Friday, May 28, 2010

battle of the sexes

John and I don't always see eye to eye about finances.  So let me pose a question to you and please, send me some feedback.  I am wondering if this is a "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" kind of question or if this is just a me and John thing.

Would you rather:

A)  Scrimp and save on your daily expenses and home improvement fund in order to purchase a vacation home at the beach (where you will only spend a week or two a year and then use it as a rental property the rest of the year)


B)  Allow yourself a little more money for the day to day and household expenses (alleviating much stress and giving the opportunity to go out to dinner and movies and enjoy here and now) and continue to vacation in hotels in different locations.

Seriously, would love feedback on this one!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Fabulous Five!

My Mr. James turned five today!  It has definitely not been his best birthday ever (he is recovering from hand-foot-and-mouth and has sores all over inside his mouth and cannot eat anything other than popcicles and yogurt) but he did get to lick the frosting off of a cupcake so it couldn't have been all that bad.  More than anything he wanted a black dragon webkinz for his birthday so we made sure he opened that gift before breakfast.  It was the first time we have seen him smile since he got sick last week!
As per tradition, here is my sweet boy over the last five years.  Oh my how he has grown!

the day he was born
1 year old!
2 years old
3 years old
4 years old

James' favorite things at age five:  all things Star Wars, playing with his big and little brothers, playing with Daddy, preschool, his friend Gracie, playing soccer, playing wii, eating water ice, and watching Dinosaur Train.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Mr. Lister's Opus

My high school choir director is retiring this year.  This is one of those retirements that affects the entire communtiy- not to mention the 8000+ previous choir students who feel like the world has turned upside now that Norm Lister will no longer be a fixture at PVHS.  The local paper even wrote an article about his retirement.  (Although you can tell that the author was obviously not a former student.  He must have gone to Dixie.)  =)  In fact, Mr. Lister is so beloved that a couple of years ago he was persuaded to start a community choir so that alumni and their parents could have the opportunity to sing under his guidance outside of high school.  If ever there was a reason for me to want to live in St. George, THIS IS IT!  (Yeah, I know, not going to happen- but I can still dream.)
Anyway,  Mr Lister really taught me how to sing- along with the rest of my siblings.  Not only did he run the choir department, but he was in charge of the music for the school musicals.  Since musical theater and choir were the two things that I loved in high school, he was not only a teacher but a mentor and a substitute father.  And I was not the only student who felt that way.  Mr Lister put his whole heart and soul into everything he did and it really showed. 
Now that I am conducting the choir at church and trying to organize music in the stake, I am even more appreciative of everything Mr. Lister taught me.  I can picture him in my head when I am working on a piece of music and it helps me to get it where I want it to be.
Anyway, Wednesday was the final choir concert for the year and Mr. Lister's daughter arranged via Facebook for interested alumni to learn a choral arrangement of his and to join the current choir on stage to sing a tribute.  She called it Mr. Lister's Opus.  Oh, how I wish I could have been there!  My Mom said that it was amazing and so sweet.
At the end of the concert, the parents' group which fundraises for the choir presented Mr Lister with some presents.  1) A filing cabinet for his home signed by everyone who could get there and 2) a cruise to Alaska for him and his wife.  When I talked to Mom about the concert she told me the back story on the gifts:
Mrs. Kinzy, the head of the parents' organization called Sue Lister to ask for ideas for an appropriate gift for Mr Lister.  Sue suggested the filing cabinet as Mr Lister would be bringing home some of his own music that he had been using at school.  When told to think bigger Sue said, "Well, we always wanted to go on a church history tour or on a cruise."  Mrs Kinzy had laughed, "Maybe not that big."  As she purchased the filing cabinet, not only did Staples give them a school discount but when they learned it was for Mr. Lister, they gave an even bigger discount.  Then as Mrs. Kinzy was at the travel agent arranging for the cruise she received another discount and upon learning it was for Mr Lister the travel agent used her commission to upgrade his room on the boat.  Then they called the cruise line and were comped another upgrade for Mr Lister so that he had one of the best rooms available- ocean side, top level with a balcony.  For plane tickets to Seattle to get to the cruise, Mrs. Kinzy contacted the only airline that flies into and out of St. George.  (The airport is on top of a mesa so only little puddle jumper airlplanes can fly there.  (It is quite a trip, by the way.  I am never quite sure the plane is going to make it- landing on such a small platform.  Definitely not for the faint of heart!))   Anyway, I digress, the airline told Mrs Kinzy that they do not fly to Seattle but when they heard who the tickets were for, they sent money to her to pay for the tickets on another airline.  As my mom relayed this story I was practically in tears.  Mr. Lister has touched so many lives directly and indirectly but I doubt even he knew the impact he made was so widespread.
I only hope that when my kids are old enough to sing that they find someone even half as good as Mr Lister who can help instill the love of music and attention to detail that he instilled in me.  Enjoy retirement Mr. Lister!  If you get bored, I am sure there is a school out here in PA that would take you in a heartbeat!  =)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

9 months old and lost teeth

Holy cow!  Where does the time go?  Matthew hit the nine month mark on Friday and at his dr.'s appt this morning measured in at a whopping 19lbs 10oz (I think) and 29 inches long.  He actually has lost weight from a sick visit a few weeks ago when he was 12lbs 7oz, probably because he is so active now crawling all over the place.  Yep, that's right, we have a crawling baby!  Nothing is safe these days because Matthew has figured out how to get into everything!  His brothers are not so sure they like this new phase.  So here are some recent pics of my boy who will not be a baby for much longer!!

Last week I took James to the dentist because his teeth were hurting.  The dentist, after a long explination about how he probably won't start to lose teeth until he is seven, took a look at James and said, "Well, here is the problem, his two bottom front teeth are really loose.  They probably won't come out for a while though."
James lost his first tooth yesterday at school.  It was really loose before he left and I tried to pull it out for him but was a little too squeemish to pull hard. So while James was at school he pulled it out himself and held it in his hand until I came to get him.

Then today James was having his mid morning snack and his other very loose bottom front tooth started bleeding all over the place so I pulled it out for him.  Yuck.  I must really love this kid.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!!

Happy Mother's Day to all of my wonderful friends and family and especially to my amazing mom and sisters who rock my world!  I love you!  And to celebrate, here is a montage of old photos...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Victor Cafe

Two weeks ago John and I went out to dinner... with friends... in the city.  Yeah, I about died from shock, too!
Amy, my roommate from college, was in town for a weekend with her hubby and wanted to meet us somewhere for dinner.  I asked John for a restaurant suggestion and he mentioned The VictorCafe. His Aunt Shirley has raved about the place for years but we have never had the opportunity to go-- until now.
The VictorCafe is in South Philadelphia just off Broad Street on 13th or 14th and Dickensen.  It is a tiny hole-in-the-wall Mom and Pop kind of place that you find all over in South Philly.  But what makes this restaurant so special is that every 15 minutes or so a member or two of the wait staff burst into song.  These aren't your run of the mill, generic, happy-birthday-singing waiters (although they do sing that particular song very well and in four part harmony); these are actual trained musicians.  They are musicians who are posing as waiters not the other way around.  The musical selections ranged through opera, Broadway and art songs.  Amy and I, who both love to sing, were totally in our element.  And the food was awesome, too!  Amy's husband, Aaron, who had been remarkably patient through the entire evening, was more interested in following the football draft on his phone.  Toward the end of the evening (we were there for over two and a half hours) the bell rang indicating another performance and Aaron sighed loudly, "Again?!"  People at the nearby tables were cracking up.

It was so great to see Amy and to catch up.  It was also so great to find a new favorite restaurant!  I plan on going back there soon.  John strutted around the house for a week because he was so proud of his suggestion.  I encouraged it, only because he totally deserved it.  My husband rocks!

So if you are looking for a good place to go in the city, I highly recommend The VictorCafe.  Entrees range from $18-$38ish.  Desserts are about $7.  Trust me, you want to plan on having your own dessert!