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William Joseph concert - GIVEAWAY PARTY!

30 March 2012
So the other day, I totally won tickets to a private, in-residence concert at a fancy, fancy house.

It was really cool. Even cooler was that the concert-guy? Was William Joseph, an INCREDIBLE pianist who I didn't even know was LDS until his latest album, Be Still: A Collection of Beloved Hymns, was released. I don't know why I didn't know that. Probably because I am an oblivious dork. By the way, you can click on that link and it will take you to a page where you can listen to samples of the CD.

So, because it's been a barrel of laughs around here between losing our home and my last post on infertility(kind of) and Sparrow's stress-inducing antics, I was really thrilled to win these tickets. I needed a Win, guys. I needed one bad.

William Joseph did not disappoint. Now, call me crazy, but it was either go by myself or make my husband and Sparrow come with me. And I was terrified of going alone because then I'd really look like a dork. So I grabbed the family and off we went. When we got there, the guest musician, a violinist named Aaron Ashton, was carrying his stuff in from his car and needed help. So Hawk and I grabbed a box each and carried his stuff. And then I didn't even get a picture of myself carrying a famous guy's stuff. DANG IT.

I didn't realize Ashton was a violinist until, well, he played his violin. And then I peed my pants. I just started learning the violin in October, and I quit practicing back in January. I even put it behind my piano so I wouldn't have to see my case staring at me, inducing guilt. Well, crap. Because Ashton's performance was so amazing and inspiring, now I have to start practicing my violin again. To see if I can get even half as good as he was. No, I probably can't make it up to half. Maybe 1/4th as good. This guy was insane. His fiddling skills were beyond insane. His improvisation skills? Hawk had to peel me off the ceiling.

P1090107 Aaron Ashton

You could really sense the connection William and Aaron had. They played a song they totally made up ON THE SPOT and you could feel the silent communication working between them. It was so, so cool. I was really mad my camera was out of memory by that point, because the improv-ed song they did was my favorite part of the concert.

P1090095 William Joseph and Aaron Ashton

William was SO down to earth and honestly, he was basically hilarious. He told a story about when he was a teenager, playing piano at a wedding (which took place in a mall... Hawk, think of all the free stuff we could have got!) and he accidentally segued from the bridal march into the Star Wars theme. At that point, I was sold. William Joseph likes Star Wars? Well then clearly we are meant to be new best friends.

P1090085 He told lots of awesome stories.

I really don't know what to say about the music other than that it was truly phenomenal. I couldn't see him playing, because we sat in the back near the door in case we had to make Sparrow take a quick exit, but it didn't matter. It was just incredible. I can't even describe it. Sparrow actually held still and listened to several of the songs, which I did not think could ever happen. My autistic spectrum son sat still and paid attention to classical music. Miracle? Yes. Yes it was.

Sparrow's favorite part was "the piano. And the violin." And so was mine. I loved every second. It was a great experience and I am so glad I got to go.

P1090066 William Joseph, me, Sparrow and Hawk.

Now, I will shut up and tell you even awesome-r news. It's time for a giveaway! William Joseph's latest CD, "Be Still," is up for grabs. Comment on this post and I will choose a winner on Monday, April 2. At 3:02 pm Mountain Time. Maybe. If I remember. But definitely on that day.

The CD is awesome, by the way. It is a collection of classic hymns, my personal favorite of which is "Come Thou Fount of Ev'ry Blessing." I have heard this music for reals, as a CD and IN REAL LIFE. And both times I was in love. So there you go. Totally worth a comment. Now go out there and WIN SOME STUFF. And if you want another chance to win, go here. Stepper reviews everything way better than me anyway.

I was provided the concert tickets and the CD for this review/giveaway by Mormon Mommy Blogs. And after this experience I decided MMB can send me to anything they want. I will gladly go. And it would be awesome if they could give me a good camera so all my pictures don't totally suck next time. Sigh.

The Worst Year Ever

20 March 2012
"Mommy, where is my brother?"

Sparrow asked me this the other day. I can't remember what I told him, but I think I probably just redirected his attention elsewhere and he forgot about it. But I can't forget.

When Hawk and I were married, we had Plans. We were going to have four or five kids. I had their names picked out - Nicholas, Kestrel, Caleb, Kalli (a combination of my two best friends' names) and... well, I don't remember. Something else.

After I got pregnant, when I spent my 21st birthday in the hospital throwing up blood, I informed Hawk we were only having one more child. "Just one more. I can't do this 4 more times, but I will give our baby a sibling. I don't want him to be an only child."

And in 2008, when Sparrow was born, I considered getting pregnant again after the 6 weeks of healing were up. Then we'd have had another baby in December of 2008 and our insurance would have been thrilled with us. Cooler heads prevailed - we decided to move back to Utah, so when I got pregnant again, my family would be close enough to help with Sparrow. I struggled with postpartum depression and anxiety. We decided to consult with a doctor before I got pregnant again, since the first pregnancy was so scary and traumatic.

January of 2009. After running a battery of tests on my heart, my OBGYN informed me: "there's a hole in your heart. If you get pregnant again, you will die. It's a good thing you came in before you just got pregnant on your own; we'd have probably needed to abort the baby."

A "crazy high risk pregnancy" doctor gave us his opinion: "If you get pregnant again, you might die. You might not. But you do have a 75% chance of developing preeclampsia again, and it will be as bad or worse as the first time."

And so, I was sterilized. I had Essure, a non-invasive sterilization surgery which did not work, and a tubal ligation, which left me in pain for 2 years. Last May I had a hysterectomy and apart from the no-more-babies-no-seriously-ever-again thing, it has been FANTASTIC.

But adjusting to the reality is hard. It's still hard, even three years later. It's hard when I walk into Gymboree and see the infant clothes, and all clothing in Sparrow's size are skaterzz and pirates (neither of which are allowed in my home.) It's hard when friends or relatives announce their pregnancies. It's hard when I see cute newborns and babies at church or the mall or anywhere.

But it's the most hard when Sparrow is lonely, and when he asks for a brother or sister. I cannot give him one.

For personal reasons, adoption is not really an option for us. And so Sparrow will be an only child.

It's hard, but I'm not going to lie - part of me is relieved. Now that I've had a few years to grieve, that is. Because! Sparrow has been toilet trained for almost a whole year. No diapers for a year! He is very independent and can dress, feed, and play by himself! He can use his words to tell me what he needs, and even though there are copious amounts of whining in my day, at least I'm not playing the "why are you crying?" guessing game. I find I am a much better parent to a small child, because I know how to play with him. When he was an infant, we mostly just sat around and stared at each other blankly. The one thought that gets me through all the "no more babies" grief is - soon, we will be able to travel! Like crazy. We'll be able to afford to go places, and I can focus all my attention and love and airplane-wrangling on Sparrow.

And let's face it - Sparrow is cute, but he is a very, very difficult child to raise. If I had two Sparrows running around I'd probably die. There have truly been days when I cried because I was so grateful I didn't have twins. Yikes.

This isn't the life I'd have chosen. I would still love for Sparrow to have a sibling. But I grew up with siblings, and the ones I grew up with don't like me. I was a total turd child and I don't blame them. The siblings I didn't grow up with like me, because they met me when I was a cool 19 year old. So see, there's no guarantee that if I had had another baby, Sparrow and him/her would have even gotten along.

And he has the chance to be around babies often. He has infant cousins he is very sweet with, and our friend's children. And it's so nice for me to be able to hand a stinky or crying baby back to the mommy and give my own kid a squeeze.

2009 sucked for a lot of reasons, but that was the worst one. But we're surviving. And even though our family is small, I love us. We have fun together and we love each other, and we always will, no matter how many kids we have or don't have.


This blog hop is hosted by Chocolate on my Cranium. To participate, write a post about a time where you've had to make an adjustment to meet an unexpected event in your life and head over to Cocoa's blog to link up.

1940s Awesome Facts

15 March 2012
Did you know that some intensely cool things happened in 1940?

According to Wikipedia, Chuck Norris, Michael Gambon, and Patrick Stewart were born in 1940. What would the world be like without Patrick Stewart? Not a world I want to see, let me tell ya. Professor X is my favorite, but I love Jean Luc Picard too. Make it so!

John Mahoney, who played Frasier's dad Martin on Frasier, was also born in 1940. Did you know he is British? I had no idea. James Caan, James Cromwell (the farmer guy in Babe), Al Pacino, and Rene Auberjonois were also born in 1940.

In the televised world, the color television was first introduced in 1940. Hockey and basketball games were televised for the first time.

Disney released Pinocchio and Fantasia (which was originally very poorly received.) Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd were first introduced, and Robin teamed up with Batman for the first time.

The Nobel Prize was not awarded in 1940 due to World War II. In addition, the Olympics were canceled for the same reason. The 1940 Summer Olympics were scheduled to be held in Tokyo, which was later changed to Helsinki. Then the Olympics were canceled altogether. The Winter Olympics were going to be held in Sapporo, Japan.

I wonder how bleak the world seemed to people back then. I know I often feel like the world now is terribly depressing and difficult - I can't imagine facing a war on the scale of World War II every day. The people who lived back then are my heroes. How brave can you get - going through the Great Depression, maybe even World War I, and then BAM it's 1940, let's fight another world war!

You know another reason the 1940s were a great decade? My grandma was born in 1946. And she's my favorite person in the universe.

Are you wondering why I've gone off the deep end about the 1940s? Well, I signed up to be a Blog Ambassador for the 1940 Census Project. On April 2, 2012, NARA will make the 1940 Census available online. That means it's going to be about 100 times easier to work on family history projects! You can also sign up to become a 1940s Blog Ambassador. They have some sweet prize giveaways, so I highly recommend it.

Losing our home

14 March 2012
I have thought of nothing else for 10 days, and it stinks. I can't stop obsessing over it.


We are losing our home.

We moved into this town house in May of 2009. We spent a year living in a horrible tiny apartment and moving here was like being reborn. There has not been a single day that I have not thought "I love this place." Not one day in 3 years.

We rent this home, because we foreclosed on our house in Arkansas. It is what it is - we were very young and we were extremely stupid when we moved to Arkansas and we made several very, very bad financial decisions. One of which was buying a house without knowing the area, without knowing if we were going to stay where we were. Ultimately we were only in Arkansas for 11 months. Our house there was lovely, but I didn't like it. I wasn't necessarily sad to lose that house, except for the huge impact on our credit score.

So we rent this home through an agency. But for the last several months we've been getting official looking mail - certified mail stuff - addressed to the owner. We don't open it, because that's illegal. We send it to our rental agency and they forward it on. Well, last Monday we got a certified letter addressed to "[Homeowner] Or Occupant." We opened that one, only to find that apparently, our homeowner is $25,213.35 behind on his mortgage. That means he hasn't paid his mortgage in over a year, guys. And the bank is starting foreclosure proceedings.

Now, we can't be kicked out of this place. Not for 90 days. Our contract ends on May 31 and obviously, we're not going to be able to sign another contract. So while I know in my heart that we still have time here, I still ache. I am hurt and betrayed and devastated by the whole thing.

I can think of two things that are "wrong" with this house. There's no water pressure upstairs. And the backyard is shared and neighbors let their horrible dogs run loose and poop everywhere. That's not even a house problem. Other than that, this place is incredible. It's so tastefully done - the paint is all neutral colors with white trim, the car... actually, it's easier if you take my home tour. There are two bedrooms on the top, the main level is our living room and kitchen, and the basement is our family room. This means I get to keep the TV out of the main room of the house which I LOVE. Some days we don't even come down to the basement because Sparrow is too busy playing with his toys on the main level. We have a great deck which we cat-proofed last year so we can all go out there and I can leave our glass door open.

But most importantly, this is our home. This is where Sparrow learned to talk, to walk, to be potty trained!! This is where we started over after our horrible apartment year. Twice our contract has expired, and twice we have fretted about whether or not to move. The first year because of a payment snafu, we were told we had 36 hours to vacate the premises. I spent 30 of those hours sobbing until we got it worked out - and we realized, we have to stay here. The second year, we looked around halfheartedly but when you've got perfection, you don't want to mess with that. So we stayed.

This area has the best ward I have ever been in. My Arkansas ward was fantastic but we moved before I could truly make friends there. This place, is the first place I have ever belonged to a real Church Family. I know almost everyone and almost everyone knows me. I have a relationship with these people. They have watched my son grow up. Sparrow knows them and loves them - he adores my visiting teachers, who are more like my best pals, and he begs to ride in half the ward's cars. I take violin lessons from a wonderful woman and Sparrow loves her son and they are in Primary together. I don't want to leave them. I don't want to move on.

I know that this is an opportunity for me to start over. I know that the Lord might want us elsewhere. But at the same time, I know that He knows that we are at home here. And I can't imagine why He wants us to start over, especially with Sparrow's "disability" (actually, Sparrow would be fine moving somewhere else, he is so friendly. It's me who has severe and extreme social anxiety, and every time we move to a different ward it takes me a good 5 months of being inactive before I can make myself go to Church again because I am just plain terrified of new people.)

So it's hard. I'm trying not to stress. I come from a home that moved 10 times in 16 years. I attended 3 different high schools. I should be used to this. I just don't want to leave. I love our home. I love our lives here. And the uncertainty scares me to death. Also, I just got all my pictures hung 3 weeks ago! Finally! Now I have to start packing them up! Argh!

I'd like to know what happened to my rent money. I'd love to be able to buy this place, even though I have sworn I will never ever buy a townhouse. But we're looking still at 5 years before we can buy, and there are no other places in this area for rent that also allow pets. We'll find a home, and it will be okay. But in the meantime...

I'm in mourning.

The Plague

07 March 2012
An unheard of event has occurred in our house.

Hawk, Sparrow and I are all sick at the same time.

It is not fun. I do not like being sick at the same time as my son. I can't take care of him as well as I'd like. Hawk got sick first, and I thought he just had a small cold. Then I got it.

This is no small cold. This is the plague.

We didn't realize Sparrow was sick until Saturday. He coughed a little bit last week, but I thought he was mimicking his daddy. Then on Saturday he spent 4 hours lying on the floor in the living room, staring up at the ceiling. Not moving. The child hasn't stopped moving since he was conceived. He must have felt really, really awful.

Sparrow has only ever been sick once before, and even then it was just a 2 day cold. Pretty amazing when you consider he was born in the middle of RSV season and was a preemie. And that I didn't even think about germs when he was a baby and we'd go to playgrounds or play-places all the time. And when you consider that I basically have no immune system, so I catch everything, but he's never caught anything from me. (Hear that, Hawk? It's still your fault for bringing this home!)

Hawk and I were hooked up with antibiotics on Monday, but we just have to keep an eye on Sparrow. Luckily he seems to be back to normal, apart from the cough.

So we've spent most of our week watching movies and napping. It has been a very, very boring week. We are all dying to get out of the house and do something other than go to a doctor. Maybe by Friday...