Archive for January, 2011


“You are the music while the music lasts.” -T.S. Eliot


It feels like we’ve lost a week here. Since Sunday the boys have been sick. Caitlin succumbed on Thursday and had to be brought home from school in the early afternoon. Ashley is currently very drippy and I fear James and I are not far behind them all 😦

All of this has meant a delay in posting about our recital which took place the weekend before last. First of all, we had a great time. Grandma and Granddad joined us and both Ashley and Caitlin had friends show up to support their first recital. Given that Krista lives and teaches in our community their were quite a few families out in the audience that we knew. This also meant a lot of faces I recognized when I stood up to perform my solo. Yikes!

Below are the videos of our three performances.  Just click on the images to start the videos.

Caitlin’s Recital: Mozart’s A Little Night Music-Running Time 1:09


Ashley’s Recital: Beethoven’s Ode to Joy-Running Time 1:13

Actually, I was less nervous than I had been at the dress rehearsal, which had surprised me at the time. There was something intimidating about an almost empty church that seemed to challenge me to fill it with my voice. It was a lot easier to sing with all the pews full and just trust the acoustics of the church to carry the sound. Of course it was a very warm audience. Everyone had someone they knew performing and presumably were understanding of the challenge of recitals. So long as I remembered that, and just set out to enjoy singing the song that I love, I wasn’t too nervous 🙂

So (gulp) here it is for my wider community:

My Recital: Mozart’s Ave Verum-Running Time 2:19

Working on this recital with the girls was a truly bonding experience. We would practice our pieces for each other and share our feelings of excitement and nervousness. And then we supported and celebrated each other on the day. The male members of our family were a huge support too. Listening endlessly to our practicing, taking photos and videos on the day and cheering us at the end of our individual performances. Ethan and Sean were the best kind of audience, always big smiles when they hear me sing. On the heals of this success we are all looking forward to taking part in the Spring recital. James is even considering starting lessons and possibly participating too!!! I’ll keep you posted on what happens there 😉

Here is a parting view of Ethan with the best view in the house when it came time to take our final bow:

Ethan enjoying a little closeness with the performers

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*My Singing Penguin from Favorite Things

I almost wrote “My Voice” in the title, but decided to subvert the various comedians amongst my family and friends who might comment on loving the sound of my own voice 😉

I love to sing. Love it. I was in our school choir throughout secondary school. We put on performances, sang in church, at weddings, on radio and on TV. I even had a few solos. It has been a long time since I’ve sung in front of a crowd. In recent years my family have been my audience.

Since Ashley was first born, all the way through to the present with little Sean, I have sung to our children. I sing to them in the morning to wake them up and as I wish them goodnight. I sing to them when looking for them as we play hide and seek or as we sit together snuggling on the sofa. They once, unknowingly  gave an impressive vocal performance from a restroom at the EMP. In fact, before they entered preschool I used to wonder if they thought all the world was a musical 🙂

Tomorrow they will have their first piano recital. And I will also be participating, only I will be singing! I started taking voice lessons with the girls’ music teacher last autumn and it has been so much fun. Our music teacher is wonderful, talented and an insightful instructor. I worked on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Memory’ as our first song together and then I requested that we work on Mozart’s ‘Ave Verum’. I learned the song as a teenager during my time in the choir. I have loved it since and have sung it when alone on a regular basis. It has been a joy to work on it with Krista.

Me at dress rehearsal for recital tomorrow from 01 January 2011

And so tomorrow I will be standing up in front of a crowd of family, friends, neighbors and strangers and singing it solo. At dress rehearsal I was somewhat intimidated by the size of the church that my voice will hopefully fill 🙂 I’ve worked on the technical aspects of the song, my breathing, my stomach voice, my chest voice, my head voice, my upper head voice, my soft palette, where to sing softly and where to sing forte and numerous other aspects of singing the song. Now all that’s left to do is stop thinking and just sing. Do what I love, with a song that I love and enjoy this longtime dream of publicly singing the Ave Verum solo.

Ashley at dress rehearsal for piano recital tomorrow 01 January 2011
Caitlin at dress rehearsal for piano recital tomorrow 01 January 2011

*By the way, isn’t my singing penguin adorable? It was a gift from Ashley 🙂

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Yummy Goodness in a Jar

From 01 January 2011

Last January I made it one of my goals to continue working on improving my homemade yoghurt during 2010. And I did. Thanks to a great post on the subject over on The Frugal Girl, which I was fortunate to discover on New Year’s Day last year, I can now make tasty plain and vanilla yoghurt. I am very pleased. Whether it’s a dollop in a bowl with sliced bananas and a little sprinkle of brown sugar on top, or added to our much loved smoothies, Ashley Caitlin, Ethan and I love this yoghurt. Given how much yoghurt we eat I am very pleased that I have learned how to make it from scratch. Not only do we enjoy this delicious food, we’re saving a good deal of money on it too. Win-win!

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From 01 January 2011

…you put your sugar in the coffee container instead of the cup!

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Floor Fun

From 01 January 2011

Sean and Ethan hanging out on the rug in the kitchen. Notice Ethan’s blueberry stained face. We all know how much he likes blueberries! Thankfully he only ate a small portion of frozen ones as he helped me make blueberry muffins. Then he decided to hang out with Sean on the floor.

From 01 January 2011

He let Sean chomp on his little doll…

From 01 January 2011

…and then spent some time stroking Sean’s head.

After a while Ethan took to rolling around on the floor. by himself.

From 01 January 2011

He stopped so I could take a photo and even took his soother out of his mouth when I asked him. Of course I also added that we would show the photo to Grandma. He knows that Grandma prefers him to take out his soother for photos. 🙂

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From Menu Boards

With this Monday being MLK day the girls were off school. They had piano lessons in the morning and in the afternoon we all had dress rehearsal for our recital coming up on Saturday. With so much filling our day I forgot to hit Publish on this post. Oops, better late than never. Keeps me on track 🙂

Pancakes, Banana & Orange Chunks, Chai
Porridge, Raisin Toast
Fried Potatoes, Eggs, Fruit Smoothie
Weetabix, Raisin Bran, Cinnamon Rolls, Banana or Mango Smoothie
Scrambled Eggs on Toast, Banana w/Yoghurt & Brown Sugar
Pancakes, Fruit Smoothie
Porridge, Carrot Apple Muffins, Chocolate Milk

Mini Pizzas, Blueberries, Milk
PBJ Sandwiches, Orange Chunks
Mini Pizzas, Applesauce
Chili/Japanese Curry, Apple Slices
Chicken Noodle Soup, Carrot Sticks, Chocolate Valentine Sandwich 
Chicken Noodle Soup, HWW Bread
Cream Cheese & Jam or Ham Sandwich, Pineapple

Japanese Curry, Broccoli
Omlette, Chips and Spinach, Orange and Avocado Salad
Chili, Rice, Cornbread, Green Beans
Chicken Fettuccine Carbonara, Carrots and Ceasar Salad
Orange Chicken, Rice, Green Beans and Corn
Lasagna, Chips, Broccoli, Salad
Asian Glazed Cod, Fried Rice, Asparagus

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One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn’t pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself.” -Lucille Ball

I’ve been feeling discouraged these last few days. At first I thought it might be the start of a January funk. Today I realized that I am, or have been in the past, a very social person. I derive a good deal of my energy, and sense of value, through my interactions with others. I am usually an optimistic person. However, with a drop in energy comes a drop in positive outlook. In the last year or more, I have not been engaging with people as much as in the past. Getting together with friends, returning calls or emails, checking up on family and friends on Facebook, or reading their blogs have all taken a huge hit.

Yes, I have greater responsibilities now that we decided to add the boys to our lives. Yes, there are more demands on my time and energy. But I still have people I want to enjoy time with, family and friends farther afield that I want to be in contact with more. I have other personal goals and projects I would love to engage in and know would also increase my energy. But how to make the time?

I love my family. Adding Ethan and Sean to our family was absolutely the right choice for us. I have so many wonderful moments during the course of my day with my family. Right now my family takes more energy than it gives. Little ones need a lot and my job and my desire is to give it. At the moment, my life is full. I don’t know how to make room for other things that will give me energy. I tell myself to hang in there, hold on to my optimism, ride the waves of discouragement, and Life will provide opportunities to meet my needs. In the meantime, I’ll just keep a lookout for ways to get some regular doses of social time.

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