10 June 2014

[talk: Year End Piano Recital.]

I taught piano for 15 years.  I ran a studio with over 40 students ... and the year-end recital was a BIG undertaking.  Renting a hall, organizing food, arranging programs and awards ... It was nerve-wracking for most of my students, a goal for the end of the year.  I ran a tight ship, with strict expectations.

We have chosen to have our boys educated by our family friend, who ran an equally large studio a few years back.  She is exceptionally qualified, but as has since downsized from the years of 40+ students.  I'm grateful that she's taken my boys in, when she probably could downsize even more.

Her recital is held where the boys have their weekly lessons - completely non intimidating.  Very casual, but still with an understanding of excellence.

Both Josiah and Mattias were prepared to play two pieces, and both sets of grandparents were there to cheer them on.

And so was Auntie Bonnie *smile*.

Mattias and his best buddy, Eston.  These two shall never sit together before a performance again LOL.  Boy, they get each other hyper LOL ... 

Both boys performed well ... 

And Katia remembered to be quiet.  most of the time.

Karen then spoke over each student in her studio - she gave affirming words over their hard work and accomplishments.

Then, two awards were handed out.  The first - "Most Improved", to which Josiah was the recipient. He was BURSTING ... in fact, he slept with the trophy last night.

The second award was "Student of the Year", to which Mattias was awarded the honour.  He completed a grade2 exam in January and will be completing his grade3 exam this week.  Two grades in one year is a BIG accomplishment - and he has sights on doing the same next year with grade4 and 5.  We'll see how that goes *grin*.

And even though I have three music degrees, with two specializing on teaching, my secret weapon is my mom.  She's an RCM examiner and loves spending time with each boy on their music studies.  They listen to her, and I am so grateful that she helps me with this.  It means less arguing with my boys for me, and more quality time for her with her grandchildren.  It's a BIG win-win for us both!

And Katia?  She was just excited for the treats.

I wanted a photo with the grandparents and grandkids ... so glad I they let me get this.  I LOVE these images.

SO ... Tias' exam is on Friday - then one more lesson to chose next year's repertoire then - SUMMER!  Phewf ... another year done!

Have a great one!

05 June 2014

[talk: SURPRISE. Four. Oh. My. Word. Pt2]

... so.  Part 2 of my surprise-bday-party.  (You can see part one HERE).  Again, special thanks to my beautiful friend, Mel of Melody Davis Photography ... these images ... I just don't know what to say.

They just make me so happy.

So it was all pretty casual, then just before dessert was served, Lu asked three people to speak.  He had given them a heads-up (kinda nice of him).  It had actually been my mom's idea - again knowing that my love language is "words of affirmation" in a big way.  This part ... holy moly.  I wanted to box up that feeling and carry it with me forever.

First up - one of my besties for forever ... love her so much.  Char's an eloquent speaker - and I was a little nervous about what she would say.  I was pretty confident it would have to do with my pre-married-dating-life *blush*, since she was there for all of that drama LOL.

Then my brother.   He had notes on his iPhone.  So sweet.  And again - a little nervous about what he was going to say.  I'm sure Char stole some of his thoughts ... especially since he loves to tease me about my younger-ish days ... 

And then Ron spoke.  Let me just say, that these three people - people who are rocks in my life, have seen me grow up and I have so much history with - said such kind things, it was craziness.  It was like I was attending my own funeral LOL .., you know?  Hearing things that you have never heard them say - that would probably only be said once you were dead and gone.  How amazing is that???  I think that EVERYONE needs to have someone say nice things about them in front of others that they care about.  It's life-affirming.  It's pure gold.  

Then ... the bday song.

And me sucking wind, attempting to pretend to blow out a sparkler candle *grin* ... 

Yeah.  I'm short ...  or small.  Or tiny.  Or little.  Pick your word.

Then?  Me with everyone ... thanks, Mel xo (of Melody Davis Photography).  First up, Jason and Nicole.  They are our dear friends, God-given friends.  I am incredibly thankful for them ... 

Lu's bro Joele and wife, Suzanne and Liam ... they are more than family.  Beautiful, beautiful people.

My niece Brianna and her hubby, Josh (and the bun-in-the-oven) ... and it's been such a joy growing in our "adult" relationship.  So proud of who they are and excited to who they're going to become.

My inlaws with my niece, Danica and bro-in-law, Chad.  I have the greatest in-laws in the world.  Hands down.  I'll arm wrestle you if you disagree ... and I have pretty solid pipes *flex*.  HA!

My nephew, Brandon with Katia ... he is such a kind soul - and his little cousin adores him.

Beautiful Heidi.  Her crazy hubby, Carl, is further down the pics for some reason ... but she has the BEST laugh, is sincere and an absolute light.  I think she's amazing.

Great friends, Kevin and Dawn ... another God-given friendship that has grown into "family".   I love them more and more ... 

My lovely lifer-friend Debbie (and Marco was missing - so sad he was called into work - but he had to go stop a robbery or something ... .)  We have reconnected over these last few years and it has honestly made my heart leap.  Love them so much.  

The girl who would wake me up at 430am to head to 5am prayer, back-in-the-days-shawna and her hubby, Paul.  A SUPER fun couple, with hearts for the Lord and I am SO glad they were able to come after they chose to postpone their vacation to celebrate with me!

This just may be my favourite image of the night.  Ron and I.  My "other" brother.  This moment was after I told him, "I got to be the person you said all those nice things about.  ME.  I'M that person.  Do you even understand what that feels like??  You made me feel tall."

My friend from jr.high-Matt and his wife Tracy whom I adore ... so many great memories with these two, including a crazy weekend of amusement-park-hopping in California without kids.  We're hardcore like that.  LOL.

Cousin Dom and his better-half-Charmaine  *laughing*...  no worries.  He'll never read this (HA!).   These two ... I don't even know where to start.  They are wise, and do life in a way that others would only dream of aspiring to ... love them.

My incredible mama ... who taught me everything I know.  She's a rock, she's witty, she's a hard worker, she loves her family like none-other.  There is no one like her, and I get to be HER daughter!

My she's-been-my-sis-longer-than-she-hasn't-sis-in-law, Bonnie ... my gift from God.  We do life very differently, and she keeps my head on my shoulders.  I admire her more than she knows.  Well.  Maybe she will if she reads this LOL ... 

My dad ... my first love, my hero.  How do explain your love for your father?  I'm not sure I can ... without getting my keyboard wet from crying.  He.  Is.  The.  BEST. xx

Lifers Kurt and Char ... they've seen it ALL *laughing* ... oh how I love them!  We literally have done life together ... trips, house buying, children-having ... grey-hair-getting??

Highschool-lifer-friend - Lisa.  She's talented, a go-getter, loyal and SO much fun.  Nicole,  one of my new-church friends. She is a hands-on mom of the most incredible three boys and I admire her heart for the Lord so much.  And Melissa ... well.  Um.  Let's just say she witnessed my dating life too when she was a teen  *laughing* and she has grown into a beautiful friend of mine.  She's wise, crazy-fun and has such a beautiful teachable spirit.

Oh boy - I don't have a memory without Phil.  His mom was my kindergarten teacher!  He has been a faithful friend, and I'm so proud of who he's become.  His wife Becca is full of wisdom and is the most sensational homemaker you'll ever meet. Ken - the man who stole my best friend away *laughing*, don't worry - I forgive you.   Debbie ... she was my maid of honour and is always, always there for me.  I never laugh harder then when I'm with her ... she loves me, and I know it all the way deep down.  

Awe, my Auntie Ruth, Karen and Scott ... they're not "friends".  They're family.  Through thick and thin, through yuck and joy.  Love these people so much ... 

Ha!  Jason and Kristin ... beautiful people.  Such a REAL couple - who aren't driven by image or what others think ... they are strong and lovely.

Josiah ... my heart.

Oh boy!  Kris and Rachel ...  summer camp at the age of 14 wouldn't have been the same without them!!  Loyal, loyal friends who I feel them cheering me on.  They inspire me and man, they are just so great ... xx 

Well now, I've gotten myself into a jam by writing about each guest, haven't I.  Jay, Kris and Carl ...  um.  Ok.  I'll get back to them *laughing* ... No, kidding.  Jay has been my friend since before he married beautiful Melissa - he's the kindest man you'll ever meet, with a heart of gold.  Kris, well - I think there's a pic of him and his wife that I'll write about ... - and Carl?  Oh, Carl.  Dry humour, a love for creating amazing music and incredibly reliable.

Jordan and Amanda ...  such beautiful people, such wonderful friends.  Hardworking, God-loving, kind-hearted ... lovely.

Kris and Kim ...  well.  Ha!  Ok ... Kris I've known for a long time ... from when we dated for two and a half years.  He's a good guy,  and Kim, is his extraordinary wife.  I've watched them grow into beautiful people and I'm so glad they came - I'm so glad they're both in our lives.  

The stunning Katarina and Jen ... stunning, intelligent, strong, Godly young women.  THRILLED that they were there!

Ryan ... I love this pic.  And I love this guy.  A man with a true heart for the Lord and a hunger to be the man of God he's totally called to be.  My friend.

Ryan, Katarina, Jen and Brandon ...  they're trouble together.  And I love them.  Even Brandon.  But don't tell him that ... he'll get all weirded out *laughing*.

Melody ... the one and only photographer extrodinaire.  My beautiful friend, who has taught me to not be afraid to laugh at myself - and I am so grateful for her.

My sis-in-laws, Marilena and Silvia, and bro-in-law, Chad.  They really are more than just family.  They are always behind the scenes, incredible hard workers, with such a big heart for all things "family" and "friends".   I love them so much.

Silvia *smile* ... oh how I had to BEG her to get this pic!

My bro, Darren.  The one I always have strived to be like.  The one who has always appeared to have it together, all figured out.  He's talented, he's faithful, he's a leader, he's one to be admired.  Love him.

And my first-ever-blue-box ... 

... and friends who know how to pronounce my name LOL.

PHEWF.  I know - a LOT of pics.  And I only chose a small portion.  I am SO grateful for these photos - and it makes me even MORE diligent about my job when I'm behind the lens.  Memories are forever ... but so are pics *grin*.


I'm exhausted now.  But FULL of love after doing this.

I hope YOU have a great one!! xx