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Friday, December 31, 2010

Oh music--the bane and the love of my life.

This is a post I wrote a week or so ago for Notes about Music Notes I hope you like it. :)

Oh music--the bane and the love of my life.

When I first started the flute it was an absolute joy. It was a game: Can I get out those notes? How high can I go? "Mom, guess what! I played Jingle Bells today at school!" But it slowly transformed into a mountain of stress. How could I capture the pure joy of music I once had in Elementary and Middle School?

I am a music major at a prominent University in Utah Valley...graduate student even. I study flute performance and what a roller coaster it has been.

I started in sixth grade and didn't start private lessons until eight grade. Being the oldest child, my parents didn't "know the ropes." I was rather behind, in comparison with my college colleagues. But I loved the flute and was unaware of my lack of ability. Soon Elementary and Middle School flutists started dropping music for other activities. I emerged as one of the better flutists, but I was never "the best."

Me Junior year of High School. 

In High School it was no different. I auditioned for the top band at my school as a Freshman and didn't make it. Even as a Senior I was never first chair. But this isn't a whine-fest. Even though my musical career was marred with set backs, it was also lined with triumphs--personal triumphs and musical triumphs. I got an "I" at State solo-ensemble as a Freshman and Junior and a "I+" as a Senior. I was in All-State Orchestra twice and traveled with my High School band to Pearl Harbor and Normandy, France. I don't say these things to boast, but these were the turning points that led me to the fulfillment of a dream. It was only because of them that I gained the self-confidence needed for college. But I always had this deep, persistent fear that I wasn't the best.

Me in Normandy, France thanking a Veteran from the 101st Airborn. 

My college career was much the same, marred with set-backs and feelings of failure and with the occasional "personal victory." College was the time of my life where I lost much of my pure and simple love of music. I loved the songs I was playing. I loved the new techniques I was learning as methods of expression, but there was an undercurrent of self-doubt. I was never the "best" so how or why could I continue? I started to get nervous while performing. Flute became a Major more than a love. Of course I still enjoyed playing and performing, but it didn't have the same magic as when I was younger. Where was it? Many times I thought it would be found when I was "the best," or when I was first chair, or when I was in the top orchestra. And it wasn't.

After a Woodwind Chamber night performance with my flute, oboe, piano trio. 

Slowly (and yes, I have miles to go) I am learning that a master's in flute performance or a bachelors or even a successful high school career is not required for music to capture our soul and change it. Now, my love of music can be found in knowing that I am the vehicle through which music can change our souls. I love music and I love performing because music captures emotion which cannot be put into many ways music is the most abstract of all the arts. I don't have to be the best to have this ability. All that is needed is a pure love.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

'Twas the Sunday after Christmas

David and I went to my family's ward last Sunday, partially because Abby gave her first-ever sacrament meeting talk. It was really good! But she had to be convinced it was amazing. (Sound familiar?) It's funny how habits like that can start really young. The girl who is more confident than either Kellie or I at anything, the girl who is our little drama queen, and the girl who isn't afraid of answering questions at school or church got absolutely frightened by a little sacrament meeting talk.

Granted, who isn't afraid of your first talk? But I just find the irony interesting. Even a confident (and genuine) exterior may need reassurance. That's why a compliment can mean the world, even if they seem confident.

On another note, there was a very sweet elderly lady at church--the kind that usually wears corsages, especially on special occasions. But her corsage today was rather peculiar. Instead of a lovely poinsettia, or a holly bough, she wore a doll head. Yes, a doll head--just the head. Granted it was a Christmasy-Swiss doll head with lovely greenery around her, but it was still a doll head cut off just below the neck.

And the other day I discovered a white hair on my head. At least it is white and not a dismal gray. I envision my hair being pearly white with no hint of gray. It is long and flowing with a gentle curl. I have great hope.

Merry Christmas All.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

An ornamental tradition

I have always loved my family's christmas tree. It's full of handmade ornaments and snowflakes and unique ornaments bought for each child. Now that David and I have formed a family of our own I have taken all of my ornaments and put them on my own tree. Admittedly, it is kind of sad not seeing it on my family's tree, but it is cool seeing David and my Christmas traditions start to bloom. I only have taken pictures of a few of my favorites.

I believe the crochet around the ornament was done by my Grandma Woodfield...or Great Grandmother Carlson. I'm not, correct me...

This ornament and the next one have been put up my me for as long as I can remember. It is reminiscent of happy, but frugal days of my parents while they were in Grad school, but I LOVE the homemade aspect of it. 

This ornament was given to me (and one exactly like it to Kellie) when we left Berkeley, California after my Dad graduated. It was to remember all of our happy memories. 

I think this ornament is so clever. I chose this one on one of my family's traditional Myrtle Beach vacations. Each kid has their own Santa-based shell. 

So there was a peek into one of my favorite christmas traditions that I can't wait to continue with David. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Christmas has got to be my FAVORITE time of the year--hands down. No school. It's a chance to recuperate from the high-stress of the semester. It's a chance to eat yummy food. It's a chance to make yummy food. It's a chance to give gifts (forget what I'm getting... I really just love the giving). It's a chance to spend lots of time with family.

There is no better time. And it snowed! David and I went for a walk tonight in a "winter wonderland." We even made a few snow angels. And there are some amazing sculptures out there. In front of one of the apartments in our singles ward was an igloo. YES, an igloo. With a roof and everything. And it wasn't small. Two guys could easily sleep in it. It's on 800 North if you want to check it out.

And per request (My mom and David's mom) here is a peek into our humble christmas decorations. It's kind of strange having a "first christmas as a newlywed." It's great, but here we are, starting our own traditions and gathering our first decorations. I love my mom's decorations and I someday wish to emulate it's magic. You can check out one of her blogs about them here.

I'm excite to see what our family's christmas is like in 5, 10, and 20 years down the road.

David slowly, but surely putting up the lights. Here, I am sure, is the beginning of a long tradition. :) And actually, the lights are a hand-me-down from my parents tree when they were young and spry. 

Putting up the ornaments. Look for a blog on this later...

Sorry the lighting is horrible, but these were a delightful and generous gift from David's mom. It is a nativity from Willow Tree. I love it!

The wooden nativity is childish, yes, but it was something to put up. I got this when I was 8 or so from my Grandmother Woodfield. Kellie has one just like it. The tile on the right was a wedding gift. 

Ah. My Swedish elves. I LOVE these people. I hope to find and acquire more of these someday. See the link to my mom's blog. 

This cute little guy was a gift of my Grandma Stoker when she was on her mission in Germany. 

These stockings are a tradition in David's family. And now I've been inducted! Completely homemade. 

And here is our humble, completed tree. Isn't it cute? It fits perfectly in our little apartment. I love it. :) 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Missionary

My sister-in-law Amy went into the MTC about a month ago and yes....I am JUST getting around to blog about it. She is (and will be) such an amazing missionary. She has so much enthusiasm and loves the gospel and what better combination is there? She is going to Taiwan Taichung and will be speaking Mandarin! She is already teaching at the MTC in Chinese...and has been since her second week out. Hopefully David and I can send a Christmas/we love you! package.

Isn't she beautiful?

Many of my girl-friends have served missions but for some reason I have never felt that strong desire to go. For those that have served, they have come back even more amazing than they were before. But this doesn't mean that every girl needs to serve a mission. It's completely up to them, and I  have had to learn this for myself. For years I had this itch at the back of my brain that I should have served, but I know now that I shouldn't have. The Lord directs our lives. I probably wouldn't have married David and certain health issues would have made serving as a missionary....well...unpleasant. The Lord needed me elsewhere and sometimes we have to trust our gut (aka follow the spirit) for. (Well, I guess we should do this always).

BUT I can not wait to serve as a missionary with David in our elderly years. I mean, I just want to stand up and yell to the sun "hurry-up!" JK. Life is going to be full of adventures in the meantime. :)

Here is all (ok, some) of Amy's earthly positions all packed away in a little box. How symbolic. 

Here she is getting ready to go! She was Really excited but there was a small amount of trepidation. Naturally. Before she was dropped off we had a delectable lunch at Creamery on Ninth Street Grill. 

Too precious. 

And she's off!




We love Amy! 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thankful list

Long time no write. Sorry about that. Life got crazy...I'll write about that...later. But I thought, in the spirit of the season I would write a thankful list. I love reading blogs, and many had thankful lists. It was fun seeing what they were thankful for and remembering what I was thankful for.

1. For my family living so close. I can get rather sentimental and so it is wonderful having them so close around the holidays. I love my family. I've never really had to "move away" because I'm from Provo. Since college I've lived away from home, but I always managed to see them at least once a week. Usually more. And I'm going to miss that. A lot.

2. For my dearest David. I couldn't have him be just on one number, so I'll make it several. He cares about me so much. He is always there for me.

3. That David cooks breakfast and makes lunch in the morning for both of us. This allows me to sleep in a few extra minutes--which I need.

4. Notice that I said COOKS breakfast. At least 4 times a week we have a hot meal--and that includes pancakes, waffles, and muffins.

5. For my sweet sister Abby, who always readily gives me a hug and for thinking of ways to brighten their day.

6. For my Little 6 ft 2 inch 15 year old brother who is slowly but surely becoming someone who I can actually talk to. And we both enjoy the conversation.

7. For my beloved sister Kellie, who is the biggest example to me of kindness and selfless service despite  her crazy and busy schedule.

8. For my Mother who was a stay at home mom my entire life and NEVER thinks of herself first. Or second. Or third. She is always looking for ways to help David and I out and I am so thankful for that. And for her unending patience for me.

9. For my Dad. Wow. For his talks/ chats with me about EVERYTHING. No offense, but I don't think anyone could understand the relationship that I have with him. He, along with my mother, has taught me and guided me through the most rocky points in my life. He has helped me understand myself and has never given up on me.

10. For David never giving up on me. He knows exactly who I am and what my weaknesses are. And he knew these things before we got married. And he still wanted to marry me. And was even more determined to do so.

11. For my talent of cooking. And that it is a treat and stress reliever and useful.

12. For heavy-duty wrapping paper

13. For the holiday traditions my family passed down to me. I am excited to introduce them to David.

14. For David's family. I don't know how or why, but apparently they really really like me. And I am grateful I'm not seen as a strange horned toad in their family pond.

15. For David's dad's death. Don't get me wrong. I wish this didn't happen. BUT, I am pretty darn sure that David and I wouldn't have gotten married if this didn't happen. He was shaped and changed because of this experience and is much better for it. I can't wait to meet his Dad.

16. For amazing musical experiences. For the times when you are performing with an ensemble and it just GELS. You are one with everyone else and the power that music creates is beyond anything.

17.  For the times that I have felt loved ones who have passed beyond the veil give me comfort and strength and hope.

18. For the scriptures and the peace it gives.

19. For my ever faithful Santa Bear.

20. For prayer. And that God listens to me.

21. For texting. In my case, it is faster and more effective most of the time than calling. That and you can send cute messages to your significant other.

22. For clean clothing. Or any clothes. And for my favorite outfits.

23. For David and my income and that we have enough to get by.

24. For Grants and Scholarships.

25. For my teacher Dr. Clayton who supports me and stands by my side. For her guidance in not just the flute, but life as well.

26. For my flute. I am so incredibly blessed to have the flute I have right now. I wouldn't be the flute player I am today with out it.

27. For opportunities to play in sacrament meeting and other church functions.

28. For good and loyal friends. You know who you are.

29. For extended family who strive to keep in contact with me despite long distances.

30. Back to David. For his quirky sense of humor that matches mine.

31. That David humors my dramatic speeches

32. That David changed his mind and decided that marrying during college was a good idea after all.

33. That David is a dedicated home teacher.

34. For David unending patience. It never waivers. I don't think there is anything I can do to make him lose his patience. Sometimes I try to make him lose it. He never blows. Nope. Not yet. And I doubt if ever.

35. For the christmas tree my parents gave us. A cute, fake, 4.5 foot tall one crammed with ornaments.

36. For a temple SOOO close by.

37. For the opportunity to get a Master's degree.

38. For amazing flute students who say thank you and actually seem to like you.

39. For hot chocolate. And roasted marshmallows.

40. For Costco Almond Poppy Seed muffins

41. That David is becoming more exuberant to match my own. Either that or his is humoring me. Either way. He's not that boring, home-body I thought he was. NO SIR. Ha. My parents are constantly surprised too, especially compared to my descriptions of him a year and a half a go.

42. For David's ambition to get a PhD in Biomedical Engineering.

43. That David holds my hand when we walk. I see some couples never holding hands when they walk and it saddens my heart.

44. That David wears his wedding ring and will forever. Some people don't. Bah Humbug to them.

45. That David and I are not in debt.

46. For squashes of all kinds. And sweet potatoes.

47. For Google.

48. For Macs. And Apple's creativity.

49. For my father's employment and for virtual chemlab.

50. For Argyle socks.

51. For HULU. I just discovered it. And that Stargate SG-1 is on it.

52. For my Grandmother Stoker's dedication to family. And her AMAZING light as a feather, buttery, rolls that NO one can duplicate.

53. For my Grandmother Woodfield's sarcasim.

54. For my Grandpa Stoker's amazing musical talent that he SHARED it with those around him.

55. For my Grandpa Woodfield's hard work and that he passed it down to my Father.

56. For David's red hair.

57. For the gummy vitamins my mom gave me.

58. For the people who read this blog. I love you. :)

59. For my mom's creative ways to entertain, etc Kellie and I when we were young.

60. For the gospel of Jesus Christ.

61. For many, MANY more things.

Friday, October 29, 2010

One of those weeks

Don't get me wrong. This week was fine. Nothing terrible happened. Nothing made me cry too hard. And nothing I couldn't handle (although at the time I thought so...)

But. I'm exhausted. And the week isn't over. I have a few minutes before I have to leave to play at the Wind Symphony Concert. I'll be happy once Sunday hits..too bad Sunday is just one day.

It was one of those weeks where all my body was craving was sweet, fatty goodness. Let's see. Today I had 3 Reeses cups, 1 subway cookie (all nice and soft. and gooey. and satisfying.) and 2 "fun" size 100 Grand. Yesterday I had creamery Ice cream (pralines and carmel with a cone on top. I never get the cone. But I needed to splurge. Not to mention there was more caramel then ice cream. Ask David if you don't believe me. It was delicious.)

Who knows what I will eat tomorrow.

But I tell myself it is alright. I need it. Literally. I'm not getting any fatter...I far... Sometimes it is the only thing that will get me through. And I think that is ok. We can go too far, like having these sort of cravings everyday for a week. But considering my week and the amount of sleep I have been getting, it is worth it. I will sacrifice a few extra (hundred) calories for the sake of my sanity and my soul.

Rehearsals until 8:30, 9:30, and 10:30 at night, a concert, a competition where you have to be in Ogden at 8:45 in the morning, will get to you. Not to mention everything else.  Maybe not everyone. But I'm tired.

But I think that's ok. It is amazing how prayers will sustain you.

And I will keep going to matter how crazy life gets, because I guess it is the crazy things that makes life worth living.

A rose David gave me while we were engaged. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Quick Food: Broccoli soup

Who knew Broccoli soup would be so fast and so good? Basically this recipe consisted of butter, broccoli, 1 cup of chicken broth (or water and bouillon) and onion boiled together until the broccoli is tender. And of course salt and pepper. It's then wizzed together with an emersion blender.

It was so simple! If you don't have a cool blender like this: ask for one from dear old Santa.

Or you could put it in a blender, but make sure you fill the blender only half way with the hot soup because the soup expands and is VERY hot. Just trust me with this one.

It ends up looking like this:

Doesn't it look cool? I'm totally making this for Saint Patrick's day. Personally I think kid's would eat this if only because it was green and looked awesome.

I thought it needed a bit more depth of flavor, but David adored it. What I would add next time: bacon crispified and added at the end, one potato for smoothness, and a touch of cream for creaminess.

But it was good as is! Try it! Let me know if you want the EXACT recipe...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

year and a half old cookies... sort of.

Perhaps I am sentimental, but exactly a year and a half ago today David and I made snickerdoodles for his birthday. It was ours second date (a month and half after our second) and we made snickerdoodles for a Sunday afternoon activity. I barely considered it a date, but David did, so I'll take it. Little did I know it was his birthday and so I was quite surprised by the balloons on his door decorated by his sister.  It does not need to be said that I thought a birthday date was strange, but I was flattered.

He also jumped higher on my boy interest list by 1) making snickerdoodles instead of boring chocolate chip 2) baking his cookies so they are just slightly under done and 3) his recipe was amazing and equaled my own.

2 Days ago we made snickerdoodles for a baby shower and we waxed sentimental. Here are a few pictures that documented the epic event.

The handsome man hard at work. Notice his apron. I find it very attractive. Also, if you want to know a secret, David did all the work this time. I had a boat load of homework that I did at his feet.

The beatufiul cookies right before we took them out. Notice how puffed and gooey they are. Long gone are the crispy, mournful cookies of the grocery store.

With the last dregs of dough David waxed experimental.

Don't they look cool?

Huh. But the final product was pretty similar. The one on the left was the square and the right the circle with the divot. I wonder what other shapes we could make.

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Awesome pins

Disneyland. It's magical. We all know this. But it is certainly most magical ALONE with your newly hubby. :) We went to Disneyland on our honeymoon and it was so much fun. We got special treatment because we acquired the most amazing pins!

We saw only one other couple who wore them, and on the very first day. It provided great conversation starters for any friendly person in line with us. We met an awesome family from Amsterdam. But the best part was having EVERY (literally EVERY) Disneyland employee say Congratulations! It made us feel special. It was interesting noting, the different couples in Disneyland. The VAST majority of the couples our age weren't married. We were definitely an anomaly, and I loved it.

I mean, who wouldn't feel special? David was my Prince Charming and I was his Cinderella. And together we formed a new Reece Family... which we giddily represented by taking a picture next to the R in California.

On a different note, we both discovered an AMAZING ride we both hadn't been on before in California Adventure. We wore a set of 3-D glasses. as we went through the Toy Story themed ride. Each of us had a score board as we raced to see how many bulls-eyes we could make as we shot various targets. It was really cool. In fact, I thought it would please even my father in terms of creativity. The ride even kept a tally of the day's, weeks, and all-time high scores.

If any one is considering going to Disneyland on a honeymoon or get-away, David and I approve most heartily.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Real Dreams

Hello devoted readers:

I really do appreciate you stopping by. Maybe it is sad, but I think all of us love feeling validated by a little comment or being a "follower." On second thought, it's not sad at all, just human nature. That being said, you lucky folks get a preview of my favorite pictures from our wedding reception.

My reception was everything I could ever have hoped for. It was in my backyard which lent an amazing casual and homey feel. And that is what a wedding should be, right? It is all about families and friends. The food was great, the music was fantastic, and everyone stayed and talked to each other. And there was literally not a cloud in the sky the entire day. I have never felt so blessed, so happy, nor so loved. It was incredible. I feel so blessed to have married David. God really does love us. I promise. :)