Wednesday, September 30, 2009

And now for my next project...

A few months ago, I posted a blog entry called My Inner Suzy Homemaker Confessed, where I divulged my secret desire to become a fabulous maker of dresses.

Not just any dresses either. I wanted to make my own couture.

For any of you males out there who think couture is a funky foreign way to say "culture" (like Will thought), here is what couture actually means:

cou⋅ture  /kuˈtʊər; Fr. kuˈtür/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [koo-toor; Fr. koo-tyr]
noun 1. the occupation of a couturier; dressmaking and designing.
2. fashion designers or couturiers collectively.
3. the clothes and related articles designed by such designers.
4. the business establishments of such designers, esp. where clothes are made to order.

adjective 5. created or produced by a fashion designer: couture clothes.
6. being, having, or suggesting the style, quality, etc., of a fashion designer; very fashionable: the couture look.

So yes I do realize that my goal is sort of like someone waking up one day and deciding they want to be a concert pianist without ever having played the piano before.

But you see, I only want to make these dresses for myself, for the purpose of having my dream-dresses to wear for my concerts. So the only person with expectations will be myself.

I have myself a nifty little Amazon gift certificate by winning a little 1st place prize for a song I wrote, and so with said gift cert., I have ordered the following book as part of my master plan to design my own couture dresses.

The next thing on my wish list is this busty looking lady:

She is fully adjustable for different sizes, and pin-able. She doesn't even say ouch.

I don't want to sew quilts, pants, blankies (okay maybe for Preston), or shirts. I just want to sew dresses.

I have very little experience, so this project of mine is me starting from scratch, basically. (I did sew myself a midevil Halloween costume a few years ago, and when I was 18 I designed and sewed a dress with the help of my Mom, who, um, did most of the work).

I have however, sketched dress ideas since I was a little girl, am constantly thinking of dresses I wish I could find in the store (but never can), am constantly wishing that modest also meant classy and fashionable without looking stuffy or homely. So I think with my ideas and willing to learn, I might be able to catch on. Hopefully.

I do need to get a sewing machine too, that might help I think.

And no JoAnn Fabrics for me here. I want to find a fabric warehouse in Seattle with lots of options.

My first project is to design my own version of a Valentino Red dress. The style of dresses that I think of are a mixture of his detail, with the Regency era (Jane Austen).

If only Valentino designed dresses with modesty in mind. *sigh* I. Love. His. Dresses.

So I'll post again when I do more with my project!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

~Like Father Like Son~

You have probably seen photos in previous blog posts over the years of my good friend, Erika, and I.

Well, this is Erika's husband and son, Camden (11 months), with Will and our son Preston (15 months).

Both fathers love the outdoors.

Both sons following their footsteps...or at least in a backpack. This was yesterday up at Snow Lake by Snoqualmie Pass.

They both got lots of "Awwwe" and "How cute!" from people who passed them.

Apparently, Preston loved the rocks so much that he had one in each hand the entire way down the trail off the mountain.

Bye dudes!

P.S. Us mommies got some time at home to clean our houses, go to the RS broadcast, and do some other projects. Thanks guys!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Interview with Kathy Parsons

Here is a link to the interview that my mom and I just did with Kathy Parsons from Kathy is a well-known reviewer of piano music and used to be a writer for Solo Piano Publications before she branched off and started her own site. Most everyone in the independent music community knows Kathy :)

There are lots of fun photos, and insider info :) Enjoy! Oh and let me know your thoughts too.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fall Picnic ~ Northwest Style!

Yesterday, we got to head up to my parents' neck of the woods for a Fall Picnic!

I was particularly excited to go because this was an annual event that the McKinley Family puts on, and I had attend in years past (being that it is in my home stake).

It was just the perfect picture of what a Fall Picnic should be...

There was:

Not to mention somebody was rather excited to brush the cobwebs off of his:

We got out of the car and I saw my Dad put on his cowboy hat, and I said, "You're not actually going to wear that are you?". To which he promptly replied, "You betcha!"

My Dad is so funny. :)

Okay he actually looked very John Wayne'ish if I do say so. And I guess as the Stake President you gotta show your goofy side once in a while. Ha-ha.

After a very scrumptious potluck dinner that included delights such as NW salmon, fried chicken, blackberry cobbler, plum pie and a dozen different array of other desserts and sidedishes, everyone found their own little bonfire and kept warm...

Yeah, I decided that instead of highlighting my hair again, I would do a temporary dye to get it back to my natural strawberry blonde. It was fun.

Preston enjoyed the wide open space of wandering freely - the kid must have walked 8 miles. :p

Will and I enjoyed a child-less 45 minute hike through the woods (a.k.a first date in a long time). I have to say, wow, it is quite amazing what just a short time to ourselves without a child will do for our marriage. :)

Grandma and Grandpa chased Preston around. Oh, and showed him off to everyone they knew. It was very cute to see my Dad hold Preston and go up to everyone he knew and say "I want to introduce you to my grandson." I feel so happy that though all their other grandchildren are several states away, they can at least have one close by.

All the other kids took turns going for tractor hay rides and we could hear the screams all the way into the forest on our hike as they would go over bumps at amazing speeds in the that tractor.

After bonfires, dinner, and our impromptu "date", we sat and enjoyed the fireworks display, thanks again to the McKinley Family. It was even longer and more impressive than the Lake Union Seattle fireworks on the 4th of July.

We actually enjoyed a full...

I got to snuggle with Preston during the fireworks because he was both tired and scared. I loved it.

The End.

Preston's Fun Time at the Fun Center!

I totally forgot to blog about this. Wow what is wrong with me?

Anyway, on Labor Day, we went to the Family Fun Center with our ward. There is a family in our ward who owns the Family Fun Center and so they opened it up for us for a few hours and it was soooo much fun!

We invited our trusty local siblings and sibling-in-law to come along (Elizabeth is Will's sister, and James is her husband).

We did go-carts...

(at which I totally beat Will at, by the way)

Gwenevere and I got to hang out while her parents raced on the go-carts together.

Preston and I did the squirt-water boats. And we did get squirted and wet.

Preston didn't like it so much. He cried. Haha.

Preston's favorite part was possibly riding on the Flying Swings all by himself. He was SUCH a big boy.

For those on Facebook, Elizabeth posted some videos of us screaming our heads off in the Flying Dropping thing(the first photo), and of Preston going around and around and around in the swings and making funny noises. It's cute. I don't know how to get them off of Facebook and post them here though, so sorry to those non-Facebookers.

Mucho fun was had, even when Preston had a completely sopping wet diaper that leaked out and got all over Mommy's shirt. Ewe.

The End.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Falling Asleep

This morning I put Preston in his highchair to eat his snack and watch "Kipper the Dog" so that I could get a few things done. Well, a few minutes went by and I realized how awfully quiet it was. So I walked over and this is what I saw....

He slept there for a good 45 minutes. I really cherish the whoppin' two times in his life that he's been able to fall asleep unassisted. LOL~

Sunday, September 13, 2009

What We've Been Up To

I've been wanting to write a blog on here for like a week, but at the end of the day, it just seems to fall down to the bottom of my list of things I would rather be doing.

I've also noticed a huge decline in the blogosphere lately. People aren't blogging as much. Instead, they're micro-blogging on Facebook and Twitter. Part of the fun about MACRO blogging is the idea that your friends and family will actually have an interest in what you have to write about. The other fun part, is that you sometimes don't care if they have an interest because this is, afterall, your family scrapbook and it's to conserve your own posterity, and that's it.

So for those of you who do have an interest, here is what we've been up to lately:


Yes, he did finish his 93 mile hike around Mt. Rainier 2 weekends ago. He did roll his ankle, a few times actually, and continued to hike on it. He did freeze a little bit as Rainier got its first snowfall for the Fall. He did not run into any bears, but did run into bear poo. He did lose his map. He did hold the course record for a few hours until the other guy he was competing against finished and reset the record. He didn't lose any toenails this time. And yes he was pretty sore for days afterwards.

He says that he is done "adventuring" for the year, but somehow I don't think so. :)

He has returned to his role as "Super Dad" as I have officially begun my Fall schedule of piano and violin lessons as of last week. And so Will has been taking charge of the little guy from 3pm - 7pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. They read books together, go on errands together, go out side and throw rocks together and sometimes even wash the cars together. They are such buddies and Preston LOVES it. Seriously, can we say shadow?

Will is still continuing on the job hunt. We get asked quite frequently how that is going, and his answer is usually "It's still going." The good news is there seems to be a slight increase in job availability lately, so that is good. But still, in Will's field of work, it is slim-pickings.

We are still hanging in there and are doing okay. I knew when I married Will that our family would never be in want, even in hard times. This is a guy who knows how to take a dollar and stretch it beyond imagination. Just last week, he went to Albertsons and came home with $75 worth of groceries that he only paid about $2.50 for because of coupons and deals that he found. Impressive, eh?

But I have to admit, that I am ready for whatever is next. Don't get me wrong, I have actually enjoyed having Will at home. It's been a special time and a rare opportunity that he has gotten to spend so much valuable and irreplacable time with Preston these past several months. I know that soon enough, when a job does come along, he'll be back to working 40 or more hours a week and only have a few precious hours in the evening to spend with Preston before he goes to bed.

But...every now and then the entire situation gets to me and stresses me out a little bit. Sometimes I feel like a gerbal in a wheel who is just running around and around in the same place in a cage. I want to move forward and onward. Sometimes I feel like everyone around us is happily employed and thriving...but we're just standing still. Waiting. It's very frustrating for us, as we are both equally ambitious people. And's hard to be ambitious when there aren't many opportunities.

Will has asked himself if he should consider going back to school instead of looking for a job. He already has a Masters Degree, though it is a very specific degree (in Real Estate Development). He has considered going back to get his CPA (as he has a BA in Finance), or a MBA. But the fact remains...that accounting is not his passion, and neither would an office desk job. His passion lies within real estate, investing, etc...and he is determined. And it is just not a field that is doing particularly well in our country right now.

In the meanwhile, Will also has been working several odd jobs that provide a couple hours of work here and there, such as: Being a Fitness Trainer for ReStart Addiction Recovery Program clients, carpentry jobs, real estate estimating jobs.


Preston is growing like a weed, it seems. (He is 15 months old as of today). He hasn't really gained much weight in the last few months, but he's just grown extremely TALL. It seems like one week he'll wear an outfit that fits him perfectly, and the next week it's too small. His pants are growing shorter on his legs, his toes are starting to hit the end of his shoes too. He's just a big boy!

He's also given his parents a true test in patience. :)

Screaming, not obeying us when we tell him "no", temper tantrums, not wanting to go down for naps, getting into EVERYTHING and making messes. etc. It's a hard stage that he's going through, and I know that it is perfectly normal....but WOW I can't wait until it's over. Although, some tell me that this stage lasts until he turns 3 years old!! Ugh.

Aside from the hard toddler-ish stage he's going through right now, he is doing some really magnfiicant things too. It's amazing how smart he is, and how many things we see him doing just by observing us. For example, he knows that you put a cell phone up to your ear and say "Hello". He knows that hats go on your head. He knows that if we put his shoes on, it means we are going somewhere. He knows that if I say 'Preston put it in your mouth" that it means he needs to eat his food. He does understand "No No" even if he doesn't always listen. He understands actually quite a LOT of what we say to him, even if his own vocabulary is still very limited.

He also knows that when I say "Preston, can I have a kiss?" that he puts his mouth up to my cheek or puts his head on my shoulder (like a hug).

And my favorite, is that every morning he wakes up and yells from his crib, "Da Da Da Da!!!!". I roll over and nudge Will and say "That's YOU!!! " I enjoy not having to do morning baby duty most of the time :)


Like I said earlier, I have started my Fall teaching schedule. I have 15 piano and 2 violin students. I never ever intended to take on this many students, however, I recently shortened all lessons from 45 minutes down to 30, and was able to add an additional 8 students to my schedule by doing so and still making the same amount per lesson. Genius, I think.

I have been busy promoting my new album, The Lullaby Album. We've had several great reviews in newspapers and by music critics, so that is great. We've entered the album into the Childrens Category for both the Independent Music Awards, as well as the Grammy Awards. So we are busy trying to promote, promote, promote so when the voting rounds happen, there will be more voting members who will have heard of the album. These awards processes are such a procedure of who you know, it seems. As a member of the Recording Academy myself, and having voted in past Grammy Awards ballots, I know firsthand the amount of albums/songs you have to go through in the voting procedure. It's very time consuming. I spent a great deal of time looking artists up online and going to their websites to listen to their music before voting. Most I had never even heard of (aside from the obvious popular artists on the mainstream radio stations). But not all artists do that. They just vote without knowing artists or having heard the music, which is sad. OR they vote based on who they know, etc.

I would never expect to even get a nomination in the Grammy Awards because of the process, however, I have a small hope for the Independent Music Awards. The goal with these types of awards are not monitary value or fame, but simply the result of having your music be introduced to a huge amount of people who otherwise would never have heard it. Even nominees names go into music magazines, articles, etc. across the country.

So anyway, that is what my Mom and I are busy doing this fall - is sending out the cd to broadcasters, radio stations, newspapers, and other artists who are voting members in the different awards all in the hope to get the album more familiar and "out there".

If you would like to help, simply just tell people about my music. :) I appreciate it more than you can know. (Thanks Kaylene for your blog the other day, you rock!)

Other news for myself, weightloss. I don't really talk about this very often on this blog, but I guess I will this time.

Over the past 15 months, I've managed to lose about 45 pounds (I gained 60 pounds when I was pregnant with Preston). I still have 15 more pounds to lose to get back to my Pre-Pregnancy weight, and then more after that as well to get to my ultimate goal.

But wow it's been hard. In addition to my teaching schedule and music career, I also try to fit in a healthy diet and exercise plan. I've been trying to get up around 6:30 a.m. every morning to go to the gym. Sometimes I meet that goal, and sometimes I don't. But I'm constantly trying to be better and better.

Back in April, I decided to stop eating sugar. I went on a Sugar detox which basically just involved a week straight of not eating any type of sugar at all. Anything with an "ose" at the end of it (Maltose, Dextrose, Fructose, etc.). And it worked great. I realized what a power sugar was having over me, and to be free of it was amazing. I stayed relatively sugar free for about 4 months, but recently strayed off of it. But I want to go back to this way of living because I truly feel like a better human being when I am not eating sugar.

I also try really hard to eat fruits and vegetables and whole grains. I no longer eat lunch meat (because of the sugars and the additives), I don't eat anything "white" (white bread, white potatoes, etc.).

I just have a couple of goals with this weight loss.

For one, I refuse to ever gain as much weight again during a future pregnancy as I did with Preston. And I refuse to get pregnant again until I've lost all the weight. So, in a way, losing all the weight is motivation so that someday we can hopefully add to our family.

Another reason, is if in the event we are blessed enough one day (again, not any time soon) to have more children, I figure at that point I will so consumed by motherhood that I won't be able to do as many music projects as I do right now. I am working on one more solo album called "Portraits", and would like to get the promo pictures taken for it before getting pregnant again, and then just setting the photos aside until the album is done. Obviously, because there is no way I would ever get photos taken if I were prego. But I would obviously still work on music while prego. If that makes any sense. And once a baby came along, it would probably be another 2 years again before being completely picture ready again. (Ughhhh I can't believe what a long process it is to recover from childbirth it is - at least or me and my body). Holy cow.

Anyway, but I've still got a long road ahead of me before a photography session occurs, or any baby stuff occurs either.

I just stopped breastfeeding last week - congratulations to me for making it just under 15 months. And so I am trying to re-adjust to the different hormone levels and calories not burned in my body now. Having breastfed every single day for the last 15 months and now NOT, is kind of weird. I know that probably sounds weird...but it was just part of the daily schedule and was was done to care for my child. And now that I'm not, it's taking some adjustment.

Wow I've talked SO MUCH! If you have even read this far, congratulations! Now I feel like I'm completely rambling.

There are so many other things I want to share that I've experienced recently, but I don't want this blog post to turn into the ultra novel of the year. I will just summarize though and say for one thing, I'm grateful for visiting teachers who bring me dinner when I've had a rough day being a mom and I didn't even say anything to them. I'm grateful for prayer and how I can tell Heavenly Father anything and he listens and understands and directs me. I am happy to know through prayers and answers to prayers that if I put God first, everything else and I mean EVERYTHING else will fall into place and be taken care of. I feel incredibly lucky to be married to William Edgar Thomas. He is my soulmate and best friend, and I think he's kinda hot too. :) I'm so luck to be Preston's mom too.

And that's it. :) The end, for now.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Concert Vid - Live in Seattle

More concert footage. This one was at Benaroya Hall in the Soundbridge Recital Hall, with my fellow music collegue, Emmy award winning pianist/composer J.ace V.ek. (sorry I have to distort his name to avoid google searches leading to our blog from random fans).


Part 1

Part 2

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Concert Video - Salt Lake City, UT

I have a little confession to make.

I have mega concert footage from multiple concerts that I did in the 2007/2008 season that I never ended up getting around to editing into watch-able videos...until now.

I claim the excuse that I was preggers and just plain didn't feel like doing it. But now I'm making up for it.

Here is the first video I just got done editing. It's my Salt Lake City concert footage at the Baldassin Piano Gallery where I got to perform on my dream piano - a $200,000 10 foot Fazioli Italian grand. :) Check it out. Preston was just a little pea in the pod here.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Wonderland here I come

Hi! Will here!

Once again, it's time for the annual adventure hike. This year I'm taking off to hike the Wonderland Trail - a 95 mile trail that circles Mt. Rainier. This is probably the most popular multi-day backpacking trail in the North West. I'm excited to try it out. I can't believe we have lived here for 4 years and I have yet to set foot on the trail.

Jenni has so graciously given me the time to go experience this as she battles being a temporary single mom to what is currently a little monster of a toddler.

Most people do the looped trail in about 10-14 days. I didn't ask Jenni for that amount of time cause I already know the answer and cause I need to be job hunting. So, I'll be starting on Friday morning and hope to be done Sunday morning at the latest in time for church.

The trail consists of over 22,000 vertical climb and 22,000 vertical descent. This is due to going up and down each ripple of a ridge as you circle the big volcano. This is like climbing to the top of the Empire state building and back down again 20 times. Or starting 10,000 feet BELOW Everest Base Camp and climbing up to base camp then climbing the remaining 12,000 feet to the top of Everest and all the way back down again (of course in weather that is much warmer and actually having oxygen to breath lol).

I'm also traveling in unsupported fashion bringing everything I need with me and carrying it with me the whole time, instead of leaving food and gear at several checkpoints and picking it up as I come through. Because of this, I still have a pretty heavy pack weighing close to 25lbs, but I should be prepared for any emergencies.

If I'm able to survive the whole trip around, I will be setting a speed record for the fastest unsupported time around the trail. Some one attempted two weeks ago, but wasn't able to make it all the way around and another speedy guy is flying in from the East coast this weekend as well to attempt the same thing.

I'll be bringing my Spot GPS with me so you can follow along and watch me as I go loop around the mountain. Just click here:

I would recommend clicking on the "terrain", "satellite" or "hybrid" tab in the upper right hand corner to get a better view. There is a good chance that it could go hours without updating as I will be down in the trees most of the time, so you'll have to be patient.

At the top is a map of the loop and an elevation chart. On the elevation chart, I included my best guess time of when/where I should be at 5 mile intervals on the top of the chart (click the images to enlarge). Those are times listed up top. It is a range of times and you will notice as the miles get further the range gets wider. You'll be able to follow along and see if I am ahead of schedule, behind schedule or within my expected times.

Wish me luck!

P.S. Did I mention it is supposed to rain the whole time? yuck!