Friday, August 26, 2005

My Girls

This past week I have had rehearsal with one of the color guards I work with. (In case you don't know, the color guard are the ones with the flags, rifles, and sabres on the field with a marching band). This is the guard that I'm completely in charge of. I have no other staff with me. I have four girls this year (last year we had three, and one of them moved, so it's an improvement!), and they are great girls. Two are sisters, so that can get interesting. I have one senior, two juniors,and a sophomore. They get along really well, are almost always on time, and they work their butts off without complaint.

So far. We've only had one week of rehearsal, and school hasn't started yet.

The marching band show this year is "Aladdin" (yes, the Disney one). I've picked out their uniforms, and the girls are going to have a more modern, edgy, Arabian look than a Halloween costume. Not so much Princess Jasmine, more of a harem. And there lies the problem.

We had a band parent meeting last night, and I mentioned we were going to be the harem. Apparantly that is "politically incorrect" because it implies prostitutes and sex or something. Did I mention that I no longer live in a small, conservative town in Idaho?? I'm not having the girls show off their bellies or anything. We are just calling ourselves "Mikey's Harem" (Mikey is the drum major. He's a good friend of all the girls, and [oh yeah] openly gay, so it's not for real anyway).

So now I have to come up with a better term to call the look of my girls. The parents like the uniforms and the band teacher likes what we've done so far in choreography. It's just the name for my color guard. What should we call ourselves?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

He's Driving Me Insane!!

My child is driving me seriously insane! He just won't shut up! It must be the age (he'll be three next month), but I really don't know how long I can live through this. All day, everyday, all I hear is his little voice repeating the same things. Constantly repeating. This morning, for example, I was getting ready to take out the trash. Aiden saunters around the corner and says "What you doing, Mom?"

"I'm taking out the trash, Aiden." There is a short pause as Aiden looks at the trash bags at my feet, then he looks at my face again. He must be thinking "How can I really get her goat today?"

Aiden then says "What you doing, Mom?" about ten more times. Each time, I respond with the same answer, yet he still asks. He followed me to the front door, and I could hear him as I'm walking away from the apartment, "What you doing, Mom? Taking out the trash?"

WHY does he do this? Sometimes he'll make some random comment: "Someday I be tall like Dad and drive a car." I will hear the comment for the next 20 minutes, whether or not I respond.

I'm way too tired for this. I am going to rip out my hair if I have to hear "What's that?" one more time. I meet with my doctor on Tuesday to decide how my meds are going. Maybe it's time to up the dosage!!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

O Canada!

It seems that a lot of the people who read my blog (and I know there really aren't many, but that's okay. I'll live) are Canadian. I don't really know how this came to be, as I am as American as can be. However, I love Canada, so I decided to dedicate this post to my Canadian friends out there, Dave Letterman style (I just won't be funny. Sorry).

Top 10 Reasons Why I Love Canada:

10. It's clean. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. These people know how to throw away trash! My favorite line from the movie "Canadian Bacon" is "Let's cross the border [into Toronto] and throw some trash on the ground. That'll really tick 'em off!" (or something to that effect. Saw the movie a stinkin' long time ago).

9. Canadians can have a major sporting event happen without having a riot following the win.

8. Hockey. I know, I know. The official sport is actually lacrosse, but I LOVE hockey! Now that is a sport. Go Flames Go!

7. Comedians and actors. Seems like a lot of the best ones come from Canada: Jim Carrey, Michael J. Fox, William Shatner... I suddenly went blank. But sit down with my husband and he can tell you.

6. Molson beer. No, I don't drink (ever!), but I loved the "I am Canadian" commercials. Too funny.

5. Everyone says "Eh". It's kind of cute! After a visit up north, I always come home with an accent and saying "eh" and the end of my sentences.

4. Aero bars. And Coffee Crisp. And Nanaimo bars. And Macintosh Tofee. (I would add Junior Caramels, but now we can get them here in the States). Oh, and for Ches: Smarties and Old Dutch ketchup chips. (If anyone feels like doing a really nice thing, mail me some Canadian chocolate bars! I'll be your best friend forever!!)

3. Boxing Day sales. Between the sale prices and the exchange rate, I have scored some amazing deals!!

2. The music! Of course I love the Barenaked Ladies (couldn't live without them), but a few of my other favorites include Our Lady Peace and the Tragically Hip. Again, went blank on some others, but you get the idea.

And the Number One Reason Why I Love Canada...

1. Ches!!!! Had to import my husband from Calgary, and it was well worth it. I have the best husband ever (even when I can't stand him!).


I'm one of those people who gets bored easily and likes to change things around. I like to rearrange my furniture almost monthly. I'm so tired of my hair right now and I want a new cut and color (but am unsure of what to change it to, so it's still long, straight, boring brown). If we owned our house (rather than being the renters that we are) I would probably be repainting constantly -- until I figured out what a hassle it really is and would ease up on that.

Right now I'm tired of the look of my blog. I think I'm going to change the template. I wish I had enough computer knowledge to make up my own background and such, but I don't. So I think I will just choose a new template from the Blogspot list. What do you think? Which should I pick?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Marching Band

For many people, the start of school and the crisp air of fall can only mean one thing: football!! The all-American sport. High school football is especially huge in smaller towns. College football for that crazy 19 year old in all of us. The NFL for, well, men who just can't seem to get enough football, really.

Then there are people like me. I am a band nerd. No kidding. I started playing the flute the summer before 4th grade (when I was 9), and haven't quit (it's been 19 years now). In high school, I joined the color guard (flag team, really. We didn't have the budget for the other parts of color guard). In college I majored in music and got my degree in music ed (which means I'm a band teacher). I also continued with color guard and was even the instructor/choreographer one year. While in college I married a trumpet player (who is also a band teacher now). After I got out of school, I started to teach private music lessons, help my husband out at his school, and continue to choreograph and teach color guards.

For me, the complete band nerd, it is not "football season." It is Marching Band Season. That's right, we have our own season. We don't just sit in the stands on Friday nights and cheer for the football team. Oh, no. There is so much more! We start rehearsal before school starts. All day. Every day. Depending on the school, it could be anywhere from a week to 3 weeks before school starts. Then we practice either before or after school several days a week, as well as during the regular class time. We attend all home football games, play fun music, and cheer.

And then we get the Half Time. The half time show is very important to band nerds. This is what we have been practicing for. The performance! However, I hate to break it to all you football fans, but the half time performance is really just another rehearsal to us. We don't really care if you like our show or "get" our show. We are practicing for competition. Competitions (or festivals) typically take place on Saturdays, starting in September at some point, and every Saturday in October. there is nothing in the world like performing for an audience at a competition. They all know the marching band world, so it's more thrilling than playing for a bunch of people who would rather stand in a long line for a hot dog and get back in time to see their home team lose another game.

The crisp, cool air of fall means the sound of drum cadences. Back to school shopping means buying dance pants and electrical tape. Walking around with your friends means unconsiously walking in-step with a good roll-step.

Marching season has started for me. I get to work with two area high schools this year, and rehearsals for one school started this past Monday. The other school starts this coming Monday. My husband is working at the first high school, also, and then he starts rehearsal at the university (where he is getting his Master's degree right now) on Sunday. We take our kids to rehearsal with us (who wants to babysit for free that much? No one! And these are low-paying jobs, so we can't afford to pay a sitter or day care), and they love it. Aiden was born in the middle of marching season, so he has been coming since he was just 3 weeks old. Dallin attended mini-camps last spring when he was 3 weeks old. Our kids have no chance in the world to be anything other than band nerds, too.

I love band! I don't get football at all, but I'm okay with that. Band rocks! This fall, when you go to a football game, don't leave during half time. Watch the band. They have been working really hard, even if it's not really for you. I know that we appreciate all the applause we get!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Kid Music

I don't know about your kids, but my child loves to listen to the same thing in the car over and over again. Most recently, it has been the Star Wars soundtrack. I love John Williams and all, but I get tired of hearing the Imperial March 10 times in a row! So when we went to San Diego, I decided that if I were to keep any sanity in the car, I would buy some new CDs for Aiden. I really like what I bought, so I thought I'd pass it along in case you are also ready for something new.

1. "Gross Songs Kids Love to Sing!" from Twin Sisters Productions. These are pretty funny, especially for little boys. Includes classics like "Greasy Grimey Gopher Guts" and "Nobody Likes Me, Everybody Hates Me". The CD also includes Lyrics and Fun Activities that you can access on your computer. See

2."Toddler Sing-A-Longs" by Kid's Club. This is a 3 disc set, with 56 songs in all. The kids singing isn't all that annoying, and they take some of the songs and put them into different musical styles. That makes it more fun.

3. Bear in the Big Blue House: "Greatest Hits". This is our absolute favorite CD right now. I love watching Bear with my kids, and as a musician I can appreciate the styles of music used in all the songs. These aren't simple little ditties, but actual musical pieces! And kids can still pick up on the tunes and sing along. We also use these songs around the house for things we do: "Brush Brush Bree" for teeth-brushing; "Clean Up the House" for obvious reasons; "What's in the Mail Today?" while we walk to the mailbox.

All of the above were found at Wal-Mart. We also already own a few other CDs, or have borrowed some that I love:

1. The Wiggles: I love anything by these guys. I know not everyone loves them, but we do. I love watching their show with my son and doing the dances, too, because then I get a good cardio workout for 30 minutes (try it. It's fun!).

2. Sharon, Lois, and Bram: "Mother Goose and More". This CD is published by Fisher Price, and is full of nursery rhymes (sung and spoken) and old folk tunes. If you don't know Sharon, Lois, and Bram, you are really missing out. I used to watch them on "The Elephant Show" on Nickelodean with my preschool-age sister (who is now 17 and leaving for college!). Found this CD at Wal-Mart about 2 years ago.

3. Baby Genius: We have several CDs by this company. They take "classical" music and group it into categories like "I.Q. Builder" or "Night Time Classics". Really good for bedtime or quiet time. We also love anything by the Baby Einstein company (actually own several DVDs). This company also uses "classical" music, but with their own, more simple arrangements and instrumentation.

4. Little People: "Songs & Games for the Road" by Fisher Price. I hate this CD. Not kidding. It has a great group of songs for kids on there, but I can't stand the singing or talking. These kids' voices are just waaaaay too annoying. If you like Barney (which we don't allow in our house), you'll like this CD. I also found this one at Wal Mart about 2 years ago.

Thursday, August 11, 2005


As many of you know, I have post-partum depression (PPD). I gave birth to Dallin on May 2nd, and while I'm completely in love with this child and so happy to have him, it really felt like the rest of my world was crashing down on top of me. At first I attributed it to "baby blues", as I've heard that everyone gets that. As the days wore on I became one angry mama. I felt like I was yelling at Ches for things that didn't matter, but for some reason would set me off anyway. I felt horrible as I found myself yelling at Aiden for things that were completely out of his control (he is only 2, after all!). I talked to some friends a little bit, and one repeatedly told me that I would snap out of this, it was just a phase from having a second child, etc.

Things got worse. My family came to visit when Dallin was a month old (we did his baby blessing then), and all I could do was yell at my mother for wanting to hold her grandson, or throw a fit because I couldn't find a specific recieving blanket. I kind of joked about how I felt, but it wasn't a joke. I said that I knew something was wrong, but I didn't have visions of killing my kids, so I couldn't be that bad. I only had visions of killing myself.

Bad joke.

Everytime I had one of these horrible yelling fits, it was like having an out of body experience. Really. I would scream and yell at my husband, but part of me seemed to seperate and watch myself do this. That seperate part would say "What are you doing? Why are you yelling so much? It's such a trivial thing! This is ridiculous, and you look like a lunatic."

Luckily, my husband loves me very much and encouraged me to talk to my doctor rather than kick me out of the house. I did so, and he immediately put me on anti-depressents and referred me to a counsellor. It didn't take all that long at all before we all noticed a difference. I feel so much more laid back. The little things don't bother me anymore. I don't feel like committing suicide. I don't feel like I don't deserve my children or my spouse. I have the energy to want to do more than sleep or sit on the couch, staring at the wall. Through counselling, I'm learning a lot about myself: why I react to certain things in certain ways. What kind of expectations I have of myself. What expectations are good to have and what are just plain unrealistic for anyone but Superwoman (who doesn't exist). How to react to my children, my spouse, my parents, and loved ones in a way that we all benefit.

I say all this because on the yahoo! group I'm in, there has been a bit of discussion lately on depression. I also just read an interview with Brooke Shields in Redbook magazine last night, and a lot of it focused on her PPD as well as her reactions to Tom Cruise's claims that women don't need meds or counselling but should exercise to get better. Brooke (don't you love how I refer to her as if she's my friend??) made a couple of really good rebuttals: "Tom should stick to saving the world from aliens and let women who are experiencing postpartum depression decided what treatment options are best for them." "Tom Cruise did not have a uterus last time I checked." My feelings exactly, Brooke!

In the interview Brooke talks about her own struggles and what she did (and now I really want to read her book), and she states "It's a woman's choice to take the help that's available to her -- not to suffer just because you think you should or because you think it's your fault." I love that.

I think because I am going through this myself that I have taken this debate quite personally. I just want to say that depression of any form is an illness, and it may require some actual treatment: medications, therapy, whatever. This is not something to think it will "just go away". This is not something to feel guilty about. I sure did for a while. I felt like I had something to prove and I had to be the best mom and the best wife and that didn't include all these weird feelings.

Most of all, I just want to say that if you are suffering in some way, listen to that little voice inside that is saying "something is wrong here" and talk to a professional. I also want to tell you that if you think your spouse or sister or friend (just someone you love) seems to be acting differently, take it seriously. I got to one point where I said "You know, I think I'm better, so I'm not going to talk to my doctor. It's no big deal." Ches looked at me and said "No, you're still not you. I'm still walking on eggshells most of the time. It is a big deal. I think you should still talk to the doctor and see what he says." Thank you, Ches, for telling me that, because the difference of me now from me then is night and day. We are all happier here at home. The people who just gloss over unpleasantness aren't doing anyone any good. I think they just don't want to have to deal with it themselves.

PPD is a very serious illness. It varies from woman to woman on when it hits, when it stops, and just how bad it actually gets. Every woman has it a little bit differently. If all women with PPD were properly diagnosed and treated and got all the support they needed, think how much better off we would all be, as well as how many happier families we would have. You've heard the saying, "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." It's sure true in my house. My depression affects not just me, but my spouse and my children. I'm so thankful for a doctor who asked "How are you doing with everything?" and opened the door for me to talk to him. I'm so thankful for friends who just come over to talk, then take my kids so I can have an hour to myself. I'm so thankful for a husband who never made me feel guilty for being depressed and not taking care of my responsibilities.

I am fighting this illness, and I am getting better.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Home Sweet Home

Well, we made it to San Diego and back again! I can't believe I survived the trip. I actually drove for 12 hours with my two children and not my husband! That is a big accomplishment.

The roads were fine, the weather was fine, traffic was fine. Then we hit L.A. Can I just tell you that I hate L.A.???? It took me over two hours to get through the place. That is ridiculous! Once we got to San Diego I just sat down in my sister's living room and refused to think aboutthe fact that I was going to have to drive home.

So, here's what we did on our trip: We went to the Zoo, Sea World, the beach, and visited with my aunt and uncle in San Diego and went to Hemet one evening to visit my other uncle and his family. It was a lot of fun to take Aiden to all these new places (he is still talking about the gorillas and elephants at the Zoo and Shamu at Sea World), but for me the most fun part was getting to visit my little sister.

My sister is awesome. She and I are very close in age and have pretty much had to hang out our entire lives. We have almost always shared a room, and we were even roommates for one semester in college (right before I got married). She is so smart and talented and one of the kindest people I know. She has been married a little over a year now, and is expecting her first baby in September. It was so fun to see my little sister preparing to be a mommy! I loved shopping with her and looking at baby stuff and getting to impart all my "wisdom" to her (most of which I know she will ignore, but that is what big sisters do... they boss around little sisters and then the little sisters ignore most of what the big sister says).

Both Aiden and Dallin loved her, too. We weren't in the car for more than an hour on the way home when I hear this sad voice from the backseat proclaim "I miss Aunt Lura." That started my flood of tears from leaving my sister all over again.

It's good to be home, though. Kudos to Ches for having the entire house clean for me! He really is an amazing husband. He was gone the entire week, too, but as he left after us and got home before us, he wanted to get all the cleaning and laundry done that he could. That made everything so nice and my own travel clean up is that much easier.

As much fun as we had in San Diego, I really missed Ches. It's good to spend time apart from your spouse, just not too much time. A week was just a little more than what I wanted, I think. The homecoming is always sweet, though. I especially loved it Sunday when we were just all sitting in the living room, reading books or looking at pictures and talking, relaxing all the while. I love my family. I love my family being whole again.