Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Finding Peace This Season

This time of year is wonderful. It's the time of year we get to celebrate the birth of our savior, spend time with family and sing the same songs we sang last year and the year before that. Sometimes we can get caught up in the general expectation everyone around us has about what we should and shouldn't do or say, how much money is acceptable to spend, how many people we should buy gifts or make treats for, how many Christmas parties and family gatherings we should attend, and (of course!) having the best Christmas lights on the block. 

Personally, I think it gets a little overwhelming. In fact, sometimes I feel like being a "Bah Humbug" about it all and think how nice it would be to hide until the "spirit" of Christmas has taken leave because I don't have the best lights or prettiest tree, I don't have lots of money to spend on friends and family, I don't think Santa is charming and maybe I don't want to lie to my children about something that I don't feel has anything to do with Christmas in the first place.

And then I just get reminded that I am being pretty silly about this thing. There is nothing scary about Christmas. Unless, of course, you're a fan of Black Friday. That's also beside the point. 

Christmas is about the birth of Jesus Christ. The redeemer of the world who lay down his life for us all. And at one point in time this amazing person, the son of God, was just a tiny, precious, miracle baby to a righteous virgin mother. And while it is nice to be able to give people fancy gifts, we should remember why we do so. It is to symbolize those that came to see the savior and bought him Gold and silver and precious things to show their love and appreciation of the gift he would ultimately give to us. And while there were those wealthy wise-men,  there were also the poor Shepherds who brought nothing but their awe and acknowledgement that this was a very special day indeed, and also there were those who brought their gift of music to the Lord because that was the only thing they had to offer. And...it was enough.

I realize that this year has been tough for more than just myself, and that I don't stand alone in the feelings of inadequacy this season, but I hope that I can shed some of the light that I have found while pondering how to appropriately celebrate a season in which I struggle to find joy. I have come to the conclusion that the best way to celebrate is to be at peace because no matter what my needs this season, I have already been given the one thing that I need most in my life: the atonement. And through the atonement of Jesus Christ all things are made possible. It is with this in mind that I put forth my trust in the Lord that things will work out, and I and my family will be ok. I will do my best to give of myself to those around me, and it will be enough.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

You make me wanna "La La"

I had the opportunity to sing in church this last Sunday, and while it was scary because it has been so long for me, I managed to make it through relatively unscathed. Ha ha. Actually, the other night was our ward talent show and Chili cook off, and I had several people ask if I would sing, and then was harassed when I told them I hadn't planned on it. But afterwards we went out to get frozen yogurt and ran into a friend in the ward who had missed my performance on Sunday, but whose daughter was there and retold a funny story of how someone sitting close to their family said "Nice pipes!" during my song. It made me laugh.

Now, I am dealing with the request to sing for various things, and I don't mind. It feels great to work at singing again. And Rhodri gets so excited whenever I get up to do something in church, it makes it all a little more special that I get to share something that means so much to me with the person that means the most to me.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Fall update (That's why the title isn't very clever)

I feel like I have less of a baby and more of a little kid every day. Rhodri is hitting so many new milestones at one time, it's hard to keep track. Mostly, his personality is starting to shine through, and I am having a blast getting to know the fun side of my little monster. Also, I don't know how I typed "babby" instead of "baby" in the video above, and I know I can edit it, but I think I will leave it.

It has been so much fun having my sister Kirstie close again. I love spending time with her, even if it's doing dumb things like watching reality tv, because there isn't anything better than hanging out with someone you love unconditionally and who loves you the same. Rhodri also adores his Auntie Kirstie, and his older cousins. Especially Rachel, who has the magic touch with babies. Pretty much  anything she does leads Rhodri to laugh hysterically.

Halloween was a lot of fun, trick or treating with Rhodri for the first time, and then going to a haunted house in someone's home. Any excuse to wear my awesome blue wig. Ha ha.

All the kids on halloween.

Rhodri as a Dinosaur or dragon, not really sure.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Crawling the wrong way

Per Request, I tried to make a video of Rhodri crawling, but he always gets distracted by cameras. So, while he's being cute, he didn't crawl much.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Trouble with a capital 'T' and that stands for TEETH!

That's right, Rhodri now has teeth. And while that is an exciting milestone, it is a difficult one as well. In the last 2 weeks I have hardly gotten any sleep at all and it seems it is because this little monster is in pain from teething, but I'm not so sure it isn't just because he doesn't want me to sleep. 

Rhodri is now crawling as well. I remember people telling me I would not be as happy once he started doing this, and now I understand. He is getting into everything already. He follows me into whatever room I walk into, even if it's just for a second, I walk into a room to grab something and I turn around and he's right there. And everyday he gets a little bit faster too. This crazy baby has just become high maintenance.  Anyway, I guess that's just part of life. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My Other Gift

Rhodri is my best gift that God has given me. He was sent to me to remind me of who I am and why I am here. My other gift is the gift of music. I have in the last several years allowed music to become a part of my past and not the present, which is one of my greatest mistakes and regrets in life. 

Recently, I started to make an effort, with the help of my little music child, to make music an everyday occurrence in our home. I've even started to be in the ward and stake choirs in church, which surprising for me (since I've always been such a music snob), felt wonderful. It felt like being home again. I hope to continue in this direction. I'm sure Rhodri will appreciate it.

After performing in the last stake conference, I had some inquiries from people in my ward about when I was planning to sing in church as a solo, and somehow a date was set and I was able to find someone to play for me and now I'm preparing for my first solo since about 3 years and it's going to be in a little over a week. Am I nervous? You bet. But I'm also very excited because it's one of my favorite songs, and I've already had some practice with the accompanist which went really well. I can't wait to do this. I hope that the performance will be as good as our practice sessions have been. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Beautiful Baby: Rhodri's Lulliby

I finally did it. So, here's my masterpiece minus piano, because I definitely would not have been able to do both in my first time ever recording myself singing in a video. I hope you like it, and if you do, please share because I probably won't have the nerve to share it myself. Even though I really want people to hear it so I can get feedback. Ha ha.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Rhodri's silly talking voice

I know I didn't update like I said I would. I never did get the pictures I wanted from all the fun stuff we did in California, but here's a cute video of Rhodri talking with a funny voice he's been using the last couple days. He is finally rolling over again, which I am very happy about. He's so close to crawling, I really need to watch out! He thinks his toes are the greatest toys in the world, he loves to eat Banana baby food, and he's just full of very strange sound effects. He is the light of my life, and I love him more every day, though I don't know how it's possible. I have been so blessed.

Friday, July 6, 2012

California Baby!

Rhodri and I had an awesome time visiting his Grandma and Grandpa and hanging out with Auntie Kirstie and all his cousins, minus Gratton. We did just about everything we could have in the 2 weeks we were there. First we went to a Giant's baseball game at the LA Angel's stadium, then we went to the San Diego Zoo, then the Beach, and then the Wild Animal park. He went in a pool for the first time, but the water was too cold, so he wasn't really a fan of that. Rhodri also sat through his first movie in the theater and did a great job. He actually likes to watch movies, and was fascinated by all the noises and colors. I wish I had more pictures to show, but I forgot to bring my camera, so I'll have to wait for my mom and Kirstie to upload their pictures so I can snag them.

Rhodri after his swimming pool adventure

Thursday, June 14, 2012

3 Months!

Last week Rhodri became 3 months old. Honestly though, it feels much longer than that. Still, I can't help but feel a little desperate to keep him little. I know that the moment I blink he's going to be 18 and graduating from High School. Well, I took a few pictures of us last week on my phone, so here are his 3 months pictures:
And the last one...

Monday, June 11, 2012


I never would have expected that being a mom would bring me not just happiness, by also other blessings like finding my voice again. It's been years since I really spent a lot of time in the world of music, and now with Rhodri being such a fan of my singing voice, I find myself singing to him for hours. It has the same effect as if I were practicing back when I was taking lessons. My voice is fuller, and singing has become almost as comfortable as it used to be when it was all I ever did with my life. 

Rhodri is such a good listener. He never complains. I decided to start get back into writing my own stuff again, and while I was in my zone Rhodri simply listened and added his little coos of approval every now and then. When I looked at the clock it had been over an hour. I hope that he will continue to be this great, and that maybe he will have the same love of music as he gets older.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Response to Feedback

I'm posting this as a new blog so that this actually gets seen. I had some response from people about this post: http://ispeakmusik.blogspot.com/2012/05/is-this-real.html While the people who read it decided to comment not directly to me, but to someone else, I am responding here.

I think it's important to point out that I am in no way racist, but I don't believe in being politically correct either. I think that political correctness teaches us to stifle our curiosity of things that are different from us, therefore we ask less questions and remain ignorant of the things that make people of other cultures and upbringings unique and pride-worthy. If I hadn't pointed out all the diversity in that moment, then how could anyone fully understand the entire situation and how, to me, the moment belongs on a sit-com? TV networks try and fit in every minority they possibly can in each and every episode so as not to come off as prejudiced. If you think it's wrong of me to point it out, then I have to disagree with you. I'm not offended by things that are different from me. I enjoy diversity and culture, and simply wanted to share a funny moment in my life.

I will not be removing my post as it is the reality of my life. I'm not going to apologize because there is nothing to apologize for. I will always speak bluntly because I am not ashamed of my family and how things are.

If anyone would like to discuss this further, you are welcome to comment or send me a message.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A Little Sensitive

Tyson's Grandma told me a story once of when she took Tyson to church as a baby, and his shirt was dirty. When she made a comment about it, Tyson looked down at his shirt and started crying. That's when she knew he was going to be a sensitive guy.

Rhodri has been showing similar signs of sensitivity. Yesterday while I was playing with him, I stuck out my tongue and he grabbed it. I wasn't expecting it, and it made me laugh. But then I was having trouble stopping laughing. So, Rhodri made his confused pout and started to cry. 

He also cries every time Tyson sneezes, and I can't help myself because I find it funny every time. I am looking forward to more of his personality shining through.

Thursday, May 31, 2012


We all struggle with this at some point in our lives. Many of us never stop struggling with this one thing that has been asked of us to do. Whether it's forgiving ourselves, or those who have wronged us, or what I personally find the most challenging, forgiving those who have wronged the ones we love, Heavenly Father has made it clear that this is necessary for us to be able to be forgiven by Him.

I was once told that the word Forgive comes from the German word "Vorgeben". "Vor" meaning 'before' and "Geben" meaning 'given'. So in this sense "Vorgeben" means to have given before the Offense has ever even taken place. Imagine if we all lived by this definition of Forgiveness. We could cease to feel anger and resentment again. 

I think about Kindness and how this type of Forgiveness is like Kindness. Because being kind means not holding any kind of prejudgment towards others, being slow to anger, quick to help those in need, and smiling gratefully at those who help us with our daily tasks even if the help wasn't performed perfectly.

When others have wronged me, I often try to understand why they did what they did, so to more easily come to terms with it and move on to forgiveness. But there is an error in this kind of thinking, because a lot of times I can't come up with a 'Why'. My attempt at Sympathizing becomes the direct link to resentment as I start to think, "they must have done it to hurt me," Or "They're just too stupid for their own good and the world would be better off without them." Certainly,  not Christlike thoughts.

It's not my job to understand 'Why'. My job is to Forgive and Forget, and move on to making the world a better place by doing my best in all things.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Grocery store comedy

A few nights ago I sent Tyson out to go get some groceries. He was a little sleep deprived since he had been getting up around 4:30 a.m. for work and then he worked until about 7pm that particular night. I was originally going to go with him, but then decided it was getting too late to bring Rhodri out, so I made a list and figured Tyson wouldn't have too much trouble with it. Well, then 2 hours later he shows up with 10 bags of mostly juice plus some of the things on the list. Though as I was putting stuff away I noticed that instead of Soy milk, he got Almond milk. And there was also some green tea (which we definitely don't drink) with mango and pineapple, but when I asked about these things, he had no idea he had even grabbed them! I couldn't help it, I just started laughing.

He tried to explain himself by saying "I'm so tired! I was just trying to get out of there."

Lol. So, he grabbed 10 things of juice and it somehow took 2 hours to go to the store that is a 2 minute drive from our house.

Next time, I think I will just wait until I am able to go with him.

Music baby?

I have been singing to Rhodri since before he was born, and it seems that he thoroughly enjoys it most of the time. I even wrote him a little lullaby that I may be willing to record and post with a little encouragement. He Definitely recognizes when I'm singing his lullaby; he gets this look on his face of perfect contentment. It's as if he knows it is his song. 

The other day I started singing some classical music just to see what he thought of it, and a huge smile came on his face. He thinks it's funny. Yesterday I think he was trying to sing with me. I tried to record it, but I didn't catch much of it, as seems to always be my luck when it comes to him and cameras. Here's a clip of his little performance.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Baby Hugs

As Rhodri has gotten bigger, he seems to need to know that I am there with him. When I am feeding him, he likes to grab my my hand with both of his. When I am cradling him, he wraps his arm around mine. When I birp him, he reaches around to my back and will either pat me too or he'll grab a fist full of my shirt and hang on tight.

I've decided that there is nothing better in this world than baby hugs. There's a beautiful knowledge that comes with the embrace of a tiny infant, that you are the world to this little being. His love is innocent and pure, and there is no one else living on this Earth that can love your baby as much as you.

I like to take these moments and just love him back. I hope to always be able to remember the perfect feeling I get when he hugs me.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Is this real?

Have you ever felt like your life belonged on a sitcom? I had that feeling yesterday. Let me explain why.

Tyson's Dad's second wife, whom his father is no longer married to, is the closest thing Tyson has had to a mother figure in his life. We keep in contact with her regularly, especially lately, and with the arrival of our little Rhodri, Stephanie planned a little trip from Seattle to see us this weekend. To avoid any akwardness, we didn't tell Tyson's dad that she would be coming. Not that they are on bad terms, but you know.

Anyway, we had Fabricio, my 3 year old quarter Costa Rican and Catholic step-son, over when Stephanie (Puerto Rican) and her Girlfriend Jenny (white) arrived. As Tyson is helping them bring their things in from the car, Tyson's dad pulls up to our house. Insert awkard reunion. Ha ha ha...oops. I was secretly dying of laughter inside. And then As I'm standing in the front doorway to our house with Rhodri in my arms, our 19 year old African American room mate walks out of his room to see what all the commotion is.

What a life.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Best Gift

All the best experts and baby books in the world could not have prepared me for the blissful euphoria of seeing my sweet baby boy for the first time. On March 8, 7:37AM after only 17 minutes of pushing, I heard Rhodri's tiny cry and then felt the warmth of him as he was layed on my chest. He weighed in at 7 pounds 2 ounces, 20 inches long. He was as average as babies can be, perfect, and not a sign of down syndrome anywhere on his tiny body, though I wouldn't have loved him any less if there was.

I feel like I have always know Rhodri, that he was always meant to be my boy. When I think that I have had him for only a month and a half, it seems surprising to me. That's all? It's because of this feeling that I know he and I knew each other before this life, and he has been waiting for me, and now he is here.

Rhodri, about 7 minutes after birth.

A few days after we took him home, don't let the date fool you. Funky Camera setting, it's fixed now.

Sleeping peacefully

He must be extremely photogenic...

Beautiful smile

I love being a mom. It is the best gift in the Universe that Heavenly father would entrust me with this sweet spirit. He is perfect, and I love him more than words can adequately describe.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Waiting Game

Today as I sit and write this I am 38 weeks and 1 day along. This baby is full term and it's just a matter of time now before he decides he's ready to come out and meet us. I've been lucky to have lots of appointments to watch and make sure he's healthy because of the positive quad screening from earlier in the pregnancy, and as of Saturday the nurse said I am 2cm dilated and about 80% effaced. The doctor doesn't think I'll make it to my March 11th due date, so my mom took that as the answer to book her flight earlier rather than later. She'll be here on Wednesday and I'm so excited!

I've been meaning to write a blog now for a while, but I just can't sit still long enough, but I figured there's not a whole lot of time time left, so I better just get it over with. My back already hurts and it's been like 3 minutes. Ugh.

I'm so excited to welcome our little Rhodri into our family. I'm excited to see his reaction face to face when I get to sing to him for the first time. He always gets so active when I sing to him now, and I know he loves it. I'm sure he'll be plenty energetic too. And of course I've been day dreaming about how he will look. What color hair and eyes he will have, whether he'll look more like me or Tyson. I don't know. I'm just so excited for this sweet little boy to get here!

I can't forget to mention how blessed we have been. We literally have everything that we need, and very little of the things we have were purchased by us. I can't begin to thank everyone who has helped us enough for all of their generosity. Heavenly Father has truly looked out for us and made it possible to give our little boy what he needs. I just hope that I can do my part now and be the best mom possible for Rhodri.

Here's a picture from me ealier today:

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Something worth Celebrating

Today is the first day of 2012, which means a new year for everyone. I personally am not much of a fan of this holiday and especially not the parties or the silly resolutions people always seem to come up with and then almost always fall through on. But today is a special day that I think I am willing to make an exception for. 30 years ago today my parents decided to tie the knot. I haven't been there for all 30 of those years, but what I know is enough. My parents have done so much for me and for so many other people. They have showed me more places than most people get to see in a lifetime. They have taught me to love others unconditionally, be dependable, and always give second chances. I miss them both so very much since moving to Washington, and I hope that Rhodri will get a chance to know them well despite the distance. They have given me something worth celebrating today, and in this ever desparaging world when there are so few who seem to hold the same value in marriage, what more can I ever ask for from them? I love them so much and just want to say 'Thank you!' as loud as I can for being better than the 'norm', for loving each other so well, and for showing me how important family is.