 2 years or so - whenever I have a heavy piano load it seems to flare up, and when I take a break usually it will fade away.  But it freaks me out to no end (enter more zits).  My mind fills with visions of the lady I knew back in college with bandages on her slit wrists from carpal tunnel surgery.  FULL BODY SHUDDER.  I had a pretty heavy load the last few weeks!  Full of big left hand arpeggios and fast passages.  I've just been praying and praying that nothing would go terribly wrong, that I could eek out the music without too much damage, or too many mistakes.  I was hoping to make it through the last big recital -- I've got about a month and a half before the next round of performances on my schedule (percussion concertos (nutso) and tuba/euphonium recitals (double nutso)).  But I figured I could try a chiropractor or a specialist in the meantime.  Ugh ugh ugh is how I felt about all of that.

Yesterday morning I had rehearsals, then came home for a few hours before the recital.  I decided to work on cleaning out the mess in our garage for a bit.  I didn't notice it at the time, but whatever was out of place in my wrist somehow snapped itself back into place as I was throwing camping equipment and bee boxes around.  After I'd cleaned myself up for the recital I sat down to warm up at the piano.  No pain, no tenderness.  I laughed out loud as I caught myself babying my wrist out of habit - no longer needed!!!   I can skip that chiropractor or specialist and go straight to percussion concerti and tuba repertoire! :)  (do I cheer or give just one more ugh before I bury myself in the nutso??)

I am so grateful to have my wrist back to normal!  I'm so grateful that I get to play the piano and push my limits and practice hard music and see improvement.  It seems to me that when I gain control over one small part of my life, that sense of order can spread and spill over into other parts.  That is what my piano does for me - it gives me that bit of success and joy that I need to motivate me in so many other bits of life as a wife and mother and cub scout master and whatever else might be on my plate at any moment.  It is empowering.  I thank God for gifts life that!  And I thank Him for making my body capable of both the pain and the healing, so thankful that it happened in such a timely manner yesterday.  And so thankful for the knowledge that the inevitable pain in this life will also be followed by healing if I rely on God.  I know it will not always be so timely, but the healing will always have the final word.  

Monday, September 17, 2012

Labor Day

Labor Day 2007 was my first post on this little blog.  So why not just pick up here and see if I can manage to maintain some sort of feeble attempt at family history???  We'll see if I ever get around to posting any of my hundreds of pictures from the last year and a half.  But I might as well start somewhere!
We camped out Sunday night @ Joseph's brother's house for Labor Day.  I'm out of practice here and have nothing fun or witty to say, so I'll just post pics. :)

J-boy has officially entered into a solid pyro stage.  He could NOT get enough of the campfire.  

 And K-lady is hooked on these four wheelers.   Joseph let her ride in front and 'drive.'  
 We had a little family 'fireside' - sang a few songs (Princess Pat was a must), heard a few stories, shared a few testimonies.
 This little lady went above and beyond and lost a tooth right in the middle of it all. :)
 And in the sweet clear cool morning we anxiously waited for Grandma and Grandpa to come so we could....
 milk the goats!!
 Meet Sunny.  
She and her other lady goat friend are Grandma's new babies.  (awkward angle, right??  Sunny feels violated.  Grandma kept inadvertently squirting me.  I got me and camera out of there pretty quick after that.)
 Meanwhile, back at the house, this little guy mixed up the OJ and tasted every bit.  Mmm.  Good stuff.  Great for the immune system with all that vitamin C and saliva.  : P
 The daddys had a pedi-contest.  

 The dentists in the family had a distinct advantage, having such highly developed fine motor skills.  :)
 Isn't this a gorgeous little niece???  
 And a gorgeous little Girly-A.  Do you think those two might be related?!
Girly-A took this picture of me.  Why oh why do I have the complexion of a high schooler with the wrinkles of a 32 year old??
Now there's a handsome daddy. :)