Sunday, November 24, 2013

Ivy's Big Day

This week Ivy was recognized for her Reflections in 3D and Musical Composition.  She will go to the district level in both categories.  If I were really clever I would post a recording of her playing her composition, but I've only recently figured out how to post pictures so I'll be satisfied with that.  Her composition won first place and her 3D placed fourth place.  This was the least goofiest picture I could get of her...

I found this picture a couple of weeks ago and had to share it:
I love it!  There is Eva (6) holding Nathan. She has always been the sweet, nurturing, responsible helper.  This was taken the day Nathan was blessed.  I can remember being so thrilled to have him home after his stay in the NICU and loving that he had put on enough weight to be filling his clothes out a bit.  Next to them is Ivy (2).  Ivy was has always been a fun-loving little girl; I adore her baby chubbies and pink cheeks.  She always had rosy cheeks and bright eyes!  Ethan (4) has his trademark mischievous grin.  Every time I saw that grin I had to wonder what he was thinking!  He has always been an innovator, which at this age was disconcerting, but over the years has become a trait I really value!  They all have a tan because they played hard outside hours every day. It's so fun to think about how they have "grown into" their personalities as they have matured.  They are each so different and have such special talents.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Calf-Path

A friend made reference to this poem on her blog so I looked it up; it's great!  It's intriguing to ponder why I do some things and if some habits, traditions are not as valuable as they might seem.  I apologize that it's not recorded here spaced properly line by line.

The Calf-Path

  by Sam Foss
One day through the primeval wood A calf walked home as good calves should;
But made a trail all bent askew,
A crooked trail as all calves do.

Since then three hundred years have fled,
And I infer the calf is dead. 

But still he left behind his trail,
And thereby hangs my moral tale.

The trail was taken up next day,
By a lone dog that passed that way;

And then a wise bell-wether sheep
Pursued the trail o'er vale and steep,

And drew the flock behind him, too,
As good bell-wethers always do.

And from that day, o'er hill and glade.
Through those old woods a path was made. 
And many men wound in and out,
And dodged, and turned, and bent about,

And uttered words of righteous wrath,
Because 'twas such a crooked path;

But still they followed—do not laugh—
The first migrations of that calf,

And through this winding wood-way stalked
Because he wobbled when he walked. 
This forest path became a lane,
that bent and turned and turned again;

This crooked lane became a road,
Where many a poor horse with his load

Toiled on beneath the burning sun,
And traveled some three miles in one.

And thus a century and a half
They trod the footsteps of that calf. 
The years passed on in swiftness fleet,
The road became a village street;

And this, before men were aware,
A city's crowded thoroughfare.

And soon the central street was this
Of a renowned metropolis;

And men two centuries and a half,
Trod in the footsteps of that calf. 
Each day a hundred thousand rout
Followed the zigzag calf about

And o'er his crooked journey went
The traffic of a continent.

A Hundred thousand men were led,
By one calf near three centuries dead.

They followed still his crooked way,
And lost one hundred years a day;

For thus such reverence is lent,
To well established precedent. 

A moral lesson this might teach
Were I ordained and called to preach;

For men are prone to go it blind
Along the calf-paths of the mind,

And work away from sun to sun,
To do what other men have done.

They follow in the beaten track,
And out and in, and forth and back,

And still their devious course pursue,
To keep the path that others do.

They keep the path a sacred groove,
Along which all their lives they move.

But how the wise old wood gods laugh,
Who saw the first primeval calf.

Ah, many things this tale might teach—
But I am not ordained to preach.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Poor Nathan

Nathan had a fun, inspiring week.....until I posted about it.  Then things went downhill.  He cut his finger chopping potatoes, scraped his foot that night...  But the worst was Friday at school when he was chasing a basketball up a couple of stairs in PE and slipped, hitting his mouth on the edge of a stair.  His two front teeth went through his lip.  The dentist said his teeth look OK and we will just wait for the lip to heal but there is extra pink around it thus morning so we are at the Instacare to make sure there is no infection.  Poor guy.  It looks so painful!  It's VERY swollen, especially if you see the side view.  If you look close you can see the two exit wounds from his big teeth.  Inside the lip is super bad!

But he's still smiling!

Other than that the week was fairly uneventful.  Our Subaru is dying.  We are going to donate it this week.  The engine is leaking oil into the antifreeze.  We are sad we won't have it anymore but so grateful we had it this long.  We prayed it would last through speech and it went way past that.  We feel blessed!  Eva is disappointed, however.  I can't blame her!  We will just get to share cars  :)

I had a cool experience with a student this week.  She is an early advanced student and encountered a hemiola in her music.  This is where there is a duple rhythm paired with a triplet rhythm.  In this case the right hand was playing eighth notes while the left hand was playing triplets.  It is very difficult to teach, learn, and play.  Generally, I will explain, demonstrate, play it with the student slowly, etc.  several times over the course of several weeks before the student can begin to show some independent success with the concept.  Most students have to go through this learning process every time it appears for two to three or more pieces before they are able to figure it out entirely on their own.  It's very challenging.  This week, however, we came to a hemiola and I explained it, demonstrated it a couple of times and then asked the student to try it.  She played it perfectly!  The first time!  I asked her to play it a couple more times because I was sure it was a fluke but it was perfect every time.  We continued the piece, encountering two more instances and she sight-read the rhythm correctly each time.  I'm still blown away!  It made my week!!  I'm always impressed with what kids can learn--they all have special talents and it's fun to see them find/develop them.  I'm lucky because I get to see it's with my own kids, kids at school, and piano students.  It's inspiring!!


Thursday, November 14, 2013

About Nathan

Sunday I got to substitute Nathan's primary class.  It was a blast!  I love subbing at church!  We were in the hall and a newer member of the ward was there as well.  He has a son in the same Primary class and asked Nathan, "What's your name?"  Nathan answered and was then asked, "What's your last name?"  He replied, "Olcott".  The dad quickly made the connection and said, "Oh, your the Bishop's son!"  Nathan immediately pointed at me and said, "Yeah.  But my MOM'S the Organist!"  He has a great perspective!

Yesterday at Cub Scouts they were painting their tool boxes at their leader's house.  There were two scouts unable to make it last week and Nathan wanted to be sure they could come so he collected them and one other and the boys walked to scouts together.  (The leader lives in a different neighborhood).  He LOVES scouts!  I was teaching piano while this was all taking place and I knew one of the boys was coming to our house afterwards for 10-15 minutes but when the noys came back they had the friend's three year old brother with them.  I'm still not sure why, but Nathan took care of that little one.  He kept him busy, shared the treat his leader had given him, etc.  I work with his leader at school and she told me this morning that Nathan is a natural nurturer.  He was making sure that the boys who weren't there last time knew exactly what to do and commented on how kind he is about it. I can see Nathan growing into a great missionary!  

Here's a picture of Nathan with his toolbox:

Today Nathan wasn't feeling well and stayed home from school.  As I'm walking out of the school, I answer my cell phone and Nathan says, "Do you want some scrambled eggs?"  I told him I was on my way home and that when I got there I would make him some eggs if he wanted.  He told me he already ate some but that there was more if I wanted.  I then wondered, "How many eggs did you scramble?" I was relieved when he told me three but concerned when he stated, "I boiled some too."  I know I haven't taught him that, so I asked him if he knew how to boil eggs.  He answered that there were instructions in his scout book.  I then wanted to know how many eggs he 'boiled'.  He boiled 14.  I was relieved.  Again.  And had giggles that were making my eyes tear up.  I was starting to find the whole conversation a bit taxing--I wasn't sure if  I should be concerned or amused.  I rushed home and found a very proud kid, some yummy scrambled eggs which I gladly ate, and 14 runny hard boiled eggs.  He was confused about the part that said Bring to a boil and THEN simmer 15 minutes.  We reboiled them and he just finished eating one.  

Right now he is peeling potatoes to boil.  That's in the scout book too.  I guess he wants me to sign stuff.  And he's not sick.  But I'm feeling like a nap sounds good today so maybe he can take care of stuff for me while I take one!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sunday Summary #4

This week I have noticed people spontaneously doing kind things for each other.

Eva's friend had surgery and she has been spending time with her and taking her small gifts.  The poor girl had to stay home for 10 days or so.  Eva also had three performances this week: an assembly, an evening school thing and a violin recital.  I don't worry about the assemblies but I missed the other school thing because I was visiting teaching.  I consoled myself by rationalizing that the girl performs a ton and I'm lucky to get to see her play so much!

This week as Ivy was walking home from school one day she heard Ethan's voice behind her saying, "Hand over the violin!" as if he were a robber.  She gave it to him and he carried it all the way home for her.  I love when they look put for each other!  Ethan has also helped Nathan with his homework this week which has been nice for me!

Ivy is loving playing with the elementary orchestra.  She has been super helpful this week.  She helped Nathan with homework a few times and one night she rushed to take the trash out for me just because it was full-- I appreciated that she noticed and just took care of it.  That's the kind of week we've had.  People just helping out and being kind.  

Nathan built a toolbox at scouts this week. Next week they will paint their toolboxes.  Nathan is very proud of it!  I will try to post a picture of him with the finished product.  

I have been praying hard for a girl from Tooele serving a mission in Tacloban Philipines.  I know her a bit because she is a brilliant vocalist and I had the pleasure of accompanying her once or twice.  She's a wonderful person and she is still unaccounted for after the huge weather event.  I've been praying that her family will get word soon, that all the missionaries will soon be accounted for, and for the Philippine people.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Sunday Summary #3 (Belated)

We had piano recitals this week.  Ivy played Friday night with the rest of my students and Eva played Saturday.  They were both fantastic!

Ethan went scuba diving with the scouts on Saturday.  

Nathan got another 100% on his spelling test.  Two in a row!  He also gave me a lengthy list to mail Santa this year.  I believe this is the first Santa list he has ever written himself.  

And of course it was Halloween, which means I have to make extra trips to the store all week!  On Wednesday we ran there for something and saw pumpkins were 50 cents each so we selected several.  I was teaching on Thursday but the kids came home from school and carved them without ant help.  They also cleaned up the entire mess!  

Here's Eva's pumpkin:

And Ethan's:

Ivy's on the left and Nathan's on the right:

I was impressed with their carving skills!

Last Sunday I was out of town for the day/night and Vince was gone most of the day and the kids did this:

I LOVE the photos!  It was a great surprise!!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Bind Up Their Wounds

I enjoy reading talks from the Priesthood session.  This talk was given by President Eyring.

"You and the priesthood bearers you are called to lead can have at least three assurances. First, the Lord will give you, if you ask, the feelings of compassion He feels for those in need. Second, He will provide others, like the innkeeper, to join with you in your service. And third, the Lord, like the good Samaritan, will more than recompense all who join in giving help to those in need."

I loved this quote because I see it evidence of it daily with Vince's calling.  There are always people available to help when he needs it.  People are always willing to serve and look out for each other.  Being a Bishop's wife has just strengthened my testimony that everyone wants to give their best and works toward that end.  If we fall short it's because we maybe get a bit distracted, worn down, or aren't aware of needs we may be able to help with; however, when presented with opportunities people will always choose to serve!  

"He knows whose wife was near the breaking point because her husband was unable to find time to do what she needed done to care for her needs. He knows which children would be blessed by seeing their father go one more time to help others or if the children needed the feeling that they matter to their father enough for him to spend time with them that day. But He also knows who needs the invitation to serve but might not appear to be a likely or willing candidate.  You cannot know all your quorum members perfectly well, but God does. So, as you have done so many times, you prayed to know whom to ask to help serve others. The Lord knows who will be blessed by being asked to help and whose family will be blessed by not being asked. That is the revelation you can expect to come to you as you lead in the priesthood."
This part is comforting to me.  I always worried about how hard it would be to have my husband serve in a calling that took him out of the home as much as this one does, but it really isn't bad.  He's gone more than he's here and some things take longer to resolve (ie broken cars and dishwashers and if you came to our house now you would see wall patches that have been in progress for weeks) but I find that I am generally calmer and more patient about pretty much everything.  When I was washing dishes by hand for so long I mostly felt a calm strength every time my hands entered the warm water.  Instead of my very dry skin drying out even more due to the constant washing, my skin actually improved.  Walking to school was pleasurable and I was somehow never late.  There are more blessings to serving than not and I know that when a I really need Vince the Lord will have him home.
"... you cannot help people repair spiritual damage unless your own faith is vibrant. That means far more than reading the scriptures regularly and praying over them. The prayer in the moment and quick glances in the scriptures are not preparation enough. The reassurance of what you will need comes with this counsel from the 84th section of the Doctrine and Covenants: “Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man.”2That promise can be claimed only if we “treasure up” the words of life and do it continually. The treasuring part of that scripture has meant for me a matter of feeling something about the words."
I like the idea of "vibrant faith".  Miriam Webster defines vibrant as "having or showing great life, activity, and energy; very bright and strong; loud and powerful".  It's a beautiful imagery for me to ponder.  I'm not sure my faith could always be described as showing great energy or being very bright.  I also love the the counsel to treasure up the words of life continually.  I like how he describes this as feeling something about the words.
“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure.”3


Trying to post pictures...

Here's a shot of Eva running at state:

Here is Eva with her team at state.  She is second from the left:

If this works I can post more each week so I'm crossing my fingers!