Sunday, July 24, 2011


My life has been moving at a pace faster than I can deal with. That is why things are falling through my fingers. I will go back and pick up those things, and repair them the best that I can, but until then all of you will just have be satisfied with all that I can do. (even if "all" means part of my list). I saw this today, it bothered me. I borrowed it from a friend, who borrowed it from Jeff Bridge's Website.

Washington, DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007. The man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approx. 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.

4 minutes later: The violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

6 minutes: A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

10 minutes: A 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children.. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly..

45 minutes: The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

1 hour: He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, and people's priorities.

The questions raised:

*In a common place environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?

*Do we stop to appreciate it?

*Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made...

How many other things are we missing?

I hope I am not missing anything.


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Vacation 2011

I know there has been a break in my blogging, we were out of town, and I didn't think ahead and schedule posts for while I was gone. So, rather than advertise that we were gone, I opted to just pretend to be too busy to blog; which in fact, I was! We had planned on leaving on a Saturday, but the Wednesday before our planned departure I got sick. Truly, amazingly sick. I don't get sick very often, but when I am laid flat with a fever and cannot fold more than one or two pieces of laundry without a nap, you know there is problem. Anyway, since I would be travelling mostly alone, I decided to wait until Monday to leave so I was fully recovered. Good thing I did! I still wasn't really 100% by the time we left, but I was doing much better. But, that illness stole two very three very important vacation days. Boo.

We arrived in San Diego on Tuesday, and rested. Well, I also took Dallin to the Mall. He has completely outgrown EVERYTHING. They have 'cooler' clothes in California, so he was happy to make due with just a few articles of clothing until we could get there and get a whole bunch of good stuff. It was the first time I refused to pick anything out for him. It was really fun to see his own sense of style come out. Of course, there were lots of pictures as I picture messaged everything back to his sister for approval. In the end, he was feeling pretty confident. Wednesday I visited my ultra-cute grandma. She has just gotten out of the hospital, so everyone is watching her like a hawk right now. She winds her way through the house with her oxygen tube. I don't know how she doesn't get tangled. Anyway, when we showed up, my Uncle who was her current caretaker was out at lunch so she and I got to visit all by ourselves. We don't get to talk alone much, and she has always been someone I can tell everything too. Not to mention she is just darn smart. She is one of the best people-analyzers I have ever met. It was nice to speak freely without a lot of people around.

On Thursday I took the boys to the chicken Pie Shop. Both cheap and yummy; a wonderful combination. Then we went to the Zoo.
 We stood in line for the pandas. It had been a long time since we had done that. I think I am part panda. They are vegetarians and spend their days napping. Yep, although I do like my meat, I tend to eat a lot of salads and a nap a day would make me a happy woman. We also seem to have the same figure. Unfortunately.
 Then a trip down Horton's Way. It is the Elephant exhibit, with a nod to Dr. Seuss who lived in San Diego and donated generously to the Zoo. LOVE the lions. They were EATING. It was scary and exciting. This guy is so big. It is hard to see from this perspective, but seriously, Lions are HUGE!
 This is the Lioness. Well, one of several. Lions are happy at the San Diego Zoo and Safari Parks. They make a lot of babies. Here is some perspective; her TAIL is at least the size of my bicep. She is all muscle. I wish I was all muscle.
 Big guy.

Seriously, she is lean and sexy. 
And the elephants. We also saw the leopard, the secretary bird and numerous snakes and lizards. Not to mention several displays about the fossils in the area.

 You know how you always saw cartoons where elephants put their noses in water then squirted the water into their mouths to drink? They REALLY do that! And it is SO much cooler to see in person.

Mac rediscovered his camera, and I again was followed by my own personal paparazzi.
And the meerkats were just lazy. I was feeling that way about then.
This was a new one. It was a baby Kimodo Dragon. The guy was in the top of the tree! I guess that is how you keep alive when you aren't big yet.
And then, our traditional picture. Dallin in his new clothes; the big, grown up guy that he is.
And McCade is, well, McCade.


Look at this big guy!


I took these pictures the day before Dallin got braces. I wanted his dance pictures to look like he did during recital, that would mean no braces.

What a big guy he is.

What a seriously handsome young man he is.
(Not that I am biased or anything. . .)

I am sure that in less than a year he will be taller than me.
All I can say is . . .

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Finding people. . .

Basketball Camp.
Lots of
Basketball Camp.

This week the High School Coaches held their Basketball Camp.
I had three different kids in three different sessions. I ran back and forth to the High School all day long!
At the end, they were exhausted and sore.
But all of them felt it was a good monetary investment.
 On friday night Shane and the boys had the Father & Sons Campout with our church. Shane was in charge of the entire activity, which inculded a Breakfast for Everyone in our congregation (we call it a  Ward) the next morning.
In case you haven't gotten the picture, (or lack of pictures, or pictures with a phone surgically attached to his ear) he is a very busy man. Things that he cannot do usually fall to me. This was very much the case with this.
However, since I have now had several years of several activities per year as far as throwing together a party for several hundred people, I can throw together a party in less than 15 minutes now.

Except for the shopping. That takes longer.

In the end, it went well and there were very few leftovers. That's when I know I have done well.

As a family, we have discussed planting a garden this year.
There are a few problems with this.
#1 - I have never gardened. I have planted flowers, that was fun. One year I planted lettuce in between my flowers as ground cover.
There was a lot of lettuce.
Good thing we had a guinea pig then.
I quit planting flowers the summer I was in a cast from my achilies tendon rupture. I couldn't do it and my flowers beds were in such disrepair that I just let the grass take them over. It made me sad.
#2 - Shane and I have completely different ideas on what a garden is.
He thinks it is a big plot of land with lots of rows that requires a lot of weeding. It produces WAY more stuff than you can eat so you need to CAN the rest. Canning to me is going to the store and picking up a can. That kind of garden takes up your whole life. I think gardening is some pretty constructed boxes with weed barriers so the weeding is minimal. It grows only what you can eat fresh and only takes a little bit of time.

So we 'discussed' this long enough that there will be no garden for us. However, one of our friends has hurt his knee and he & his family have one of those extra big, have to live gardens. So, in an attempt to give our kids the gardening experience, we offered to help them.

'We' isn't EXACLTY what happened.

Dallin was fairly sick by the time he got home from the campout. He was just plain exhausted. He had been at the Senior Basketball Camp all week (7th-12th grade). That would have been enough, but then Shane had gotten him up every morning to go to work with him. THEN they didn't really sleep at the campout. We left him home.
Tacey hadn't done anything except chase boys and go to Camp, but she threw one of those 15 yr old girl hissy fits and frankly, we didn't want to deal with it. So we left her home.
McCade jumped in the truck all happy.
We = three.
Shane rototilled while Ken hoed the rows and the kids picked up the weeds. Well, they kind of picked up the weeds. They will really regret not being more diligent later this summer. But that too, is a lesson.
Ken's wife, Jen & I planted the seeds.

This is a BIG garden. It is 80x20.
In the end, it looked like this.

I know it doesn't look like much; yet. In a few weeks it will have corn, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, radishes, cucmbers, zuccini, squash, onions, peas, beans and carrots. There will also be a row of sunflowers to offer a bit of shade while we work.
We plan on helping them all summer.

These are the gardeners. That whole thing only took about 2 hours with al the hands working.
I was also told that our presence made for less yelling.
I am all for increased family harmony!

This is Talon. He said he was sick and didn't really help. Sometimes he forgot he was sick. But he did take a nap.

So, backing up. . .

This little cutie is RIGDON. He is my friend Mindy's son.
Mindy is a ROCKSTAR as  far as I am concerned.
Her husband left her with her 4 children and went to fight for freedom in Iraq. They have really worked hard and been strong and positive during their separation. They get to see their Dad a lot; Skype is a wonderful thing. But there is a difference between seeing someon, and actually talking face to face; especially when you are going to be away an entire year.
Rigdon's dad got 2 weeks leave and came home for a short vacation this week. The morning after Mindy picked her husband at the airport in the middle of the night Rigdon looked at her and said in his super-cute 3 yr old voice with his super twinkly, innocent (but full of mischeif) eyes:

Mom, Thanks finding my Daddy!

yea, pass the kleenex.

But that is kind of what I have been doing this week. I have this goal; I want to put together a book with pictures and documents for my great-grandfather and his descendants. So I have been doing a lot of online genealogy work. I have found a lot of people.

I found out my grandfather had a younger brother that was stillborn.
I found the great-granddaughter of my great-grandfather's sister.
We have been emailing each other.
I have found that I am frustrated that I can't just get the documents;
they HIDE
they are HARD to FIND.
I am going to keep looking.

Someday, someone is going to say;
"Danielle, thanks for finding me!"


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Time to get Seussified. . .

Well, every year a lose my mind a little.

It is a proven fact.
Every year I adapt a book and create a play for the Elementary School kids to participate in. I add some music and voila! We have an instant big money fund raiser for the PTO.
This year I adapted several Dr. Seuss books and poems and added some songs from Seussical the Musical.
McCade recited the ENTIRE text 'There's a Wocket in my Pocket!'
Which of course, involves the Zink in the Sink.
And the Zlock in the Clock
And the Bofa in the Sofa acts like it doesn't even care.
Horton also hatched an egg after Mayzie talked him into it.
He also got seasick . . .
And Gertrude (Well, several Gertrudes) wanted bigger tails,
and several Mayzies helped out.
And of course there was Dr. Drake.
Dr. Drake by the lake.
This is almost my entire cast. There were 87 of them.
Yep. A cast of 87 kids in 3rd-6th grade.

As I said,
Every Year I LOSE my MIND
Just a little.
But we made
of money for the PTO.
On the very last day of school there was an awards assembly.
McCade was pretty excited.
He said he had never received an award before.
I thought he had, but he may be right.
He was
He earned his
National Physical Fitness Award.
He had good reason to smile.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Finding a church. . .

Okay, so the kids are out of school; I am out of school and the summer stretches before us. The months are too short, even if the days are long, and I am already wishing that by some MIRACLE they will delay the start of school next August 18th. Anyway. . .

I was Blog Surfing the other night and came across one where the Blogger was looking for a 'new church' because they didn't like the one they had previously gone to. This whole process was made worse by the fact that their 5 yr-old son was insistent that they needed to go to church every Sunday.

I am a church-goer. I go all the time. I also attend meetings during the week. It is safe to say that my church takes up a lot of my life. That's how I chose to live it.

But there is a difference between a CHURCH and LIVING THE WORD OF GOD.

I am active in my church because I believe the things taught in the Scriptures.

I do service because Jesus said 'Love one another as I have Loved you.'

I attend my meetings, of which there are several, because there is a commandment that says 'Thou shalt have no other Gods before me'.

I teach these things to my children and wait for the things they teach me in return. Christ said to become as a little child; meek submissive, humble . . .

I have FAITH. A deep, strong, abiding FAITH that if I uphold my part of any and all bargains, the Lord will always uphold his. I know he may not do it on my time schedule, but that's okay. I never do thing on my kid's time schedules either.

I truly believe we are all equal in his eyes. I just believe that some of us are braver than others and therefore are stuck in amazingly hard situations.

I think that Blogger had the right idea, but the wrong method. The Blogger was involved in a very personal search, but finding a local church that 'fits' isn't the answer. The answer is to find a religion that satisfies their soul. One that has answers that fit all their questions. One that is preached the same way in every chapel that carries it's name; whether it be in South America, South Africa or South Carolina. Heck, PRAY about it. Be SINCERE about your prayer. I bet you are led to where you need to be.

Religion has always been important in my life. It has been the source of pain and contention. It has been the source of joy and comfort. Everyone is at a different point along the path; different things resonate with different people. I do not impose my beliefs on anyone; not even my children. However, my heart is full and my eyes brim with tears when someone I know and love has found the place where their spiritual needs are fulfilled.
It isn't about finding a church . . .it is about finding a home with our Heavenly Father.


Sunday, May 22, 2011


School is almost over, and we have been working to finish up the 'lasts'. Last tests, last assignments, last concerts; all sorts of lasts.

In fact, there really wasn't a whole lot to document this week. However, I did take pictures to help out a friend. And then I got to thinking about service.

Anyone who reads my blog knows we spend a lot of time involved with the boy scout program. Every time I help one of my sons, or one of our friends, I think about my Grandpas; who were avid scouters. I know they just look down and smile. There are some amazing skills young men develop when working in the scout program. They not only learn skills that help them become skilled young men at things like camping; but they learn life skills. Goal setting, leadership, integrity, honesty, being dependable, and service are only some the things I see as a result of this program.

Our friend Tate has been working on his Eagle Project. I have become known for 'scolarly writing' skills, so I helped him one night write up his project. Then we, as a family helped him pass out flyers for a food drive; which was his eagle project.

And finally we all helped pick up and organize the food one Saturday morning.

This is Tate. He looks like he is in charge, doesn't he? Leadership.
 This is Tate with his self-appointed right-hand-man:Chris.
 And the group ready to go run door-to-door.
 Dallin ran his legs; but not off.
 We broke up into several groups and everyone took a few streets for food collection.
 Then we all gathered back at the church and organized and boxed the food and other items the local food pantry said they needed.
 We emptied the bags that were picked up from the individual houses.
 There were lots of bags.
 Every label had to be read.
 Every can has to be placed in it's proper place.
 Did you know that a vegetable can be hard to define?
IS an OLIVE a vegetable?
 There was a snafoo with the packing tape to hold the boxes (the very heavy boxes) together.
Scotch either has decreased the amount of stick on their tape, or we got a bad lot, because the tape was not even remotely sticky. We had to make an emergency run for actually sticky tape.
 Through it all, Tate was the fearless leader.
 And the people were generous.

 It took a lot of hands to do all this work. None of them were going to benefit from this; all this work and effort was for others. SERVICE.
 The morning ended with doughnuts provided by our fearless leader. This is Gabe. The doughnut is as big as his head.
Now the local food pantry will be able to provide food for local residents. Did you know that 11.6% of the households in our community are food insecure? That means when they finish one meal they have no means with which to get the next one.
Can you imagine, looking at your hungry child and telling them there is NOTHING you can do for them?
I cannot think of anything worse than that.
Food insecure people are not only physically hungry, they are spiritually hungry. They must be so sad, frustrated, depressed, scared. . .
I cannot begin to imagine it.
Glad I don't have to.
Glad I could help others.
I don't want anyone to feel that way.
I am even more grateful we have to opportunity to teach our kids to help others.
That's the way it should be.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Another LONG week . . .

It has been a very long week.
 I spent Mother's Day catching up on work.
(not what I had planned; I really wanted a good book and a nap. I plan on taking a make-up Mother's Day sometime in June)
Monday is a work day, followed by rehearsal with the Elementary School kids for their play, then a quick run to piano lessons
and then we had
Tacey's Choir Concert.
She enjoys the all-girl choir at school.
I had thought she would lean more toward the Show Choir as she has spent a great deal of her life dancing.
However, she loves the difficulty of the this more classical format and the concentration on the music.
I was both surprised and pleased.
 She is a Soprano; big surprise; NOT!
 She has been given her choice of any of the Advanced Choirs at the High School next year.
Not a bad position to be in;
gives her the freedom to choose what fits best into her schedule.
That is important for someone who is planning on being a
Glad she will be able to support me in my old age!
After the Choir Concert we came home to work on a Project for Dallin.
That will be discussed later in the week . . .
Tuesday was another work day, followed by more rehearsal, then off to watch some of Tacey's friends in the end of the year Ballroom Dance team concert.
It was a very nice concert.
This is Tacey's friend Josh in a Cabaret number. It was his final dance. He dedicated it to all those who serve in the Armed Forces. That is appropriate since he is a member of the National Guard.
Tacey and I have decided this is one of the best songs . . . EVER!

Then it was home to work on Dallin's project some more.
He was a little behind in his school work, and hadn't done well on the stuff he had done when he was sick the week before.
So there was a bit of a meltdown because of the pressure.
In our house that means four letters;
In other words;
Mom's Got Your Back
That means, he did his homeowork with a Cheerleader Mom next to him.
Then he went to bed and Mom worked on the display for his project until the early hours of the morning.
Then came Wednesday.
There was work, but before the work there was another several hours of work on the display.
(Seriously, the display took 4 1/2 to 5 hours. The project itself? 30 minutes, MAYBE.)
After work there was more rehearsal, a trip for a weekly appointment,
and back to get ready for the
very big deal in the world of Dallin.
The Tech Expo was put on by the Gifted & Talented Program in the school district.
Not everyone was asked to participate, but Dallin was.
Several VOLUNTEERED to participate,
and it is probable that Dallin would have volunteered as well,
but it was super-cool to be singled out and ASKED to re-create one of the projects he had done earlier in the year.
So, what was this project?
It had to do with alternate forms of energy.
Orginally, hit lit a light bulb using a Lemon.
For the Tech Expo he expanded that to include a potato and a pickle and used a volt meter instead of a light bulb.
He tried all of them at home, recorded and tracked the results, and then
Mom made a display.
Dallin was the one on the spot at that evening though.
He had to present and explain his project to everyone who came by. He had to help them recreate it himself.
Public Speaking
Can I say
that this kid never ceases to
He was
So, we named to project
'Dead Battery got you in a PICKLE?'
Mainly because the pickle was
by far
the best conductor.
On the left it explains what a Battery is; how it works.
Underneath that you have the chart of the lemon experiment.
It shows the volts using several different types of conductors; steel, zinc, thin copper and thick copper.
On the right it tells what he used in his exhibit and why the lemon, potato and pickle worked just like a battery.
It also charts the potato.
Then it asks a question;
"What do you think the
will do?"
In the center is the chart for the pickle itself,
and the title of the project.
He had a lemon, potato and pickle there
as well as the volt meter
and the bowl of pickle juice.
Everyone came to support Dallin,
but McCade had the most fun.
He spent the night fighting with a radio controlled robot someone had made
and riding this hovercraft one of Dallin's friends had made.
It was a little bit unbalanced so it didn't hover very well,
but it did hover!
Back to Dallin . . .
He really explained his project well
everyone was very interested!
As well as impressed.
He let them do the experiment themselves.
And in the end he got VERY creative!
He used himself as a battery.
He is very conductive.
Thursday was not a work day, but I did go
CRAZY at the GYM!
I haven't been working out the way I had been.
So, I walked a mile UP HILL on the treadmill,
then took a Yoga Class
then took a Zumba Class,
then stayed for an extra Ab workout taught by the Zumba instructor.
Three workouts in one day.
Does that mean I am done for the week?
Then more rehearsal with the little kids.
After that I had church stuff that took most of the night.
Tacey left for an over night trip with the school music department
 I cleaned,
had rehearsal,
sent Shane and the Boys off to a Boy Scout
overnight campout.
I tried to talk him into taking the dog,
but that didn't happen.
So I was alone,
well almost - the dog was home.
It was quiet.
I should have done something crazy,
or productive,
I fell asleep.