Monday, August 29, 2011

I DID IT!!!!!!!

I did it!!!!

I mean I actually did it! I nailed my audition!

Let me start at the beginning.

One month ago I got the call for the audition in Red Deer. You might remember last year when I had an audition. I didn't make it, but a lot of good came from that audition. Most of the playing I did this last year was a result of the exposure that I got from the audition and gigs with the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra.

I get very nervous about auditioning! I wanted this soo badly!!! I have put in the work and did everything that I knew I could do to practice playing through my nerves. I had some pretty neat experiences that I wanted to share.

I've been praying that I will be able to play well in the audition. I kept telling God that if he would just help me to play like I had been doing in my practice sessions that I would be happy, whether I got the job or not.

Immediately before I went in to the building I said another prayer. Just as I was praying for help to calm my nerves I felt like I should open my eyes. Right in front of me was a key chain I have hanging from my steering wheel that reads ... relax. It is a small thing, but it really made me feel better in that moment.

In an audition setting I can't "practice". It messes with my head. I bring reading material and my IPod. Well today I felt like reading. I made sure that I brought an uplifting book that would make me feel good. The book I chose today is written by Kris Belcher called "Hard Times and Holy Places". I have heard her speak and she is truly inspiring, but that is a different post. I was reading and I came across this verse in the Book of Mormon.

2 Nephi 32:9 "But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform anything unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul."

It is amazing the calm I felt come over me. I felt like the verse was literally speaking to me about my current situation. I knew that I had done all I could and had plead to my Heavenly Father to help me, and he would. Not long after that I felt VERY strongly that I should try a different reed that I had made two nights earlier. I was skeptical because I made that reed and hadn't played on it since. The reed felt really good!!!! I decided to warm up on it and ultimately used it in the audition. Man am I glad I did ... that reed was amazing! How grateful I am for inspiration from above. I know I wouldn't have picked it up without that heavenly guidance.

The audition went great! Was it perfect ... no, but I am still so pleased with my performance. The panel totally threw me for a loop when they decided to let the screen down for the second round. The entire audition is usually blind but they decided to change it up in the second round. I really think this was in my favor. I will be the first to tell you that I am not a good auditioner, but I am a great performer!!!! When I went back after I was hired the conductor kept talking about my poise and aura while I perform. He kept coming back to it and I think that was what separated me from the other candidates, that and how I play the oboe solo from the Brahm's violin concerto ;-)

To say the least I am more than thrilled to have been offered a contract with the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra. I feel very proud, grateful, and humble right now. Thanks to everyone who was praying for me ... it helped! Right now in my life this is my dream job and I can't believe that I have it. What an amazing month this will be for me!!! My birthday is on Friday, in 17 days we will be moving into a house that our entire family can operate in. We hired full time help for Evan, she will start next week (more on that later). I have a pretty incredible little family that I can claim as my own, and to top it off I got my dream job!!! I am one lucky girl!

Maybe I will have a little bit more time to blog now that I'm not practicing and making reeds every night ;-)

Friday, August 26, 2011


3rd Annual
Family Fun
Walk n' Roll

Saturday, August 27, 2011
North Glenmore Park
West Side 10AM-2PM

Calgary, Alberta

Proceeds from this event will help provide emotional, financial and community support to children and their families who are living with a Neuromuscular Disorder.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

laugh of the day

I had one of "those" appointments today.

As most ladies do I wanted to be as clean and pretty as possible since the doctor has to have his face "down there".

I go into my bathroom to trim up and in runs Landon. He practically sticks his face in my crotch and starts pointing and yelling .... "Gross, Gross! Mama, Gross!"

While I pulled up my pants I informed him that it looked a lot better than it did 5 minutes prior to his encounter.

Anyway, I can't stop laughing so I thought I would share the humor ..... at my expense of course.

Friday, August 19, 2011

I thought for sure the bear story would get at least one comment!!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

waterton and A BEAR

We actually had quite a peaceful sleep in Osoyoos, took our time leaving and then headed out to complete our drive to finally meet up with Daddy. The boys were getting pretty squirrely and I knew it was because we had been away from Daddy for so long.

The drive went .... well.

We drove about 9 hours through the beautiful Okanogan. We stopped and got cherries. We talked. We looked at the beautiful scenery and .... Evan didn't sleep at all! I mean, nothing! Not one long blink!!!! He didn't cry either which was pretty awesome.

Landon was a different story. If he was awake he was SCREAMING!!!!! Crying, yelling insanely loud at his brother. He was as loud as loud can be. He wouldn't eat, and he really didn't sleep very much either.

The closer we got to Waterton the more deer we saw having a party on the road. We almost nailed 3 of them. Every time this happened, Evan thought it was the greatest and funniest thing ever. He kept asking for me to do it again :-) I tried really hard not to appease his desires since I wasn't a fan of the adrenaline that raced through my body after each close encounter.

I bowed out for a couple of hours to drive with my mom to Cardston where there was a reunion for my Dads side of the family. I went so I could visit with people but I felt like I needed to be with my kids at Justin's family reunion. I got lots of pictures (that I don't have) of my Grandma's siblings and visited with lots of other family. It was fun. Mom stayed for the full two days and met up with us after that reunion was over.

Waterton was great!!! I don't think I have ever experienced nicer weather in Waterton. It was beautiful. By far my favorite thing to do in Waterton are the natural waterfalls at Red Rock Canyon. With the weather being so nice it was even more amazing!
The last day in Waterton we went on a short hike. I will tell you now that I am very much an out of sight, out of mind girl. I hear about the bear encounters. I have a bear bell and I am more than a little paranoid about using it. Unfortunately I forgot to bring it on this hike. I just never, I repeat, NEVER want to see a bear unless it is at the zoo or from my car.

The hike was beautiful and we had a great time at Crandell lake. We turned around and at this point I didn't have any of my children. I was up ahead with my mom when I heard a very LOUD rustling in the bushes on the very small cliff to my left. I look up and see a black bear running. Do you know how freaky it is to see a bear that close, running???? I turned around soooo fast and ran the other direction. The problem was that we had to continue hiking in the direction that the bear was running. Can you imagine how annoying I was on the rest of the hike using my special clap and special bear call that a ranger taught me. I can't believe I saw a bear!

On the road ... again, and again, and again.....

So after two fun filled day with my Grandparents we said goodbye to Nanaimo (and Auntie Alycia, who flew home to move) and began our long drive east. I wish that I had thought to get a picture of Alycia and the boys crammed into the car. There was even more stuff in the middle because we were using a portion of the space in our car top carrier for Alycia's luggage. I'll tell you this ... I felt pretty darn proud of myself for packing, and unpacking, and packing, and unpacking, and packing .................... so many times! I pretty much became a pro!

Mom and I caught an early-ish ferry and drove to Osoyoos, BC. After a LOT of confusion at the hotel over parking (there was a hummer parked in the handicap stall! You can imagine what the note I left on his windshield said.), and the complete inability to find a luggage trolley the hotel upgraded our room. It took a while to get everything in our room and everyone settled so by the time we were done we ran the boys to the restaurant to eat.

Dinner was actually delightful and calmed a frazzled mothers nerves. I knew if I didn't "run" Landon we would pay for it that night. Since our hotel sat right on the lake we decided to explore their private beach. Imagine my surprise when I put my foot in the water and IT WASN"T TOO COLD!!!! I am so used to bracing myself for frigid water up here in the northern tundra, but this water was actually kind of warm. I come to find out that it is actually the warmest lake in all of Canada. (Why haven't we been vacationing here???)

Anyway, it was a beautiful night. My favorite parts were burying Evan and watching Landon's face when Grandma splashed him!!!!

By the end of the night I was starting to feel pretty miserable (female problems ... sorry boys) and I made really good use of the hotel hot tub. It actually was a really nice place to stay and I kind of wish we had more time there.


Since we were so far out west we drove our red sienna an extra 2 hours, hopped on a ferry and traveled to Vancouver Island, to visit my grandparents. We had so much fun taking in the beauty that the island has to offer.

We had a great time riding the ferry over with our friends from Calgary. They had the same idea that we had, so we continued our caravan to the west coast. Do you see the picture of me and Karen?? This woman is an angel on earth in more ways than one. The Manerikars met with us the first week that Evan was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy. They brought us into their home, allowed us to meet their children and ask them anything we wanted. They gave us hope for the first time. We could look at our lives differently after we met them.

We arrived in Nanaimo quite late, but not late enough for the boys to miss being showered with gifts from their great-Nana. She made them these adorable oreo cookie blankets! They loved them and Evan kept trying to eat his :-)

Grandpa and Nana took us to "Goats on the Roof" in Combs again. We went with them last year when we saw them at Easter. I have to admit that it is probably my favorite place to shop .... EVER!!!

Just outside of Goats on the Roof there were two girls offering pony rides for a donation. Evan really wanted to do it and since the ponies were little I was able to hold him on. While Evan was getting used to the feeling of sitting on a horse "by himself" the horse was sleeping. When I started to move the wheelchair a little the horse spooked a bit. Let me tell you about the terror that I felt as my baby turned into a rag doll and flung backwards off the horse. I caught him and he actually didn't even go that far, but man alive ..... my heart didn't calm down for about 5 minutes afterwards.

Needless to say, Evan was a little freaked out but he was a brave boy (a real cowboy as we say) and he got back on the horse and had a great ride!

Grandpa and Nana also took us to a professional sand castle competition. It was GORGEOUS!! We had a great time!!!

We also were priveleged enough to see Cathedral grove! WOW, all I can say is WOW!!! It is just like the Red Woods in California but on the island. It truly feels majestic and we all were overwhelmed by the beauty of this gem.
We spent our last night picking cherries together from my grandparents cherry tree. We gorged ourselves on fresh BC cherries, reveled in our discovery of a frog in Grandpa's pond, and celebrated my Grandpa's 70th birthday!!!

We were sad to leave the next day but we are so grateful we had so much fun together.

Evan ziplining

I figured it out!!!!! Listen to the scream ... it is hysterical!!!!

My favorite thing is watching his little legs kick in excited anticipation. I will be so sad when he can't do that anymore. For now, it is one of my favorite things ever.

Monday, August 8, 2011

SMA camp

Ok, so this uploading video thing is apparently way beyond my grasp. I can never do it! I even tried to learn how to upload something on YouTube and can't figure that out either. No Justin Beiber life for me .... geesh!!

What can I say about SMA family camp??? It was worth the 13 hour drive with 2 toddlers. It was nice that my mom and sister could experience it with us. We had more fun than we can express, in fact Evan thought we should still be at SMA camp for about two weeks later than it actually went on. Here is a quick synopsis of our experience at SMA family camp 2011.

All the kids in wheelchairs pulled around all the kids (and some of us grown up kids) on rolling boards behind their chairs. One time Evan purposely made a tight, fast spin, which sent me flying across the room. This, of course, made him (and all the other kids) laugh hysterically.

We roasted marshmallows, but did not make them "poop" (much to Evan's dismay) It was a propane fire and Evan was quite disappointed he wasn't aloud to burn anything he wanted to his hearts content.

We competed in the annual obstacle course. I am proud to say that after two years of practice I walked away with the first place prize in the mother category!!!!! Yes that is right ... I'm awesome!!!! Alycia took first place in the family category, and Mom did well, but I can't remember what place she brought home. Evan got third out of the junior boys and you should have seen how proud he was while accepting his award. (Mama was proud too)

The playground here is accessible!!!!!!!!!!!!! Need I say more?

The weather could have been better at the beginning of camp. If the weather was nice we ate outside. If it was crappy we ate inside. The weather was PERFECT the last two days of camp.

They held a movie night for everyone. We watched Tangled and ate a ton of popcorn! Landon kept telling Auntie Alycia to "ssshhhh!!!" while he spent the entire movie repeating what the characters were saying. It was rather humorous.

The last two days of camp a company called CRIS came to play. It is made up of volunteers, who travel around giving those who have disabilities the chance to do any kind of outdoor activity. The first day everyone got to go kayaking. I wish I had been thinking because it was pretty remarkable to see some of these older kids, who have SMA out on a boat. CRIS really knows what they are doing!!!!!

Landon fell asleep in the kayak!! (Maybe he did this because he was too busy every night keeping all of us awake)

Watching Landon eat cherries was a fun experience as well. The area that we were staying in looks like any given scene in Twilight (except when they are in Arizona and Florida). I felt like I should be looking around for Edward or Jacob. Anyway ..... back on topic ..... Landon would drip juice all down his front and his teeth would stain red, so he looked like this cute little baby vampire. (maybe it only makes me smile, but that's what counts right?)
We really want to be able to get a standing wheelchair for Evan. There are MANY reasons why (medically, emotionally) I won't get into that right now. One of the kids from BC (they can get partial funding for one ... we can't) has one and while she was sleeping her mom so kindly let Evan try it out. He was in HEAVEN!!! I can't even tell you how much he fell in love. He was upright and moving around like he sees so many others do. It was bliss to watch him experience that! It reminded me the first time he was in a chair and experienced independent mobility.

Next to the obstacle course our favorite event is the marshmallow war. Simple game.
1) Grab marshmallows
2) Attack people

What did my not even two years old Landon do? He spent the entire time picking up marshmallows off of the ground and giving them to the kids in wheelchairs! Make my heart melt. Landon might be a tornado, but he has such a beautiful soul!

The last day we went hiking with CRIS. Afterwards I asked Evan what he thought about hiking in the "trail blazer". He said it was "really good, and so comfortable".

And what was our last activity before we pulled out?? Evan got to go zip lining all by himself!!!! This is what I wanted to load a video of since I only have the video of it and no pictures. He LOVED it and I loved watching him have all of these experiences.
Once again SMA family camp delivered more than we could have asked for. I loved watching my children be kids, I loved watching Evan belong to this tight nit and very small community we are a part of. I loved bouncing ideas off of other parents. I LOVE Susi for organizing it every year. I loved it, I loved it, I loved it!!!!!

On the Road again!

So far in our travels we had tacked on

8,523.2 miles
13683.06 kilometers

Pretty impressive (or exhausting) if I do say so myself :-)

So we dropped off the Lowry's at the Calgary airport and picked up my Mom and my sister, Alycia. Yes we did these on the same day. The next morning we shoved all of our luggage and camping gear into our van, as tightly as we were able to manage and hit the road. Our destination? Chilliwack, BC where we were so excited to attend SMA family fun camp! We broke up the trip into two days because it really is a long haul. Our little caravan stopped at a dingy hotel, with terrible service in Kamloops, BC. What an experience.

Of course Evan was gracious enough to share his cold with me and I thought my head was going to explode while I was driving through the mountain passes (that was practically the entire 9 hour drive).

Once we got there I was feeling pretty gross, the kids were pooped and we all needed to stretch our legs a little bit. We decided to wear the boys out a little with a swim in the pool. What a surprise when the water was as cold as ice. I didn't make Evan get in, but we did coax Landon to spend a while exercising his muscles, jumping in and swimming to the stairs, over and over and over and over ........ The boys favorite part??? Landon getting a kick out of Grandma's reaction when he splashed her with the ice water, too funny!!

this is pretty much how our little family felt when we got to Kamloops

Once we arrived to the camp we couldn't have had more fun. I will talk about camp tomorrow, but I had to share these photo memories.

Landon spent the entire camp flirting with all of the women. He batted his way onto many a female lap to hitch a ride, and held many hands as well.

As for Evan??? He liked the older women. Do you see him following Holly and Michaela around? Even this week he was sitting in his car seat and longingly says to me.
"Mom, I miss my beautiful lady!
"Who do you miss Evan?"
"My beautiful Lady. You know the one from SMA camp?"
"Oh, do you mean Michaela, with the red hair?"
"Yes, I miss her so much"

Between the two of them I think I might be in a lot of trouble!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Off to Waterton!

We took the Lowry's to Justin's favorite place in the entire world .... Waterton, AB. It was beautiful as always, but the weather could have been a little nicer while we were there. My favorite moments were
1) watching Landon running through the cold water park, fully clothed, on a chilly day ... totally unphased!!!
2) high tea with the Lowry's
3) celebrating Evan's birth. I can't believe he is 4 years old!!!! (don't worry I do indeed plan on posting about his big pirate bash that we had for him earlier in the month. ;-)
check out Landon's eye. You might think he walked into a pole (not uncommon) but in actuality, that is a mosquito bite!

Somebody had a birthday, it is our Evan dear. May father in heaven bless him, throughout the coming year!!!

Friday, August 5, 2011

More miles

One of the things the Lowry's really wanted to see was Banff. It is a gorgeous little mountain town about an hour and a half away from the city. We drove there, walked around, and ate in the lodge. It was a lovely day for us.

149.2 miles
240.06 kilometers

total summer mileage so far
8,215.2 miles
13,221.06 kilometers

One of the things the Lowry's really wanted to see was Banff. It is a gorgeous little mountain town about an hour and a half away from the city. We drove there, walked around, and ate in the lodge. It was a lovely day for us.

149.2 miles
240.06 kilometers

horses and a prince

I love the Royal couple!!! Remember that I hosted a reception for them at my house while we watched their wedding unfold. I know it is lame, but it was a ton of fun as well. Imagine how I felt when I found out that they were coming to Calgary!!!! I was beside myself excited. I made plans to be at the parade nice and early to get good seats, I charged my camera, I prepared the kids to see a real prince and princess ... and then the moment arrived ... and went.

I don't think I have ever seen a faster drive by than the one the royals made as they raced down the parade route. They were inside the dark car, with the tinted window half rolled up and drove by faster than I was even able to click a picture.

The second they zipped past the crowd started laughing because it was comical how anti-climatic the whole event was. I can't lie, I was disappointed with the experience but you can bet that I will tell my children and grand children that I did indeed see Prince William in the flesh. I can't say the same about his lovely wife ... I can only assume she was hiding out in the other side of the vehicle.

This is my lovely picture I got ... isn't it a beauty?? Actually I lightened it and I can see the outline of Kate's cowboy hat so now I know she was indeed sitting next to William. Oh well!!!!!

I can vouch that he is really cute in person. I promise I saw him .... kind've ;-)

On our way to the Rodeo, Landon fell asleep.

Like every year we break up the Stampede into a couple of days. It is easier on the kids and therefore easier on us. Stampede has got to be my favorite thing about Calgary!!! One of my favorite things about Stampede are the Chuck wagon races and the Grand Stand show. This years show was the best I have seen yet!!!! This sculpture is floating above the crown and is made of wire and acts as a giant marionette puppet! It is "playing" with a bubble containing an acrobat inside and a flying couch with singing children. (as I'm writing this it sounds a bit odd, but it was actually pretty neat to watch unfold).
Our adopted parents from Florida were in town for all of this and in addition to the Stampede we took them to Spruce Meadows for the world finals in horse jumping. It was a beautiful afternoon for all of us and we even got to meet up with some of my in-laws for a little while.

Words will never be able to express how much I love these two people!!!

I just like this picture of us so I decided to share it.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Are you ready for this???

Do you know that feeling after you get home from a REALLY long vacation?? The feeling that you have no idea what is happening next in your life. The feeling that there is no way you are ever going to be able to unpack the bags and get it all put back into the dresser washed and folded? The feeling that you need to somehow feed your family, but you have been gone for weeks and what food is left in the fridge is molding?

Those are the feelings that I am dealing with right now.

I know it isn't that much fun to do multiple updates in a day, but be prepared my friends ... that is what you are going to get for the next little while.

So one of my very favorite things about life is SUMMER!!! You can probably tell that I thoroughly enjoy my summers ... always have, always will. This is how our July began. We had about a week of down time between our Florida trip and friends coming to visit. The weather was gorgeous and we took advantage of that!!!!

Best thing about Canada????
It stays light until forever in the summer time. I took this picture of Landon at 8:45PM and the sun wasn't even close to setting!!!
Justin took me to see Wicked with our friends. I have wanted to see it for so long and it was well worth the wait. I couldn't have had more fun and have been singing Wicked songs ever since!!

We've had picnics with our friends.

Isn't this picture cute??? We love this family of boys!!!! They are amazing kids and my kids love hanging out with them. It helps that I love their parents as well ;-)