Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Beautiful Day For A Gentle Run!

Today was my gentle re-entry to running 5k's!  I have been looking forward to this run so much~and my curiosity was spinning my mind into overdrive, wondering what my foot would think of it all.

Backing up a bit, I came way too close to making us show up 24 hours too early.  I just thought the 28th was a Saturday, and didn't even pay close enough attention to catch that minor detail.  We had all our stuff set out Friday night, ready for the next day.  Brad went to pick up Alex at 10:45 at a friend's house, and mentioned that we were running in this event Saturday morning.  They told him they were running in it too, but were pretty sure it was on Sunday.  Sure enough.  Can you even imagine my disgust if I had pulled into that park and there was no one to be found?!  I would not have easily lived that one down...

Anyway, this was not a true 5K, only a 6-mile relay that was split into 4 sections.  So Brad and I each ran only 3 miles, and we traded off after each 1.5 miles.  It was such a beautiful sunny day, too!  Crisp but not cold.  Lovely, lovely Spring-ish weather.  Beautiful course, great small-town-feeling to the event.  Our times were fine: a comfortable 49.30.  And, best of foot pain!!  Or knee pain!!  Or (for Brad) rib pain!!  For this event, they put you in a category based on your combined age: for us, a very humbling 79!  So I figure we did pretty well when you consider we were 79 today and newly recovered from a combined foot/rib fracture!  

Alex and his buddy, Wes, also ran today and did great.  Alex has not been running at all, and that turkey beat me in our first leg!  He and Wes each won a mug for the 2nd place male/male team from the same high school!  I'm proud of him, and also take a wee bit of pleasure in the fact that he is a bit sore this evening and I'm not.

Fun morning, great to be back at it.  The next test is in less than 2 weeks, a true 5K with no break at the half-way point.  I can do further than that on the treadmill, but outside can be so we'll see.  Brad and I have decided to actually run it together from start to finish for the first time.  A treat?  A test?  We shall see!

a little pre-run stretching

and we're off!

happy feet!

Alex & Wes making their first exchange

Brad's turn...


so happy to be done!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Cookie Experiment ~ Coconut Kisses

I had the bug to experiment today.  It all started when I came upon a cookie recipe that is very similar to my sister's sugar cookie.  LOVE this sugar cookie, and this one was so close to it, but with a surprising addition:  pudding!  A long time ago, my favorite way to make chocolate chip cookies was with pudding added, so I knew it could work.  I've since moved on from that, though I'm not sure why.  So when I saw this recipe, I was so intrigued to try it.

I also found something last week that really made me happy.  Coconut Creme Hershey Kisses.  Oh.  My.  So very good.  I do wish they were dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate, but other than that they made me very happy.  So I've been wanting to find a fun way to use them. 

Those two worlds collided today when I decided to make these sugar cookies, but using coconut pudding, and topping them with a Coconut Creme Hershey Kiss!  Well, they turned out fairly well.  They look more like a thumbprint cookie than a Kiss cookie, but they are sure yummy anyway!  I think I will enjoy a couple or few of these tomorrow with something hot to drink.  After the run, of course. 

Coconut Kiss Sugar Cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup vegetable oil (I know, I know)
1 cup sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
1 3.4 oz. box instant coconut pudding (I actually used the cook kind)
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cream of tartar
4 cups flour
1 bag Coconut Creme Hershey Kisses, unwrapped of course

In large bowl, beat together butter, oil and sugars until fluffy and creamy.  Blend in pudding, eggs and vanilla.  Combine soda, cream of tartar and flour; add gradually to mixture, stirring until combined well.

Drop (with cookie scoop) onto cookie sheet.  (I used my smaller scoop, about 1 1/4 inch balls.)  Bake at 350 for 10 - 12 minutes, or until edges are just lightly brown.  Remove from oven and immediately press a kiss into the center of each cookie.  Let cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes, then remove to cooling rack. 

These take awhile for the kisses to set back up.  Mine sank down flat before they set up, making them look just like a thumbprint cookie.  That was fine with me, because I got a better chocolate to cookie ratio!


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

My New Friends

So here is the whole "back to work" story.  Now that I actually am, I look back on the process and am so grateful that I stuck it out.  I began the process last winter, and then bagged it as I became too intimidated.  I rehashed and rehashed all my possibilities.  What did I want to do with the rest of my life?  Should I go back to school and pursue something?  I could fill this whole post with the list of questions I had been asking myself.  I don't doubt my capabilities.  I know I'm a competent person and see many jobs that I could be really great at.  Unfortunately, I don't have much on paper that would let other people see that, too.  And I'm not willing to work during summer and other school breaks unless I need to.  Just my own choice...just the way we have chosen to set up our family.  And I really didn't know how long we would make this choice.  I knew for sure I would be home full time during the preschool years.  And then I would decide once they were all in school.  Well, then we decided to home school a couple years.  And the years have rolled into one another and now here I am.  And what I'm finding is that my kids need me as much now as they did in the preschool years.  Differently, of course, but just as much.  And I don't want to miss these years; they are going by too quickly as it is.

(This is NOT any kind of discussion about stay-at-home versus working moms!  Many of my friends work to some degree and are doing a smashing job at both!  This way has just been what Brad and I have chosen.  To each her own...I wish we as women could take that approach more and stop all the judgment and comparisons.  Do what you need to do, do it well, and just be thankful there are all kinds.  It would be a painfully robotic world if we were all the same.)

Anyway, as I went around and around with my choices, I felt like there were very few options that would allow me to work and be home when my kids were home.  The one I pursued was working at the schools.  SO!  After an application process that at times left me feeling very pathetic in what I could offer, and at times feeling very humbled by the encouragement I received, I am now substituting as a para-educator in a few of the local schools.

Two days after my application was finalized, the cooperative closed to all sub applications due to an exceptionally large sub pool.  The great news of that is that I got my foot in the door, the bad news is the pool is so large.  So I may get fewer calls than I would like.  But that's okay.  It's a start!  I've worked now in 3 different schools, and have made some fabulous new friends.

One day was spent in a special-ed preschool.  I wasn't sure how I would enjoy that, but I loved every minute of that day.  Well, maybe not the minute I had to walk a little guy over to the sink to get rid of the prize he'd just pulled from his nose.  But all the other minutes I loved.

My new friends included a little Down's Syndrome guy that stole my heart with his beautiful little grins.  Completely non-verbal, but said so much.  Such simple happiness in "playing" tetherball in the sunshine.  It warmed my heart.

And then there was the autistic girl who by the middle of the day had climbed onto my lap, wrapped her arm around my neck and snapped at me like a turtle (her unique expression of affection).

That was a very fulfilling day.  And it reminded me of what a "good" day really is.  I had so many thoughts during that day.  Thoughts about how those little people were just as "fearfully and wonderfully made" as my own.  Thoughts about how Joy is really so simple.  Yet we can make it so complicated.  And thoughts about how thankful I was for the relative simplicity of parenting my kids.  The challenges are so minor in comparison to the road some walk.  Not insignificant, but certainly more minor when you use that big picture scale. 

There is another special-needs girl that I probably will be working with one-on-one at some point in this school year.  I am so drawn to her, and I can't even explain why.  But I do know that we had a glimpse of the possibility of raising a special-needs child after Beth's accident.  I would have done it with great joy if that's the road our life took.  There are certain children I see, especially when they are near Beth's age, and the thought rolls through: "That could be my child."  Maybe that's why I have a special tenderness for them.  Maybe it's just always been there.  I don't know.  But I am so blessed to have these little run-ins with these sweet little friends.

On another day, while working in a kindergarten class with a very spunky little girl that would have preferred to be doing anything but working on story problems, I knelt down by that tiny table to help her draw her story problem pictures.  She was rather annoyed at having the accountability to actually do her work rather than "paint" her fingernails with her magic marker.  (Purple, for the record.)  She rolled her eyes in a very unlovable way,  but then she whipped her head around with wide eyes:  "You smell just like my mommy!!  I like you!!"  So I guess I can add her to my list of new friends, too.  Pretty stinkin' sweet, that little stinker.

So there is a very lengthy update of my new friends.  I look forward to making lots more!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday Menu ~ Taco Sandwich

As promised, here I go!  This sandwich was a huge hit last night.  It's a bit messy to eat, but everyone loved it...

Taco Sandwich

1 loaf (1 lb.) unsliced French bread
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup salsa (I used the fresh Trader Joes salsa...yummy!)
1 pound ground beef (or ground chicken or ground turkey breast or whatever)
2 TBSP taco seasoning
1 cup-ish shredded lettuce
1 large tomato, sliced
6 slices cheese (American, cheddar, pepper jack...whatever you like)

Cut bread in half lengthwise; hollow out top and bottom of loaf, leaving a half-inch shell.  You can discard the removed bread or feed it to your growing boy or eat it yourself or feed it to the birds or use it for something else.

Beat together softened cream cheese and salsa.  Spread evenly on top and bottom of bread shell.

In a large skillet, brown meat until no longer pink, drain.  Stir in taco seasoning.

Layer lettuce and tomato in bottom of bread shell.

Top with meat and then cheese. 

Replace top, then slice and serve.

Enjoy!  (It's much yummier than it looks!)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Monday Menu returns!!

I have been feeling myself falling into a rut.  A dinner rut.  A "what should I make for dinner" rut.  I know we've all been there, because I've compared notes with so many who share the same rut.  It's often not the cooking I mind, it's the coming-up-with-what-to-cook that can drive me into that rut.  I'm sure you've heard the expression "Life is so daily.", and it is so true.  That's a fabulous thing, but can also speak to the daily repetitions that we all face.

From the time my kids were old enough to consume table food, the motto has been "you get what you get and you don't have a fit."  I've also taught them that our dining room is not a restaurant, and I am not a short order cook.  I've heard somewhere that it takes a person's palate something like 7 times trying a new food before it's accepted.  So my approach has always been to keep putting things in front of them, expecting them to taste it with a happy heart.  If they grumble about it, I give them an extra scoop and then they are expected to finish it.  If they taste it happily and sincerely don't like it, then that's fine.  But I don't fix you something special.

So, as part of all that, my responsibility is to then fix them a variety of things and try to keep it interesting.  I never fix something that I know everyone despises and then expect them to eat it.  I treat them with respect and expect the same in return.  I don't think it's a fluke that my kids are healthy eaters.

Now, throw into that mix trying to balance the likes/dislikes of five people, being sensitive to one's sensitive system, and keeping things from being boring... planning meals can get old very fast!  So I've been going through my old recipe files looking for old things to be new again.  And I've found some good ones.  So to add in some accountability for me, I'm going to be resurrecting my Monday Menu!  Aren't you so thrilled??

I just finished making an oldie but goodie that I will share tomorrow.  So old that my kids don't remember having it before.  Perfect.

I'm also refiguring a couple recipes to make them freezer friendly so that the days I work (oh, yes...I'm working now!) I can just grab something from the freezer when I need it. 

I'm very close to going off into a looooong tangent to explain the working part...resist.  Resist.

See ya tomorrow!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Bojo Mojo's, Anyone?

My two girls make life so much fun!  I love their creative minds and the unique ways they can find to have fun. 

One recent afternoon, they had been giggling together for quite awhile, hidden out in one of their bedrooms.  When I walked up to the bedroom door to check in with them, I found this sign taped to the door:

It just made me laugh.  Especially the "Come large, leave skinny" tag line.  And apparently they have other plans during the lunch rush, because they are only planning on serving breakfast and dinner.  And I hope you like pizza for breakfast.  Cuz apparently that's the special!

On a totally different and equally random note, Beth has been saving her money for awhile, combining both birthday and Christmas gifts.  It's all she can do to save money for very long.  She had been thinking long and hard about what she wanted to buy, and decided she "needed" a cover for her plush body pillow.  Preferably in an animal print.  Then we were walking through Target, and a light from heaven sent a focused beam right onto a bedding set.  We had her wait a few days to be sure it was really what she wanted, and her desire did not waiver one bit.  So she is the proud owner of a very Beth-ish bedding set.  Fortunately the one she loved matched her room (for the most part) so I'm out of painting duty.  And the same day, we found this fabulously furry giraffe-print body pillow cover.  The ultimate, I tell you.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

More Music and Love Than My Heart Can Hold

Well, the last few days in the Carlson world can be summed up with two words:  music and love.  Okay, three words if you count the "and".

Alex left early Friday morning for Yakima.  He sent me a text at 10:00 in the morning saying that they were at Taco Bell having lunch.  Taco Bell at 10:00 in the morning?  Be still, my stomach acid.  Ah, youth.

Knowing that our Valentine's Day was going to be a busy day, I decided to surprise Brad on Friday night with an early Valentine date.  I got rid of provided an opportunity for the girls, sending them to spend the night with grandparents.  When Brad came home from work, there were no kids to be seen or heard!  We went to see the movie "Valentine's Day", and had a great time.  The movie was okay, not great.  I do believe we were the oldest people at that movie.  And a baby jabbered the whole time, complete with the mother saying "Ssshhhhhh...." over and over to the baby.  Yeah, that helps a lot.  Add to that a huge group of young teens that squealed every time some young actor was on the screen, and we felt a bit out of place.  But, we still had ourselves some fabulous popcorn mixed with peanut M&M's and had a great time just being together.  Yada-yada-yada.  And yada.

Jumping ahead to Valentine's Day, we traveled over to Yakima and then on a little further to meet my new little niece.  Doggone it if she is not her mother all over again!  It was a huge flashback for me, and I loved every second of holding her.

I shared her only very briefly with Brenna.  I couldn't help myself.

These two were not still long enough to grab any great pictures, but we had so much fun being entertained by them:

Connor lovin' on Brenna.

Hunter cautiously lovin' on Beth.

We then went back to Yakima to our hotel, and Alex came to our room for a bit to watch the Olympics.  It was so good to see that tired boy.  As I reached for the remote control he said, "Wait, Mom...don't use that!"  I asked why, and he informed me that if you used the remote control your room would be charged $15.00.  Huh?!  He quickly pointed out this sign that was posted beside the t.v. as proof.

I asked if they were at all concerned that he might be charged $100.00 for using the comforter on the bed, too.  Then I had to explain that it was if you took that remote control home, not if you used it.  A room of four teenage boys, one who misread the sign, and not one of the other three thought that was a bit odd.  For the entire time they had been there, they had been manually turning channels on the t.v. for fear of that $15 charge!  At least they were conscientious, and at least I know my big boy is not done needing his mom.

These kids missed being together, too.  Although not overly expressive about it, I think the fact that they all ended up here made it a bit obvious:

After I took these, Brenna took the camera to get one of me and Brad.  That "one" turned into many, many pictures.  The girls took turns, and they would hold the camera still for a sweet forever before they took the picture. 

We were laughing so much at the agony of holding the pose long enough for that little finger to finally push the button. 

But at least I got a long kiss out of the deal!

So Monday morning, yada-yada-yada we missed the hotel breakfast, leaving us to have a very cultural experience at the local I-HOP.  The girls were thrilled with their Rooty Tooty Fresh N Fruity Junior.  Or whatever.  Just saying it made them happy.  I'm glad we left with very full bellies, because then it was off to the concert.

Alex did a great job, of course.  Not that I could hear just him.  But I'm sure he did a great job.  It was a looooong concert.  Three hours.  It was some great music.  Lots and lots of great music.  Except for that poor French Horn accompanying the choir...but that's another story.

Alex really loved this conductor, Dr. Gerald King from the University of Victoria.  He loved playing for him and learned a lot.  And he loves that guys hair...says it's the perfect "conductor's hair".

Traveling home last night was a fun time.  Alex was so exhausted it was hard to get the stories out, but he did have some great ones to share.  We grabbed some burgers to eat while we drove.  The kids watched "Elf", laughing at all the same spots we've laughed at countless times.  That's the fun way to travel.

So it was a great weekend.  We were all exhausted when we got home last night, Alex especially.  It was tough to get up for school this morning, and we are thankful for a 4-day week!

No bassoon for a few days.  The mouth needs a rest.  The fingers need a rest.  The brain needs a rest.  He certainly has earned a break!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

To My Valentine

Happy Valentine's Day to my valentine!  This is our 22nd Valentine's Day together, and it gets sweeter every year. 

I love how you love me, Brad...and I love to love you.  You sure know how to make a girl feel loved.  And cared for.  And protected.  Thanks for the love, and thanks for being my valentine!

And Happy Valentine's to my other sweeties, who have given so much love over the years:

All this, because we fell in love...and stayed there.

Friday, February 12, 2010

I Couldn't Be More Proud...

This son of mine can sure make a mama proud.  The reasons could fill up multiple posts, for they are numerous.  He's a great brother to two sisters who love him very much - most days.  Because just "getting it" academically comes very easily to him, he's had to learn how to work hard in school as he continues to be more challenged.  He's done that beautifully, ending this semester with 5 "A"s and 1 "A-".  He's very goal focused in regards to his future.  He has a very teachable heart.  He's a very talented musician.  He loves the Lord.  He has a great sense of humor.  He's very kind.  He is a gentleman to his mom and sisters.  I could go on and on and on.

But last night he did something that just made my cup runneth over.  As I made my way slowly down I-5, he called and asked if he could make a batch of cookies to take with him on his big trip today.  I had intended to make them, cuz that's sort of what I do.  But he really wanted to, and since I knew they would be inhaled by a busload of teenagers before the bus even crossed the county line, I figured he may as well knock himself out and give it a try.

I came home to find this:

And can I just say that these cookies are spectacular?  He has it.  Whatever the it is that allows one to produce these glorious little rounds of wonder, it is in him.  And I couldn't be more proud of him.  I think his future is very bright.  I think my future just got a bit brighter too!  I can hear it now...the hum of the Kitchen Aid mixer in the kitchen, the gentle melody from the timer announcing the wonders are ready to behold, followed by the words, "Mom, I made you some cookies..."  How much can this heart of mine hold????  I love him.

On another note:  he has officially departed for his All-State experience in Yakima.  Here is the luggage he's hauling over there. 

Any guesses on which of these three things weighs the most??  The backpack.  Not even close.  And the contents of the backpack?  Food.  Just food.  And meals are provided.  This is just "extra".

I have to end on this picture.  Please note the careful arrangement of the cookies on the cooling rack.  Two rows of 5, two rows of 4, two rows of 3, (one cut off in the picture.).  Is this a glimpse of his methodical mind, or what?!  Like I said, I love him.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Valentine's Dessert Idea #2

Tonight we had a scrumptious dessert to celebrate Valentine's Day with the kids.  Because Alex leaves early Friday morning, we won't all be together for Valentine's Day.  I like to make something special for them...we usually have heart-shaped pizza and a heart-shaped cake of some kind.  This year I thought I'd try a new dessert...and I'm so glad I did.  This will be a much-requested special occasion dessert.  I heard rave reviews from of Beth's made me smile:  "This is so yummy that it's the kind of taste you remember in your mouth no matter what else is going on around you."  What more could I possibly add to that?!

This takes just a few minutes to put together, and bakes only 7 minutes...couldn't be easier!

***Alternate names, in honor of Valentine's Day:

"You make my heart melt chocolate cake"
"Oozing love chocolate cake"
Or whatever.

Hot Fudge Lava Cakes

1 cup butter (please don't use margarine)
1 1/3 cups chocolate chips
4 egg yolks
5 whole eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
6 disposable foil tart pans (I think they are about 1 x 4 inches)

Place disposable pans on a rimmed baking sheet.  Spray each pan well with non-stick cooking spray.  Preheat oven to 500 degrees.  Yes, 500 degrees.

Place butter and chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave for 1 minute, then stir until mixture is smooth.  Microwave in 15 second intervals if needs more melting, stirring after each 15 seconds.  Let cool if it's too hot...warm is okay, but not hot enough that it will cook the eggs.

Whisk egg yolks and add to chocolate mixture with a wire whisk.  Add in whole eggs and whisk again.  Add sugar, mixing well.  Add flour, whisk until smooth.

Divide batter evenly among pans.

Bake for exactly 7 minutes, without opening the oven door.  Remove from oven and place on cooling rack.  Let cool for 2 minutes.

Turn each pan upside down onto a dessert plate or bowl, and push on the bottom to pop the cake out.

Use 2 forks to gently pull apart the tops and expose the chocolate sauce in the center.  Oh, the yum that will ooze out and greet you!

Place a scoop of vanilla ice cream right in the center and serve immediately.

*These will not be the same if they aren't served immediately.  You can reheat them, and they are still yummy, but the center will be more pudding-like and less hot fudge-like.  Just pop it in the microwave (whole) for 30 seconds, then pull the center open to serve.

Be Still My Heart...

...well, not still, because that just wouldn't be compatible with life, which I've grown quite fond of.  But be calm, heart.  Slow thyself.

Now and again I hop over to visit Trophy Cupcakes with my eyes.  Just to see.  And drool.

Today I saw they have a new flavor available on Tuesdays.  Samoas!!!  You know, like the Girl Scout cookie also known as Caramel Delight?  Also known to me as a child as a cookie called a Yum-Yum.  Literally, my mouth waters at the mere mention of this cookie.  And my doggone stomach rolls over and growls.  Even when it's not hungry.

Just listen to the description of this cupcake:

"Valrhona chocolate cupcake filled with caramel creme then topped with coconut buttercream, toasted coconut and a drizzle of house-made caramel."

I mean, really.  I'm already wondering when I could find my way to Seattle on a Tuesday to get myself one.  Or six.  Or, heck, I think it's a better deal when you buy twelve.

That's it.  Just had to share the love.  I'll be posting another Valentine recipe tonight.  It won't be the Samoa cupcake, though it should be good...

Monday, February 8, 2010

Valentine's Dessert Idea #1

I thought it would be fun to post a couple or few ideas for fun Valentine desserts.  How many will just depend on how this week goes.

(Before I start, I just noticed that this is my 200th post!  WOW!)

So, my first suggestion is my most beloved chocolate chip cookies, made into these lovely hearts!  You can use any chocolate chip cookie recipe you like, I used the Tollhouse recipe, but I used about 1/2 the white sugar that the recipe calls for.  (I know, don't judge me for that.)

Spread the dough into a 10x15 inch pan and bake for about 20-22 minutes.  Let cool, then cut into heart shapes.

I used a 3-inch heart cookie cutter, which gave me 12 hearts.  (And then you have all those yummy scraps to do "something" quality control tasting.)

I wrapped mine up and put them in the freezer.  (Thaw cookies before adding any decorations.)  To add a little something snazzy, you can drizzled them with melted chocolate and sprinkle with red sprinkles.

You could also do red frosting, white frosting with red sprinkles....or whatever.  Just a fun way to give a little extra lovin' in the form of the most beautiful of all culinary creations:  the chocolate chip cookie.

isn't she pretty?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Day of Champions!

What a great day in this family!  It was a day of champions, for sure.  You would think we started our day eating Wheaties or something...

Brad had a master's meet today.  First time since college that he has started off blocks, and he admitted to some nerves about that!  But he did great, considering his rib injury kept him from training the last couple months.  It was fun to see him racing again...took me right back to the college days when I would sit in the bleachers doing my homework while he swam lap after lap after lap.  With a boyfriend that spent a minimum of 4 hours a day in the pool, if I wanted to see him I had to see him at the pool!  Good memories of that time.

starting off the block



A very exciting part of this meet was getting to see an Olympic gold-medalist swimming!  Megan Jendrick was a treat to watch...she makes it all look so easy, and she is just so smooth and fast.  (The "smooth and fast" makes it sound like I know what I'm talking about, but I just stole this information from Brad, who knows what he's talking about.)  But she was really amazing.  And standing on the pool deck at the end of her lane taking pictures made me feel even closer to a real paparazzi girl.  I can officially say I photographed an Olympic athlete!

here's Megan, showing 'em how it's done!

Brad took Beth over to introduce her~great inspiration!

Next on our day's agenda was Alex's bassoon regional solo...competition of sorts.  He's been working so hard for this.  Stop reading right here if you are sickened by parental bragging, cuz I'm gonna brag on this boy!  And it's my here it goes:

This is the punchline to the wordiness to follow.

He was a very nervous kid for this, playing solo is an uncomfortable beast for most people.  Then we got to the room and found out that there was only one other bassoon entry, a senior from Alex's school.  Alex is seated above him in the community orchestra they both play in, so he knew he had the ability to outplay him to qualify for state.  Well, as it turns out, this kid has been sick all week and was too sick to play today.  So Alex was the only bassoon entry!  He didn't play his best, but he played very well.  When he was done with his solo, the adjudicator said, "Did you say you were a freshman?"  Alex said he was.  She said, "Well, let me start by saying that you play with the skill of someone 20 years older than you are.  I am really, really impressed."  Yeah.  We are too.  I don't know about the 20-year thing, because Alex is the only bassoonist we know.  She had some limited comments, and then we went down to await his scores.  He did score a "one", which was not a huge surprise.  So then we had to hang out to see if he earned an All-State entry.  It wasn't a given.  There were other instrunments that did not advance anyone to All-State, even though "ones" were awarded.  But, his teacher suggested we call and book our hotel room as we were leaving the room.  He said to me, "You know, sometimes I get the impression that you and Brad don't fully understand what you have in this kid."  (Meaning music ability.)  Well, no, not really.  But I think we are starting to understand.

Talking with friends while awaiting the results.  This is the face of relief.

Right after receiving the good news!

So, this coming weekend he travels to Yakima to play with the All-State band.  Then in April we will head over to Ellensburg for him to play his solo in that competition.  What a great experience for him! 

Alex, we are so proud of you!  We see all the behind-the-scenes work you put into preparing yourself.  You have worked with great integrity and diligence to develop this gift.  It is so much fun to sit on the sidelines watching this unfold in front of you.  We are your biggest fans, Alex...we love you.  I pray you always use this gift to glorify the One who gave it to you.

Friday, February 5, 2010

A Double Dozen Plus One Thing About Me!

So I was tagged by the lovely Amanda to write 25 things about me.  Goodness knows this may be hard, and I can't imagine much will be new.  Or interesting.  But I'll give it a go!

1.  I had my name legally changed (middle name now my first name) when I was 27.
2.  When I was 8 months pregnant, I had an ultrasound and was told our 1st baby was a girl.  Good thing we had a back-up boy's name ready!
3.  I love Mr. Bubble bubble baths.  "It makes getting clean almost as much fun as getting dirty."
4.  I can almost always say no to ice cream.
5.  Chocolate Chip Cookies are probably my favorite food.  Yes, I think they are.
6.   I love fuzzy, cozy blankets.
7.  Watching someone else brush their teeth makes me gag.  Literally.
8.  I love the rain.  And I love the sound of cars whooshing through the rain.
9.  I love to hold a batch of laundry right out of the dryer when it's all hot.  Especially towels. 
10.  I have never had a pedicure.  I can't imagine I'd enjoy someone else touching my feet.
11.  I got my first ever speeding ticket when I was 37.  Hopefully one and done.
12.  I once drank an entire bottle of Martinelli's Sparkling Cider during my lunch break.  I spent the rest of the afternoon darting back and forth from a patient to the bathroom.
13.  I love to read cookbooks.
14.  I love to bake.
15.  I cannot walk barefoot in a hotel room.
16.  I spent a day at an urgent care clinic in Hawaii after being stung by a man-o-war jellyfish.  I thought I was dying.
17.  I love to ride my bike in the fall, rolling my tires over the crunchy leaves.
18.  I had to learn to love drinking water.
19.  I am terrible, terrible, terrible at Super Mario Bros.  Just terrible.
20.  Being in a bookstore makes me pass gas.  Every single time.  And in Hallmark, too.
21.  I am an extremely light sleeper.  And I sleep with a snorer.  So I'm often sleep-deprived.
22.  My favorite number is 3.  Shoot, I should have done that for #3.
23.  I met Brad at a log-cutting station when we were counselors at Cispus.
24.  My favorite Bible verse is Zephaniah 3:17.  A hidden gem, that one.
25.  I am happiest when I've made someone's day a little easier or a little happier.


Now am I suppose to tag someone?  Well, I tag anyone who wants to do this!

And, because Amanda feels very strongly about blog posts needing pictures, I'll leave you with this sweet little flashback:

does it get much sweeter than a baby sleeping?