Indianapolis Temple

Indianapolis Temple

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

12/28/2013 07:15:00 PM Edit This 0 Comments »
2013 in Review

January- Rang in the new year with family by playing Cranium

February- Lara turned 6 and got a real recurve bow!  She also cut her hair this month :(

March- Vivi had an allergic reaction to a virus and developed hives all over her body.  Steroids made it all better.

April- Attended the Great Lakes Regional music therapy conference in Columbus, OH.  First trip of the year to Dollywood for Spring Break!

May- Started and completed a 3 week cleanse and felt great!  2nd trip to Dollywood.

June- Celebrated 8 years of marriage together!  Trip to Wicked with all the sisters and 3rd vacation to Dollywood.  Happy 2nd birthday to Mariella!

July- Officially stepped down from a full-time music therapy position at Helping Hands to spend more time at home.  Attended the CONS Young Women's camp for the second year as music leader.  Pregnant.

August- No longer pregnant with a miscarriage at 16 weeks with complications that resulted in a 3 day stay in the hospital, ending with a DNC.  4th trip to Dollywood!  Reed turns 31.

September- New job for Reed with the Columbus Facilities Management Group for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  The big 3-0 birthday for me!

October- Celebrated our 100 month anniversary.  Attended the Association of Ohio Music Therapist's state conference at Ohio University, my alma mater.

November- Road trip to Washington D.C. for Auntie Ruth's wedding.  Another miscarriage at 6 weeks that ended in another ER visit and another DNC.

December- Vivi turns 5 and we celebrated Christmas with family.  5th and final 2013 trip to Dollywood will happen on New Year's Eve.

We wish all a Happy start to 2014!

Mommy: The Mindreader

11/08/2013 07:50:00 PM Edit This 0 Comments »
Reed told me the other day that he thought I was doing a great job as a Mom and that he knew it must be hard to be a mind reader all day.  I thought about it for a minute and then said that I didn't think I was so much a mind reader as a body reader.  You know what I mean- the way you have to look for signs to see what your kids are actually trying to tell you?  And, if you have multiple kids, each one is different?   Case in point-

Lara sucks her thumb A LOT when she is tired and gets really whiny.
Vivi just gets crazy.  It is almost like she purposefully picks exactly the opposite of what you want her to do and makes really bad choices.  Like a few days ago when she whipped Mariella in the head with a pair of pants and thought it was funny.  She was exhausted.
Mariella find her pacifier and caresses her stomach with her Snow White Doll.

Lara and Vivi get super whiny but Mariella just goes into the kitchen and finds whatever she wants to eat.  I'm not sure which one is better.

Need for Attention:
Lara is getting to the age where she can actually tell me that she wants to spend time with me.  That's always nice when kids can articulate their needs.  :)
Vivi starts hugging me a lot and telling me that she loves me.
Mariella starts doing things like pulling hair, or destroying a book shelf.

That's just to name a few.  I do like it when they can actually tell me what's going on.  But if that's not the case, I can at least rely on these few signs to help me out!


9/20/2013 06:16:00 PM Edit This 0 Comments »
Today was Reed's last day working with Erik at Mars Irrigation and Landscape.  It would have been 10 years in April, can you believe that?!  In that type of industry, that amount of dedication and loyalty is basically unheard of.  Erik has been a wonderful boss and friend and has taken care of us for so long.  Although Reed and I are looking forward to this new opportunity, it was still sad to leave.  It is so wonderful that Erik is also a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, like us.  He was able to receive his own confirmation that this was a good move for Reed.  Just another perk of having such a great boss!  Erik told Reed that he could pick wherever he wanted to work, a non-profit of some sort to do some work pro bono.  Of course, Reed picked Helping Hands and they did an amazing job beautifying the grounds!

Reed will start his new job as a mechanic for the facilities management group for our church on Monday.  We are so grateful for this new direction for Reed.  It is an amazing blessing in our lives and one that came from a loving Heavenly Father.  Sometimes, I want Heavenly Father to just make it easy on me.  I always said that I would stay home when Reed had a job that lasted the winter and had benefits.  When he was invited to apply for this new job, it was back in April.  After a few months of not hearing anything (the job hadn't even posted) I started praying for some direction.  My contract is from September to September and I wanted to give my job plenty of time to find another music therapist if I was going to be resigning.  Heavenly Father told me without a doubt that I just needed to jump in, without knowing what was on the other end.  That is scary.

So I did it.  In July, not knowing what was going on with Reed's job, I said that I would like to move to an hourly position and give up the benefits.  Our insurance ended the end of August.  With my miscarriage at the beginning of the month and all of this uncertainty, I felt like a pretty emotional wreck.  A week later the call came that Reed had the job!  Such a relief and I immediately thanked my Heavenly Father for watching out for me and my family.  He always knows what is best for us and it's just up to us to choose whether or not we are willing to trust him.  I am happy I did.

Grateful List, continued

9/08/2013 07:16:00 PM Edit This 3 Comments »
I am grateful...

That we still had health insurance during my hospitalization.  I saw the EOB recently for all the medical stuff and it was over 23,000 buckaroos.  We aren't paying that of course, I was just flabbergasted at the cost.  That's way more than a real live birth!  So I am glad my miscarriage happened in August and also at a good time in the year to meet our out-of-pocket expenses so that everything else is 100% covered for the rest of the year.  (Maybe Reed can have his knee surgery this year).  Yay for HSA's and high-deductible plans.

There is something huge to be grateful for and it's killing me that I can't announce it.  Big news to come...  soon....  It's killing me.

My Grateful List

8/09/2013 03:11:00 PM Edit This 0 Comments »
Instead of giving a detailed account of the past week, I decided to make a grateful list because there are a lot of things to be thankful for!

I am grateful...

1.  That Reed was home when I had the miscarriage.  He had been out of town for the past 3 days and I don't know what I would have done.

2.  That it started while we were at church.  OK, so that sounds weird.  We were able to leave the girls in good hands and not drag them to the ER though and that was a comfort.

3.  For all the wonderful hospital staff.  Between Sunday, and then my Tuesday through Thursday hospital stay I met a LOT of nurses, OB/GYN staff, ER doctors, PSA's, and then all the surgical staff.  I especially found the mixture of business and caring interesting during the actual miscarriage Sunday.  The ER doctor who gave the diagnosis was very business-like and gave it to me straight.  Not totally uncaring, just straight.  I appreciated that because I don't think it would have made a difference either way.  Then it was the nurse who held my hand and made sure that I was OK.  It was like that through the whole week and I really appreciated all of the staff.  And a special shout-out to Brother Nagel who is an ER doctor at Riverside and stopped in just to check on us and say hi.  Which brings me to my next grateful point...

4.  For our ward family.  They have been wonderful.  We had meals, flowers, boxes of tissues, chocolates, offers of babysitting, etc for the whole week!  And all the thoughts and prayers, it has just been wonderful.

5.  For our immediate family.  My mom was able to come on Tuesday to stay with me overnight in the hospital so that Reed could go be with the girls.  She was a great strength to me, especially on Tuesday which was my worst night.  My mother-in-law had Mariella and Vivi all week and I know that it gave them some sense of stability.  My dad brought me a chocolate peanut butter milkshake late on Wednesday night before I had to start my surgery fast at midnight.  He made it right in time at 11:40 :)  I know that all of my siblings have kept us in their prayers and that was awesome to know.

6.  For all of our friends.  We have had such support with thoughts and prayers from all over the US.  Facebook is wonderful for that reason :)

7.  This next one sounds really weird- I am actually grateful for my hospital stay.  It was really hard when I ended up in a labor and delivery room on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning to have what I call another "clean-out".  I started crying because I didn't think I would be in that room without a baby.  I think though that is when I realized that I wasn't going through all of the pain for my baby that died.  I was doing this to make sure that my body was safe for other babies.

8.  For our knowledge of the gospel and the wonderful plan of Happiness that the Lord has set-up for us.  I don't know all the answers to my questions.  I don't even know the gender of the baby although Reed did see the baby during the miscarriage.  I don't think either of us was in an emotional state to ask.  I do know that the baby is eternally ours and everything will be sorted out later.  I do know that my Heavenly Father loves me, loves Reed, and loves our family.  Some days may be harder than others and he will help me get through them.

9.  I am especially grateful for all those who have shared with me their stories of going through a miscarriage or other loss.  During the actual miscarriage, Reed and I made a list of all the people we knew who had gone through this.  It was quite a list and now it has gotten longer!  I have found it a comfort and strength to hear all the stories and see that this is not the end or a permanent problem.

Another huge thanks to everyone who has kept us in their thoughts and prayers!!!!

My Pioneer Heritage

8/02/2013 01:55:00 PM Edit This 0 Comments »
Our ward had a polynesian luau in celebration of Pioneer Day.  Of course, I thought this was a wonderful idea because my pioneer heritage is not what one thinks of usually.  None of my ancestors came across the plains in the early days of the church.  In fact, all 4 of my grandparents are first-generation members (or very close to first-generation) of the church.  One of my favorite pioneer stories is that of my grandpa who is full-blooded Samoan.  I may be a bit fuzzy on the details so if anyone knows more facts, just let me know.  From what I remember, Grandpa joined the church as a young boy in American Samoa and became less-active as a youth.  He joined the military and came to San Francisco where he met my grandma (who is Chinese).  Grandma joined the church and both he and my Grandma became active to the point where Grandpa decided that some of his cultures customs and traditions got in the way of truly living the gospel.  He pretty much gave up his status in the family to live the gospel as he thought was right.  I think it paid off for him!  All of his sons served missions, 4 of his grandchildren have served missions, 1 is currently serving, 1 will be leaving on her mission in November, and 1 more will be putting in his papers shortly, 8 of us cousins have been married in the temple, and he has 8 great-grandchildren with more on the way.  I am pretty sure none of us would be where we are if Grandpa hadn't made the sacrifices he did and I sure love him for that.

I was asked to come up with some dances for the luau and so I asked two of my sisters to join me.  Being in Ohio, we are far from polynesian culture and I really wish there was a dance studio around here.  Ah well, YouTube to the rescue and we found this dance to a Lilo and Stitch song.     

Baby #4

7/14/2013 07:01:00 PM Edit This 3 Comments »
I already posted the ultrasound picture on FB so I won't post it again.  So here are some answers to Frequently Asked Questions :)

1.  Of course this was planned.  Mariella is getting too big, I'm turning 30 this year, and this is already the largest time span between kids.  If I want 6-7 kids then I'd better get to it!

2.  No, we're not moving any time soon.  Our place will work for at least another year and then hopefully we'll be in a better financial situation to move to a bigger place.  That being said, we always welcome information on houses in the area, preferably Powell ward because we would like to stay!

3.  We have waited until the baby is born to find out gender and will be doing that again.  Lara has put in her requests for a brother though.  We don't care either way and don't have any inkling whatsoever if it's a boy or a girl.  As Reed likes to say, we hope it is one or the other.

4.  I'm feeling OK so far, there are some good days and bad days.

5.  Due date is end of January.  I'm purposefully keeping it general because I'm tired of getting close to a "date" and getting antsy.  By this time I know my body and I know when I'm ready.

6.  Lara is excited, I don't think Vivi really gets what we told her, and Mariella has a surprise coming. :)


6/25/2013 07:34:00 PM Edit This 0 Comments »
Oh boy, it's been too long since I last blogged.  It's been super busy with vacations and work and life!

1.  I did finish the cleanse and it was hard but I am glad I did it.  I will make it a habit for after pregnancy/nursing.  I lost 10 pounds over all and I feel great.

2.  Mariella turned 2!

Thanks to Pinterest we made a polka dot cake.  A big thanks to Reed who started the process while I was driving back from Tennessee.  She was as happy as can be with her cake and we sang her favorite birthday song from Hi5, just for her.

3.  Lara has a loose tooth!  She is incredibly excited since she has been waiting since she turned 5 (she had a cousin who lost a tooth at 5 years old.  So she thought that was the magic age) to have a loose tooth.  Now she says she's going to wiggle it all day to make it fall out.

4.  Vivi finished preschool at Helping Hands and is spending the summer with Grandma Piano.  She has been giving me grief for several weeks that Lara got to spend time at Grandma's house and not her.  Now she is upset that Lara gets to go down the big water slide at camp.  I can never win with her.

5.  Reed and I celebrated 8 years of marriage!  Here's to the rest of eternity!

6.  It has been a month of traveling- 2 trips to TN and Reed had High Adventure.  It's been nice to settle into a routine finally.

7.  We switched rooms with the girls although things are still in shambles.  Little by little, I have to tell myself.

8.  Lara and I went to the MoTab concert with my family and saw our good family friends, the Miners.  We haven't seen them in years and it's funny to think that their youngest child is Lara's age.  The concert was wonderful and Lara really enjoyed it (although very tired).  

Summer is shaping up to be fun but busy!  We have a trip to Buffalo in July, I have Girl's Camp, and another trip to the Smokies will end our summer fun in August.  Yay!

Day 10-14

5/19/2013 06:29:00 PM Edit This 3 Comments »
One more week to go...

Day 10

  1. Breakfast- Green Smoothie with coconut water, avocado, kale, and mango
    1. I used fresh coconut water although I've heard you can buy packaged coconut water in some health food stores.  I wanted to try my hand at cracking fresh coconuts and draining the water since I am part Samoan...  so I should be able to do it quite handily.  Meijer's had pre-scored coconuts so they were easier to break apart.  Reed first drilled two holes so I could drain the water and then I smashed them on our back porch step.  How thrilling!
  2. Lunch- Indian food
    1. The music therapy department at HHC has a tradition of taking our interns out to lunch for their end-of-their-internship celebration.  One of our interns this time around picked an indian restaurant.  So I stuck close to the chicken and veggie dishes although I did have one piece of naan and one bowl of rice pudding.
  3. Dinner- Berry Shake with coconut milk and cinnamon
    1. Yummy!  This used coconut milk plus some meat from my coconuts.                                                               

Day 11
  1. Breakfast- Apple Kale Sprout and Radish Juice
    1. This was the absolute worst.  It was totally my fault.  I misread the recipe and put one whole radish (and it was daikon which was huge) instead of one CUP.  It was incredibly gross.  I choked down 8 oz of the juice before I gave up.  And I was so mad that I had a small brownie.  
  2. Lunch- Leftover Coq au Vin
  3. Dinner- Leftover Zuchinni Basil Soup

Day 12
  1. Breakfast- Becky's Morning Shake with almond milk, avocado, protein powder, and flax meal
    1. I actually made this the night before as my dessert and it made a ton so I had it for breakfast also.  I used Melaleuca's chocolate protein powder.  Really good and it was an awesome dessert.
  2. Lunch- Lamb Tacos
    1. This was actually a lamb patty cooked in coconut oil with summer squash.  Oh so delicious.
  3. Dinner- Green Coco Smoothie with coconut water, avocado, spinach, and cashews
    1. Surprisingly good since it doesn't sound appetizing.  The cashews gave a nice salty flavor to the otherwise bland smoothie.
Day 13
  1. Breakfast- Apple Ginger Lemon and Spinach Juice
    1. One of my favorites and I think it's because I like sour candy.  If you don't like sourness, this is not for you.  You probably could change the green apples for red to make it less punchy, but I prefer the Granny Smiths.  
  2. Lunch- Leftover Lamb Tacos
  3. Dinner- Leftover Zuchinni Soup
Day 14
  1. Breakfast- Creamy Blueberry Shake
    1. Word from the wise, do not eat this shake before going to a social function unless you brush your teeth.  We were sitting in sacrament meeting before Reed mentioned that I still had bits of blueberry smoothie all over my teeth.  This particular shake was made with chia seed gel which is what happens when you soak chia seeds in water.  Sounds and looks gross, but I couldn't taste it in my shake so it's a win-win.
  2. Lunch- Leftover Blueberry Shake
  3. Dinner- Zuchinni and Sesame Seed Hummus
    1. I think I would have liked this better if I had made it correctly.  I dumped the soaking sesame seeds into the blender with the water and I think I should have drained it first.  So it came out more soupy.  The hummusy soup was a little zippy thanks to some cayenne pepper and was really good!  Just not solid enough for dipping.
I have lost 2.5 more pounds this week for a total of 8.5 pounds!  I really, really, really, really need to drink more water.  I am terrible at that and it's such an integral part of this cleanse!  That is my goal for this week- drink more water.

Days 7-9

5/14/2013 06:57:00 PM Edit This 0 Comments »
Day 7- Mother's Day
  1. Breakfast- Energy Shake from day 5
    1. The girls were excited to make me breakfast in bed :)
  2. Lunch- remainder of Energy Shake
    1. OK.  And a piece of cheesecake and a piece of pizza.  The priesthood brethren treated the women in the ward to an after church luncheon and I couldn't resist!
  3. Dinner-  Chicken Cordon Bleu
    1. So Mother's Day was not a wonderful day for sticking with my cleanse.  The food was gooooooooood though.  I definitely felt it the next day.  I felt different- sluggish, a bit bloated, I had to really knuckle down and drink my smoothie.
Day 8
  1. Breakfast- Mango and Coconut Smoothie
  2. Lunch- Leftover Halibut
  3. Dinner-  Pineapple, Lime, and Fresh Mint
    1. I am lucky to have a chocolate mint plant growing in my backyard and I have been using it a LOT for this cleanse.  I'm not sure if the pineapple came out slushy from the juicer because that's how pineapple usually is or if it was because Reed had accidentally stuck it in the freezer.  Instead of a juice it was more like a slushy.
Day 9
  1. Breakfast- Fennel and Apple Juice
    1. I've had fennel seed before but not the actual veggie.  This juice was awesome!  I will definitely be making this again.  The green apples gave the sour and the fennel balanced it out with a licoricy sweetness.  I only used the head of the fennel for the juice- the bulbs I saved for a chicken dinner that everybody else ate tonight and I will eat on Thursday for lunch.
  2. Lunch- Leftover stir-fry with buckwheat noodles
  3. Dinner- Zucchini Basil soup
    1. I am loving my onion chopper these days.  It makes creating these soups a cinch.  I diced the zuchinni, onion, and celery using this.  Voila, soup in 5 minutes.

Day 5-6

5/11/2013 06:47:00 PM Edit This 1 Comment »

  1. Day 5
    1. Breakfast- Energy Shake with tahini, cardamom, and frozen peaches
      1. Probably my favorite shake so far.  You can substitute almond butter for the tahini.
    2. Lunch- Chicken with Stir-Fry Veggies and Buckwheat Noodles
      1. I found out that the juicer I'm using is also a pasta maker!  So instead of buying buckwheat noodles I made them.  Very easy.  Kids did not like them.  I think they are delicious!
    3. Dinner- Spinach and Avocado Soup
      1. The spinach and avocado soup is pureed with coconut milk.  It makes a very creamy soup with a little sweetness.  I would make it again.

  1. Day 6
    1. Breakfast- Mango and Coconut smoothie with pineapple
      1. I am a judge at the State Science Day held at OSU and they always serve us these delicious donuts, fresh made.  Oh my.  Anyways, I knew I was going to be tempted to eat one so I made sure to drink 2 servings of this so I would be full.  It really helped.  I still ate a little of a donut. It was so good.
    2. Lunch- Halibut with zucchini and olives
      1. I had this recipe on my meal list a few days ago and then I found out Meijer's doesn't carry halibut.  Then we went to Whole Foods and, lo and behold, they had a fresh shipment of halibut!  Whoa, expeeeeeeeennnnnnssssiiiiiiiiiivvvvveeeeee.  Totally worth it though.  This halibut is cooked in parchment paper with the zucchini and olives, with lemons and some herbs.  So goooooooooood.
    3. Dinner- Leftover Spinach and Avocado Soup

I have lost 6 pounds!!!!!!!!!!!  I told Reed that I don't feel hungry with my liquid meals, I feel just fine. So that's not the hard part.  The hard part is NOT eating ice cream and pizza.  I have decided to keep going and do the full 3 weeks.  Here I go!

Big Day

5/09/2013 07:41:00 PM Edit This 0 Comments »
Fifth Third had been contacting us for months about refinancing our home and we never thought it was the right time.  For one thing, we're not going to fit in the condo forever and for another thing we don't have money for closing costs and other re-fi.  After a while Reed decided to look into it and see what they could actually do for us.  I was very wary and said that if he did all the paperwork and felt good about it, I would be fine with it as long as it wasn't going to set us back in our budget.  It took 2 months but we signed all the paperwork today and we are re-financed!  We didn't have to pay anything, in fact we get a check for $250.  New payment plan starts in July.  Even if we are only here for another year, it was still worth it.  I asked Reed why this was all working out and it sounded too good to be true.  He said I should thank President Obama.  I think I'll thank the Lord instead.  

3 years ago we bought our mini-van and financed it through USAA.  We decided on a 3-year loan instead of the traditional 5 so that we could pay it off fast.  Today we received the notice that we have paid it off 2 months early!  I wasn't expecting that because I keep tabs on our debts and we still had a little to pay next month.  Apparently since we were so close, USAA just called it a "closing adjustment" and called it good.  We love USAA and will never leave!  It's so good to have the title in our hands and know that we won't have to pay $145 every month.  Of course, it's going to break now.  Or Reed's car is going to break.

We have been plugging away at our debt for 5 years now since getting on the Dave Ramsey plan.  It has been a struggle.  This year has been a good year for us in this arena.  We've paid off a credit card, one of my student loans, and now the car.  Up next- the daycare costs we have racked up during our winter periods and one more credit card.  Easy peasy with our snowball now.    

Clean update-

  1. Day 4
    1. Breakfast- Celery, Apple, Pineapple juice
      1. I really need a better blender.  It tasted good but there were still some chunks of pineapple after blending for a long time.
    2. Lunch- Broiled Lamb Chops with Asparagus
      1. My first time cooking lamb and it turned out fabulous.  The rest of the family had the lamb chops for dinner and we grilled them that time.  Still delicious.  
    3. Dinner- Leftover Mushroom Zucchini Soup

Day 3

5/08/2013 06:56:00 PM Edit This 1 Comment »

  1. Day 3
    1. Breakfast- Very Berry Smoothie with blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, and almond milk
      1. Strawberries are an avoid in this cleanse so I was glad to find a bag of frozen berry mix without them at Meijers.  The smoothie and juice recipes are for 2 servings and it's up to you to decide how to divvy it up through the day.  I've decided that it's best for me just to drink the whole quantity in the morning.  It doesn't taste as good later in the day and I need the oomph to get through my day.
    2. Lunch- Broiled Salmon with roasted asparagus and salad greens
      1. Yuuuuuummmmmyyyyyyyyy.  I used the Salmon Seasoning from Spice House.  I usually like salad either plain or with Ranch dressing (or some other type of creamy dressing).  Since pretty all commercial dressings are out for the cleanse the recipe called for tossing the salad with lemon juice, sea salt, and olive oil.  I gotta say I would do that again!
    3. Dinner- Zucchini Mushroom soup
      1. Actually, I had leftover Pineapple and Avocado Gazpacho so I ate that for dinner.  I was still hungry after the girls went to bed so I whipped up the mushroom soup.  We were given a huge bag of assorted mushrooms so I knew I needed to use them.  Reed hates mushrooms and I can only eat so many solid meals so just sauteing them day after day wasn't a good idea.  I was glad they had this recipe in the Clean book.

Getting Clean

5/07/2013 06:36:00 PM Edit This 0 Comments »
I started a cleanse program yesterday and am feeling good so far!  My friend, Marly, completed this particular program a couple years ago and blogged about it here.  I thought it sounded interesting and checked out the book right away.  But then I was pregnant and you can't do the cleanse while pregnant.  So I never read the book.  I finally sat down and read it a few weeks ago and decided to jump right in!

I like how it's not a juice fast since I could never do a juice fast.  Too hard.  I get 2 liquid meals a day and 1 solid (usually lunch).  The liquid meals can be in the form of juice, smoothies/shakes, or soups and all meals need to follow a special list of foods which is pretty much primal which was what I was semi-doing before.  I also like how he places special emphasis on restoring the good fauna in the gut, not just cleaning it out.  The weight-loss will be an added bonus.
  1. Day 1
    1. Breakfast- Classic Green Shake with spinach, pine nuts, and almond milk
      1. I think I added too much spinach and didn't blend it for long enough.  Had to choke it down and almost didn't make it.
    2. Lunch- Cucumber Mint Soup
      1. Very yummy and would actually make this again even if I were off the cleanse
    3. Dinner- Garlic and Rosemary Roasted Chicken with parsnips and apples
      1. Although you can eat a solid dinner the program recommends that the solid meal be during lunch.  I had to switch it for the first day because this particular meal would be good for the whole family and it made it easier scheduling wise.  The recipe made quite a bit so I'm saving the chicken for a later meal.

  1. Day 2
    1. Breakfast- Green Power Juice with celery, apples, spinach, lemon, and lettuce
      1. I borrowed a juicer from my father-in-law and I must say that I am in love with it.  I can't believe how easy it is to use.  If I do this cleanse again I will need to buy once since I can't imagine making juice without a juicer.  This was actually very delicious and I think the apples made the juice go down easier than I thought.
    2. Lunch- leftover chicken from Day 1
    3. Dinner- Easy Pineapple and Avocado Gazpacho
      1. The blender will be your best friend during this cleanse.  My blender is not the best and if it holds up through this whole process, I will be impressed.  Very delicious.
Confession- I did have one slip up today when I walked into the staff lounge and saw a chocolate hazelnut cake somebody brought in to share.  I cut a little piece, had it in my mouth, and was chewing before I even realized what I had done.  No, I did not spit it out.  Something else that Dr. Junger said in the book was that there might be little steps backward but there is no failure when this type of thing happens.  I just walked out of the lounge without looking back.  The cake was really good though.

Smashed Finger

5/05/2013 07:08:00 PM Edit This 0 Comments »
On Thursday afternoon Vivi was excited that the weather was warm enough to play outside in the water.  So excited that she smashed her finger in our sliding glass door in her exuberance.  It was a piercing scream that I heard from the front of the house and it did not stop for several minutes.  I could tell that it was going to be at least a very bad smash.  After a while she calmed down and was able to play.  Then she woke up at 11:30pm just screaming with pain.  I think part of it was that she was in pain and the other part was she was very tired and wasn't quite sure what to do with her body.  She refused to take Tylenol, even spitting it out.  After 45 minutes of her crying (and waking up her sisters.  Thank goodness Auntie Lindey was around to help them go back to bed) she finally calmed down enough to take some Tylenol.  She still woke up several times in the night wimpering.  The next morning wasn't that much better.  I was beginning to wonder if she had broken her finger.  After posting for opinions on Facebook I was about to take her to the doctor when Reed assured me that it wasn't broken.  He has had many a smashed finger in his line of work and he said they were pretty excrutiating.  So I decided to wait a few more hours to see how her finger looked and how she felt.  Top that off with both of her sisters throwing up.  I gave up and took a sick day from work.  If I didn't know any better I would have thought that all 3 girls were in cahoots to keep me home because by lunchtime all of them were fine.  Vivi's finger looks horrible but she can move it around and for the most part it doesn't bother her.  She will definitely lose her nail and we've been keeping Melagel and a bandaid on it.  I just keep telling her that Auntie Jamie and Lara can both sympathize with smashed fingers :)

I am grateful for a place of employment which allows me to take sick days to be with my kids.  I am grateful for Auntie Lindey who was able to help with the other girls while I took care of Vivi (Reed later told me that he vaguely remembers waking up because of the screaming but decided he wasn't going to be of much help.  Probably right :)  He's pretty grumpy when he's been sleeping.).  I am grateful for Reed who allayed my fears.  I am grateful that Vivi's finger is only bruised and not broken.

Spring Projects

4/20/2013 07:29:00 PM Edit This 2 Comments »
Yay for Pinterest!

The season of spring brings a need for a new wreath.  I've done yarn-wrapped, and felt rosettes, and a sock wreath.  So this time around I wanted to do a floral grapevine wreath.  I took elements from several Pinterest  projects and created this-

You can't see the sides of the letter very well but they are painted purple to match the color in the wreath.  I do agree with one of the tutorials that said it would make the letter more dynamic.  I hot-glued the floral pieces to the wreath very easily and when I came to the letter I got into a bit of trouble.  Every tutorial I found said they just hot-glued the letter on the wreath but when I tried the weight of the letter just made it fall off.  So I hot-glued pieces of rope to the back of the letter and then hot-glued the letter to the wreath and it worked just fine.  Happiness!

Next was Mariella's Easter basket.  There are only a few things that I feel like I should make, rather than buy, for my kids because I am their mom and not because I really want to- Halloween costumes, Christmas stockings, Birthday cakes, and Easter baskets.  In the end I always have fun but I have to work myself up for it.  Anyways, I had this bucket left over from a decorative fruit arrangement and thought it would be nice to some how make that into Mariella's basket.  I had some left over jelly roll fabric from Vivi's basket so I cut them into smaller strips and tied them to the handle.  Maybe some day I'll add some paint to the sides. 

The Story Behind the Bunny Cake

3/25/2013 07:08:00 PM Edit This 1 Comment »

You may have seen this picture posted on my FB page a few weeks ago.  I figured I'd post the story because I think it's really cute.

One Saturday morning Vivi woke up with hives covering her face and trunk.  It takes a lot to freak me out and this freaked me out.  Especially since Reed was gone at a camp-out and Mariella already had croup the night before.  Anyways, the hives were quickly spreading to her appendages, right before eyes so I quickly dumped her in an oatmeal bath and called Reed to tell him to come home, then to Grandma Piano to see if she could take the other girls, and off to Children's Hospital Urgent Care we went.  Even while at the hospital I could see the hives getting worse and worse, all over her feet and hands, getting worse on her face, patches getting bigger on her trunk and legs.  There were some patches that covered the entire length of her shin.  Turns out that she was having an allergic reaction to some virus (don't know what virus) and her body was churning out the white blood cells to combat the intruder.  They gave her a dose of steroids and sent us home with more steroids and a strong anti-itch medication.

Fast forward to that evening when we attended a fundraiser for our Young Women's program- a dinner and cake auction.  Vivi was feeling much better at that point although there were a few spots of hives still on her face and legs.  There were so many yummy looking cakes and I would have loved to buy them all.  We could only buy one though and I settled on a hot fudge sundae cake (which I won and it was delicious).  The girls, however, set their hearts on this bunny cake.  A white cake with white frosting, m&m's covering the top and surrounded by bunny peeps.  Definitely a kids cake.  I explained to them that I wasn't going to be buying the bunny cake, that we could make one at home.  I thought they understood.  Until the cake went up for auction and Vivi started yelling "I want that cake!" over and over.  When somebody else took the cake, she was mighty upset and, if any of you know Vivi, you know that she is dramatic.  I think everyone in the gym knew that she wanted that cake and was sad that we didn't get it.  I felt bad since she had gone through so much that day, yet I didn't want to give up the hot fudge sundae (with vanilla ice cream).  Not only was Vivi upset because of the cake but I could see that some of the hive patches were getting bigger.  We got our cake and quickly hurried home to give her another dose of steroids and anti-itch.

The next day was Sunday and when we got home from dinner at Grandma Piano's we got a call from a sister in the ward saying that she and her daughter had made something for the girls.  I had no idea what it was.  Until she drove up and I saw the cake.  They were the ones that had made the bunny cake for the auction and someone had told them about Vivi's reaction.  They made another cake for Vivi and brought it over.  She was asleep when they arrived and I knew she was going to be so excited when she saw that cake.  I was right!  She ran into the kitchen the next morning, stopped in her tracks, stared at the cake, then started jumping up and down and shouting about her bunny cake.  I must say, it was a delicious cake!

I am so grateful for our friends for thinking about us during that weekend.  It made all of us feel so good that somebody would care about Vivi enough to make a bunny cake.  I am grateful for the church that brings us together so that we can watch over each other and bear one another's burdens.

Columbus South Stake Talent Show

3/15/2013 08:29:00 PM Edit This 0 Comments »
The problem with living in the same region as your whole family is that when one family is involved in a musical event it extends to the WHOLE family.  I shouldn't say it's a problem, it is actually quite fun and a privilege.  The rest of my family is in the Columbus Ohio South Stake (I am in the North) and were a major part of the stake's talent show.  I was petitioned to be a guest star in a scene from Pirates of Penzance and since I had agreed to do that I might as well sing in the choir and play in the orchestra.  I've included all the videos of the numbers in which my family was involved so I can make sure I have them for posterity. :)

First video:  Kimmi as Cinderella, Josh as Rapunzel's prince, and a friend (Jonathan J.) as Cinderella's prince, performing a scene from Into the Woods.  I think this is Josh's first time singing a solo so good job!

Second video:  Recently the head of the choral department at Ohio University retired and the new professor is a fellow Mormon.  He wrote this wonderful choir piece based on a poem by Emily Dickinson.  I loved the harmonies in this piece and I don't think the recording does it justice.  

Third video:  The Pirates of Penzance- With Cat-like Tread.  My dad and my two brothers are in this one.

Fourth video:  My mom conducted an orchestra in a medley of Jim Brickman tunes.  For never practicing all together it was pretty good.  My very talented husband joined this number on the cello.

Fifth video:  The Athens Ward cloggers plus Suki and somebody else.  My mom leads this group although I can't remember if she choreographed this or not.

Sixth video:  I saved the best for last.  The Laulusa sisters plus one with Climbing Over Rocky Mountains.  We grew up watching Pirates of Penzance so this was quite a treat.

Happy Birthday to Lara

3/06/2013 06:36:00 PM Edit This 0 Comments »

Lara celebrated her birthday a few weeks ago, turning the big 6!  I can't believe that in two more years she can make the decision to be baptized.  Whoa!

Here are a few brags about Lara:

1.  She loves musicals as much as her Mom.  Her favorite is Seven Brides for Seven Brothers with Pajama Game a close second.  Every week we choose a new musical to watch during our weekly Tuesday Bath, Movie, and Hair night.

2.  She remembers little details about people that we often don't think about in the moment.  It is definitely part of her introvert nature.  Although she may not talk much during social occasions, she is observant and takes it all in.

3.  Lara is a voracious reader and can read almost anything without help.  If she is not reading, she loves listening to our bedtime books.  Right now it's the Little House on the Prairie series.

4.  She wants to play every musical instrument under the sun- harp, piano, flute, ukulele, tuba, etc.  Hey, I bet she could!

5.  Lara has specific tastes when it comes to food.  One might call her a picky eater.  Then she turns around and asks for shrimp and tofu for her birthday dinner and a gingerbread cake.  She may not eat everything and like it, but at least she eats a variety!

6.  Lara is a wonderful, helpful big sister.  Mariella loves her to death and will often run around the house calling her name.  She and Vivi have a special relationship and I love hearing the pretend play scenes :)

Lara, we love you!

Family Scripture Study

2/19/2013 07:12:00 PM Edit This 0 Comments »
I have been thinking a lot of about our family scripture study and how frustrating it can be with little kids.  Scene:  Mariella brings her own book and insists on you reading it.  You try just pointing at the pictures but she calls your bluff and squawks until you actually whisper the words in her ear.  Meanwhile Vivi and Lara are fighting over who gets to put their feet where and "stop kicking me!" and "you did it first!"  Mariella then tires of the book and tries to leave the room so she can play in the toilet.  Reed is blocking the door so she cries and shoves and cries some more.  Vivi and Lara are separated so they can't fight with each other.  Vivi then starts singing to herself, loudly.  Lara squawks at her to stop.  And so on.  

I have had to take a step back and look at what we are doing right so as to not get so frustrated.  I decided to post some ideas here so I can reference them later.

1.  There are several "types" of scriptures you could read as a family.  There are the picture books, the still-action readings available on-line, Living Scriptures, etc.  We, personally, read the real deal during family scripture time.

2.  From a recent blog post of a friend of mine- make sure your family scripture study reading area is conducive to the spirit.  Read: clean.  Or at least tidy.  Read the full blog post here.

3.  If there's one thing I learned from years serving in primary it is "What are the children going to DO to learn the gospel."  Kids learn by ACTION and the scriptures are no different.  Try acting out the scripture stories as you read them and you may find that even the tiniest little verse will take 10 minutes to act and they will get the point!  

4.  There are, of course, times in the scriptures where there's not a story to act.  At these  times Reed and I have come up with a fun way to keep the kids' attention.  We pick out a key word or phrase and pair an action with it.  Whenever they hear the word or phrase, they have to do the action.  Lately it's been names for Christ, such as Lamb of God, the Lord, Son of God, etc.  They love stomping their feet, clapping their hands, spinning, or whatever whenever they hear those words.

5.  Even the littlest of kids can repeat after you when reading the scriptures.  Mariella loves it when she sits in our laps and we whisper the words in her ear.  She also loves holding our fingers while we show her the words as we read.  Vivi repeats phrases and Lara can read on her own.  Everyone can participate at their own level and they feel more a part of the process.

6.  I have been trying to remind myself that quantity should not always trump quality when it comes to reading the scriptures.  Often, Vivi will ask a question or make a comment that is totally not on topic with the current reading passage.  Yesterday we were reading about the Jaredites and she starts talking about how Jesus had a stripe on his side where someone poked him.  Our first inclination was to nod our heads, shush her, and continue reading.  But why?  We stopped and talked about what happened to Christ when he died and was resurrected.  It took 5 minutes and then we resumed our reading.  I am sure she doesn't remember a thing about what we actually read and I know that she will remember what we discussed.

7.  When we are having a rough night during scriptures study, I just remind myself "hey, there's always tomorrow."  :)

Cupids for an Hour

2/16/2013 05:31:00 PM Edit This 0 Comments »
Happy Valentine's Day!

Last month Reed and I were hanging out with friends and at the end of the evening all the wives had a pow-wow in the ladies restroom.  Hey, where else can we do our scheming?  Theresa had the idea to surprise our husbands with a Valentine's Day event and Emily came up with idea to go archery shooting.  Perfect!  Our guys had no idea until they got there.  I give myself a pat on the back for surprising Reed because I was borrowing my family's bows and I had to hide it from him.  We had fun shooting and then we had fun eating :)  What a fun day!

AJ and Emily trying out the compound.

I like the accuracy of the crossbow.  Not so much the cocking  of it.

Theresa and Chad

All 3 guys at the shooting line
"The safety's on Old Betsy"

Honesty Lesson

1/21/2013 06:45:00 PM Edit This 2 Comments »
We had our first run-in with stealing recently when Lara snuck 2 bottles of nail polish out of one store and a package of candy out of another on a special shopping trip with Mommy.  It forced me to think on the spot of how to use the incident as a teaching moment rather than a horrible memory she would have later.  I guess if I was more proactive I would have thought how I would handle it way before hand.  Ah well, I think I did a pretty good job.

First, I was very calm.  I was pretty proud that I didn't fly right off the handle and start yelling even though I was looking forward to getting home.  Knowing that age 8 is the age of accountability and children really don't "lie" before then helped me to realize that her brain was going through a change and now was the perfect time to help shape it into a responsible individual.
I calmly told her that it was wrong to take things that don't belong to us or that we didn't pay for and that we would be returning to the stores to a) pay for the items, which she could with her own money or b) return the items to the store.  She flipped out at this, crying and carrying on like the world was going to end.  It took me a while to realize the real reason behind this tantrum.  It wasn't because she wanted to keep the stuff.  It was because she is an introvert and was mightily embarrassed at the prospect of actually walking back into the store and admitting what she did.  I assured her that she wouldn't have to speak a word and that I would be with her every step of the way.  Brings me to the second lesson I learned.

Second, I didn't force her to say sorry.  It wasn't the right time.  I knew she was sorry and I knew the people at the stores would know that also just by looking at her.  I knew that if I forced her to say sorry than it would do more damage than good.  She calmed down after a while.

Third, I turned around the first time I had a chance and went back to the stores.  This added more than 30 minutes to our shopping trip was a late evening trip.  I knew that it needed to happen right away and not the next day.  We made it in to the first store where she had to pay for the candy since she had opened the package and ate some (which is how I found out that she had taken it in the first place).  She decided to return the bottles of nail polish rather than pay.  That was fine.  We just set the bottle on the counter, I explained things to the attendant, and we left before the tears came back.

Fourth, she paid for the candy out of her own money.  She was very sad about this since she is "saving" for an iPad.  I felt like she needed to have that physical exchange in order to cement things in her brain.  I also figured that since I wasn't making her say sorry, this was a good switch.

Fifth, I talked with Lara about the repentance process and we said a little prayer in the van to ask for forgiveness.  That really helped her calm down.

Sixth, I didn't talk about what happened with Reed in front of Lara.  I waited until she had gone to bed.  It wasn't necessary to embarrass her further.  Plus she had fallen asleep on the drive home probably exhausted by the crying.  Talking to her in such a tired state wouldn't have done any good.

I am grateful for the lessons I learned during this and I know that it won't be the last time I need to teach it.  Not with Lara though.  Being an introvert she will probably internalize this incident and never steal again.  Extroverts on the other hand...  Ah, looking forward to it. :)


Happy New Year

1/05/2013 06:41:00 PM Edit This 0 Comments »
Happy (Belated) New Year!

2012 was a great year for our family and we are looking forward to experiencing 2013.  Let me start with a few numbers-

3- beautiful girls
5- major trips for Reed.  2 Woodbadge trips to IN, High Adventure, 5-day trip in the Grand Canyon, trip to Nauvoo for interview.
5- birthdays celebrated!  Reed 30, Valerie 29, Lara 5, Genevieve 4, and Mariella 1.
7- years of marriage
10- job applications (Reed)
3- job interviews
0- job offers
3- conferences at which Valerie presented
0- personal sick days taken
2- sick days taken for the girls.  Hey, that's awesome!

Although sometimes we get discouraged about the job situation, we remind ourselves that the number of applications Reed completed is more than in the last 3 years combined and that the interviews were 3 more than he has had ever.  Blessings certainly come in many forms and this year has really shown us that.

Things to look forward to this year?  Lara turning 6, Mariella turning 2, Vivi turning 5, Valerie's big 30, and Reed just getting plain older.  (Haha!).
A new baby, maybe?  Hopefully.
Time spent with family and friends- trips to Dollywood are already planned.
Paying off the van, one of my school loans for sure and probably another one.  Gazelle intensity!
Last but not least, THE NEW STAR TREK MOVIE!

So on with the year!