We had a great time on boxing day sledding with our dear friends, Ted, Juliet and Linnea. The hill by the grapes was in excellent form. Colin loved it until he got a face full of snow on one of our more rambunctious runs.
The last couple of weeks we saw our midwife twice and she was not able to find our baby's heartbeat. Colin was exactly the same way and ran away from the Doppler most of my pregnancy with him. He still loves hide and seek. I have been feeling the baby move and I was not having any other worrisome symptoms. All my blood work looked like a normal 17 week pregnancy, but my midwife wanted me to get in early for an ultrasound. We were able to get a peak at the baby yesterday and yes, there is a baby with a heart beat that we finally got to hear. She was quite squirmy and since I did just use a feminine pronoun, it looks like a baby girl. We are excited for a girl, but Brian does not think he will know what to do with a girl. Brian also thought it was a boy because she has been so active and kicking me a lot already.
We got about 10 inches of snow the other day. Most of the snow fell the night Brian flew in from his 3/3 trip to NYC but luckily it did not affect his travel. We got Colin a snow suit the week before. The day before the storm I got him some boots and he was good to go. Colin even learned it is best to wear mittens, and this greatly cut down on his crying. He loved the snow, and as you can see above, he found it to be tasty.
View of the grape lines with snow on them. It was all so beautiful and got really bright and sunny later this day. The roads were all cleared quite quickly since Utah knows how to handle the snow. It looks as though we will have a very white Christmas.
Brief outline of 2007
If we were to write a Christmas card, it would maybe be an outline of how out-of-control our year has been. It kind of makes my head hurt to think of all the places we have been, and where we are still going. (It is quite long, so I will not be offended if you do not read it. In fact, I will not even know if you do not read it.) Here is a quick overview of 2007:
January-February We left for NYC for Brian to sing in the opera Therese Requin. I spent a couple of weeks in Connecticut with family (we miss you Hinckley House) before our sublet opened up in Brooklyn the end of Jan. In January, we got an offer on our home in Indiana that we accepted and set to close the end of March.
February brought us great sadness when my niece Kirsten was killed at the Trolley Square Mall in Salt Lake City. Colin and I traveled back to SLC for a family memorial from NYC.
March- we were home together for maybe two days before Brian had to leave again for Winston-Salem, North Carolina for Cosi Fan Tutte. This left me home alone with a very sick child and with only two weeks to try and pack up the house. Thanks to Mandy who flew out from Utah to help me and lots of other help from friends in Indiana, we somehow filled our temporary storage unit and Colin and I left for NC to be with Brian the last two weeks of March. We returned to Indiana two days before closing, worked like mad, made the sale of our home final and became homeless the very last day of March.
April-June after spending a couple of lovely weeks with friends in Indiana, we left for Tel Aviv, Israel for Brian’s work with the New Israeli Opera (Cosi Fan Tutte again, and two concerts of Mozart Masses in June with the Jerusalem Symphony). We loved Israel. We were planning on meeting friends in England and Italy on our way home, but in May an opportunity came up for Brian to sing the Barber of Seville in Mexico City with the Mexican National Opera so sadly, we had to cancel Italy and booked our trip to Mexico City.
June-July After a lovely week in England, we had a brief 3 days in Chicago with my sister’s family before leaving for Mexico City. Mexico City was a crazy adventure. I am very glad I speak Spanish and that we only had maybe 3 sketchy cab drivers.
In mid-July, we all traveled back to Utah but Brian turned around the next day for several more performances of the Barber of Seville in Tijuana, Mexico. I kind of did not feel like hanging out in TJ with my baby, so Colin and I spent a couple of weeks at our new home base in Utah with family. Luckily, most of the time Brian was able to pick up a USA Verizon cell phone signal from San Diego.
August- Brian came home, but only for a couple of days as he had to travel to Indiana to pack up all we own into a UBF truck to ship across the country and to drive our second car from the Midwest to Utah. We did not sit very still this month as we traveled to Minneapolis, MN for my niece Chelsea’s wedding, and to the Oregon Coast and the Seattle area to see Brian’s family. It was nice to see family, but hard to keep traveling so much (as evidenced by my back injury from too much time in the car).
September- a BREAK! We spent a lovely month just getting slowly settled in and hiking. However, we did spend a week this month in Atlanta for Brian’s work in a recital with the Southeastern Festival of Song. It was a great experience and recital. We also found out we are expecting a second baby in the Spring of 2008 this month.
October- We thought we would have a bit more of a break, but an opportunity for Brian to sing in the Pearl Fishers with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City presented itself, so mid-October we were off to Kansas City. We loved Kansas City, and we lucky to have a visit from my friend of more than twenty years Megan Hardy.
November- Brian was engaged to sing with the Kentucky Opera in Louisville, KY for Dialogues of the Carmelites. We also enjoyed Louisville and had fun being close to Bloomington, IN to see former friends.
December- briefly home for Brian. He had three separate trips scheduled to NYC for auditions and a trip to Indiana polis and Jacksonville, FL for two Messiah engagements. The Jacksonville engagement was canceled due to a strike so Brian gets to be home a bit more before Christmas. We also found out on December 11 that Brian has an opportunity to sing a Don Giovanni near Paris, France in January 2008, so we are leaving for France the end of December. Since Brian would have been gone a bit more than three weeks, all of us are going again. It is a bit mad, but it is Paris. I cannot believe we are going to take Colin through so many time-zones again.
So this is the life of a working singer. We are very grateful Brian is able to make his living from making music and that the majority of the time we are able to spend as a family. I did not really imagine this would be our life, but I knew I was never normal. And it is quite rude of me, but when I see other people’s Christmas letters and they talk about how much they travel, I just kind of think they do not even know what a lot of travel is.
Here is a slide show of about half of the year. Maybe someday I will do the other half, maybe not. It is just a few days before Christmas and we are getting ready to leave the country in less than two weeks. Hmm. . . . Merry Christmas!
I forgot to post these from a few weeks ago. With Sue Anne and Danille we went to this candy store/museum across the river from Louisville. It has been around since 1891 (I think) and was quite cool.
Still a working candy kitchen. We got to sample their freshly made red hot candies. They have lots of older candy memorabilia to look at too. One of my favorite things (that I did not get a photo of) were the candy samples that the traveling candy salesmen would use back in the day.
Brian's trip this week has gone from bad to worse. So he made it to Louisville, rented the car, got to our friends house in Bloomington for a bit of sleep (thank you Bairds) and made it up to his rehearsal in Indianapolis the next morning. When I heard from Brian after his rehearsal, his wallet was missing. He thinks he may have accidentally left it in the car, but it was gone. He looked and looked and re-traced his steps, but no wallet (which means no money and no ID to fly home with on Sunday morning). Within two hours, we had all the credit cards canceled and I overnighted his passport so he can identify himself to the TSA. The orchestra got him some cash and luckily he has some family with him in Indianapolis this weekend to help him. But this 5 day trip has felt like an eternity to Brian. It does not seem anything was going on with his credit cards, but we are better safe than sorry and he only had about $20 in cash. We are quite lucky we were able to work quickly and things could be a lot worse. And don't tell Brian, but I had already bought him a new wallet for Christmas that he may be getting as a December 16th gift instead.
Now let's hope the storm moving into Indianapolis does not mess up his flights tomorrow. That would be great.
We have had a few changes in plans. Brian called me last week on his first trip to New York and asked me what I would think about spending January near Paris for him to sing in a concert version of Don Giovanni. When he first asked me I was severely sleep deprived and the thought made me burst into tears. Once I had some more sleep and once we found out that indeed going to France was a reality, the idea and the adventure seemed more possible. We spent the last 24 hours chasing airfares and found a great discount international travel site http://www.bt-store.com/. It was frustrating because we kept finding things that looked good and then a few minutes later they were gone. I was kind of nervous about tickets since the trip is coming up very soon, but we have done well. Sadly we have to cancel a trip to see Brian's family, but all my doctors appointments have been re-arranged and I guess we are going to France. Some of the details are still forthcoming, but it is a great opportunity for Brian and since we will be there most of the month, Brian really wanted us there too. Crazy.
To further Brian's travel drama, he was in New York the last couple of days for more auditions and had to fly to Indianapolis tonight to get in town for a Messiah rehearsal and concert engagement. However, due to bad weather, most of the flights out of La Guardia were cancelled. Thanks to some quick thinking on Brian's part, he got on a flight to Louisville (one of the very few flights to leave) and I rented him a car to return in Indianapolis. He will stay with with friends in Bloomington and get up to Indy tomorrow morning. I worry he will get too tired.
Colin had quite the afternoon. He woke up from his nap by falling out of bed, then in his groggy state, he hit his mouth really hard on the fireplace. I spent the rest of the day with a bloody shirt, but in an hour or two he was back running around. He now requests cuddling at bedtime, so I cuddled him to sleep. He is a sweet little guy.
After a very generous meal at Cafe Ahn Hong (one of our fav SLC Chinese dives- we are frequently the only non Asians there), we got bundled up and went to Temple Square for the lights. It was VERY cold owing to a brisk breeze that has picked up tonight, but the lights were spectacular.
Colin loves being a little blankey burrito in his stroller. Though strangely, we've discovered that when he's all bundled he gets weirdly quiet and observant. We were pleased that he allowed the hat to stay on. I think he finally picked up on the idea that warm stuff actually is advantageous in these temperatures.
Daddy got back from NY on Friday night (a day earlier than originally planned- yay!) On Saturday morning we went shopping for our tree and came home with this beautiful, very fragrant 8 ft Noble fir. It's been snowing on and off for a couple days now, and it's been fun to kick off our Christmas season with all the white stuff everywhere. Colin skipped his nap Saturday and unfortunately had to get up a little earlier than he would have done for church. Tired boy.
We had a very lucky drive from Kentucky to Utah earlier this week. Dry roads and a happy toddler. Colin really was so great, thanks to the portable DVD player. He watched "Flushed Away" over and over again and did not want me to change it to another movie. It is very cute to see him sing along to the song "Rollin' on the river" (if that is what it is called) at the end of the movie. You know what I am talking about proud Mary keep on turnin'.
Brian left for NYC the day after we got home for some auditions, but he comes home tonight. Poor Brian is still traveling a lot this month, but his schedule has gotten a little lighter due to a striking orchestra that canceled one Messiah. (We are kind of relieved for the lighter travel, but still unfortunate about the strike.)
So we are in Utah for a bit. Don't forget to call us Utah friends! I know I need to call too since no one ever knows where we are. Anyway, I have a high-needs toddler who somehow woke up poorly from the nap.
Colin walks the dog, or the dog walks Colin. This is one of our favorite dogs in the entire world, Meta the Italian Greyhound. She has come to visit us a few times with Sue Anne. She is really a very great dog and Colin adores her.
There are several people we would have bought this purse for if there were more than one of them and if they were not $200. Very cool Dia de los muertos pin-up girl.
Mrs. Andi tagged me (twice in one month after never being tagged) and since I am kind of bored, it was an interesting thing to think about.
Devise a list of 5-10 courses you would take to fix your life. It's more fun to be in classes with friends, so include one class from the person who tagged you that you'd also like to take. Tag five.
So here is what I would be taking:
SOC WK 530: Histrionic Personality Disorder in the Opera Singer (note, Brian is in no way Histrionic, but we occasionally run into some larger than life characters and egos.)
ANTHRO 505: Kinship and Marriage in the modern nomadic opera family
Nutrition 440: Eating strategies for toddlers who only want to eat boiled eggs, edamame, milk, and candy
Women's Studies 430: Identity issues for women pregnant, lactating, or pregnant and lactating
DES 470: Lecture Series of advanced topics in creative photography and fascinating womanhood, facilitated by Andi
PE 330: Cardiovascular training for toddler chasing and wrestling
MUS 650: Toddler Control at fancy opera functions (when wife and child are invited, as we are not always invited, which is fine too.)
SPAN 411: Conversation Maintenance for those who have have lived 2+ years in Latin America but now have very few opportunities to speak Spanish. (Goal of the course: so the Spanish speaker is not embarrassed when speaking to her 4-10 native Spanish speaking friends and to keep the subconscious Spanish up-to-date for dreams.)
AND my classes have all been organized so that I never have a class or obligation on Friday.
Since my former BYU roommates (you know who you are) maybe did not notice I tagged them recently, I tag them again. I also would like to tag Brian my husband and my sister-in-law April.
The opera opens tonight. Very exciting.
You know you want to live here. We took this photo in Exeter, England this summer for our friend Sue Anne. In her house she has a special shelf where she features a different candy every week as the Candy of the Week. The stranger the candy the better.