Sunday, May 31, 2009

I nominate Saint Jill (AKA: Miss Jill, piano teacher extraordinaire or to the rest of the world: Jill Austin)

For the past 4 years, we have been taking piano lessons (a la Suzuki) from the most amazing piano teacher west of the Mississippi.  Miss Jill (St Jill, with the patience of an angel, takes on any personality type and helps them develop a love of music.  This, in turn, makes me just want to hug her every time I see her.  She speaks in a soft voice, commands respect by giving respect, has her own set of mad piano skillz and as a bonus, has gotten us Kang girlies into old children's books and bird watching.  I have pictures of the girls at lessons, but they just can't capture the payoff.   Watching your children use the piano to express their feelings and listening to the beautiful music that they can now create is priceless.  Thank you, Miss Jill.  Yes, we could probably have a nicer house or a fancy car, but I wouldn't trade any of that for what we get from piano lessons.   (Although, last year I did try to get Chris to buy a house down the street from her.  Close to Nike?  Nah.  Close to Ms. Jill?  You betcha.)

If anyone is interested, she is starting a Kindermusic class of sorts for ages 3-5.  It will be 2 times a week and will prepare them for Suzuki.  At only $25/month, this is a steal for such a wonderful teacher. She will be teaching them to sing all of the book one songs in solgege (do re mi, which I can't even do and really helps them), they will learn the fine art of bowing and do other musicky things.  Let me reiterate: anything Ms. Jill does regarding music with your child  is wonderful and will foster a love of music in them.  

Saturday, May 30, 2009

a long, fabulous day

My parents braved the potential of a flu outbreak for a visit to the Kang Compound this weekend. (thanks, mom and dad!)  We tackled various backyard projects that fell within my dad's specialties, including planting five blueberry bushes, a strawberry tower out of PVC pipe, a plum tree and a cherry tree.  We made it through the day with the girls busily making us lemonade and giving us much moral support.  As a like to say when rating behavior at church, as long as the girls' behavior ranks according to their age, I am good.  I am not completely sure if this was true today, but it was pretty close to accurate.  If anything, my parents enjoyed seeing me get a little karma in the parenting universe.  

We took an afternoon break in search of a great river to splash around in and I must say that I was thrilled with our discovery.  We found a quiet stretch of river with minimal currents that is a mere fifteen minutes from our house.  I can already see many summer days spent skipping stones,  catching crawfish and making merry in the shade, all with a relatively short drive to reach our new getaway.    On the way home, all I could do is tell Chris how much I appreciate his moving us out to Forest Grove.  What a wonderful place.  

Note that in the picture above, two of the girls are not eagerly splashing me with rocks. Elise: because she was obviously otherwise occupied.  Autumn: because she was trying to pick up a gigantic rock that probably would have been the end of my camera.  

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Child labor continued

See here for more torture of the poor, over photographed children.  It is a rough life, but they are just so stinking cute.  Who wouldn't pull out a camera when seeing them?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Go away, mom

The down side to having a momma photographer: You never know when you will wake up to a backdrop, a petticoat and a mom with a completely different game plan that you have.  
The upside?  I am not sure if Lilly sees any right now.  Maybe that she likes spinning around on our fake wood floor.  

Side note: I'll post pictures of her smiling later, but I thought the sad one was so cute.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Survived the week....

Yes, we are back from Camp Zarahemla with all 6 children in tow.  We survived the week, but I am not sure if I will survive the clean up from a week of playing in the dirt and camping in the fake wilderness. (Although I don't think it can be considered fake camping if you have to be constantly checking 6 children for ticks that may have burrowed into their skin!)  Rachel's only complaint?  That it wasn't longer.  Hannah's highlight? Being bribed with 5 "My Littlest Petshop" toys, 30 minutes on Pet Society and an ice cream cone just to go canoeing.  Lilly's highlight?  Watching the chipmunks and playing in the dirt.  I will post more tomorrow with some pictures once I have escaped the laundry abyss, planted my new blueberry bushes and made good on Hannah's bribery.  Until then, I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Camp Zarahemla, here we come!

The car is packed with everything we might possibly need over the next 4 days....excluding, of course, everything I forgot. (which could be a lot) The girls and I are off to commune with nature in the gentlest way possible, meaning that we are wimping it. (along with a bunch of homeschooling families from the Portland area Cabins, showers and electricity are my type of camping.  And most importantly, we're packing Grandma in.  Oh, beloved Grandma, who is coming along for the ride just to make sure that I come back with all six of the girls that I left with. (and maybe even with my sanity intact)  I think that this trip could be a little more relaxing if it didn't include a 1 year old that has discovered lately that she loves to roll in the dirt, eat the dirt and that even though she is deathly afraid of the bath, loves to try to drown in large bodies of water.   If we can keep up with her, I think my kids will come home as filthy as can be. (which, in Grandma Tunnell terms, means that they enjoyed themselves!)  So long until Friday. (Unless Chris does a hostile take over of my blog, which could be interesting.  Let's hope he doesn't.)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater

garden (2 gardens), bbq, laundry, pack, make paper, clean, go to stk conference, mow the lawn, run to the store, soccer game, soccer party and I still have to manage to feed and clean children somewhere in that.  Which is why I am cheating and just posting a picture from a shoot last night on this blog.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

to do lists make me tired

Next week is our much anticipated Outdoor School up in the shadows of Mt. Ranier. (Hannah: Is Mt. Ranier a volcano?  Mom: Yes.  *long silence*  Chloe: Don't worry, Hannah.  We'll be having so much fun that we'll forget it is a volcano.)  With this and the many things that I committed to doing (not because I over committed, but because all of us moms have to do things to make it work, right?) and the many things that I have to pack....I am feeling a little stressed.  So.  You ask yourself, what does Sarah do when she is stressed and gets all of the kids to bed?  Watch "Castle and spray paint chairs?  You betcha.  I can learn how to make paper and fix my serger another time.  Saturday, maybe?  In between a temple trip, a photo session, stake conference and some garden planting?  Sure.  Off to spray paint.  Otherwise known as: procrastination.  

Monday, May 11, 2009


While quickly perusing the local Barnes and Noble for a photography book, I came across our family's new evening read.  Tumtum and Nutmeg is a story about two mice who live in the grand Nutmouse Hall. They are charitable mice, who give to all sorts of charities (including one for hiccuping mice), and are quite concerned about the two motherless children that live in their house.  I've been reading it aloud to the girls at night and from Elise to Rachel, it has captivated us all.  We have even ran into the problem that I tend to have every time I read aloud to the girls....the sneaky "read-aheads".  (This time she completely gave it away by leaving the book in the bathroom.  Only one of the girls has taken after her dad in this lovely little habit!)  We definitely recommend this tale of mice, complete with sweet artistry, to all of you.  Don't tell....but I read ahead while everyone was sleeping, too.  (just not in the bathroom!)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

If only you were my MIL

...then this adorable apron would be your come this Mother's Day.  Heck, even I am wishing I could be my MIL...although raising Chris couldn't have been an easy task.  Definitely worth an apron.   

and, mom, you didn't think I would really post your present, did you?  I know you frequent my blog too much for that.  

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

pigtails and spray paint

Today was a landmark day for our sweet Lilly Lu.  I don't know why I did it, as it only makes her look older, thus making me very, very sad.  Maybe it was peer pressure from the her big sisters (who is the adult here?), but we decided it was time to pull her little curls up into pigtails.   Combine that with a little bit of spray paint fun and you get Lilly, all grown up in her pigtails, sitting in our reincarnated chair that is now sporting a lovely shade of watermelon.  Maybe next I will show you our rocking chair a la cherry.  Too bad I don't have Chris sitting in the red rocking chair because then I could combine a post about his birthday party and Elise's new "James" chair.  It's all about multi-tasking at the Kang house.   Kill 2 birds with 1 stone, they say.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Happy Birthday, Honey

Happy Birthday to the coolest guy in the world.  (he did marry me, right?  That elevates him to coolest guy status)  Anyone who can cross his eyes and roll his tongue has got to be a little cool.  And isn't he cute?  Chris, enjoy this post because....I never got your birthday present.  But this is what I wanted to get you:
Doesn't it look like a party waiting to happen?  

Saturday, May 2, 2009

count your many blessings

Being as it is way too late for me to admit that I am up, I was going to forgo my blog update tonight. (didn't want the lecture from mom!)  BUT I am sitting here with honey on my face (a suggestion from mom) and can't go to sleep until it dries, which left me with the option to fold more laundry (and risk getting honey on my nice clean clothes....too dangerous) or blog. Sohere I am.  

Yesterday I was going through some of the changes Chris has seen lately and started out the conversation by saying that we haven't seen a lot of progress lately.  As a proceeded to chronicle all of the recent advances, I realized that we have actually seen a lot of progress and that I needed to count my many blessings a little more frequently so I could see that.  So here they are.
  • He got his snarl back. (what would he be without his snarl, right?)
  • His grip can actually cause discomfort now.  When was the last time that I was excited to have someone hurt my hand?
  • He can flex his right pectoral muscle.  
  • He can point with his right hand.  
  • He has gained more independent finger movement.  Each finger can move just a little more on its own. Yeah!
  • He can touch his individual fingers to his thumb

See?  That is a pretty long list and here we were thinking it wasn't much.  And it goes to show that the myth that stroke victims stop improving at 6 months is just that,  a myth.    This next Monday is Chris' birthday and I have been thinking a lot lately about what a special day it is because I am really just tickled pink that he is still here with me, alive and kicking.  (kicking= stubborn enough to not give into painting the kitchen granny smith green)  Within a week of Chris' stroke a friend of a friend's husband had a stroke also, but she is now a widow.  Yep.  
And next time you start feeling a little tempest tossed, count them one by one

Side note: Totally random pictures, but what is a blog post without a picture, eh?