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Quasi-Easter pictures

April 29, 2015

For the first time in a month all five children went to church!  Little A finally got to wear her Easter dress, so we tried to take some pictures.

E did not want his picture taken and Little A wanted her shoes off.

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“Five in a Row” is getting harder and harder to do these days!

Going, going…

 

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Gone!4-IMG_0517

DH laughs at me because I’m always getting distracted by little girls’ dresses in stores.  Of course I’m always getting distracted by little girls’ dresses!  I’ve waited years to buy dresses for someone.  Tie shopping isn’t all that exciting and once I’ve bought four white shirts and some ties, the boys are set for Sunday clothes for months!  But Little A can always use more dresses.  Don’t you think?

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15 months

April 23, 2015

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Little A has finally mastered the art of standing still and posing for pictures.

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2-IMG_0490Currently she
  • Has 7 teeth
  • Loves her dolls and stuffed animals
  • Loves to go, anywhere, anytime
  • Loves it when Daddy comes home (and can almost say “Daddy”)
  • Loves to dance and is very attuned to music around her
  • Thinks all cell phones are hers
  • Has quite the set of lungs when not getting her way (or my cell phone)
  • Still has us wrapped around her little finger

April 17, 2015

I see that I have written one post in the last month.  So much for my commitment to blog more often . . .

Here’s what’s up with us:

We’ve decided to sell our house!

Technically, we decided to sell it about two years ago, but then there was shoulder surgery, morning sickness, a new baby, and spending what felt like every available moment getting the house ready to sell.  Every deadline we set for ourselves, we neglected to meet for one reason or another, but (over two years later) we finally put a “For Sale By Owner” sign in our front yard.  And then got a hundred and one calls from realtors trying to convince us why we really shouldn’t do it ourselves and should hire them instead.  Talk about pushy.  I’ve quit answering the phone.  Which might not be the best strategy if we want to talk to potential buyers.  But there’s only so much I can handle in a day since Little A’s been teething and I’ve had a good night’s sleep maybe three times in the past six weeks.

Anyway, we do have a realtor we’ve worked with for a long time and do intend to list it with him in six weeks or so if we don’t sell it on our own.  And there are various reasons we’re doing it this way that I don’t want to rehash yet again.  Suffice it to say we know what we’re doing and why.

I have to laugh though.  Some of them ask why we’re looking to sell such a cute little bungalow in such a great area!  Basically because I’m living here with essentially two bedrooms, one bathroom, a yard the size of a postage stamp, and five children.  And I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE!  I’m at the end of my rope.

I wrote a much more detailed angst-ridden post two Januarys ago.  (If I weren’t so exhausted at the moment, I’d find the link.)  The way I was feeling then has been compounded by two more years living here plus the addition of one more (terribly cute and adorable and we wouldn’t trade her for anything) little person.

Not to mention school.

I’ve not been blogging about school lately because school has been so disrupted this entire year.  Yes, we’ve been intending to list the house since the school year started.  I don’t know why we haven’t been able to get it done.  We’ve taken off so much time to “work on the house” that as A says, “We’ll have to school through August to finish everything.”  That might be the optimistic view of things.  Even when we’re having a good day of school, I am so consumed with everything else in my head, that I’m not feeling very effective at all.  We need to move simply so I can clear out some space in my brain and get back to where homeschooling takes up most of that space.

My parents said they saw our online ad and could hardly recognize our house.  It’s actually really nice to have it so clean, as long as I don’t think about the boxes and boxes of books, puzzles, games, and other nice things we like to spend our time on that have been packed away in a storage unit for, well, years now.  We have gotten rid of so much stuff, stuff that really did need to go, but I am not a minimalist at heart and I cannot wait to get into a bigger house and be able to have space to keep the things we really do want to keep.

For posterity’s sake, here’s what the house kind of, sort of looks like. No, can look like if we had no hobbies and very little personality.  Yes, we took these pictures, then put all the junk back.  No seriously, there was very little clutter to put back, and we’re doing a really great job at keeping it looking this nice, except that all seven of us have been sick with something in the past two weeks (currently, pink eye is making the rounds.)

And yes, I know professional photos would be even better, but it is what it is for now.  We just had to get some photos  out there to go with our sign.

This is a quirky house.  I love it, but it’s quirky.  It was built in 1896, then added on to in the 1950s and bricked in.  The basement was dug out by hand and we had quite the job updating the plumbing, electrical, and every wall and floor in the place.  The kitchen was especially fun, what with 12 layers of wallpaper to scrape off the walls.  Oh, the stories I could tell.

Let’s settle for pictures.

Bedroom 2: bunk bed, trundle, and another mattress that comes out at night.

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Bedroom 1: Where the other three of us sleep.  I cannot wait for Little A to get her own room.  And the couch.  It really needs a new home too.

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Bathroom and laundry: Oh, the toilet room.  And the laundry room.  I can’t wait for the laundry room to not share space with the bathroom, but it beats having the dryer in the kitchen as when we first moved in.

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The kitchen: Notice the lovely vintage 50s cabinets.  There’s still a roll of the vintage wallpaper in the basement.  It’s so ugly!

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Living room: 6-7-IMG_0468

Yes, I like the color blue if you haven’t noticed.

And my favorite: the dining/library (when we had books here)/school/music room.  This was the bedroom of the original house, but we’ve always used it as living space, and I haven’t wanted to give that up for another bedroom.  We installed the laminate flooring ourselves specifically for good acoustics for my cello. (Carpet sucks up the sound.)  It looks so good, I almost want to go practice.  (And I should, I have another concert next weekend.)4-6-IMG_0460

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The boys are obsessed with playing chess lately, probably because this is the first time in forever the chess table has not had a pile of stuff on it.  And their other board games are in storage as they frequently remind me, as if I need reminding.

No yard pictures.  That’s still a work in progress and we need to tear down an unstable carport structure.  Beyond that we’re trying to decide how much more time, money, and effort we want to put into this property. Personally, I’m done.  I’m so ready to move on.  That’s the other big question: Where are we going?  We have no idea.  We need to get our equity out of this house and see where we end up financially.  Everything else is a big question mark right now.  I’m just trying to hold on to that rope!

Not Wordless Wednesday

April 9, 2015

It’s still Wednesday. Barely.

Notice anything new?

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I know, the rimless glasses are quite subtle.

With our gene pool, it’s amazing we’ve only got one in glasses so far.

Of course we have two in braces, or in the process at the moment.

Thank goodness for that HSA account.  And A’s straight teeth.

 

Penguins at the Symphony

March 19, 2015

Yesterday was the Day of Reckoning, otherwise known as Tuesday.  It’s the day (night, actually) when I go to symphony rehearsal and see how much all my practicing has paid off!

It’s concert week, and this one is a doozy!  It’s also our side-by-side concert where we invite local students to join us for one piece.  I’m not telling the little 8th-grade cellist who’s sitting next to me that I haven’t practiced that piece, which is  Finlandia, at all because the other music we’re playing has taken all of my time and energy.  It’s been several weeks of late night practices again.  Toddlers and practicing during daylight hours just don’t mix! Yet.  Hopefully one day I can practice while the sun’s still up again.

We’re playing Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite, which is mostly ok except for the third movement, the infernal dance of the king something or other.  I don’t know the translation, but it’s infernal alright!  I’m getting closer to playing all of the notes up to tempo, but it’s been a challenge.

Then our final piece is Sinfonia Antartica by Ralph Vaughn Williams, which features some of the music he composed for a 1948 film about the ill-fated Scott expedition to Antarctica in 1912.  (He opted for the Italian spelling to match the word ‘Sinfonia.’  Our conductor says his spell-check gives him grief every time he types it out.)

It is a quite fascinating symphony and really does evoke images of Antarctica.  You can picture the vast barren landscape, and feel the cold.  We get to use the wind machine our percussionist made a few years ago for another concert.  And I’ll swear there are penguins in the second movement.  It’s quite cute and I can almost play it!  This has been a very difficult piece to learn.  Even when it’s in C Major, there is a sharp or flat on almost every note.  I get to the point where I can’t even hear a whole step sometimes.  The tonal center shifts around so much.

It has helped to erase a lot of the previous markings.  Sometimes our music comes to us clean, but sometimes it has a lot of fingerings from the previous player.  I always start with those if I can to save myself some time and effort figuring out fingerings, but this time around, it was easiest to just start over.  Some of the fingerings  were so bizarre.  You just think, “Really?  Of all the possibilities, those were the fingerings you went with??”  I can see why they wrote this helpful little note next to one heinous section:IMG_3325

Although with fingerings like those, I think you’d need more than good luck and a smiley face to get through it!  I think what I have now will work out much better.  I think. Unfortunately I don’t know for sure because I still didn’t quite have it last week and this was about the only page we didn’t get to this Tuesday night at rehearsal.  So I guess I’ll find out on Friday night if my practicing has been sufficient. Then the concert’s on Saturday night.

And then maybe I can get some more sleep.

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Anybody that is local and wants to come, it’s at Libby Gardner Hall, March 21, at 7:30 p.m.  I can get half-price tickets for you on Friday night if you let me know.

Note to self: We don’t have to do that again!

March 16, 2015

We used to go to and enjoy the St. Patrick’s Day parade when the boys were smaller, but for the last few years we’ve had conflicts.  It’s either a Relief Society birthday activity, or a Utah Symphony children’s concert.  The aforementioned activities (and more!) are all happening next weekend.  So yesterday was wide open, and as we needed to get out of the house, we ventured downtown.

E has been asking for weeks when we’re going to ride the train again.  So we rode the train from City Creek, along with hundreds of other green-clad people.  Gateway was crazy.  There were so many people.  Little A was grumpy.  She didn’t want to be held.  She didn’t want to sit in her stroller.  She didn’t want to stay with us.  She just wanted to get down and go.  And the St. Patrick’s Day parade really isn’t all that exciting.

 

The best part of the parade:

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I seem to remember them throwing candy and bead necklaces other years, but all we got were some suckers and a couple gold chocolate coins someone handed to E.  Little A almost got a piece of chewed up gum off the cobblestone, but luckily I was able to deprive her of that.  We saw four bagpipe bands, all the mayoral candidates, and a lot of dogs in green tutus.  The Irish and Scottish dancers weren’t even that exciting since they weren’t wearing their dance shoes.  And the parade just kept coming.  I didn’t know Utah had so many Catholic schools.  With no end in sight, we finally decided to leave early, beat the crowds, and head for the TRAX station.

When the light turned for us to cross 3rd West, we started into the crosswalk when an SUV suddenly decided to turn right, utterly oblivious to the pedestrians.  E and D kept walking and I thought for sure I was going to lose my 5-year-old right then and there.  And it was like I was glued to the pavement and couldn’t move.  I could not get to him in time to pull him back.  After what felt like forever, the SUV stopped and E stopped and we were all safe.

Then since that car stopped, the car heading towards us decided that now would be a great time to finish her left turn into our same spot.  The lady walking next to me was yelling at all the drivers (“You idiots!”) and waving her arms.  It’s not like you couldn’t see the twenty or thirty people all trying to cross the road right then.  It was like the world all went mad at the same moment, and I’ve never been so happy to cross a road in my life!

Although Little A was still not happy as we wouldn’t let her get down and run around while waiting for nine minutes for the next train.

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Tell us how you really feel!

We’ve all decided we never need to do that particular activity again.

Then since we were out, I decided why not treat them to lunch and go see the LEGO Americana Roadshow which is out at Fashion Place Mall through next week.  Lunch was good.  (Jason’s Deli)  Then we drove around for a very long time looking for a parking place at the mall, which should have warned me about the mobs of people inside.  Why?  Why do we do these things on a Saturday?

Reason #58749 to homeschool:  we can avoid crowds and go places during the week when everyone else is in school!

But we persevered and actually had a good time, and most importantly, didn’t lose anybody!  And the legos were pretty cool.  But there were so many people everywhere.  Even more so because of the Legos.  They were also handing out free Lego sets for building a mini-Supreme Court building, but the line was about 800 people long and even though D wanted to wait, there was no way the rest of us were going to.

We saw everything but the Liberty Bell.

The Old North Church:

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Independence Hall:IMG_3345

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The White House:

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Statue of Liberty:IMG_3339

Detail on the Lincoln Memorial:

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There was even Lincoln himself on the inside:

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The Jefferson Memorial:

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I’m still fascinated by how you make round domes out of square legos.  This one is even more impressive:

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March 9, 2015

Friday

I picked up DH on my way home from Kindermusik with E so we could go to Costco together.  We also got gas and dropped by the Utah Symphony box office.  The three older boys went to walk the dog.  When we got home almost an hour later, they were all outside.  Or should I say still outside.  They remembered the key to get the dog out (it’s a friend’s dog) but forgot our house key.  No phone either!  Luckily it was nice weather.  They were just wishing they could go inside and eat lunch.

Saturday

Among other house projects, DH finally got around to installing the key pad deadbolts that have been sitting here for weeks.  No more getting locked out of the house!  Now we just have to remember the code.

Sunday

I was running late for church.  Yes, even though we go at 11 a.m.  Everyone else was already there when I finally made it out the door at 10:59 carrying Little A and our two bags.  I shut the door.  It should automatically lock.  It didn’t.  I opened it and waited for a few seconds. I shut it again.  Yes!  It locked!  I made it to the front gate and realized I was still wearing my slippers.  I thought I was a little too comfortable there.  Back to the door, punch in the code, run through the house to find my shoes.  One day I’m not going to live half a block from the church and I’ll really need to be more on top of things on Sunday morning.

On the plus side, no one had to wait for me to open the front door when we came home from church.  C let everybody in and I said, “Oh good, you remembered the code.”

Then E said, “I have my own code.”

What?  You have your own code?  Apparently he was the only one who wanted his very own code.  So he’s the only one that got his very own code.

And that’s probably a good thing since the door code for everyone else is the same as the password for the computer which E doesn’t know, and we don’t want him to know.

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Aside from door adventures this weekend, DH and I got out on a date with Utah Symphony tickets from Mom and Dad.  We heard Beethoven’s Piano Concerto #5, the Emperor, Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man, and his Third Symphony.  Andre Watts was supposed to play the Beethoven, but he was sick with the flu.  At the beginning of the concert, someone came out to announce the change in soloist and said that on Friday night, they’d asked if there was a doctor in the house, and there were over 100!  It was Healthcare Night at the Symphony.  Of course Andre Watts was in New York City anyway, but it was funny.  Ironically, Conrad Tao, who filled in for him, also filled in the sick soloist on short notice two years ago, once again on Healthcare Night.  Even with only two days’ notice, he was electrifying.

The two Copland pieces were amazing as well.  They are both some of my favorite works and are so much more exciting live than on a recording!  I loved the energy of the symphony as well.  You could tell many of the musicians were having a lot of fun, and that always makes it more enjoyable to be in the audience.  So thanks, Mom and Dad, for the tickets.

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