29 May 2006

Happy Tuesday...

...even though it is Monday night!

Life has really quieted down here. My husband has the next 2 weeks off in hopes of getting me to 36 weeks before having this baby. Last Wednesday was scare #1. Only - yay me - I didn't go running to the hospital. I rode it out at home for 3 hours and was able to regain control of my crazy irritable uterus. How do I stay sane many of you have asked? Well, I could definitely write the bedrest survivial guide, as this is my 3rd time surviving it.

There are the projects, of course, which I decide on at the beginning of my day, gathering all the tools I need and piling them on my bed so that I don't have to get up again. Most recently this includes decoupaged lightswitch covers:

Now everybody needs some of those, don't they? ;)

And I've managed to wash and fold and put away all the baby's things over the course of about a week. Slow as a turtle, lol. Dh has been hauling trunks of Adriana's old baby stuff in and out of our bedroom like a slave, poor thing.

I'm also enjoying playing around with our
family pictures and printing them off, deciding where they should be hung, etc. I am putting together a collage of my favorites. :)

There has been much online shopping. Now is the time when I fantasize about getting my pre-pg body back within a few weeks and therefore justify a shopping spree for a few postpartum outfits that make me look hot. Thankfully, dh does not argue this fantasy. I guess he trusts that I will fit into them eventually.

In my online searches, I have also discovered the latest trends in baby items, like this nursing cover and these changing pads. And I bought my first sling! I tell ya, gone are the boring plaid and teddy bear prints! Man, oh man, am I glad they are no longer my only choices! Going back to that would be like bringing back the splatter paint. Eek. Cringe.

Today we were going to go kite flying, but it's been a pretty dead day (wind-wise) so the kids went swimming instead. I stayed inside of course and have been catching up on my pregnancy journal and Sasha's baby book. I have plans to watch "Rent" a little later and maybe read? I just bought the Da Vinci Code. Sheesh, how behind am I?

Oh, so before I forget, my 7 year old daughter has been a hoot lately. All her prayers conclude with "Please bless Mommy to not have anymore subtractions." She means contractions, of course. This next tidbit? Not much of a hoot... at least not for years and years when I need the pictures for blackmail. Friday I woke up from my nap to discover hair clippings in the bathroom trashcan and scissors out on the counter. Undeniably blond curls belonging to one and only one head in this household. I've always prided myself on the fact that these types of catastrophes don't take place in our home. I've never had to clean flour up off the floor or sharpie marker off the wall. I keep nice things around the house and they don't get broken or demolished. But to go from that to this? Out of nowhere? Messing up my track record? Was it penance for being on bedrest? Rebellion for neglecting her for an hour? She still has not explained herself. She just periodically checks out her new hairstyle in the mirror and asks me if she looks like a boy. Was that what she was trying to do? I managed to disguise it fairly well by cutting bangs. It's not the best look with curly hair, but it will grow back. Along with my track record. I'm sure you'd like to see a picture, but blogger isn't being very user friendly right now.

On one last victorious note, we got our little Drewby into a big boy bed this weekend! If only the ease of this transition could foretell of transitions to come! Like potty training! (Again - would love to show a picture! Where is the love, Blogger?) So in 2 weeks when all restrictions have been lifted, I can nest. In the truest sense of the word. I cannot wait to bring my vision of Sasha's nursery to life!

25 May 2006

K, K, What begins with K?

Here are the rules: Comment on this entry and if you'd like to play, I will give you a letter. Write ten words beginning with that letter in your blog, including an explanation of why you chose it, and then pass out letters to those who want to play along.

Jane gave me "K".

kiwi - one of my favorite fruits. It's beautiful when sliced, first of all. Such an incredible shade of green! And it tastes so good with other fruits, in salads, on pie. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm... and I've passed this obsession onto my 19 month old. He could eat them nonstop.

Kronos Quartet - one of my favorite string ensembles because they are well trained in a variety of music genres and create a plethora of sounds and moods with their original compositions. Their music is considered "contemporary" or "modern" and is an acquired taste for some. But they are just such an incredibly talented group!

Krakow, Kiev - 2 of my most memorable stops while touring with an orchestra. Krakow is an amazing city. I wans't there for long and can't wait to go back and spend more time there. The street market is out of this world. Kiev is a sad city, but the host family I stayed with taught me so much about humility. I enjoyed performing there simply because of the look on the audience members' faces - how it transformed with the music we played!

kicks - I'm feeling the last of them. :( We don't plan on having any more children. I haven't enjoyed much of my pregnancy, but I will sure miss the little flutters, jabs, and kicks.

kisses - Oh how I love to kiss my children. They are so soft and chubby and taste so sweet! I am definitely to blame for how affectionate they are, but I don't care! Unlimited kisses are my right as a mommy.

kite - We plan on taking the kids to the park on Monday to fly a kite. It will be our first official day of summer! Interestingly enough, this is something we've only done while I'm on bedrest. We have a big open field near our house and I just kick back in the car and watch the kids run around with Daddy. I might not enjoy it as much were I not simply observing. I focus in on their little faces and their delighted expressions and just love to watch them run, run, run!

kung pao chicken - yum, yum... I love Chinese food, but especially the flavorful dishes!

kimono - I think kimono style shirts and dresses (for women) and even little onesies for babies are super, duper cute. I just love the style. And of course, the original design and the fabrics used are simply gorgeous! How fun it would be to get all decked in a real kimono and learn how to properly take tea!

kolaches - My favorite breakfast food! With a big, sloppy dohnut and hot chocolate. :)

Klimt - I just love his art. I saw some originals when I was in Poland. And it was such a treat. Like being in heaven!

Let me know if you'd like to play!!!

24 May 2006

Wild Card Wednesday

Today's idea came from The Mother Load. She suggested that I blog about the significance of my words on my children.

My father rarely got cross with us as children. My mother more than made up for it, so he remained pretty laid back most of my life. On the occasion that he did get upset, we didn't always know how to interpret it. I must have been about 5 years old when I somehow upset my father and he asked me "Do you want a lickin'?" I said, "Well, sure!" - not to be sassy, but because it didn't sound threatening at all, coming from him. I guess he thought it was a pretty cute reaction, because he sort of chuckled and then we sat down at the dinner table and ate caramels. Lol. So, I thought caramels were lickins'! And it was a while before I realized what the real meaning of the word was.

Words are indeed powerful. Especially in the English language. There are so many double meanings, alternative spellings/pronunciations, and slang - which is becoming its own entity.

Our words can cause a varitey of emotions, whether or not intended. The saying "Think before you speak" comes to mind. This past Sunday, I watched a recording of our church's last worldwide conference. I do not remember the speaker's name, but he remarked that we live in a society whose trend to "think before speaking" is turning around. Not only that, but depending on the source (not necessarily a reliable one), this is often applauded, heralded, even taken as doctrine.

When I think of the impact my words have on my children, I also consider the importance my words have on them. As in, do I set a good example for them? When somebody cuts me off on the road, do I use that as a teaching moment? When the children are naughty, how do I react?

I'm sure we are all aware of how easily our tone can affect the impact of our words as well - the not-so-heartfelt apology or sarcastic remark. We also live in a digital world where email and blogging and instant messaging have replaced phone calls and hand written letters; where we decreasingly take the time to converse sincerely and convey genuine sentiment to friends and family.

It goes without saying that depending on the attitude we have in saying something, it can be quite uplifting or leave others untouched. Our words can be invaluable in the impression they leave on a child. Words can be used to persuade, impress, give perspective.

As a proud member of the digital world :P I find the purpose of inspiring others to be most important to me. What about you?

22 May 2006

My Life Monday and some other good stuff

This is my first entry for MOF Rachelle's My Life Monday!

My full name is Leilani. Lei has been my nickname most of my life, although people have supremely enjoyed tacking on various suffixes besides "lani". Mostly immature ones, so I won't elaborate. But the name Leilani comes from my mother. It was her middle name. Yes, it is Hawaiian and yes, it has a meaning. Leilani translates to mean "heavenly flower" or "heavenly child". I have been serenaded "Sweet Leilani" many a time. And I never tire of it.

My mother loved her middle name. So much that when she became a professional Hawaiian dancer she adopted it as her stage name. Then when I came along, she gave it to me so that it could be used all the time.

Here on the mainland, I get a lot of "What a beautiful name!" And, "I've never heard that before." or "I once knew a Leilani..." But in Hawaii? Leilani = Jennifer. It's very common, and easily assumed that if Leilani is your name, you are haouli (white) or a military brat. Both of which my mother was!

I think it is funny that I was given a Hawaiian first name - a culture from which I have no blood relatives - in connection with an Italian last name. Which, coincidentally, is where my truest roots are. I am 25% Italian. "This exotic combination makes for a great stage name" my viola professor often told me. "It's a difficult one to forget." Imagine his disappointment when I married a man with a very common, sorta blah last name. He continued to introduce me by my maiden name and print it as such in recital programs. Lol.

My first name isn't the only one with a story. My middle name - Marie - was also passed on to me. It belongs to my paternal great aunt. The funny thing is, my mother started a trend by giving it to me. So now there are 4 nieces/grand nieces with the middle name Marie! Including my own daughter!

Now, I have fallen behind on my show and tell pictures. My hands (NOT body) have been very busy this past week!

What are these darling creations you might ask? Hair bands. Lots and lots of girly hair bands. A la
Alissa. She shared her knee high hair band tip with me months ago and I finally got around to making some. And now somebody must stop me!

Here is a small picture of the valanceI made a la Les. Hey, art is imitation, right? Flattery, too. This also begins the roll of pictures from my son's 4th bday this weekend. Here is my geeky family going berserck (there's that word again) with balloons.
The theme for Jonah's party was trains. So, the invitations were also boarding passes:

There was a track drawn up to the front door with chalk...
... and a special sign to welcome everyone aboard!
The children got to check their names off on the passenger list as they arrived and then played with a train table until everyone was "on board".
We then played 2 games... "Pin the Caboose on the Track" and "4" (sorry, can't seem to rotate the darn picture). "4" is a guessing game of four things Jonah likes to eat, watch, read and play (because he was turning 4). The guests all got prizes for playing (which were toys stolen from my kids' happy meal bags over the last several months).

I made a couple of fun signs, but this one (below, red) was the best, because it kept everybody in the front room!

Here's Jonah with his Thomas cake... it had a windup Thomas engine that circulated the center of the cake. Super cute!
There was also a Thomas pinata, which I failed to get a picture of. I think that was the point at which my body had had enough and I needed a break. But, I had my brother knock on the door and run, leaving a big package addressed to "Jonah and his birthday friends". They all opened it together to find a letter form Sir Topham Hat, which basically said "Thanks for coming, and there's a surprise for you all in the backyard." The package also contained red bandanas, train whistles and caps for them all to wear. They got dressed up, formed a train line, and"chugga-chugga-choo-chooed" their cute little selves into the backyard to find the Thomas pinata filled with candy.
The party was short and sweet, and best of all, I got to be a part of it without killing myself (or going into labor:)).

18 May 2006

How preterm labor is like unto a concerto

In the beginning, you kind of go it alone... like a single melody... creating a theme you can come back to and rely on. You feel strong and capable. Confident and positive. Pretty soon, you are joined by friends and family which support you and build you up. And your melody is suddenly much more interesting and pleasing to listen to. This is doable, you think! Everyone helps you find this voice. And how grateful you are.

Then things begin to develop and build and you're not sure what is coming next. Your body begins to play it's own tune without your permission. And it doesn't make much sense to you, or anyone else, considering how well you started off. There is dissonance and you begin to modulate to other keys. You are feeling unstable. You're not sure you can see an end in sight, at least not one you're happy with. Your emotions pile up and inevitably spread confusion among friends and family members. This is not the melody you began with. You long for that safe zone in which you no longer have to worry about pushing yourself too far... or your family too far... you want to get back to feeling confident and positive! Find your voice again!

Somehow, you do find it, and it doesn't take as long as you thought it would. Through sheer determination, continued support and encouragement, you arrive at where you began. And alas, everything comes full circle, familiarity returns, and your haphazard journey is resolved. In the same key it began.

17 May 2006

Happy Birthday to me!

31. Not flavors of ice cream but years I've been alive! Astounding! Where has it gone? Well, it's sort of dragging this week, so I take that back! Lol. My restrictions have been increased. My cervix is super soft, dilated 1cm and I'm about 25% effaced. Baby's head is down. Sigh. So, I'm off my feet as much as possible to help disguise the exit sign. :)

A few more weeks inside would be lovely, dear Sasha!

Keep those Wild Card Wednesday ideas coming... I pick a topic - suggested by one of you - to blog about. And give you credit for the idea. So, give me a new question or subject to blog about! You can even challenge me to use a certain word in my post!

Last week
Rachelle suggested the word discombobulated. I hope she doesn't consider this cheating, because I already have the perfect blog entry using that word here.

13 May 2006


Yes, yes I know it is MOTHER'S DAY, but I'll get to us in a minute. Because I want to blog a bit about fathers. (It occurred to me that I may not be blogging on Father's Day, because... well, my life is about to change a lot due to baby #4 making an appearance and I know how chaotic life will get and sparse blogging will be for at least a month after her birth. Plus, I am loving the father of my children muchly right now.)

This topic of fathers bodes well with
Maine Mom's tag to do the Two for Togetherness meme. So, I'll start with that.

2 Things you compliment your husband on while in his presence.1) his brilliance 2) He bathes the kids every night and does all the dishes!

2 compliments you make about your spouse to your friends 1) He has integrity! 2) He supports me in every single thing I want to do.

2 traits you married him for.1) the twinkle in his eye 2) his sensitivity

2 Days you cherished the most with your husband being together. Oh that's impossible! Just two? Must take some liberty with this one... 1) my first glimpse of him from behind the blinds of my bedroom window (it was a blind date) 2) our wedding day, of course 3) the days each of our children were born 4) the night he first told me that he loved me 5) his marriage proposal in front of the temple 6)the first recital of mine that he attended (We'd actually broken up, but he STILL came AND he brought his parents. This is just a small representation of his support of my endeavors.)

2 Material things you could give your husband if you just inherited a fortune 1) a yacht 2) the means to start his own consulting firm

2 things you would miss the most if he left for 2 weeks.1) uh, been there - so I can say without hesitation, his body next to me in bed 2) sharing the details of our day with him face to face

2 thoughts that crossed your mind when you first met/saw your spouse.1) nice hair and legs 2) not a thought - but a feeling - my heart fluttering :)

2 favorite dates 1) a viola recital in Frankfurt, Germany 2) picnic lunch between Conference sessions on temple grounds

2 funny odd things you love 1) the way he shows excitement 2) his crushing bear hugs

2 places you have lived with your spouse 1) Salt Lake City, UT 2) Honolulu, Hawaii

2 favorite vacations 1) Heidelberg, Germany 2) San Francisco, California

2 amazing mothers I'd like to tag to do this meme 1) Zoe 2) Shelah. Happy Mother's Day, guys.

So, I've been thinking a lot lately about how much the role of fathers has changed and in how little time. So much more is expected of fathers these days, and fathers are so much more involved in their families' lives. The role of mothers seems to have paralleled this and the bar has been raised for them as well. Our times require it... equal partnership in parenthood and having one purpose.

I've said what I love about my job as a mother many times. The
big things, the little things. The fact is, I would not be as good of a mother without his support and involvement - their father, my husband.

12 May 2006

Just a couple articles of business!

First off, a belly shot for my dear friend Zoe. Here I am at 32 weeks!

Second of all, the project frenzy continues. It's beyond nesting now! Since I cannot do the physical things I would like to do (completely reorganize closets, have a garage sale, plant flowers, wash the walls, lol) I am just trying to keep my hands busy. So, I made these for my daughter:

Now, it's time for more Wild Card Wednesday ideas. For those of you who are new to Wild Card Wednesday, it is a day when I pick a topic - suggested by one of you - to blog about. And give you credit for the idea. So, give me a new question or subject to blog about! You can even challenge me to use a certain word in my post!

Also, I have been tagged by
Gabriela to do "the fours" meme. I won't be tagging anyone else to do this one - I think it has made its round - but if one of my readers has been missed, let me know and then go for it!

Four jobs I've had:
strings teacher
recording artist
dog sitter

Four movies I watch over and over:
truthfully? none... I'm the same way with books. TV shows, for some reason, are totally different! I could watch reruns of Friends, Seinfeld, Dharma and Greg or Felicity any time.

Four places I have lived:
New York

Four TV shows I love to watch:
Law and Order
Grey's Anatomy
A Baby Story

Four places I have been on vacation (I am changing this to Four places I have been on tour and *one place I love to vacation often):
*San Francisco

Four places I would like to go on vacation:

Four websites I visit often:
babystyle (for now) :)
Fox News

Four favorite foods (beware - I am pregnant!):
peanut butter
various takes on grilled cheese

Where I would like to be right now (read: things I can't just do on a whim):
out to lunch with my husband
on a walk
completing my baby shopping

Lastly - there's a good list of things you can do for YOURSELF this Mother's Day
here. I give you persmission to treat yourself like the royalty you are. :)

Have a wonderful weekend everybody!

10 May 2006

My apologies...

Yeah, I missed Wild Card Wednesday. I'm sorry! I just wasn't in the bloggin' mood. Remember, I am in the nesting mood. :)

But I do want some feedback from those of you who may have caught Oprah yesterday. If you'd like to share. Nicely, of course. I had some pretty strong reactions to Oprah's desperate attempt at justifying her personal issues with marriage. But their were some truths spoken as well.

I did not agree that becoming one in marriage means losing onesself. It is my belief rather that a successful marriage is built on oneness - not oneness as in one becoming like the other, but oneness as in teamwork; oneness in purpose. I also did not agree that it is a "shrinking woman" that considers her spouse's needs to be a high priority. I do not come from a "Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands" standpoint here. I am all about bringing your true self to your marriage (one good point that was made in the show). I also agree that you should speak your mind and voice your opinions and have an identity.

Now... go on with your smart selves and tell me your thoughts on this!

09 May 2006

Holy nesting!

Aw, you might say. How cute! Um, not really. Nesting can be a bad thing, like when it's an uncontrollable urge and you're on modified bedrest! My hope is that one day it will be a humorous thing to look back on (that is, if my husband ever forgives me for making him hang the new curtains I made today at 11:00 tonight). But it is no laughing matter right now because nobody seems to be able to pull me out of this, this fenzy - regardless of how silly even I know I am being. Even as I type, I am trying to figure out what I can paint next. So far, I have completed these projects:

decoupaged letters for the nursery...

... and a painting to match!

Plus, something special for Adriana's room so she wouldn't feel left out :)

One benefit to this kind of nesting is that it is helping me cope with the preterm labor and can be done while resting. As of yesterday I am 25% effaced and I had contractions and cervical pain all night long. Tylenol PM is becoming a nightly ritual for me. Today - cramping. Joy.

I wish the sudden flux of project ideas would also help me better cope with the anxiety I am suddenly feeling. Instead, I think it may be adding to it! All I can think about is whether I can divide my love and nurturing abilites among all these children that I am so head over heels in love with. And all I have left to do before Sasha comes. And whether or not I am ready. I mean - READY. And whether or not my children are ready!

But hey, the nursery will be ready! Not only ready, but well decorated! Sigh. Suddenly, my
theory of indulgence doesn't seem so foolproof.

05 May 2006

Where's the fun in your life?

My kids do not have school today, so my neighbor invited them over to play with her children this morning. Well, as soon as the words "you're playing with friends this morning" escaped my mouth, my three little piggies went berserck. Absolutely berserck. Is that how you spell berserck? Anyway... they could hardly concentrate on getting dressed, let alone eating breakfast. I felt my emotions begin to rise as I chased them around with underwear in one hand and toothbrushes in the other. By the time my neighbor got here to pick them up, I was a sweaty mess.

Drew was still finishing breakfast, so she offered to get the older two in the car for me. I listened as they squealed with delight when she asked them if they were ready to have some fun. And it hit me - what joyous children I have! Every morning I am greeted with excited eyes and smiles and hugs. What zest for life they have! And how easily that could rub off on me, if I'd let it.

It also got me thinking about the proverb "a merry heart doeth good like medicine". Well, the opposite it just as true. Unhappiness is infectious, and perhaps a more powerful emotion than happiness because of how quickly it can spread. And destroy.

Do you think we have a choice in most situations... whether to laugh or cry? I do. And thank goodness, because it is a simple choice, and makes such a difference in your overall countenance. You either find joy or you find misery. It all depends on what you seek. Last Wild Card Wednesay I asked for you all to make me laugh. I woke up that morning feeling the urge to be unhappy, and I knew that a few good laughs would cure me.

So today, what's your choice going to be? I'm gonna go with happiness, because I have so many good reasons to! Precious baby dreams, a calm, lush morning after a thunderstorm, a clean home, movie night to look forward to, friendly neighbors. And of course, berserck children.

03 May 2006

Wild Card Wednesday - a baby shower!

So, I guess it's official now. Sasha is on her way! Last night my friends threw me a baby shower. Sweet, huh? And before I tell you all about it, here's a laugh. The hostess and her family recently moved here from Sweden. I guess her son isn't too familiar with the tradition of baby showers, because he asked her who's baby we would be washing. LOL... he probably wondered why all the fancy food, too! Poor kid! I'm sure he's anxious to discover what other crazy things we Americans do. ;)

Anywho, I totally was not expecting a shower. In fact, I shyed away from it because not only is this my fourth child, but my second girl, and I really have all that I need. But I have had some trouble with my pregnancies and am on modified bedrest for preterm labor, so this was a very thoughtful gesture... and so unique an idea for any subsequent pregnancy...

Everyone brought an envelope containing a money gift and clipped it to this tree, which I got to take home with me after the shower:

The money was collected specifically for a gift certificate to a place in town called The Studio Kitchen, where you can assemble a stock of frozen meals. I cannot tell you how helpful this will be. We have tried both Schwan's Delivery Service and a personal chef, and the cost (on top of a maid service and weekly/sometimes bi-weekly appointments with progesterone shots) has begun to be a financial burden. I still have to hire a mother's helper for when school lets out, too!

I also got to open a few sweet little gifts (because some of my friends just love to shop too much:)). There was a darling little ladybug outfit, some baby toys to spruce up my ancient collection, yet another gift certificate (for an infant massage, yay!), and a sweet little baby pillow made from an antique handkerchief.

What a fun little celebration it was! The goodies table was picture perfect :

And we played some not-too-tacky games, as well. Mi favorito was guessing organs/body parts from various ultrasound pictures. It's amazing how little you learn from having, oh about a bajillion good looks at babies in utero, lol. I think I missed some of the easiest, most basic shots!

Anyway, I am truly feeling like one happy and loved mama today! And hopefully these ideas will get used by some of you out there... this was such a fun and simple (not to mention charitable) way to celebrate baby's coming.

01 May 2006

Home Can Be A Heaven On Earth

On Sunday our Stake Primary Presidency/Board was invited to another branch to speak. The topic was family. My assignment of course was to provide a musical number, so I pretty much got to go along for the ride and just enjoy a Sacrament meeting sans children. I really enjoyed the talks my counterparts had prepared... they shared a lot of useful information on how to fortify our homes and families against the evils of the world. They happen to be older and wiser than I, so I really soaked it up. :)

One of the points made was that our home can be one of the most sacred places on the earth. That really spoke to me. I want for my family to seek refuge in the walls of our home... I want them to feel safe and warm and protected here. I thought about how I can ensure that... by keeping our standards high (for instance with regard to the entertainment and music we allow to infiltrate our lives), by spending quality time together, by reenforcing beliefs, by having open communication with our children about troublesome things, by governing them while allowing them to make their own choices. And of course by loving them, unconditionally. My husband and I make an effort in each of these areas, but we could certainly do better. Our oldest is only 7, but she's close to the age where she will truly be accountable for her decisions and I think often about how well I have equipped her with the knowledge to do so mindfully. We have such a short amount of time with these sweet little souls! And so much responsibility to fulfill.

What are your thoughts? What ways have you succeeded in making your home a heaven on earth?