Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Wedding

Funny Faces

As most of you know, my girls are obsessed with collages and they especially love decorating foam cutouts like our valentines, shamrocks and Easter eggs.)  I had bought a pack of flowers for this month but when I got home from the store I realized that a sneaky little girl had slipped a pack of heads into our basket and I bought them without noticing.  So... I cut out a bunch of body parts from magazines and they started their face collages today with my sister in law.  We have a whole pack of heads and a big bag of body parts cut out so I see a lot of these in our near future.  I think they are pretty hilarious.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tullip Festival & Checkup

It has been a whirlwind of day.  New Fish had a doctor's appointment for her 18 month checkup.  She had double ear infections (which I had suspected the last few days) because every time she teeths it takes months, her nose runs and then she gets an ear infection.  So that was a bummer, but here are her stats-22.5 lbs -15th percentile, 33.5 inches- 65th percentile, head size I forgot but- 65th percentile.  So she has become a little skinny girl.  Probably because she eats like a bird.  No shots today on account of her ears.  We will go back in a couple of weeks.

It was really funny because the doctor told me that "[New Fish] is an intense personality and she is going to be an extremely labor intensive child."  Pretty funny.  My little blondie is a fire cracker for sure.  She is sweet as they come but as soon as she sets her mind to or against something, she is a FORCE to be reckoned with.  She has literally made me cry over trying to get a diaper on her or buckle her into her seat.  When we discussed some of the sleeping, eating, dressing whatever battles I've been having with my daughter the doctor laughed and said she might be the most stubborn baby he has seen in a very long time.  Great.  I guess she gets that from both me and her father.  Red Fish is pretty stubborn too so we will all have to claim it. That's why they came extra cute and with extra cute personality traits- to make up for the demanding ones.

After the doctor's office, New Fish took a nap while I cranked out some design work and waited for Red Fish to get home from school.  As soon as she got off the bus we jumped in the car and went to a Mexican joint to go to a business meeting.  The girls were pretty good but their wild little selves always show through.  Then it was another round of naps and working and then off to the tulip festival.  The girls loved running around.  New Fish got a little cranky but when they found a big hill to roll down the kids had a really really great time.  A shoe was lost down one of the waterfalls but it got stuck on a rock and I had to jump the fence to grab it.  No day is without it's adventures.  After we got home, we barbecued in the backyard and had a great little picnic outside. Red Fish was calling it "barbie-ing." The girls were super super grubby after a day of rolling down hills and barbecuing so they had a nice bath and we all tried to clean up the toys.  It really was such a nice spring afternoon and evening, I couldn't have asked for more.  It was actually kind of perfect.  Wild, crazy, fun and perfect.

Random Pics Of Music Time At Our House

I've been trying to recommit to more music time at our house.  I haven't been doing as much music with the girls in the last few months.  I was too tired and lazy and now I feel guilty because their joy at the return of music time is INTENSE.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Declaring It Spring

We're trying to declare it spring around here even if the weather isn't always very cooperative.  Most of our projects over the past couple of weeks have all revolved around spring.  The Easter eggs and bunnies are coming down slowly.  This sign was a nice long project for the girls.  They had to paint the letters and cover each one in collage items and then last night we finally assembled it all with some gorilla glue.  The girls were pretty excited when I hung it up this morning.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Funnies from Red Fish

She saw a sports bra in my drawer and said: "Hey!  What are you doing with that?  That's for Daddy to wear when he runs!"  Um... Not so much.  (Two Fish does not appreciate me typing that.)

Talking to her little sister the other day: "We are growing bigger and bigger.  When we get taller we get to start wearing bras.  Right now we aren't tall enough."

When I was singing to her before bedtime she said: "Mommy I need you to be quiet.  That's enough singing.  I need you to go away so I can sleep." Then she patted me on the head.

At Coscto the other day I sternly told New Fish to not hit and she started crying.  Red Fish turned to me, pointed her finger and said: "One more time Mommy and we are going home!  You be nice to my [New Fish]!"

To New Fish: "Are you just having a hard day?" and "What am I going to do with you?"

I was telling her about our Easter plans and she asked me: "Will my people be there?"

On Easter I showed her an egg (they were hidden all over the house) and she said "Weird."  I asked her if she saw more eggs and she said: "Hey yeah they are all over!"  I asked her if she would like to put them in her basket and she said: "How bout you get them and I'll stay here."  and then she figured out they were full of candy and changed her mind.

When Red Fish wants to see someone she tells me: "[fill in the blank] really misses me.  I think we better go see them."

Sunday, April 24, 2011


 For the first time ever I felt like I totally had things all together for Easter.  Red Fish and I prepared a whole Easter presentation with eggs full of Easter symbols to go with pictures and the story of Christ's last week.  My cousin has a plan for it all written out on her blog.  We planned a lovely Easter brunch with my grandparents and my Mom.  (Mimi was sick so she couldn't come. ) I made my first ham and it turned out very well.  We had a little Easter egg hunt set up around the house.  The girls got cute baskets with a book, new sandals, pex dispensers and playdough.  Two Fish put together this little cardboard house for them to color on and paint.  The girls loved everything. Then my grandparents brought them another basket full of goodies, tiny loaves of homemade bread and bubbles.  So the girls got pretty spoiled.  Also my Mom got them cute Easter dresses.
 I had visions of great pictures of my sweetly dressed princesses.  But then I was reminded that they are 1 and 3 and even trying to get them to look at the camera is usually futile.  They are still very cute.

 After church we went to Two Fish's sister L's house for a big Easter dinner with the cousins.  The girls ran around with the other maniacs and had a great time.
Red Fish, Cousin S and New Fish- the little girls club.  This may be the cutest picture ever.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Egg Hunt

 We went to a local Easter egg hunt this morning.  They said there were 10,000 eggs but I'm pretty sure there were 10,000 people there.  It lasted all of about 30 seconds but the girls got a few eggs and they loved it!

Tweak by Nic Sheff

I wasn't sure I wanted to read this but I felt like I needed the other side of the story after reading Beautiful Boy.  This book is a hard one to review.  The language is horrible and the subject matter is beyond disturbing.  It is raw and candid and I suppose that a book about serious drug addiction should be horrible.  It should be shocking and Tweak is a traumatizing read.  The Chicago tribune called it "difficult to read but impossible to put down."  I wouldn't go quite that far but it does give a clear window into the mind of a drug addict. Nic Sheff is extremely transparent and open to sharing the horrors of his path to drug addiction.  He doesn't try and excuse the choices he makes or blame them on a less than ideal childhood.  His childhood does sound terrible but he seems almost numb to that.  The book starts in his early twenties when he is already four years in to a serious drug addiction and follows him through two relapses.  It is ugly and haunting.

Nic's obsession with fame and acceptance is almost more disturbing than his addiction to drugs.  His unhealthy relationships made me shudder. I'm glad he doesn't go into extreme detail about his life in New York or his days of prostitution because that would have been too much for me.  My heart ached for the people around Nic who are constantly trying to help him and lift him up.  When Nic talks about killing himself by using until he is dead it is heartbreaking.  The pain of reaching out to someone who seems intent on killing themselves seems unbearable but his family continues to reach out to him.  Nic describes his efforts to make amends like "trying to put a band-aid on shot gun wound."

This book has given me a lot to think about.  I'm not sorry I read it, but I will not be reading Sheff's second book.  One window into his mind was enough.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Easter Egg Dying Adventure

 The girls and I were supposed to go to a friend's house and dye eggs today but the friends weren't feeling well.  So since I had already promised egg dying today we decided to give it a go in the back yard.  (Thank goodness!)  I've decided that dying eggs with two small children is entirely different than doing it with just Red Fish the last couple of years.  Plus, I've never done it without the aid of Two Fish.

We had this great egg dying kit from Mimi that had really potent dye and stickers and glitter and jewels.  The girls went crazy with all of the stuff.  For the first ten minutes or so I tried to control the chaos and show them how to dye the eggs but then I gave up and decided to stop letting my adulthood get in the way of their fun.  They spent the next hour chucking the eggs into different bowls and swirling them around with glitter.  They put stickers and jewels on them and then stuck them back in the bowls again for another swirl.  The eggs turned out pretty disgusting and in the end there were bits of boiled egg floating around all of the bowls so we didn't have out Easter egg lunch but the girls had a fabulous time.  They have the blue stained hands to prove it!

Little Baker

My little artiste has decided she is also a chef.  She made a cake (with a little help) on Sunday and then Macaroni and cheese today.  She will pass up my kitchen skills in no time. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Water Babies

 There were no swimming lessons today and it's spring break for Red Fish so we decided to head to the pool with my Mom.  She has a zero entry pool at her gym that the girls just go wild for because they can run around without their life jackets.  I swear my kids were born part fish.  Red Fish is swimming all over the place and New Fish shows every sign of being ready to be signed up for some lessons so she can copy her sister!

I May Be A Tad Obsessed

I decided over the weekend that the girls needed hair bows to match their Easter dresses on Sunday.  A lot of their hairclips have gotten lost or destroyed and they were dwindling to an average size collection.  I can't have that!  Half the fun of having little girls is being able to have extra hair accessories, flowers, sparkles and ruffles.  I may have gotten a bit carried away but the girls are pretty stoked about all of the new hair stuff.  And yes, most of this is from stuff I already had in my craft drawer.  Anybody want to come play hair bows with me?  I always need an excuse to make more...

The Yay Red Fish Party

Since Red Fish has worked so hard this year and has been doing so well on her speech, it really felt like we needed to celebrate her triumphs as a family and make a big deal about it.  We invited Two Fish's Mom and my parents to come with us.  Red Fish got to wear a new outfit, which wasn't hard since I just got her some clothes for summer etc. and she is growing so fast she needed new stuff.  So she got to pick the outfit out of several new things.  We went to a local pizza and games place and she got to eat anything she wanted from the buffet and have ice cream afterwards.  The girls had a blast running around playing all of the games.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Please Think Before Stealing My Work

I am an artist and a musician.  I earn my living off my ability to create and my ability to promote the creations of the musicians and fellow artists I work with.  If you don't happen to think what I do is important- that's fine- just stop stealing my music and artwork.  The arts are being ravaged by piracy and I for one am tired of it.  At the production music association meeting this year, there was a call for all creative people to join in this battle to protect the arts so I feel I must post this again.

I attended the NAB convention again this year. NAB is the second biggest convention in the world. A place for artists in many industries (and economic situations) to congregate and work toward their goals. I always love meeting with people from around the world who are working in the music industry. At the production music association meeting, I heard an incredible speech given by David Israelson, NMPA president, on how piracy is affecting the economy and the arts in particular. It has given me a lot to think about.

For some reason it has become trendy to steal music, video, photography and other art because it is considered fighting against “the man.” Sticking it to the huge record labels etc. when in fact it is the songwriters, musicians and other artists who are suffering and not making enough money to support a family. The arts and entertainment industries are being ravaged. If this market continues to be inundated by theft- there will be no market.

When a big artist or company complains about piracy and theft of music and visual media, the general reaction is “who cares? They are so rich it doesn’t matter.” Well here is the thing. If you personally have illegally downloaded a song, video, photography or other art related intellectual property- you have affected my ability to make a living in a very real and tangible way. If you burn CDs of music to hand out as Christmas gifts, you have also robbed every composer, musician, and artist I work with. If you steal from our market- it affects all of us. If I stole auto parts from big car companies on a regular basis, it would affect the livelihood of their entire workforce. This may sound dramatic but it’s a serious situation. I’m not out living out on the street. I’m not starving but when a songwriter who wrote a famous song you listen to some big name artist sing everyday can’t afford to feed their family, there is a problem.

An artist is bigger than their size in the economy. When we don’t get paid for our creation it trickles down to affect composers, musicians, designers, engineers etc. in the labor force. Our work may come into your homes, cars, and computers on a daily basis but that doesn’t mean it belongs to you. Downloading a song from Itunes doesn’t mean you “own it.” You own a license to listen to the song. You get to appreciate the work of an artist and have it influence your life, hopefully for the better.

A Kid Rock video “Steal everything” on youtube mentions that oil companies make billions but if you told your friends and neighbors that you regularly drive away from the gas pump in order to teach them a lesson, you would be seen as a degenerate.

We’ve lost an entire generation to a sense of entitlement and a lack of appreciation for the arts. We don’t teach art, music, creative or visual thinking in schools anymore. Kids have been taught that they shouldn’t have to pay for art or music anymore. Outright theft is now seen as some sort of unalienable freedom to possess the work of someone else. How will this next generation understand the perceived difference between stealing intellectual property and taking whatever they want? Why do we treat intellectual property as a different entity in the first place? Why are we undervaluing a third of our economic property? How will the arts even continue under such attack?

I don’t think the country realizes what a problem this is. This is seen as an issuefor musicians to deal with or adapt to. It is so much bigger than that.

If any other American industry were under this level of attack, there would be a massive government reaction and public outcry. Unfortunately, Intellectual property is seen differently than other property rights. I think we all have a responsibility to examine our own morals and take a hard look at what we are saying to the next generation.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Good Daddy

Last night I just kept noticing how cute my husband is with the girls.  He gives them hugs and carries them around.  He was holding them and the three of them would ROAR and shake their heads as hard as they could and laugh.  Roaring is one of their current favorite activities.  They like to scare each other.  Then when they were reading together before bed I could hardly stand it.  It's so fun to see the love of my life be so in love with our sweet babies.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Blue Incident

I got home last night at 1:30am after a long drive and a very long couple of days of work. On the way home, I helped my brother M study for his music listening test for over four hours.  I'm glad I don't have to take the test.  I felt half delirious this morning.  The girls were so excited to see me but New Fish was pretty mad because we've cut her off on the bottles and I think she was pretty convinced I would give her one when I got home.

I put New Fish down for an early nap this morning and Red Fish fell asleep watching an episode of some show about puppies.  I was feeling pretty pleased that they were both asleep and I was sitting downstairs basking in the silence.  After awhile I heard giggling so I went upstairs to investigate.  I found the girls sitting in New Fish's room reading some books together.  This would have been very cute except they were both naked and covered in blue paint from head to toe.  New Fish was supposed to be in her crib and there were blue fingerprints footprints all over.  I didn't even know what to say.

I looked back down the hall at the blue banister and then followed the trail into my room where I found that my alarm clock was now blue and there was a blue body print in the middle of the sheets on my bed.  Then I saw the bathroom.  I was pretty much paralyzed.  I didn't even know where to start.  How is it possible that Red Fish helped New Fish out of her crib and managed to cause this much damage in complete silence?  I snapped a few pictures while I demanded they scrub the tub and each other. The rest you will just have to imagine.  It's a good thing those two little girls are so darn cute!  It preserves their lives sometimes.

Monday, April 11, 2011


I am at the NAB convention (National Association of Broadcasters) again this year with my brothers and our coworker "R."  It's exhausting but it's fun to meet with people from all over the world and talk about our music with them.  We have meetings with people from Taiwan, the UK, Scandinavia, Japan, Canada, the Netherlands, and Italy and that's actually fewer countries than in years past.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Springy Collages

 The girls and I spent a lot of time over the weekend doing art projects together because I knew I would be gone for a few days.  They did a ton of spring colored collages.  I let them paint the paper on with modge podge which is why they turned out so shiny.  Red Fish loved using tissue paper on hers because the paper wrinkles and moves and she liked that.  New Fish ditched the brush after awhile and went back to dipping the papers in the bowl of glue.  She loves that.  I think it might be her favorite way to create.

We did suncatchers with tissue paper on contact paper.  The girls were really excited about hanging them up in the window.  Glue-less collages are always a hit and easy to clean up.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Two Fish's Camping Trip

 Two Fish went camping and hiking with two of his brothers this weekend.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Speech News

Last May, Red Fish was diagnosed with speech apraxia by the speech therapist we had been seeing for a year.  In June, we started private speech therapy in addition to the therapy Red Fish was receiving through the health department and the school district. When we took her to the children's hospital rehab program they re-tested her. She took the PLS test (Preschool Language Scale) and tested in the 2nd percentile for expressive language skills.  (That is basically her ability to use language and vocabulary regardless of how well it is articulated.)  It was an equivalent age of about 16 months and she was 2 yrs. 7 months old.  So she was about a year behind.  Her auditory comprehension (the amount she understand of what people are saying to her, has always tested extremely high.  She has always known what she wanted to communicate, she just hasn't always been able to get her brain to communicate with the articulating muscles. She had 10, single syllable words in her vocabulary and just learning a new sound was taking months.  Red Fish called me "Mommy" for the first time only 8 months ago. 

Last September, we had her tonsils and adenoids removed and got her tongue clipped.  It made a huge improvement in her ability to communicate.  Then in October she retook the PLS in order to enter special needs preschool through the school district's speech program.  She came in at the 4th percentile on the expressive language portion.  It was more improvement than we had ever seen so it was good news.  Since November, Red Fish has attended the preschool twice a week with an in classroom speech therapist in addition to the private speech therapy 1x a week and almost daily speech practice at home.  We try for an hour on the days she isn't with a speech therapist.  We don't always make it, but that's what we try for. 

Since last fall, Red Fish has made progress in huge spurts.  It will be nothing for a couple months and then she will blow me away with some new-found communication and language skill.  The last month she has started talking so much that it is enough to make me want a pair of earplugs sometimes.  I'm teasing of course- it's fabulous even when it's exhausting.  Between New Fish becoming a chatty cathy and Red Fish talking up a storm things have been pretty noisy.  If my ears appear to be bleeding, it's because I get asked about 30 questions a minute, especially if held captive in the car. 

This month, I asked for Red Fish to be tested again because she has made a lot of progress lately.  The speech therapist did the same diagnostic PLS exam and... I think I might cry just typing this.  Red Fish came in at the 96th percentile for expressive language.  That's the equivalent age of 4 years, 4 months.  She is currently 3 years, 5 months old.  I am blown away.  Who even knew that much progress was even possible in less than a year?

They also did an articulation test this time around. They've never been able to do one before because she didn't have enough language skill yet.  She came in at the 8th percentile, well below her age level.  That may sound low, but considering that she was never even on the chart before, it's fantastic news.  With the hurdles she has already come past, it gives me a lot of hope and a whole new drive to keep working with her.  A couple of months ago I was really down about speech things but seeing this amazing progress puts things back in perspective. I never even thought she would achieve that level, we were shooting for average!

So... what do we do for our speech practice?  Red Fish's school sends home a lot of worksheets and/or cutting and pasting activities.  I think those are only so-so.  We have a lot of flash cards concentrating on adding new sounds or helping with articulation.  We play a lot of matching games with them or play go fish frequently.  I've printed, colored and laminated games that help with phrasing.  For example a game pictured above shows a character doing an action and Red Fish has to say "He is dancing...etc."  For the last few months we have been working on the letter "S" in different placements "F" and we are just starting on "G" and "C".  We have notebooks and notebooks filled with pictures to help her articulate multiple syllables.  She has had to scrape cheerios off different parts of her lips and tongue to exercise muscles.  Right now I've been trying to hold her tongue in position with a tongue depressor while she says her "C" and "G" sounds.  We play board games or do puzzles and insert flash cards between turns.  Pretty much anything that makes the work more fun.  Keeping her concentration and focus for an hour is a daunting task but overall she has worked VERY hard.  She is usually extremely cooperative and I think she enjoys the one on one attention.

It feels like a new chapter.  We still have appointments with two specialists this summer (they were booked 6 months out) to rule out underlying problems but things are going great.  These are the miracles that keep mothers going!


Red Fish is extra excited about this project.  She and New Fish did watercolor paintings last night and then today I helped her weave two of them together to make an "Easter basket."  We could have done the weaving with construction paper but lately, the girls want to paint so much, I find it's better to let them paint the raw materials for our projects.  It makes it take longer.  Plus, Red Fish is quite proud of the end result.  The weaving was too hard for her to do by herself but she could do most of the work with some direction.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

TDI Normoxic Trimix

TDI Trimix Diver (Normoxic)
As your motivation to explore progresses you will find that you may want to go deeper to dive that wreck that is part of history or that cave system that you have read so much about. One of the major limiting factors of going deeper is narcosis; TDI’s Trimix Diver course shows how to minimize the effects of narcosis by adding helium to offset the nitrogen in your breathing gas. While taking the Trimix Diver course your TDI Instructor will teach you how to plan and execute dives utilizing as little as 18 percent oxygen and diving to maximum depth of 60m/200 feet with a blend of helium appropriate for the planned depth. The course covers topics and skills like:

  • Dive team planning
  • Gas matching
  • Cylinder labeling
  • Surface marker deployment
  • Equipment configuration
  • Thermal protection options

Signs Of Spring

It was windy and chilly today but hey- there was no snow so I will just count the signs of spring.  Trips to the park, bubbles, jumping on a $10 trampoline, chilling in the yard, pulling weeds in the backyard, sunshine.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Recent Art Shows

It is no secret that I'm a big supporter of the arts. I love music, theater, visual art etc. Lately, I've gone to 2-3 art shows every month. Some of them have been great, some not so great. I don't exactly make it to the MET frequently but I try and support local artists and shows. Here are a few of my favorites from the last few months.

The Perfect Fit: Shoes Tell the Stories- an exhibit of objects made from shoes or made to look like shoes. My favorite was a bracelet made of barbie shoes. Really fun to walk through.
Rebecca Jacoby: The Visitors- Lot's of fun color and bold lines.

Painter Grant Fuhst; sculpture by Adrian Praze: It was a dark and creepy, much like a lot of my own artwork. I loved the puppets. It made me want to do more fine art. If only there were more hours in the day.

Carl Bloch: The Master's Hand

The exhibition featured five large altarpieces. Four of these have come from Lutheran churches in Denmark and Sweden. I recognize a lot of Carl Bloch's work but seeing them full size is a spiritual experience. As a member of the LDS Church, I have been exposed to a lot of Bloch's work. Reproductions of his work have been very popular in our church.
Bloch's spiritual sensitivity and the level of detail that went into these paintings is amazing. They have a true pressence that create a sense of being in a spiritual space, like visiting an old church. I love that the paintings seem to show the compassion and humanity of Christ. The exhibit made me reflect on my own relationship with Christ. I love the power of artwork to reach across the boundaries between various people and speak to them.

My Mother in law also got me a book on Carl Bloch for Christmas that I recently read.
The Masters Hand: the Art of Carl Heinrich Bloch. It has some beautiful prints and great information in it.