Friday, March 30, 2012

So Happy Together - The Piano Guys

I love it when I open my inbox and find a new YouTube video from The Piano Guys!  That just happened and it's a riot. Enjoy!

Here's the funny fine print found on their YouTube page:

Many people ask why Steve is SO HAPPY when he plays the cello. We followed him around with our cameras on his day off. We think we now understand why... :) 

**NO INSTRUMENTS WERE HARMED IN THE MAKING OF THIS VIDEO** -- we used a "stunt" cello for these scenes just in case -- and we were really careful out of respect for the instrument. After all the filming, "Jackie" (named after Jackie Chan since he does all his own stunts) only had one minor scratch inflicted by a shopping cart... (this proves the saying that statistically there are more shopping cart accidents than sky diving accidents)

Story behind the song:
This music video was one of our very first ideas as ThePianoGuys. It originated when we were filming "The Cello Song" ( -- the first project that Steven Sharp Nelson, Al van der Beek, Tel Stewart, and Paul Anderson did together (which is also the first time they all MET!) As we were finishing the all-night film session, we starting talking about the many "uses" of the cello and before we knew it we were laughing about how funny it would be to make a movie about "cello bonding" -- spending quality time with the cello. We didn't feel like we could ever get away with making this video, but we just couldn't help ourselves :) For a while Al and Steve tried to write an arrangement of two Bob Marley tunes for the background of the video. It wasn't flowing, so the project was abandoned for several months. Since the making of "Cello Wars" ( we haven't really had the opportunity to throw "funny" at our audience. And to be honest, we've missed it. We all love to laugh -- especially at ourselves. :) It keeps the pressure of producing videos every other week we revisited this concept, but this time with a new tune -- the Turtles "So Happy Together." It fit perfectly. We ended up with a lot more scenes than we could use—some of which we were sad we couldn't fit it. Maybe we'll make an "extended version" one day...

"This video is dedicated to all of my music teachers that taught me to have FUN with music -- to let it live and breathe rather than insist it be dead and dissected. As for my other music teachers that didn't teach me to have fun...I'll try to make a video for you some other time." :) --Steven Sharp Nelson

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Eternally Eight

My baby brother, Jeffrey, was born the summer after I graduated from high school. He was 5 when I got home from my mission. I moved 1700 miles away with my husband and new baby when Jeffrey was only 8. And so, naturally, that is where he is frozen in time.

In my mind, Jeffrey will be eight years old forever.

So how is it possible that he is getting married? If he is really as old as he says he is, that means I'm a whole lot older than I'd like to admit. Because I wasn't around to see Jeffrey grow up, it's hard to believe that he did. (Someone is going to comment that he never grew up. Rob? Anyone?)

But he graduated from Paramedic school, bought himself a house, and works for an ambulance company. Oh, and he fell in love. With Katie. And they are getting married. That doesn't sound like something an eight year old would do.

Congratulations Jeffrey and Katie! We're so happy for you two. :)

Here's to happily ever after!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Decade Day

This week has been Spirit Week at the elementary school. To finish things off, Soren and Sadie got to dress up like their favorite decade on Friday. Soren was a pretty basic 50's dude and Sadie donned the leggings, leg warmers, bright colors, side ponytail, big bangs and blue eye shadow for a flashback to my 80's days. Oh yeah!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

If You Build It, He Will Come

For Sam's Eagle Scout project, we spent the better part of a morning during spring break building 10 bat boxes for a nearby Nature Center. Jeff and Sam had already spent several hours obtaining supplies, building a prototype so they knew what they were doing, and mapping out exactly what needed to be done to make the best use of our volunteers. It was a beautiful day. With glazed donuts to start out and plenty of pizza for lunch, our eager crew made light work of the task.

You can see the pictures of the whole process below, but first I have a funny story that will explain the title of this post.

It was late Saturday night, just a few days after the bat boxes has been dropped off at the Nature Center.  Just after Jeff and I shut off the lights for the night and climbed into bed, our bedroom door jiggled a bit as if someone was going to open it and walk in our room. No one did. It happened again. Still the door didn't open and I knew all the kids were in their beds. Each time it happened, my heart jumped into my stomach. I said to Jeff, "Why does it keep making that noise?" He got up to check, looked into the dark living room and said, "It looks like there's a bug or something flying around." I couldn't picture a bug big enough to cause our door to wiggle like that and immediately I thought, "What if it's a bat?" Jeff leaned out and looked again. Sure enough, he said, "There's a bat in our house!"

Now what? We've lived here for almost 12 years and we've never had a bat in our house. All I could think was, "Where's a bat box when you need one?!" and of course, "If you build it, he will come." :)

By the time Jeff got dressed and went to figure out how to capture the bat, it had secured itself to the screen in our kitchen window and was hanging upside down like bats do. I took a few pictures but with the poor lighting and my distance from the bat, my flash just wasn't enough to be able to see anything. Rats. It was pretty cool. The bat was about 4" head to toe with his wings folded in.

After a quick Google search on how to get a bat out of the house, Jeff placed a 5 gallon bucket over the bat and we slid some poster paper under it as a makeshift lid and Jeff carried it outside to freedom.  When I was telling the kids about it the next morning, they wished they would have been up for the adventure! (Somehow I think they might have felt differently if they actually had been up...)

Pretty ironic, eh? Okay, pictures of the Eagle project below.  Enjoy! :)

Here are all the pieces for one box waiting to be assembled:
This was my job - cutting grooves in the interior boards with a table saw. The grooves help the bats climb into the box.
 A look inside (looking in from the base):
The open end on this one will be covered with the top board which will be covered in roofing paper to help provide heat and weather protection:
Below is the installation of the hinged door on the bottom of the box. There is a 3/4" gap which allows the bats to enter and exit. Apparently this is the most critical measurement of the project:
Lots of happy helpers!
Several of the youth from church came to support Sam.
Almost done.
Once the roofing paper was attached, I couldn't resist cutting out a little bat sticker for each.
 And finally, Sam dropped them off at the Nature Center.
Apparently, we should have kept one for us... :)  

Crazy Hair

It's crazy hair day at the elementary school today! Soren and Sadie knew exactly what they wanted to do. I followed Soren's instructions and Sadie took matters into her own hands. CRAZY is right!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Perfect Spring

Happy first day of Spring! I can't remember ever having such beautiful weather at this time of year. We even planted part of our garden last night!  I know, it's CRAZY!! The extended forecast tells us we should be okay, but I only spent about $1 on seeds so even if we get a frost we're not out much. If everything actually grows, we'll get to harvest before vacation this summer instead of telling our friends to help themselves while we're gone!

The photo below was taken in my yard this morning. Perfect!

Monday, March 19, 2012


"Everything is blooming most recklessly..."  
-Rainer Maria Rilke

I've had that quote kicking around in my head all week as flowers have been bursting forth all over town and our yard is a lush carpet of green with splashes of color in every corner. My favorite time of year -- and I'll keep right on saying that until my allergies kick in...!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

World Premiere

Sterling, age 10, and Sam, age 15, played Sterling's composition, Opus No. 4, in front of a judge this afternoon at a Solo and Ensemble event at Millikin University in Decatur, IL. They did really well, earning a 1st Superior rating!

The judge mentioned to Sterling's teacher, Terry, that she really enjoyed their song. She was very surprised when Terry told her that Sterling wrote it!

It's a great song. I hope you enjoy it as well. (The boys are facing the judge in the video, which is why you can't see their handsome faces.)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Spring Break

I've been a stranger this week. It's just that we are enjoying Spring Break and trying to fit in as much as we can without the stress of school or work. (I love that Jeff's Spring Break is always the same week as the kids'!) The weather has been amazing - mid to high 70's everyday with blossoms starting to burst open on trees all over town. We've spent our share of time outside, completed one Eagle Project (more on that later), and had plenty of silliness as shown in the video below. It's been a great week and it's not over yet! Hooray!!!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Opus No. 4

Sterling has been busy this weekend! I finally bought a music notation program that will allow him to take his growing number of compositions and make them look professional. Sterling and Sam will be playing the piece shown below (written for two violins) in front of a judge next weekend. Sterling did a great job transferring the music from his handwritten copy to Personal Composer with all the dynamics and markings. It looks great!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Oh So Cute!

I was checking in on one of my favorite blogs yesterday and saw this:

Oh my goodness! Is that the cutest thing ever? She took her daughter's drawing and made it into a doll. As if that wasn't cute enough, it turns out her inspiration for this project was found here. Here are just a few of the projects that I am in love with from Child's Own Studio:

I think this guy is my favorite! Isn't he adorable?

by Spencer, age 3
This makes me want to dig through the drawings I've saved from when my kids were small. Spencer used to draw the cutest little abstract people.

 I certainly don't know much about sewing, but the beauty of these is they don't have to be perfect. If I ever get brave enough to try, I'll post the results! 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Indexing and the 1940 U.S. Census

I love indexing! I spend some time almost everyday indexing old documents. I'm pretty much a nerd when it comes to fonts and handwriting so this is right up my alley.

In less than one month, the 1940 U.S. Census will be made available to the public and they are busy getting volunteers ready to help index this massive project. Last summer I was working on the 1930 U.S. Census and I loved it! I'm really looking forward to this upcoming adventure. (I wonder if I'll come across any of my grandparents!)

Click here if you want to get in on the fun!

If you don't want to help index the project but are interested in finding your ancestors, check out this video from the National Archives. It shows what they've been doing for the past 3 years to get the project ready for the public and tells what information you need to locate specific individuals once it is released:

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Calm at the Center of the Storm

This is my current desktop wallpaper. I found it here. The colors with the storm and the way the trees frame the photo...Awesome! And the fact that Jeff and I were married in the Salt Lake temple makes me love it even more. :)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Dirty Windows

I love this latest video from the Mormon Messages YouTube channel. There are so many uplifting videos there and so much food for thought. (I think this one is still my all-time favorite!!)

Make it a great day!