Thursday, July 6, 2017

MOJO Marimba Band

AnnMarie was a proud member of Cottonwood Elementary's MOJO Marimba Band this past school year. The music teacher there, Mr. Doug Edwards, begins teaching students the marimba at an early age. As the students mature and develop their skills, he invites a certain amount of them to participate in the 4th grade MOJO marimba band which rehearses twice a week before school starts. The literal meaning of MOJO is magic spell. These kids were phenomenal -- and I don't use that word lightly! Mr. Edwards arranges and composes most of their music which is an inspiration in and of itself. He truly had an impact on our daughter, and we are so grateful for the opportunity she had to be a part of this group.

Performances included a Christmas Concert, The Leprechaun Dash (a 1-mile kid's run along the river side prior to St. Patrick's Day), the End-of-School-Year Carnival, a Community Mallet Festival, a tour performing at several elementary schools throughout the Spokane Valley, and a Final Concert.

We'd tease AnnMarie about "getting her marimba on" because she really knew how to rock it! The tour was especially rewarding to be able to go on as a family and see the looks on all the kids' faces when the band started playing! It was amazing -- and quite touching, actually. Way to go, Badgers! We were so happy to see AnnMarie shine through this experience.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Joy School 2016-2017

Last summer when we were trying to decide on the best pre-school option for Gabe, a friend contacted me about joining the Joy School group she was putting together for her son and a few other kids. I had heard about Joy School before through one of my favorite websites (Values Parenting), and I remember a childhood friend raving about how her mom did it when she was little, but I wasn't really sure what it was all about -- or if I'd even have the energy to host and teach some of the units with everything else I had going on in my life!

Lo and behold, it turned out to be a wonderful fit for me and Gabe! The units are based on the book, Teaching Your Children Joy. The whole idea is to give kids a social and emotional head start in life, as opposed to an academic one. I was able to teach the units "The Joy of the Body," "The Joy of Wonder," and "The Joy of Family." Each unit ended with a special gathering or field trip involving us moms.

It was so fun to see the boys feel completely safe being silly, experience the joy in serving others, and discover the possibilities of imagination. All-in-all, I loved how special Gabe felt every time he'd come home from Joy School, and I especially enjoyed overhearing him sing the songs he'd learned!

Earlier this spring when I was encouraging the kids to get ready for Carlie's softball game, I heard a few grumbles...and then Gabe started singing, "I cheer for sister, she cheers for me... Because we are a FAMILY!!" I went into the living room to see Gabe getting his shoes on so he could go and support his sister. It certainly taught him some important life lessons.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Gabe is 5

I need to take a moment and gush over Gabe for a minute. He turned 5 years old last week, and I can't seem to get over that little fact.

Honestly, I tend to worry about this one...because he worries so much (hmmm...I wonder where he gets that from), but he is such an articulate little boy, and I've really enjoyed learning from him this past year. I often marvel that I get to be his mom. He's doing better more all the time with sharing his toys and finding joy in helping. He has a hearty laugh that seems to get attention wherever we go.

AND the fact that his eyelashes are longer than any fake eyelash extensions I've ever seen -- naturally makes him a wonder, I say.

I love you, son.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

SplashDown Cove

Most of what I remember from last summer revolves around a St. Bernard dog, a neuroscience class I took on-line, and losing Gabe in McCall. It was a little stressful (ha!), but one of my favorite memories lies in mid-August when we went to SplashDown Cove here in town one evening after Jared got home from work. Carlie won a free family pass at a birthday party earlier that summer, so we had to take advantage. We happened to go at a time when very few people were there, so it turned out to be the perfect summer night in my book. Looking at these pictures gets me so excited for the upcoming months.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Stepping Into the Light

I’m so grateful to be blogging right now.  This winter has been such a blessing - as hard as it’s been some days to feel all cooped up inside away from the cold - I love the solitude it’s granted. I have a lot on my mind...thinking about adulthood and overall, this day in age that we live in.  I saw a quote on Facebook months ago that said something like, “I’m at that point in life where I don’t even care if people like me anymore.  If you like me, cool.  If you don’t, okay.”  I’ve thought about that quote almost every day since!  

Being a primary president, or the president of any auxiliary in the church — it’s not for the faint of heart, especially when you actually care quite a bit about what other people think.  I’m not saying I do or I don’t.  I care about what my Maker thinks of me and how I treat His children, but regardless, I’m not the person I once was.  The Book of Mormon has been teaching me that leaders in the Lord’s kingdom must be meek and lowly of heart, yet full of strength to carry out His will.  Captain Moroni remained faithful, righteous, and strong at a time when death, suffering, and hatred were everywhere.  

I want to be true and faithful, completely honest — letting nothing compromise who I am inside, regardless of what a person will think of me as the result.  I appreciate the opportunity to work on this every day as I strive to feed His little lambs through my calling.

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Monday, January 16, 2017

Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?

Last night I had a dream that really inspired me.  

The events of the dream are somewhat irrelevant, but the feeling I had upon awakening was powerful.  The house was quiet and light…the kind of light that comes from day number who-knows-what of a complete winter wonderland outside, snowflakes falling softly, but swiftly, no indication of stopping.  

I guess the overall feeling I felt was love, so much in fact that it was tangible; a love that empowered me to see and feel my burdens for what they were, almost like a release from the reflection I’ve been seeing of myself, a glimpse of my greatest, happiest self...perhaps through the eyes of one who saw me unabatedly clean, feeling separated from the torment of vulnerability.

In the quiet of my reflection before getting out of bed, the melody of one of my favorite songs came streaming into my mind -- “Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?”  I’d never thought of that song before in terms of challenges, but I will say that the question posed a remarkable viewpoint - that of creating a beautiful canvas from all the twists and turns of life.  Not feeling acted upon, or slighted in the least, yet empowered to paint with all the colors that came my way...for this life is but a transitory step forward on our journey home.