Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Taming of the Yard

Ah, the yard-working month of May. The month that tells you what you are REALLY made of. The showdown between hard-working woman vs. Utah cement-hard "soil."

So, who won the battle?

Probably just because of my giant rock-hard muscles. Yep, pretty sure.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My Little Fashionista

My little Ashley has gone through EVERY clothes phase there is: pajamas all day, no clothes at all, as many clothes as possible at the same time, wearing only Carter's clothes, changing outfits 20 times a day, wearing one outfit for one week straight, etc. etc.

The fact is, she loves clothes. She is OBSESSED with clothes. I finally gave in to her desire for personal expression so that I pretty much let her wear whatever she wants as long as it is weather appropriate. I do make exceptions for church, and other formal occasions. Which pretty much means I compromise so only 20% of her outfit is completely absurd.

She revealed to me last week that the 2 most important items in a 3-year-old's wardrobe are tights and a slip. The rest of the outfit is completely negotiable.

Here is her FAVORITE combination: red snowman tights, brown leggings with lace trim, and the lacey slip on OVER the shirt. Don't forget the pink high-heel dress up shoes. I took this just as we were leaving for our Neerings family dinner on Sunday.

Isn't she cute??

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday's Favorites - Life's Passion

Today marked the beginning of the "how the heck did I get this old and boring?" part of my life.

I went to the state PTA Convention.

All day.


There were a couple of bright spots, but I have to admit after spending the entire morning inside, listening to speakers and perusing materials, my body started twitching and I experienced temporary ADD.

So, the plan was to eat our cute little box lunch, then chat, peruse, and sit inside for 45 minutes until the next round of classes began.


So I made my own plan. Since it was a beautiful day, and I happened to be on the campus of my Alma Mater, BYU, I decided to take a walk. I set out on my own little adventure. It felt soo good to be outside, soo good to move, and soo good to be someplace familiar. I felt unusually carefree.

And then something unexpected happened.

I passed the music building.

My heart started to race.

My fingers tingled and flexed.

My eyes darted toward the entrance.

But I resisted the thoughts and I made my way around the library, convincing myself that there was absolutely no reason for me to be in that building.

I passed the building a second time. Why could I not take my eyes off it? And then, before I was even aware, the building drew me in. I became keenly aware of myself walking, feeling purpose in each motion, feeling life in each breath. I took in the familiar sights and sounds of the atrium as I let my legs take me wherever they wanted to go.

And I was a little surprised.

I ended up in a tiny practice room. One of the very same ones in which I had spend hundreds of hours playing the piano for my music studies. I remembered this particular piano, a cherry colored Kawai grand with a resonant, but dull-ish sound. Still wearing my PTA badge, I sat down.

And I played.

I made my way roughly through a Gershwin prelude. Why were my hands shaking?

Then I settled more easily into one of my favorite pieces, "Mouvement" by Debussy.

I knew I only had a few minutes of bliss until I had to get back into the real world. I savored the feeling of alive-ness, of embracing something that you know belongs to you. Something you know is such a part of you that it can only be called your passion.

My time was up. I stood up, and readjusted my badge in the mirror. Picking up the purple PTA bag, I left my vibrant little world of music and headed back to the real world.

But I took something with me as I left. No, I think I awakened something within me. Something that had spent too much time buried underneath housecleaning, scheduling, and care-taking. So much time that I had forgotten it was there.

And I remembered what it really feels like to be alive.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Music Recovery Program

Over the last 10 days, I've had 10 rehearsals and 5 performances, with 3 different music groups. Every May and December, this seems to happen - two weeks of a packed musical schedule. Last December it culminated with me wearing the wrong dress to my concert with the Salt Lake Choral Artists. I didn't realize until I got on stage at Libby Gardner Hall - oops. It was the dress from my New Jersey choir, so that just shows you how fried my brain gets after too much music - aaaahh!!

It all ends up being worth it. Without fail, there will be such a beautiful moment in the music where the intensity of emotion is so powerful that it takes you to a place you never could have created on your own. That happened last weekend while singing "Enemy Slayer," a Navajo Oratorio that was SUPER hard to learn. That's when I remember why I am doing all of this.

You can read our review here:

There are also no-so-good moments, like last Tuesday night. Carter's school choir was singing at Abravanel Hall, and I am their accompanist. Sounds great, right? Well, we were the first choir, and Carter did awesome. But then we had to sit with all of the kids while TEN more elementary choirs sang for more than 2 hours. Ugh.

It was also crazy to be gone every night for 2 weeks straight until 10 or 11. Double Ugh.

So now I am on the Music Recovery Program. This morning's installment of the program included shamefully putting a video on for Ashley so I could go back to sleep from 9:00 to 11:00 am. Yep, pretty much pathetic, I know.

So, when's the next concert . . . . ?

Mother's Day

I have to admit - I have my qualms about Mother's Day. If the tradition demanded that all Mother's be whisked away into a magical place that included a massage, unlimited nap time, and amazing food, I might feel differently. But, truth be told, Mom's don't really take a "day off" for Mother's day, which increases the likelihood that many things can go wrong, which you have absolutely no control over. This includes, but is not limited to: children fighting and throwing tantrums, children wiping boogers on you, sick children puking on you, children pretending that their legs are inoperable so they don't have to help you, husbands pretending that their brains are inoperable so they don't have to help you, etc.

But, this year my fam really pulled through. Mike got me the perfect funny card with a long, thoughtful note inside. Carter showered me with pictures, cards, and original writings, including "I love you mom becuse your nice. I could never love eney one beter than you."

Carter also made my heart melt by taking care of me while Mike was out of town last week. Each night as he got in bed, he would verify my well-being. These were my favorites: "Mom, do you need to go outside any more tonight? No? Good, because it is really cold and dark out there right now and I really don't want you outside in that." Or, "Mom, have you checked all the doors to make sure they are all locked? I would feel better about you in a locked house." Or, "Did you close your window Mom? I really don't feel good about you sleeping with an open window?" How cute is that???!

And finally, my personal favorite. Carter made the obligatory "Mom coupons" at school, good for any act of service from him. He only made 5 coupons at school, but he felt that I deserved much more than that, so he put our color copier to good use.

Now, it's time to cash in . . . sweet!!!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Friday's Favorites - NAPS!!!!

Alright, it's true confession time:

I'm addicted to sleep.

Or is it that I'm allergic to waking up? I'm not sure which.

Yesterday AND last Friday I was able to catch a quickie nap, and I remembered that naps are literally the most wonderful activity available on the planet! Actually, do they count as an activity? Not sure. As delicious as naps are, I have to admit that Sleep and I have had a rocky relationship over the years . . .

I tend to put off sleep in the pm hours. In other words, I am a full-blooded night person. So here is the basic schedule of my entire life: Stay up until midnight or 1:00, sleep blissfully until an alarm clock or small person wakes me around 7:00 am, walk around with eyes closed or lay down yelling at small people until 9:00 am, get REALLY tired around 2:00 pm and function at the capacity of a slug, get my new "night energy" around 9:00 pm, and repeat the cycle ceaselessly causing me and my family immense stress. Doesn't that sound pleasant?

As you may imagine, this has caused a few slight problems. Let me name a few:

Sleeping through all of my morning classes in high school and college. Drool and all. I even fell asleep taking a test once.

Sleeping in and missing half of Carter's preschool program, then entering late by falling down the stairs in front of the entire audience. Nice.

Waking up to the smell of Carter cooking prescription medications in the toaster oven.

Unfortunately there are many, many more examples. But, I digress. Sleep and I became reconciled when I realized that it was NOT lazy of me to realize that I needed it. I finally had to admit to myself that when I do not get 9 (gulp, yes nine) hours of sleep, I will feel some degree of I-resent-being-awake-ishness. Do I get 9 hours of sleep all the time? Of course not. But, I do get to bed earlier now, and let myself sleep in or take those luscious naps more often.

And here is a picture of my cute hubby taking a nap. I tried to take a picture of myself taking a nap, but every time I flashed the camera, I woke myself up. :)

Doesn't that make you want to take a nap, too? I'm hereby giving you permission.

And . . . (ahem) . . . please disregard the time on this blog post.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Phone Call

Me: Hello?

Phone: Hello, is this Mrs. Neerings?

Me: Yes (wow, who says "Mrs." anymore).

Phone: This is Mr. Flanagan (real name) from the Elementary School.

Me: Hi, Mr. Flanagan. (Hmm, the V. Principal calling. I wonder if anything is wrong? Nah, he's probably just calling about PTA stuff).

Phone: So, I have your son down here in my office.

Me: Uh-oh (Oh, crap! What has happened? Did Carter get in a fight or something?????).

Phone: It's pretty serious.

Me. UUUHH-OOHHHH (AAAHH! Did he give someone a black eye? Say the F word? Did he bring a gun to school??? Is he expelled?? )

Phone: Yeah, we have Carter down here to recognize him for being the best behaved kid in his class. His teacher chose him.

Me (catching my breath to recover from the previous visions of my juvenile delinquent son): Wow! (And to tell me thanks, you decided to give me early-onset heart failure!!!! Gee. thanks.)

Phone: Well, thanks for your time.

Me: Uh. . . . thanks for . . . . ???