My sister joined me today to talk about her first book, Finding Wild. I think any of you who are interested in writing or literature will find it interesting. And even if you just need motivation for your dream project give this a listen.
Sister Youtube Fun
Over on my youtube channel my sister Madeline and I filmed some videos together and we had so much fun! We are 18 years different in ages so most of her life I’ve been the mini-Mom figure and not a real sibling. It’s only been fairly recently we’ve been able to bond as more friends than child/guardian type relationships. I thought filming some videos would be great but it was a lot more enjoyable than I would have guessed. We laughed and laughed.
Do any of you have big age gaps with your siblings? How do you make it work?
I’d love if you gave any of these videos a watch, thumbs up or add your comments. There’s a little bit of everything.
Here’s the Sisters Tag so you can learn about all things Rachel and Madeline
Here we review the Candy Club box.
What started it all off was we ranked all 8 of the Harry Potter movies. It ended up being very long so I divided it into 2 videos. It is probably more of a podcast style video but I really think you will enjoy it if you give it a watch. I’d love to hear your rankings if you’ve seen the movies.
So it was a great time and I’m grateful to be able to share it with all of you. Hopefully in the future I can do videos with my sister Anna and brother Sam (the other 2 siblings will never happen) . It’s a fun way to become friends through filming (you wouldn’t think so but I certainly found that to be the case with Madeline). So hurray for sister time!
Madeline is 10- A Decade Come and Gone
My baby sister Madeline turns 10 today. I can’t believe an entire decade has gone by since she has been a part of our family. I know it is such a cliche- but really where does the time go? I remember the day she was born. I had the unusual circumstance of leaving for college with my mother pregnant. It was a stressful time for our family as we had just moved to California from Maryland (I know all the way across the country!), my mom had 2 other young children and she had basically full bed rest for the entire pregnancy. To add to the pressure both myself and my sister Megan went out to BYU at the same time. This was a surprise for my parents as Meg was only 16 at the time. ( I was delighted with Megan going to school. It was like my best friend taking that big step with me). My parents tried their best to handle everything with grace and cheerfulness but it was hard. My mom used to call our dorm room and try her best to sound happy but it always came across as pathetic and sad. It was a very exciting but conflicting time for both of us.
At the end of our Summer term we traveled home for a two-week time period. I don’t remember when the original due date was but my mom was scheduled to be induced at the beginning of our trip. It was on a Friday and we debated because it was the superstitious day of Friday the 13th; however, in the end we wanted to spend as much time with the new baby as possible. Plus, my mom was ready. Into the hospital she went and later that afternoon she had the baby (my mom always had fast deliveries). She was a beautiful baby with light blond hair and a button nose. Madeline didn’t have the bleach blond Anna had but was definitely fair. For the next two weeks we helped my mother as much as we could and took care of the baby. From the beginning Madeline had spunk and curiosity for life. I thoroughly expect her to do great, dynamic, exciting things- she has the personality for it. She always has.
Some may find it odd to have a sibling that I have never lived with for more than a week or two. How can we be close? Well, I have been fortunate enough to always travel home for visits at every major holiday. My family has also made it a priority to travel to Utah as much as possible. I have often heard the younger kids grumble about “another visit to Utah…” What they didn’t realize is these trips were essential to the unity of our family. As all of my siblings grow, I know I will continue to see our relationships grow and our friendships deepen. I am a very communicative person and as cute as little kids are I almost enjoy the more talkative pre-teen and teenager ages more. I look forward to many more birthday’s with Madeline!
Aside from memories of her original birthday, I have also been contemplating the last decade. 10 years. It has been 10 years since that big day for our family. What have I done in that 10 years? I started to list the accomplishments and if I am allowed to say, it’s not to shabby of a list:
Since 1999 I have:
Started and graduated with my bachelor’s degree from BYU in Political Science emphasizing in political philosophy. In 2001-2002 I was able to be a teaching assistant for Matt Holland and David Bohn- one of the great honors of my life.
Completed an MBA
Had 5 different jobs (that’s just counting what I do now as one job!)
Lived in 14 different apartments.
Had 29 roommates/companions (that is only counting my sister once who I lived with 3 times)
Served a 20 month mission for the LDS (Mormon) church.
Took at least 4 years of voice lessons (8 recitals)
It’s hard to know exactly but I figure I have been to California at least 40 times in 10 years.
Plus, I have been to Japan, Mexico twice (that’s 2 cruises), Hawaii 3 times, New York City 3 times, Indiana once (aside from the mission), Las Vegas 3 times, Disneyland once, Jackson Hole and more.
Two of my siblings have gotten married and I now have 4 nieces and one step-nephew.
I tried to count but I have lived in 15 wards and had 21 callings at church. Most of my callings have involved activities or enrichment. I have served as a teacher once and this was my favorite calling besides my mission.
Assuming we talked for only an hour a week, taking out 2 years for my mission, I figure I have talked to my mom on the phone for over 400 hours. In fact, it’s probably double that. I have similar statistics for both Anna and Megan. I am so grateful for the time they take to make our relationships strong.
There have been some sad, tough times, but I am proud of the woman I have become. Some especially hard times were in 2001 when my grandfather and 2 cousins died, 9/11 happened, and other family crisis erupted in one year. 2007 was also a difficult year where I dealt with depression, anxiety and even a panic attack. My mission also had many struggles accompanying its triumphs.
I have started a blog, gotten on facebook, and watched far too many hours of movies, dvds and cable (reality tv has become a particular addiction)
I now have 20 cookbooks and have sampled hundreds of recipes while throwing tons of parties- some more successful than others. I like to think I am a pretty great entertainer at this point, and I hope I have made a few people happy through my efforts. My personal favorite is the original Barefoot Contessa cookbook and the follow up Barefoot Contessa Parties by Ina Garten. Delicious!
I have been in 5 book clubs and read countless books. Some of my favorites are Red China Blues by Jan Wong, Delicacy and Strength of Lace by Leslie Marmon Silko and James Wright, Urban Tribes by Ethan Watters, Harry Potter books, Jane Austen books, Elizabeth Gaskell books etc…
In the last 4 years I have become a lover of audiobooks, podcasts and radio programs including Car Talk, Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, This American Life and Radio West. Little things like reading a great book or listening to an interesting program are what make my life great.
My favorite perks of the last 10 years- high speed wireless internet, my ipod, and my DVR (like TIVO). I am still fantasizing about getting a Kindle someday…
Finally, I have had the best friends a girl could ask for. Particularly when I think of the friends who have persisted over this decade, I feel so lucky. There are too many to begin naming them. Suffice it to say, I have had very few moments where I am lonely for a shoulder to cry on or a companion to share a laugh with.
Life is good, and I have much to be grateful for. I have a great life.
Clearly there are some life goals I have not met including losing a significant amount of weight, having a committed relationship, getting married, having kids (girl named Lili, boy named Christian but who’s planning!), getting a down payment and purchasing a home, going back to Europe,catering at least one wedding, earning a PHD, and writing a book. These are all things I hope to be able to list as accomplishments when I write my post at Madeline’s 20th birthday! They are somewhat lofty goals but as the poet says “every dream proceeds the goal and the dream lies hidden in your soul”. We will see how life happens. I have certainly learned a lot in the last decade and can only hope that the next 10 years are twice as fruitful as the previous. Thanks in advance for your support and help along the way. It will be a great adventure!
(I hope this post doesn’t sound like eulogy. I was simply feeling thoughtful about my life. )
Over the Rainbow
I have had the craziest week. Between moving, getting ready for Hawaii, working hard and getting ready for a recital today, my life felt pretty overwhelming. Today I am pleased to write this blog as a fully moved-in person. I love my new apartment and feel at home here. All this unpacking included spending an entire day putting together an IKEA bookcase with doors (it was my nemesis! So hard!) has left me exhausted and ready for vacation.
After a long week I finished it today by performing in my voice lesson recital. It was my most intimidating recital because I sand Over the Rainbow- the famous Judy Garland version. It may be my favorite song. Definitely in my top 10. Because I love it so much it made all the more nerve-wracking to sing it. I wanted it to be perfect, which of course it will never be. It is also a more difficult song than you’d first expect. Every time you sing “Some” “Where” you do a full octave change. This happens time and again throughout the song. It is also such a recognizable song that it almost has to be perfect or people will notice. It was a big risk for me to select it, but I have improved greatly because of it. It’s more satisfying than I can explain in words to hear myself get better week-to-week on a song I love so much. It’s the best!
With all this preparation I stepped onto the stage at Hale Theater Orem and sang my heart out. Without sounding too arrogant I think it was the best I have ever sung! I came off the stage beaming and got nothing but positive feedback from my friends and teachers. The funny thing is that I actually messed up on the words in one verse, but I didn’t let it phase me and nobody noticed. I just bought a new camera with a special video feature that is supposed to make it easier to post online. Take a look at the video of the performance. It was an exciting moment in my life.
Like I said, it was the best I have sung and it felt good! I hope you enjoyed it.
On another note my sister Anna had an exciting experience. She is a die hard David Archuleta fan and when I say die hard I mean it! She has seen him live several times, has every performance he has ever recorded, and has pictures of him in her room. You’d think he was a member of the family! More than just loving his music, she genuinely admires him for sticking to his values.
As a member of the David Archuleta fan club she participated in a contest to promote his album in return for various prizes. The grand prize was a 5 minute conversation with David. Anna went full force ahead doing a number of things including sponsoring a fundraiser for a charity David supports. A couple of weeks ago she submitted her project and then to all of our surprise she got an email announcing her as the winner of the grand prize! She won a conversation with her idol David Archuleta! Naturally Anna was beside herself and could hardly sleep the days before the phone call took place. Finally today it happened. At 2:49 he called and they chatted for 21 minutes! I guess they spoke about many things including music, writing songs, religion, BYU, American Idol and more.
Some may say it is a silly thing to get excited over but I disagree. I know David is just a person like anyone else. I also am aware there are lines in fanaticism, which go overboard and can be dangerous. However, in this case, I think it is a good thing. I appreciate anyone who lives his or her life with passion- someone who isn’t afraid to take risks. Anna is such a person. Her passion isn’t limited to musicians. She loves church, her friends, Lord of the Rings movies, Harry Potter, BYU, and more. I’ve even seen her get excited over a cool minor chord! It is so easy to be lukewarm and mediocre in life. While I was going to school I saw many people satisfied with the bare minimum, with gliding by on the coat tails of others. I still do not understand how others can be happy with such a paltry blahh life.
If Anna is going to be into David Archuleta, she should be into him all the way. I like how Anna has set a pattern in her life of living boldly. Most people wouldn’t have attempted the contest but Anna went for it, and she got it. I admire that. Later in life she will meet many obstacles that will seem impossible, but from this and other experiences she will have the courage to make the attempt- to try her hardest and hopefully the reward will come. In a weird way my singing and her phone call have something in common- they both involve passion for music, and trying our utmost to succeed.
Another thing I admire about Anna is she has learned to accept disappointment. For instance, at her age I would have been more emotional over not getting into the music department. Her attitude allows her to live with passion because however things turn out she can find happiness. Sometimes there are discouraging situations and other times, like today, there are moments of excitement and glee. Congrats Anna! You deserve it!