Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Roadshow Fun

So I've been talking a lot about the stress the roadshow has caused me lately, but not really so much about the fun of it.  Now that it's over I figured that it's only fitting that I write a more detailed blogpost all about it, so you can see (and I can remember) that it was well worth the effort to see the end results. 

A roadshow is a  conglomeration of several short performances each about 10-15 minutes long, where the 12-18-year-old youth from the individual wards (church congregations) within our stake put on a show.  The shows were all based on the theme from the Dr. Seuss book, "Oh, the Places You'll Go!"  We were encouraged  to use the thirteenth article of faith as a guide and make them wholesome (but not necessarily spiritual), praiseworthy, and fun! 

A roadshow director was in charge of each individual performance, but the youth were meant to do all of the performing and assist with the prep work, including helping to write the script, choreograph the dances, and paint the scenery. Although the youth were involved in the prep, there was still a significant amount for the adults to do as well.  Other adults helped the youth with costumes, choreography, constructing a set, planning the cast party, and gathering props.    My job was mostly to help corral the youth at the practices each week, to help the director (Sister M) with some of the details (printing individualized scripts for everyone, etc), and creating the paper program for the night.  I love paper projects like making programs, but I was a little intimidated by how to fit all the information, including the hundreds of performers' names all onto one sheet of paper and still have it look nice.   In the end I feel like it came together well in a tri-fold form that strongly resembled the sacrament meeting programs I made for several years
Never being much of a performer myself, I was a little surprised at how wrapped up I got in trying to help the individual youth take pride in their participation in the roadshow.  There was a good number of the youth (mostly boys) who would take any opportunity they could to bolt out of practice to the nearest basketball, but even still, somehow it all came together in the end. 

Here is the video our final performance.  It was the culmination of about 5-weeks of practice.  See Spencer as the Old Spice Guy at :45-1:35.  Emma whistles right at the end of that same scene and is in the front row (looking everywhere but at the audience) in some of the dances.  Cami is Miss Piggy right at the very end.  Ellie, who is obviously not quite old enough to be an official participant, but is always at practice with me, was so excited when the roadshow director said that she could participate.  You can see her as one of the animals in Spencer's scene and glimpses of her in each of the dances.  At the end of the performance she came bounding backstage to me (literally bounding) and shrieking about how excited she was that she'd been able to perform in "every single song!"  I sense a possible future thespian in the family!  :)

Although I am relieved that it is over, I love that it ended up being a fun experience for the whole family and hopefully for each of the youth as well.  To wrap up, I'll throw in a bunch of pictures and a list of the top ten things I enjoyed about participating in the roadshow! 

Top Ten Things about Participating in a Roadshow

10--Watching new friendships blossom between the youth.
9--Seeing fun new glimpses of their personalities.
8--Watching them help and encourage one another.
7--Watching a shy girl open up and give a performance her all.
6--Seeing how awesomely talented they all are in their own ways.
5--Getting a tiny glimpse at all the hard work it takes to perform on stage
4--Seeing how they embraced the new kid, including him in the production and in process helping him to feel part of the group
3--Hearing other people compliment your youth and their performance
2--Working hard towards a common goal and getting to enjoy the fruits of it at the end.
1--Getting to have fun together! 


I thought our roadshows were pretty awesome, but imagine my surprise when I saw this headline on the front page of the Washington Post today...

Seriously?  How rude of them to be so judgmental against a bunch of teenagers.



*  The video and pictures of Spencer were taken by the Nielson family.  :)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

What a Difference a Year Makes

Flash back to this week last year and you will find Spencer recently readmitted to the hospital for his 2nd round of chemo.  All seemed to be going well when suddenly he was doubled over in extreme abdominal pain.  After a series of tests, it was determined that he needed to have his appendix removed via emergency surgery.  It was a scary time for us and a miserable time for Spencer as he battled the pain from the surgery and the side effects from chemo at the same time. 

Fast forward  a year later and you will find a much different picture. 
You will see a picture of a healthy lacrosse player that just made his high school varsity team and has recovered (physically and academically) from missing the entire second half of his junior year and was just accepted into BYU for this fall! 

Between all this exciting news and the roadshows being officially done (blogpost coming soon), I have a HUGE weight off of my shoulders.  I was on the verge of a complete meltdown on Friday night.  It was dress rehearsal night for the roadshows, I still hadn't quite finished the program for the next day,  and I could hear snippets of conversations of people talking about who was getting into BYU.  Spencer hadn't heard yet and I was getting more out-of-sorts by the minute.  At one point someone said they couldn't find their costume and it was the straw that broke open the floodgates of my stress and I just sat down in a dark corner and cried for a minute (not a normal behavior for me).  Shortly after pulling myself back together, we learned that Spencer had been accepted and the costume had been found.  The show went on and I spent the rest of the night much less stressed. 

I was surprised when a few hours later we arrived home and I found myself tearful again.  Instead of tears of stress this time, they were tears of relief and gratitude for how far we've come in a year.   It's been a long road and we are so grateful to be on this end of things.  We are proud of Spence and can't wait to see the bright future that awaits him! 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Finding Joy

When life gets crazy and I am feeling overwhelmed,
sometimes all it takes to get my mind back on track
is a quick glimpse of one of my kids. 

Today it was Ellie. 
She was getting ready for school
and just couldn't help but
stop to admire her reflection in the mirror. 

When I look in the mirror,
I see all of the things I wish I could improve--
the wrinkles, freckles, gray hair, the extra pudge around my middle. 

But for Ellie, the glimpse in the mirror was pure joy. 
Joy to see the color combination of her chosen outfit,
joy to see the way her homemade headband looked in her hair,
and joy that she was about to go off to school for the day.

I can't make the mirror make me look as young and cute as Ellie,
but I can look in the mirror and instead of seeing the faults,
look for the joys in my life. 

The joy of having a body that is healthy.
The joy of being busy and engaged.
The joy of having a kind and wonderful husband who cares for me.
The joy of watching our five children grow and learn and develop into pretty awesome people.
The joy of living in a free and beautiful land. 
The joy of being right here where I am today.


"While we try to teach our children all about life,
Our children teach us what life is all about."

~Angela Schwindt

Monday, February 18, 2013

What's on my mind...

In case you ever wondered why I am so scatterbrained...

Key to Lara's brain:
Roadshows:  I am assisting in trying to rally 50 teenagers in our church congregation to put on a  roadshow this weekend. I am also creating the paper program for the night.  The whole thing has been a fun, but challenging task to say the least.  Let me know if you're interested in joining us for some quality free family entertainment on Saturday night. 

New Beginnings:  Right after roadshows are done, it's time to buckle down and finish planning for New Beginnings (a once-a-year program for the Young Women in our ward).  I've been creating invitations, planning, and researching ideas like crazy.

Food:  Cami, Emma, and I are trying to cut out refined sugar out of our diets.  It's been a mostly good adjustment, but we keep trying to find ways to make sugar-free treats.  So far we've tried using honey, coconut sugar, and dates.  Let me know if you have any good recipes. 

Glen and the rest of the kids:  Life is busy, hectic, and good.   Spence and Cami are getting ready for lacrosse try-outs this week.  I love seeing Spencer healthy and strong!   For the most part Glen is enjoying his new job and the more positive work environment.  Emma gave her first talk in sacrament meeting today.  The topic was temples and she did a fabulous job!  I was especially impressed with how she wrote it completely herself several days ago and presented it confidently and with even a bit of humor.  Adam is Adam and is constantly finding ways to work his hobbies (like building Legos) into his school projects. 

Ellie:  Between Ellie's upcoming 8th birthday (for which she has grand visions for) and an increase in the frequency of her seizures, she is on my brain a lot lately.   I am especially sad that the seizures are beginning to affect her schoolwork and her interactions with her classmates.  We're in process of trying to get her some accommodations for her educational needs, but in the meantime I find myself worrying about her an awful lot (even more than Spencer lately). 

Everything else:
  Email, blogging, laundry, etc. are getting only a tiny sliver of my brainpower right now.   

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Lara Has Run Out of Things to Say?

I keep racking my brain deciding what to write about.  I keep starting posts and not finishing them.    After almost 6 years of blogging, I have realized that I am in the middle of one of my longest streaks ever of writer's block.  Last month I blogged the fewest number of posts since the very beginning of my blog and even with a batch of homemade valentines to brag about (or make fun of as the case would have it this year), I just can't seem to put two and two together.  

One day in desperation for blogging inspiration I decided to look in my old journals. 

That's when it dawned on me. 

I haven't been blogging for 6 years....

I've been blogging for 31+ years. 

I started this journal on my 8th birthday, filling it with recaps of fights I had with friends, what we ate for dinner, and....

even a newspaper clipping from when I won the 4th grade district spelling bee. (my winning word
was "vaccination")

If you had asked me 20 years ago whether I liked writing, I would have unequivocally said absolutely not.   Yet I have journal after journal after journal that prove otherwise.   For nearly 32 years I've been writing about my life. 

It's fascinating to go back and see what was important to me at each stage of my life. 

My teen journals are rather boringly filled with lists what boy said hi to me that day and evaluations about why certain boys may or may not have liked me, but thankfully I was thoughtful enough to paste in a few old pictures to occasionally entertain as well.

Some of my entries are interesting. 

Some of them are hilarious and depressing at the same time....

and some of it is downright embarrassing....

So there you have it. 

I've been blogging for most of my life and have now run out of things to say. 

In the olden days I would have written an entire blogpost (or journal entry) to  how I should have enlisted a proofreader to correct my awkward phrasing and odd choice of words before I started mass producing the kids' valentines, but simply adding a few lipstick marks is so much easier and  more interesting...

Stay tuned for tally marks of how often Glen sends me flowers and debates on which outfit I should wear each day. 

Happy Valentine's Day!  



Saturday, February 9, 2013

One Saturday in February


I had a YW camp meeting,

4 of the 5 kids had a service project (mulch flyer distribution),

Glen ran an 18-mile training run,

I took Adam to the Pinewood Derby district championship where he raced 25 other pack champions.

He made it to the finals and ended up taking 4th place!

Glen took Cami to the DMV where she passed her written exam and now is the proud holder of a learner's permit....

While Glen was at the DMV I started getting phone calls and texts from concerned friends who noted that Glen's email had been hacked.  Within about 2 minutes of the hack (by some idiot in Turkey), I changed the password to his email and facebook accounts.   We hope that that's the end of it.  In the meantime, he is annoyed and embarrassed. 

I went to the consignment store to do a cheap mid-winter wardrobe update.

While I was at the store, Glen was grilling some burgers and brats for dinner.  Randomly the grill burst into flames singeing the hair on Glen's arm and completely torching the food. 

We went out to dinner instead. 

We came home to find that Rocky had helped himself to his own dinner when he pulled a rotisserie chicken off the table and ate it in its entirety, all the way to the bones.   It was meant for tomorrow night's dinner and was forgotten in the hubbub of the flaming grill.   He totally knew his own guilt and hid from me when I walked in the door.  I think he was surprised when I refrained from getting annoyed at him and instead pulled him back over to the scene of the crime, so I could take a picture of him.

While the kids were all off at evening activities, Glen and I had an at-home date night while we waited for kids to come home. We watched, "Here Comes the Boom!" and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Now I am typing, playing with the photos on Photoshop Elements, and thoroughly enjoying the memory of a totally normal--the good and the bad--kind of day! 


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Before and After Bedroom Pics

A tidbit that you may or may not know about me (depending on whether or not you've been inside our house), is that I am the very antithesis of Martha Stewart.   Not only does home decorating not really excite me, but I also find shopping tedious  and I tend to get very overwhelmed whenever I think of house projects.   It's so bad that my Better Homes and Gardens magazines actually cringe in horror when they cross over my threshold. 

Sad, but true. 

So, we are in process of trying to take advantage of the super low interest rates to refinance our house again.  I knew that an appraisal was part of the refinance process, but in our previous experience the appraiser has never had to come to our house before.   I was shocked and more than a little horrified when I learned that someone would not only have to see every nook and cranny of our house, but that they'd be taking pictures of it too. 

I actually wondered if it was worth the effort, but when I thought of the kitchen upgrades that we're planning to do after the refinance goes through, I decided that maybe the appraiser coming could be just the bee in my bonnet that I needed  to jolt me into action.    So we decided to start at the bottom of the barrel, which in our case was our bedroom.  Since nobody but us ever saw it, I never bothered to decorate it much or find solutions for the clutter.  Combine that with the fact that it's rather small and it's sadly become pretty pathetic over the years.  I decided that it was time for a change and the appraisal was just the motivating deadline that I needed to make it happen. 

Here's the BEFORE picture:  (yes, I know how ugly it is)  We have cluttery nightstands that don't have enough space, a bedspread that I've never loved, and kids drawings bedecking the walls with scotch tape. 
 I kind of enjoyed the researching part, but did not love the countless trips to Home Goods, TJ Maxx, Ross, Marshalls, and Target.  Nor did I love the hours spent poring through all the stuff, deciding what was worth keeping and where I was going to put what we did keep.  Organization does not come naturally to me and I found the whole process rather painful....   

We got the new antique dresser thingy, storage bench, and nightstand from Home Goods, the lamp and curtains from Target, the chalkboard from Marshall's, and the bedspread from Ross(?).  We're waiting for a dust ruffle to arrive from Amazon.   Although it's not 100% done yet, I love having a place to put our things and I love that it actually looks pretty in here! 
I don't want to walk into another home store again for 97 years, but I am relieved that the appraisal is over and not only did I not have to be embarrassed, but I actually enjoy spending time in our beautiful, uncluttered bedroom!   

Next up....the kitchen!    

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Another month...

and another clean check-up! 

Hooray for 8 months of being strong and healthy

He is especially excited to be feeling good at his pre-season lacrosse practices!  He missed the entire season last year and is thrilled to be running and playing hard again.  Additionally, all of his college applications are in and now he's just waiting to hear what his options are going to be for next year!    

Happy day! 

Clinic Stats:
WBC=4700, ANC=2180, Hgb=15.7, Platelets=134 (still a little low), Weight=74.2 kg


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Pinewood Derby 2013

Ahhhhh, it's that time of year again.   The time that parents of Cub Scouts everywhere either love or hate. 

It's time when you get to help your son turn a block of wood into the car of his dreams. 

I wish I could say that we were the kind of parents who love and look forward to breaking out the power tools with our children, but as any power tool will kindly attest, Glen and I are a bit on the inept side when it comes to anything handy.   

After a couple of years of middle-of-the-pack finishes, this year Adam finally recognized that  relying on parental advice for designing his car was perhaps not entirely wise. 

Cue an impulse purchase from Michaels, a paperback book confidently titled Pinewood Derby Speed Secrets

Adam was enraptured to know that there were actually tricks to the trade and studied it diligently before completely designing the car himself.  Glen helped him with the power tools and with tweaks, but the ideas were all Adam's. 

There ended up being a few hiccups on race night, but after drilling a few holes in it to help it make weight and using a little glue to reattach the wheel which had broken off,  Adam and his car (which he dubbed, "The Tornado," were raring to go! 

Then something weird and unexpected happened....

Adam's car averaged 158+ mph and never lost a single race the entire night...

Now he and The Tornado are off to districts to race against the winners of all the other local packs....  
Now if only I could get him to use some of his sweet skills to fix up a few things around the house...

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