Where the inside of my mind leaks onto the screen.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Moves Like Jagger



The musical equivalent of a cow with diction?




Sung by the super-attractive Maroon 5 front man Adam Levine?


Still, the song would likely have gone the way of so many catchy here-today-gone-tomorrow hits.

Except that on the way home from the Fife Family Halloween Party the other night, the song came on the radio, and we heard Dylan - little non-verbal, barely ever makes a noise Dylan - singing.

Just in case he ever becomes a famous musician someday, I thought I'd better document that someday when we say, "He sang before he was even talking," we mean it absolutely literally.

It was, of course, better in the car.  Spontaneously adorable.  But I helped him re-create it for posterity.  To try to get him in the mood, I YouTube'd the video.  He was so excited about showing me his "moves like Jagger" that it was a bit tricky to get him to sing again.  But here it is.  At least sorta.  Hopefully enough for me to never forget the first time I really heard his little voice.

Friday, October 28, 2011


Officially 20 days old, this story could easily have ended up in my mental archives of "things I meant to blog about."  But I came across this picture, and just had to share.

You know in "Scene It" where they zoom in on a picture, and slowly pan out, and you have to guess what it's from?  Well, here's the zoomed in shot, and I'll just have to describe what you can't see in this picture.

The brown blob in the bottom right is me in a brown hoodie.  I've just flopped my upper body down onto the counter trying to recover from serious shock.  The orange blob and set of hands belongs to Perry, the cause of my intense distress.  The soda bottles... well, I didn't notice them until after the "moment."

Now back up to 5:00 on the evening of October 8th.  I'd been in Draper at a rehearsal for the youth review and was exhausted.  But we'd been working hard on our basement, and the mudding and taping had just been finished, so I'd planned to spend the evening priming.  Not wanting to do it alone, I'd enlisted the help of friends Perry and Skyler to come over, paint, and watch The Sing Off.  I texted Kirk to see if there would be enough dinner for Perry and Skyler, to which he strangely replied, "Yeah, I guess.  But meet me at the park at the top of the neighborhood for dinner."

Weird on so many levels:
1. Kirk doesn't do picnics without serious begging from me.
2. We have a park 2 doors down... why would he be at the top of the neighborhood.

I texted back with an ok, but told him I'd be stopping off at home first to change my clothes.  "No," came back a somewhat whiny reply, "I just really miss you."

Weird again.  Kirk and I aren't really like that.  But whatever.

I hurried home, hurried to the park, and enjoyed a picnic dinner with the family.  While there, however, I got a text from Skyler saying he'd just come over after dinner.  And one from Perry wondering where the park was - to which I replied - but he never showed up.

We walked home.  I gathered all the half-full soda cans, entered the house, and started to set them on the counter.  All of the sudden, a tall flash of orange popped up from behind my counter. 

There are several versions to the next part of the story.
1. Skyler says I screamed.  Shrieked really.  I doubt that.  I'm not much a screamer.
2. Perry says I did make noise, but more of a loud gasp.
3. I know for positive that I jumped, nearly spilling the assorted soda cans.

The orange was too close for me to clearly see whose head might be at it's top.  When I finally processed that it was Perry, I was just all sorts of confused.  I turned around and saw my friend Arlee in the living room.  What?!  Finally, it dawned on me: a surprise birthday party.  Two weeks late because, as Kirk pointed out, I am too busy and there was no earlier night when he could plan one for me.

It literally took minutes for me to calm down from the shock, but as I did, I was grateful for the friends whom Kirk and Skyler had invited over.  We played some games, checked out the new projector (which Kirk had just installed) and ate cake. 

Just days after Kirk and Skyler had set the plan into motion, I told Skyler all about how much fun it would be to have a surprise party, but that Kirk would never do something like that.  Well, I sure was surprised!

Thursday, October 27, 2011


It's a bit of a buzz word in the teaching world, and in that element, I think I'm pretty good at it.  I get 25 minutes to teach each of my classes, and in that time we generally move from a review or warm up to a new concept and on to a song.  I like to think my transitions are quick and seamless, just a normal part of the routine.

At home, however, I find transitions a lot harder to deal with, and I currently find myself smack dab in the middle of a pretty big one.

We've moved each of our boys downstairs into their own room at age 2.  As the date approached to move Dylan, I started to think about what that really means for our family.  We've never cleared out the "nursery" for any reason other than to welcome a new baby.  This time, we're making room for a guest room.  And while I am confident in our decision to call our family "done," it's been easy to slip into a "this is the last time I'll..." mentality.

I have two pictures of Mary and her son Jesus Christ which hang in the nursery - now guest room.  I bought the first when Adam was an infant.  I felt touched by the scripture, "But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart."  I have changed countless diapers under this gentle reminder of a mother's love.

The second was a gift from my Dad last Christmas.  It was actually intended for my sister, but when my mom unwrapped an identical gift, and I spent several minutes gushing about how much I loved it and how it would look so nice in my nursery (honestly, I was just praising my mom's gift), but parents quietly conferred, switched the tags on two Christmas gifts, and I unwrapped my own copy.  Mary with an Alex-aged Jesus, asleep on her lap.

I feel I'm entering a new phase.  Leaving behind the bearing of the children and focusing on the rearing of the children.  The teaching of the children.  I'm moving forward, but I still find a thing or two which causes me to pause to look over my shoulder.

A tiny hospital band from the day Alex was born.  Adam's favorite stuffed animal from his days in the nursery.  Small blankets and tiny socks put away for the last time. 

Thankfully, when I turn my head forward again, I have plenty to keep my focus.  For example, one little big boy sure does love his new room.

I may not be the best as these major transitions, but they're going to happen whether I like them or not.  Thankfully, there's little time to stop and look backwards when there's so much ahead to enjoy.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Back to School

I finished up the last of my coursework for my bachelors degree in 2006 and have not been a student in a classroom since.  I think that accounts for the nerves as I pulled in to the familiar parking lot to begin yet another degree program at the good old University of Phoenix.

I expected to be welcomed by the familiar smell of Wriggles, the deli housed on the bottom floor of the office building.  I'm guessing Wriggles must sell more coffee now, because the smell I anticipated wasn't there.

I walked up to the t.v. monitor to check for my classroom listing.  The interface has changed, and I waited through a bunch of nonsense info while trying not to be distracted by the news ticker running along the bottom.  The screen finally showed my room: 208.

Up the familiar elevator, through the familiar halls, seated at the familiar tables.  Computer plugged into new (and convenient) plugs attached to the tables.  No more fighting over wall outlets and tripping over cords.  Way to go, UoP.  

Small talk with the professor.  Small talk with the students.  Nervous jokes about student teaching, nervous jokes about student loans.  Wondering what I've gotten myself into.

I looked around the room during the introductions phase, wondering who I'd like to scope out to be in my group.  Missing Kim Best, Mike Little, and Tyler Healy - quite possibly the best group members ever to exist at the UoP.

I talked a lot... like normal.  I worried to myself that our little inside joke about how I talk too much and everybody hates me might just end up being true.  There's only 9 people in my class, and it's pretty easy to be too opinionated in such a small group.

One woman in my class is a Challenger kindergarten teacher who, despite working there for many years, completely disagrees with Challenger's methods.  I am completely a product of Challenger's methods.  Buckling in to see how that goes...

We talked about the Praxis and observation hours and how to submit logs and assignments and...

Man, I wish I was back in my marketing bachelor's program.  I finished that with a 4.0.  Not so sure if that's gonna happen this time around.  

We ended class early, and I don't have to go back for a month.  (UoP Alumni get to skip the COMM class.)  I've decided that break is a great time for taking the Praxis 1.  

I wanted adventures, right?  Well, here I come!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Another Closing Night

As I sit here listening to Alex sing, "Go, go, go 'Jovess' you know what they say... Go, go, go Jo... Go, go, go Jo...," I'm contemplating all the shows I've closed this year.  Way more than I'd have thought humanly possible.  Probably more than was healthy. 

I was reluctant to take on this last show.  It fell into what was supposed to have been my 6 week break.  But its terms - including working with the incredibly talented Bruce Craven - were just too good to pass up.  And that was before I knew I'd be allowed to put together a dream team of the most talented teenage boys I know and help them perform some of the best written-for-guys Broadway out there.

As I watched "my boys" from the audience last night, I felt such a literal swelling of pride.  I'm closer to some of the kids than others.  Some bridge the age gap, and I consider them friends.  To others, I'm more like a mentor, to some strictly a director, and to some even a teacher at school.  (But Perry, if you ever call me "mom" again...)

Yes, I call them "my boys."  But last night, my real boys were there with me, too.  One of my favorite moments of the night was taking my sons backstage to visit "the boys."  Almost immediately, Alex was scooped up onto Warren's shoulders.  Perry was offering to hold Dylan, and Adam was intently watching Luke do his homework. 

I had to pry my sons away to go sit in the audience.  When Roy's wig fell off during Gaston, Alex loudly announced, "That's not Gaston, mom... that's your friend!"  And when I went out to tell the boys what a great performance they'd had, there they were, posed as always waiting for someone to take a picture, Alex front and center.  "Guys, do you want me to move Alex?"  "No!" came the immediate response.  "He's so cute."

"My boys" might be a little loud.  Stupid sometimes.  Totally girl-crazy.  Hungry all the time.  Sometimes I may feel like an awkward cross between babysitter/mom/director/friend and not know whether to scold or join in the shenanigans. Kirk may roll his eyes when a quartet of teenage boys comes and climbs into bed with him.  I may find myself giving out advice one moment and being picked up and carried down the hall in the next.  And I love every minute.

Yeah, the show's over.  But "boys," you're welcome in my home anytime.  Why?  Because if my sons grow up to be like any one of you, I'll be as proud as a mother could be.

Monday, October 17, 2011

D's Big Day

It's hard not to compare the kids when they reach big milestones.  I have a pretty good memory of what Adam and Alex could each do when they turned two, and it's pretty easy to see that Dylan isn't there yet. 

He's smaller; we often refer to him as our little runt.  But that makes it easier to still carry him around when he needs it.

He's a whole lot quieter and doesn't talk yet.  That makes every grunt and growl momentous.

But I often remind myself that it isn't about how he stacks up against the other two.  It's his little life, a fact he set out to prove by being born a redhead.  He isn't Adam or Alex.  He's just Dylan, and I wouldn't have him any other way.

To celebrate his big day (now 10 days ago...), Kirk and I planned to take him to the zoo all by himself.  What we planned meant just without his brothers.  Thanks to the weather, what he got was all. by. himself.  We literally saw two other families at the zoo.  D got front row viewing for each of the animals, and with no other background noise to fight against, we could hear his all his excited little squeaks.  We could let him down to wander at his own pace.  We could let him take his time to cautiously approach the snoring elephant.

Despite the rain and cold - two of my least favorite things - the day was perfect.

Taking a picture with his phone.  I can't believe that my little non-verbal 2 year old knows that phones are for taking pictures with.

Listening intently to Daddy.

Happy to have a new stuffed tiger as a birthday present.

His party was still a bit in the future, but we wanted to let the other boys in on the celebration, so I grabbed a leftover cupcake from a friend's earlier party, and stuck in two candles.  D had no idea what to do with them.  After some coaching, he blew them out.  And he was hooked.  I re-lit them and let him blow them out four more times.

Happy Birthday to our Dyl-Pickle, our Arma-Dylo, our Orangutan, our Little Runt, Big D, Little D, Baby, Dyl, and of course, to Dylan.