Wednesday, June 24, 2009

We're moving in 2.5 weeks?

This is the CHARMING house we are moving into in 2.5 weeks! Though it was built in 1900, the insides have been/are being completely re-done:)
The Kitchen in progress.... new EVERYTHING! (except stove and fridge:)
From the basement stairs to the front door.
From the front door into the house...
Basement being spruced.
Kitchen with the new cabinets!
The mud room- looks like a mud room!
We are so blessed to have this little home to live in... more pictures coming!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Musical french fries

I hope you have had the chance to read your June ensign. In it is an article about the heaven we are trying to emulate here on earth and why we do. The author makes the statement that we try to be like God, the Father and his son Jesus Christ because that is the only way we will feel comfortable in their presence.
This makes a LOT of sense to me- S'matter of fact, it is a commandment to be like Jesus Christ.
So, in thinking of becoming a complete person like the Savior some questions arise- not just about how He behaved to his mom, brothers and sisters, fellows, poor, rich etc... but also about the kind of ART, LITERATURE AND MUSIC that the Lord and our Heavenly Parents patronize.
In the article, the author talks about music and draws a FANTASTIC correlation between Music and FOOD- two of my favorite things- which compares certain kinds of music to certain kinds of foods. His analogy is indirect but impressive. He says that certain kinds of music could be considered "MUSICAL FRENCH FRIES".
I LOVE this. It made me laugh out loud. But it also made me think a bit about the music I listen to. You know I am a classical pianist (I'm HORRIBLE in Jazz) and my husband is a classical composer. This does not necessarily mean that there are no classical french fries. BUT. The assumption that not all music is "nutritious" music to continue the analogy is important. I do not listen to most mainstream music. I think it is boring- it's just noise to me. I don't listen to the "inspirational" EFY music, Pop, Country, or anything that has just rapidly spoken rhyming words. But this is not because I'm trying to be a musical elitist. nope. I have consciously developed a palate for music that has certain characteristics: innovative chord progression, new rhythmic motifs, non-traditional movements, diverse instrumentation, and fusion to name a few. These kinds of music are part of a "well balanced diet"- not "french fries". Now, I'm not saying that musical french fries are always bad. No- not at all! I LIKE french fries. They are yummy in controlled portions. I'm thinking Morgan Spurlock when I say that eating french fries everyday probably ruins the taste and the fun of eating them- leaving you thirsting for MORE. More french fries with more salt, more fat, more sauce.
So, what is the point of all this rambling?
Simply this: if it is important to our souls to keep our body healthy by eating a balanced diet of food, then it could also reasonably be said of our minds- to keep our minds and EARS healthy by listening to the kinds of music that are not french fries. Expand your taste and you may find that there are LOTS of other "flavors" besides french fries that you like.
It does not have to be classical.
But I'll always think thats a good place to start.:)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Chub-a-lub

Oliver had a doctor's appointment yesterday. Here is the result:
Weight: 7 lb. 13 oz.
Length: 20.5 in.
Head: still there

This means my baby boy, born at 6.5 lb. has gained almost 1.5 lb since birth!!! He's such a good eater though- Dr. Schriewer said that is probably why:) What a chub-a-lub. But a cute one:)

Curly hair

I have always admired this Actress' hair! Her name is Melinda Kanakaredes (try saying that fast!)- you might remember her from a TV show a LONG time ago called 'Providence'. I think she played a doctor. I'm not sure.
ANYWAYS,
hair.
I just got done watching a "how to" video posted on Blissfully Domestic (thank you Bonnie!). And it was woefully inadequate.
So, here's my very own time-tested method to achieving a controlled curly hairstyle that is soft and non-frizzy.
IN THE SHOWER:
1. wash your hair with a moisturizing shampoo! Curly hair is EXTREMELY dry (which is what causes the frizz- your hair is literally trying to "drink" up what's in the air because it's thirsty!).
2. thoroughly rinse out the shampoo.
3. Condition your hair with a moisturizing conditioner. and LEAVE IT ON for the duration of your shower.
4. When you come to the end of things, rinse ALMOST all of the conditioner out of your hair. Leaving in SOME conditioner hydrates your hair even more and helps to lock down the shaft of the hair adding some control over your frizz.

OUT OF THE SHOWER:
1. DO NOT TOWEL DRY YOUR HAIR. You may wrap it up in a turban or use a hand towel to squeeze out excess water. DO NOT TOWEL DRY. It will "fuzz" up your hair, leading to more frizz.
2. Using a SPRAY, I like to add "Infusium B23". It gives me added moisture that controls frizz, defines curl and makes it easier to "comb".
3. "Comb" through your hair with either FINGERS or a WIDE TOOTH PICK. DO NOT BRUSH, if you want to further eliminate the possibility of frizz. (I like my fingers best- they are so easy to control:)
YOUR HAIR IS STILL WET- BUT NOT DRIPPING.
4. Add what ever product you think you like to use. I've used all KINDS of things and have discovered a couple of things: If VOLUME is what your hair needs, use a mousse; If CONTROL is what you want, use a gel; If you have wimpy curl that needs boosting, adding a hairspray and loosing the extra conditioning will help encourage your waves into curls; If frizz is your enemy (like me), using a hair LOTION will both condition and control your hair. I like to top the lotion with a light misting of spray gel.
5. When you are working products through your hair, there are different ways to apply it depending on what you're using.
If you've decided you want to use a mousse- begin at the ends and work backwards up into your roots by alternately scrunching large and small sections of hair, working from the underside to the top side. This will add lift to your roots and give the illusion of fuller hair.
If you are gelling it in a non-spray- begin at the ends and scrunch in large sections only from the bottom to the top. THEN, using the rest of the gel on your hands already, smooth down the TOP layer ONLY with your fingers, separating where you want definition.
If you are using a lotion- begin at the MIDDLE and work down, then using the excess (or adding a bit) finger through the top to the bottom. The Lotion needs to SMOOTH the hair to prevent frizz and still give the definition you want.
DRYING
There are a number of different ways to dry the hair. I've done all of them. Key to drying curly hair is the position of your head. Really? YES. If you flip your head upside down and dry the underside first, the weight of your wet-ish hair will NOT drag down the curl- it will be buoyant and separated. Then dry the heaviest area of the hair- the crown. END with the front- less frizz.
1. Using a diffuser will create frizz. But it also creates lift.
So, if you need volume, use a diffuser from wet to dry because you usually don't have a big problem with frizz
If you want volume in certain areas, let you hair AIRDRY for a while first. Air-drying reduces frizz in a BIG way. Then, spot dry using a diffuser.
If you want neither volume nor frizz, then air-dry completely. I prefer doing this outside on a sunny day, with a good book;)

A word of caution:
I do not recommend using a serum. They are sticky and gummy. Curly hair SOAKS up products- so you'll be using a lot more than the "directions" say.
When searching for a hairstylist for your curly hair ask them if they cut curly hair wet or dry. If they say "wet"- RUN away. Curls are unpredictable and stretch like mad. I have suffered through TOO MANY bad haircuts because the stylist doesn't know how to deal with curls in a cut.
People LOVE to touch curly hair. Touching will remove the protective layers you've added with gel/mousse/lotion/moisture and create frizz. This includes YOU. Try not to touch too much once you've got your hair where you want it.
and finally........
never, never, NEVER brush DRY curly hair! Ouch!!! and POOF!!!

okay, there it is! Go out and work your curls!



Thursday, June 11, 2009

House shopping

I am in need of some serious help! Please weigh in on the options I am presenting on this post to help me see the issue more clearly.
We are moving to Lincoln in less than 5 weeks. I have found two places for us to live- each one as different from the other as two places can be. But we are having a VERY difficult time deciding which place to rent. And that is the issue- we need to make a decision within the next 2 days!
Here are the details.
Home #1: CHARMING duplex. 1500 sq. ft. 3 stories. 3 bedroom/2 bathroom. Built in 1936. HUGE open kitchen with new counters and new stainless steel sink, LOTS of cupboards, gas stove/oven, Wood floors throughout, unfinished basement with large storage room, full bathroom, Washer and dryer (plus a laundry shute from the second story!), 3 bedrooms and a bathroom on the top floor. Large front yard, HUGE back yard with a garden, cement pad, grass, flowers, ceiling fans in every room, TONS of natural light, lots of storage space, very close to downtown and the University, the farmer's market and shopping. Rent includes water and trash and the other side of the duplex (owners) take care of the lawn and snow.
Downside: It is on a tree lined street in between 2 very busy streets. Also, the neighborhood at large has a reputation.
The owner and her family are very nice people with 2 children the same age as James (he'd have friends automatically).
Here's a link to the video tour of the property. Check it out.

Home #2: A single family HOME- built much newer than 1936. Carpets throughout except for the bathroom and kitchen which have very nice, new vinyl floorings. 2 bedroom/1 Bathroom. No basement. LARGE grassy yard with off street parking and fencing. Nice and clean and new. BIG closets. Washer and dryer in the kitchen. All one level- ranch style. Central air. New furnace and water heater. Located in a nice neighborhood a couple of blocks away from a main street (so its nice and quiet) but close to a shopping center.
Downside: Kitchen has NO counter space. None. which means very few cupboards. Smaller than the duplex by almost HALF. (850 sq.ft). More expensive than the duplex.
I don't have video of the house.
Bishop Christensen, who we have been in contact with to help us find a place to live, REALLY likes the little home, and says the duplex looks nice, but the area is less than desireable. But if we move into the house, we'll be paying a bit more, taking care of a LOT more and would have less area. My biggest concern is the Kitchen. I LOVE to cook and I cook every night for my family. How can I get around the NO COUNTERS problem while the duplex has a HUGE, NEW kitchen?
Neither place has a dishwasher- but I'm not so concerned about that.

HELP HELP HELP. I'd love to hear what you have to say.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Two Weeks already?


I can't believe its already been 2 whole weeks since we added Oliver to our family! It was so wonderful to have all the help we did when we did. I found myself wishing that someone would just pop in today to take care of James for 2 hours so I could catch a nap! But I guess I'll be the one needing to schedule those times:).
Oliver is a great baby! He can nurse, hold his head up for almost 15 seconds, turn his head from side to side, nurse, sleep, grunt loudly, nurse, pass gas in an explosive way, sleep and nurse. He is not a crier- which makes me SO happy. 
We LOVE having him in our home. He's fantastic. But I'm about to fall asleep RIGHT NOW, so I'd better go........snore........

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The 10 Greatest Pieces of Music in History


We have been looking for a good list of the best music ever composed but without much success. So, as professional musicians, we announce our own, in order of their composition era. There are many pieces that we include on our "Great Pieces of Music in History," but these, we feel, are the greatEST. Please feel free to offer your reactions or suggestions to this list.

THE 10 GREATEST PIECES IN
MUSIC HISTORY

Johann Sebastian Bach, Chaconne from Violin Partita No. 2
Johann Sebastian Bach, Art of the Fugue
George Frederic Handel, Messiah
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Requiem
Ludwig van Beethoven, Symphony No. 9 "Choral"
Giuseppe Verdi, Requiem
Claude Debussy, La Mer
Sergei RachmaninovPiano Concerto No. 2
Igor Stravinsky, Rite of Spring
Dimitri ShostakovichSymphony No. 5

This is an invitation, issued by Drue, to take a few minutes and listen to these wonderful works of music that you may not be as familiar with in your everyday listening.
Let me do a little bit of explaining why we included these pieces and what- pray tell- were our stipulations for choosing these venerable works over others that might be as deserving as those listed. This little list of ten took FOREVER to think of and compile with any degree of certainty. Think about it, there are HUNDREDS of years of music history that we know of and hundreds more that we don't. Of all this history, to choose the top 10 pieces- well, its a miracle it even happened.
We wanted to include pieces that has a scope or breadth of exploration in its composition. Johannes Brahms describes the first item on our list, Bach's Chaconne, as follows:
"On one stave, for a small instrument, the man writes a whole world of the deepest thoughts and most powerful feelings. If I imagined that I could have created, even conceived the piece, I am quite certain that the excess of excitement and earth-shattering experience would have driven me out of my mind."
This is the kind of description that we might wish to ascribe to any of the pieces on this list. One might think that this list is being exclusive of the rest of the world's ethnic styles. But the music of European origin has, especially within the last century, become favored among many nations.

BONUS:
Recommended Recordings.
ChaconneJascha Heifetz
Art of the Fugue - Grigory Sokolov
Messiah - Sir Colin Davis, London Symphony Orchestra
Requiem (Mozart) - Sir Colin Davis, London Symphony Orchestra
Symphony No. 9 - John Eliot Gardiner, Orchestre R√©volutionnaire et Romantique
Requiem (Verdi) - Claudio Abbado, Berliner Philharmoniker
La Mer
Piano Concerto No. 2 - Leonard Bernstein, New York Philharmonic, Gary Graffman (piano)
Rite of Spring - Leonard Bernstein, New York Philharmonic
Symphony No. 5 - Mariss Jansons, Vienna Philharmonic