Thursday, April 30, 2009

An anniversary

So... I win the "wife of the year" award.
I forgot my own anniversary.
Of course, so did my husband.
Don't get me wrong- I think its important to take a little bit of time on your wedding anniversary to look back at all the things, good and odd, that you've done in the past bit of time. Enjoy your wedded bliss and all that.
I did actually spend some time thinking about all the neat and not-so-neat things we've done since we got married 4 years ago. I was thinking of all this last night while I was trying to get my 2.5 year old to sleep while also trying to help my sick husband. What fun!
Here's what I came up with.

In 4 years we have:
Lived in 3 different states
moved 5 times
graduated from 2 different schools
procreated 1.9 times
learnt how to cook well
held (in total) 11 different jobs
changed over 1,000 diapers :)
gained great experiences I'll never forget
had heartbreaking times I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.
Loved and been loved by many MANY people- new and old.
Never been camping as a family (and knowing me, how weird is that?!)
had a pet cat for 1 day.

this is by no means a complete list, but its just a small bit of my thoughts last night.
I'm thankful for the wonderful man I married and the family we have created. I'm thankful for the happiness we can share in our family and that even when things aren't exactly what we might wish them to be, we are content with what we have. May your anniversary give you thoughts of your life and times together.

Monday, April 27, 2009

James' official diagnosis

Today has been a really good day for us! Tonight, while we were reading our "night time" books (for now, until he changes them) he counted down from ten! He tried to say every word I asked him to, even "seven" which if you think about it is a difficult word to say- it takes a lot of consonant combinations... So, we're upping our word count DAILY! (no pun intended)
Also, James had his full 2 hour psychological evaluation with a specialist to get to the bottom of what's going on in his brain. He fell asleep half way through (it WAS during nap time), but the doctor gave us an official diagnosis:
He IS on the Autistic spectrum, but not the way I was prepared to hear about!
James' behavioral patterns best fit Asperger's Syndrome.
What?! Yes, thats what I thought too- usually when you hear about Asperger's you hear about kids who have a fully developed and quite elaborate vocabulary at 2! BUT apparently, thats only about half of the kids. The other half loose their language skills from around 18 mos to about 3years 3 months- and then its a verbal explosion. So, all of you who said to enjoy the silence now because when he DOES begin to speak, he'll never stop may in fact be correct about that:)
But essentially, Asperger's Syndrome is a social anxiety disorder. AND it is totally deal-able. In fact, many many kids with AS are quite brilliant and go on to do great work in fields like Mathematics, Physics, Computers and (you guessed it) MUSIC. In fact, the social anxiety part of this plays wonderfully into these particular fields- the rules in these disciplines NEVER change, so there is no option for uncertainty. Unlike other jobs that require serious "people skills"- teaching, politics, etc....
What does this mean to us though? NOTHING! We're doing everything we need to be doing already to help James not be socially anxious, teaching him how to play with people, exposing him to kids his own age, teaching him to look people in the eyes while they're speaking to them (this is VERY hard for AS kids to do) and giving him instructions on how to interact with folks!
This makes me seem like the Helicopter parent from hell, but really, I'm just giving him cues that he isn't able to pick up on by himself yet. YET.
With help, he'll be just fine. I'm glad he's such a good boy and we just LOVE him so much. I couldn't be happier with the child I have:)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Food Co-op

I may have blogged about this before- but, indulge me...
I LOVE my food co-op! What is a co-op? you may be thinking. Well, in a nutshell, its a bunch of people who pay a small amount to "own" a share in a small company- that pays dividends to its members... REI is a co-op and for every dollar you spend there, at the end of the year you get a percentage back. There are cheese co-ops and grain co-ops but I think my Community Food Co-op is the best one I've seen so far!
Today I went and picked up my april "share". Sometimes it's really hit and miss- one month I got a bunch of radishes, bell peppers, mushrooms and onions with the rest of my stuff... Which didn't please me, let me tell you!
But todays was spot on! If you live in Utah, here's what you too could have picked up from your local distribution point for $23 or one whole share:
1 Whole 4 lb. Roasting chicken
1 lb. Lean ground beef
1 lb. Pork cubes
1 lb. Steak
1 loaf artisan Stoneground Wheat bread
5 lb. BEAUTIFUL New potatoes (red)
7 Bananas
4 large slicing tomatoes
5 fresh oranges
3 english cucumbers
1 head red-leaf lettuce
3 heads broccoli
1 lb. Medium grain rice (your choice white or brown) perfect for risotto!
1 lb. Strawberries (so beautiful red and sweet! Not sour or under-ripe at all!!!)

Now, Go to your local grocery and find out how much GOOD food you can get for $23 bucks!
I've tried. Not a lot.
All the co-op does is cut out the Grocer from the chain of profits... The more people join, the lower the price, the better the food, the more fun!
So, now that I've done telling you why you should go out and find your local food co-op, the Utah Food Co-op is found online at:
Check it out! Its ALL over Utah, so even if you live up by Deanna or down by Emily, you should have a branch you can use... Give it a try and see how you like it- I did, and I'll NEVER go back to just grocery shopping as usual!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Its official! Drue passed his Thesis Defense yesterday with "one of the best defenses" they had "seen in a long time". We are so proud of him! But this makes it official- N.Drue Daily now has a Master of Music in Composition degree from the Univeristy of Utah and will continue his study of this most noble art form at the University of Nebraska, where (hopefully) his Doctorate of Musical Arts will be conferred in 3 years (or less:). I am sending out announcements today for Drue's graduation. YAY!!!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009


This is Jon Kimura Parker. He was the soloist for the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No.2 last night at the Utah Symphony and he was breathtaking.
But I'm getting ahead of my self.
Last night I took most of my piano students on a little "field trip" to the Symphony. When I heard about the USO doing the Rach 2 I decided I HAD to attend, and then I thought to myself: my piano students should really have an opportunity to hear a world-class concert pianist play the most popular concerto of the 20th century! So, I informed all the parents that I wanted to expose their progeny to the world of professional classical music. ALL of them thought it was a great idea and most of them paid for tickets for their kids- and- much to my surprise-for themselves! I had a group of 12 people, besides myself, who were going to the Symphony!
Most of my students were REALLY excited! But since the concert didn't START until 8pm, it was a late night and some of my littlest students actually didn't make it all the way through- they had to leave early because they were just so tired!
Before the concert began, I met all my students in the Lobby. There was a pre-concert pianist playing Beethoven, so I instructed my students to go listen to this young man play for a minute or two, and then, come back and tell me how old did they think he was. They all gave me ages between 13 and 19. It turns out this very talented young man was 15! And boy were they impressed! I think there's nothing so motivating as seeing someone in your own age bracket perform something monumentally difficult and then saying to yourself "I could do that too." I think it really broadens the imagination as to what is possible with a little work and dedication.
I had a seat separate from my student because I purchased my ticket in August of last year! And I'm really glad I stuck to my ticket! I had the BEST seat in the house! Just far enough from the stage to absorb the entire sound whole, just close enough to see the sweat glisten on JKP's face, just left enough to watch his hands move so fluidly- it was like watching quicksilver slide over the keys. It also brought to mind all the technique I acquired from years of Sara Harris. (Sara, if you read this, THANK YOU for the excellent technique- I knew what I was watching for and he was flawless!)
The concert began with a Toccata by a composer I was unfamiliar with- John Becker? It was a toccata for the orchestra- which was ENORMOUS! Mahler sized! After the Toccata, the symphony decreased in size by more than half and they played the Beethoven 4th symphony with great delicacy.
Then the Rach 2. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. This is one of the most lyrical, entrancing, yet aggressive, intense and in a word CAPTIVATING piano concerto's ever written. period. The strings were returned to their Neo-Romantic size, as well as the wind sections. Since the strings were so powerful, it was difficult to hear the pianist sometimes- but since I know the music well, I was able to hear what I needed to focus on. I wish the string sections (especially the violins) were not so excited about their little accompanying role- because they did a great job of drowning out the pianist when it was their turn to be emotional:) But his playing was so thoroughly acrobatic, it was even a pleasure just to watch him dance over the keys, when all I could hear was VIOLIN>>>>
I won't take you play by play, phrase by phrase through the entire piece. But I must say the third movement was so rhythmic and driving that his hands and fingers were BLURRED because of the blinding speed. It was heaven. I was crying as the piece finished and the entire hall (which was PACKED) rose to their feet in one swift movement and thunderous applause just ERUPTED with cheers, whistles and shouts of BRAVO!. It truly was an accomplishment. JKP was still on his seat when we began applauding and the first thing he did was not bow to US, but he jumped up onto the conductor's podium and just gave him a BEAR hug- strong and full of gratitude for the music they were able to create together. Thats the true worth of music- It brings people together in a way that touches your deepest heart and makes you appreciate the people around you.
After this initial standing ovation, JKP was ushered back to the piano by the conductor. We all sat down in anticipation- what was he going to play for us now?
HE turned to the audience and said: It seems I have no choice- so I hope you don't mind if I play something slow and quiet!
We all laughed and he introduced the Rachmaninoff Prelude in G. It was etherial and beautiful and a perfect calming piece to balance the exuberance of the Concerto!
Then, he got called out to ANOTHER encore- this time he introduced the piece like this:
"And one more thing... I just got done celebrating and attending my 30th High School reunion. While I was there, my classmates kept asking me to play something. My buddies asked me to play our school anthem. So, I will now play my class anthem for you tonight in honor of that occasion- Ladies and Gentlemen, BILLY JOEL'S SCENES FROM AN ITALIAN RESTAURANT!"
Peals of laughter erupted and he played with great enthusiasm and aplomb his last encore. It was a perfect ending to an evening of excellent music and we all left the concert with a smile on our faces- chuckling to ourselves at the cleverness of this brilliant pianist and the wonderful music he had just treated us to.
I will never forget last night. The only thing that would have made it better is if my sweet husband could have shared it with me.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Money part deux.

I am SO pleased to announce to all you dedicated readers that Drue has been awarded a Full Ride Graduate Teaching Assistantship for 3 years at UNL!!!
My heart is full to bursting with gratitude for the blessings the Lord has showered down on my family. I know this is where we need to be going and the Lord has made it possible for us. We thank all of you who have kept us in your prayers- they seem to have helped!:)
So, the run-down looks like this:
Full tuition for 3 years
79% Health Insurance
$8,228.00 stipend per school year (august to may)

Total awarded: $24,512.00
multiply by 3 years: $73,536.00

We are so thrilled that this has finally happened for us! Drue has worked SO SO SO hard- going to school part time, working full time, church callings, homework, concerts, composition. Oh yeah, and a family. It sure is nice to have this validation for him- that he really IS doing the right thing. Being a musician when EVERYONE ELSE in the family is an engineer/physicist has been tough. But I am so proud of my husband and the work he has accomplished while doing all this and I think he deserves to have his hard work pay off in such a beautiful way!

This also means that we are MOVING MOVING MOVING to Lincoln, NE the first week in August. It also (probably) means I get to buy the home I've been eyeing for the last 4 months!:)

Monday, April 6, 2009

He got in!

Drue got an acceptance letter from Nebraska today- to their Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition program! I'm so happy for him! All the other "no's" were really beginning to bog him down. But we're really pleased he got in at Nebraska.
Here's 10 reasons why I want to go to Nebraska (because MY vote is the one that matters most right?)
1. They offer full tuition remittance 
2. They offer Health Insurance
3. They offer a healthy stipend
4. He will be in a smaller program
5. We can afford a house there.
6. Lincoln, NE is the healthiest city in the US
7. Population about 250,000 people: roughly the size of Concord, CA.
8. 150 different parks all connected by a walking trail.
9. We still have some family in Nebraska (Jared and Jeanne in North Platte, 3.5 hours away)
10. It a blessing to even be accepted into a DMA program in this economy and I don't snub blessings!

I'll post a pic of his acceptance letter soon, but we just needed to share the good news! We'll keep posting about what is going on with this fore-seeable future!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Painting my table

I have decided I want a change in my kitchen table! Right now, its a blond wood veneer and has stains (not from us) on the top. I don't want a new table- they are too expensive and I REALLY like my table! It folds out to double its size! I think thats so cool- no drop leaf, no piecing things together. If I need more room, I just twist the top around one leg and fold it out and voila! Big table!
I want to PAINT my kitchen table and if I hate it I guess I can just sand it all off. I'm not sure If I want to paint it and distress ( a la Shabby Chic), Paint parts only (like a farmhouse table), or go IKEA on my kitchen and just paint the whole kit and caboodle.
So, here's my dilema:
1. Who has experience painting a kitchen table that I can call and get advice from?
2. What COLOR should I paint things? I like Black, Deep Brown and White- they go with everything.
3. Or should I re-stain and seal instead of the painting?

I realize that everyone has a different idea of what they like in their kitchen but I really want to open this up. So, tell me what YOU would do if you needed to paint your kitchen table. I'm all ears!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Graduation robes

I have a Bachelor's degree and my husband is soon to graduate with a Master's degree in May. Why is it that it took us 20 minutes to figure out how his gown and hood should be worn? Honestly.