Friday, May 31, 2013

Hey hey, it's the end of May!

A couple days after Memorial Day, my dad and I went to Spanish Fork to visit the grave of my maternal grandparents.  I never got to meet my Nanny Erma, but my mom says my personality is a lot like hers.  I wish so much we could have met in this life, but I look forward to when we will someday have that opportunity.

It's a pretty amazing sight to see the cemeteries covered in beautiful flowers after Memorial Day.  These people were loved so dearly and are clearly never forgotten.
This is the grave of my great grandmother who my mother was named after!  Excuse my awkward smile... I was still numb from the dentist. 
This is my new nephew, Scotty Frog (not to be confused with Scotty Dog who is my father).  He will be the first boy born in our family in 33 years since my brother was born!  We can't wait to meet him in person.  I love him so much already.
Last night was the theater arts closing banquet at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building.  It was so lovely.  Phaidra did a wonderful job.  I will miss this lady! She has become such a good friend.  But luckily, friendship has no expiration date!  We will be friends always, despite her move to another school.  Special thanks to Kate Sonne for choosing such a beautiful bridesmaid dress that I've been able to use on more than one occasion since then!
We have always wanted to perform a duet together and it have never happened.  Until last night.  Our music cut out halfway through, but I think we found creative ways to fill the time.  Please enjoy.

I asked Dave to be my date.  He was such a good sport and took lots of pictures and the breathtaking video shown above.
Here is Nathan, our faithful accompanist, mentor, and friend. The kids adore him. I'm excited to be in the grad program with him in the fall! And yup, I put my hand on my hip for every picture.  Sweet.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Oh, it's a Jolly Holly-day!

What better way to spend memorial day weekend than making memories with your nearest and dearest?

This weekend, I went to visit one of my best friends, Queen Holly Verlene Green X, also known as Holls Balls. We've known each other for over 20 years now (as illustrated by the nicknames we still use that we obviously didn't make up anytime recently).  It was such a fun, relaxing weekend.  This morning, I kept thinking of all the reasons why getting together with your closest friends who you have known the longest is so good for the soul.  I have compiled a top ten list, in random order.

  1. You never run out of things to talk about
  2. If there does happen to be silence, it is peaceful and never awkward
  3. You can listen to music from high school for hours on end, singing along to every word, without getting bored.
  4. You can stumble over lyrics and sing wrong words without feeling self conscious because neither of you care
  5. You don't have to justify weird things about yourself (like how I always fall asleep during movies) because the other person has known this about you for years
  6. Memories one of you has forgotten about the other one remembers. It makes revisiting them all the more entertaining!
  7. You know every member of each others' families, so you both always know who you are talking about
  8. You sincerely delight in each others' accomplishments and want the other to be so happy
  9. You know what buttons the other has because of your years of friendship, but you never push them because you never want to make the other mad
  10. You can talk about things that frustrate you or make you sad in a 100% judge free zone
I know there are a million more reasons, but those were some that stood out to me during our two days of adventures!

On Saturday, I got in around 4:30 p.m. and got to see Holly's lovely townhouse that she gets all to herself! I couldn't get over the fact that we're grown-up enough (well, she's grown up enough) to have a guestroom with an actual bed in it! I did a little too much sleeping this weekend because of the high comfort level of the mattress.

We left soon after for a tour of BYU-Idaho, which was a trip highlight for me.  It made me want to do my undergrad experience all over again.  I loved college!

We naturally started our tour in Holly's second home, the library.  She is one 11 professional librarians who takes care of the library by researching and ordering materials (including books and online resources), teaching research classes, making sure the shelves are appropriately stocked and organized, etc.
Holly's sections of the library include the Juvenile literature section (pictured above), the religion section, and the education section.

First selfie with my new phone...we didn't know where to look.

Look how interesting the book is that I'm reading!
Isn't this a beautiful campus?

The horticultural students have landscaped beautiful gardens for students to enjoy.  I can only imagine how many engagements have taken place there.

How cool is this?! It's just like the conference center! BYU-I had a smaller version of the conference center on their campus! It was designed like the one on temple square and holds about 13,000 people.  That's just a little smaller than the number of students that attend the university.

We naturally had to hit the Rexburg hot spot for frozen yogurt in order to get the real BYU-I experience. Dee. LISH.

On Sunday, Holly orchestrated a meal to remember after church that morning.  It was simply divine.

Since I love all things potatoes, this was my little project.  I had never before made twice-baked potatoes, but with Holly's tutelage, they turned out!
We got to try out Holly's new patio set for the first time.  It was soooo nice to eat outside after the long winter Utah had this year.

Honey mustard glazed pork chops, corn on the cob, twice baked potatoes, and cranberry vinaigrette salad.  Are you salivating yet?

That night, Holly made homemade ice-cream. I don't know that I can ever go back to store bought after that eating experience.
This was round one.  I was back for an equally large portion about five seconds later.

I got to pick the movies we watched, so I naturally chose all chick ficks.  We managed to fit two in that afternoon and evening!
Monday morning, we visited the little towns where Holly's mom and dad grew up, 8 miles apart.  Holly gave me the official Green family tour.  We also explored the Teton canyon.  It was so beautiful!

This river next to Holly's dad's birthplace (actually in Wyoming) was extremely swift and powerful. A little scary!

There was still lots of snow along the trail.
Holly has legit waterproof hiking shoes that I started coveting when I saw she got to walk through the water and I had to jump on rocks.
As we were walking HOlly stopped and said, "Look, it's a varmint!"  Or at least that's what I thought she said. She actually said, "It's a marmot!"
I got to meet Holly's cute grandmother who still lives in the same 3 bedroom home she raised ten kids in!  What a powerhouse mom! Holly's Aunt Margy (of Aunt Margy's sandwiches fame) and uncle were also there.  It was really fun to get to visit with them for a few minutes before we had to get back.

On the way home, it was only natural that I wanted a picture with the giant potato. I'm already anxious for when I get to come back and go on more adventures.  Thanks for being such a fabulous hostess, Holls Balls!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

What are Kids Listening to These Days?

As per tradition, I do a favorite song presentation with my students at the end of the year when things are less crazy.  I wrote down the names of each song that was presented so you could get a taste of some of the music kids are listening to in the second decade of the 21st century.  Some of it may surprise you! I found lots of songs I can't wait to go download.  The biggest surprise for me was how much my boys love R&B singers like Justin Timberlake. 

 “Watching You” by Rodney Atkins
“City of Blinding Lights” by U2
“Mad” by Ne-Yo
“Code Name Vivaldi” by The Piano Guys
“Bubble Toes” by Jack Johnson
“Underneath” by Adam Lambert
“I’ll be Your Strength” by The Wanted
“Wings” by Macklemore
“What Makes You Beautiful” by The Piano Guys
“Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore
“Daughters” by John Mayer
“It’s Time” by Imagine Dragons
“You’re Gonna Miss Me” cover by One-Man Quartet
“Moonsong,” orchestrated remake
“Brand New Me” by Alicia Keys
“Superstition” by Stevie Wonder”
“Breezeblocks” by Alt-J
“American Honey” by Lady Antebellum
“Everything has Changed” by Taylor Swift/ Ed Sherran
“Temporary Home” by Carrie Underwood
“Wake Up” by The Green
“Good Riddance” (Time of Your Life) by Greenday
“Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen
“Beth” by KISS
“Rock with You” by Michael Jackson
“You’ll be in my Heart” by Phil Collins
“Twenty-eight” by The Weeknd
“Mirrors” by Justin Timberlake
“Defying Gravity” from Wicked
“Noisy Birds” by Fictionist
“Hurt” cover by Johnny Cash
“I Can’t Make You Love Me” cover by Tank
“Midnight Train to Georgia” by Gladys Knight/Pips
“The Unforgettable Fire” by U2
“Georgia on My Mind” by Ray Charles
“Swim” by Jack’s Mannequin
“Gravity” by Sara Bareilles
“Lay Your Head on my Shoulder” cover by John Legend
“Runaway” by Matt Kearney
“Float” by Flogging Molly
“Indestructible” by Robyn
“Vivo por lei” by O.R.O. Boccelli
“Smooth Criminal” cover by Glee
“Under Pressure” by Queen featuring David Bowie
“A Little’s Enough” by Angels and Airwaves (AVA)
“Wonderwall” by Oasis
“Mean to Live” by Switchfoot
“Hear You Me” by Jimmy Eat World
“Lost in Heaven” by DJ Splash
“Faraway” by Nickelback
“Sing My a Love Song” by Barlow Girl
“Gravity” by John Mayer
“Bye Bye Bye” by Mariah Carey, Akon, and Lil’ Wayne
“Still the One” cover by Ka’au Crater Boys
“Every Teardrop is a Waterfall” by Coldplay
“Remedies” by Visioneer
“Mambo Number 5” by Lou Bega
“A Falling Through” by Ray Lamontagne
“One Last Breath” by Creed
“Bring Me to Life” by Evanescence
“Thank You” by MKTO
“Cannon Bell” by Sweethaven
“Clown” by Emeli Sande
“How” by Regina Spektor
“One More Time, One More Chance”
“Through My Eyes” by Phillip Linford
"Walk With Me” by Luna Lune
“Sometime around Midnight” by Toxic Event
“Soarin’” from the California Adventure Ride
“The Man Who Can’t Be Moved” by The Script
“Secret Crowds” by Angels and Airwaves

 So now it's your turn! I thought it would be fun to hear from you what your top three favorite songs in high school were.  Don't be afraid to write in! I think everyone will enjoy reading the favorite music of teenagers from different decades.  This includes you, Mom and Dad!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Choir Banquet 2013

This year, I decided I wanted to have a banquet for all my choirs instead of just the madrigals.  I wanted to recognize all the outgoing seniors from each choir and also honor outstanding choir students from each class.  We decided to combine the banquet with our end of the year concert and do the performance in the school commons where we would be eating.  A lot of this narrative will be boring, so skip it and go to the pictures! But I want to remember this night because after a really difficult year, it meant a lot to me. 

I had students audition to perform as part of the banquet, and each choir sang a couple songs on the program.  For the auditioned numbers, I ended up with a girl playing the guitar and singing an Ed Sheeran song (she truly sounds like a legitimate pop star!); an incredibly performed solo by another girl of "L-O-V-E;' a duet of a guy and a girl singing, "Hallelujah, accompanied by the boy on the guitar; and a group of boys singing, "For the Longest Time." Those boys worked on that piece during countless lunch times and poured their entire hearts in to it.  Admittedly, there were some major issues with the harmonies, but they received the biggest applause and were so proud of the hard work they had done.  The choir kids in the audience also loved it, many students citing that number as their favorite of the evening.

In terms of the choral pieces, my concert choir sang a Palestrina piece that I love entitled "Sicut Cervus."  It literally came together for the first time that night after a long and hard rehearsal that day.  I really didn't know if we'd pull it off, to be honest.  What a great moment singing that last chord was.  They also sang "Trashin' the Camp" from Tarzan.  My ladies ensemble sang, "Now is the Month of Maying" by Thomas Morley. They have come such a long way with three part harmony. I was so proud of them. They also did a choreographed rendition of Halo/Walking on Sunshine from Glee.  The madrigals boys performed a Boys II Men a cappella version of "Yesterday" and the madrigals girls sang an a cappella arrangement of "My Funny Valentine."  Together, they sang the jazz classic, "The More I See You."  My level 1 choir stole the show with their performance of "Make Them Hear You" from Ragtime and "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz.  On the latter of the two pieces, they accompanied themselves on ukelele, guitar and djembe.  They did scat singing, which we had studied a little in class.  It was charming and people commented on their improvement over the year. 

For awards, seniors got certificates and musical note pins, which I encouraged them to pin on their graduation robes.  The seniors who did choir all four years got plaques and pins.  The outstanding choir students got medals.  At the end of the banquet, we announced the choir council for the 2013-2014 school year. 

I have some AMAZING parents who made this dream possible. Without them, this banquet could never have happened. I was walking on clouds all night because they did such an incredible job making the evening feel special for all my students and their parents.  Thanks to our musical review fundraiser in January for our NY trip,  we had some money left to spend on the banquet so people did not have to pay.  This was important to me, especially because all my students participated in the musical review regardless of whether or not they were going to NY and they deserved to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
And thanks to my dear friend Dave for his incredible photography skillz throughout the evening.  I was so pleased with how some of the pictures turned out of my individual kids performing that I sent them to the parents.  Unfortunately, I can't show those pictures because they are of students, but I can share my other favorites to help show what our evening was like.

One of the moms spearheaded the decorations.  My students made the paper tulips in the Pelegrino bottles on each table.  This awesome mom had people email pictures from the year which she printed and put in dollar frames from Walmart.  The kids loved looking at them.  They are now on display in my classroom.

One of the mothers, who also happens to be a bishop's wife and president of the PTA, organized all the food for the event.  She ended up doing an amazing lasagna dinner with rolls and salad for a very low price. It was perfect. 
Parents volunteered to bring desserts. About 13 different families brought beautiful cookies and cupcakes.

I wore the dress from my brother's wedding...boy has that come in handy over the past four years! I kind of had to act as host because I was presenting so many awards, which I didn't really plan, so I ended up saying some really awkward things, including prefacing a couple of awards with, "The goal of these two boys was to make my life as miserable as possible!"  Luckily, they weren't phased...probably very proud of the honor!

After the banquet was over, I got the centerpiece from the food table as a gift from one of the parents.  It is absolutely gorgeous.
So excited!!!!
Thanks to my ultra supportive roommate, her friend Robert, and my friend Dave for sitting through a long high school choir banquet (honoring kids they don't know), just to support me.  Means sooooo much!

After the banquet, students and parents helped put away the (hideous) shell and risers and bring the piano back to the dressing room where it lives.  But that wasn't before taking a detour to the men's bathroom where a group of boys pushed the piano and commenced playing.  I walked by after they were already all inside.  The boys each helped accompany the piano music by hitting bathroom stalls for percussion, flushing the toilet, using the hand driers, etc.  I think they were going for the whole "Five Guys and a Piano" thing on youtube. They were pretty impressed with themselves, and I have to admit, it made my night. 

I was so happy to end a year of personal challenge as an educator on a positive note. I look forward to trying to make next year the best I can

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Recent Haps in my Hood

Yo, I'm so hip.

I was going through my phone and I realized I had quite a collection of phone pics that I haven't been documenting on this here blog.  I have not been great about blogging this year, but I am not giving up.  So here we go...

Haps #1: I have become very good friends with Isabel and her family and Meiry and her family over the past couple months. Isabel moved here in October and Meiry only recently arrived.  Their familes are great friends and they have had me over for authentic Brazilian cuisine more than once (que saudades!), so it was high time for me to return the favor.

As many of you know, cooking isn't really my strongest suit.  But, I gave it the good ole' college try.

 Okay, so I bought the rolls (which made me salivate since I knew I couldn't have them).  Mashed potatoes, however, are my specialty.  Those place-mats were made for me for Christmas by my clever sister in law!

I discovered the crock pot. What a wonderful invention! I threw in the food and it was ready 8 hours later when I got home from church. 

I provided an American dessert and Isabel brought a Brazilian dessert.  Pictured above is the most popular gluten free dessert around our house these days.  They are Rice Chex treats with chocolate chips.  Pictured below is my all-time favorite dessert, torta de bolacha.

Love these girls!
Isabel, Ricardinho, and Sabrina
Isabel's husband Ricardo, and Meiry and her son Diego
Luigi, Fernando, Meiry, and Diego
Haps #2: I got to babysit my favorite one year old last weekend.

Let me tell you what, this girl's smile LITERALLY melts your heart. 

Haps #3:  So one day last weekend, I was having a bad day and needed some retail therapy.  So here it is, from the dressing room in the store.... my room. 

Haps #4: That same day, I had to go to a concert for an online class I'm taking.  I went to the Salt Lake Children's Choir.  Aren't they the most adorable things you've ever seen?

 Haps #5: My sissy's belly is growing.  Not fast enough for my taste, but growing nonetheless.  Anxiously awaiting news of the gender! That will determine (among other things) the theme of the baby shower!


Haps #6:  I have a tear-off calendar at work (thanks Mom!) that I absolutely love. It really brings inspiration every day.  Here is one I got recently that I adored.

Haps #7:  My stake relief society did a dinner called "Time Out for YOU."  It was so cutely decorated and well put together. I was so impressed.

They had this cute husband and wife couple sing 4 songs, separately and together.  They are both professional singers.

Haps #8:  Michelle and I set a goal to put together 10,000 puzzle pieces and declared we would do something big to celebrate when we met our goal.  In 3 months, we completed about 12 puzzles, bit by bit.  It was a lot of fun.  To celebrate, we went to "The Melting Pot" with Jessame. It was duh-LISH!  So much fun.

Haps #9:  My friend Kayla turned 30 and had a "30 going on 13" party. It was so cute! There were lots of throwback foods from when we were 13 in the 90's  (Capri Suns, Bubble Tape, Fruit Roll Ups, etc.).  They had an old school Nintendo set up, along with popular games from our childhood like Jenga and Hungry, Hungry Hippos.  There was also a photo backdrop set up with lots of prop.  It was SO fun!