Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Spring Violin Recital

This one is for the grandparents. :)

Sam and Sterling had their annual spring violin recital last week. This was Sam's last violin recital and he and Sterling played so well together! They played Concerto Grosso Op 3. No. 11 in D minor by Vivaldi. It's super long because there are three movements, but it's so beautiful! Savannah was the accompanist for them as well as for some of the other students. She's pretty amazing on the piano!

Sterling also played a solo piece, Concerto No. 1 in A Minor by J. B. Accolay. Wow! He did such a great job! I love listening to my violin playing boys.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Mother's Day

I am so far behind on things I want to include on my blog. We're all in survival mode as we try to fit in all the craziness the end of every school year brings! Friday is the last day of school (hooray!!) so we're almost there.

I was cleaning some things out of my room the other day and found this sweet little note Soren wrote me for Mother's Day. Both he and Sadie filled a little jar with things they love about me. They were both very sweet in the things they said, but this one made me chuckle. It is so Soren!

Mom, I love you because you help us calm down when we hate something. -Soren

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Another Graduation

Sam isn't the only one graduating these days. My youngest brother, Jeffrey, graduated from his grueling fire fighter academy this weekend. He'll be starting work at a fire station in Las Vegas on Wednesday.

This picture of Jeffrey in his uniform with his new baby boy, Hank, is a heart melter. So sweet!

Congratulations, Jeffrey! Be safe.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Best Allergy Season Ever

I always dread a 3+ week period from about mid-April through the first week or so of May. My allergies are always in full swing and there's a good week in there when I want to scratch my eyeballs out. Every year I treat my symptoms with one thing or another, but I either end up not getting enough relief or else alleviating my symptoms but falling asleep every time I stop moving. I walk around in a fog and never stray too far from the Kleenex box. This year I tried something different.

Nasacort was on sale in early April. Not having used nasal spray before, I decided I had nothing to lose. Because my allergies hadn't hit yet, I started using it the next day in hopes of staying ahead of the game. I've used it every day since. It's the first thing I do when my alarm goes off in the morning then I hit snooze and go back to sleep for another 10-20 minutes.

Now you may remember that we just had the worst winter in 30 years. It lasted forever. When my allergies never hit, I just assumed that it was because everything got a late start and my allergies would hit eventually. But then I was talking to my mother-in-law one day and mentioned that little theory. She told me that in reality everything was blooming all at the same time so allergies were much worse this year than usual. Not for me! I had no symptoms. 

Even when it's not the thick of allergy season for me, I sneeze several times every morning when I wake up. I don't even do that anymore. I have never been this allergy-free. Ever. 

I still had some trouble with my itchy eyes during one week, so I used a 12-hour eyedrop with the active ingredient of Ketoifen Fumarate right when I woke up in the morning, before they had a chance to get irritated. Problem solved. I used Thera Tears brand this year, because it was the least expensive, but there are several brands with this active ingredient and any of them will work. 

I realize this reads like an endorsement of these products. I have never been paid or otherwise rewarded for promoting anything on this blog and this is no exception. I am just posting this here because allergies make me a little bit grumpy so, naturally, not having allergies makes me pretty happy! And I want to remember what worked so I can do it again next year. :)

Thursday, May 22, 2014


I have a lot of catching up to do, but until then, I wanted to share this awesome quote I stumbled upon. So good. So true.

"Your life is the outcome of the
choices you make.
Put the  power of choice
to work for you."

Bruce A. Carlson

Friday, May 16, 2014

My First Graduate

Sam is officially a High School Graduate!!! He has had a great Senior year and is very much liked and respected by his classmates and teachers. He was even singled out in one of the graduation speeches -- something about how "Sam Stowell has made kindness into a hobby." Way to go, Sam! We're so proud of you and glad that you have blazed such a promising trail for your brothers and sisters.

(Next year, when it's Savannah's turn to graduate, we'll be smart and take one big family picture...)

In this photo I can totally see why everyone says Sam is a mini Jeff!
One down, five to go. (No hurry!)

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Beautiful Bouquet

One perk of having kids in the school musical that I particularly enjoy is the flowers they bring home. Okay, so maybe I gave them some of the flowers to begin with, but still. We've been putting all their flowers together each night and have the most beautiful bouquet gracing our dinner table. It makes me happy every time I walk in the room!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Pretty Little Bird

We have some large picture windows on our home and occasionally a bird will fly right into one of them without realizing there's glass there. Savannah and I were talking in the kitchen when we heard the unmistakable thunk of a bird hitting the window. It sounded like a pretty hard hit and I wondered out loud if I'd be finding a dead bird on my porch.

When Savannah and I went out to the porch, we found this pretty little common yellowthroat (male) on the bench beneath the window, alive but hurt. There was a cool breeze so I grabbed a towel to shield him from the wind. He made no attempt to fly so, thinking he might be here a while, I gave him some thistle seed and water. He appeared pretty calm and didn't even flinch when I stroked his back several times.

Despite my visions of nursing our new little friend back to health, Mr. Yellowthroat must have recovered from his collision because he was gone when I returned a few minutes later to check on him.

I'm so glad he found his wings.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

South Pacific Photos

South Pacific is over. I had mixed feelings as the curtains were drawn for the last time tonight. While none of us will miss the weeks of long rehearsals, I wish they could have done just a few more performances. Oh, it was so, so good!

Jeff's parents drove all the way from Idaho to see the play. It was a treat to have them here!

Sam was Emile de Becque; Spencer was "the Professor" (one of the sailors); Savannah was Ensign Janet MacGregor. They all did a great job, as did the rest of the cast. Here are a few photos: (The following photos were taken by Scott Brooks.)

Our high school has a reputation for outstanding musicals and expectations are high. With a new director and an entirely different method to making this production happen, we were all a little curious to see how everything would work out. As it turns out, we had nothing to worry about. 


Friday, May 2, 2014

For Display Only

We eat a lot of apples around here. The kids may roll their eyes when I suggest an apple as a solution to their hunger pangs, but if I slice up an apple or two, those slices disappear without complaint.

Sadie was given an apple at school. She was pretty happy about it, maybe because it is a different variety than what I usually buy. She was excited to show her siblings so she set it on the counter when she got home. I gave her a friendly warning that apples are fair game at our house so if she was going to leave it there, she couldn't complain if someone ate it without asking. I suggested she put a little note by it if she wanted to save it.

This is what I found when I returned to the kitchen a little later...

Display. Do not eat.
I sure love my crazy little Sadie bug.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

South Pacific

It's that time of year again. Our high school's spring musical is in full swing. We attended opening night last night and can't wait to see it again with Jeff's parents on closing night. It was so, so good! Okay, so maybe I'm a little biased...after all, I have three kids in the show! But I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who was wowed by the quality of the performances, the backdrop, costumes, and music. So good!!

This year I was on the t-shirt committee. I ended up designing and ordering the shirts. Here's a picture of an already worn and quite wrinkly one that I found wadded up in one of the kids' bedrooms this morning. You get the idea. :)

Good times!