Monday, January 27, 2014

American Idol...wait, what??

Yesterday, I woke up and had a feeling it was going to be a very different day.
I was right!
After church, we came home for lunch and then headed to Hollywood Studios. I decided at breakfast that I was going to audition for the American Idol Experience, after Jasmine kept trying to get me to do it and I'd always answer with "aww, maybe. I'm not sure how much I want to be on stage." She wore me down!'s MY American Idol Experience!

We got to the park at almost 2. I headed back for my first audition. Hudson came with me as my "manager," and Josh took the girls to another room, where they had a mock audition.
I sang for about 30 seconds a capella, and then he had me choose a song from the list (I chose "I hope you dance") and sang part of that for him. He wanted more volume from me, but otherwise liked what he heard, so I moved on to the next audition! I got a runner number for my shirt at that point.
Then I had about 10 minutes to hear about what I was doing next, and to choose two songs from their list of songs to perform for a second audition. I had an iPod with all the songs, both with and without singers, so I could practice before I got in there.
Then off to the second audition! She was fantastic. Very friendly and did her best at making me comfortable. She chose my second song, "I feel the earth move," as my stronger song, and gave me the big news that I made it to the show!!
And since they thought the kids were so cute and loved our family, I was chosen as the one to do a brief video introduction. It felt really silly to act it out, but it came together well.

(to see that video, click here. Blogger isn't playing nice today)

Next up: a quick lesson with a vocal coach, where she helped me figure out what to do with the end of the song, since the arrangement was very different from the original. That was a really fun time, and it helped boost my confidence a ton.

Then I got my hair and makeup done! It wasn't a full makeover or anything, but it made me feel more put-together and beautiful. And the lady who did it was a doll. I really liked her! Actually, I really liked everyone. Disney hires friendly, helpful people in general, but these were REALLY good at putting us at ease and bringing out our best.

The next step was the staging and dress-rehearsal of the songs, but they were having technical difficulties, so they ended up canceling the 4:00 show and moving us to the 5:00 show. So we had an hour to kill, just relaxing and trying to stay dry when it started sprinking.

We finally got a real dress rehearsal (oh, and by "we," there were originally 2 of us, and then a third one joined when we moved to 5:00.) and got to feel the whole experience, minus the audience. The lights, the sound, the size of the stage...

They sent us backstage, let everyone into the auditorium, and started the show. That was the third time that I started thinking I was really crazy for doing this.
I sang second. They started with my little video(20 minutes of prep for a 30-second video!) and then asked me a couple questions and let me SING!

(having blogger issues. It didn't want to upload my video, so if you click here you can see it)

After the third singer, we came back out, saw a few seconds of our songs again, and the audience voted!
Then they recapped what the judges had said. (by the way, for anyone who doesn't watch American Idol, the third judge is always that snarky. It's his role in it, so I didn't really pay any attention to him.) 
They announced the winner: the first girl won! I thought she would, so I wasn't disappointed that it wasn't me. She did a great job and had an awesome stage presence (and she was 14, so the "wow, she's really brave for getting up at that age" was in there to!). 

Overall, it was a great opportunity! I was completely exhausted (and still am the next day!) but it was so worth it.
(I'm not sure if I'll do it again. I might, but not right away. I wouldn't want it to take away from yesterday's experience!)
By the way, if you're wondering how this fits in with the show: This isn't a real audition for the show. Every day there are 5 shows like the one I was in (with 2-3 singers at each), and the winner of each of those competes in the Finale at the end of the day. The winner of that match-up gets a "golden ticket," or "dream ticket," that lets the winner go to a "real" American Idol audition and go straight to the front of the line. So the part I was in won't be on TV or anything, though they filmed it. I don't think they'll do anything with what I did, though they'll hold onto the winner's footage in case they make it to the show!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Finding the Beautiful

There's something about me that's usually a good thing.
Occasionally a very frustrating thing, especially when I'm around people who just want to vent to me.
I find the good in it.
I find something good about every person or situation.
Seriously. Sometimes people just want to tell me what's wrong without my finding something good about it.
I think it's probably why God taught me to be thankful last year.

I realized something this morning. Or, rather, fit it all together.
I do the same thing with my photography.

I take in a scene that might not be very attractive, and find something beautiful about it and capture that.
and you know what? People are much more receptive to that than they are to my butting in and saying, "ooh, you know what I think?" when they're complaining.
So I think I'll learn to let my camera do the talking.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

I can't help it.

Sometimes I just have to post here. I can't pretend otherwise.
But I'm going to allow myself to be as inconsistent as I want and need to be.

It may be more random topics, too. I'll write about whatever I've been processing, or find amusing, or whatever. I'm not writing it for anyone specific; just writing.

So today: My Kids.

Here's a collection of things my kids have said over the last week, plus pictures from a photo shoot we did last week!

'"Mommy, can you make this into a weal light sabeh, but not Weally?"

Hudson: "Mommy, this page needs you. There's some weading on it."

Hudson: "Mommy, pick a number between 1 and 66."
Me: "30."
Hudson: "My number was 71. I win!"

Part II:
H: "Pick a numbah between 76 and...76."
B: "76."
H: "76. I won too."

Part III:
"Pick a number between 66 and...67."
Me: "Jasmine, that's not how you spell 'foam.'"
Hudson: "it needs a postwophe!"

Jasmine: "I would like to grab my sweater, in case they *refrigerate* the store."
Jasmine's grammar sentence:
I might see a ______________________ at the zoo.
Her answer: palm tree

Hudson: "Mommy, you can fight the bad guys with this" (plastic sword)
Me: "I don't know any real bad guys!"
Hudson: "Yes you do! I had a dweam..."
Jasmine: "it's me...Bek--Jasmine, I mean."
I no longer feel bad about getting my kids' names mixed up. She doesn't even know her own name!!

Jasmine, during the France show: "finally Paris. It's kind of like the best place in the world. Kind of."
(Asked her what was the actual best: America)

Wednesday, June 05, 2013


I'm in the middle of a fantastic book, "Start: Punch Fear in the Face and do work that matters." I've read everything he's published (I would say "everything he's written, but I'm as bad about reading blogs as I am about updating mine.that's foreshadowing right there.).
His last book, Quitter, inspired me to start focusing my energy with more purpose on the things I wanted to see thrive (i.e. photography) and less time on things I enjoyed but would distract (like when I was invited to join the local fire station's drum-and-bugle corps.) I almost didn't read it, since I'm not in a position to quit what I'm doing full-time right now, and it's another 14-ish years before that job will be finished. I'm glad I did, though, because I realized it's not actually about quitting. It's actually about NOT quitting your day job before it's time to do so. It's about honing your skill in your spare time without letting go of your former obligations.
So this one picks up where that one left off, and I'm excited to see where I want to aim with even more focus. I want to push my photography and actions-making to the next level, continuing to improve my ability and output and see where it leads.
I've been realizing that to do that means I need to be more aware of how I spend my time. So I'm starting to spend less time playing games on my iPod. More time just getting in and doing the housework, and less time planning it out. And letting go of things that I do out of duty but really don't need to be done.
Like this blog.
Unlike my fabulous friend Karen, who writes often and so well, I've never been a consistent writer. I've never really enjoyed writing. It's always something I feel like I *should* do, not something I *want* to do.
I know I have a couple people who depend on this blog to see pictures of the kids, since they refuse to join Facebook. I will start emailing them the pictures as I post them on Facebook, though if they wanted to just join already I wouldn't mind ;) They don't have to post. Just read. That's fine with me!
So without further ado, I bid this blog adieu!
(that was just too fun a play on words not to use)

Friday, May 31, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend

Last weekend, we headed to Anna Maria Island to spend Memorial Day with most of Josh's extended family. It was a wonderful weekend. I hadn't seen most of them since Jasmine was a baby or even longer!

There were 4 kids close to the age of 4, plus Bekah and Jasmine. The girls all thought Jasmine was the best ever! Hudson was the only boy, but he's very comfortable playing with girls. He probably preferred it!

We watched the sunset two nights, since we were one block from the beach. It was so perfect!

(I'm printing this one HUGE for the wall!)

Saturday morning we took a sightseeing cruise that included time to get out on a sandbar to snorkel/look for sand dollars. Jasmine found a sand dollar, and the boat driver found this guy!
(I think it's hilarious that Bekah was willing to hold him, but Bekah would barely pet his back!)

We spent Sunday with dear friends. We usually see them in Orlando, so it was awesome that we could see them in their neck of the woods this time!
The kids get along perfectly. The moms are total kindred spirits, and the guys are two peas in a pod. Too bad we live 2 hours away, or we'd be inseparable!

And we spent a lot of time in the pool. Well, by "we" I mean the 4 of them. I did actually bring my suit, but I stayed out of the water. I'm starting to suspect I'm part-cat.

Jasmine, on the other hand, is part dolphin. She spends more time swimming underwater than she does on the surface. Incredible.
Came across this intersection on the way to our friends' church on Sunday. I'm printing this for his wall!!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

101 in 1001, completed
It's been almost 3 years since I wrote up that list. (how is that even possible?!)
How did I do?

70: completely done
24: not done at all
7: done in part

Not too shabby! I've actually started up yet a new list, but I'm thinking it will be a couple months before I finish creating it ;)

A couple pictures of life:

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mud Run

Josh's sister Charity is in town for the week, which has been wonderful. The kids are loving getting time with their Auntie Chairty!!
One of the things we planned for her trip was a Mud Run, the FL ROC. (Florida Run Obstacle Challenge). She doesn't like to get dirty, so you know just how much she loves her brother that she'd do it with him!
(not only do I not like getting dirty, I don't like the thought of the obstacles! I do still want to get back into running, yet again, and try a 5K. That's about as daring as I get ;) )

They had a fantastic time. It was 86 and humid, with the first mile being solid (?) mud to trudge/climb through.
We didn't get to see them until the last little bit, when they ran, swam, climbed three things, and went under a net. We were very impressed!
Two obstacles couldn't be done because there was a 2-foot aligator in that pond. They said it was small enough that it wouldn't have hurt anyone ("100 people running towards it and it's not going to attack") but knowing that where there's a baby means there's a mama not too far away...yeah. It was good that they didn't do that part of the challenge! Josh is rather attached to his legs.
They ran 4 miles and completed 30 obstacles in 1:28. The fastest person was 36 minutes, and most people did it in about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Josh just found the rankings!!
They finished 574th and 575th out of 2000+ participants! Josh was about halfway through his age bracket for guys, and Charity was in the top 1/3 of hers!!
Congratulations, Josh and Charity!!

Thursday, May 09, 2013


Our family loves Carousel of Progress at Magic Kingdom.
It's pretty silly and very dated, but we love it. 

I'm never going to have my wrapped presents pictured on Pinterest.
I'm okay with that. I get it done in about 1/3 of the time of Josh (because his actually look nice!).

Sometimes I wish I were still 7. (yes, she's jumping over the cone!)
But then I couldn't be her mommy, and that would be a tragedy.

I get as excited about going to Disney as my kids do.
Maybe more.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Designing Anniversary!

I've now been a designer at TDC for a year!! It's my first anniversary, and that's really awesome!!
I'm in a fun "parade" with a ton of other designers. For the month, you can go around and collect little pieces of a really awesome (and huge) scrapbooking kit. Most of the links are on Facebook Fan Pages (so just like the page to get to the link), but a few are on blogs.
Here's my piece!
If you've never used actions, it's like a little program that Photoshop and Elements can read to change the look of a photo. This one softens the photos and makes them a little more dated-looking.
Click on the photo to go to my Facebook Fan Page and get to the download link!!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

New Things

This week we started school up again.
Jasmine's a third grader, Bekah's in first, and Hudson's technically pre-kindergarten.
People always ask about teaching preschoolers. Though this picture makes it look like we're all official and stuff, we're not. Not at all.
To me, being 3 or 4 is all about learning about life. He's learning grammar and pronunciation (he's got it mastered except for those pesky /r/s). He's learning his letters and counting, shapes and colors and rules of the house. He's learning about chores and playing fair. He's learning to sit still while we read the Bible. He's drawing really cute pictures of people. He's coloring better every time he picks up a crayon (something he's practicing on doors and couches).

We're starting to work on reading, but it's very slow. He's interested, but doesn't want it badly enough to sit still for a lesson. It bothers him that he's not mastering it already, so we go a couple weeks between lessons most of the time. And that's fine! He just turned 4!

He's learning that if you ask Jasmine what 10 plus 4 is, she'll give you an answer that's another number.

And that the abacus is involved in that:

Jasmine, on the other hand, is in very formal school these days. She's got  the same spelling and math books as last year, but we're adding in new grammar books (Easy Grammar and their Daily Grams) and new history for the year (Story of the World, vol. 1). A month ago we heard about Reflex Math and I'm sold!! She's mastered 60% of her addition facts in the past month. 
We're starting to learn Spanish as a family (though I think the system we got will work best for Josh and I and I need to find something a little more gradual for the kids).

My spunky little First Grader is continuing to do work above her level, though she's slowing down a bit to being where she belongs. She's nearly halfway done with her first grade math, starting second grade spelling, and I have to get her the second grade phonics book.
It's a little tough for her to get used to the idea that school is less voluntary now, but she's getting there!