Tuesday, March 18, 2014

EMU Piano Festival

Every year there is a piano festival at EMU-Eastern Mennonite University. I am not sure about everyone else, but the segment Clark participated in, each student had to perform two memorized pieces.  Clark did a great job and I enjoyed attending! 
March 15 2014 Clark EMU Festival

March 15 2014 Clark EMU Festival (2)

In Clark's section nine students performed.  It took an hour.  The other kids did a pretty good job at keeping quiet.  Markers and paper sure don't hurt.
March 15 2014 Clark EMU Festival (4)

March 15 2014 Clark EMU Festival (5)

Clark received a rating of Excellent on one piece and a Superior on another.  If a student receives a Double Superior they perform in a group concert. It was kind of nice not worrying about the concert this year, but sometime in the future it would be neat if Clark received a Double Superior!  I think I am going to have him participate in this festival every year now.  Cal will be joining him next year or the year after at the festival too as Cal will start piano lessons this summer!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Willy Wonka + Random

Occasionally I get the photos off my phone and put them on the computer.  I found a few that I don't think I've put on the blog.  Last month on our way home from our temple trip we swung by the awesome Tyson's Corner mall so I could exchange a pair of slippers.  We explored some other stores too, like the Lego Store.  On our way out the girls and I stopped at the Disney Store.  They both loved the place.  In a few years we'd love to go on a Disney Cruise...we'll see if that ever happens!
Feb 22 2014 (2)

Feb 22 2014 (3)

And earlier that day Lois and I did a little shopping trip.  One stop was at Target.  I mainly took this picture because I thought it was funny that Elden had a ninja outfit on.
Feb 22 2014 (4)

March 1 we went to a Lego build at Barnes & Noble.  The kids received some random pieces of Legos and could build basically whatever.  Poor Shanna was home sick that day, but we were able to bring her a little bag of Legos.  Since it was March 1, I did a lot of shopping stocking up on groceries and household supplies.  We went to about six different places. The kids got paid that day too for doing their jobs so they had a little money to spend.  At the end of our big shopping trip Clark told me he didn't realize how much fun shopping was, ha ha.  Yep, it's fun when you have money to spend!
March 1 2014 Lego Build

March 1 2014 Lego Build (2)

We've had more snow days!!!  We had three days off of school a couple weeks ago.  Today is actually another snow day too.  One day we hung out at Lee's office for a little while so Clark and Cal could shovel the walkways and parking lot to earn money.
March 3 2014

I go to the school once a week and make copies.  I do copies for several teachers and usually I am there between two and two and a half hours.  Thus Elden gets a little bored or gets a little creative.  Recently he pulled out the tape and....taped himself.
March 6 2014 Elden

My parents swung by during their travels to help celebrate Elden's birthday.  They stayed the next morning and afternoon too.  (They are in Egypt right now! They are on a trip to visit different sites where Christ once was--how cool!) Haley really wanted them to come and eat lunch with them.  We got there late but sat with them for a little bit in the lunch room and then Haley showed us her classroom and Shanna showed us some art work in the hallway and a couple things too in her classroom.
March 12 2014 (2)

Haley loves Grandpa! (Shanna does too, but Haley definitely stuck by his side!)
March 12 2014

I colored my mom's hair that afternoon.  Guess it turned out too fakey red because Lois saved the day and fixed it!
March 12 2014 (3)

On Friday we went to a local middle school's production of Willy Wonka.  It was a cute play.  On the way home we had fun talking about our favorite parts.  Our kids really loved it.  Clark commented a few times about how awesome it was.  Clark's friend was Charlie and "Charlie's" sister was the Candy Man--she is in young women's in my ward.  It was fun seeing them in the play.  They did a great job.  We enjoyed seeing members from our church there too (they were just attending).
March 14 2014 Willy Wonka Play (2)

Elden clearly didn't want to have his picture taken.
March 14 2014 Willy Wonka Play

March 14 2014 Willy Wonka Play (3)

Earlier in the year we were going to go ice staking. (I mentioned this earlier.) We set the money aside to do so, but never went skating.  We finally went one Saturday but the rink was too slushy by the time we arrived.  We decided to spend the money on some other things. (Lena we are planning on going staking with you at Thanksgiving!) One of those things was to get pizza before the play--that was a lot of fun.  All of us like Little Caesar's pizza. There is one in Harrisonburg, with a drive-thru even! The price is great too!  We haven't bought pizza for awhile because it takes such a chunk of money out of the grocery budget.  I was thinking about our grocery money and for some reason realized that in March we are spending about $10 a day on food.  The pizza bill was close to $14.  About $14 for ONE meal during the day, ouch!  That definitely hurts the $10 a DAY on food!  I digress....it was fun getting the pizza.  Anyway, it will be fun to see what play this middle school performs next year!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Boring Tax Tale

I was at the city building the other day paying my utility bill.  Thankfully one of the ladies there knows who I am (and my name) and told me that some of my taxes were not paid.  WHAT?! I was SO glad she told me because I had no idea.  The perks of living in a small town.

Our lot is split up into three lots.  Two lots are just "land" and the lot in the middle is the house with some land.  It's pretty funny that our lots are even split up as our total land that we are "buying" is about .18 acres.  Small.   Anyway, somehow the bank that we have our taxes escrowed through--US Bank--only has the lot with our house on the record.  That lot is taxed more because the house is on it, and thankfully that bill was paid to the county and the town. 

But I received other bills for the county and the town back in November for the other two lots that are just land.  I called US Bank in November and they said to just fax them the bills and they would take care of it.  So Lee did that.  I figured the bills were paid, end of story.  Like I said, I found out that the town bill wasn't paid so I called US Bank today and straightened that out.  I figured I should check on the county taxes as well.  Nope, they weren't paid either.  They were due December 5th and now it's March 13th!  Amazingly I got the exact same person on the phone that I had talked to earlier at US Bank.  He wrote up a report and what not to find out why these lots aren't showing up and is going to have the taxes paid.  You might laugh because the taxes are very minimal.  The total for the county taxes and the town taxes on the two lots is $70.  It was less, but of course interested has accrued since December 5th.  I asked if US Bank would cover the extra charges because I did what they told me to do, and I don't want to foot the extra fees out of my escrow account.

Seriously, borrowing money bites.  Once we own this house and no longer have that account with US Bank I will do the taxes and I won't be late! The whole reason why I did an escrow account was so that they would take care of taxes and insurance for me and I wouldn't have to worry about it.  So much for that.  Now I will have to be double checking it.  Granted I should have done that anyway, but I figured it would have been done properly like they said! I will definitely be checking up on them now around tax time.  After this mortgage I never want another one again.  Stuff like this drives me CRAZY and makes me so frustrated.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Elden's 5th Birthday!

It really happened...my baby turned 5! I guess I'll be amazed at how fast my kids grow for the rest of my life!  I was going to get this post up last night, but if you checked last night you know it did not happen. Oh well, it's up now. We don't spend a lot of money on our kids for their birthdays, but I do spend a lot of time designing a cake of their choosing.  Elden wanted Jay the Blue Ninja from Lego's Ninjago.  I thought it turned out great!  I was up super late doing the cake.  Someday I'll learn to prep ahead!  Frosting and re-frosting the cake, making and coloring the fondant and then cutting and decorating it, all take a lot of time!  I started working on it around 9pm and was done by about 1:30 am.
March 11 2014 Elden 5th birthday (2)

The kids decorated for Elden's birthday (minus Elden of course).  I thought they did a super job.  Lee helped hang the big birthday banner.  The paper wrapped thing hanging from the ceiling fan was a net of sorts.  The next morning the kids ripped it open and balloons and confetti fell out.  Quite ingenious--it was Haley's idea.  Clark helped the girls hang in on one of the fan blades.
March 11 2014 Elden 5th birthday (5)

It was cute seeing the cards the other kids made for Elden.  Cal even bought Elden some pop for a birthday present.
March 11 2014 Elden 5th birthday (7)

March 11 2014 Elden 5th birthday (8)

I love seeing Cal's pictures. He spent quite a bit of time decorating the banner.
March 11 2014 Elden 5th birthday (9)

March 11 2014 Elden 5th birthday (10)

March 11 2014 Elden 5th birthday (11)

More of the cake...
March 11 2014 Elden 5th birthday (12)

Jay is technically a lightening ninja but Elden said he wanted Jay the Fire Ninja, thus my attempt at "flames" on the sides of the cake plate.
March 11 2014 Elden 5th birthday (14)

March 11 2014 Elden 5th birthday (16)

March 11 2014 Elden 5th birthday (18)

March 11 2014 Elden 5th birthday (19)

March 11 2014 Elden 5th birthday (20)

We had fun at Elden's party last night.  My parents were out traveling and were able to be here for Elden's birthday! It was great having them here to help us celebrate. 
March 11 2014 Elden 5th birthday (23)

March 11 2014 Elden 5th birthday (24)

Cal gave me a "lighter" for my birthday.  The older boys had fun helping light the candles last night.
March 11 2014 Elden 5th birthday (25)

March 11 2014 Elden 5th birthday (26)

March 11 2014 Elden 5th birthday (27)

March 11 2014 Elden 5th birthday (28)

March 11 2014 Elden 5th birthday (30)

Elden received Jay the Blue Ninja for his birthday, along with a skeleton and Spitta...some snake guy.
March 11 2014 Elden 5th birthday (31)

March 11 2014 Elden 5th birthday (33)

He also got a Hexbug...a fish that swims in water.  Now that is my kind of pet!  Something that just needs a battery!
March 11 2014 Elden 5th birthday (34)

Cards from the grandparents are always a favorite!  Elden used his birthday money and bought a Hotwheels' semi-truck trailer with a race car.
March 11 2014 Elden 5th birthday (36)

The poor ninja all cut up.
March 11 2014 Elden 5th birthday (38)

The kids loved playing angry birds with grandpa!
March 11 2014 Elden 5th birthday (39)

Today Elden told me that he had a fun birthday.  Also on his birthday we met up with our friends for a playgroup at a park. Wish we could get together with our friends more often! We did a little shopping with my parents too at Sharp Shopper.  Can't miss going to Sharp Shopper when in town!  For my kids' birthdays I let them pick out anything they want at the grocery store (under $5).  Elden picked out a box of angry bird shaped cheese crackers...12 pouches for $1.19!  I was happy to oblige.

When I think back on Elden's birth it makes me sad (search other posts around March 11 if you're wondering....).  I don't know if I should "get over that" or not (my memories are sad and those I can't change). But I definitely feel an abundance of gratitude that he has done miraculously well and is such a healthy boy! Heavenly Father blessed our little 2 pound 9 ounce baby so much.  We love you Elden! 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Saturday was a really warm day--in the 60s!  We were going to go ice skating but by the time we got to the rink it was closed because it was too slushy.  We drove around the resort (Massanutten) a little bit and the kids played at a park there.  The rest of the day we just did a few things and enjoyed being at home.  Around 5:00 we headed up to the Shenandoah National Park.  We hadn't been there in so long--we need to go up there more often!  It was cooler up in the park and muddy too.  We all had a great time.  I brought up our dinner---bean dip, and later we had s'mores with cookie bars and marshmallows. 
March 8 2014 Shenandoah National Park

March 8 2014 Shenandoah National Park (2)

March 8 2014 Shenandoah National Park (3)

March 8 2014 Shenandoah National Park (4)

March 8 2014 Shenandoah National Park (5)

March 8 2014 Shenandoah National Park (6)

I love s'mores with chocolate chip cookies.  This time after I made the batter I just spread it out in a pan and cut them up into squares after the batter was done baking.  So yummy with a toasted marshmallow in the middle. Or two.
March 8 2014 Shenandoah National Park (8)

March 8 2014 Shenandoah National Park (9)

March 8 2014 Shenandoah National Park (10)

March 8 2014 Shenandoah National Park (11)

March 8 2014 Shenandoah National Park (12)

March 8 2014 Shenandoah National Park (13)

I am looking forward to warmer weather and more trips up to Shenandoah National Park!  On Sunday when we watched Music and the Spoken Word they sang Shenandoah.  I love that song...and we are blessed to live in this beautiful place!