Where the inside of my mind leaks onto the screen.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Steppin' Out with my Baby

  With one brother gone to a zoo field trip, the other dropped off at school, and a wonderfully sunny morning, Dylan and I decided it was the perfect morning for some one-on-one time at the park.  Somehow we managed to find the park vacant, a rare occurrence since its completion last fall.

Now that he's walking, Dylan has this newfound sense of independence, and his own little opinions get stronger every day.  Sometimes that results in a bit of a tantrum, like when he wanted to turn right but I wanted him to turn left:

He's also bound and determined to be able to do everything the big boys can do:

Including slide down the slides, which sometimes works and sometimes doesn't (in the bark after sliding too quickly):

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Spirit of Easter

After I posted on Facebook about my new Easter dress, one friend commented that his wife had recently explained to him that wearing a new dress to church is the true meaning of Easter.  I am so grateful that even though my dress truly was adorable, {insert ego here} wearing it was not the highlight of my day.

Here are the moments worth remembering.

As part of our ward choir Easter program, I asked the children of the ward choir members to help us out with one song.  As nearly 20 primary aged children gathered together on the stage, I was struck with just how dedicated my ward choir is to leave these littles for an hour each week to dedicate their time and talents to bringing the spirit to our meetings.  And then they began to sing their little hearts out:

Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love,
The fellowship of kindred minds is like to to that above.

I'm not generally the outwardly emotional type, but as they started, I immediately choked up.  I mouthed their lyrics to them, unable to sing through the spirit I was feeling.

Thanks, kiddos, for bringing the Spirit to my holiday.

Over a breakfast of Apple Spice Pancakes brought by the Easter bunny, we discussed the atonement, Heavenly Father's plan, repentance, and the reasons we celebrate Easter.  When we got to primary and were led through an explanation of the 3rd Article of Faith, Alex kept chiming in with, "That's because it's Easter today," whenever they mentioned something like "atonement" or "so we can say sorry."  I was so proud to see that he'd understood and remembered what we talked about.

I know I've said it before, but with our lack of little girls around here, I always look forward to Easter suits and ties.  This year was no exception.  I was a little bugged, though, that the Easter Bunny brought suits the boys still need to grow into, so I spent time Sunday morning hemming the pants.

Alex suggested taking some "rock star" pictures with their new sunglasses, too, and I'm glad he did since those turned out to be some of my favorites.

I made the family head out to the front yard for some Easter clothes pictures, because my cute little redhead is impossible to photograph in indoor lighting.  As I was crouched down to take a picture of all the boys, a bee landed on my shoulder.  I have what Kirk calls in irrational fear of bees.  Rational or not, my fear is very real and nearly debilitating.  I froze, trying hard not to set a bad example for the kids, but I was terrified.

"What do I do?" I asked Kirk.

"Just shrug your shoulder," he suggested.

I willed my shoulder to shrug, but I could not make it happen.  "I can't!" I said.  "At least take a picture of how ridiculous I look," I said as I used the opposite arm to begin passing the camera.

Just then, another bee flew right by my head.  I lost it.  I jumped up and started running across my lawn, which would have been fine if I was not wearing adorable stilettos.  As my heels sunk into the grass with each step, I could feel myself losing my balance but could not right the situation.  I fell on my knees in the grass and started laughing.

But the damage was done.  Adam was terrified and began several minutes of crying/begging to go inside.  I did not get good pictures of the boys with their dad or with me, and we finally just called it.

{I do love this one of me and D, though...}

I finally coaxed Adam back outside to take a few pictures of Kirk and me.

"How many is a few?" he queried.

Normally a pretty good photographer, he cut off heads in most pictures and often did not wait until we were ready.  I did get two decent pictures, though, my favorite being the one where I'm smiling because, just before taking the picture, Adam said, "Pickle juice!"

On route from Fife grandparents to Casdorph grandparents, Adam explained to me all the reasons why this was the best Easter ever, one of which included getting to see all his grandparents.  We talked about how lucky his is to have so much family so close, and it was great to see him so grateful.

{Kids at the annual Easter hunt at and Fife's house.  Alex and Dylan were in the little kids group, but once Dylan found a sucker, he was happy to sit on the steps and eat.}
{Adam got moved up to the big kids division this year, and he was SO proud!}

I also enjoyed watching him read signs during the drive.  He read words like "exit" and "Carmax," which seemed right on level.  Then his face scrunched up with concentration, and he announced, "Toyota?  Mom, I skwear (someday maybe he'll learn how to pronounce 'swear') I've seen that word before!"  I'm betting he recognized the logo, but it was still pretty funny.

Dylan only says one word: "Uh oh."  After discovering he could squeeze the hardboiled eggs until they cracked, he labeled the eggs, "Uh oh."  He also spent the morning's egg hunt rearranging Adam's o.c.d. arrangement of eggs.  ("Mom I have an 'awesome' row, a 'hair' row, and a 'bald' row.")

To end the day, we spent time with my family including Michelle who came down to see my show and hang out for Easter.  We played one of our favorite word guessing games, Buzz Word.  Often, the inflection of the clue makes a big difference for the guessers, and when my mom read the clue, "comic alien chasing flick," my dad interpreted it as a funny alien chasing someone named Flick.  As we laughed about an alien chasing Flick from "A Bugs Life" and threw in a few Flicka jokes, I was grateful to have a family who loves spending time together.  And, by the way, the comic {pause} alien chasing {pause} flick was "Men in Black."

Oh, and if you've made it all this way, scroll back through all the pics and compare the squinty, smiley eyes of all my boys including Kirk.  Like father, like son{s}.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ginger Kids

A comment last week from a coach to a reporter has put the spotlight on red-heads, aka gingers.  "Has there ever been a red-headed quarterback in the NFL who’s really done well?" he reportedly asked.

Having produced my very own ginger, I found myself actually listening to the sports talk radio conversation about the subject.  While their discussion about how people would feel if the coach had asked a similar question about African Americans or any other group of people was certainly interesting, I was mostly intrigued by the clips from South Park playing as random soundbytes. 

Although I can't claim to have never watched South Park, I'm not a regular viewer, and I definitely missed this episode which includes the following statements:

"Ginger kids are born with a disease which causes very light skin, red hair, and freckles.  This disease is called 'Gingervitis' and it occurs because ginger kids have no souls.  Kids with gingervitis cannot be cured."

"Because their skin is so light, ginger kids must avoid the sun, not unlike vampires."

Watch it here if you don't mind the language.  (Only two swears if you're counting...)

(South Park) - "Ginger Kids" - For more of the funniest videos, click here

  Well I have to say I thought it was HILARIOUS!

But, I do have to disagree, because I think my little batman-cape-wearing, stool-pushing ginger is absolutely adorable.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Girl Friends Scare Me

I can name in succession my series of best friends starting in third grade up until I got married.

Rosie Simmons
Shayla Billings
Amalie Wickes
Emilee Anderson
Becca Whitaker
Stephanie Turner

Each of this girls represents a chapter in my life and for that chapter filled the role of being the only female friend I had/needed.  On the rare occasion that I could have named two close female friends, they were in different circles.  

never did the "group of girls" thing.

I think that's why the idea of "girl friends" scares me.

Girl acquaintances?  That I can do, and do well.

But to truly be a part of a group of females who frequently interact - in person, even - and talk and share actual true stuff about their lives?

Scares me to death.

Just wondering if I'm the only one.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Kirk and the kids came to the show tonight, and afterward, each boy (including Kirk) gave me a tulip.  This one was my favorite, because it was mangled by chubby little hands and reluctantly relinquished.  My favorite part of the night was showing off my adorable crew to all my new friends.  I never tire of hearing, "Your boys are so cute!"  

But even less expected than the flowers was what went on backstage tonight.  

"Andrea," Luke said, in a tone just loud enough for me to hear, "Brett is lying on the floor of the men's dressing room, and he's not responding, and he's bleeding."  He lead me back to the men's dressing room, and as I walked in, sure enough our "Carnes," a middle-aged actor named Brett, was lying face down and twitching.

"Brett," I said.  He didn't respond.  I left him with a couple teenagers while I went to find the director.  After sending a street-clothed stranger in to find our director, I sent someone to find a cast list and call Brett's family.  When I got back to the dressing room and once again said his name, he finally responded with a breathy, "Yeah?"

"Do you know what happened?" I asked him.  

"I hit my head," he said, and gestured toward the lower ceiling where the costumes hang.  He'd apparently bent over to pick up a pair of shoes and misjudged the ceiling height standing up.  There was a blood stain where he'd smacked his head.  As I looked around I noticed he'd also knocked a table over, and a mirror had fallen off the wall.  We estimated he'd been unresponsive for at least 5 minutes, but no one is sure how long he'd been down before Luke found him.

"Would you like a blessing?" I asked.  "My husband is in the audience."

He responded affirmatively, and just then the director walked in.  She was able to go find Kirk in the audience, and I sent Kirk to go get our friend Chris Kennedy who I'd seen on the other side of the audience.  When Kirk walked into the dressing room, Brett looked up at him and said, "I know you."

I was really worried then, because to my knowledge they'd never met.  Turns out I was wrong about that, since Kirk and Brett apparently reffed a young men's region basketball game together the night I totaled the truck.

Kirk and Chris gave Brett a blessing, during which I was silently praying for words like "that you'll be able to go on with the show," but none of that was said.  Instead, Brett was counselled to "listen to his body."  We sent Kirk and Chris back to enjoy the show and started treating Brett for shock.

He began to quickly improve and was starting to speak in complete and coherent sentences.  When he overheard people talking about how they'd cover his song in an upcoming scene, he said, "Well, I'd better just get up and get out there, because I don't want Jeremy butchering my song."  He was sitting up and joking when his wife arrived.  I caught her up to speed, then had to go back on stage.

As I came off stage, I received word that the second act would be cancelled because Brett just couldn't go on.  I changed into my saloon girl costume and headed back on to finish out the act.  By the time I came back off, the decision had been reversed with both Brett and his wife giving the okay for him to go back on stage.

He had to hold onto the fence and poles for support and even sit on a stool in some places, but somehow Brett was able to push through it.  There were times when I swore he was going down, when his eyelids would flutter, or he'd take an awkward breath.  But he didn't faint on stage, and we finished out the show.

I know someday it will be one of those horror stories told as we sit around in a circle backstage for some show.  "Yeah, well once, we had a cast member faint and we almost had to cancel the show..."  But for tonight, I'm just grateful he is okay and that the tough old guy gave everything he had to let the show go on.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

One More Reason

If you aren't planning to come see Vivienne in Oklahoma!, maybe you'd rather come see this character.

She doesn't have a name.  But since the very first blocking rehearsal, there's been a cast joke that apparently I naturally walk like a bit of a hussy.  I've really had to step it up, though, and go outside my comfort zone to perform for 2 or 3 minutes as "Saloon Girl."

For anyone seriously interested in coming, if you call the box office and mention the code word "Oklahoma" you can get 2 for 1 tickets to Friday and Saturday night this week.  I heard Friday is pretty much sold out, though, so call quickly!  Details and tickets here:

Monday, April 11, 2011


Every Friday, Saturday, and Monday night for the next four weeks, I'll cease to be Andrea and will instead take on the persona of Vivienne Hadley, daughter of the proprietor of the General Store in Claremore, a city in the Oklahoma territory.

Vivienne's father came from a long line of farmers with roots in Kansas.  When Oklahoma was opened to settlers in 1889, he moved his wife and young daughter out to this new territory to claim land of their own.  During their first winter, however, his wife took sick and did not recover, leaving him as a widower with a daughter to raise on his own.  Determined to give her a comfortable life, he sold his farm and established his general store.  Thanks to his hard work, Vivienne never wanted for anything, having access to the newest fashions and finest ribbons and materials that came through her daddy's store.  She was smart and full of potential, but her life of luxury did little for her character, leaving her selfish and vain.

Vivienne has many acquaintances but few friends, since she cares little for anyone other than herself.  However, her cousin, Ellen, a hardworking farmer's daughter, believes in Vivienne's few redeeming qualities, and Ellen and Vivienne are best friends.  Vivienne is being courted by Slim, the son of the wealthiest farmer in the territory.  Vivienne counts on Slim being able to maintain her luxurious lifestyle, but what Slim sees in Vivienne is still a bit of a mystery.  Although she may have ulterior motives for allowing Slim to court her, Vivienne truly is fond of him and enjoys his company.

Vivienne and Laurey Williams used to compete in the pony races at the fair (Vivienne won, of course), and a bit of a rivalry developed.  Used to saying and getting exactly what she wants, Vivienne can't relate to the games Laurey and Curly play.  In addition, she doesn't like sharing the spotlight, and since Laurey is so well loved in the town, a true friendship is unlikely to develop.

When Will Parker shows up with a $50 prize from the fair, Vivienne is forced to reconsider her relationship with Slim.  After some brief flirtation with the idea of greener pastures, however, Will chooses Ado Annie, and Vivienne finally realizes she sees more in Slim than just potential for a comfortable future.  When Ado Annie catches the bouquet at Laurey's wedding, Vivienne realizes she actually loves Slim and is ready to plan their future in the new state of Oklahoma.

If that's not the Oklahoma! plot you're familiar with, I guess you'll just have to come see the way I perform it. :)  Fridays, Saturdays, and Mondays from April 15th to May 14th.  Details and tickets at

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


"How long has this been going on?" the nurse asked as she checked us in to see the ear, nose, and throat specialist.  I had one of those mom-of-three moments when I honestly couldn't answer her question.  Alex and Dylan have both had ear infections for so long, I couldn't have told you whose started when.  I sighed, shrugged, and answered simply, "He's been sick for the better part of 2011."

Thankfully, Dylan's ear infections cleared up after only two rounds of antibiotics.  Alex, on the other hand, turned his into a saga, still ongoing.

It started with middle-of-the-night screaming followed by being just fine the next morning.  When the screaming resumed mid-primary, Kirk took him to an instacare.  Despite Alex's history and Kirk's suggestion that they put him on something stronger, the instacare doc prescribed Amoxicillan.  We knew we'd do the 10 day course and be right back in to the docs.  We were not wrong.

By this time, Dylan had also completed his own 10 days of Amoxicillan, and when both boys were still grouchy and Alex's ears were draining a continuous stream of disgusting pus, we headed over to Dr. Miner's, our trusty family physician.  Quick peeks in the ears and he prescribed my antibiotic of choice, Omnicef.  (Tough on infections but not too bad on little bellies.)  

Seven days into the 15 day course, Alex woke up covered in rash.  A quick reminder peek at a friend's blog with pictures of her baby covered in allergic-to-amoxicillan rash confirmed my suspicions of drug allergy.  Dr. Miner squeezed us in for a quick visit, and we left with a new prescription for Zithromax and warnings that he'd probably get worse before he got better.

Thankfully, the rash barely phased him and the Zithromax was only a 3 day course.  He was done before Dylan finished the Omnicef, and all we had to do was wait to see if it had done the trick.

Then last week Alex shared a nearly sleepless night with us, frequently crying and complaining of ear pain.  Again I loaded the troupe into the car and headed back to Dr. Miner's for a quick peek.  Comments like, "Wow, those ears really are a mess," certainly supported my decision to take him in.  Dylan was given a clean bill of health, but Alex was given a script for Augmentin (my least favorite of the antibiotics) and a referral to see an ENT.

Alex at 9 months, ready for his first tubes
I called the office of the ENT who did Alex's tubes at 9 months.  He couldn't see us until the 18th, so I scheduled with a different doc who only does consultations but not surgeries.  He looked and recommended tubes and removal of the adenoids.  He also had some testing done which showed that Alex's eardrums have absolutely no motion (they are supposed to vibrate with sound), and the audiologist categorized his ears as a "medical mess."  Amazingly, he has very little hearing loss, and tested at the lower end of normal.  But since this doc doesn't do surgery, we had to schedule another appt.
The doc I'd intended to go with couldn't see us until the 20th, so we switched back to the doc who did Adam's tubes.  He saw us this morning, and I was surprised by his recommendation.  He said one of Al's old tubes had become dislodged but was still hanging out in there, causing all sorts of irritation and was quite possibly the cause of the infection.  He recommended starting with removing that tube and seeing how he recovers.  The tube is now gone, and Alex says it already feels better.  We have a follow up in 2 weeks.  So the saga continues, and I'm not sure if we're still on the road to tubes or not.

It's seems like for us, April is the month of waiting.  It just seems right to be adding another thing to the list.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Don't Tickle Me, Elmo!

It's pretty hard to focus on General Conference when there's a little redhead in the room.  I'm pretty sure the talk was about parenting.  Which means I probably could have benefited from hearing it.  Oh well.

I knew Dylan has a pretty strong dislike for puppets.  Once a stuffed animal starts acting alive, he usually freaks out and cries.  Apparently that applies to Elmo, too, although he was at least able to refrain from crying.  We got a huge kick out of watching him disown Elmo each time he started shaking.

Then as Kirk shared a cookie with Dylan, he in turn shared some with Elmo.  Hopefully that means we're doing something right and could afford to miss the talk, right?  No?  Ok, fine... I'll look it up and read it later.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Feeling Grizzly

Last night was my last Friday night to spend with the family until mid-May, and I wanted it to be awesome.  I was really excited that there was a Grizzlies game, because thanks to our Pass of All Passes, we could go for free.  Thanks to rehearsals, I've already missed a family outing to see the Grizzlies and one to see the Blaze, and I had gotten reports from both children and father that everyone had a good time.  So off to the game we went.

The second our pockets hit the seats, the whining began.

I just really want some popcorn.

I'm SO starving!

I had already explained we were being extra careful with our money, even trying to give Adam the grownup reasons why.  [Sidenote: if Congress doesn't pass a federal budget by April 8th, all non-essential government positions are essentially put on hold until the budget is squared away.  Last time it happened, people in Kirk's position missed 20 days of work.]

Alex moved from whining to manipulating.  Picture his big brown eyes all full of pout as he tried out, "If you don't let me eat, I will die."

"Prove it," I said.  Okay, maybe not my finest moment of parenting.

A few minutes later he finally came up with a retort.  "Mom and Dad, if I die, you will cry."

And then the threatening began.  "If you two can't just sit there and watch the game, we're just going to go home."

Of course, this ENTIRE time, I am wrestling Dylan who can't decide whether he wants to be up or down, who keeps trying to mooch snow cone from a girl one row up and two seats over, and who has a strange infatuation with blonde hair (pretty sure just because he never sees it) and so kept trying to pat the beautiful blonde hair of the not-so-patient woman sitting directly in front of me.

End of first 20 minute period.  I look over at the time clock, which is again counting down from 20.  I turn to Kirk.  "You mean 20 MINUTES of play followed by 20 MINUTES of not play followed by 20 MINUTES of play and then ANOTHER 20 MINUTES of not playing before we even get to the final 20 MINUTES of playing again?"

I decided right then that during the second intermission (probably not what it is called in sports, but oh well) we would have to suck it up and purchase a distraction in the form of popcorn.

Well, we made it through to 10 minutes left of the game.  I think I saw the puck move across the ice once or twice.  I did see one or two good fights that made it a bit uncomfortable to be there with my we-don't-hit-each-other-for-any-reason little crew.  I saw a little girl named Mya who made friends with Alex and Dylan.  I met one of Kirk's co-workers who got to sit and enjoy the game with her grown up children.  I saw the path from our seats to the bathroom/drinking fountain more than once.  I saw at least 50 steps of main corridor as we searched for Alex who had followed Kirk out without Kirk realizing it.  I saw the mother of a small family a few rows back completely embarrassed as her husband made a spectacle of himself the entire game.  And I saw my family, although whether or not I enjoyed it at all is still up for debate.

Next time, we'll get a sitter and take friends.