Christmas in March

This is the day Logan has been waiting for since around November.  He saw a commercial for the new 3-D DS and came to ask how to earn some money to save to buy a new one.  He got some money for his birthday and Christmas, and he wanted to save it until the new DS came out to buy it.  So, he has been saving it all this time.  Landon pre-ordered the DS months ago and it finally arrived today.  We tried to throw him off a bit so it would be a total surprise.  We told him that he didn't have enough money for the new DS and that we were going to get him legos instead.
Landon first gave him a Star Wars Clone Wars Lego 3 DS game.  He told him that he got him a different kind of legos than he thought.  Then he told him to read it and Logan saw that it was for the 3DS.  Landon acted like he couldn't take it back and he may not be able to play it after all.  He was a bit disappointed for a brief moment, but Landon then showed him his long awaited Christmas gift....
He was speechless!
It can make you a little dizzy.

It is such fun when you get this reaction:)



Today was our first experience geocaching.  If you didn't read my What's In a Name blog, I mentioned that a friend just told me about this.  I have never heard of it until last week, so I decided to check it out.  It is a scavenger hunt where you use your GPS system to find the location.  The coordinates get you close to the exact spot, but you have to go and find it from there.  I wrote down six for us to try to find today, and there were two that we couldn't find.  It is definitely something we will do again but hopefully on a better day.  It was rainy and cold today, but we still had fun.  We also were glad to have Tatum Mackie spend the day with us.  Logan was very sad when he moved to Indiana, so he always looks forward to visits with him. 

I was surprised at how many there were just in Sparta.  Check out the website to go for yourself...http://www.geocaching.com/about/default.aspx

We found a groundhog...the boys chased it.
False alarm!  Tatum thought he found one, but it was just trash:)
We picked up my mom along the way:)
I found one!!!!
I found this one too...oh yeah!!  It was a little soggy.
This is fun for both the kids and adults.  We look forward to finding more.


Choir Withdrawals

Since before I can even remember, literally, I was singing in church.  My mom really encouraged me in that area and worked with me, along with playing the piano.  I am reminded occasionally of a time when I was really small singing a solo on a Sunday night at church.  As I was singing away, I was playing with my necklace.  During some part of the song, I pulled it a bit too hard and it snapped with beads flying all over the stage.  I was so young I don't even remember this, but music has always been a part of my life and of who I am.

We were blessed to have Cliff and Sharon Stanley work with the children at church when I was in elementary school.  We did lots of Christmas musicals as well as all other sorts of music.  They really poured a great deal of time and energy teaching through music, and it really influenced me as a child.  I am so thankful for all they did during that time of my life. 

I joined the band in the 6th grade.  I loved music, so I thought I might enjoy being in the band.  Also, it got me out of PE...which I despised!  My mom really wanted me to play the flute, but I couldn't get a sound of it.  So I picked the trumpet because it only had three buttons to learn, unlike the flute.  haha.  I was in the band all the way through high school, and even though it isn't the cool thing to be a part of, I made some friends through that program that I still have today.  I would do the same thing again if I had it to do all over.

While I was in middle school, the high school Advanced Chorus came to perform for us and I was mesmerized.  I couldn't wait until I got to be in high school to be in choir because we didn't have a choir in the middle school.  I was thrilled to make the choir for my sophomore year.  I sang alto and some of my best high school memories are from that class. 

It was an obvious decision for me to major in music after graduating high school because I couldn't really think of anything more that I would want to do with my life.  At first, I thought I wanted to be a flight nurse, but when I passed out getting my Hepatitis shots, I thought that perhaps that wasn't the field for me.  I remember calling my mom and telling her I had decided what I wanted to be...a landscape architect.  She laughed.  You see, I am not an outdoorsy gal, nor do I like to get my hands dirty.  She thought that was the most absurd profession for me to pursue.  She was right!  So, music it was. 

I went to Tennessee Technological University and majored in Music Education.  I had many wonderful teachers who really prepared me as an aspiring music educator.  Many things that we were taught, I didn't understand until actually being in the classroom, but I would love to tell them all a big thank you!  Ms. Ferreria, Dr. Groom, Dr. Smith were some of my faves!  One thing that I disagree on that we were taught was "you can teach anyone to sing".  WRONG!  At least not me:)  I made many attempts, but my lofty ideas were soon squelched when I found this to simply not be the case.  After enduring many auditions, some songs for me are ruined by such horrific attempts.  Poor things.  Some times it was all I could do to not fall in the floor laughing hysterically.  How mean is that??   

Anyway, I graduated TTU and taught one year in Van Buren County K-12 music.  It was a great year and I couldn't have asked for better support from the other teachers and administration.  I also loved the kids, but a position came open in White County the following year for the position that I really wanted.  I was the choral director at WCHS for six years and honestly enjoyed my time there.  I have many wonderful memories with the students and many performances. 

After having children, I had a incredible desire to be a stay at home mom.  I didn't want to look back years down the road and wish I would have just made whatever sacrifices needed to make it happen.  So, three years ago, I resigned to stay at home with my boys.  I do not regret it at all, but I loved the senior class that I felt I abandoned.  It was one of the best classes and I loved them all.  I really had a difficult time leaving because it really felt like I was mourning a death.  In some ways it was for me.  It was a huge part of who I was.  I am fine now, because I know very few students now, so I really have no ties there. 

I started a Children's Chorus and then a few years later an Adult Community Chorus.  I enjoyed both of those as well, but this last fall, I decided not to do them anymore for several reasons.  There are so many things to compete with everyone's time and I simply didn't have the commitments and numbers that I needed to make it work.  I have had SO MUCH less stress not being in charge of a choir this year.  Christmas was strangely calm for me with no musical obligations other than church.  This time in my life with young children I am right where I want to be, but for some reason this last week, I have had some choir withdrawals.  I even started a Pandora station with choral music, which I never listen to.  When I listen to some pieces, it moves me to the core.  I have been in several concerts where I am moved to tears because of the beauty of the voices blended together.  Part of me misses it, and the other part is glad to be exactly where I am.  I don't miss the responsibility, just the people and more than anything...the music.  It would be nice to have a little of both worlds.  Actually, in my perfect world, I would be in a group that has a fabulous, inspiring director where I would get to pick out the music:)

Here is a list of pieces with links that I loved performing or teaching...
Lux Aeterna, I. Introitus, (Morten Lauridsen)
Lux Aeterna - 3. O Nata Lux (Morten Lauridsen)
Lux Aeterna, IV. Veni, Sancte Spiritus (Morten Lauridsen)
O Magnum Mysterium (Morten Lauridsen)
Chichester Psalms Movement I (Bernstein)
Chichester Psalms Movement II (Bernstein)
Chichester Psalms Movement III (Bernstein)
I'm Gonna Sing 'til the Spirit Moves in My Heart (Moses Hogan)
The Battle of Jericho (Moses Hogan)
Come to Me My Love (Norman Della Joio)
All That Hath Life and Breath (Clausen)
Psalm 100 (Clausen)
Ave Maria (Biebl)
J'entend le Moulin
Snow (Elgar)
He Never Failed Me Yet (Robert Ray)
Dirait-on (Morten Lauridsen)
Loch Lomand (arr. Jonathan Quick)
Zigeunerleben (Schumann)
Sicut Cervus (Palestrina)
Daemon Irrepit Callidus
For the Beauty of the Earth (John Rutter)
Erev Shel Shoshanim
Who Can Sail?
Dance on My Heart
Ching-a-Ring Chaw (Copland)
O Sifuni Mungu
Ave Verum Corpus (Mozart)
Singet Dem Herrn
Crucifixus (Lotti)
In Virtute Tua
Zion's Walls (Copland)
Laetatus Sum (Haydn)
E Nana Kakou
Gesu Bambino (Yon)
You Stole My Love
Evening Prayer (from Hansel and Gretel)
Seasons of Love
Les Miserables Medley
My Fair Lady Medley
Java Jive (this link shows why I hate show choir)
Go Ye Now In Peace (Eilers)
Weep No More (Childs)

Lyrics to one of my favorites from college...If Music Be the Food of Love (Jean Belmont)

If music be the food of love,
sing on, song on, sing on,
sing on till I am filled,
am filled with joy;
then my listening soul you move,
For then my listening soul you move,
To pleasures that can never cloy.
Your eyes, your mien,
your tongue declare,
that you are music every where.
Your eyes, your mien, your tongue,
your tongue declare,
that you are music every where.
Pleasures invade both eye and ear,
So fierce, so fierce, so fierce,
so fierce, the transports are,
they wound, and all my senses feasted are,
and all my sensed feasted are;
Though, yet the treat is only sound,
Sure I must perish,
perish by your charms,
Unless you save me in your arms.
Sure I must perish,
perish by your charms,
Unless you save me in your, in your arms.
"My heart, which is so full to overflowing, has often been solaced and refreshed by music when sick and weary."    Martin Luther


What's in a Name?

I know this may sound a bit crazy to some, but that's okay with me.  One thing that is really improtant to me when looking at a house is the street name.  It is something to consider when putting your return address on your Christmas cards:)  I don't want to have a lame street name, and it would be a potential deal breaker for me. 

Our first house Landon and I lived in was on...
Linda Avenue was not particularly my favorite street name and it also reminded me of one of my dearest friends mother who passed away not long before we got married.  Linda Maynard was like a second mother to me and this was a constant reminder that she was taken too soon.

Our first home that we owned was a better street name...
Not quite this Madison Ave, but it has a nice ring to it.

While building, we lived on...
I really like this street name as well as the next destination...
Our final stop (hopefully) has a great name.  Actually, it's one of my favorites...

I looked on a map at all the street names in Sparta and White County.  I made a list of the ones that I loved and some that I wonder, "what were they thinking?"  I don't mean to offend anyone if you or someone you know lives on a road that I don't like.  It's just a matter of opinion and more than likely, you didn't pick out the name:)

Street Names I like:
This good one is a waste.  There isn't even a house on this street.

Doesn't it sound like Winnie the Pooh lives in this street?

I love this one.  It means "Creator God".

And my top two favorites....

Many of the ones that I don't care for are named after someone.  There are LOTS of streets named after people in this county.  It is fine if you have a regal name like...
But, there are lots that aren't so fortunate...
Say that one quickly.

I wonder if these two are related...

I should move on this street because it was my maiden name:)

Here are some other ones that I would really hate to put on my return address...

Is it old or is it new?  No one knows:)

The best one...
Right next to Big Bottom, which has no street sign (that I could find).

Although I could have simply written down the lists, this was much more fun to do.  Even though I spent two afternoons and a half a tank of gas on this adventure, it was worth it.  I usually stay in my few mile radius and don't venture out very far on a regular basis.  This was a fun way to see the beauty in our community from literally one side to the other.  It was beautiful weather and I got a chance to roll down the window and sing at the top of my lungs.  It was a great time to clear my mind and enjoy the beauty all around me that I don't take the time to see. 

I went many roads that I have never been on before.  Some were a little scary:)  I even did something that I can't remember the last time doing...I peed on the side of the road.  There was no where to go.  I NEVER do this, and I am so thankful that no one was around.  Anyway, here are a few things I saw along the way...

Some places in the most beautiful part in White County...Hickory Valley.
Check out the Caskey's drive with their blooming trees.  Someone should plan a wedding at their house this time of year so the bride can be processed down this drive in a horse and carriage...breathtaking.

Other places in the county...

How cool would this be???  A covered bridge crossing a creek to your house.  This is Landon's dream.
Oh, yes.  I crossed it.  I couldn't help myself.

I would love to see it at night with the lights turned on!!

I saw some great yard art...

Also, in my travels, I took a stroll down memory lane. 

I spent many summer days at my Granny Sallye's house.  I don't drive by it often, but when I do, I am flooded with lots of memories.
I can't tell you how many times I rode up and down her driveway on my bike listening to my portable cassette player.  (Probably New Kids on the Block).  It seemed like such a long driveway as a child.

On the other end of the county, I used to come here to get circus peanuts with my great grandfather.

And here with my mom to buy fabric...

Anyway, thank goodness for a GPS system to get me where I was going.   This has sparked another interest in something my friend Trish told me about after I told her what I was doing the last few days.  Her sister does this in Georgia...Geocaching.  I think we are going to try it out.  I think the boys will like it.

Sorry if you start looking at street signs now:)