Thursday, September 22, 2016

Joseph Medley

I mentioned a couple days ago (if you watched my video from Monday) that I performed my Joseph Medley in Sacrament Meeting on Sunday. This is a medley that I have been working on - off and on - for a few years. It is a mashup of a bunch of songs relating to Joseph Smith. I had been working on it over the last few weeks, and finally felt like it was just about finished when I received an email from our ward music chairperson asking if I would perform a piano solo for Sacrament Meeting in a little over a week. This was the only thing that I felt I was close enough to being able to play well enough to perform with only a week's notice. I kept tweaking it over the next several days. (I think I printed out my final version on Friday!) But, with lots of practice, playing it several times a day (as you can see from the video) it turned out pretty well. I was happy with it, anyway.

Just in case you are interested, the .pdf of the sheet music is here. I also attempted to produce a midi file of it in MuseScore, but the tempo and dynamics are a bit off, and I couldn't figure out how to fix them. (It slows way down, and then speeds up later, and there is nothing I can see that tells it to do that... so I can't speed up the too slow part! And the dynamics changes are a bit more sudden than I would do if I were playing it myself.) You can get a general idea of the way it is supposed to sound, anyway. The midi file is here.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

FHE Activity

Monday evening, our family trekked outside with a watermelon and some rubber bands for a wholesome recreational activity, and to see if what Steven said was true: If you wrap enough rubber bands around a watermelon, it will explode.

7:00 pm

 7:06 pm

 7:17 pm
 7:36 pm
 7:44 pm
 8:00:23 pm
 8:00:27 pm
Note: Do NOT try this indoors!!!!!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Are My Days Crazy?

A few months ago, a couple of my sisters began a facebook group to help us be motivated to be more creative. The idea was that each month they would post a new challenge, and then we were invited to participate in that challenge. I usually have enough creative stuff going on (between knitting, crocheting, jewelry making, sketching, Photoshopping, sewing, etc.) that I didn't feel like I really needed a challenge to be creative, but I joined anyway.

The most recent challenge is called "Crazy Days" and the challenge was: "Show us what you've been working on now that school is in session again!! We've all been crazy busy, I know, so share with us a glimpse of your craziness!!" 

The challenge was posted on Monday, September 12th. I read the challenge, and then thought, Yes, I agree that life seems crazy... but what makes it so crazy? What is it that I do each day that makes it seem that way? All my kids are in school, so it's not like I'm chasing after toddlers all day like a lot of my sisters are. And then I looked back on the day I was having. Yes, life was definitely crazy.

Here's my Monday:

5:25 get up, have family scripture reading

5:50 do aerobics

6:20 shower

6:35 read scriptures

7:00 wake boys, eat breakfast, straighten house

7:45 walk boys to school

(So far, pretty normal for me...)

8:00 my friend (and RS counselor) picks me up, gives me a ride to where Hannah parked my van. (Hannah takes my van to seminary, and then parks in front of another friend's house across the street from the high school. Normally I walk to pick it up so I'll have a car during the day.)

8:15 my friend and I return to my house and discuss RS stuff.

9:30 I realize I'm going to be late for my next appointment scheduled for 9:30. My friend leaves, and I head out for my appointment. It is a Visiting Teaching PPI. They usually take between 30 minutes to an hour. The sister I was visiting ended up telling me about her children and grandchildren, and pretty much her entire life story. I enjoyed the chance to get to know her better.

12:30 I leave that appointment and return home for lunch.

1:00 I bake bread and prepare some food that I can bring to a ward member who is having surgery the next day. I also do the chores and stuff around the house that I need to do.

3:30 I pick up the boys from school.

4:00 I take John with me to drop off the food for the ward member. She tells me she doesn't have a ride home after her surgery the next day, and I suggest someone she can ask. After leaving there, John and I swing by a shoe store to get John some new shoelaces that he desperately needed.

5:00 I return home and start on dinner, but get a phone call from the ward member saying that the person I suggested can't give her a ride. We brainstorm for a few minutes. She tries calling someone else, I call another of my counselors for ideas of who else might be available... Eventually we figure it out. She has a ride.

6:30 Dinner is late.

7:30 We have Family Home Evening.

9:00 I am ready for bed.
Tuesday morning, I began documenting my day by taking pictures of everything I did with my phone. This has been my life for the last week: (Through Friday anyway. By Friday night the kids were sick of the *click* of my phone camera and I was literally sick.)


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Josh's French Horn

This year, Josh gets to be in band. After a couple weeks of trying out different instruments, he selected the french horn as the instrument he wanted to play. Already he has learned to play "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and "Hot Cross Buns" and a few other songs. He was interested to learn that the french horn is actually from Germany, rather than France. Although it is a bit heavy, he enjoys bringing it home to practice (to the annoyance of a couple of his siblings. It is a little loud.)

Thursday, September 8, 2016

When Good News Depends on One's Perspective.

When the school year began a couple weeks ago, John took a pretest in his math class. He scored over 80% on it. At back-to-school night, John's math teacher told me about this, and I asked what he planned to do to keep John challenged during the year. The teacher kind of glanced around his classroom, then shrugged and said they didn't have anything set up for that. I encouraged him to figure something out so John would continue to learn and grow in math this year. So the math teacher gave John the class final. He passed that as well, again with over 80%. After consulting with John's math teacher from last year and his school counselor, they decided to bump him up to the next math class level. So they tweaked his schedule last week and John is now in Ms. Petrakis' 6th hour calculus class. Good news! Right?

The thing is, Hannah also happens to be in Ms Petrakis' 6th hour calculus class. Not being one who really enjoys math, she took statistics last year instead of calculus, and hoped that she wouldn't have to take another math class. But after discussions with her counselor, she ended up taking calculus this year after all. And since it has been a year since she has done that type of math, she is finding it a bit of a challenge, although nothing she can't handle. But then to have her smart aleck younger brother in her class suddenly? Well, you can probably imagine how she feels.

How will this affect their relationship? I don't know. Will they work on their homework together? Probably not. Will they compare test scores? I hope not. Each of them is an individual with different talents and learning styles. I would rather they not compare how they are doing in this class, and I hope that it doesn't become a competition - for either of them.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Camping in Estes Park

Friday evening we piled into the car with our camping gear and set off on a family camp out, probably the last one for the season. We drove north west, to Estes Park, and camped at the East Portal Campground
We set up tents and got dinner cooking in the dutch oven. We didn't bring charcoal, so had to cook it using chunks from our campfire, but the stew still turned out great. 

Hannah chose to sleep on the picnic table.

The next morning, Steven woke up early and got our mountain man breakfast cooking in the dutch oven. Once again, it turned out perfect!

 When we were finished with breakfast, we cleaned up camp and got ready to go. While Steven packed the gear into the van, the kids and I went over to the playground.

 The remainder of the morning was spent on a five mile hike. We hiked 2.5 miles from just outside the East Portal Campground to Sprague Lake, and then 2.5 miles back. The first half mile was the worst bit, because it was pretty steep, but after that it leveled out and we were able to enjoy playing guessing games as we hiked the rest of the way.


   The lake was beautiful. Steven hiked around the lake while the rest of us rested a bit before we hiked back.

 After we returned to where our car was parked, we drove back into Estes Park. We ate lunch at a picnic table in the shade of the Open Air Adventure Park. Then we drove through downtown Estes Park. It was really crowded because of an arts and crafts show on Labor Day weekend, so we couldn't find anywhere to park to explore town. We ended up heading for home, but stopping at a small restaurant along the way for ice cream cones.

It was a fun, wholesome family recreational activity. I enjoyed playing with my camera. (I took lots more pictures than I posted here.) We played a lot of guessing games. (Guess what these three Disney characters have in common: The Shadow Man, Scar, and Ursula... but not Maleficent or Mother Gothel)

Monday, August 29, 2016


A week or so before school began, I brought John and Joshua to the eye doctor. Both had been complaining about not being able to see well from a distance through one eye. I watched as they were brought back one at a time and asked to look through various gizmos and read letters through another contraption. Eventually the eye doctor wrote each up a prescription and they picked out lenses. A few days later the glasses were ready to pick up.

John is near sighted. He can see perfectly fine when he's on his computer or reading a book. He has a little more difficulty seeing long distances. The eye doctor said that he doesn't need to wear his glasses all the time, just when he feels like he needs them. (They would have come in handy at the baseball game...) He will definitely need them anytime he is behind the wheel when he starts driving. 
Joshua's eyes have a different issue. For him, the difficulty comes when he has been focusing on something close up, and then need to focus on something farther away. Or vise versa. The eye doctor said that he also doesn't have to wear his glasses all the time, but they will help him focus, particularly when doing schoolwork, so his eyes don't have to work as hard when he looks up from his book or writing for a moment.