The boys have been busy. And cute, of course.
Taylor's hair has decided it's going to take on another one of my traits and grow some curls. Will keeps insisting he is starting to resemble Bozo the Clown and that I need to give him a serious haircut. But I just can't get myself to snip those locks off quite yet.
Taylor has also recently started walking, and recently been weaned. One accomplishment for him, the other for Mommy. :)
The boys have had fun with the Christmas decorations. Although I keep finding bulbs all over the house with the tops taken off.
I can't believe that Preston is going to be going into Sunbeams next month! I think he is ready though. He is definitely the biggest kid in nursery.
My friend Erika and her boys visited overnight, and we decided to go to the island store together to buy new toothbrushes for the boys (something we both have oddly been needing to do but haven't, so we decided to do it that day). We both were pregnant at the same time and have two boys each almost the same age. Preston and Camden are both 3. And Taylor is 15 months, while Brody is 12 months. At least for another week and then they both go up a month in age.
I was brave and hosted playgroup at my house last week, where I had 9 children making gingerbread houses in my kitchen. It wasn't even as messy as I thought it would be and we all survived.
Since we are now home owners and can officially tackle things on the "new" house, Will has begun some of the prep work before the contractors come in. Here is just one example of what he's done to clean the place up. He discovered a long lost patio in the backyard that we didn't even know was there...
Will has been sleeping/staying at the new house for the past 2 weeks. He works from early morning until evening, and then goes straight over to the house and puts his grubby clothes on and starts working. He has replaced all of the heaters and thermostats in the house with new ones. He has pressure washed the roof, and back patio. He has started pressure washing the siding. He has cleaned out the gutters. I am planning to go down to the house this Saturday and start painting walls.
In the mean time we have really missed having him around. It's weird to not see him 6 days out of the week. But this is kind of the sacrifice we just have to make right now. It would take him far too long to drive all the way back to the island each night. And this way he is able to progress the work on the house much faster - since we basically need to have everything done so that we can move in at the end of January. So if anyone is bored and wants to help Will with some home improvement projects, I'm sure he would gladly feed you pizza and take you up on an offer to help.
I have to say though, having him gone has sure me us appreciate each other more. We got to go and see him at the house last Saturday night, and I had excited butterflies in my stomach - the kind I used to get when we were dating and I drove all the way down to Portland to see him.
Will also ran his first race since July. It was a 25K near Deception Pass on Whidbey Island. We weren't able to go and cheer him on because I had a rehearsal, but here are a few photos from his race. I'm glad he was able to do it - as running is a huge stress reliever for him and he's been long overdue for a good run.
I have been busy with our stake's Nativity Festival that just ended yesterday. I have been serving on the planning committee for this since March of this year. My responsibilities included building the website (http://www.arlingtonnativityfestival.org), as well as being in charge of all the stake sign-ups. It might not seem like a lot, but I have spent countless hours on it.
I have also been involved in the music for the festival, as the stake choir accompanist and also a solo performer at the event and the concert. Here are just a few photos from the festival...
And then here is a video from the closing concert - with me playing the violin on "A Celtic Silent Night"
As well as being involved in the Nativity Festival, I've also been busy working on the "business" aspect to my music, which is a lot of the tedious stuff that is necessary but hate doing because it's all so time consuming. Things like the fact that I'm having my website completely redesigned, and my web designer has been pushing to get it done soon. I have been spending evenings re-writing my bios, all the text for my site, going through all my photos and trying to simplify galleries, etc. There is a LOT of work that goes into a website believe it or not :)
Here is a screenshot of my website as it looks right now - I designed it myself in 2006. I've tried making updates to it as much as I have been able, but I realize it is very out of date with current website styling and tech stuff. Especially with how many people view web content on their phone nowdays instead of a computer.
So I hired a web designer and we've decided to go for what is referred to as a "100% site", meaning, that it takes the full width of your computer screen (verses the one above that is just centered in the middle). This is a screenshot of design he is working on. The media player on the lower left will not be purple like it currently is, but eventually will match the color scheme of the site. All of the menu tabs have drop-down menus which is a lot cleaner (instead of my current site where all of the navigation menus are in plain site which makes it much more cluttered).
In order to do the 100% site, I obviously needed some new updated photos that would work for it. As you can see the photo above that we are using needed to be one where it was landscape cropped and had enough space in the image for web content as well. So my dad and I had two photoshoots at our house, where we put up a special grey backdrop (a paper backdrop made specifically for modelling shoots), and we just shot the photos at my own piano. We used a high powered fan to give my hair a wind-blown effect. In addition to the shot above, these others are a few of the best shots we got from the shoots...
In addition to working on all the business stuff, I've also been working on music as well. I recently got four more mastered tracks back from my audio engineer in Los Angelos. I'm telling you, everytime I know he's mastering my music I feel so excited like a kid on Christmas morning waiting for the email from him telling me that they're ready for a listen-through. The mixing and mastering is the final step in a finished track, and it's exciting for me to hear my music in that state. With these recent four tracks back, that makes 7 officially finished tracks for my new album. There are 17 going on the album, and some of those other 10 are in semi-finished states. But I still have a lot of work cut out for me to get this album done by Spring. Thank goodness I have the help of my parents once a week or so to watch the boys so that I can have several hours to orchestrate. I don't know what I'm going to do without them when we move ;(
That is the update on us. We are all doing well, and keeping busy. We are so grateful for the blessings that have come our way this year. Lots of hard work and sacrifice, but it's all with the knowledge that we're being watched over by Heavenly Father and that it'll be worth it in the end. We're looking forward to spending Christmas together and enjoying the rest of the year. We hope you are all enjoying your Christmas season as well.