Friday, December 18, 2009

2009 Relief Society (NOT Enrichment) Christmas Extravaganza!!

This will be boring for most of you. You don't have to read it. My mind is still racing with all the funny and stressful details of this event, and I am hoping writing about them all will clear my mind a bit.

A few months ago, when I was still on the Enrichment Committee, Melanie, the leader, suggested we find or put together a program for the Christmas Quarterly activity. I knew almost immediately what I wanted to do. A while back (8 years?), my mom put together an Enrichment Program all about the women involved in the birth of Christ- ie: Mary, the mothers of Joseph and Mary, The wife of the shepherd, Elisabeth, etc. She had found the script online and found appropriate numbers for each part. I remembered it being lovely, so I asked her to e-mail it to me so I could suggest it.

Melanie liked the idea of a script and musical numbers about the Nativity, but she wanted to follow the scripture story a little more closely, and she wanted to involve some men. This was fine with me, but it meant I had to re write a lot of the parts that we had to make them shorter and closer to scripture material, and write whole new parts for many of the men, and for Mary because I didn't like her part. This means that not all of the material was original from me, but I re-wrote and edited those parts enough that I guess I could claim a large majority of the script we ended up with. This was NOT something I wanted spread around, but that was a bit beyond my control. . . oh well.

Anyway, after I had completed the script and got it approved by the presidency, I was then in charge of finding people to play the parts. This was a lot harder than I thought it would be, but it only took me a day of calling, pleading, and possibly bribing to fill my quota for readers, singers, pianists, and a clarinet player. After the music was all distributed, I thought the hard part would be over. . . Go ahead and laugh at me now. I had never been in charge of something like this before, and was not at all well versed in how things like this can fall apart.

About 2 weeks before the program, I had a whole slough of cancellations. One couple was going on vacation, another woman couldn't hit her high notes, one of the kings would be out of town till the morning of the program and wouldn't be able to practice, and one of my shepherds (the only one who could sing well) had to attend a concert for his son. I scrambled and begged and pleaded and did a lot of switching around in the groups to make things right. One of my angels filled in as the part of Joseph's mother, a new woman replaced the angel, the shepherd's song was turned into a congregational hymn so they only had to read the script, and the husband of the Primary Secretary was heavily persuaded by his lovely wife to fill in as one of the kings.

We held a practice on the Saturday before the program, and I felt soooooo much better afterwards. I heard most of the pieces, and answered some questions. We went through the big finale number, Oh Holy Night, and it sounded lovely. The people who were unable to attend the practice were reliable people who I had no worries about being at the program and being able to play/sing their parts well. I was calmed down and excited about how incredible it was all going to sound.

Then came Thursday afternoon. The DAY OF the program- hours before actually.

The clarinet player e-mailed to say she was sick and couldn't play the obligato for the last big number of Oh Holy Night. No problem. I found a C instrument version of the obligato, and played it on my flute.

One of the Kings had to work late. Big problem. I had already called 80% of the men in the ward, and the ones who had agreed were heavily pressured by their wives to participate. I figured we would just have to work with 2 wisemen. I didn't know what else to do.

The Mother of Mary cancelled- her kids were sick, and her throat was hoarse. She also had a solo in Oh Holy Night. HUGE problem. The Oh Holy Night solo was taken by Arianne Taylor, my Mary, and it was lovely- but her duet number was another thing. I had an hour and a half before the rehearsal before the program. No time to really find someone else to sing a solo. Solution- I did it. I sang. I sang a solo in front of a room of over 100 women. I still can't believe I did that. It was a duet with the mother of Joseph, but I sure had to do the first verse all by my lonesome with all 4 high D's. I am an alto when and if I ever do sing. Not great. I don't really sing without closed windows in my car or my shower, or a big group of other people. Fortunately the other woman, Lisa Houston, is amazing, and she pretty much carried the piece. I think the spirit of the song was still present, which is really what I was going for with this whole thing.

The funny thing is, all morning I had that song melody in my head and was humming it ('Guard Him, Joseph' by Sally DeFord). It was bugging me that I couldn't think of all the words, so I sat down at my piano and plunked out the right hand and sang through it so I could see the words, and spent about 10 minutes practicing that high D so it didn't sound all squeaky- just for fun. Coincidence? I think not! I almost laughed out loud when Wendy called to cancel because I knew that the Lord was supporting me and helping me along.

When I wrote the program I looked for a place to put in a flute solo for my mom to accompany. This was for a few reasons. I wanted Ross to be there, but I knew he wouldn't sing (or so I thought), so I wanted him to read a part and then play my flute so he could still come and be with me. I also wanted people in the ward to know I play the flute and I play it well, so maybe I will be asked to play in sacrament meeting and for other things. I LOVE playing in church. The most important reason, however, was that I wanted my mom to accompany me. I wanted her to be there. I knew I was going to be all tense and stressed and worried. I wanted my mom to be there to comfort and support me, and I guess I wanted her stamp of approval on the program I had written and put together. I also love playing music with her. Our songs in church meetings have been some of my favorite moments. I love you, Mom! Thanks for coming.

This would have been fine except for a few things. Sara and Emma refused to go to the nursery because Grandma was there at our church! Excitement! Ross had to take Sara out in the hall, and Emma sat at the end of the piano bench and tried a few times to supplement my mom's playing. When I stopped her at the end, my mom missed some counts, and I lost my place, and we left out a whole stanza. Oh well. Also, I guess people were worried about the piano being too loud, so it was turned around so the players had their backs to the audience. This was not a big deal, except that I had left the flute music for my part home, and had to read the part on the piano music which meant the audience got to look at my bum the whole time. . . Ross said it looked fine :) I really didn't care at that point. I was glad to have it over with, and I was glad my mom was there with me.

Oh, and the missing King- Ross filled in. Yup- my husband sang! I didn't even ask him to. He saw a need, knew I was stressed, and that, coupled with the pressuring of the Executive Secretary, led him to sing in a trio and read the part of a King. Ross is my hero!

I felt kind of bad because I never meant to put so much of myself in this program. I was even careful about not even putting my name on the typed program. I hope people don't think I am all self centered and proud. I wanted to play my flute ONCE and sit back and enjoy the show. That was just not to be. Did I mention I sang a solo? How did that happen?

All in all, I think it turned out well. The spirit was there, and I didn't pass out or cry, so mission pretty much acomplished I would say :)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Festival of Trees, 2009

This was the third year Ross and I went to the Festival of Trees. We love it! We went last Thursday and had a great time.

This year, I got to the South Towne Center a little early, but I didn't have any cash, so I had to wait for Ross to meet us there after work before we could go in and see anything. In the hall, there was a grand piano set up where some piano teachers in the area were having their recitals. The girls entertained themselves by dancing and singing to the music (we were a bit down the hall, so we didn't disrupt the recital). I entertained myself by reading and taking pictures of the girls dancing.

They found these pieces of tinsel on the ground and loved them.
After Ross got there, we walked around and saw all the cool gingerbread houses, and about a third of the trees. When dinner time came, we headed over to the Mayan. Ross and I had only been there once when we were first married, but we thought the girls would enjoy it. They did! The restaurant is all decked out in Mayan style and decorations. The waiting rooms are even full of columns and vines and things. Very cool!
The dining hall features a big waterfall and rock face where every 20 minutes, divers come out and dive to music and act out stories. Very cool! Emma was mad that I wouldn't let her go swimming, but she thought the divers were very cool.
I tried to catch a picture of one of the divers, but they were too fast.

After dinner we went back to the Festival and saw the rest of the trees. We got our pictures in front of our favorite trees.
Ross had two favorites. He likes the Air Force tree behind us in this picture. I don't think he liked the tree so much as all the model airplanes and the tickets to the air show that were included. . .
I didn't love this tree, but I want Ross to build a book case like this for the girls' room. I love it!
Ross's other favorite tree was the Joesph Smith tree. I have to admit, this was a lovely display. The tree was pretty, but they also included a roll top desk with a bunch of books about Joseph, and some frames of the Liz Lemon Swindle series about Joseph. Very cool!
Emma's favorite tree was the Dr. Seuss tree. Yup, she sure is inside the fencing. . . Bad Mommy!
This was my favorite display. There were three trees- one in silver, one in gold, and one in bronze. They symbolized the three gifts of the Magi. I thought the idea was lovely, and the execution was breathtaking. This picture doesn't do it justice. I really liked it a lot.
Emma even enjoyed hearing the story of some of the sick kids that were pictured by some of the trees. A lot of the trees are decorated and donated in honor of children who were treated at the Hospital- some of them alive, and some not. Emma enjoyed hearing about some of the kids who got really sick, how long they stayed at the hospital, and how the doctors helped them. She says she wants to be a doctor when she grows up. :)
Anyway, after we had seen all the trees, Ross got us some cotton candy, and we watched some of the dance performances happening, after which Emma told me she wants to be a dancer when she grows up. I support both of her wishes!
This was a really fun day. I am glad Ross enjoys it as much as I do, and I am glad that the Festival didn't seem to be affected by the bad economy. All of the money spent here, ALL OF IT, goes to the children at Primary Children's Hospital, and I have a hard time imagining any better cause. Even the building is donated for that week, and that is a big deal! The workers are all volunteers, all of the items are donated, and all of the money spent on the trees, admission, goodies, and refreshments go to the Hospital.

Dance and Piano teachers throughout the state pay to have spots for their students to perform, which adds a fun element of entertainment, but also brings out a lot more people to the event because the performer's families and friends all have to pay to get in to see their loved ones perform. I heard a lot of people talking about how they got hooked on the Festival because a niece, grandchild, daughter, friend, whatever- invited them to come and see them perform however many years ago. It is just the perfect way to start the Season of Giving. If you haven't ever been and are in the area, you should really try to find some time next year! Not only is it for a good cause, but it is a lot of fun and very kid-friendly!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


I love when slides make my girls' hair do this!

Random, I know- but it really is one of life's little joys for me! Too cute!

Due Date Dilemma

What is the first question you ask when you hear someone is pregnant? If you are anything like me and everyone else I know it is something along the lines of, "When are you due?", closely followed by, "Do you know what you are having yet?", and "Do you have names picked out?"

The weird thing about this pregnancy has been that I can't give a definative answer to any of themse common questions yet. I have had to give vague answers, and some of them have turned out to be wrong. How can that be, you ask? I think this pregnancy just wasn't meant to be easy on me in ANY way.

Well, actually we do have names picked out- but I am NOT telling ANYONE!


The guideline most doctors use to determine due dates for babies is the first day of the last menstrual cycle. 40 weeks from that date is the approximate due date of the fetus in gestation.

That doesn't usually work to well for me as I am not, like other women, 'like clock-work' in the regular cycle area.

The other measure comes with the first ultrasound, usually at 8 weeksish, when they measure the baby. This can give an approximate idea of how far along the baby really is, and can establish, or possibly change an existing due date by a few weeks.

That is how the due dates for Emma and Sara were both established. The due date off of the measurements always changed the original due date (made from the first day of my most recent period) by moving it FORWARD a couple of weeks. I got a lecture the first time for getting the ulstrasound too soon even though I made it VERY CLEAR that I am not a regular woman. Whatever.

Anyway, things are a little more complicated this time because it looks like, from what the doctor is saying, what I last thought was a menstual cycle, was actually my 5th miscarriage. I didn't take my at-home pregnancy test until I had endured a week and a half of fatuge and nausea. I thought I might have a flu or something. The doctor thinks this, along with the depression I was dealing with at that time, are really signs of coping both physically and emotionally with a miscarriage. That means that if he is right, when I took that test and got a positive result, I could have been no more than a week or so pregnant, and not a full month like I had originally thought.

That means that when I thought I was almost to the end of the first Trimester Hell, I was still looking at another 3-4 weeks. Awesome. It also means my due date moved from the end of April to the end of May, possibly the beginning of June. Awesome.

So, to all of you who ask about my due date and get an unsure response- that is why. I am not hiding a secret or anything. I am just not sure. The doctor could have been wrong, but who knows at this point. I do know that I have been constantly sick and tired and emotional for about 16 weeks- but with the possibility of a miscarriage in there, who knows when that ended and the pregnancy began?

Next week I will go in for another check-up, so maybe they will be able to determine something a little more sure. I don't think we will know for sure until I get another ultrasound, which won't be for another 3 weeks.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Emma Photography: Take 2

Emma got a hold of my camera again. These are some of my favorite shots.

I love that there are 4 different patterns of leopard print. She put them all together herself!
Then of course, to prove she is my daughter, there were a bunch of these!

Funny girl! She may have a future in the photography field. . .

Monday, December 07, 2009

Black Friday

My dad has to work on Thanksgiving every year, so my family has a tradition of doing their big turkey dinner on Friday. We set up the tree and put up ornaments while we waited for everyone to get off of work. The girls love helping with Grandma's tree because she isn't picky about where the ornaments go like Mommy is. Grandma just moves them around after we leave. The only pictures I got of this night were of decorating the tree. I was enjoying the meal too much to remember to take any pictures of it. I think turkey tastes much better when I don't have to prepare it! :)

Heather asked Emma to smile. This was the result.
Emma and Dana have a good system to get ornaments on those high branches.

This was from right before we left. We found her new coat on sale at Ross, and I just wanted to show it off :)

Sunday, December 06, 2009


We stayed at our house for Thanksgiving. We had lots of offers to go other places, but we decided to stay home. That probably won't happen next year unless Ross decides he wants to cook the meal, or at least HELP me cook the meal. It was good. we had turkey and stuffing and sweet potatoes and green bean caserole and jello and gravy and mashed real potatoes and pie and other stuff that didn't taste nearly as good as it should have because I was so sick and exhausted by the time it was feasting time. I thoroughly enjoyed the left overs the night after, and the night after that, and the night after that. . . We got a 20 pound turkey for $7. We will be eating turkey left overs for the next 2 months!

There were only 2 pictures taken that day because I am lame, and I was busy cooking and puking and that kind of thing. Ross took this one. Hot, I know! Look at Emma's face!! Emma took this one! Cute!
This post sounds negative. It was a good day. I have so very much to be thankful for, and Ross and I spent a lot of time discussing those things throughout the day. I was tired and sick, but I was grateful the entire day. I am blessed! Make no mistake about that!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Out of Order Family Pictures

The Saturday after Thanksgiving, Amy, a lovely friend from my ward took some picture for our family. The girls were cold and refused to smile even a tiny bit- so I am fairly impressed with how many good shots she got. Here are some of our favorites. Grandmas- don't worry. You will have some in the mail in the next week.

I look way better in black and white. Seriously!
She wasn't smiling- but I thought she looked so cute!

I know I haven't posted about Thanksgiving yet. I do! Stop reminding me. We had Thanksgiving and we ate turkey and it was delicious. I will maybe post pictures before Christmas. No promises.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

My New Calling!

At the beginning of the year I got a calling that has been a bit of a challenge for me. I know it is silly- but being a Sunbeams teacher was honestly the hardest calling I have EVER had! I think most of that had to do with the fact that I live with a 3 year old. This calling took away the only 2 hours of my week that were almost guaranteed to be void of 3 year old interaction. My Sundays went from a day of refuge and adult conversation, to a day of toddlers, potty runs, head shoulders knees and toes, and attempting to keep 10 pairs of hands off of each other. It was hard- but it was fun too. I bonded with most of my kids and grew to love them very much! So, it was a bit of a bittersweet moment when I got released from the hardest calling I ever had.

When the Executive Secretary called to have me meet with the bishopric and stated that it was important that the meeting happen soon, I knew a new calling was on its way. I spent my morning contemplating the possibilities and getting excited! Speculation was rampant in the house as my husband and I reviewed who was leaving, and what big callings might be open. I knew a member of the Young Women's Presidency was moving, a Relief Society teacher had recently been released, and the choir director had recently sold his home. I was thrilled as all three of these callings are ones I have coveted in non-sinful ways, of course.

When the Second Counselor met with me, he was acting a little strange. He greeted my family and me, and painfully led us through some awkward small talk before getting to the core of the matter.

"Sister Goodman, we have a new calling to present to you, and I am a little unsure as to how to go about it. The thing is- this is quite an unorthodox calling. In fact, I have never heard of another person having this calling in any of my other wards! We had to get special permission from the Stake President to make this calling available, and it was created specifically for you. It really is quite unorthodox. This is by far the strangest calling I have ever had to extend. . ."

. . . and on and on and on. He went on for FIVE WHOLE MINUTES telling me how weird my new calling was to be and to ensure me that it had been created through Inspiration from the Spirit.

I was confused- and a little worried to be honest. I knew none of my other thoughts could be right as all of them were actual callings that were not unorthodox in any way. I seriously wondered if they were calling me to work with the young men, or help the priesthood leadership or something. Finally he came down to it- and the truth is, it was not strange at all.

". . . We would like to ask you if you would be willing to serve as the Third Counselor in the Primary Presidency."

Now, I have never had a ward with a third counselor in anything, but I know it has been done in the First Presidency at least twice. To be honest- it made PERFECT sense to me. Our Primary is HUGE and our building is too small to accomodate splitting it. This seemed like an obvious way to help the Presidency spread the burden of responsibility, and take better care of the children.

I was touched later that night when Katie, the President, came to my house to give me a brief synopsis of what my new responsibilities would be. She said she had a very strong and unmistakable prompting that told her I needed to be one of her counselors. She spent the next few days praying about which of her counselors to release, and could never feel comfortable with the idea of replacing either of them. This was frustrating to her as she still had the strong burning of revelation telling her that I needed to be a part of her Presidency. She took the matter to the Bishop (who is an AMAZING man), and they came up with the solution of adding a third counselor to the Presidency. They took the matter to a meeting with the Stake President who heard the issue, prayed about it, and came back with the answer that they had made the right choice.

I was very touched to hear that story because I had been struggling with my calling as a Sunbeams teacher because I seriously doubted that it was a calling of inspiration. I was fairly certain (and right, it turns out) that I was meant to teach an older class, but was told to teach the class that other people had refused. I had struggled a lot with it because I felt that I was serving out of desperation, and yet I had promised myself long ago to NEVER refuse a calling in the Church. It was very calming to my Spirit to know that this was a calling of pure inspiration. The Lord wanted me specifically to serve the children of this GIANT ward in this calling. I needed that. I needed to know that He was fully aware of me, and was truly directing my path.

My first week as a full member of the Presidency came a week after I was sustained. My heart broke over and over as it dawned on my Sunbeams that I was really no longer their teacher. I had tried to explain it the week before, but when they saw me sitting at the front- some of them were devastated. The horrible thing is, a little piece of me was happy! They love me too!

When Ammon found out, he ran into the hall with his mom and I could hear him screaming, "No! I'm not going! I want my teacher!! No- the GOOD teacher! I don't want that other teacher- I want the NICE one who likes my sweater!" Awesome- and I do love his sweater. Hannah just sat and sobbed quietly. She put her head in her lap and just silently cried. She would lift her head up, look at me, and tears would just spill over her face. Jonas refused to sit with the class. He spent the first week sitting at the front with me. He went to his class after singing time only because I told him it would make me happy.

I felt bad that they were so sad- but it really meant a lot to me that they were that upset about me not being their teacher anymore. I think it says a lot about how much teachers truly affect their student's lives. I only saw these kids for two hours a week- and most of that time I was reminding them to be reverent and stay in their seats. Somewhere in between all of that, we formed a bond. That was the hardest calling I have ever had in the church (WAY harder than this new one!!) and so I guess it is fitting that it was the hardest one for me to let go as well.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Post-Thanksgiving Miracle

Emma: Mom, can we play a game?
Mom: Sure- what would you like to play?
Emma: Can we play that game where we make your bed and then Sara's bed and then my bed?
Mom: *A little stunned* Absolutely, we can. What should we do after that?
Emma: Ummmm, then I can lay down and take a rest.

No joke- this really happened. We played the game and she had a blast! She is now resting on her bed reading books and listening to music. Sara is napping, and I now have at least 20 minutes (the average length of Sara's mid-day naps) to clean the house and get some work done. Someone knew I needed a bit of a break today, and I am grateful for His timing.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

This Made Me Smile this Morning!

I don't know what she is doing, or whose foot that is, but I love that smile! She is such a cutie!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Halloween- At Least I Got Them Up Before Thanksgiving!

Actually, it was really hard to get pictures of them in their costumes because they were WAY too excited to go trick-or-treating.

This is Emma showing me her Princess curtsy. I thought she was going to be Snow White. I was wrong. She was NOT Snow White. She was Princess Emma.
That's our cat. He stuck around the front porch while I was handing out candy, and was a big hit with the kids.
Emma got her dress from Heather and Caulene for her birthday, and Sara's Little Red Riding Hood costume is recycled from a few years ago. Expect to see that Snow White dress again in a couple of years. . .
They really aren't the best pictures. I will have to dress them up again and take some better ones to scrap. The good news is their cuteness won them LOTS of candy! They only get a couple pieces a day, so we are still going through the bag.