Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Our little minion is going to be a minion (from Despicable Me).  Meaning she'll wear a yellow shirt and overalls, tearing a yellow hat with an eyeball off her head.  But aren't they the cutest?

After school I have VSA, which will be extra-fun!  We'll sing songs like Cruella Deville and the Witch Doctor.  James will take Josey out and about during the rehearsal in her minion garb, then bring her in for some introductions at the end.

Another great Halloween tradition is watching the Simpsons Halloween Episode.  Always brilliant!

Also, last night at my Middle School Choir concert, one class performed the Monster Mash, and one performed the Addams Family.  Fun times!  

We had fun carving our pumpkin with Josey earlier this week!  We have another little pumpkin on the way (due late April-early May), and starting these fun traditions with our first makes me so excited for a growing family!

Hope you have a great holiday!  Watch out, November is almost here!

PS:  Here are some after photos!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Mtn Mama: Love 1.5


Josey is 18 months- such a fun age!

Can't believe it's been half a year since the light of our lives turned one

 We are so thankful.  

A list of my right-now loves of Josephine James:
  • I love how you add the suffix "o" or "a" to everything you're excited about.  Hiya!  Pen-o! 
  • I also love how you repeat everything you're excited about.  "Booka booka booka book."
  • I love how you scrub the bathroom walls and are so intent on watching drops of water fall off your toys.  My little inspector.
  • I love your deep chuckle, when I make you laugh your hardest.  
  • I love how you give me your feet to do "this little piggy"
  • I love how you sing the beginning of "Row Row" & "Twinkle Twinkle"
  • I love the way you bop to the music.  
  • I love your banter all the way to school- you always have so much to talk about and it's always very exciting!
  • I love your eyes and all the expression they hold.  
  • I love how you ask for hug after hug when I drop you off at daycare.  
  • I love your snuggles.  You are growing more and more snuggly with age (when I'm lucky).  
  • I love how you ask for my hand, to help or to hold.  
  • I love how you love to run in the chariot.  Best running partner ever- always ooo-ing and ah-ing at the scenery, and saying "HI!" when I stop and look at you.  
  • I love the way you love brushing your teeth.  
  • I love your stubbornness, and how you don't do something unless you want to.  This is a challenging quality of yours, but one I admire.  
  • I love the way you love your Daddy.  Daddy Daddy Daddy!  
  • I love your new run.  So cute!  
  • I love how you say "hug" when it's time for goodbye.  Over and over again.
  • I love finding out our commonalities & differences, and how they grow each day.  
  • I love your concentration when we are reading.  Favorite books: Richard Scary, Brown Bear, Sleepy Squirrel, and lots more!
  • I love knowing that everyday, our love grows.  More than I could ever dream.  

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

My jean jacket.

Road Trip!  We're admiring orange trees. I love this drive along the Clark Fork Little Blackfoot, love it most this time of year.  

To Helena now for a quick visit with my folks then onto Bozeman for the MMEA (Montana Music Educator's Association) Convention.  Last year marked the 75th Diamond Year.  This is my 8th convention.  

I "packed" last night after a great meeting with our Music Boosters.  Happy and thankful for a supportive group of parents when other people at my school seem totally crazy.  

We assembled Josey's things this morning, James making swift trips to the car while I cleaned up spilled milk and took three "one last trips" into the bathroom/bedrooms.  Packing, it's not my strong suit.  

Stuff- material items- stress me out.  

In a perfect world, my mind would just produce, project, play, whatever I need at will.  My brain lives in zone right, with all the bright colors and the ups and downs.  The rivers of my mind dont easily make roads of organization.  

On our final way out the door, we pondered, "anything in here?" and I gazed at my jean jacket on the couch.  I bought it years ago, at Buffalo Exchange in Bozeman, where I started college.  My hand on Josey, I thought about wearing that jacket to Convention in years past.  I felt pulled to grab it, but something stopped me.  Me.  I told myself I packed plenty of sweaters.

Now, we are driving, and I wish I'd grabbed it and listened to myself.  2 seconds was all it would take.  For my comfy, cute jean jacket, sitting there all lonely on the couch.

How many other things does our intuition tell us?  When we ignore our instincts, what suffers?  

As teachers, as humans we have an inner voice that must be heeded to serve mankind and ourselves.  It could be a tradition (jean jackets included), a hug, a new movement.  Just do it, friend.  

Monday, October 14, 2013

Choir Chatter: Introducing...VSA!

Last Thursday, I enjoyed my first rehearsal of the season with the Very Special Arts Choir!  My friend, Malcolm, is the founding conductor of the group and has led them energetically for the past 13 years.  This year, he's taking a much-earned sabbatical from things (currently climbing mountains in Peru), and asked me to help out.  I happily obliged!

The church I grew up in had a large population of individuals with disabilities.  Lowell Bartels brought the group from all over Helena in on a big yellow school bus, and in vans, every Sunday for service.  I learned that there was so much joy and promise in this population of unique people, especially when paired with music.  I was lucky enough to play for their church services when they needed a fill-in pianist, enjoying exuberant hugs and shouts and songs.

On Thursday, there was so much laughter and love in the room, I didn't stop smiling for the entire two hours.  Standing in front of the group, I felt inspired to do and say things differently- with more zest.  After an hour of singing Halloween and Christmas songs, Alayne passed out ice cream treats for everyone.  Kathy and Jackie Sue gave me big hugs, and many welcoming handshakes were given.  I am really looking forward to getting to know these individuals and finding ways to inspire them.

I need this.  A new perspective, a new venue to explore singing and love for music.  Time to laugh and sing and get a little less...jaded?  Not that a fourth-year music teacher could be such a thing.

Well, laughter and song never hurt anyway.

Looking forward to Thursday nights this year!

(photo from VSA's Cabaret performance "I Feel Good" last Spring)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

r + r = the bright side

This morning, I was thinking about negative self-talk.  Do you do it?  

I do, quite a bit.  It's not super-obvious.  I'm not like, "I hate you, Emily, you suck."  

I'm like, "I should really have done ____."  or "I should be more like her."  or "I was lazy today, I need to be better tomorrow.  Like, much better."  or "I should really stop eating these chips." or "I should get off the couch and do something."  

I rarely tell myself, "hey, that was awesome!" when I have a good mama or wifey or teacher moment.  Yet, I want to be the kind of mom and the kind of teacher who celebrates the little and big moments. 

Ah, the moment.  Living in the moment is tough.  If we're in the moment, though, we can hear our intuition, we can celebrate the now.

That word "should" is killer anyway.  As in, destroys life.  Shoulda woulda coulda.  (and why do they all have l's?)  Leads us away from the present, into the quicksand of regret.

What "should" I be doing?  Who effing cares!  

What do you want to do?  What makes you feel your best?  Act your best?  

Eating more chips or making a yummy salad?
Staying on the couch on the laptop or getting in bed and reading that great book?    
Procrastinating or making it happen?

I tend to "should" myself a lot on weekends like this, free of obligations, full of time.  I also tend to want to nap a lot on these sorts of weekends, leading to regret when the "should" list doesn't get finished.  Looking on the positive side, we all got some needed rest around here.  We spent some happy times around our yard and we played music together.  I realized the best new place for my yoga mat, finished my grades, and my daughter is so happy and fun!  My husband is home for good, and tomorrow is a new day.  

A new day for looking on the bright side, celebrating what we want to see more of.

What do you want to see more of this week?  What makes you feel your best?  

Friday, October 4, 2013

Covers & Creativity

This post is for {Five Minute Friday: Write}
It's been awhile since I've posted a FMF.  You can read some of my backlogs here.  
Five-minute Fridays really helped me start blogging and get my ideas on the page.

Today, I woke up with this cover version of Dancin' in the Dark in my head.  I'm smitten.

I have been way into Wailin' Jenny's and Ruth Moody (their lead singer, above) lately.  I've also been picking around on my guitar more, moving away from root chords and getting excited about different sounds.  I'm so excited for James to come home (today! for good!) and teach me more.  I want to sit down and write with him like they do on Nashville.

Here's the original, from the Boss himself, pretty perfect for a Friday:

Great song, both versions have a completely different feel, different storytelling.  Most of the songs I sing and play are covers, and I pride myself on  my signature versions of several songs, making them mine.  I have only a handful that I've written, they are prized possessions.  The feeling of accomplishment I've experienced after writing a song is like nothing else.

I struggle to write, though, because my songs often sound too cliche, too...lame.  That little voice in my head tells me that I'm not as good as Ruth Moody or Gillian Welch and I should just keep singing their songs. True, there is something about a good cover.  More true- I have songs in me that need to get out.

Thanks to Ira Glass for this awesome inspiration today, and Fall being a great time to create, I look forward to getting my ideas out there, even if they don't meet up with my fantastic taste.  With James.

Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.


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