Thursday, December 20, 2012

"Snow" much to tell you about!

Hello, hello!  Sorry - couldn't resist the "punny" title - haha.

I've been meaning to take advantage of the snow day all day and get a new blog post written, but I spent most of the afternoon digging my car out of the

Anyway, I hope this finds you safe and warm.  As I found myself becoming increasingly annoyed and discouraged by my immobile car, I kept reminding myself to be thankful to have a car to be stuck in the first place, to have a warm home in which to take breaks from the cold, and to have a warm bed to rest in later.

Though the winter storm made traveling home treacherous last night, it, coupled with the sunshine, made for some beautiful scenes here at the coop today:

I thought this guy would enjoy playing in the snow for a bit.
He only lasted 5 mins. before sitting at the door waiting to be let in.
...8 hours later, he's still recovering.
A couple kiddo stories I've been saving:
The 3-yr.-old I nanny for asked me if I could whistle.  I demonstrated my ability to do so, then she tried for herself.  She was using a high-pitched voice to make a "whistle" sound, rather than actually blowing through her lips - haha.  Afterward, she asked, "Am I blowing a whistle, yet?"

On the way to school on the same day, the 5-yr.-old boy asked, "How do you get brain damage?"  I replied, "Well, it's usually because of an accident...why do you ask?"  He responded, "I want to know, because I don't want to get it."  Fair enough, dear friend.

As is evidenced by the lack of posts in the recent past, it's been a crazy busy month, but what's new?  ☺  I was able to listen to almost all of my students perform on our 2-day student recital for the whole studio, and was so proud of each of them and excited to be able to support them that day!  The next weekend was our faculty recital, as well as a wedding music showcase recital we put on for engaged couples looking for their perfect wedding music.  It was so much fun to spend some quality time and perform with my amazing coworkers!  Last weekend was spent attending three different Christmas parties, as well as the Nutcracker and lunch with former roommates and their families.  I've probably said it before, but I just love being able to spend (sometimes spontaneous) quality time with friends from various times in my life and just pick up where we left off!

I'd like to thank those of you who have sent Christmas cards, pictures, and letters - I soooo love getting mail and hearing from each of you!  I'm going to apologize right now, though, because I'm not going to be sending out a Christmas picture or letter in return this year.  I decided that since nothing has drastically changed in my life, I'll save on printing and postage this year and come up with something great for next!  ☺  In the meantime, feel free to read previous blog posts from the year - I may need to do the same to remember what all happened this year!

I'd also like to publicly thank all my students and their families for the thoughtful and extremely generous gifts they've given me over the past week or so.  As if I'm not blessed enough to get to spend 30 minutes with those precious kiddos each week...!

This will probably be the last post before Christmas, so Merry Christmas to you all!  I hope you enjoy the blessings of family, food, laughter, and warmth throughout the holiday week(s), and may you keep the focus on the reason we're celebrating in the first place...Jesus!

Favorites of the day:
not loosing power
Trader Joe's Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup
uncles/neighbors/landlords with skid loaders

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Once upon a December...

Hello, hello and Happy December!

I'll forego generic comments about the weather, Husker loss, and busyness of this season and share a couple stories from the week with you all!  ☺

I had an episode of Modern Family playing last night while I was cleaning.  The doorbell on the show rang about 10 times throughout the duration of the episode, and Charlie either ran to or looked alertly at our door every time!  I'm not sure how he's so conditioned to the sound - hardly anyone ever uses our doorbell...

I played a beautiful duet with one of my first-grade students at her lesson this week.  When we were finished playing, I asked her what she thought of it.  She thought for a second, then said, "It sounded like Valentime's day..."  (No, that's not a typo.)  I asked, "How so?"  She replied, "It sounded"  Couldn't have said it better myself!  ☺

Those of you on Facebook have already heard/read this story, but I think it's worth sharing, again:
I called my grandma (on Dad's side, for those of you who know her) just to say "hi" the other morning.  She was asking about my jobs, and saying how glad she is that I am enjoying it all, but asked if I'd ever be looking for a full-time classroom position.  I gave my usual answer to that ever-so-prevalent question: "Not right now, but I know my current schedule isn't conducive to a having family, if and when that time comes, so we'll see..."  She agreed and said, "Yes, that will be wonderful...when it happens.  And it will - just keep praying...and hoping."  I was right there with her and might as well have chimed in with an, "Amen, sister!"  She went on to say, "Well, we want to be around [when you have a family], so tell God to hurry up!"  Apparently, my sweet, lovely grandma has less patience than I do in that department of my life! haha

I spent the day today putting up Christmas decorations (and can't believe it's time to do so, already)!  Charlie's sleeping, now, because he was such an attentive supervisor.  (Sorry about the poor quality of the pictures - I only had my phone handy.)
He sat like this, staring at the tree, for literally 30 minutes.
So far, all the decorations (and light cords) are still in tact.
Cross your fingers it stays this way!  ☺
I hope you all have had a great weekend and your weeks get off to a good start tomorrow.

Until next time,

P.S.  Congratulations to all my students on their exceptional recital performances Friday and Saturday.  I'm so proud of each of them!

Favorites of the day:
flannel sheets
talented coworkers and getting to see them in action
these flowers (and a box of chocolates) from my student after his recital performance:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Out of the Mouths of Babes: Part 4

My apologies to those of you who don't find as much joy and humor in my "kiddo stories" as some do - I promise to write about other topics in future posts.  These can't go without sharing, though:

About 10 minutes after explaining to the 5-yr.-old I nanny for that the library was closed due to Veteran's Day, he asked, "What's Barbarian's Day?"  It took me a second to understand what he was asking, but then I realized that because he pronounces his "v"'s with a "b" sound, "Veteran's" got mistranslated in his head as he kept thinking about what I'd said.  It took me a second to re-translate...

After telling one of my little 4-yr.-old girl students the piece she was about to play was written by Ludwig van Beethoven, she asked, "Does he like mac-and-cheese?"

I've had a few introductory lessons with new students, lately.  During one of them, I asked the first-grader what his favorite color is.  He replied, "Blue and black."  I said, "Both?!"  He explained, "Blue is my favorite color because I like blue things, and black is my favorite color, because when I make a mistake, I can just color over it in black."

Our studio's student recital is coming up, so we've been doing lots preparing for it in lessons.  One of my kindergarten students had to sign up to perform during a time that I won't be in attendance at the recital, and he is aware of that.  After he played his pieces for me this week, I asked if he was excited for his first recital.  He said, "Yeah...but I'm not excited you're not going to be there..."  Melted my heart!  (I'll be teaching during the time he's performing...and I'll be wishing I was there to hear him!)

The same kiddo informed me that he was getting drums for Christmas (after using our legs as pretend drums in our lesson).  "Aaand I'm getting real to turn into a dog...or a cat," he said.  This was followed by a lengthy explanation of how he'll still be him and will be able to turn back into a human when he wants, but he will be getting real powers, because that's one of the things he put on his list to Santa.  I said, "Real powers, huh?"  He replied, "Yeah.  I'm using my imagination - that's what my mom says.  But I'm still going to be able to turn into a dog."

I hope you all have a very blessed Thanksgiving and safe travels, if you're headed out of town.


Favorites of the day:
the movie "While You Were Sleeping"
family time!!!!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Out of the mouths of babes: Part 3

These have been accumulating for a couple weeks, now.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

When introducing one of my students' new songs titled "Rodeo," I asked him if he'd ever been to a rodeo. He said, "No, those only happen out West." I don't think he believed me when I told him there are rodeos right here in Lincoln. ☺

One of my students stopped before playing a piece for me the other day, saying, "I have something I want to give you." He started pulling things out of his pocket (chapstick, lint, etc.), finally found what he was looking for, held his hand out, and gave me these:

2 nickels and a penny
I asked if he was sure he wanted to give those away, and he said, "Yeah - I want you to have them. These are the ones I don't need anymore." I said, "Well, that's very nice of you - thank you!" He said, "Well, they don't go in my piggy bank, and I found them, so I thought you should have them." The conversation then turned to whether or not pennies and dimes are the same size, and of course, why.

One of the little girls I taught this evening was telling me about games they got to make at school today.  "They're like real board games, but they're just on flat paper," she said.  "And we get to eliminate them and take them home!"  My response: " you mean "laminate" them?"  She laughed at herself and replied, "Oh yeah - whatever." with a flip of her hand.

When asking a student to fill out a teacher evaluation form for me, I was telling him he could list things he likes or doesn't like about what I'm doing or things I could do better. He asked if he could write his Christmas list on there (I take it he stopped listening after "List things you like..."). Before I could explain, "No, that's not what it's for," he went on to list the things he wants: "A race car, a rocket launcher, the moon, a spaceship, 162 baby kitties - no wait, my mom's cousin is allergic to those, so I probably shouldn't get them...unless I get ones so small no one could see them...but then I'd step on I would probably keep them in the fish bowl with my fish." I said, "In the water?!" He said, "No...that wouldn't work, either. I'd keep them under my globe on my dresser." Good luck, Santa.

I was prepping one of my new little students about what is going to happen at the recital, because I won't be in attendance during the time he'll perform.  It will be his first recital, but he's watched his siblings perform before, so he knows what it's all about. During this discussion, I started to tell him where he'll be sitting, and he said, "Yeah - and I'll probably be wearing my beautiful shirt and probably my beautiful pants." He has such a sweet little voice, and I was just cracking up at his word choice.

Finally, two conversations with the 5-yr.-old I nanny for:
  • He was eating sardines for lunch (and repeatedly exclaiming how good they tasted and how he liked them so much), and afterward said, "I need to go brush my teeth."  I asked why, and he said, "Well, these sardines sure give you a stinky breath, and I can't go to school like that!"  He made his way to the bathroom, and then I heard him groan and say, "Oh great!"  I went to see what the problem was, and he told me, "I can't get any toothpaste out of here, and now I have to go to school with such a stinky breath!"  Have no fear - I helped him squeeze a little bit of toothpaste out, and he went to school with a minty fresh breath.
  • He came to me the other day saying, "Guess what?!"  As usual, I started guessing ridiculous things, " just ate a're joining the circus...etc., etc."  He said "No!" to them all, then I guessed, " love me a lot."  He paused and frowned, and I said, "You don't love me?!"  He replied in a very calm, reassuring voice, "Well, let's not worry about that right now." 

Thanks for letting me share these!  I know they're probably not as great second-hand, but I probably shouldn't carry around a video camera...  ☺


P.S.  I haven't ever posted about politics, and I don't plan to, but can I just say how much I dislike the extent to which some individuals and groups get so caught up in disagreement and argue about various issues, etc.?  I get annoyed by all the back-and-forth that goes on, but mostly, I am saddened to see friends and family members arguing and relationships being severed over a single issue/candidate/etc.  Don't get me wrong - I am incredibly thankful for our freedom, and I respect individuals' rights to express their opinions.  It's just sad that so often it comes with the consequence of conflict...on so many levels.

Favorites of the day:
b-day celebrations
free pie
opening the sunroof in November!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Weekend Getaway: Minnesota

Hello, hello!

I hope this finds you and yours well and staying as warm as possible!

This weekend, I took a fairly spontaneous trip to Minnesota (St. Paul area) to visit a dear friend from college.  She has had so many new and exciting things happen in her life in the recent past, and I decided to just make the trip up there to see/experience it all first hand!

So, after teaching lessons Friday evening (got done at 6:30), I headed out - armed with Google and AAA maps (no GPS for this girl), a road trip care package from my brother (complete with our favorite road trip snacks and a mix CD), Nicholas Sparks' newest book on CD (from the library), and a double-shot vanilla cappuccino smoothie from Scooter's.

The drive went really well and pretty fast, both going and coming back.  Since it was mostly dark both times, I didn't see too many sites on the road (not that there were many to be seen, anyway).  On the way out, though, I was driving through Iowa and saw a bunch of red lights blinking in unison across the horizon.  At first, I thought it was an airport, but couldn't figure out which one, because I was in the middle of Iowa.  I don't know how it finally occurred to me that they were the windmills, but that's what they were!  There were soooo many, though, and it was kind-of creepy to only see all those hundreds of red lights blinking simultaneously out there in the distance.

After arriving a little after 2 a.m., we proceeded to have a most lovely weekend together!  And as my mother's daughter, I documented it with pictures.  ☺

Saturday's brunch at The Good Earth included salmon with potato hash and poached eggs and pumpkin pancakes with applesauce and dried cranberries.  All the food here is made from organic and mostly local ingredients.

 Then, we made a trip to St. Olaf college where my friend did part of her master's program and where my cousin is a senior!
(for all you relatives out there...)
What a stunningly beautiful chapel!  (This is one of many windows there - pictures don't do it justice)
My cousin works at a cafe on campus where my friend used to go with other grad students a lot (though they hadn't met till now), and he made us drinks before we left.  This was my Pumpkin Spice Latte.)
A picture on the campus of Luther Seminary (where she also attended).
A delicious meal was prepared for us by my friend's thoughtful and talented boyfriend.  After supper, the night continued with lots of great conversation and a came of Scattergories.
One of the "new and exciting" things I went to experience was a litter of 7 kittens.  Need I say more...?  ☺
For now, their names are Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, and Ti.

Such a good (and young!) mama kitty.
Her sweet dog, Rondo, is pretty great, too!  I got to experience giving him a bath before I left on Sunday.
Since my friend is a (talented, organized, amazing) music/worship director, I took my trumpet and was able to participate in Sunday's All Saint's Day service.  It was so great to see her in her element (and hear her play organ!!), and also such a blessing to be able to be part of it all.

Afterward, we ate at a cafe that doubles as a bike shop - pretty cool...and also yummy!

A lot of people thought I was a little crazy for making this trip alone, but I really didn't think twice about it.  I figured there is no time like the present (and it was the only weekend between now and Christmas - when the kittens would be finding new homes - that worked), so I just went...and I'm so glad I did!  It was a really wonderful trip, and I feel like I got to do and see everything I wanted to.  Of course, there are lots of touristy things we didn't take time to do or see, but that doesn't matter - it's the real and meaningful "attractions" that matter most.  ☺

Also - I never shared my Halloween costume with you all!  I was originally going to dress up as something completely different (an idea I'm saving for next year, so not sharing now), but then I found this priceless sweatshirt-turned-cat-cardigan at Goodwill, and couldn't not be the Crazy Cat Lady.

That's all, folks!  Hope you have an exceptional week!

Home without a kitten or a Minnesotan accent,

Favorites of the day:
having student evaluations done!
This is what Charlie's doing right now.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Stories and "Now vs. Then" thoughts

Hello!  Long time, no write/read, huh?

Things are pretty status quo here, just pretty busy...all good things, though!

I'm sitting in Panera working on student evaluations, right now, and though I thought I would get less distracted than I would at home (with other things I need to do), there are so many interesting conversations going on around me that it's a little tricky to focus on the task at hand!  haha.  I am making some headway, though, and therefore, am rewarding myself (and you) with a "blog break."

I have a couple stories to share with you, and then a few thoughts I've been compiling for a while:

During the warmer weather, I wore a lot of skirts, and therefore, a lot of open-toed heels.  When the colder weather first arrived a couple weeks ago, I wore flats for the first time in awhile, and one of my little 6-yr.-old girl students noticed.  She has asked why I always wear high heels, before, and when she caught a glimpse of my flats that day, she exclaimed "You're not wearing high heels today!"

Ever since I adopted Charlie, I have fed him twice a day, rather than leaving lots of food out for him to eat at his leisure.  Recently, however, I decided to do an experiment to see if leaving food out for him continuously would help him to be less naughty.  It seems to have helped a little bit, but he has had a hard time adjusting to the new "meal plan."  My roomie (who is usually the first one up and the first one home in the evening, so usually feeds him at those times) has had to walk a crying Charlie to his food bowl each morning/evening and basically stick his nose in his bowl to remind him that she doesn't need to feed him, because there's already food in the bowl!  It makes sense, since he's been conditioned to be fed at those times of day for his whole life; it's just funny that his nose doesn't help him remember food is available all the time, now!  ☺

I don't think I've ever documented my "music librarian" duties with a picture before and had a great example of a day a work a couple weeks ago:
This is the result of two Nebraska Jazz Orchestra concerts in one week.

I've always remembered answering the "Where do you see yourself in 10 years?" question as a 6th grader, and am often reminded of the ways in which I was both correct and incorrect in answering that question 13 years ago.  In thinking about all that, I compiled the following lists.  Perhaps you can relate...

Misconceptions I had of adult life as a child:
-I'll use cursive writing every day.
-I'd always get to live 5 minutes (or less) from my best friend.
-It will be easy to remember the minor (and some major) events of grade school, junior high, and high school.
-I'll always have the same group of friends.
-I'd be married with kids on the way a year after finishing college.
-All adults are the same as my parents and their friends.
-I'll never want (or have) to go to bed.

True conceptions I had of adult life as a child:
-Going to the doctor alone is even worse than having to go with Mom (or Dad).
-I can have an indoor cat!
-It is fun to have (and organize) all my own things in my own place.
-I will always love to travel.
-Moving and transition is not fun...but meeting new people and making new friends is pretty great!
-I can have brownies for breakfast, if I want.

These are not all-inclusive lists, by any means, but just what has come to mind the last couple of weeks.  Let me know if you have any additions!

Ok - time to get back to work.  Have a lovely weekend!

As warmly as possible,

Favorites of the day:
gift cards
having friends in lots of places and being able to visit and stay with them

Saturday, October 6, 2012

"Singles Night", I had one of the most unique and hilarious experiences ever last night.  It was probably one of those "you had to be there" kind of things, but please allow me to try to share it with you:

Various friends and I have been hearing about/talking about going to the "singles night" a local ballroom/dance hall advertises for the first Friday of every month.  This ballroom is known for it's Sunday country/swing/line dancing nights (which I've gone to and thoroughly enjoyed) that are attended by large quantities of college-age-ish people.  So, when a group of girlfriends and I were planning a "girls night out," we thought checking out this "singles night" would be a good option.  It was advertised on the website as "Singles Night (couples welcome)," and though we didn't know quite what that meant, we just wanted to dance, so decided to try it out.

We arrived about an hour and a half after the event had supposedly kicked off.  The dulcet tones of a Frank Sinatra tune met us at the door...and the person usually checking ID's and taking money did not (this should've been the first red flag).  As we made our way further inside, we were greeted by a 65+ couple sitting at a table with a white table cloth (quite possibly covered in confetti) taking money and putting admission tickets into a raffle ticket cage/drum thing.  We looked to the dance floor, and saw a scene similar to this:
...except add more tables with white table cloths, balloons, and lights only partially dimmed.
 It reminded me of jr. high dances...and this scene from Napoleon Dynamite:

Our only regret is that we didn't capture the moment via picture or video...both of the scene we happened upon and of our own reactions.  Pretty sure we stood there with jaws to the floor in shock/surprise/disbelief for a good 15 seconds before looking to each other and backing away.  We were not able to contain our laughter before making it out the door and back to the car.

After containing ourselves and wiping away the tears of laughter, we went on to find a place downtown where an '80s cover band was playing...and doubled the dance crowd there - haha.  We sure got our dancing in, though, so all was not lost!

Moral of the story (especially for those of you living in Lincoln): Unless you are over the age of 60 and/or want to step into a time warp, stay away from the Pla Mor Ballroom on "Singles Night."

In other news...Go Big Red!

Still laughing,

Favorites of the day:
two of my favorite dances at Zumba today! (Jai Ho and The Cupid Shuffle)
Shirley Temples (and cherry Dr. Pepper)
Roasted Red Pepper and Artichoke Tempenade from Trader Joe's

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Another smile (or two), courtesy of some sweet little ones

Hey there!

I have a few kiddo quotes that can't go without sharing:

One of my students was getting ready to play a song titled "Chimes."  He read the title (silently), and said, "Aren't those the green things you put on baked potatoes?"  I wasn't sure where he was going with that, until he said, "Oh wait - those are chives.  haha - that would've been a silly thing to write a song about!"

While driving downtown on our way to the Children's Museum, we passed a man in a suit.  My 3-yr.-old friend said from the backseat, "He looks like church!"

Another "funny" from the same little girl: 
We were eating at Noodles after visiting the museum, and after our waiter asked if everything was "noodletastic" (the kids got a kick out of his word choice), she asked, "Does he have underwear on?"  I wasn't able to keep a straight face in this situation, but composed myself enough to explain that it wasn't necessarily appropriate to discuss such things, especially in public, but that yes, it was probably safe to assume that he did.

I am increasingly amazed by the generous and talented people I am so blessed to have in my life!  This weekend, I did a small (and fun!) favor for a family whose boys I teach, and this is how they thanked me:
It's a homemade Peanut Butter Cup cheesecake with pretzel crust...and it was delivered as a surprise during a long evening of teaching.  (The other half is in my freezer.)  Though their kind words and hugs would've been thanks enough, this wasn't something I was going to turn down...  ☺

Lastly, I have a couple additions to my birthday post:
-I forgot to mention that my actual birthday started with "birthday cake" pancakes made by my roomie before she headed to work in the morning!  I'd been craving pancakes for awhile, and these were "funfetti" ones...and really yummy!
-My brother sent me a very thoughtful b-day package (that arrived after birthday week and weekend...thus prolonging the celebration ☺) that included, among other meaningful things, a capo for my guitar!

I hope this finds you all well...and gearing up for the supposed cold front!

Loving fall,

P.S. I don't know what the highlighted background is all about...and I'm not going to retype all this to try to get rid of it.  So...enjoy it, for now!  haha  ☺  Thanks for reading!

P.P.S. I'm potentially in the market for some cowgirl boots.  Any suggestions as to where to get a fairly quality pair at a reasonable price?

Favorites of the day:
new clothes
catching up with old friends (and making new ones)
the song "After All (Holy)" by the David Crowder Band

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Where to even begin...

Those of you on Facebook know that I have been celebrating "birthday week" for over a week, now.  Those of you who have known me for awhile know that I don't usually make a huge deal about my own birthday, much less make it a week-long celebration.  This year, however, lent itself to lots of celebrating...and I didn't resist it.

I'll try not to be redundant here, since I posted about the week's happenings on Facebook, but here is a brief recap of some of the surprises the week brought:
I painted this spoon rest on a birthday present trip to Paint Yourself Silly (and Ivanna Cone!) with my roomie.
One of the very thoughtful and sweet families I teach brought this birthday cookie and a bouquet of flowers for me to their lessons on Monday.
Tuesday started with a spontaneous birthday breakfast with the family I nanny for followed by a trip to the zoo on such a beautiful, sunny day!

On Wednesday, one of my coworkers brought treats to staff meeting partially in honor of my b-day, and I was treated to nachos and a free birthday dessert while out with friends later that evening.

Thursday included lunch with (and compliments of) a dear friend and these cupcakes (from my favorite cupcake shop, Le Cupcake) from a couple very sweet and thoughtful students.  (They were supposed to have lessons that evening, but had something come up, so made a special trip to drop these off earlier in the evening.)

Friday (the 21st) was my actual birthday.  I'm only a little embarrassed to admit I spent the morning cleaning house (since I'd been celebrating all week, I hadn't had a day at home to take care of things like I usually do).  Then, I taught the Children's Music Academy class I teach on Friday afternoons.  The three precious 4 -year-old girls and I made a "music cake" as part of our normal lesson.  I told them we could put some candles on it, though, because it was my birthday.  They had a real hard time deciding how many to put on the cake.  Once we got to 20, they jumped straight to 35!  haha
I have a little bit of downtime on Fridays between teaching the CMA class and lessons, so this week, I  walked across the street to use my only-valid-on-your-birthday free yogurt coupon at Cherry on Top.  What a pleasant surprise to find they have bowl dividers, so you can get two totally different flavor combinations!  Someone was thinking...

Friday evening was spent out to supper with friends (yes, I got the free birthday dessert...and song), then karaoking at a venue no one in our group had experienced.  It was a little sketchy...and we'll probably try somewhere else next time...but a good time was had by all!
We sang "Summer Nights"...good times!  haha
One of my coworkers (and friends!) offered to make me something for my birthday.  I told her I wasn't picky, but that I really liked cheesecake, so she made me THIS!  Almost to pretty to eat, but oooh so yummy!  What an amazing job for her first cheesecake!
Saturday was spent with my parents and extended family, and today they took me out for a birthday lunch before leaving town.

Words cannot express how blessed and loved I feel!  Many thanks to those who sent cards and gifts, called, texted, posted on Facebook, and helped me celebrate the 25th anniversary of my birth!  

I've told some of you that I haven't really been affected by the number associated with my birthday, until this milestone year.  I'm not sure why it seems like a bigger deal to me, but it does...and I feel a little clichè that it's affecting me at all - haha.  It is what it is, though, and I'm just increasingly thankful for the blessings in my life - past, present, and future - and the new opportunities each year, month, and day bring!

Looking forward to seeing what is in store for the coming year!  Thanks for sharing in the journey with me!  ☺


Favorites of the day:
my electric blanket
that cheesecake...!
Room 211 (the church service I attend)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

It's the little things in life.

So, before I tell you anything else, I have to tell you about something I saw today:
We were driving by a little house in a neighborhood and noticed a bunny (as in a big, furry black-and-white-spotted pet rabbit) tethered in the yard on a pink leash...with a water jug next to it, complete with one of those little spout things that rodents (and bunnies) use to drink from.  What?!?!  I'm only sorry I didn't stop to take a picture.

Anyway, this post is all about finding joy in the little things in life.  Here are a few things in which I've found joy in the past few days:

My weekend (and birthday week) started off with a FREE meal at Noodles and Co., thanks to my b-day coupon.  This was followed by a spontaneous birthday present trip to Paint Yourself Silly and Ivanna Cone, courtesy of my roomie!  We had a lovely time - I'll have photo evidence of the finished products, soon.

Saturday started with a trip to the farmer's market to get some cute little gourds complete our fall decorations:
May or may not have also purchased a cinnamon roll from Great Harvest Bread Co. (if you haven't tried one of these, you NEED to!).

A trip to Walgreen's resulted in the purchase of two clearance items - a stack of 1" square post-its (they're sooo cute!) and this lunch bag:
I'd been considering getting a new/bigger lunch box for awhile, and this was perfect...and only $5!
A good chunk of Saturday afternoon was spent outside enjoying the lovely weather...on blankets with music and magazines.  ☺

I also spent some time this weekend putting recipes I've printed off, received from others and/or written down on post-its or scrap paper in page protectors and in a notebook.  I probably enjoyed this task (way) more than the average girl - haha.  Now, for something for all the recipe/note cards...

Those of you on Facebook already know I was rudely awakened the other morning by footsteps and strange squawk/chirping noises on the roof.  I originally thought it was just one of the teenage turkeys we have running around here, but my aunt/neighbor provided this photo evidence that proved otherwise:
My room is under the roof toward the left of this photo.
You're probably wondering how/why I found joy in this - I just think it was (and is) so hilarious!  Wish you could've heard the noises they were making.
My Sunday also got of to a wonderful start - I got to play trumpet duets at church with one of my former NWU classmates (and my good friend)!  We played a couple selections from opposite sides of the balcony and a couple from the front of the church.  Those of you who know me well know how much I love to play in church...and how much I love duets!  I'm continually thankful for opportunities to share God's gift of music - especially with people I really like!

I hope you all are able to find joy in the little (and big) things in your lives!

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." -Romans 15:13


Favorites of the day:
all the birthday coupons I've received, so far (12 and being for a free huge piece of chocolate layer cake from Granite it to go after brunch today, and it looks so amazing!)
Charlie inviting himself to curl up in my lap for a bit just now
the color red

Thursday, September 6, 2012

It's the most wonderful time of the year (in my opinion)!

Happy September!

Most of you probably know that fall is my favorite time of year - I love the weather, the smells, the activities...everything!  I just finished putting out fall decorations and got out the fall candles.  My electric blanket is also on my bed and ready for open windows on crisp, cool nights.  (The only thing I'm not ready for is the end of flip-flop season...but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.)

The end of August brought some pretty quality kiddo stories and a couple other really fun activities I'd like to share with you:

We sang a song at church called "Praise Like Fireworks" (check it out here) a couple weeks ago.  The band leader asked around for some help with the song, and our Sunday school class was volunteered.  So, at the end of the service, the band started playing/singing this song, and about halfway through, we went on stage with sparklers to sing and dance and praise Him with fireworks!  It was such a fun, unique experience...and cool to be up there feeling the energy of everyone else worshiping.

While having some special time with the 5-yr.-old I nanny for while his sister was at school (his classes hadn't started, yet), he brought up a couple interesting topics:
-He was talking about various kinds of snakes and snake bites and was speculating as to how much blood is lost due to a snake bite.  Then, he said, "You know, snakes and guns are the same...because snakes cause blood and guns cause, they're the same."  I couldn't argue with that.
-I was wearing dangley (I don't think that's actually a word) earrings that day, and he noticed the end of the long post was touching my neck.  He asked, "Doesn't that hurt you?"  I assured him it didn't and let him feel that it wasn't very sharp.  Then, he asked, "Were you born with holes in your ears?"  I shook my head and he asked, "Well, how do people get pierced ears?"  Needless to say, I was able to offer more explanation to this question than the conversation about snake bites.

One of my first grade piano students broke his arm a few months ago.  When I was explaining a new song I assigned at his lesson last night, he said, "I should probably wait a couple weeks to play this - I don't want to break my arm again."  I asked what he meant, and he explained, "Well, it says to play it forte, and I don't want to play too loud and break my arm again.  I should probably just wait to play it."  I still assigned the song, and we agreed that he'd just play "forte" carefully.

This past weekend was sooo very wonderful!  My best friend from home came to visit, and we treated ourselves to a day at the spa (including a facial, a massage, and pedicures).  Neither of us had done something like that before, and it was fun to do so together...and it was very relaxing and refreshing for us two teachers!  My family was also in town, so I got to spend some quality time with them.  They stayed with my aunt and uncle, and their neighbor cat had kittens a few weeks ago (and they've basically adopted my aunt and uncle's front porch as their home).  The already awesome weekend was made even more great by these four, precious, tame, playful baby kitties:

This is completely unrelated, but someone posted this video an elderly man made after his wife passed away, and it's definitely worth watching!  Click here to watch.

Okey dokey - that's all for now!

I hope you all have a lovely rest of the week and enjoy the weekend!

Thanks for reading,

Favorites of the day:
iced coffee (homemade)
not having to plan meals for the week (thanks to leftovers from Mom and a pretty great aunt)
witnessing budding relationships
God's ceaseless and abundant love

Saturday, August 18, 2012

My life this month = (synonyms for "good")

Ok...are you ready?  I have a lot of little things to share:

First of all, we just finished deep-cleaning the coop, and Charlie is bathing himself, because he just came inside from a climb in the the rain.  (Yep - RAIN!!!)  He was in the tree for probably 20 mins., then found his way down and started grazing in the lawn in the rain.  Needless to say, we have a wet kitty on our hands, but I'll bet he'll be content to stay inside the rest of the day (we let him out on purpose, so he wouldn't try so hard to help us clean)!

I don't want to echo the rest of the world, but can I just say that I LOVE this weather?!  Seriously.

I've been talking to various people quite a bit lately about my "single season," and how I've really come to appreciate the opportunities it allows for me to serve and spend quality time with others.  A friend shared an article, recently, that echos some of my own thoughts: click here to read it!

This is unrelated, but I also recently watched this very inspiring and awesome video about a mute girl finding her voice: click here to watch it, too!

The weekend before last I made a trip to Kansas to visit my brother and celebrate my grandpa's 90th birthday.  Highlights from that trip included:
-forgetting my dress for a wedding we went to, but finding one to wear (that I like!) for $10!
-a motorcycle ride
-being reminded to be patient and not take matters into my own hands
-a mini-hike to a river/sand bar and sitting in the water, letting the current go around us (at nighttime)
-piano/guitar worship/jam sessions
-seeing extended family and friends!
-hearing Grandpa's thoughts on life and our purpose in a spontaneous sermon-esque birthday speech (he's a retired Lutheran minister)
-quality bro-time

At the end of last week, I traveled with two of the new teachers at the studio to the Denver area for some Children's Music Academy (the class I teach for preschoolers and their parents) training.  It was such a great trip, and I could talk lots about it, but here are some highlights:
-catching up with a good friend from NWU over a reindeer hot dog (he had an elk one)
-quality time road-tripping with the girls...complete with Mad Libs, snacks, music, and getting-to-know-you convos
-meeting some truly amazing people (esp. the couple we stayed with - the woman who wrote the curriculum and her husband, who now co-owns and helps run the company)
-having supper and spending quality time with my cousins
-lots of great conversation - professional and otherwise
-being reminded that my mission field is my work place(s)
-beautiful weather and seeing the mountains!!
-sleeping in this super comfy bed:

We started our fall semester at the studio on August 1st (one of the reasons you haven't heard from me in a month), and we're off to a great start!  I have a couple brand new students and some who are new to me.  I always love getting to know each of them, so I give them a survey to fill out about themselves.  One of the 2nd graders brought his back with an answer that completely melted my heart:
He was completely serious - doesn't know the concept of "brown-nosing."

I'm going to an awesome progressive musical-type event tonight.  I don't really think there's any way to describe it, and there isn't anything to compare it to, but it sounds pretty sweet, so you should check it out and come, too!  Hopefully, clicking here will take you to the Facebook page.

I think that covers it all!  Thanks for reading, as usual!

I hope this finds you and yours well and you have a wonderful weekend!


Favorites of the day:
fresh produce and pesto (My adult student has been bringing me lots of goodies from her garden, including a TON of basil!)