Monday, November 14, 2016

Penguin is a Rockstar

It's been a busy couple of weeks with Penguin's flute playing.  She's now two months into learning the flute, and the week before last was her first studio recital, where she performed two pieces:

I've said it before, and I'll say it again:  I love watching her do hard things.  I love watching her nervously flit about the house before a performance, I love talking to her as I do her hair and I love to reassure her, and I love sitting next to her before she walks up to perform and seeing her wiping her hands on her pants and fiddling around with her sheet music, and that big breath she takes while hesitating to stand up before her turn up front...and then watching her as she confidently walks up to the front of the room, back straight, all business.  In the zone.  And she pulls off the performance, she politely walks back to her seat, and then just collapses into her chair and leans into me, heart racing.  It's the most adorable thing.  This girl is going to do what she has set out to do.  Period.  I love it.

Seriously, this was HER FIRST RECITAL.  She's been playing for EIGHT WEEKS.  She's fantastic!

And then this last weekend was the Flute Ensemble Festival, which is just a fancy title for a duet competition.  Since she's so new to the instrument, she was allowed to perform with her flute teacher.  I wasn't able to go because I was recovering from a medical procedure, so Michael played videographer for me:

Which earned her a SUPERIOR rating in the Primary class.  (For those of you not in the know, a "superior" rating is the highest you can get, and "primary" is the beginning level.)

It's just nice to watch your kids succeed.  She's so serious about getting good at this, and it's so much fun to watch someone totally commit to something.  Her teacher is hardcore, and I love it.  She was very upfront about practice expectations, and she pushes performing and participating in any opportunities to get more performance time.

Penguin has taken her words to heart and now practices twice a day--she finishes up breakfast, brushes her teeth, and then does her first practice in her pajamas, leaving her a little bit of time afterwards to get dressed and run out to the bus stop, and then she practices again right before dinner.  Oh my gosh, I love it so much.

And, bonus, Monkeyboy is seeing all this and wants in on it, which makes for cute videos:

And he has started begging for piano lessons.  Oh, my Mama-loves-music heart is just fit to burst.  She's just such a good kid.  We are lucky, lucky parents.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Autumn Flowers

I have an app that lets me know when Michael enters a certain perimeter around our house, and
whenever it chimes at me, I let the Brookelets know that he's almost home and they run out to greet him as he drives down the street to our house.  On one of those days I noticed that the light was quite nice, and my flowers were looking rather cheerful, so I grabbed my camera to document it all.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Queen of the Mountain Softball Tournament

A couple of weeks ago was her last tournament, this time an hour away, so I had to pull her out of school a couple hours early so we could make it up there in time for her first game.  That meant hitting a drive-thru for lunch, and lots of reading in the car for her, which pleased her greatly.

Given my back's instability when it comes to long car rides, I decided that we'd stay up there for the night and avoid the extra commuting, and we had such a great time!  I hadn't been able to prepare for our trip because the van's brakes required the van to be in the shop for three days (originally it was only supposed to be one morning, ugh), and I only got my van back about an hour before we had to leave, so I just said, "Forget it, we're going to eat out and not worry about things," and we did.  Penguin had fun, and she was incredibly wired and couldn't go to sleep, so we stayed up until eleven or so just talking and giggling.  Good memories.

Not much in the way of photos because my back was rather on edge and it was hard to concentrate on taking pictures, but that's just how it is sometimes.

It was a fun little weekend for us, and I'm looking forward to future overnighter tournaments!  This was the last tournament for this year, so we'll see what we get handed next year!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Weekly Report: September 10-30, 2016

It's become apparent to me that I'm not getting much "extra" homemaking types of thing done around here, and I really do prefer to mostly talk about the Brookelets, so "weekly report" it shall be from this point forward.  If I do manage to do something astounding, homemaking-wise, I'll be sure to show you because the only other witnesses are the cats, and that's somewhat depressing.  Ha ha.

Things are still crazy here, hence the "September 10-30th" date range.  I am NOT one of those annoying women who enjoys bragging about how busy they are, like being busy is the end goal of life, and the extended craziness has me scrutinizing our daily lives to try to figure out just WHY things are so crazy, and for so long lately.  My best theories are:
  1. I've not truly done a "back to school" before--last year was the first time the kids went through the whole "back to school" thing, but I had a broken foot and a busted back, and Michael was unemployed, so he mostly took care of all of that stuff.  Baptism by lava here.
  2. I started keeping track of how often a "last minute" schedule change popped up, and in the last two weeks we've had ten individual instances.  So...that's a lot of frustration and stress, which is undoubtedly making things feel like they're very off-balance.  I really dislike how our text-happy culture has swayed towards informing at the last minute.'s now October, and my calendar is practically naked, so I think things are going to calm down considerably.

So what's been keeping us busy?  Well, Penguin's softball has been one of the big things going on around here.  She had another tournament, and there's been games.  She really is improving quickly.

Bluebird, Penguin and I went to the Sundance Harvest Festival, which was a good day.  Oh, the drive up there was absolutely gorgeous, and the views at Sundance are always lovely, so it was quite nice.

After that, we snuck up to Park City to visit an animal shelter that happened to have a Scottish Fold cat newly on-site, and we loved her and pre-adopted her.  Michael has commented a few times that he thinks Scottish Fold cats are so hilarious-looking, and he wished we could get one, but they run about $500, and I'm not spending $500 on a cat, so I set up notification searches on various pet adoption websites to email me whenever a Scottish Fold showed up anywhere, and voila, five months later I had a notification, and only an hour and half away from me!

So, we now have Charlotte:

Quesnel hates her, and Charlotte ignores Quesnel.  Great buddies.  Charlotte likes Michael a whole lot, and they watch TV together each evening, which is great because I pretty much found her for him.  She hides under my bed by day, and Michael fishes her out in the evening and carries her about.  It's pretty cute.  (She's not going to like it when I get my room cleaned up enough so that the Roomba can come through...)  Sometimes I just look at her and bust out laughing.

I was released from my calling as Activity Days leader, and Michael was released from his calling as Sunday School teacher for the 14-15 year olds, and we were called to team teach the 11 year olds.  But they haven't called a new Activity Days leader yet, so I'm wondering what I should be doing in regards to that until they do.

I went to Bluebird's Parent Teacher Conferences, and she's doing well, and her teachers all said they liked her...her English teacher smiled big when I said I was Bluebird's mother, and she said, "Oh, I love her!  She's a ROCKSTAR!"  Well, OK then!  The only areas she needs to improve in are turning in her work, which is dragging down her grades in two classes, and to not read other books during class.  It's so funny, but that's what EVERY ONE of her teachers said--"She reads a lot, and I have to ask her to put her books away during class."  Every teacher.  ALL of them.  Honestly, girl...

And I need to get breakfast going, so I'll just pop the extra pictures in here for your viewing enjoyment: 

Oh yeah--I made a hat for Bluebird during Penguin's last tournament.  It matches her new winter coat, which she's not allowed to wear until it gets colder.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Courtney Osborn Softball Tournament

Playing second base

Talking to Coach

Getting some encouragement from our first base coach

Resting between games

Taking off from third base to steal home

(Barely...both the catcher and Penguin froze and then looked up to umpire
for the call, ha ha! It was a squeaker!)

So pleased with herself for stealing home!

Penguin's first tournament for her accelerated softball team is in the books!  It was only twenty minutes away, and it really was a lot of fun for her!  I had a feeling that she wasn't too terribly sure about being on the team, what with the extra games and practices outside of city league, but she really seemed to warm up to the idea over the two days of this tournament.  While eating dinner after her last game, I asked her how she was liking her new team, and she said, "I LOVE it!"  Whew!

It's a brand new team, and most of these teams have already been together for a year, if not longer, so our team got beat pretty bad each game; BUT, when you compare how the girls played this weekend to how they were playing just two weeks ago, it's amazing how much improvement they're already showing.  We'll be fine once we get the bumps ironed out.  The girls were getting kind of wound up over losing so much, and their coach went on a personal mission to remind them that above all else, we play softball to HAVE FUN.  Winning's nice and all, but ultimately we show up to play because we like to play the game.  Once they got that into their heads (or, really, got the anxiety of losing off of their radars) they relaxed, and played better.  Sweet girls.  Life's too long and full of things to worry about to start worrying when you're ten years old.

I love these pictures so much.  I'm so glad that she gets this opportunity to play a game she loves.  Lucky, lucky girl.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Back to School!

I seriously wanted to shoot a video of them getting onto the school bus, and then, when it started to pull away from the curb, have the "Hallelujah Chorus" start playing.  Man, were we ever ready for summer vacation to be over this time!  The kids have been chomping at the bit for school to start, and yesterday their school had their Open Houses, so they all got to meet their new teachers, and it was an exercise in impossibility to keep them calm afterwards.  Excited kids!

(Please excuse the quality of the camera is really having a hard time lately!)

Mr. Monkeyboy is going into the first grade this year, and he is so ready for it.  He was pretty miffed last year that Kindergarten lasted only half a day, and so this summer really wore on him while he waited for "all day long" school to finally start.

His teacher seems very nice, and last night he told me, "I really like my teacher.  I think she's going to be good."  Alright then!

She sent him home with a little bag that said to open it before he went to bed last night, and when we did open it, it was filled with confetti and a cute little poem about sprinkling the confetti under his pillow so it could magically help him sleep well and be ready for his first day of school.

I checked under his pillow as I was tucking him in, and he had sprinkled his confetti.  Oh my goodness, the cuteness of it all.  This morning when I woke him up for breakfast I asked if the confetti helped him sleep, and he stretched and groaned and said, "I think it helped me sleep TOO well.  It's hard to get up."  Hee hee.

Miss Junebug is not that excited about returning to school, but she was pretty happy about wearing her new clothes.  AND her classroom is decorated with Pete the Cat, Bad Kitty, If You Give a Dog a Doughnut, and all sorts of cute little animals.  She's very excited about all that.

Miss Penguin is happy to go to school again.  Her teacher seems like a sunshine-y ball of energy, so I think Penguin will enjoy her school year.

Her teacher is on the short side, just barely taller than her fifth grade students, and last night as Monkeyboy was talking about school he randomly exclaimed, "And Penguin's teacher is just so cute I can hardly stand it!"  Oh, how I laughed.

And little Miss Bluebird starts JUNIOR HIGH this year, which means she heads out to catch the bus fifty minutes before the rest of the Brookelets.

Today is actually her second day of school, as yesterday was "Seventh Grade Day," where all the incoming seventh graders come in for half a day in order to learn how to work their lockers and get a feel for changing classrooms without all the extra commotion of having the eighth and ninth graders in the hallways.

I think she's going to have a good year, just as long as she stays on top of her homework.  In addition to getting into Honors Science ("It's almost ALL BOYS in there!"), she also was placed in Honors Math.  Proud of my girl.


They're getting so big, so fast!