Sunday, February 22, 2015

General Update

So, I already updated on my kids - well here is a general update.

So about a year ago (when Sammy was born), we realized that 820 square feet just isn't big enough for FIVE PEOPLE to comfortably live in. Yep. We were living in a two bedroom, two bathroom, 820-square foot middle floor apartment. We had cranky, mean neighbors downstairs, a cranky, mean home owners lady, and were living in a ward with a total of eight kids in the primary. Granted the apartment itself was pretty nice, and the grounds of the complex were nice (minus all the stupid, stupid geese and their stupid, stupid poop all over the sidewalk and grass). There was also a pool and hot tub, which was fantastic. But, a combination of itty bitty living space, mean neighbors, mean home owners lady, a kind of crappy family ward, and the lack of non-pooped covered outside play areas...led us to believe "Hey! We need our own place!" Oh, and the fact that my baby brother was going to move into the unit when he started school in the fall.

Sooooo, Tom and I started the house hunting. Surprisingly, it only took about a month before we really found the perfect house for us! We actually put in an offer on a different house first...then when I saw our house pop up online, we walked through it the next day, put an offer on it, got in a little bit of a bidding war (which was really annoying) and finally signed the papers! We got everything in order with our mortgage guy, and moved in less than a month later! Yep. Super crazy fast. But awesome :) I love our home. Tom has a little buyers remorse because it is more than we originally wanted to spend on a house, but I am thrilled. I love our house. I love our ward. I love our neighborhood. I love everything about it. It has four small bedrooms, a master bedroom with master bath, and then a common bathroom upstairs. The basement has an unfinished bathroom as well. There is a living room that fits the piano, a big open kitchen, and a big family room. The backyard is HUGE and has big rocks and trees. There is even a fenced in raised garden area and a peach tree and a plum tree! I love it. We are at the end of a culdesac, too, so no fast traffic! Our neighbors are super great and everyone is so nice and friendly. AND the house is yellow :) I LOVE IT! It isn't huge, but is just right for our little family. Both Ella and Tommy have friends within walking distance, too!

The next update has to do with Tom. As you may recall, Tom works for Real Salt Lake. He started as an unpaid intern...was hired in the ticket box office doing season ticket renewals...was promoted into sponsorship coordinating...and was promoted again (with a SUBSTANTIAL raise) to a ticket box office manager. All within a year and a half. Pretty impressive. The owner of Real Salt Lake, Del Loy Hansen, even knows him by name and is constantly reassuring him that he "likes to take care of his best employees"...yep. Pretty sweet :) Tom is doing fantastic at his job and he really enjoys it. Hopefully after a couple years of experience he can transfer to an even better job in a larger sports market...ya know...somewhere like LA?? Or Anaheim?? Or San Diego? I'm not picky :) Either way, though, it is super cool.

As for me, I'm still doing what I do. Working at Summerhays Music...selling bowed instruments. I really like my job, but am starting to itch for something more. I don't know what...but I want to do something bigger and better and make more MONEY! :) We are gearing up for our Fiddle Fair month, which is my biggest month of the year. I have been going around to Jr. High's and High Schools doing "step up clinics", which is pretty much where I take a bunch of way nice them to the kids and say, "wow! See how much better these instruments sound than yours??? That's cuz you're playing on a crappy instrument and you really should come buy these ones!" And hopefully they I can make lots of money :) Yay for commission. hehehe :) It's really win/win/win though. Win = I make lots of money Win = they get a better sounding instrument Win = my boss is happy 'cause I make him money too. Yep. Win/win/win. The only "lose" part, though, is the fact that for the next four weeks, I'll be working six days...and probably get a bajillion hours of overtime. Boo. Good for the paycheck, but bad for everything else! That's a lot of working. Blah.

Anyway, Tom and I really like our new ward. Everyone is super friendly and nice. I teach the five turning six year olds in Primary and they are SO CUTE! :) They say the funniest things in class. Tom is the second counselor in the Sunday School pretty much he doesn't have to do anything, which is kind of convenient because Sammy is a royal pain the A-S-S during church. Hoooooly cow. He wiggles and cries and runs around and is just HARD. Six more months, though, until he can go to nursery! HOORAY!!!!! :D Too bad they don't have nursery during sacrament...someone didn't think that all the way through...

Well, that's about it for now. I'll try to update again if anything exciting happens in our lives :) Bye!

Friday, February 20, 2015

European Tour

So last June I had the opportunity to travel with the Utah Valley Youth Symphony Orchestra around Europe playing the solo part of Rhapsody in Blue with them.
Our stops included Poznan, Poland, Berlin, Vienna, and Prague. Needless to say, I felt like a rockstar.

Our first stop was Berlin. Holy cow. I LOVED BERLIN. Oh my gosh. I can't say enough. It was SOOOOOOOOO fantastic!!! The city was beautiful! The people were great! The history was fascinating! The weather was perfect! The food was great! Oh man. Seriously LOVED it.

There were so many amazing monuments and historical sites, it was hard to fit them all in! I ended up taking a little three hour rickshaw tour that was TOTALLY worth the forty euro - definitely one of the benefits of traveling by yourself!
 I pretty much spent the entire four days in Berlin running from stop to stop, trying to fit in as much as I could in such a short amount of time! I did not think I would enjoy it so much...but it was amazing. I wish we could've spent five more WEEKS there! I pretty much ate while running, no bathroom breaks! Haha! I was grateful that I did that study abroad in Vienna so 1) the little German I could remember was VERY helpful and 2) I totally utilized the U-bahn system. It was fantastic!
 I ended up spending most of the trip with a fantastic group of girls and their moms! The first day I was pretty lonely - completely across the globe not knowing a SINGLE person in our group of fifty people...but by the end of the first day, we were pretty much all besties :) It was great!

 While we were in Berlin, I read about this little town called Potsdam. Me, and a group of people, all took the train out and biked around it. It was the most BEAUTIFUL village E-V-E-R! If anyone gets a chance to go to Berlin - make a full day trip of Potsdam! We spent five hours there and it wasn't nearly long enough!!!

Yep. Out of all the stops - Berlin was my favorite.

Our next stop was Poland. While we were in Poland, the Polish Philharmonic played with us during our performance. It was AWESOME. It was so fun to play with such an amazing orchestra!
I had never been to Poland before and it was such an amazing place! I would love to go back. We spent a lot of our time in the city center touring around and shopping. It was very cool :) We found a Chopin monument, too!
(okay, wide hips coming through...keep in mind I had just had a baby four months before this...)
There were different alley ways filled with all sorts of antiques that were SO cool! I wish I could have bought them all! There was a little bit of a language barrier in Poland because no one spoke English...or we were all kind of at a loss when it came to communication. Lots of hand gestures :) haha! The weather was a little cold, but all in all, Poland was pretty cool. We wandered around and found lots of cool little buildings, churches, and nooks and crannies of Poland.

We took a bus ride out to the "Birthday Place of Poland" and toured this beautiful church and its catacombs. I have decided that catacombs are SUPER interesting. Not everyone would think so...but I sure did :)

We spent two (or three?? I can't remember!) days in Poland and then were off to Prague. Our bus driver only spoke Polish...or Russian...or something that NO ONE understood. He ended up taking us on this wild goose chase through the back countryside of who-knows which country! What was supposed to be a couple hour bus ride, ended up being an almost seven hour bus ride! While the countryside was VERY beautiful and can only take so long being on a crowded bus with a bunch of teenagers...hahah :)

The venue we performed at in Prague was BEAUTIFUL! It was inside this gothic architecture church that was beautiful! The acoustics were CRAZY and I'm not sure our performance was that spectacular, but it was still fun...and made for some great pictures :)

I had been to Prague before, so I kind of knew my way around, but it was fun going around with a much smaller group. We toured small alleyways, took a bus tour, even took a ghost tour under the city square! It was pretty creepy :)

The food was great and most people spoke English, so there was little or no language barriers in most of the places we went inside :) Prague really does have the most beautiful architecture, but the city planning was a little crazy. It was a good thing we had plenty of different maps so we could find our way around! haha!
On our way to Vienna, we stopped at this little Castle community...which I cannot remember the name of! Oops!

It was very beautiful! We were only there for a couple hours - just long enough to eat, walk through the main street, and make our way back to the bus. Oh, and there was some CRAZY cool gingerbread we saw, too :)
Check out that detail lace stuff! Woah. Impressive. No, I didn't buy any...I wouldn't have been able to make myself eat it...and then it would have just gotten smooshed. :(

Anyway, our last stop was Vienna - and would you believe it...I didn't take any pictures!!! Since I lived there before, it was just like going back home! How many of you take pictures of your hometown streets? Not many, right? Well, that's why I didn't take any! It was crazy...

Vienna was fun, but it was weird being back after ten years. Time flies. I found that most of the time I was in Vienna, I was wishing my husband was with me. I have spent so much time telling him about everything we would do when we went together...that I missed him even more. I'm glad Vienna was at the end of the trip when I was so exhausted from all the other cities, that I didn't miss too much by not walking/running every moment of the days we were there! :)

All in all, the trip was FANTASTIC! We were traveling a total of fourteen days and it was amazing. The women I bonded with were so much fun and we all had a blast! The students I performed with were phenomenal and it was great hanging out with such a fun group of kids :)

My Babies: a long overdue update

So this one time I had this blog that I kept up regularly...then I didn't...soooo yeah, here is my attempt to update things that have happened over a years span. Yep.

She is as sassy as they come in such a small package. This seven year old is determined to push my buttons every chance the can...and gets the biggest kick out of it EVER. Her thrills include asking me to pick out her clothes in the morning, and then proceeding to dump everything out of her drawers while proving to me why the clothes I chose were the WORST. She is in first grade right now with a FANTASTIC teacher. She enjoys school, but says she HATES tests. She also thinks homework is stupid because she "already knows how to do it...why does she have to do MORE at home??" Amen girl. She is enrolled in dance class and piano lessons.
She is fantastic at both, but also tells me repeatedly how she doesn't need classes anymore because she already knows everything...Yep. She is SUPER smart and recently received an "Excellence in Academics" award at her school! She got a banner, a pin, and a big certificate, AND was invited to a special celebration for only a few select kids in the whole school. We are so proud of her :)  Here are a few tidbits about her:

Grade: 1st
Activities: Piano lessons, ballet
Favorite subject in school: Art
Least favorite subject: Library time ("You only get to look at ONE book the whole time! It is so boring!")
Catch phrases: "I know, Mom!"
Friends: Tahlen, Brooke, Trystan, Cayson, Bridget, Eva, Landon
Favorite Movie: High School Musical (No, I still haven't seen it...)
Hobbies: Writing her own songs, dancing, playing in the back yard, bossing her little brother around.
Least favorite activity: bed time. 

Next child: Tommy
This is my sweetheart of a four year old. This kid is all love...and rowdiness. He seldom holds still, even when he is sleeping. He is enrolled in preschool and really enjoys it...even though he is a bit of a trouble maker and his teacher is often telling me, "He has a hard time paying attention because he just wants to talk and play with the other kids!" So we have been working on channeling that energy to more production things :) haha!

He was enrolled in soccer over the fall and LOVED it. He has amazing hand-eye-foot coordination for such a young kid. He has been drop kicking a soccer ball since he was two and can throw better than I can...which isn't saying much, but still! He loves to play and always has a smile on his face. He never back talks, but does have a hard time following directions because of how easy he gets distracted. He is such a sweetheart and is always sharing and wanting to help.

He's very much into super heros right now, especially The Ninja Turtles and Spiderman. Some of his favorite catch phrases include, "I've got the power!" and "To the rescue!"  (The picture above is with his "super hero hair")

Tid bits about Tommy:
Age: 4
Grade: Preschool
Favorite foods: Anything with sugar, caprese salads (seriously??), chicken noodle soup, and juice
Least favorite foods: vegetables
Favorite activities: Playing outside, playing video games, jumping, practicing his karate moves, bed time.
Friends: Jordan, Brayden, Jeff, Cayson, Trystan
Favorite shows: anything with a super hero

Next child: Sammy

This sweet boy turns one today! I can't believe how fast the time has gone! He is seriously the happiest baby EVER. He only cries if he is tired, hungry, or has poops. That is it. No other fussing. Seriously. He is about 50/50 on whether or not he sleeps through the night, but that's okay. He is ADORABLE and looooooves to snuggle. He started walking around Christmas and loves being outside. He is seriously so smiley!

Tid bits about Sammy:
Age: One! Happy Birthday!
Favorite foods: captain crunch cereal, pasta, fruit cocktail
Least favorite foods: scrambled eggs, macaroni and cheese
Catch phrases: "Ta ta ta!"
Favorite activities: being held, yelling, running around
Least favorite activities: being put to bed, being ignored
Hair color: still pretty much bald, but I swear it is strawberry blond :)

Okay, well, I think that is pretty much it with my babies. I seriously love them to pieces! THEY ARE SO STINKIN CUTE!!!!! :D