Monday, January 20, 2014

I Got A Part!

I am so excited and happy to be a part of Mount Harrison Heritage Foundation's production of Les Mis! I have a bit of a story about it, which is probably boring, but it's my story, so I'll tell it anyway.

Before Thanksgiving, Logan came home from school, and as usual brought in the mail. Once a week we receive a locally produced paper, which I can count on one hand the number of times I have looked through it.  This particular day was one of the those days I felt the need to thumb through it quickly before throwing it out. A few pages in, I was excited to see an advertisement for the upcoming production of Les Mis, and that tryouts would be happening the next week.  My first thought was to have Logan audition for the part of Gavroche. Logan loves the music to Les Mis, and in my motherly opinion, I think he would make the perfect Gavroche. After reading more about the auditions, I quickly realized that Logan was too young. Sadness.

After overcoming my initial excitement, then disappointment, James asked me if I was going to audition. I told him that I was thinking about it, but I wasn't sure if I should, knowing that there are way more talented people in this world than me and I didn't want to put myself through something scary, just to be disappointed.

 The next night I went visiting teaching. During that 10 minute drive, I was deeply pondering whether or not I should audition. When I got to my "sister's" house, I sat down at her kitchen table, and looked down to see that right in front of me was the paper, opened up to the page advertising the auditions for Les Mis! I was so surprised to see it, that I even commented on it.  That pretty much made my mind up, that I should indeed take the leap of faith, suck it up and audition.

About a week later, James joined me at Burley high school, supporting me while I sang in front of the play and music director. There were a bunch of people there, and I was kind of nervous, but not too nervous. I had prepared myself well, and I knew the song like the back of my hand. My turn came up, and then....I bombed it. Truly, I have never sang so poorly in my life. My initial feelings were anger. I was so mad at myself for screwing up so badly on something that I wanted so much!  I can't explain why I did so poorly, but I had no doubt in my mind that I had not made the cut. Indeed, the day came and went that the director told us we would be contacted by if we had made the play.

It may seem silly, but I really stewed about this for a long time. Day after day it wouldn't leave my mind about how badly I had done and how much it FRUSTRATED me! (I realize that people have bigger problems than this, but seeing as I didn't have any other major problems in my life at the time, this was a big deal.)

Finally, a week later, I made up my mind that I was over it, and I was not willing to lend any more of my feelings towards the matter. The very next day I ran into a friend at the grocery store. She congratulated me on making the play!  Talk about salt in the wound!  I regretfully informed her that while I did audition (how did she know?) I had not actually made the cut. She quickly disagreed with me and told me that she had seen my name on the list of people who had made the play. I could hardly believe it. She told me where she had seen this list, online, so I called James and told him to look it up to confirm with me.  This story is already long, but to shorten it a bit, lets just say, I made the play!

Rehearsals began shortly after the new year.  I have loved every second of it, and it really helps that James is just as excited about me being in the play as I am. Logan is pretty excited to go watch the show too. The talent that is in this show is AMAZING, so I still don't know why I'm in it. ;)

It makes all the difference, that even though this is at the high school, they mostly cast adults. It brings the level of maturity up a lot. It was a fun surprise to go to the first rehearsal and realized that I was surrounded by people who love this story and music as much, if not more, than I do. Really, I am so impressed with how much talent is in this play and I'm excited to see it all come together. The pit orchestra is even made up of volunteer, professional musicians.

Anyway, it's going to be great. The performances are the last week of January, and tickets are $12 a piece. The budget they spent on this play is astronomical ($25,000) so if you want to support your local Idaho community, please, come and enjoy the show! If you click on the link below, you can buy your tickets and even pick where you sit, so take advantage now and get front row seats!

The Month of December

We had a great Christmas Season, but I didn't do the best job of recording all of it. :)

December 2nd, we set out for the mountains to cut down our own Christmas tree. Our friends informed us that after paying only $10 for a permit, you can cut down your own tree!  That's such a steal, that it may be a long time before our fake tree makes another appearance. 
 We made just a short walk before finding a tree that was good enough for us. We really weren't in the mood to take the kids on a long trek.

 James made short work out of cutting it down. It required some more trimming once we got home, but it was fine and it was a Christmas tree!
 Cute Siri.

A few days before Christmas, we helped the kids decorate their gingerbread cookies.

 Cousin fun.
 The Ward Christmas Party, was at some point during the month. We had Logan and Lizzy all prepped to ask Santa for the gifts that were already hiding in our closet.  Well, Santa came booming in the room, scaring the living daylights out of Elizabeth. She cried and cried and cried, and insisted that there was no way she was talking to Santa.

 Obviously Logan was not deterred by scary Santa.  Also, we were happy that it didn't discourage Logan when Santa (seriously Santa?!) told Logan that he had never heard of the toy he was asking for.
Annnnddd....Santa totally ignored Siri, but she still sneaked up to snag herself a candy cane.

Our pictures of Christmas Day itself are on James' phone, which I do not have in my possession at this time. So, hopefully this will do for fulfilling your curiosity.

Other fun things we did:
The kids each had a chocolate advent calendar, something we had last year too, and they loved it. I also collected 24 Christmas books, and individually wrapped each one. The kids took turns unwrapping one a night, before we would read it together.

We enjoyed a lovely Christmas Eve at Matt and Ramie's house, eating, singing, and laughing. Holiday's really can't get any better than when you spend them with family.

We went to Dixie's house for Christmas dinner. Again, another family filled day, and it was perfect.

Lizzy Turns 5!

Even though I've had a month to get used to the idea, I still can't believe my little Lizzy Girl is 5 years old. I am the lamest mom that ever existed, and I have very few pictures from her big day. I have even less of Christmas, so yeah, I'm lame. 

 Birthday donut tower!
 She opened her gifts first thing in the morning, like 6:45 in the morning. We wanted Logan to be part of the festivities before he had to go to school.
 To make her birthday special, we met up with family and friends, and went bowling that night. It was a first for all three of the kids, and they all loved it.
 By the time we had all finished our bowling games, it was getting late. We rushed through singing "Happy Birthday" and then cut into her Dora cake. Sorry I don't have a better picture of it! (I'm sorry for myself!)
Lizzy Girl, you are so big, in many ways. You want to be a part of everything that is going on, all while attached to my body. Happy or sad, you want to be hugging me, or hanging on to me. Most of the time it is really sweet, but I'll admit, it can be a bit much some times!  But, it's what makes you you.

 You are such a smart girl. You make up your own songs all the time, and you say the SILLIEST things!  You will go into in-depth detail telling me stories about conversations you had with Jesus, or give me lectures on why people shouldn't call dogs "crazy". I can tell your brain is working hard in those moments; however, you can be so easy going that you can't focus on anything!  I've been working with you on reading. You are extremely resistant to it, but for some reason, you learned how to read the words, "jump" and "little". At this point, you can't read any other words.  You don't want to! I can tell you are so smart though, that when you decide you want to read, you will learn fast.

I know you like to learn because we can turn your bad days upside down when we tell you that it is a preschool day!  You LOVE, LOVE, LOVE going to school.  In fact, on your birthday, you declared that you were going to kindergarten that day!  I was sad to inform you that you still had to wait another 9 months.  But, as is your nature, you took the bad news well, smiled, and enthusiastically said, "OK"!

You didn't pick up Logan's (or your Dad's) habit for cleanliness and organization, but that's ok. You are one tough cookie.  You often demonstrate your capacity to take pain, or to brush some unpleasantness off like it was nothing. I've witnessed you cut yourself and bleed, just to look at it, grimace and say, "It's OK Mom, I'm OK".

You also make friends fast. Even though you prefer to play by yourself, you warm up fast to strangers and you get silly with them very fast.

Thanks for being you Elizabeth. You are a special spirit, and I love that you are a part of our family.

Missionary Homecoming and Cake

Just before Thanksgiving, our nephew returned home from his mission to the Marshall Islands. Being so remote, his contact with family was hit and miss. It was a touching reunion with his family, and I'm happy James and I were able to go to the airport too. 
 First hug with Mom and Dad
 First Grandma hug
 Hey Uncle James!
 Yeah, so I was trying to take a picture of us together, but I dropped the camera right as I hit the "picture taking button".  This picture was the result.
 One big happy family!

Having Dalton come home was a big deal. I don't get to make many cakes anymore, so I kind of forced my services on the family, asking if I could make a cake for Dalton.  James had an idea for the cake, remembering that when Dalton had been out for 9 months, he'd had a dream that was very special to him. James suggested that I try to recreate that dream into a cake. I did my best, but it is difficult to put a dream into a cake! Just so the cake makes a little bit of sense to you, I am including an excerpt of Dalton's letter where he described his dream.

 So I have been sick and I was getting really bad
so I told my companion, "I gotta go get some rest man." So we headed
for the house for a one hour nap and then would be back on our way to
teaching lessons. I went and pulled out my Kie, lied down on the floor
and was immediately out. Then I had a dream. I was walking down this
long gravel road with rows of beats on each side of me (kind of like
Bishop Poteet's road) as far as I could see and then beyond that I
could see sparkling blue ocean water. As I continued to walk down this
road all of a sudden I came across this sidewalk in the middle of the
road. The very first block was so nice, perfectly square, and started
off perfectly. The next one following that was pretty good but the
third and fourth squares were pretty cracked and crooked as I walked
past the them. Then I came to the fifth one which wasn't as bad and
started straightening out and looking more like a sidewalk again.
Followed by the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth ones progressively
getting better as i passed by them. When I got to the ninth one there
was no more. The sidewalk stopped. All that was there was a bucket of
cement and a leveler with somewhat prepared ground in front of the
rest of this ninth square. The prepared way for it was perfectly
straight and narrow going on for what seemed to be forever. I looked
up and down the road wondering what was going on and who placed this
sidewalk here. I yelled, "Hello, is anybody here!" I looked up and
down the road once again and saw nothing. Then out of nowhere I see
this man coming towards me. As he confronts me i say, "Excuse me, what
is this cement sidewalk doing here." He looks at it and replies, "Why
do you ask me? You are the one who is building it." As he told me this
a realization came into my mind that those 9 blocks were the past 9
months that I had served out here on my mission. I quickly replied,
"If this is my mission what happened to the third and fourth blocks
sir?" Once again he said, "You are the one who has been laying this
sidewalk, you tell me." Another realization came to me stronger than
the first. That I had been laying this path and depending on how good
my works were would show in my path. I then said with a heart full of
sorrow, "I am so sorry," for I knew I could have done a much better
job than i did. He then looked at me with love in his eyes that
pierced me to the heart and said, "You are forgiven, you need not
worry about it anymore." I then felt love and happiness from him as he
put his arm around me and said, "Now it's gonna be hard here at times
okay, but if anything ever gets too hard you call for me. You call for
me." Then pointing far up ahead he said, "I'll be right up there
watching you. I've given you the tools and you know what needs to be
done with them." With love stronger than I had ever felt before I
shook my head and said, "okay." His last words were then, " I love
you, you can do this. Now you've got to get back to work. There is
still much that needs to be done." Immediately after this I woke up
and went and recorded it in my journal. I waited for my companion to
wake up and then told him of what had happened. It was a pretty
spectacular thing that happened to me right there and i don't know if
I explained it the best over e mail but it was amazing. I had never
had such a clear vivid dream and one that made so much sense to me. I
am so thankful for the mission and all of the experiences it is giving
me. Oh it is so great guys.

I liked how this cake turned out, but I keep thinking about how much better I could have made it if people wouldn't have minded TONS of cake.  I am rarely completely satisfied with how my cakes turn out, and this one is no different. *sigh*