Musical Monday: The Lucky One

OK, guys. I thought I would take someone up on a request to do country, and if I am doing country I am doing Alison Krauss. YeeHaawww! Actually, there was a little foot tapping going on.

The Lucky One

day twelve: uniting

Today in the combined meeting of men and women during the third hour of church, this man (our bishop) spoke to us about being part of the bigger cause. He spoke about offering our strengths and weaknesses to the welfare program so that we could all become more linked together. He asked us what we had each put on the shelves of the Bishop's Storehouse to help our fellow church members in time of need. Not money. We are not talking about money, which is easier to quantify. It was so inspiring to see people start to think about their own talents. There was brainstorming happening, with different people offering ideas about how to network better in the ward. Let go of your modesty and your comfortable isolation. It was good. It was really good.

Now we are home eating our warm dinner and preparing for a family meeting where we will talk about how we can help the home to run as smoothly as possible over this next year while I go back to school in the evenings, on top of working during the afternoon. What can each person here offer to the family? How can we network better?

It is all about the unity. The end.

day eleven: this guy, right here

This man here. The one with the cute stride? This is my anchor. When my little boat is on a stormy sea he keeps me steady. He helps to gives me perspective and to remind me that we are a team. He is good about helping other people who are stressed or who need reassurance.

I see his humanness when he has his own struggles, but give him yours and they are magically lessened. This is my guy, right here.

day ten: blowing feathers

We started with our first instruction on the alphabet today, and I immediately felt a real responsibility to help the students understand the concept. The letter "F". We used magnets, flat pieces of wood to form the parts of the letter, red playdough we rolled into the three lines used to make an "F", and mini chalkboards. Then Miss C taught the kids how to make the sound by holding an imaginary feather in their hands and blowing it out while putting their top teeth on their bottom lips. We go full body in our class, folks. It works.

I came home at 4:30 and put my feet up in front of a little Food Network for an hour, and then Geo and I left to go out to dinner. I never make steak at home (no grill), so it is a treat to order one at a restaurant and have it be so tasty. We had a nice chat about counting our blessings and then left for a drive north, where we did some window shopping for a new modest car. No purchasing any time soon, but when Elder B gets home in a few months he may be inheriting our current second car so we may want to bite the bullet and get something nicer for G. Hard to imagine spending any more money in the near future, but...

Tomorrow I will go watch my little four year-old redheaded friend play in a soccer game at 11, and then in the evening I will go to a wedding reception. Both sweet celebrations of life, don't you think?

day nine: eleven twenty

Even though I am only teaching afternoon kindergarten I could so easily justify going in to my classroom at 8 a.m. As a matter of fact I did that a handful of times in the last two weeks and got a lot done. i even enjoy being there in my quiet room by myself, where I can think and plan and prepare for the day. The problem is that I am paid for a half-day, and I need to be home during the hours I am not getting paid doing mom and wife things (that I also enjoy doing). So today I was disciplined and did not go to the classroom until 11:20 a.m. I came home from aerobics and showered, and made the bed, and cleaned up a bit, and even hemmed some pants, before heading in. I had a very slight and very quiet panic attack as I pulled into the parking lot, knowing almost every other person in the building had been there hours longer than I had. I felt irresponsible and unprepared. But all went well and I was able to wrangle together a few ideas to fill in the schedule where things were different than I had planned. No special services like speech, etc until next week. Breathe, Miss Kazzy, breathe...

After coming home and getting some things taken care of we were off to a dinner up in the canyon, which is a mere 10 minutes from my kitchen. I love living here. For reasons like that I really do love living here. Potato salads, baked beans, rolls, roast beef, and that green stuff that is supposed to be jello but is kind of cloudy-looking. And I sat near a neighbor I adore and think is brilliant. Teacher by day, student in real life. I like being me.

day eight: arrivals

So after making sure everyone was accounted for with the bus shop, I spent the morning getting ready for the kiddos to arrive. Chalked the weekly schedule up on the board. Got the popsicle sticks ready in their little yellow boxes to use for counting the days of school. Some other last-minute preparations.

They were so cute and full of innocence (most of them) and excitement (most of them) when they hopped down the steps of the bus. We walked into the room and went over the routine and expectations before getting started with some real schoolin'. All in all a great day.

After a few errands I stopped and picked up a roasted chicken and some french bread for a quick dinner before G had to go to the church. At the end of a long day it feels so good to sit at the table and look into the eyes of my family. I breathe more regularly and I rest, even if just for 20 minutes. So so crucial.

Adam gathered his final things we had forgotten on Monday night and said his final farewells, which included hugging his two younger brothers, who had both, during the week, privately told me they would miss their big brother. It was sweet to watch. Boys sometimes give big hugs, but they are quick and often followed by a joke or a cough. I have seen it over and over again, even from the gentle guys in my family. A little lump in my throat as an observer.

After dropping off my son I met some friends at a play and laughed and cried and cried again. It was so good for me to sit in that back row seat and be entertained for a couple of hours. As a teacher we think like entertainers, so being an audience member is a nice change.

Then driving home in the dark I found myself cutting through campus and slowing down, just a bit, as I passed the dorms. I thought of the parents who had sent their own children off to my class today. We had that in common.

day seven: easily spilled

We spent an hour at the store last night running around in teams gathering things for boy #2, as we helped to prepare him for the big move out. After the cashier gave me the receipt, and laughed at me for having all boys (little did she know they are leaving one by one, and I was feeling melancholy), we packed up the car and headed off to Los Hermanos to meet Geo for dinner. It was a nice way to spend family night. We looked out the big glass windows and watched the clouds roll in as the sun performed quite a fade out. A few helpings of chips and salsa for the boys as G and I tried to talk across the table. Que bueno.

We started driving to the dorms right after paying the bill and loading the kids into the car. The drizzle started, but it wasn't strong enough to deter us from our mission, which at the moment seemed to be to make Mom kinda sad. Of course, once we started moving the things in I found myself getting excited for my son, remembering my own first move to college and how much promise it held. We unpacked and put on brand new sheets. They were crisp and had folds and that new smell. Books up on the shelf. Clothes on hangers. Soy in the fridge for my lactose-free boy.

He won't be moving in until Wednesday. Turns out the rest of the building was completely empty until then, so he came home for two more nights, with his stuff settling in on its own. Today we put him to a bit of work and had him rejoin us for another two days. Then this morning...

We had the usual a.m. routine. Breakfast, take homework inventory, music practice, etc. Then after going to BYU with Geo for a faculty breakfast I walked into my classroom to find these.

Flowers from the teacher whose position I now have since she took a leave of absence. A kind note that put me over edge for a few minutes made me glad that I had the room to myself for a bit. Between the changes in our family and the workload at the new job I have been a bit overwhelmed. I have realized that even lots of good things can get to me. I am a full glass of water.

Musical Monday: To Make You Feel My Love

to my children

To Make You Feel My Love

day five: temples and cabins

This afternoon we went to my niece's new cabin up near Heber. It was a nice cool evening and we ate bbq chicken and salad and bread. I love Sundays. After dinner we took a nice walk down the unpaved road toward the property line of the forest service. Beautiful tall aspen trees with leaves fluttering in the cool breeze. It was a nice day.

This morning we attended the dedication of the Oquirrh Mountain LDS Temple remotely, from our own chapel here in Springville. As we sat in chairs in the section that usually serves at the cultural hall (gym) I found it a nice and poignant coincidence to look up and see the scoreboard above my head. The speaker was talking about the Adversary having less power as the number of temples on the earth grew. And then I noticed "home" and "visitors" above me. I like being on the home team.

Tomorrow we move boy #2 out to the dorms, after I put in a huge day at work. There will be a little emotion here tomorrow. I am concerned that he is concerned. As I have mentioned before, this son of mine is a bit of a homebody, content to have his own room downstairs filled with books, art supplies, and his laptop. He is easy to please, but can be reluctant to reach out. I want him to be happy and to make friends and to succeed and to ... Lots of wishes. Lots of love.

ps I am published over at today

day four: a nap and some files

Mormon Helping Hands worldwide church service project
Elder Burton August 2009

I attended a 5K run this morning, as a spectator helping out my photographer friend, at Sugarhouse Park in Salt Lake. It was beautiful morning and I was glad to be outside, wearing jeans and passing out business cards for Lu (find her at And my friend and colleague was there too, running with her daughters, and I was inspired by that. Being inspired fills me up.

After some IHOP on the way home, and some good conversation about marriage and relationships, etc., I walked into my house, greeted everyone, and then fell face first onto my bed, where I slept for three hours. When I woke up at 3:15 there were deep sleep lines on my arms and and quiet in the air. My good husband had shushed the whole house for my benefit.

Soon after waking I received a call from my mentor at work, who had been working all day on some of the paper work that needed to be done by Monday. She came over and walked me through some things in preparation for the four meetings I will be conducting Monday and Tuesday. Good lady. I will go in early Monday morning, after what I am anticipating to be a terrific Sabbath. It will all work out. I am confident.

Left over Chinese from our dinner out last night. Yummy Lo Mein. Now I will fold clothes and soak in the warm foundation of my home and fam.

day three: date night

You know, all it takes sometimes to get through the day with a decent attitude is the prospect of going out in the evening. So when the man asked what I wanted to do tonight I asked him to plan the whole thing (along with my BFF's husband, since it is a double date) so that I could be surprised and feel taken care of. OK, sometimes we need to ask to get what we want, right?

Today was a good day, mostly because my district mentor came into my room and scooped up some of the paper work I had looming over me and took it away. She said she would take care of things for me and get back to me on Monday. Oh, happy day! I was on my way to getting things figured out and done, but because I am a first year Spec Ed teacher she took some pity on me. Usually all of the forms and meetings I have been buried in don't happen for months into the school year, but when kids enter the system "unpapered" we need to get everything lined up right.

Smart little boys and girls. Cute faces. Promise.

And now off to eat a nice dinner with Mr. Mine.

day two: tests and teeth

On top of giving assessments all day I had a surprise visit from a supportive district member, who arrived 6 minutes before a meeting that was being held down in the conference room. I ran down to the conference room to beg to be excused and ran back. And forth. And back. I am pretty certain I (looked) look like an empty-headed fool. Well, maybe I am.

In the meantime, my husband is dropping off our eighteen year-old at the oral surgeon to have three wisdom teeth and a cracked back molar removed. My close friend was lined up to pick him up after the surgery, but...

G: Turns out someone needs to stay with him through the surgery, even though he is of legal age.

Me: Yeah? And?

G: I am obligated from now until 5ish to help my brother with something.

Me: OK...well, Hon, it is a total mad house here. I have kids and parents coming in for the rest of the afternoon back-to-back.

G: I'll call C.

Me: Yup. Thanks.

Then back to work. Scattered. Overwhelmed by paperwork that doesn't usually need to be done at the very beginning of the year. Thrown into it.

Geo made sure all of the surgery paper work was correct before legal son signed it all. Then off. C arrives soon and plays the good friend and sits with Adam during recovery and then drives him home. All went well. I arrive home around 6 to see that he has some swelling, but the pills are starting to take effect and I am confident that he will heal up in the next couple of days.

Then after checking in with everyone I take the envelope with teeth in it to the counter to wash them and return them to their container. Kind of gross, but not too bad really. Five teeth.

Wrong envelope? Some splaining to do tomorrow...

day one: beginning

I am a new special ed teacher. After twenty-one years I am back in a familiar spot, but at the same time in an unfamiliar situation. And it is that unfamiliarity that also has me back at the university getting my Spec Ed license. School during the afternoon and school at night. But it's all good. This is a chance to see what my 45 year-old brain can handle, as far as new challenges are concerned. Got my husband and two sons that are still home behind me. I feel like it is an experiment.

I want to write a blog entry everyday for the next calendar year (and continue with my Musical Monday posts). I need a place to be my touchstone, and I am going to try this place. But because of my work, school, family, and church obligations I will read fewer blogs (I don't think anyone will miss me. Seems like I don't get much reciprocity lately anyway...). So I will write.

We did testing today with a handful of kiddos. Adorable little lumps of clay. I am still trying to find my way in the paperwork, but feel at ease with the kids. Connie and Liz will be great helps, especially C.

Adam has been packing for his move out to the dorms this weekend. A joyful boy. I will miss him, but know this is good and right. A stack has begun in the middle of his bedroom of things that will move out with him.

Yesterday in my rush to prepare the classroom, work with the new technician, Liz, and run back and forth to the other neighborhood elementary where my youngest was having his open house, I found myself darting into the grocery store for some bananas and small chocolate donuts (balance, people). On my hurried way back out to my car 4 minutes before I was due back at my own classroom for our own school open house, I saw an elderly man slowly swinging his legs out of the driver's door of an old, beat-up, white Lincoln. Then came the crutches with the arm braces. His door was swung open in a way that blocked me from getting to my driver's door, so I stood near the hood of my car and waited. Then after he was finally upright he realized that he had forgotten to put his handicapped tag on the dash, so after mumbling a few things to himself he climbed back into his car to dig out the tag and place it in clear view above the steering wheel. Meantime I am only slightly impatient because watching this process has become a bit therapeutic to me. And then I recognize him.

Brother Harris, right? My husband has great respect for you. Gideon Burton. He worked with you in the English Dept at BYU.

Oh, Gideon. Yes. Ask him to stop by and see me at my home sometime. I have some things to talk to him about.

I'll do that. You take care.

Then as I check my clock I see it is now 1:59. I start to finally pull out when he comes back to my window to tell me a short joke about being a technical writer. Then he walks away, toward the store front, and I see his suspenders are unclipped from his pants and he is barely able to shuffle his way to the sliding doors.

Thank you, nice old man, for reminding me to slow down.

Musical Monday: Ice Cream

I think I do these recordings more for myself than anyone else. A creative outlet is so good for the soul, as we bloggers already know.

I love this piece as a light, fun, little love song. I hope you like it too. And I plan on writing a post with some actual words in it sometime this week.

Ice Cream

music coming right up

I can't remember going a whole week without posting. It has been a roller coaster ride as I have been preparing for my new job, attending more meetings, and getting my own kids ready for school, including the psychological prep work for my 18 yr-old to get him ready to trade his comfy oasis here at home for a crowded dorm room. But all is well, and I feel up for the challenge.

I have started putting together my piece for MM today, but will not get it finished until 4 or so. Please come back and take a listen. And as I petitioned for suggestions/requests on my facebook page tonight I would also ask you to leave a comment and suggestion here. Thanks, and see you soon.

Musical Monday: Gravity

I got a little taste for this song watching So You Think You Can Dance. That addiction routine just really hit me, with both the music and the movement of the dancers. Powerful stuff.

With that in mind, as I was recording this song I tried to keep that same feeling going. I knew if I had to read the lyrics while I was recording it would take away from some of the mood, so I spent a day getting the words down and then I closed myself up in my recording space (read: the dressing room off the bedroom) for an hour until I got a decent cut. I hope you can make some kind of connection.


nostalgia 101

Geo looked at me as we stood in line at the bookstore to buy books for our freshman son.

It seems like just yesterday we were here dating, then mating.

Yes, hon, it does. (giggle)

And now we are sending off another boy. Man...

I know. But this is fun to see them get to this point. And Adam will be leaving for who-knows-where after Christmas. I can hardly believe it.

I read blogs written by young moms and wish I had had this outlet when my boys were little. No internet. No computers for the first two children. No cell phones.

When we were in LA we had one car and lived in the inner city where there was limited green space. We made due. We were happy with so little. I have choked-up recollections of early married years with the discovery of marriage, two handsome little heirs, the lemon tree in the back yard. Living in a temporary place but making permanent memories.

As far as child-rearing goes, we have hit the top of the arc and now we are coming back down. One out, now two. It is like those early years again in a few ways. Back down to two children, like life is a big fat rubber band.

But all is well, and going according to plan. Not always my plan, but a plan nonetheless. And I come home from spending this day on a college campus where our little family got its start and I think. And I think. And I think.

Musical Monday: For Good

I have been at meetings all day, so I apologize for the tardiness of my usual Musical Monday post. Then I decided to sing a duet with myself, which only lengthened the recording process. But I love this song and have wanted to give it a try, so I hope you enjoy it.

For Good

wringing out the body

Adam is the redhead in the middle of the back row

Last night I ran to the store very late after a full day away from home doing lots of other things. I had lunch with two friends in Heber, attended the play my husband is directing, and had a late (late) dinner with some of our best friends from 20 years ago in the LA days. We all happen to live within 10 miles of each other here in Utah now, which makes Kazzy a happy girl.

Bed by 3 a.m., after unpacking groceries and unwinding for 30 minutes in front of a DVRed episode of The Office while filing my nails. Up by 7:30 for choir practice. And then I spent the few hours before church preparing yummy stuffed green peppers for a casual dinner we had here at the house at 5 p.m. The family came over because boy #2 (who is moving out to attend BYU in three weeks) reached a nice milestone today in our church and we wanted to share it with them. I have blogged about this son of mine before. He is worth every aching muscle I feel now as I am finally tucked into bed with the laptop.

Adam is in the middle of his friends that came over

My life is good. My life is real good.

ps Musical Monday will be posted Monday afternoon, so please come back.