Wednesday, April 30, 2008


When my violin student, Emily, came for her lesson on Monday, she said she had a surprise for me. I thought maybe she had memorized a song or practiced every day. She didn't tell me and then we started our lesson. Scales, bowing, exercises, and then I asked her to play Minuet 3 by Bach.

She whipped out a kazoo, and next thing you know, she is kazooing and playing Minuet 3 at the same time! This was the surprise apparently, and I was laughing my head off! What a girl. She made my day. :)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Live...From Lincoln Center!

So, are you busy on Thursday, May 8th? I'm sure you are, but guess what you get to add to your calendars?!? Erin Morley (my sister) is going to be on TV. PBS to be specific. Yep! In Camelot, the Broadway musical! She sings a song all by herself on PBS. Live. From Lincoln Center! She's playing Nimue, the nymph that lures King Arthur to a cave by singing "Follow Me."

Check out this article and this one announcing her debut to Broadway!

Did you see that Christopher Lloyd and Fran Drescher are also in the same show? Now are you impressed? Me too!

For those of you in Phoenix, it's Thursday, May 8th, 9:00 pm on Channel 8. To find your local listings, you can go to

Zippidy Doo Dah!

We had just about the most perfect Saturday evening that could be. The weather was gorgeous, and we were invited to Xan's parent's backyard for a barbeque. It's the most beautiful backyard we've ever seen - Complete with a zipline. Yes! A zipline. Needless to say, I don't think Eli ever got around to eating dinner. He went straight to the second story window, got strapped in, and yelled "WHEEEE!!" all the way home. Just like a little piggy. Lizzie perfected the Backbend Bridge While Ziplining move, and Adam showed us where our kids get all their Crazy. Ivy played with her little girl friends all night. We had a great time.


We have a neighborhood restaurant that can't seem to stay in business. You know the kind - it changes signs and owners every few months.

Well, we were excited last fall when a new health food restaurant came in: SOMA. It was very chic and looked nutritious and delicious. I kept meaning to go in sometime, but never did. They didn't last there very long.

Now we have a new restaurant. You gotta see it to believe it.

Tagline: "Taste worth Dying for!"

They only sell burgers (Single Bypass, Double Bypass, etc.), Fries (Fried in REAL LARD), unfiltered cigarettes and beer. Delivered by waitresses/nurses. Funny. I'm dying of laughter over their creativity.

Can you believe this is a profitable business in this age? It's so disgusting, I can't stand it. I think I'm more upset about this than the casino getting put in.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

It's an Eli-ism too good for the side-board.

Tonight, Eli and I went to a recital on the ASU campus. As we were walking to the music building, we saw a very short woman. Well, she was a Dwarf. Or a Little Person or whatever is p.c. to call them now.

Eli walked past her, and I noticed they were about the same height. As I looked at her face, I could tell she was not in the mood to endure stares and "vertically challenged" comments. I started getting tense, anticipating that Eli would say something embarassingly obvious, like, "Wow! You're Short!" But she passed and he didn't say anything.

But while she was still in earshot, he said loudly to me: "Wow! That woman was OLD!"

I smacked my hand onto my forehead, John Morley-style, and felt bad for the woman who was so old that it superceded her Dwarf status.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Need a Break from Ivy? Just use...


(The top says "Go ahead! Hold up your bottle of IvyBlock and declare 'I am protected!'")

Sure to be a big hit with older siblings who might need to block a certain pesky little sister.

And just wait until our little Miss Ivy turns 16. Every guy she goes out with will undoubtedly be forced by Adam to slather on IvyBlock.

We found this ad in a Scouting magazine yesterday, and we're going to order. In bulk. Not for us, of course, but for everybody else we might want to keep away from Ivy. It's like controlled parenting! If only they made EliBlock and LizzieBlock, and we could block every evil influence from our children. But then, I suppose, they wouldn't learn. Well, I guess it won't hurt to try! :)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

My Arms are Killing me from that Cycling Class!

So, guess what?? I joined a gym! You can all breathe a collective sigh of relief for my health and well-being now. And this is no ordinary gym, it's Life Time Fitness, more like a resort. A very nice resort. It also helps that I am the last person I know to finally join this gym (except for you, Jane - what are you waiting for?!), so basically I know everybody there!

Well, Lisa took me to my first ever Cycling Class on Thursday. She told me it would kick my butt, and I was scared. It did, and it was awesome! I loved feeling so empowered.

By Thursday afternoon, I could feel my arms starting to cramp up. I was confused. Was this leftover from the weight class I tried on Tuesday? Strange.

By Thursday night, I couldn't extend my arms past a 90 degree angle. At all. I couldn't lift Ivy, I couldn't vacuum, I couldn't even fold the laundry! I was in SO much pain!!! To keep gravity from forcing my arms to extend, I kept them folded all day. I looked very reverent. When I had to move, I had to bend from the waist. Just picture C3PO. Yep, that's it. That was how I moved for 2 days.

I had book club Thursday night. You should have seen me trying to reach for the brownie plate! I had to keep my arms bent and lean my whole body over. That probably should have deterred me from eating, but we all know I'm not afraid to look like a fool - and come on, it was free brownies!

I puzzled over why in the world my arms would be cramped from a cycling class. I had expected to be sore from the waist down, not to lose control of my arms. Did I accidently cycle upside-down using my arms? No, I don't think I was that bad at the class. The only thing I can figure is that I must have been clenching the handlebars for dear life. For a solid hour. I didn't even notice I was doing it, but it's the only explanation!

You'll be happy to hear that as of this (Sunday) morning, I have finally regained full extension of my arms. Laundry, dishes and vacuuming are viable options once again. :(

Tomorrow, I need to work out my legs, so maybe I should do a rowing class?

Belated Easter Pictures!

Our Easter Sunday was so busy, that we never took the obligatory Easter Outfit Pictures. We were lucky to get the kids dressed that morning (or any morning, for that matter!). Well, last Sunday, we tried to recreate the moment, because I've been feeling guilty looking at everyone's beautiful children in their beautiful Easter clothes. So, we found a green place in our yard and snapped away. And this week, our rose bush went beserk, so we took a few more. So, Happy Passover instead! :)

First Tomato

Have you ever read the Bunny Planet series of childrens' books by Rosemary Wells? Aunt Janet introduced them to us. In it, children who are having rotten days dream about going to the Bunny Planet (and the Bunny Queen is Janet), where she shows them "the day that should have been." One of the books in the series is called "First Tomato." The child is asked by her mother to go out into the garden and pick the first ripe tomato. She says: "it smells of rain and steamy earth and hot June sun; in the whole tomato garden it's the only ripe one." Doesn't that perfectly describe the smell of a fresh garden tomato? And the excitement of finding the very first one of the season?

Well today is First Tomato Day in our house. Can you believe it? We found 4 red, ripe grape tomatoes in our little garden, and each child got to eat them fresh. Picking and eating the first fruit of the garden is an exciting day indeed.

The Birthday that lasted forever...

Lizzie had a friend Birthday Party yesterday that was so much fun! She and her dear friend, Audrey, had a joint swim party. It was so much fun! We never thought she could have a swim party with a birthday in March, but we did it! :)

Monday, April 14, 2008

How Badly Do YOU want a lollipop?

So, I was at the bank today, depositing a check, and Ivy was with me. She knows the drill at the bank: Kids get Lollipops. She was trying to get my attention so I would get her one, and she was doing this by hanging on me while I was talking to the counter guy. Well, she caught my back pocket, and lifted her feet up, and next thing I knew, I heard a big ole **RRRIIIIIIPPPPPPPP!!** sound, and I had a gaping hole in my pants!!


Thankfully, longer t-shirts are in now, so I was able to stretch it over my immodesty and scoot outa there!

How embarrassing!

Friday, April 11, 2008

It's Confirmed: Lizzie is a Party Animal!

The Activity Day Girls hosted a 50's style Daddy/Daughter Dance, and Lizzie and Adam had a total Blast! There was limbo, dance lessons, make your own sundaes, and the best part: a "gel" station where the girls could do their dad's hair, and a manicure station, where Adam got his nails painted. True. Can't wait to see him playing softball tomorrow night sporting his new look. He knows how to put the "man" in manicure.

They did their signature dance move for me when they got home: (scared the Stake Primary President half to death!)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Trampoline in the Twilight

These pictures remind me of the scene in Peter Pan when the children get their fairy dust and "They can fly, they can fly, they can FLY!" over the rooftops and trees. Or the scene in Mary Poppins when the chimneysweeps dance on the rooftops. I can understand why kids love to jump on trampolines so much!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

So Cute!

My little (but tall) bro Matt singing with his friend Paige at another Brighton Event.

Looks like he shaved his bleached blonde hair!

The Office



I AM!!

I AM!!!

See a 2-minute preview here

Monday, April 7, 2008

I've been inducted into the Eucher Group!

So, Phoenix Symphony Chorus had (another) concert this weekend: we did the Chichester Psalms by Bernstein (a first for me, and a joy to sing!), and we did Ravel's wordless "Daphnis et Chloe" (the music for a ballet). It was great.

(Sidenote: Adam and Lizzie came to the Friday concert, and I asked Lizzie what her favorite part was. She said, "I LOVED..." and here I thought she would say the piano soloist or the boy soprano soloist, but she said, "...the DOG!" There is a handicapped violinist who keeps her guide dog on stage, and apparently that was Lizzie's favorite part. But I digress...)

But what was ever better was that I was finally inducted into the Eucher group, even though I'm not a midwesterner. If you're asking yourself what "Eucher" is, you must not be from the midwest either. It's a card game that is played by midwesterners, in the midwest. And if they happen to leave the midwest, and they wanted to play, say in the southwest, they only play with other people who have lived in the midwest.

A group formed from our choir when we had some down time in between singing on concert nights back in November. This lady came over to a group of us and asked if any of us were from the midwest. My friend Lynn is from Michigan, and was swept away immediately! I was so confused! Nobody asked if anyone knew the game or if anyone wanted to play a card game, it was "Are you from the midwest?"

I was only invited to observe, which was a stretch since I have only driven through the midwest, or stopped there during layovers of flights.

But Saturday night, they were desperate for a fourth player, and with Lynn putting in a good word for me, they called me over! I made the disclaimer, "But I'm not from the midwest - are you sure?!!" and they cringed, but let me in anyway.

Having payed very close attention the last time they played, I caught on pretty quickly and held my own. That is, until the last hand when I called the trump to be "spades" when I actually meant to say "clubs." The game was confusing until I realized my mistake and laughed about it, but I'm pretty sure those midwesterners were thinking "Only someone not from the Midwest could make such a dumb mistake!"

So, it might have been the first, and perhaps the last time that a rogue player was allowed into the club!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Goodbye, old Friends...

Well, Adam's skis are in our dumpster. Man, if these skis could talk, the stories they could tell.


Wait, what was that? Did I hear something? Was that the skis I just heard speaking from the bindings?? Hold on a sec, let me get something to write with, this is definitely a momentous occasion!!

"Well, Adam. I guess this is good-bye. Ohh, the years we've had! 12 glorious years! I still remember it like it was yesterday when you bought me, back in '96 at a Ski Swap in Salt Lake, right after you got home from your mission. You had such ambition, such aspirations; I could sense that as you eyed me. I knew it was speed you were after when you picked me. Measuring in at 200 cm meant that we would be skiing FAST. I hoped you were ready for it.

Our first trip together with your college buddies assured me that you knew exactly what you had bought. You were an aggressive, adventurous skier, with a need for speed, and I was absolutely up for the challenge. The sheer exhiliration of taking off down a powdery mountain, with you at the helm and me as your ship, was just what I was after. I kept pushing the limits of speed, and you would accept, and push me even faster. The steep grade of the mountain didn't slow you down, and we were quickly able to navigate the fastest way down the slope, agily handling sharp turns and catching some serious air off the jumps.

I knew I had met my one true owner.

We skied everywhere together: Alta, Brighton, Powder Mountain, Snow Basin, Deer Valley, Solitude, Snowbird, Nordic Valley, The Canyons, even a small resort in Virgina called Wintergreen (we both agreed those Eastern slopes don't hold a candle to the Rockies).

There was a time, however, when you left me. Abandoned me in the closet to rent a snowboard. I understand, you needed to explore and I let you have your rebel year to test out the latest snazzy thing. I always knew you would come back to me, and you did. What we had together was more than a trend, the latest fad. What we had was true brotherhood.

I knew it was forever when you sold your own plasma so that we could be together. Only true brothers would do that for skiing, and you did it more than once. You sacrificed your actual plasma to get the 27 bucks it cost for a lift ticket back then.

And oh, don't think I have forgotten about November 1997! You have ME to thank for your happy marriage, you know. Yes, yes, I'm talking about the annual Thanksgiving break Ski Day at Brighton. There was some chemistry happening there on the ski slopes, my friend, and I was there for it all. I was there for the careful maneuvering to make sure that girl would sit on the same ski lift as you. I was there helping you show off all your best tricks (the Double Daffy, the Iron Cross, and the Backscratcher, our FAV!) as she watched on in admiration.

When the babies started coming, I admit, I got a little worried. I mean, don't think I don't know what happens to most of my kind. We get tossed in the attic or a closet and forgotten about until a decade or so later when parents finally agree their kid is old enough to try skiing. But not you. No, I believe I witnessed your proudest moments as a father as you've taught Lizzie and Eli to love the sport we love. And my, how fast they've learned! Why, Lizzie and Eli were each only 2 years old when you put them on little bitty skis and guided them to ski inside your bigger skis. (We both know that I practically taught them myself - you're welcome.) And how proud of them I was this past Christmastime when I saw Lizzie crouched down racing you down the slope, and Eli shouting with the thrill of the speed as he careened down a hill. Oh, they'll do you proud. Mark my words, they'll do you proud.

When my tips started splitting, I knew the end was coming. But I knew you wanted to hold on for one last run together, and I can't tell you how much it meant for me that we achieved our lifetime ambition: skiing the Jupiter Bowl at Park City Resort. We'd been hearing all our buddies brag about it for years. We knew the reputation it had as being the biggest backcountry expert bowl in the state. Oh how we longed to ski it!! The day dawned with a bite in the air, and flurries in the sky. But once we sailed above the treeline in the lift, we came out of the clouds and into clear, blue, sunny skies. It was a dream come true, for both of us, and it lived up to every legend we'd heard. That, my friend, was skiing.

But now, I am old. You have nursed me back to health many times after we had run-ins with a few too many rocks, tediously dripping P-tex into my jagged wounds. But my wounds are too large and gaping to heal now. It is time. Time to move on. I wish you the happiest with your next pair of skis; may they treat you well for many years ahead. Goodbye."

Chandler Fire Station #9

We had a great field trip with our Pre-Kindergarten group to the Chandler Fire Station! The kids LOVED getting to explore the firetruck, and Max even got to turn on the lights and the sirens!!
Thanks, Vicky, for organizing this!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Elusive Ice Cream Truck

We have a phenonomom in our neighborhood. It happens every Wednesday afternoon, when the kids are usually outside enjoying the pleasure of school's early release. And every Wednesday, I forget. Until...

"MOM!!!!! I heard it!! I heard the Ice Cream Truck!" I hear as Lizzie and Eli make a beeline for their piggy banks and scrounge up enough change to make a dollar.

The ice cream truck business, a symbol of innocence, suburbia, and childhood nostalgia, has a great racket going on. They've invested most of their energy towards making the loudest possible speakers to blast their annoying tune far and wide so that you can hear the truck coming from four streets away, usually even from inside our house. And herein lies the problem.

The kids hear the music, and bolt to the front yard, only to find an empty street, with the music playing somewhere in the background. Close enough to be mouth-watering, but nebulous enough to not know which direction to face.

Ivy is clinging to me, repeating "I scared Ice Cream Truck Man," which might be her first justifiable and rational fear. I suspect she might be the only one thinking clearly in this group and I'm not going to do anything to allay that fear. Just keep repeating that to yourself, Ivy.

Lizzie and Eli were so disappointed to have missed The Truck that I consented to riding our bikes (Eli with a fistful of bills) around the entire block, looking for the Ice Cream Truck. By the time we got back to our house, we'd seen no sign of the elusive Truck. It's enough to drive little kids (and the adults with them) mad! Eli was a wreck, tears streaming down his face, begging me to get in the car and find The Truck. I thought about it for a second, but then decided against it. I had to draw the line somewhere!

For the next 45 minutes, the kids clenched their quarters in their grimy sweaty palms as they rode their bikes up and down the sidewalk with their radar-like ears listening for any sound of the Ice Cream Truck tune. If they only used half of the energy to listen to me as they did for the Ice Cream Truck, our house would have much cleaner rooms, homework would be finished lickety-split, and we be on time to many more activities.

Eventually, we flagged down the Ice Cream Truck as he finally decided to saunter down our emtpy street. I love how Lizzie jumped up and down and waved her arms in the air from the sidewalk like she was being saved from a shipwreck. Wait a minute, maybe I should have been the one waving and jumping...

So, the battle was won! Stewart Kids vs. Ice Cream Truck, and the kids came out ahead. I have a suspicion that Ice Cream Truck ice cream tastes better to them than ice cream from our freezer for having had to do all that work. Maybe I should make them chase down their dinner in a singing van, and they would appreciate that better?

Next Wednesday, I'm not taking any chances on disappointment: I'll remember to keep the kids inside, turn up some loud music, and have a dance party.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A Successful Weekend for all!

The Stewart Family each did their part to an award-winning weekend!


Won 3rd place in Honeywell's Biggest Loser Program. Somehow, he lost 7 pounds in the last week. Probably gained 4 back by drinking water after they weighed him... He won $40! Whooeeee! I say, go spend it on some ice cream, man!


Had opening ceremonies for his BlueJays Little League Team! Hooray! Look how CUTE he is in his little uniform! They played their first real game, and Eli got several hits! He's doing great, especially for being the smallest on the team!


Had her last gymnastics meet for this season. Took 3rd place on Beam with a 9.050! The camera (and Adam) were only there for the floor routine.


I helped out with our elementary school's Carnival. It was quite a project, but went really well.


Successfully wore a pair of sunglasses for the entirety of the day. And night. Inside and outside. Check her out.

We had so much fun on Saturday, that all five of us were asleep for the night by 9:45 pm that night. Total Exhaustion.

Happy April Fools' Day!

I put a regular lunch in Lizzie's lunchbox, but on top of that, I put a ziplock of rocks, a ziplock of palm leaves, and a zip lock of red spiky bean pods.