Friday, May 30, 2014

After the Rain


We've had a couple of pretty good rainstorms this week.
Texas rainstorms are breathtaking!
I came out of the grocery store a few days ago and was met by this amazing sight. Can you see the second rainbow above it?


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Sam's Birthday

 We had a nice day celebrating Sam's birthday.
He arranged things in his lab so he could actually stay home on Memorial Day
and we celebrated together all day!
Highlights of the day:
-birthday pancake breakfast
-a pile of German chocolate (thanks, Amanda!)
-new birthday tradition of hiding gifts
-opening presents, including this book (what would we do without Amazon 1-cent books?)
-free Firehouse sub
-playing at the Splash Pad
-free lunch from Gringo's (best Tex-Mex restaurant ever!)
-naptime for the WHOLE family
-visiting our friend in the nursing home (her husband was a veteran)
-Almond Joy birthday cake
-beautiful rainy weather--the birthday boy's favorite
I didn't attempt to fit 29 candles on his birthday cake; I just put a group of 2 and then a group of 9.
My scientist/computer programmer told me it would be cool if I put the candles on his cake in binary code
and the lit ones could be 1s and the unlit ones could be 0s.

I just stuck with what I had done.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Crick in the Neck


After a long morning and missed nap on Saturday,
I came downstairs to find Wesley like this.

Last night Lincoln woke us up,
there was crashing thunder and lightning and buckets of rain dumping down,
Sam's phone started screeching with an alarm warning of a flash flood,
he spent a while looking up the weather news,
Talmage woke up and climbed into bed with us because of the storm,
and then Lincoln woke up again and wouldn't go back to sleep.

I think.
I'm not entirely sure, because everything is a haze from this nasty cold I've had the last couple of days which made sleeping next-to-impossible anyway.

The point of sharing all that is just to say that, given the opportunity,
I think I could fall asleep the very same way.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Spring Recital 2014


When my parents were fairly newly married,
my dad made the comment that he wanted his daughters to fill his home with beautiful music.
My mom took his comment to heart and saw that we were involved in piano lessons.
When my older brother started complaining that the girls had no equivalent
to his requirement to receive his Eagle Scout award before getting his driver's license,
the rule was put into place that we had to be able to play all the hymns in our church hymnbook
before we could get our driver's license.

I wasn't always the most willing participant in learning to play the piano,
but it has blessed my life so much!
In addition to the service opportunities it provides and the personal joy it brings,
it has been a great source of additional income to our family during these grad school years.

So, again, thank you Mom and Dad for seeing to it that I learned to play the piano.

I was so proud of my little troop of 15 piano students
as they performed in our spring recital.
It's amazing to see how far they have come!
I love watching their nervous energy as they come to perform
and the look of satisfaction and relief on their faces as they finish their songs.

On the menu for our brunch beforehand:
-fresh fruit bruschetta with orange-honey cream
-stuffed brunch rolls
-chili-cheese souffle
-cinnamon rolls
-cantaloupe and watermelon
-yogurt parfaits
-peanut butter sheet cookies
-Grandma's famous chocolate sheet cake

Monday, May 26, 2014

One Year Older and Wiser, Too

May 26, 1985
9:00 am
9 lbs, 0 oz
22 inches
Irving Community Hospital
Irving, Texas

Without a doubt, the world became a better place
when Samuel Warren Brady arrived 29 years ago today.


















Friday, May 23, 2014

A Busy Day

Today is a busy, busy day.
My students' piano recital is tomorrow at 9 am
and I am serving brunch to an estimated group of about 60 people.
I'm also trying to finish plans for Sam's birthday, which is on Monday.
Today=baking, planning, teaching, program-making, decoration-finishing, gift-preparing.

And not much time for blogging. :)
I'll be sure to post details of our fun next week!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Mischief Managed

These piano books have become the bane of my existence.
Lincoln is very drawn to books and loves trying to rip them to pieces.
He is far too cute about his mischief.
With 15 piano students, we spend a lot of time by the piano.
I think I need to find a new home for my music!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Just Two Rules

May 14, 2006
"Today in Young Women's, I realized there were only two qualities my husband has to have:  complete love for God, and complete love for me. Within these qualities is encompassed all that is important to me. Righteousness, loyalty, respect, and kindness, among many others, are included there."

That is an excerpt from a journal entry I wrote as a junior in high school. Meanwhile that future husband was nearing the end of his mission.

And you thought I looked young now.

Anyhow, yesterday I was thinking about all the rules we have,
and I realized that the same principle applies--
all rules trace back to love for God or love for others
or they probably shouldn't be rules.

We had our Family Home Evening lesson tonight based on this concept,
and Sam and I are trying to enforce rules while giving this framework.
("You can't throw that toy at your brother because it's not showing love to others.")

When my Young Women's leader posed the question
about qualities our future husband should possess,
the typical list of traits started going through my head,
and then I had that 'aha' moment when I realized everything I was listing
ultimately came down to charity.

I thought it was profound at the time,
but I've since realized that Christ gave us that instruction long ago,
written in Matthew 22:
"Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,
Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
(emphasis added)

The Book of Mormon prophet Moroni later tells us:

Charity never faileth.
But Kaitlyn often faileth.
But knowing where our weaknesses are is the first step to overcoming them, right?

Monday, May 19, 2014

Conversations

Lately I have been loving listening to the Conversations series from the Mormon Channel.
This series is a collection of fascinating interviews with notable members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I've been listening to them when the kids are asleep as I fold laundry, work on the computer, or do other work that doesn't occupy my mind.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Weekend Party

Two of my piano students cancelled their lessons for today,
so I told the boys we would have a party this afternoon.
We're making cookies, reading books, and having crepes with Nutella for dinner.
We might even get really exciting and watch a movie on the computer screen together.
Wesley kindly made us confetti for the party this morning:

After enjoying a picnic at the park this morning,
I once again have to think that when it comes to the way we spend our days,
Sam definitely got the short end of the stick.
There's no place I'd rather be than with my little munchkins!
Happy weekend to ya!

Roasted Sweet Potato and Feta Rounds

We just love these! My Mom introduced them to us as part of the South Beach Diet, but they are a wonderful appetizer or side dish for non-dieters as well. The feta and sweet potatoes complement each other beautifully, and the feta isn't too overpowering as it sometimes can be.

3 long, thin sweet potatoes
olive oil
salt
1 pkg. feta cheese (I believe I use a 4 oz. pkg, but it might be 6 oz)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut sweet potatoes into discs about 1/2 inch thick. Scoop out a small dish-shape in the middle of each disc, being careful not to cut through the bottom of the potato. Toss with a small amount of olive oil and salt to taste. Spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet and roast for 15-25 minutes until tender. (But not too tender! You'll still be cooking them a bit more, so take that into account.) Combine feta cheese with a couple of teaspoons of olive oil to make a thick paste. Scoop a small amount into the center of each sweet potato round and bake at 350 degrees for another 5 minutes until cheese is heated through.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

His Brother, His Hero

Watching these two play is one of the best parts of my day.
Talmage is essentially Lincoln's hero and he lights up every time Talmage enters the room, nearly giving himself whiplash as he yanks his head around to see what he is doing.
Talmage can make him laugh so easily and is such a help with him when I'm working.

I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll say it again,
but as hard as the transition to having multiple children was
and as much as I questioned their well-being when I had to divide myself,
I have been so grateful to see the benefits shine through
and far outweigh the setbacks.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Quote of the Day

Sam:  Do you boys want some apples?
Talmage:  No, thanks. I'm fasting from apples. Sometimes we just fast from one food.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

My Sister the Winner

Meet my sister.

She's done a lot of cool things,
like running a marathon, riding her bike 100 miles through the mountains,
backpacking through Guatemala,
and recently graduating from college with a degree in computational math.
But BY FAR the coolest thing she has done is designing the T-Shirt I am wearing in the picture below.
(I'm sure she would agree.)
Summer 2008
Have you ever done a Google search on your name?
One day she did a search on her name and it pulled up this interesting article.
It was especially interesting to her because she saw that she had won a contest a year before
and she had never heard about it!

She came home from school one day with an assignment from her science class
to design a T-Shirt for the annual physics day at Lagoon.
She and I were laughing at the absurdity of her assignment and joking around.
I told her in jest, "You should make the logo, "We put the 'sic' in physics!""
Joke or not, she declared that she was going to do it, she finished the assignment, turned it in, and we laughed to no end about the corny joke she had submitted.

And then, many months later, she was finding out that her corny design had WON the contest!
I was not content to let it go at that, so I e-mailed the administrator listed in the article
(using my official BYU work e-mail address in hopes he would take me seriously)
and informed him that she had gotten no word that she had won the contest
and we wondered if there was any way we could get some T-shirts.

He e-mailed me back with profuse apologies and sent her a package containing many T-shirts and hats with her logo proudly displayed 
and a couple of tickets to Frightmares at Lagoon for us to use!
He told me in his e-mail that the judges had not picked her design,
but once the people in charge had seen it
they wondered how on Earth it could have been passed over
and immediately declared it the winner.
He said it was the best design they had gotten
in the 10 or so years the contest had been going!

And that, friends, is the origin of my now very tattered and faded pajama shirt.

Friday, May 9, 2014

When Sam Called Me an Ox


Sam and I were kind of dating when he left to go to El Salvador for 2 months.
He got back the night before Fall semester began, and the first day
I rode my bike to campus (uphill all the way) with all of my textbooks in my backpack.
My roommates were impressed with my extremely heavy backpack
as I ended up not being able to leave them in a locker on campus as I had hoped
and had to haul them all home again.

When Sam found out, he immediately offered to drive me to campus the following day.
The next morning, as he picked up my backpack to put it in the car,
he exclaimed with surprise, "Wow!! You're an ox!"
I still, after 5 1/2 years, can't get over that one.
It makes me laugh every time.

He made many more attempts to compare me to animals
over the course of the next few months,
and all provided lots of laughter and lots of cause to tease him.
He finally abandoned his strategy to win me over with animal metaphors
and just told me he loved me. :)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

To Do


Lincoln's To-Do List:

-cry
-drool
-nap for a few minutes
-spit up
-crawl
-eat bits of fuzz on the floor
-stand
-grab Mommy's legs until she picks me up
-...but be irresistably cute through it all.

I'm pretty sure my left bicep will soon be about twice as strong
as my right from hauling this fussy boy around.
Poor teething babies.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Hiding Place

I'm hosting book club tonight.
I'm excited to discuss one of my very most favorite books!
If you haven't read this book, I suggest you make it a priority to do so soon.
I can guarantee you will be inspired.

I decided to do a Pudding on the Rice bar (recipe here), and I couldn't remember how many servings the recipe made. I quadrupled it, and let's just say I have a huge amount of pudding in the fridge. Any takers?

I am also trying to decide how to fit 12+ people in my postage stamp-sized living room...

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Monster of Discontentment


I open up my Facebook page and scroll through the updates of my friends and acquaintances.
There are pictures from an exotic honeymoon cruise.
As I click through the pictures,
I think of our own honeymoon to the glamorous town of Roosevelt, Utah.

In an effort to save money, Sam and I weren't going to go on a honeymoon.

At the time, my dad's company was renting a basement apartment in Roosevelt for employees to use during jobs they had in that area. Since it wasn't being used in the week following our wedding, my mom suggested we go there.
So we made the drive and thoroughly enjoyed our little getaway as we ate meals composed of chips and peanut butter we found in the cupboards and chocolate covered pretzels from Christmas.

I continue to scroll down the page

and see elaborate bouquets of flowers from significant others.
I admire their beauty, and recognize that grad school allows for bouquets of wildflowers,
which are just as appreciated.

I see photos of trips to the beach, storytime at the library, and visits to Grandma's house.

My mind briefly flits to the fact that we are living the one-car life, the boys and I get to spend every day within the walls of our own home, and our extended family lives thousands of miles away.

The beautiful babies and videos of laughing toddlers

are a stark contrast to the meltdown we just had and the faint smell of spit-up that seems to accompany just about every fabric we own.

And as much as I love this wonderful life I live,

every once in a while the little monster of discontentment begins to creep in.
It beckons me to compare my entire life with the highlights of others'.
It whispers to me that what I have simply isn't enough.
It distracts me and urges me to forget the beauty in this simple, blessed life
filled with love and harmony and generosity.
And it takes some effort on my part to remind that monster that I am dizzyingly happy
and each night I feel acutely undeserving of the privilege of living with such joy.

I have to remind the monster that each of our lives have highlights,

and while I love being able to stay connected with
hundreds of acquaintances through social media, it's unrealistic to think
that life is completely and accurately portrayed through the snippets we share.
Seldom do we share photos of dishes in the sink, toddler temper tantrums, and bad hair days.

And as I stop comparing, start appreciating, and send that monster away,

I love and feel gratitude for the fact 
that I can see glimpses into the lives of others
while recognizing that glimpses do not compose a life in its entirety.

And with that, I bid discontentment adieu.
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