Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Budding Virtuoso. Again.

Drumroll......we bought Jeffrey a cheap violin on Ebay! He is now adding to his pianist prowess with another instrument.

He has taken to it like a fish to water. His piano teacher has been teaching him a little with her violin at the end of his piano lessons, and he's been expressing interest in taking violin lessons. He's now already had his first violin lesson and he's taking off!

(Bryce and Nathan are quite offended that I didn't buy them one, too, as if a violin were a $5 toy at StuffMart)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Prisoners at the pool (Really!)

Aaah! There are few stress-relieving moments better than finding something you've lost. Like your keys. Or your cellphone. Ever notice that they're always in the last place that you look? Heh heh. : ) Because once you find them, you stop looking! (Yes, I know, I'm easily amused)

But I'm SO happy that I found my cellphone, an extra addiction, uh, I mean, appendage, of mine.

Last week when we were swimming, I gave Jeffrey the keys to unlock the pool gate so he and Bryce could head home a few moments before me. I was getting sandals on Nathan when I looked up and realized they had taken off--with the keys. The gate had swung shut and locked, and Nathan and I were prisoners, with no one else at the pool, and no one walking by. We waited about 15 minutes, then I remembered I brought my cell phone, so I kept calling the house. Neither boy answered. Finally, when I called Rob, amused with my situation, told me to call some neighbors. Tami (mom of the cute baby Nathan featured on this blog) went over to our house and told Jeff to come unlock us, which he did. It was pretty funny.

The not-funny part is that apparently I put my phone back into our bottomless swimming bag and promptly forgot it. After more than a week and lots of hunting, I have started to get worried that it slipped out of my purse in some store, lost forever. This morning I actually said a sincere prayer to be able to find it.

While visiting teaching my friend Kim Rapier just an hour later, I gasped out loud & interrupted the conversation when the thought randomly entered my head that my keys could be in the swimming bag! Thank you for those quiet little temporal prayers that Heavenly Father answers.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Convenience Enthusiast

Ha! This is a great comic.


Why is it that I know I need sleep, I know the consequences of not going to sleep, yet I love the night? Especially the quiet it brings, the freedom to do things uninterrupted by phone, door, children, or schedules. I usually am not even productive. I just cling to some *me* time (not that I don't steal some during the day, too).
I always pay for not sleeping when I should. Well, rather, I should say, Rob always pays for it.... He, the kind morning-a-holic that HE is (which is a very good thing), takes care of kids and things. But I am also sluggishly sleep-deprived, and sometimes slough off the next day, waiting for the night to come when I'm not distracted and tired and busy, and can have some *me* time again. Do you see why I need to break the cycle? And yet here it is at 2 am and I just don't want to go to bed (normally I don't push it this late, especially on a Sat. night, but here I am).

On a different note, the kids had fun at a stake primary pioneer activity today, we had great fun as a family at the pool tonight, and, my favorite, I loved reading to the boys around the kitchen table while Rob fed them an evening snack after the pool. I haven't read so much to them recently, and just got a new pile of library books. I love their faces being completely drawn in to the story, them waiting anxiously for me to turn the page.

So much for my post sticking to one subject. It must be late; I should go to bed...

Monday, July 14, 2008

True Story

My favorite father in law in the whole world calls me yesterday.

I'm excited to hear from him. "How are you doing?" I ask.
He answers, then says, "Well, I called to say Happy Birthday..."
"Oh," confused, I reply, "Well, thank you," knowing my birthday is three days away.
He continues, " ME!!"
Lightbulbs turn on, fire bells go off, now I remember. It's HIS birthday.

How embarassing! I am the world's WORST birthday rememberer. Even my sister Kristy has pulled me aside and explained that she was born ON tax day, so I should be able to remember her birthday. Aaagh! Luckily, my FIL is my favorite in the whole world for a reason. He called to give me a hard time, but it was all in good fun. Love you, dad Wilson!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Fairy Tears

At swim lessons Jeffrey & Bryce take turns for semi-private before all three boys' regular lesson time, so Nathan runs around a lot the first half hour. Yesterday I was quite amused to find them playing their own form of tag once they grew bored of their simple "123 Go!" races. Someone was the "holder." If the holder reached someone and started bear-hugging/holding them, they lost energy. But, as I started to play, and Nathan was hugging my legs, Jeff exclaimed, "Don't worry mom, you've got three lives before you die!" I held my children off from gaming as long as possible, but this certainly proves they love to game now.

A similar experience happened at dinner two nights ago. I got some free pink tampico punch from one of my Scoutorama coupon books, a rare a yummy dinner delight. I only half-noticed the kids saying it was fairy tears, or fairy juice, and made them eat bites of food before refills. Only when I heard Nathan pipe up did I really smile at my imaginative boys. Nathan took a drink and said, "I drank my fairy tears, now I'm all hearted up," meaning that if he was playing a video game, his heart meter (health) would have filled up. Can we say, too much time watching/playing Zelda??? Still, I love watching their creative play.
As for all the pictures above, I love the rare, non-fighting moments between Bryce and Nathan. They look like best buds. I also love Nathan's face at Golden Spoon afterwards, while he puts his whole energy into eating his frozen yogurt. That's how ice cream/yogurt *should* be eaten! Yum!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Talented, hilarious musicians

I know I've posted this for my extended Cropper family at, but I am posting again for those of you who haven't seen these. They are so talented and hilarious, in my opinion. They make it look SO easy, but if you watch their hands on the piano or violin, it's clear they're extremely accomplished.

Mozart Bond
Riverdancing Violinist
Piano Lesson

I Will Survive
Ticket to Ride
Rachmoninov had big hands

Monday, July 7, 2008

Lonnie Ramos Update

Apparently Lonnie dropped Ryan off at an LDS church in Juarez, Mexico and then took off. Somehow he then was in a fatal car accident. Almost as baffling an ending as the tragic beginning.

I don't really know how to process this, how this will work out for him after this life. I do wonder if this is how Heavenly Father feels when we make poor decisions (sometimes life-alternating) and Heavenly Father knows that's not who we are. I can imagine better His heartache when we make choices that adversely affect us and our eternal welfare, as well as the welfare of close family/friends around us. I knew the "good" Lonnie, a really compassionate person. It's so hard for me to understand him taking such drastic measures.

I'm so sorry for the estranged wife, as well as for the psychological effects on poor Ryan. Ryan has been flown back to the US, and has already been able to visit his mom in the hospital.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Baby Nathan

Baby Nathan is here! Not mine, of course, I'd tell you all if I was having a baby. My best friend here in CA, Tami Langley, is also my next-door neighbor, and she had a little boy yesterday morning at 9:17 am. He came quite early despite her month of bedrest and her last week in the hospital, but he looks beautiful and healthy. Tami & husband Kevin are so happy, and all are doing well. Here's my first try at posting pics. Nathan Danger Langley is 4 lbs 6 oz, 17 1/2 inches long.

Misleading blog title

Ok, so I'm looking at the definition of idealist, and realize my blog title is a little misleading. Though I think it's very clever and funny (thanks Katie for the idea), I really do continue to be an idealist; I really do cherish/pursue high and noble principles, goals, and purposes, all relating to the Plan of Salvation. I think the difference is, I now realize that they are not the everyday norm, which is why I love the quote at the bottom of my first post. When we're having FHE (family home evening), I don't base its success on how the kids acted or received it (if I did, I would be a very depressed person sometimes). I base it on the fact that we are in the right place at the right time, and that I am teaching my children how to act during FHE.

I'm still a blogging baby, but hopefully will post pictures as I get better at this. Then, hopefully video and add some soundtracks, and especially links to all of my blogging friends and family.

Today was very emotional for me at church, knowing Lonnie used to be here every week and I had forgotten he even was a primary teacher for awhile. Our bishop helped address it a little and especially how to respond to our kids' questions about it. Being an emotional day, I relied on my anchor, which is my testimony of the Savior and understanding of God's plan for us. It also makes me want to cling to my family and be a better parent, and strengthen my marriage even more.

Friday, July 4, 2008

How is it possible?

I don't know what to say. A man in our ward, Lonnie Ramos, shot his ex-wife Wed. night (she did survive the shooting; she was hit at least one time in the upper torso), less than 3 minutes from our home.

She was coming to pick up Ryan for a custody exchange, and he charged her from the bushes, shooting through her windshield. I do not have words to describe my emotions. I am so sick to my stomach.

I know he's gone through a bitter divorce and painful custody battle, but I've also seen this kind and cheerful man show his good heart so many times each week at church. In Gospel Principles I saw a period of time where his testimony was growing, and he was working so hard trying to have the Spirit in his life, and forgive his ex-wife. I've seen him at the park practicing soccer with his 9 year old son. Last October Ryan spent all day making a pie for a contest, and won the pie-decorating contest at our ward Halloween carnival/dinner/trunk or treat--Lonnie & Ryan always dress up fabulously at Halloween. Lonnie dated a mom of one of Jeffrey's classmates for a year, and I often saw how caring he was, how kindly he treated her and her children. He was a dedicated and doting father at Ryan's weekly cub scout activities.

What happened? What was it that caused him to snap? Apparently the divorce and the custody battle was ugly, as well as disputes when one or the other parent picked Ryan up. He also recently lost his business, and his house was going into a short sale. A roommate who co-owned a house with him (very understandable here in CA) said that he swiveled to sad, angry, happy, sad, sad, happy, angry, angry, sad. Was he trying to make sense of the craziness in his life, and depression got the better of him? I watched my brother and sister in law get divorced, and it seems there's no way to keep things compartmentalized. It was so hard for both of them, so muddy, so messy.

And now what happens? He goes on the run with his son who may have witnessed him attempt to kill his wife. Any chance at working through problems, especially those related to his beloved son (with whom he spent the weekend at Legoland just prior to this), are gone. When the consequences start piling up, and he is caught, he will lose getting to live with his son, and will lose all custody of him. His son may be psychologically scarred for life, his ex-wife will be physically scarred for sure, and the passenger friend and her 4 year old daughter that were in the car are certainly affected (they were not injured). How was this possible?

My heart just aches for Lonnie. I tell you, I saw so much goodness in him, trying to make sense of his divorce and seek spiritual guidance. Sadly, it was only after I learned this tonight that I realized I haven't seen him at church for a few months now. Of course I wish SO much that I had continued to extend the hand of friendship and at least notice and call when he stopped coming to church.

On top of this, Wed. afternoon there was a car accident with at least one fatality, only 3 miles from my home, in the time that one of my mothers dropped her daughter off to piano lessons and then picked her up 1 hour later. How short life is; it can change in the blink of an eye!