Sunday, February 27, 2011

A little last minute, but...

If you're in the area, come to a wonderful concert tomorrow night! Dress rehearsal tonight was pretty awesome, I kind of wish I could sit and listen to the whole thing. The soloists are amazing (even though they didn't choose me, phew!) and it will be a fun night!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Uh oh...

The 2-year-old discovered officially how to climb out of his crib at 4 am this morning. And again at 4:15 am, 4:40 am, 5:30 am, 6:30 am, 2:15 pm during naptime, and consistently now for the last 2 hours since I put him down for the night.

Oh, and since the kids share a room (remember last year's experiment?), of course Anna hasn't gone to sleep yet. Escape-artist David is far too entertaining... Except for a brief 15-ish minutes when David was able to find her small cup of water left on her dresser and dump it on her. 'Fraid she didn't like that too much, although it was hard to get the actual words from her amid the hysterical crying. It did, however, elicit quite the guffaw from Dan when he realized what had happened (which then set me off giggling as well--ahem, fake coughing--disciplining while stifling laughter is hard!). She's now calmed down and we're back to putting him in bed, and 2 minutes later hearing a bump, little footsteps, and a door opening at the top of the stairs. Rinse. Repeat.

Someone save me!

Seriously, how do you get your toddler to stay in bed--crib, toddler bed, or otherwise--once they discover freedom?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Felt Heart Wreath revisited

Remember this wreath I made last year?
I was asked to show how to make it for a craft night a few weeks ago, and so I just had to make another one. I went for pink this time. What do you think? I still love it! Thank you blog-land for all the amazing ideas that I can copy.
On the copying note, I decided to try and duplicate this fun paper heart chain I saw here, only with felt. I quickly found that my pathetic home office stapler would not suffice, and I stitched each heart "link" together on the sewing machine instead. A lot of liquid starch later, and the hearts held their shapes nicely. I think it turned out pretty cute! It's much cuter in person than in these night pictures. I actually sent this to my mom for Valentine's Day, so I might just have to make another one for me, too.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Valentine's Day

We had a fun Valentine's Day this year. Anna had her very first school party and was so excited! We spent an hour over the weekend working on writing her name so she could write "From Anna" on all of her valentines. Good thing she only has 2 different letters in her name--it made it a little easier for her to write her name 50 times! (20-ish preschoolers in the class, and 30-ish teachers for the high-school-taught preschool she attends). I enjoyed sitting with Anna and helping her with her valentines--cutting, folding, and stickering, while she was writing. Looks like she lost track of how many "n's" are in her name only a couple times. Not bad for 4 years old in preschool! Because we never got around to making a gingerbread house for Christmas, I picked up a kit on clearance back in January and decided to hold onto it and make a fun Valentine's gingerbread house! We actually had a lot of fun doing it, and we were still able to use all the red candies plus some cake heart decorations I already had. The kids enjoyed eating the green candies while we worked. I think this might just become a tradition for us--love the 90% off clearance price, and December always gets so busy we don't always have time to do everything we want to anyway.
The kids definitely love having it around to snitch candy and pieces now...
And of course we had a nice family dinner--Anna begged for candles, so we had a nice candle-lit meal. Homemade lasagna, bread, salad, and pink jello. I love my cute valentines!
Hope you all had a fun holiday!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Confessions of a Ward Organist

I swear someone's been polishing the organ bench at the church a little too much or something! The last few weeks at church, I've been sliding around at an alarming rate in the middle of hymns while trying to play the foot pedals. Nothing quite like being in the middle of "Improve the Shining Moments" and starting to panic while scrambling to find the bass G pedal with my left heel. Maybe I need to start wearing jeans skirts that are less prone to sliding more often...

Heaven knows I don't need anymore organ blunders--did I tell you the one about how I started playing the wrong Sacrament hymn? Yeah, the chorister and all the congregation were singing the words of the hymn on the opposite page. I had no clue. They didn't either--until I kept playing the 4th line of my hymn, and they had run out of words because their hymn was only 3 lines. Oops.
I about died when I figured out what happened. And I still had 3 more verses to play, my cheeks flaming from embarrassment. I even had given a kind smile of encouragement to the chorister (sorry again, Krystal!) who had been confusedly trying to figure out the right beat pattern to lead. The hymns were both 3/4 time, but one had a pickup note throwing it all off. Anyway, she kept looking at me through the first verse, wondering where the heck I was. Yeah, oops big time. Everyone finally caught on and then sang the last 3 verses of the hymn that was being played, but man, it was good times in the Parkway ward that week! Dan sure got a kick out of showing me the program with the CORRECT hymn number listed on it when I came down to sit with him after the Sacrament was passed. Thanks, honey.

Is it my fault that whatever well-meaning music planning committee way back in 1985 chose to put hymn #191, "Behold the Great Redeemer Die", and #192, "He Died! The Great Redeemer Died", on the same pages right next to each other? Those titles are very similar--practically the same. Perfectly understandable, right? Help me out here.
Perhaps a nice letter to someone on the church music committee with a suggestion about the placement of hymns in the hymnal is in order, and it can be filed away for whenever they decide to release a new edition of the hymnal.

So, don't you wish you were in my ward? Loads of free *reverent (it is Sacrament Meeting, after all)* entertainment every week as you wonder what the organist will come up with next. 11:00 am at the Gleannloch building every week! We welcome visitors.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Still Shaking

At my community choir rehearsal tonight, I auditioned for *gasp* a solo! I don't know why I do this to myself. I guess it was a good way to stretch since I'm not really an experienced soloist. I mean, I can sing--I sight-read a pretty mean alto line, if I do say so myself--and I love singing in the choir. And I've sung in my fair share of ensembles, duets, etc. But solos? Not so much.

Anyway, my choir has this really fun Rogers and Hammerstein program coming up for our next concert this month. Maybe it was something in the air? Perhaps the natural euphoria that is inevitably resulted by singing "I Whistle a Happy Tune" (who can resist "Whenever I feel afraid, I hold my head erect, and whistle a happy tune, and no one ever knows I'm afraid..."?), or possibly the ever-inspiring "O-o-o-o-o-k-lahoma where the wind comes rolling down the plains...". And of course the loveable "Do-Re-Mi" from the Sound of Music. Can't help but feel the music through an awesome rendition of "Doe- a deer, a female deer! Ray, a drop of golden sun....". You get the picture.

Whatever the case may be, I picked up the music for one of my old favorites, "My Favorite Things" from the Sound of Music (also the easiest since I've known it word-for-word probably since I was 3 years old) and stewed over it for the last couple of weeks. Sang it to Anna and David all week long, and now they will know it for the rest of their lives too. Except Anna is already 4--I feel bad for delaying her exposure to good ol' show tunes! Poor deprived child.

And tonight, you'll be proud of me, I got up there of my own free will and choice and sang in front of the director, accompanist, and the few people there in the room. Man, if that feels scary, heaven help me if they actually choose me to sing the solo for the actual concert... But that wasn't the reason for the audition in the first place. I'm definitely not expecting to be given the solo, and kind of hoping I don't get it, eek! But now I have one more experience under my belt, helping me to gradually overcome my nerves and fears. See, I'm stretching myself. Can you just tell my teeth to stop chattering now?

Oh, and now I get to have "Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens" floating around in my head all the time. That makes me smile every time! But next time I get a wild hair to go auditioning for something, feel free to remind me that I've already "stretched" myself and don't need to anymore.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

By 9:45 this morning

David had already managed to push a kitchen chair to the sink and flood the counter and floor, filling the breakfast cereal bowls with water and dumping everywhere. Lovely. Of course, he was having a marvelous time.

Then when I shooed him from the kitchen so I could mop up the mess, he found the camera in the computer room and managed to break off the little lens cover thingy--definitely the technical term--and lost one of the teeny-tiny practically-microscopic springs necessary for the "magic" that is our Canon powershot camera to work. Lovelier.
Did I mention that he and Anna both (I guess it's not always just David...) broke a leg off the coffee table yesterday after repeatedly tipping it on its end and using it as a slide for their dolls, cars, and I'm guessing themselves. I'd take a picture of it, but David broke the camera...
They're partners in crime most days, and I'm feeling outnumbered during the day! Good thing they're both so cute, and they know it, and they know that I know it.

It's like he knows that something's in the air, or something. We are, after all, having the coldest temperatures of the season this week (10:00a.m. and still sitting around 25 degrees) and the forecast says snow sometime in the next 24 hours! Now to try to figure out how to fix the camera so if we do in fact get snow, then I can have proof--we're rather deprived here in TX. Ah well, I'll deal with the deprivation for an early spring anytime, though. And not having to drive in snow is a great thing. And hey, if we get a few flecks of white half-floating in the sky, Dan gets to come home from work early! Houston is an odd place, the whole city practically shuts down at the mention of freezing temperatures.
I'll leave you with a sampling of David's photography--looks like he's already got some mad skills. We'll title this one simply, "Self Portrait".
Oh, and where does one take a simple point-and-shoot Canon powershot camera to be fixed? Or to at least purchase miniscule springs to help reassemble the pieces?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Anna turned 4

Back in August... Happy (blog-belated) Birthday, Anna!
We have a 4-year-old! We had a fun week full of little celebrations, as every 4th birthday should have, of course. Grandma and Grandpa Birnel sent the fun balloons for Anna and she and David both had a blast playing with them.

Until they found out what can happen to helium balloons in a vaulted family room...

Luckily, and to Anna's delight, when he got home from work, Super-Daddy built a sophisticated balloon-snatcher--that's the technical term--and saved the day! I guess you have to be creative when you live in a 2-story house with a vaulted ceiling and haven't invested in a ladder yet... hmm, that's going to have to move up the short list of "To-Buys".

For the foodies out there, here's a peak at our 4-year-old's ideal and oh-so-very gourmet birthday dinner. She's all about the good stuff!

We had a fun little family party on her actual birthday and let her open her presents. I just love having an overly-exuberant little girl--she makes even the tiniest present or surprise seem like the best thing in the whole world with her little giggles, smiles, and squeals. We've got a cute little girly-girl!

The Saturday after Anna's birthday, we had a little (actually, slightly smaller than little in terms of numbers of kids running around!) fun backyard swimming birthday party. We blew up a few inflatable pools and turned on a couple sprinklers, and let the kids run crazy in the backyard while the adults visited. Popsicles, juice boxes, and cupcakes made for a fun party full of hyper little children, though!
All in all, we had a thoroughly celebrated little girl. I hope she got her party fill, because I think I'm done on the friend party department until she turns 10!