Saturday, October 11, 2014

You Have GOT to be Kidding Me

I should have known last night when I went to light my fancy new fall candles.  I opened the lids, and this is what I found.

Really?  Did I REALLY grab a candle with a wonky wick? Obviously, this is going to create the dreaded black sided candle jar.  Is it that difficult for the manufacturer to get that wick in the CENTER?  Had I had access to a car, I may have very well gone back to the store and exchanged it.  However, the kids were off running errands for me with my car (this did not go well) and Mark was at a football game.  And let me tell you...this chain of events led to disaster.
Just a brief conversation about the "errands."
I wanted just a couple of items.  1. Tombstone pizza...anything but pepperoni.  (They both know I hate pepperoni.)  2. Bertollis frozen dinner thingy in a bag...the chicken asparagus farafalle with vodka sauce.
They came home with:
1. A pepperoni pizza.
2. Chicken carbonara and bacon. In a box.
So. Close. 

This morning, I had hoped for a nice, stress free day.  The kids had a show choir performance in La Crosse that we were going to go watch, and then the "Von Lakmanns" are providing musical entertainment at an outdoor wedding this afternoon. 
As I walked out of my bedroom, the first words I heard were "What was THAT?!!" I then saw Mark run to the garage door, and I quickly followed after.  Lexie was in the drivers seat of Mark's car, with her hands over her face....looking terrified, and there was a large white dent/scrape/horrible looking thing along the back of the car.  
Have I mentioned that MY car is white?  My beautiful car, that I have had for a whole three months?  
I looked at the front end, and there wasn't a mark on it...and breathed a huge sigh of relief.
Until Mark said "whoa...your car looks much worse."  I then ventured toward the back end, and saw this.

My darling daughter had not bothered to put my car in the garage after their outing last night...but my husband did decide to put his in there.  He said "I thought about putting yours in too...but then I didn't."  (Helpful)
I should mention that:
1. She also parked like a moron.
2. Our driveway is STUPID, and not straight, so you have to have some ability when backing out.  Obviously not all of us possess that. 

I am very grateful that this is the worst "car accident" she has been involved in. I actually really appreciate it, because now I can choose the method in which to kill her.  I'm thinking strangulation.
So, rather than using all of the money I have earned this weekend (playing for various events) to buy a nice camera to enhance the photo portion of my blog,  or perhaps just making my next CAR PAYMENT...I am guessing it will all go toward that DENT.  Just like last months extra cash went toward fixing my darling daughters cracked cello. 
Because why would we want nice things that actually stay nice?  Why?  When we can continuously wreck them and then pay to have them fixed up again?  

In other news, my mother apparently attempted to make a great escape while at the Co-Op with my sis yesterday.  She decided that hiding in out in a stranger's house was an excellent plan...and then refused to leave with her.  
Yes, we thrive on crazy in this family.  Why would we want calm, peaceful and easy, when we can embrace chaos, confusion and catastrophe instead?!
I just keep reminding myself...someday, it's going to make a VERY interesting book.  
If they allow pencil and paper in the padded room.

I think today might call for a cocktail.
 Sadly, this is the closest thing resembling wine in my fridge.
Although....I may have some grapes fermenting in the produce drawer.
It's all good!

Have a lovely Saturday!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Holy Ground

A couple days ago,I was sitting in my car waiting for my sister to meet me.  I happened to be at a rest stop off the highway, that was closed for the season.  
It is along a really pretty stretch of road, and it was a glorious fall day.  I had arrived early, and I was really happy about it.  I opened my gigantic sunroof (have I mentioned that I LOVE my car?) and all the windows, and I put one of my favorite CDs on to play.  My friend Brian is one of those people who was born with musical genius just spewing forth from his pores.  If he wasn't so darn sweet, I would have to hate him just a little bit....but I don't, cause he is wonderful.
Anyway, I was listening to one of his songs called "Holy Ground."  It is one of my favorites, and I love it when I'm all alone, because I have some tasty harmonies we came up with for it's almost like we are in the car singing together.  Almost. 
Do you ever have those moments (I'm sure you do) when all is right in the universe?  The scene is set, the music is perfect...the breeze picks up at just the right time.  You could swear you are in the middle of a movie...but you know this is real life.
I was having one of those moments.  I looked up, and saw this.

And this

The first words to the song are "You are with me in this place..."
I don't know about you, but I feel most in touch with my spirituality in two situations.
1.  When I feel completely in touch with nature.
2. Through my music.

And when the two are out.  It becomes one of those all encompassing moments of wonder that I wish would never end.  Wouldn't it be amazing to feel like that all day, everyday?  But would it feel so special if you did?  I don't know.  I think I would like to give it a try.

I have always had this sense of awe when it came to simple, natural beauty.  I still vividly remember moments from my childhood that completely revolved around.the elements.  I was entranced by the water running down the street by the school after a heavy rain.  I can see it in my head like it was yesterday.  There was nothing extraordinary, or life changing about was simply ripples of rain water washing down the hill.  However, it is permanently embedded in my brain.
I also remember an afternoon when the wind picked up.  My best friend Cindy and I were walking near her house, and a huge gust came out of no where.  I can still feel it hit me, and smell the scent of sand and dirt it kicked up.  I felt like Dorothy, and was excited and wanted more....I longed for a crazy, windy adventure.

Growing up in the country enhanced my relationship with nature, I am sure.  I lived in the trees.  I "cooked" with the apple blossoms and lilacs.  I painted with berries.  I made concoctions from the grass clippings and mud from the puddles.  My playground was never cement.  It was fields and pastures, woods and hay lofts.  We biked on gravel and dirt roads, not paved paths.  The sunset was our curfew.  We drank water straight from the spring.  We never bought games to play, or spent the day in front of the TV.  We created a new role to play each day.  It was beautiful.

And the music just became a part of it all.  It was always present.  It was always encouraged.  And we had a great old milk house that was emptied out, and had a fantastic echo.  That became our concert hall.  (Nothing but high class at our place!)
I shudder to think of what those early "recitals" must have sounded like to anyone who happened to pass by.  However, I would have LOVED to hide outside under the window, listening to my kids do that when they were little!

Here I am....all these years later, and these are still the things that bring me the most joy.  
Whenever I feel like I am at a breaking point, I just need to be outside by myself....away from everything.  
Our last home was located right next to a patch of woods.  The church located on the land behind us built a "prayer path" through those woods.  One particularly hard day, I went for a walk on the prayer path.  As I walked deeper into the trees, I found myself face to face with a beautiful doe.  We stood about 2 feet from one another, just staring into each other's eyes.  She didn't seem frightened of me, but rather, I felt like she had been waiting there for me, like a sign.
I know my dad sends me signs.  They come in the form of deer, cardinals and butterflies.  I have absolutely no doubt they are from him, because the timing, and the manner in which these amazing creatures appear and often linger is uncanny.  They always appear when I am at my lowest, when I am freaking out, when I am pleading with him for help, and my very favorite...when I am just having one of those days, and he knows more than anything, I need a hug from my dad.

And so, I take those little moments, and cherish them.  The moments when I'm at the piano, and feel this overwhelming joy that I have the ability to take every emotion I am feeling, and convey it through my hands, and my voice....the amazing freedom and passion that the ability to release all of that emotion allows me.
Or those moments when I know with every ounce of my being that my dad is still right here with me, every moment of every day, and the comfort that brings to me.
Or those moments when I am sitting in my car, and I see the glorious sun peeking through the clouds, and feel the breeze blowing over my face, as I watch the beautiful leaves flutter on the branches.

And then I am reminded that indeed,I truly am standing on Holy Ground.

Knees to the earth.  Face to the ground.  Heart at Your feet.

                                               Holy Brian Schroeder

Thursday, October 9, 2014

No Time To Wait

Perhaps you have noticed I haven't had any good stories to share about my mother lately.  
I'm sure this seemed a bit strange, considering that my typical Facebook post revolved around her antics. The outfits she would take from my room and show up in the following day, the number of framed photos that have disappeared from my various displays, the placemats she has colored, the fact that if you hide all of the bags in your house so she can't pack up all her belongings everyday, she is crafty enough to tie up her pant legs and make her own bag out of them.
best mom photo...EVER!!

Well, for the past month she has been living with my youngest sister.  Yes, this newly haloed saint has not only been raising and homeschooling her six kids, tending to her farm, and keeping a smile on her husbands face...but she has also been caring for our mother.  (Who has Alzheimer's...for anyone who may be late to the party.)
The one thing you learn, when caring for a person with dementia or Alzheimer's, is that you never know what to expect.  And everyday is going to be different.  
One day will be flowers and rainbows.  The next may be quite the opposite.  It truly is a bastard of a disease.  Imagine a woman who is prone to depression, who has a big fat case of seasonal depressive disorder.  Now imagine it is the end of February, and it has been dark and 20 below zero since the beginning of December.  Now let's throw in the beginnings of menopause, and hot flashes.  And let's say she and her husband had a "whoops" baby three years ago...and he has just decided that this would be a good time for him to take a four month sabbatical to Madrid, while she stays home with the toddler. Who has special needs. 
Okay.  Now picture that moodiness (we will use that term...but let's be honest...anger, rage, hopelessness, etc.)....and just interject it into your day randomly...for no particular reason.  Welcome to one of the many facets of Alzheimer's.
So, as I experienced in my six months of caregiving, you never know when the honeymoon is going to end.  
Today, my sis left me a message, informing me that mom had decided she hated her....and was this normal?  Sadly, yes, it's normal.  But there anything worse than spending every waking hour taking care of someone (and I do mean taking CARE of...this is as involved as having a 18 month old child in your care) who spends the day being mean to you?  Yes, there is nothing quite like the love you feel while you bath, or prepare meals or tuck in your loved one, while they glare at you with hatred in their eyes.  It makes everything worth while. 
So, we arranged a "mama trade-off"...and she is hanging here for a couple days.  Perhaps a change in scenery is just what the Dr. ordered.  (Let's hope so!)

Not a happy grandma face....though Lexie seems oblivious!

Welcome to this disease.
And even worse, they don't have the ability to put their feelings into words anymore.  So, if they are truly feeling upset about something (and not just deciding that you aren't paying enough attention to them, so they are resorting to temper tantrums....and yes, these are FUN!) they get even more frustrated as you try to help them explain what it is they are feeling.  
It reminds me of when my kids were babies and would cry unconsolably.  All I wished is that they were able to tell me what hurt, so I could make it better.  Now I am watching my mom go through this.  She still has her words, and can communicate...but only to a point.  And often, that communication reveals itself in her broodiness, in watching her holding back tears, but not being able to tell me why.  In seeing her anger with her situation...but not being able to do a darn thing about it. 
Luckily, 95% of the time, she is happy, and smiling, and seems content.  Especially when she is out being social, or snuggling with her furry friends.
The boys love their grandma!!

This has been an interesting journey.  Both my sister and I struggled in our relationship with our mom growing up.  Me being the oldest, she being the youngest.  We both had a lot of issues that never were resolved.  When we lost our dad, things changed, but those issues still never were resolved.  I think both of us were really hoping for a chance to heal.  To be able to repair and understand the hurt we still carried with us from our youth.  We made small efforts to do that, but the timing never seemed to be right.
Now, we are both in a place where we know who we are as people.  We have established ourselves as adults.  As wives and mothers.  This is the time we had hoped we could reach out to our mom and have our questions answered, and our hurt erased.  
But it is never to be.  I don't think she even realizes we are her daughters.  She often asks me if my parents are dead.  In a way, yes, they are.  
We will never have the relationship we longed to have with our mother.  We will never know how she really felt about us, because she can't tell us now.  Our kids will never know what it is like to have both sets of grandparents.  None of them ever met our dad...and I don't know if any of them will actually remember much about my mom..."before."  
I know that so many people have much more tragic stories than we do.  I think the way we lost our dad has definitely changed all three of us girls, and I can only imagine what it did to my mom.  That is a post for another day.
I grieve for myself, for my kids, for my sisters.  I think it has taken a toll on each of us in different ways.  I know how all of these things changed the course of my life.  But the person I hurt the most for is Emily.  Being the youngest, she missed out on the most.  She was only 16 when we lost our dad.  Now, to be only 34, and watching our mother slip away.  To put forth so much effort to care for her, and to be met with resistance and anger...when everything she is doing for mom is with patience and love. 

My darling sisters...who obviously have no idea I am taking their picture.

The one thing that all of this craziness has done is to bring us closer together as sisters.  I haven't mentioned Kris in the post yet...but it goes without saying that she has always been the rock.  She has been the peacemaker and the one who has always taken care of mom.  Maybe this is the way things were supposed to Emily and I would have a chance to rebuild our relationships with our mom....even if it is in such an unconventional way.  Even if mom has no idea that is what we are doing.  Maybe, someday, when we look back on all of this, we will smile and know that we did the very best we could.  We went above and beyond what we ever envisioned ourselves doing.  We didn't take the easy road...we tried to do what was best, not what was simple.
I hope, in some small way, mom can feel the love and care that we are trying to provide to her.  Even if she thinks we are just some strange women who keep hounding her to take her pills, and wonders why our kids are so loud and annoying...I hope somewhere deep inside, there is a little part of her that knows she has three girls who, through it all, love her, and just want her to feel happy and safe.

My advice?  Never miss an opportunity to live your life.  My family is living proof that one minute things can be fantastic, and the next, your world can collapse...and you will never see it coming.
Don't be afraid to love.  You can always find something to give.  You will never know the answer unless you ask...or reach the goal unless you try.
What are you waiting for?

Lots of love for your Thursday.  xo

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Can Knots

For the past couple of weeks, I have been walking around with a knot in my stomach.
It could, potentially, have something to do with the new cleanse and pro-biotic vitamins I have been taking.  That would make sense. It could also have something to do with the fact that I have literally been living on caramel apples and yogurt. (And I wish I was kidding.)  However, this knot is definitely much more emotion driven.  Some days, little things will set that knot on fire, and it will tighten and burn.  It often surprises me what sets it off.  It can be almost nothing.  An unbecoming  tone from someone's voice, a dish put away in the "wrong" spot, an errand that someone forgot to do.  Today as I sat down to pay the bills, I got more and more frustrated as each time I tried to start, I realized I had forgotten something.  A pen, the checkbook, stamps. Each time I got up to retrieve another item, my knot grew tighter and tighter.
I have also found that my tolerance level with my husband has been very low.  I try to act like everything is fine and I'm feeling completely normal, but I am not.  Or should I say I am KNOT.

The strange thing is....I don't know where this knot came from.
Typically, if I am walking around with a big chip on my shoulder, or in this case, knot in my stomach, I have some idea of what put it there.  If I have no clue, I consult my calendar, which usually points out the obvious.  Well, there is no obvious to blame at this time, so I have been digging a little deeper.

Something is throwing me off.  I have been sabotaging my own success with the "31 Day To-Do List" and turning it into a "To-Don't List."  Rather than get excited about things starting this month, I have been uptight about it.  Instead of luxuriating in the fun of writing this blog...I have been beating myself up with "you need to do more."  "Is this good enough?"  "Are people even reading this?"  And other self-defeating questions.
I don't take the time to walk the three steps to the piano behind me, and allow any creativity to flow there.  Heck, the darn thing is even in tune...and I still ignore it.  

Today in my think tank (aka: bathtub) I pondered.  "What the heck is my problem??"  "What  am I holding on to so tightly that it is strangling me from the inside?  What do I need to release to just feel that peace and contentment that was flowing through me just a few weeks ago?"
I waited for the lightbulb to turn on.  Maybe I should have added some candles to the mix...or some incense.  I needed some good ju ju flowing here...and nothing was happening.

I gave up on the tub....and moved toward dry land.  I started thinking about what it is that I really wanted.  This is always a hard thing for me.  1. Because it involves me actually making a decision, and 2. Because for some reason, I have become very limited in my ability to dream. 

It's not that I don't know how to dream.  I do.  I just don't dream with the excitement and commitment that I used to.  I think I throw way too much reality into it now.  And I have allowed other people in my life to dampen any excitement I had for things I wanted that they maybe didn't think were possible...or probable.  And that made me timid.  And scared to share my dreams with them anymore.  

It's silly and it's stupid....but it's so easy to do.  And it's so hard to push back in the other direction.  
Do you ever feel that you aren't encouraged, but rather, appeased?
That you are supported...but with little enthusiasm?
Isn't it funny how little actions can start to wear you down, and your armor starts to erode.  It isn't because anyone wants to hurt you.  It's usually the people or person who loves you the most.  They don't even realize they are doing it.  They smile, and they tell you "good job!" and pat you on the head as they walk away.  If only we could make ourselves feel the way we feel when others build us up and encourage us to pursue our passion.  Sometimes all we need is that little push.  That extra nudge, that tells us that someone we trust really believes in us, and no matter what, is going to be there cheering us on every second of the way.

Here is my challenge to you.
1.  Set aside 20 minutes everyday for the next two weeks to incorporate something into your day that feeds your soul.  Maybe it is reading.  Maybe it is singing, or dancing, or writing, or underwater basket weaving.  Whatever it is...carve out a little extra time to do something just for you.
2. Is there someone in your life that could use that extra nudge?  Might you be the person who can make a difference in their life by showing them your support and confidence in them....and encourage them to follow their dream?

I am going to keep working on loosening up my knot.  I am also going to keep pushing my dreams to the front of my mind, while I put a gag on that little voice of self-doubt.  It's time to take charge of my own destiny...and we only live why not pursue what you love?!

It's time to start dreaming!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Ooh La La

I am writing today's post in a French accent.  I hope you are able to read it okay.
So, here is the scoop.  I have been married for almost 19 years.  
I realize this is hard to believe, considering the fact that we look barely a day over 29ish...(if you use that cool chrome filter that lightens everything up and literally erases all traces of eye-bags and wrinkles.)  But, alas, it is true.
While I try to keep things exciting around here (I have added some new spices to my stash.  Coriander, cumin, well as some varieties of cooking wines) it is still a challenge to recreate the passion of those first years of marriage.
A fancy apron helps.

I ordered some books on the magic of coconut oil...since that is supposed to change your life.
I do incorporate it into my cooking.  For awhile I tried "oil pulling"....but it just makes my jaw sore...and me crabby.  Last summer I used plain old coconut oil as a moisturizer.  The mosquitos appreciated it.  A lot.  I smelled and tasted delicious.

So, I got to thinking.  Men are visual.  If I send my husband a picture of the six pack of beer I have waiting for him at home, he seems happier when he walks through the door.  I have a sneaking suspicion that photo was probably his screen saver all day long.
That is when I really started to pay attention to his screen saver.  For the longest time, he had this weird little green martian man.  To be honest, it bothered me.
I always switch out my screen saver.  It's always a picture of my babies.

Or sometimes of my kids and husband.
But his was always some stupid graphic.

It was time to change that.  What if I sent him some pictures that he would want to look at all day...everyday?
Or maybe I should take it a step further?  What if I were to take some Boudoir pictures?
Yes.  I looked it up.  I mean, I knew what they were, but I wanted to find out what the word Boudoir actually was defined as.  "Master Bedroom."
Okay.  All I needed to do was take some pictures in my Master Bedroom.
This is could handle.  I suppose the fact that they were taken in the bedroom automatically made them sexy, right?
Luckily, I already had a couple on my phone.

Okay...maybe this wasn't quite the look I was going for.

This one doesn't have the crazy dog eyes...but again, it might not be what he would find desirable.

I decided to attempt taking a picture while I was actually awake, rather than relying on the photos my kids seemed to find entertaining to take of me sleeping.

Yes.  It was time for a sexy selfie.

Here is what I came up with....

It soon came to my attention that if I was in my furry companions felt the need to be there too.  While I found this most wonderful, perhaps my husband wouldn't look at these photos and think "wow...that's hot."

So...I decided perhaps I should try some solo shots.
Prior to the "big shoot," I referred to the Victoria's Secret catalogue.  I felt it was important to not only set the scene correctly, but to also study up on how to make the perfect "sexy face."  You know....that subtle kind of "duck face pout."
I am pretty sure I nailed it in this photo.

I really liked how the sun added such a nice "back light" to this last I figured it was time to take my shoot outside, and try some natural lighting.  I found it brought a whole new dimension to the level of sexiness in my photos.
See how the sun just brings out my natural beauty?
I think it especially highlights my eyes.

Okay.  Maybe I needed to get in touch with my "bad-girl" side.  I mean, so far, all of my pictures were pretty tame.  Maybe a little walk on the wild side was what this marriage was missing.

Or maybe not.
I should mention that there was a point at which I felt it might be a fun idea to incorporate my husband into my photo session.  Perhaps I would be able to capture our love and passion if the two of us were actually in the pictures together.  It was a nice thought, but he didn't exactly embrace the photo taking in quite the way I had hoped he would.  I mean, he embraced it...but...well, you get the picture...

So, I was on my own once again.
I was starting to wonder if I would need to actually hire a professional to make this happen.  However there are two reasons I just couldn't do that.
1. I'm too cheap.
2. Are you fricking kidding me?
3. How could this be a selfie if it was taking by somebody elsie?

So...once again, I was on my own.  Somehow...I was going to make this happen.  And dammit, it was going to be fabulous.
At an art museum in New York I snapped a picture of a painting that I thought would be something worth attempting to recreate.
 But then I realized that I only had two arms, (I would need three to actually hold the towel AND take the picture) and my hair was not red.  So this was never going to happen.

I had to think like a photographer.  A photographer who didn't have a fancy camera.  Or any other equipment. Or training. Or...well, anything.
What did I have?  Well....I had things around the house I could use as props, I guess.  And I had sunlight.  That was about as good as I was going to get.  And you know what...that is all you need.
I finally figured out the key to creating professional looking pictures.
LOTS of much light, that you can't clearly define the subject in the photo!
It is pure magic!
I am tempted to post the picture I am talking is completely 100% G rated.  Well, maybe we should give it a PG rating, because it is not a cartoon sketch.  And the lighting was KEY.  It looks like a professional photo.  (A fur throw as your backdrop is also an excellent prop.)  I think I should perhaps consider becoming a Boudoir Photographer.  Although that would be a really uncomfortable job for me (unless I was taking photos of Jamie Fraser)
click and scroll down to read about (and see) Jamie Fraser
If that were the case, by all means, a full time photographer I would be!!
However, I can not bring myself to throw my perfect picture on here.  This ridiculous post is getting more narcissistic by the moment.....which is the opposite of my intention.

1. If you recall....I am trying to create a screen saver...not a scandal.
2. Do you think I would even write about this if it were anything like the above painting?!

So, ladies (and gents...because I can't think of anything more entertaining than the thought of my husband actually attempting to create boudoir photos to send to me!!!) if you need to add a little more spice to your marriage, it doesn't all have to happen in the kitchen spice cabinet.
I finally decided that it was time to throw on some lipstick and go for it. (I highly recommend the chrome filter.) I was not having any luck with the 'full facial frontal' I tried the "half face hair hide"....and we were good to go.

Give it a try.  That is why your phone has a delete button.  Thank God.  And a crop feature.  The older I get...the more I need to crop.  
Pretty soon, all my photos will look like this.

Anyway....I ended up with two options for his screen saver:

Photo 1: The "throw your hair over your face and pretend your are sexy."

Photo 2:  Reality
I decided that if I started sending my husband "sexy hair over your face" photos....he was definitely going to get the wrong idea.  I mean, come on!  I had no desire to get out of my sweat pants, shave my arm pits, or wear underwear that would ride up my ever-sagging butt.
Seriously?!  I was just making more work for myself!  
So, I opted to go with photo number two...because that is the look I give him when he starts playing "footsie" with me under the table anyway.
I know men have, I pulled out the recipe for Black Bean Enchilada Casserole, and got to work.  I even got a little wild, and used medium green chilis rather than mild.  Yes...I was going to spice up his night all right!  I put the tabasco on the table too.  I am just super accommodating like that.
So there you have it.  A spicy under 10 minutes.
As the french say...oui!  Croissaint!  Merci Beaucoup!

And yes.  I am still procrastinating.  Who comes up with a post on Boudoir photos in order to avoid writing about their "31 Days of Taking on the To-Do List?"
I can only imagine what will happen tomorrow.
Maybe we will have to talk about this.

Until then.  Happy Tuesday!!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Playing the Part

Let me start by admitting that it is Sunday afternoon...and I am writing post on Monday.  Now that we have that out there....all of this will make more sense. :)

Today is recital day.  Both of my kids made it into the "Honors Recital" at the studio they study piano at.
They are playing a duet together, and Lexie also made it in with her solo.
I think this is fantastic, since it is an honor to be in the Honors recital....but I have something to admit to you.
I do not enjoy piano recitals.
To top it off, the duet and solo will be performed in two SEPARATE recitals, so I will have the pleasure of spending the ENTIRE afternoon/early evening in the recital hall.
I should also mention that I work at this I would need to be there whether or not my kids were in the recital or not.
I know, it's horrible that I am a piano teacher who hates piano recitals.  But it's true.  The first step is to admit it.
The second issue is that this is all going to occur during my nap time.  Any good church musician knows that you don't mess with the Sunday afternoons of a church lady.  Those naps are golden...and crucial to the success of the rest of my week, and the lives of the people around me.
Going on.
Since I am an excellent mother, I came home and thought "Ooh, I will whip up a hearty little casserole so my kiddos will have nice full bellies before they head off to perform their little hearts out."  I had even prepped the chicken last night, so it was already sautéed, and waiting in the fridge.  (Because I am always prepared.)
I put all the ingredients together, tossed it in the oven, and patted myself on the back.  
I then asked what time the kids needed to leave to get to the hall on time.
2 minutes before the damn casserole would be done baking.

Now, I am home alone with the casserole. (I am leaving closer to the actual recital time....I have no desire to add an extra hour to my afternoon torture.)
My kids left without eating. (I don't think they even had breakfast...since they slept until 11.)
Lexie did grab a bag of pretzels, so that should hold them over until....6pm when they are finally finished.
My husband headed out to the theater, where he is playing for an opera today.  He had an apple and a bottle of water.  
Yes.  Another successful day in Lakmann-land.

We are back.  I attempted to zoom in on my kids in the group pic.  What is it with pubescent boys and smiling?  That cute little boy in the front row is smiling so beautifully.  Then there is my son in the back....looking horribly constipated.  And this was AFTER I made a little bit of a scene and said (maybe yelled) "SAM! Seriously!  Smile like a normal person!!"  Who am I kidding?  My kid is wearing a blue and white striped shirt with a turquoise bow tie underneath a black and gray sweater.  Normal is not a word we actually use in this house.
Anyway, the recitals went well.  The duet was played very well by Mr. Sam.  Lexie was a little out of it.  Sam claims she "didn't put any effort into it at all!"
I ordered Jimmy Johns...because they are freaky fast, and take credit cards (since any time I have cash, my kids rid me of it within 1.3 minutes) and obviously my children were fading fast, and perhaps starvation was the culprit for Lexie's "lack of effort."  We had to do something to bring her back to life before recital number 2.  Believe me, you didn't want to be off your game for recital number 2!  Seriously...when you have a FIFTH GRADER who sits at the piano, and effortlessly seems to fart out the most amazingly musical, yet technically difficult piano piece right in front of your eyes...well, it takes your self worth down a few notches. (And I am referring to myself....the one with the music degree.)
One of my fellow teachers and I turned to each other and said "Well...time to go home and practice."
Luckily, feeding my children was a good idea.  (I suppose it is always a good idea...but it was extra good today.)
Lexie got up and kicked her solo's butt.  She even smiled afterwards.  This was a good sign.
We like it when she smiles.

Speaking of....I forgot to post a lovely picture of her smile from last week.
She dressed up like "Miranda Sings" for super star day during Homecoming Week.
the real Miranda Sings

If you don't know who that on the links below.  She is a hoot.  And Lex does a killer imitation of her.  
An example of one of her vlogs:  mirandasings
And my favorite video ever:  (with Sam Harris...remember him from the days of "Star Search?")
We have Miranda book-ends...with Rachel Berry in the middle.

My favorite part of this day ^^ actually came from my husband.
He is a band director at a different school, and ironically, one of his students showed up as Miranda Sings also.  Only it wasn't a dress up day there.  She just decided to be Miranda for the day.  And she stayed in full character.  All. Day. Long.  (I already love this girl, and don't even know her.  I DO know her parents though....and can see where she gets her hilarious personality from.)
What I wish I could have witnessed was her flute lesson.  
Yes...she was "Miranda" during her entire lesson.  Apparently, she had forgotten to come to her lesson, so Mark went to her classroom to hunt her down.  He said he knew instantly "who she was."  So, he walked in the classroom and said "Miranda, it's time for your lesson."  And it began.  
This girl is a freshman.  Seriously, if every freshman in high school could be that free....that unafraid of what anyone thought of them.  That willing to just put themselves out there and be whoever they want to be...even if it is just for a day.  Each time he comes home with another story about this girl, my heart swells a little bit more.  THIS is what being a kid is all about.  THIS is what high school SHOULD be like.  Having fun.  Being silly.  Finding out who you are.  This girl is DOING IT RIGHT!  And you know one is stopping her.  They all accept her for who she is...because she is just being HERSELF.  She isn't pretending to be someone else, or trying to fit into some mold.  She isn't trying to be in the "in crowd" or follow the latests trend.  She isn't shoving herself into a box.  She is coloring outside the lines.  She is carving her own path.  SHE IS LIVING!!
Kind of like "Miranda."  What started out as a dare has become a worldwide hit.  This girl, who is actually a fantastic singer and performer, has created this ridiculous alter-ego, made her a You-tube sensation, and is now literally traveling the world performing as Miranda Sings .  She just recently filmed an episode on Jerry Seinfeld's new show.  All because she wasn't afraid to put herself out there and think outside the box. you ever wonder if you could change things up in your life if you just colored outside of the lines a little?  You could even use those washable it wouldn't leave a permanent mark.  Just a little scribble.  It might be worth a try.  :)

I think the beginning of a new week might just be the PERFECT time for some new "art supplies."
How about trying out some new colors....and cutting any strings that are holding things together a little too tightly.  Sometimes it's good to let things spill out a bit.  When you let some things go, you just might find that your life suddenly begins to fit together much more effortlessly.

Time to start coloring!
Happy Monday! the way, in a rare turn of events, I actually REALLY enjoyed the piano recital!  I think my attention span has finally reached adult level!! ;)

Sunday, October 5, 2014


I have to pee.  
I have an affinity for my own bathroom, and I have walked in there 3 times now, to no avail.  I keep forgetting that my daughter is in there curling her hair.  I have absolutely no problem peeing in front of her.  However, her boyfriend is sitting on the toilet.  (The lid is down, things aren't that out of hand around here.)  The poor boy has been in there for over an hour now.  But, he is as sweet as can be, and apparently my daughter has him wrapped around her finger, because there he patiently waits...on the toilet.
Tonight is Homecoming. (Okay...yes I wrote this last night) ;) I, for one have NEVER heard of a girl wanting her boyfriend to hang out with her while she gets all dolled up.  Then again, this is Lexie.  Someday I will come up with an adjective for her.  Maybe.  I doubt it.

And...the finished product

She just told me "See!  I won't have to have anyone do my hair for my wedding!"
Always thinking ahead.  When it comes to her hair, anyway.

Apparently, this "getting ready" thing is progressive.  As in "I am comparing it to a progressive dinner."  The hair happens here. Now they are off to location two for make-up.  (Yes, her boyfriend is a saint.)
I'm not sure if "costuming" happens at a third, undisclosed location....or if they just combine that with make-up.  I do know that there is another location for pictures.

Speaking of, I will miss them.....the picture taking event.  Both kids (my kids, that is) are going, and I will be at work when they leave, so I won't even see them all dressed up. 
My baby boy is going to his first high school dance, with a date (she is a senior....apparently all of that extra mama love paid off.  Who could resist this guy?) and I won't be there to see any of it.
Yes, I made him try on his fancy duds for me last night.

Luckily, the photo location is the home of my friends who are known for the picture taking there will be no shortage of photos to share.  But still.....I am going to pout.  All night. And maybe a little bit tomorrow too.

I recall my Homecomings of years past.  I think more than anything, I remember what I wore.  
One year, the long prairie skirt with lace peeking out underneath, topped off with a lovely sweater.  Or the year of the smashing pantsuit.
Homecoming 1988. Come was actually pretty cute.  And notice how skinny I was!!

 In other words, I wore fall appropriate, full coverage outfits.  
Not exactly the homecoming garb of today.  
Today, the go-to get-up is a sequenced tube-top, strategically placed hopes of covering up all of the "private" spots.  Oh, and a pair of stilettos.  Body type does not matter.  Because apparently EVERYONE looks good in a tube top! :)

Yep. It has happened.  I have officially crossed over to the land of the "Ladies who Lunch."
Thighs are not for my eyes.  Skirts to the knees, if you please.
I just came up with that.  
I might be 65.
Or 90.

I have accepted the fact that no matter how many times I say it, think it, scream it, write it, jump up and down it....I am not going to be able to single handedly get girls to realize that tighter and shorter is not better.  It is not sexy.  If it hurts to button it, and you can't breathe, that may be a tiny little sign that you are not meant for that garment.  Yes! By all means, embrace your body!  Love yourself for who you are!  Just PLEASE!!!  Wear clothes that FIT YOU....and are flattering on you! 

In other words, I am anxiously awaiting the flood of pictures after the hoopla tonight.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that one day, I will look on Facebook the morning after the big dance, and cry tears of joy when I see all of the beautiful teenaged girls, wearing their long prairie skirts, and their smashing pant suits!!  ;)

Until then, I guess I will just sit here.  Wearing mine. 

Just in!!  Photos from the big event!
Lexie and Isaac
Sam and Kayla
Mt personal and sister
and the whole ridiculous bunch.

Happy Sunday!