Wednesday, March 29, 2017

December Musicalities

Our stake has a much-loved tradition of performing Handel's Messiah the first weekend each December. I have been privileged to perform in the choir nearly every year. With Jared being gone all the time, it wasn't possible for me to do it this last year, but both the boys wanted to be in the children's choir that sings during the Prelude. I couldn't be more thrilled to have them sing (unless someone else had been giving them rides)! It was sad for me to not be in the big choir with the orchestra playing beautifully and the amazing soloists singing between choir songs, especially because we won't be here for the next 4 or so years. But I treasure the experiences I have had in the past with these wonderful people and this inspired music...and I'm sure someday I'll sing it again. And I thoroughly enjoyed having the boys sing. Ellie wanted to join, and she even attended some practices, but she was too young to officially be in the children's choir.

Isaac is always trying something new, pushing the limits of his coordination a little farther. One endeavor he impressed us with was being able to play two recorders at one time. I tried and tried to upload a video, but it didn't work, no matter how much I trimmed it. Just know that his ambidextrous digits could play Jingle Bells and Hot Cross Buns with both hands, even sticking in some harmony there! Did I tell you about the time he figured out he could play with his nostrils?? Yeah, I'm not borrowing his recorder ever again. Still, a talent is a talent.

Another thing he started this school year was the violin. It's not the best instruction, but you can't beat free lessons. We are proud of him, though. I don't know if it's a blessing or not--but he never practices at home.

Present were several elementary schools' orchestras as well as the hosting middle school's orchestra. Believe it or not, his school's performances were by far the most pleasant-sounding!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Dickens on Main-- Boerne, TX

Dickens on Main is something fun they do every year on the weekend after Thanksgiving in nearby Boerne, Texas. It sounded like fun, so we finally attended this year. We didn't do even a third of what there was offered there, but we felt adventurous for even making the trek and we had a good time.

 The biggest reason to go is the snow...or, upon closer inspection, soap floating down in a manner similar to snow. These guys loved dancing in the music and snow at the various spots.

The next reason to go is the atmosphere--Dickens-era costumes, music and dramatizations! We, of course, got no pictures with any of that; we just stared in awe and then moved on. We did pay for a picture with Santa Claus, who--it turns out--has very few teeth and it sounds like he has marbles in his mouth when he talks. The kids weren't sure what he was trying to say when he asked them what they wanted for Christmas. I apparently understand "too much eggnog" accent, so I interpreted for them.
 After much deliberation, we decided on a food truck to give all our money to. We found the only empty seats at the town square and sat on them, eating the expensive food and wishing we could afford some more (know we wouldn't stand in that line again in our lifetime even if we had some more cash), and also listening to the live country band on the stand. It was grand.

 Everyone's favorite thing was the frozen mint hot chocolate at the end--because I had to find an ATM to get pictures with Drunk Santa anyway, so we had a little cash again. The guy serving us was super nice: normal people would get each person their own cup; since he knew we were sharing, he gave us a bunch of extra Oreos and spoons/straws. And we loved every drop!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Thankful for Thanksgiving

We had many reasons to be thankful on Thanksgiving. It would have been wonderful to have Jared home with us, but we were grateful for his good job in El Paso that was in need of him more than we were (our plan was simply to stuff our faces with him, while their plan was to have him see countless patients who needed a medical provider willing and we let him go).

Our wonderful friends, the MacBeths, invited us for Thanksgiving again. They provided the entire meal, which was super delish--Joe's a gourmet cook. They let us bring a little pie, so I made cherry and apple.
We were joined by the Haslams, another awesome family who we just love. Plus, they're half-Canadian like me, so what's not to like? The kids all had a blast.
 Of course, when I tried to document how much fun they were having, I became a target....

Natalie was pretty much ready for a nap by the time "dinner" started, but we did our best. These pictures don't do justice to the beauty of that meal (nor the taste)....
Between eating and eating some more, we played Exploding Kittens, among other things, and it was great fun--especially because Valarie Haslam is hilarious and kept cracking me up. Then the pie was served and it was beautiful!

You want to know something else that was beautiful? This:
Jared had to be away for our anniversary (Nov 22), but before he left, he made what might be my most favorite cheesecake to date in honor of that special date. The sad part is, he had to leave before it got a chance to cool, so he never got a bite. All he got was this picture, which proved how much we loved it--it didn't last long after that! Jared is my favorite cheesecake baker.