Saturday, April 28, 2007

Songs in the Key of Life

Looking back on all my posts, I realized that though this blog is titled, "One Musical Mom's Life", there hasn't been a lot about music.

So, if Stevie Wonder will indulge my borrowing his album title, today is about music.

What is it about music that we can remember exactly where we were, and what we were doing, if we hear a certain song come on the radio?

For example, although this will probably date me, and make you even question my music choices, I can tell you exactly where I was, and even who I was talking to on the phone, whenever I hear "Nikita" by Elton John. Granted, it was the 80's, and I was in high school, and this was what was playing. Or "Be Good Johnny" by Men at Work. 7th grade Winter Church retreat, and it was playing in the gym during our free time. Or "The Tide is High" by Blondie. 5th grade, and it was playing on the jukebox at Pizza Hut.

And songs associated with movies?? Even more likely to send me down Memory Lane, and not always in a good way. The summer that "Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves" came out in theaters, the theme song, Bryan Adams' "Everything I Do, I do for you" was playing non-stop on the radio. Though not a bad song in its 80's power ballad way, it had the unfortunate-ness for me of being associated with a very nasty breakup. Thus, every time it came on, I practically threw my radio across the room.

So why is it that music has such a power over us? Could it be that it is so entwined in our make-up that it's as essential as breathing? Have you ever noticed that we have heart "beats"? It's funny that the same word used to keep time or rhythm in a song, also is used to describe a major biological function.

I think this is why music and in particular, the part it plays in church services, is so close to people's hearts. If you were to poll 100 people, and ask them what part of a church service is most important to them, I think you would find that the Music is definitely right near the top. Just ask any harried worship pastor, after they've been trying to plan a church service, and I bet they'll say nailing down the music is the most challenging part. Because what style appeals to you, doesn't necessarily appeal to the person sitting next to you. And if music is a major part of how people meet and connect with God, and they can't relate to it, for whatever reason, where does that leave them?

And on top of all this, you have, in my opinion, two different schools of musicians: those that rely and take great comfort in notes, and full scores on the page, and those that prefer to have just the melody in the form of a lead sheet with chords as their map. I have found that it is a rare person who can do both well. For me, give me the full works, notes, chords and I'm a happy girl. Throw a lead sheet in front of me, and watch me have a meltdown. On the other hand, for someone who likes the freedom of a lead sheet to improvise, etc., a piece of sheet music could send them through the roof.

I think it all comes down to this: We need to remember that each person comes with his or her own likes & dislikes when it comes to music. But instead of letting it tear us apart, we can use our unique designs to create beautiful symphonies together in life. For one instrument playing by itself, in what appears to be an amazing solo, over time, can become very lonely. However, when the full orchestra joins in, playing together, this is what is known as the goose-pimple principle, my friend.

Let the music play, K~

Monday, April 23, 2007

Dogs and Blogs & Blogs and Dogs

There seems to be a trend lately in blogs about dogs. I don't know who started it, but I know both Jocelyn & Jenni have recently waxed poetically about the joys (and sorrows) of raising their four-footed children (Chloe, and Scoobie & Phoenix, respectively).

Meet our furry child, Shelby. She is 9 years old, a Keeshond, and our first "baby".

When we first got married, we lived in an apartment, but always said once we moved to a house with a backyard, we'd get a pet. I didn't really care, cat or dog, as I grew up with both.

David, on the other hand, was adamant that there were to be no cats in our house, as he was "allergic". You know, the kind of "I don't like them, therefore I'm allergic to them" allergy. In his defense, whenever we were around cats, his eyes did water & he sneezed a lot, but that also could have been dust & pollen.

Anyway, David grew up with a Keeshond named Lisa, and even learned to walk by pulling himself up by her fur, so when we were thinking, "dog", keeshonds or keeshounds, as they're more commonly known, were pretty much the forerunner. Also, at least the females, don't tend to get very big, so this was good for me. I'm not a huge fan of big dogs, as I was bowled over by a German Shepherd when I was pretty young. This is one of the many reasons why Laura and I get along so well :-)

Back to Shelby's story. The spring of 1998, we moved into our new house in Hillsboro, and a couple months later, we picked up the most adorable puppy, who we named Shelby, from a breeder in Salem. I had also just started a new job, not too far from where we lived, so it was easy to come home at lunch time, and let her out to run, etc.

There is nothing cuter than a Keeshond puppy!
(Unfortunately, I don't have any digital pics of Baby Shelby,
but this gives you an idea of what she looked like)

From 1998 until 2005, Shelby ruled the roost. However, like Chloe, Jocelyn's dog, she's always been very high-maintenance. Besides the copious amounts of hair, and not being fond of brushing or baths, she's also got a very sensitive digestive system. Which means no Purina chow for this dog. Only Prescription Potato & Duck, at $35 for a 20lb bag, found at your local vet's will do!

Dec. 2005. Kyra is born, the first day we bring her home, and what does Shelby do? Lick her right in the face!! So much for trying to keep germs away from the baby. I also figured at some point, Kyra would reciprocate with her own lick, so...

Here are some pictures of the two of them together:

Kyra is only 3 weeks old here!~~January 2006

Kyra 6 months--still buddies~~June 2006

"One for you, one for me!"~~Kyra 6 months, June 2006

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!~~Jan 2007

March 2007. Shelby goes to the groomer, and the groomer says, "Have you noticed these 'hot spots' on her back?" Bad pet owner, Kristin says,"No, what spots?" That same afternoon, our wonderful vet's office, Pampered Pet Clinic, sees Shelby, and puts her on antibiotics & a special shampoo & medicated rinse.

3 weeks later, not only did the medicine not touch it, she's gotten worse. The old spots have spread, she's got a new spot on her stomach, and her hair is starting to fall out. The vet says,"You need to take her to a Veterinary Dermatologist. I could do a ton of tests to figure out what's wrong with her, but a derm. vet might be able to look at her, and say, 'I've seen 3 cases like this today."

So we make the appointment with the derm. vet. Meanwhile, David & I are wondering how much more $$$$ can we spend, chasing after a diagnosis, which may not even be treatable? The initial exam at the vet specialist was going to run at least $200, and that doesn't begin to cover any additional lab work, or allergy tests they would need to do.

After a lot of discussion, and soul-searching, and a few shed tears, we've decided that the best solution for everyone is to continue with the new round of antibiotics/medicated baths, so she doesn't get worse, until we can arrange for the Keeshond Rescue folks to take her. Then hopefully, she will be adopted by someone who has the time & resources that she needs.

By the way, if you know of anyone who is looking to adopt a great pet, please let us know, or have them contact us.

Blessings all, K~

Friday, April 20, 2007

Life Lessons

Today was a peek into the not-so-distant future for me. Kyra & I picked up my Mom & Dad early this morning, and drove down to Corvallis, where my niece, Tatum, got to take part in the Math Olympics, held each year by the Association of Christian Schools International (ASCI).

"What are the Math Olympics?" you say. When I first heard about them, I thought they'd be like a spelling bee, only for math. Not so. Here's a brief description from the ASCI handbook:

ACSI Math Olympics

1. To stimulate an interest in mathematics.
2. To recognize the achievements of students in mathematics.
3. To offer students an opportunity to glorify God in the use of their mathematical abilities.
4. To provide these students an opportunity to meet and fellowship with others interested in mathematics.

1. The Math Olympics is a series of tests, with each test being considered as a round. The competition will consist of three or four rounds. The final round will be used only to break ties. Work will be collected between rounds by representatives of the participating schools.
2. Two categories of competition are offered.
Computation: Problems will be of the paper/pencil computational variety (example: fundamental operations).
Reasoning: These paper/pencil problems will be more difficult than the daily mathematical assignments of the student's grade level. They involve more than one operation and/or concept and require a high level of reasoning (example: story problems, patterns, puzzles).
3. No calculators may be used in the Math Olympics.
4. The Math Olympics is a testing situation and visitors are not permitted in the room during the tests. Visitors are permitted at the awards assembly.

Students in grades 3 - 8 may participate in the Math Olympics. Each school may send a maximum of three students in computation and three students in reasoning for each grade level (not each classroom). No student may perform in both categories. Maximum delegates per school would be 36 students. Schools should conduct their own math "run-off" and send their top students at each grade level to the ACSI Math Olympics. Each school must compile their own run-off math problems, using the ACSI samples as a guideline. Work will be judged in each grade level and in each category. Participating schools must bring four adults to the Olympics to be used as helpers. Two of the individuals must be teachers who will be asked to administer or monitor tests.

The Math Olympics is a half-day event in the spring of the year that gives students several months to sharpen their math skills before competing in the Olympics.

All students will receive a certificate of participation. Ribbons will be awarded to the top five students in each grade and category. The first-place student in each grade and each category with a minimum FCC of 85% accuracy will receive a medallion instead of a ribbon.
Like it says above, each school is only allowed to bring 6 students from each grade, and my niece was one of them! We are so proud of her! And what's extremely funny is, she certainly didn't get her math-whizness from her aunt! In fact, I would probably not even qualify now for today's event--Can someone say, "Are you smarter than a 5th grader?"

Anyway, when all was said and done, there were some very happy kids, and some that had to learn a kinda hard lesson today. There's always going to be someone that's better at something than you are. It's how you choose to respond to your situation that shows what kind of person you really are.

Well back to the "future glimpse". I realized today as a parent, it is our job to be our kids' biggest cheerleaders in all situations, but especially when the gold medals or blue ribbons go to someone else. In addition, how we respond to disappointment, also says volumes to those little eyes who are watching us.

Again, Tatum, we are very, very proud of you, and you'll get em' next year!

Blessings all, K~

Friday, April 13, 2007

To See or Not to See...

I've worn glasses and/or contacts since the 3rd grade.

I "blame" this on my addictive love of reading, which started when I was very young~~You know, your parents say, "lights out!", and so the overhead light goes off, and under the covers, the flashlight comes on, because you just have to finish the chapter, and find out if
Nancy Drew catches the bad guys :-)

Meanwhile, I believe my eyes paid the price.

My sister, on the other hand, didn't really like to read that much when we were growing up, and avoided having to wear glasses. In fact, she was one of those people in the early 80s, when it was "fashionable" to wear glasses (think Sally Jesse Raphael), she went and picked up frames with clear lenses!

I would have given my right arm not to have to wear glasses...

Fast forward to now. I realized the other day, that it was time to order more contacts. However, my vision prescription had expired, so I was going to need an exam first. I made an appointment for yesterday (the 12
th) with our regular vision provider. I also asked them if I would need to have someone come with me, to drive me home after they dilated my eyes. They said, "No, it only affects your near vision. Your far vision will be fine".

So with my mom watching
Kyra, I went to my 9am appointment. When I arrived, unfortunately about 1o minutes late (traffic and the slowest drivers in the world ahead of me), they were already running behind.

When they got me in, the technician did the initial tests to check my current prescription (read the bottom line that you can see, etc.) and then asked me to wait out in the waiting room, as they had limited exam rooms, and needed to get the next patient started.

This would have been okay, except she asked me to remove my contacts so I'd be all ready when it was my turn to see the doctor. I'd neglected to bring my glasses, so there I sat in the waiting room, not being able to see a thing. For you see, I'm extremely near-sighted, and without my glasses or contacts, everything is very, very fuzzy.

And the weirdest thing was, I felt like my whole world had shrunk. I didn't feel like I could look at anyone, for fear they would smile at me, I wouldn't see them, and thus, not smile back, and then be perceived as a stuck-up snob! I also couldn't read because I would have had to bring the magazine to an embarrassing distance from my face--yes, I'm that blind! So, there I sat, isolated from the world.

Then I went in to see the doctor, he examined my eyes, and wanted to dilate them. Drops go in, and I get to go back out to the waiting room for what seemed like an eternity, still not being able to see.

While I'm waiting, I have a lot of time to think, and began to wonder about the people in 3rd world countries that go through their whole lives, in a blur, just because they don't have access to glasses. Does it affect their self esteem? Do they feel as insecure as I do right now?

Good news is, my eyes haven't changed, and they renewed my prescription for another 2 years! Yea! The bad news is, after they dilated my eyes, for several hours afterwards, my near-vision was worthless.

To give you an idea of how bad, I couldn't read the speedometer, I couldn't even dial my cell phone, because everything was so blurry. In fact, I had to keep looking at things that were far away, because every time I looked at something close up, my eyes automatically tried to focus on it, and it would literally make me sick to my stomach.

So I think next time when I need to have my eyes dilated, I'll just be extra-safe, and bring someone with me, and let them drive home ;-)

Or I'll bring my glasses.

Blessings, K~

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Wabbit Season

I have loved and collected rabbits, mostly of the stuffed animal kind, since long before we were even married, so naturally I love Easter!

Now before I get flamed for completely missing the true reason for Easter, and buying into the world's attempt at misdirection with all the candy & the Easter bunny, let me back up.

I'll be the first to say, next to Christmas, Easter is my favorite time of the year. Spring is here, the flowers are blooming, and above all, we set aside time out of our crazy schedules to remember and celebrate Christ's sacrifice for us on a cross and triumph over death with His Resurrection Easter Sunday.

But this post is about rabbits, specifically the Chocolate kind. And more importantly, Kyra's first Chocolate bunny experience.

One day last week, I had asked David to stop at the grocery store to pick up a few things, which he did. Curiously, some things NOT on the list showed up in the bags :-) One of them was a Milk Chocolate bunny like the one below.

Since we've tried to limit the amount of sugar and/or candy Kyra gets, and we certainly don't need it in the house, I knew we were in trouble! But her Daddy said, "Everyone needs a Chocolate bunny", so what can you do?

The following is "Chocolate Bunny Eating 101":

not too sure....I'm supposed to eat this?

I'll just try a little bit...

Can I get the whole thing in my mouth?

So Yummy!

"Look at the front of her dress! Have you not heard of bibs?" you say. All through lunch, we were wearing a bib. It was only when we were ready to get down, that the bunny was introduced, and Mommy didn't think to put said bib back on.

One word:
OxiClean! All traces of chocolate are gone, and the dress is as good as new :-)

Well, real life is calling once again. Blessings, K~

Friday, April 6, 2007

Won't you join me at the Zoo?

Today's sunny, 81 degree day, was absolutely perfect for a visit to the Oregon Zoo, so Katie, Laura & I packed up all our kids and their mountains of gear, and had a play date!!

Apparently the entire city of Portland (and part of Vancouver) had the same great idea :-(

In addition, the new Black Bear exhibit opened recently, which happens to be at the front of the zoo, so that combined with great weather, brought out the moms, kids and their strollers en masse, all converging in one rather narrow area.

It was kinda like going to Disneyland when it first opens for the day, and all the rides near the entrance are just jammed packed. If we'd been smarter, we should have started at the Alaskan Tundra exhibit on the far,far side of the park, and then worked our way back.

Although, when we were leaving around 1pm, as Kyra was done (naptime!), there were still really long lines to get in, and I was literally stalked as I made my way to our parking spot. So, maybe it wouldn't have made a difference either way.

Anyway, we had a really fun time, and I've included some pictures of the kiddos. Unfortunately, I couldn't get any pictures of all of them together, as inevitably one or more would get up just as everyone was settled. Oh well, that's what Photoshop is for :-)

not so excited about my shades....

stroller buddies

just call me the zoo diva!

we needed one more seat...

3 little ducks at the pond

Freedom to finally run! Did someone say lunch?

Have a Blessed Easter!

Monday, April 2, 2007

Finding your True Self

I've been wanting a new look (maybe Jenni inspired me!) for spring, and while searching for makeover info, I found the following link which I thought I'd try:

What a hoot!

You should definitely try it, and I'd love to see your results, maybe posted on your site? (I'd say post them here, but I don't think you can post picture comments)

And who knows, maybe we'll bring a whole new meaning to being truly secure in who we are. Right, Jay?

Blessings, K~