Tuesday, November 15, 2011

From a 7 yr old Piano Student

This makes my heart smile.
(today I did good)

Monday, November 14, 2011

In honor of the release of the last movie

Enjoy some FUNNY Harry Potter youtube videos!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Kids are so stinking funny

I love my job. It is challenging, it's enjoyable, and so rewarding. I was asked this week how many kids I have. I don't like that question, but I am getting used to the fact that as long as I am a teacher, it will be asked.  My new answer is " 94: 49 piano/ music kids, and about 45 primary kids."  I will be a mother some day, I hope.  I love my 94 kids, they help to fill the hole in my heart.

Here are some funny things that happen while at work:

Luke(5): "Stefanie (his nanny) if we have time can we get Shaylee a coffee or something?" apparently I was looking tired.

When I give him a new song we find the hand position, he will look up at his song , then at me and say "I don't think I can do this"

"I didn't play that last song too good, do I still get candy?"

"Shaylee, I think we have too much fun in here sometimes."

Every time Luke comes to a rest in his music he stops, turns his head and says "rest". It makes me laugh every time.

Little Mozarts (3-4 yr olds):  how old are you? How old do you think I am? 4! Hey, I'm 4!  Oh you must be 5 then.

"what? It's time to go already?" I love that one, so much better than are we done yet!

"We should do this everyday not just one time a week"

Isabella (6): This song was too easy, you should give me a harder one, not too hard, just hard enough.

(the next week) these songs are great, they are good fit songs.

Olivia (9): "woah! your hair grows fast! Now promise you won't cut it off again, okay?"

Mohamed (7): hey this song is about a princess, like you. Wait, you're not a princess, you don't wear dresses!

"I'm learning to drive a car!" He then proceeds to stomp on the pedals and yells "get outta the way!"

Stephen:(7) "you know pokeman?" no. "well there is a girl named Shaylee in pokeman" cool.

Jennifer (15): "My brain is literally exploding right now"...."ahh, my brain!"

My thursday Mozarts all left vowing to bring me special pictures that they will color just for me. So sweet!

Little Mozarts: I told them it was almost one to leave and they went over to the piano and started yelling at my clock! "Stop or I'll put you in time out/ jail".

Sometimes I have to be a mean teacher. I love the reactions when I tell one of my students that I do not have to be nice. I am getting paid to teach them how to play piano and I don't have to be nice to do it. I hardly ever raise my voice or use my authoritative voice, but when I do, kids definitely pay attention. I just consider those times mean mommy in training moments.  And I do consider myself a mommy-in-training, an my students give me lots of practice opportunities.

Now for some pictures to make this long post more enjoyable. 

Sometimes my kids get creative with their practice charts.
Cute right?

 Post nap hair...

Me on Halloween...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

post #300

I wish that I had something amazing to say, or something to announce for the 300th blog post, but I don't. Happy 300th, now for some pictures. Before and after of my studio and my hair.


I had chairs and occasionally tutus stored in my studio. But now, I use my room to teach Music for Little Mozarts and need more space. So I did a small make over, thanks in part to Hobby Lobby (sales and coupons!) and Mom who came and helped me with the heavy lifting.

After:  (still a work in progress...)
I have a tree to go in the corner where my office chair is, and a new clock on the piano...

The boom box is now where the tissues are, with some hand sanitizer.

And this board is covered in beautiful artwork and cards from my students

Before Hair: super long, been growing it out for about 2 years (with a few trims)
please excuse my ipod pictures, that's all I had on hand...

20 minutes and 8 inches later...

 After with glasses, they are new.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Please excuse our Absence

We meant to update but life has been insanely busy.
Here's a break down of recent events and future events:

First he Internet wasn't working, the repair man came and fixed it, then Dad unplugged the "do not unplug" plug. 
And then we upgraded our modem and router to a combination modem and router. Yay for fast and reliable Internet!

Joseph had a neurological appointment in Spokane that I could not take him to (long story, and I was upset!) 
Thank goodness Mom and Dad were available and they took him.
 It went well, he is trying some new medication for his walking and we are looking into physical therapy. We will be calling around for pricing.

Preparing for the primary program, that was today! 
Its my big responsibility as 2nd counselor in the primary presidency.

I now have 37 students and I am adjusting to my new thursday schedule.
 I am gone from 10 am until 6pm, with a couple breaks, but no long enough to go home for. So I hope those openings get filled soon.

Joseph substitute taught for seminary 4 times this week! 
Those students love him, when we run into them at church, school or at a store they are always saying "hi Brother Mecham!". It is really sweet.

I have been playing piano at the school more often because the concert is on the 26th, wednesday!

We rearranged our room because we finally got to wall mount our tv. 
Dad did it for us, he needed a project. He got it together and on the wall pretty quickly. It's amazing! That gave us the room to move our love seat in from storage! Yay!

Speaking of storage we will be re-packing and reorganizating most of our stuff in the storage. 
Some of our boxes have fallen apart a little. So we bought uniformly sized boxes and we were supposed to be attacking that task yesterday but it was crazy windy.

We are waiting for one of my paychecks (from the highschool) to come and then we will be getting a new car battery,
 new tires and windshield wipers. Ugh, but it gives us time to shop around to get the best deals.

We also made a trip to DSHS to turn in the paperwork that we sent in this summer after a lot of phone tag we were told
 that they didn't receive it. Not true, and we were able to find out that our "household" is just Joseph and I, so we sorted through all of the paper work again and made copies again.But this time we hand delivered it. Now we are just waiting to see.

This last week my Dad lost his job. 
It has been very interesting in the Swanger household and we hope that Dad will find a job soon. We'll have two men going crazy at home with no job. 

Please keep our family in your prayers and thoughts.
Thank you.

Monday, September 26, 2011

I am not...

just the second counselor in the primary presidency.

I am Shaylee:
The following are real quotes that I have said, some more than once!

Sunbeam Wrangler extraordinaire:
"Let's see,  do you want to sit in the blue chair or the green chair?"
(They're all yellow)

"Look you have front row seats!"

"Okay, you're a robot (or dinosaur), can you be a reverent robot (or dinosaur)."

"Get your: arm, leg, bum, tongue, face, elbow, nose or face off your class mate please."

Tantrum Tamer:
"Jesus doesn't want you to yell in His house."

"Do you want me to hit you because I am unhappy with you? No? Then don't hit!"

"You don't want to sit with your class? Well lets go out the in the hall and learn how to be reverent."

Accomplished Confiscator of Contraband:
"We do not bring: toys, garbage, lipstick, candy, legos, coin collections, rocks or treadmill keys etc. to primary." (Yes, I have confiscated all of these!)

Champion of Chairs:
"If you tip your chair back again & you will stand until the end of primary."

"Four on the floor!"

Defender of Good Posture: 
"Your head doesn't belong there, put your bum on the seat."

"Feet on the floor, not the seat."

Master of Manners: 
"That's not how we talk to one another, let's try that again."

"(Child's name) Do we talk while I am talking? Please be quiet and listen."

"What do you say? (please, thank you, sorry, excuse me etc."

"That's not nice, we don't want to hurt her feelings do we?"

Whispered "If you can hear me, touch your nose, touch your ears, turn them on for listening, touch your mouth, turn it off .  It's time for sharing time/ closing exercises."

And most recently, baby handler. Our primary music leader was put into the relief society presidency, 4 weeks before our program! But luckily we just got a new family in the ward, and the wife was just called to replace her. She is awesome, and she has a 5 month old, so cute, red hair and bright blue eyes.  I got her to sleep in like 2 minutes, asleep and snoring. Then I got to sit and cuddle,well that and handle a kid that got sent into see me, unofficially I am "the enforcer", I am totally a mean mommy in the making.

Being in the Primary presidency is a hard calling, not because of the kids, more to do with adults.  But it is so much fun, so much work and Sunday is definitely not a restful day for me while at church. I love it, I love being in there with Joseph & my Mom who are both teachers in Primary.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Joseph had a job interview last week for a front desk position at an auto repair place. Please send prayers and positive thoughts his way. He was one if three people who interviewed for the job. We should find out soon if he got it or not. Shaylee's job has expanded!! Her boss asked her this summer if she would be interested in teaching a music class. Well that started last week, 2 classes with 3-4 yr olds, and 1 class of 5-6 yr olds. The class is called music for little Mozarts. She also has 30 piano students! On the first day of classes she had 26, (that was Aug. 29th). So things are looking up for Shaylee at work. We hope and pray that Joseph gets a job soon! He needs it, we need it. Pictures coming soon of Shaylee's studio makeover.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Sometimes I scan through my blog list & get frustrated - no one has updated! Then I think, oh yea, I haven't updated my blog either... So you might be checking my blog and saying the same thing, Silly me. I have really been meaning to update, but either I didn't have time to update or chose not to. Partly because I felt like I didn't have anything nice to say or because I'm worried people will misunderstand or misinterpret especially when discussing the struggles Joseph and I face. But I've gone to the conclusion that people will judge no matter what I think or do & I blog to share, and more importantly to journal. So I will try to update more soon, sweet or sour. Updates on jobs, funny things kids say, DSHS, and more!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

When we went to Spokane....

We stayed in this hotel! 
All expenses paid,
 pretty great hotel and great location in downtown Spokane.

We were on the 8th floor. With a great view of the Spokane River.

What did I tell you? Great view! 
The only downside to staying on the 8th floor,
 was if you rode up in the middle elevator, 
it was a little nauseating. 

Our hotel was wedged right between the convention center,
 and performing arts center.
And a block away from Riverside Park.
I love Riverside Park!

This is a slide! And a happy part of my childhood memories.
(I managed to use the branches to hide people, this was never sans people)

And the garbage goat! 
Push the button on the wall and hold garbage under it's mouth,
 and the goat "eats" it. 

Joseph was at "boot camp" and I went exploring. 
Or swimming, or reading...

I was at Riverside Park.
While taking these pictures I had an adventure.

I was taking pictures of little waterfalls,
 and I saw this homeless looking old man,
 and he was fishing off of the Spokane power tower.
It cracked me up. His line was soooo far down! 
So I snapped a picture. 
A few minutes later, that man yelled at me.
I was still on the bridge but pretty far away.
Also I was near a Grandpa with his grandsons,
who stepped defensively in front of me when the homeless man yelled at me.
I turned to look at him
and saw this...

He had caught a fish, and so I took another picture,
 and gave him a thumbs up.  
And continued on my way.
It was a funny adventure!
I laughed pretty hard. 

Joseph had a good time at bootcamp.
It was comprised of 14 people, and 5 vocational counselors from DSB.
4 people there were completely blind,  
the rest were varied levels of legally blind,
all semi-employed or un-employed.
I sat in on the last day and it was wonderful.
Joseph has been given new insight and tools to keep up his job search,
network, and how to sell himself to an employer better. 
He has been busy, with his "homework" since returning home. 

It was a mini-vacation, 
(when we were together)
We had fun, 
ordered room service 3 times
ate at a crazy expensive, dress for dinner- type restaurant (in the hotel)
still all paid for, we did really well sticking to the food vouchers 
and the last night we ate in the bar at the restaurant,
you don't have to "dress" for dinner, and it was half off.
We learned that drunk people are really loud, and really really friendly.
At least the people at the hotel were.

Overall it was an awesome experience for Joseph,
 and a welcome break from our live's stresses,
it should have been longer!
much longer.

Monday, August 15, 2011

And Now.. we have four nieces!

Stella LuRose KimEllen Toy
 Born August 12th at 5:37 pm
to proud parents, Miriam & Joshua  Toy
Weighing in at 6 lbs 9 oz
and 19 inches long.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Boot Camp?

Yes, that's right.  Joseph will be attending a boot camp of seminars for the blind and visually impaired it's "an intensive 3 day workshop that will focus on many of the elements that make a job search successful.  It is designed to assist you in restarting, re-energizing, re-tooling your job search efforts." We signed Joseph on to do this in June and we were hoping that we would have to cancel because he would have a job but no he doesn't. 

We are being put up in the double tree hotel in downtown spokane, right near Riverfront Park. And our gas is being re-imbursed! Which is awesome because we have to borrow my parents Honda Pilot, it's the only car with AC, and we have to travel in the middle of the day. (We can usually plan our travels to miss the heat, but this is an exception, we didn't plan it, or our arrival time) So we will be spending more than usual on gas, but it's alright it still comes out to free. Joseph will have meal vouchers, for breakfast and dinner while we are there. We're frugal so we can probably make it work for the both of us. I will have to find my own lunches though because that meal is served at bootcamp  each day and I don't get to attend.

My plans involve walking around riverfront park, maybe a little of riverside drive, picture taking at both places, both are in walking distance from the hotel. Maybe check out the botanical gardens, lots of swimming in the outdoor pool, a little laying out in the sun. some movie watching in our room,  book reading, maybe a little shopping, we want to make a visit to see the Toths... but basically Joseph will be busy, I will be trying to keep busy and we'll still have time enough together to make this feel like an almost all-expenses paid vacation. 

We're really excited to go. See you later. 
Although I may update from there, we will have wifi.
Until then here are some flower pictures.

(This is the background on my iPod right now.)

The Better than free phone...

 Somehow Joseph breaking his phone, was an unexpected blessing. After he broke it, he called me at work, and we were both a pretty frustrated, he HAS to have a phone. So off to our neighborhood Verizon store we went.  The guy there was super nice, unfortunately his phone was beyond repair, and out of warranty. So we looked at our options, buying a used one on eBay or a new one there. Luckily my line was up for an upgrade, it shouldn't have been. So we explained exactly what we wanted, to accommodate a blind man (we usually just tell strangers that he is blind, unless pushed for more info. It's just easier) a simple flip phone, bigger buttons, and the capability to read out the caller ID. We picked between two "free" phones, and one fit his needs better than the other.

That poor guy, his name was Jarod by the way, he spent over an hour helping us out.  Most of it was spent getting the Audible Caller ID to work, meanwhile, I perused phones, played with an iPhone, and paced. He had a couple of customers come while he was wrestling with the phone, one awful one, that he invited to leave, one great one who needed a new case for his phone.

Once all of that was done, it was time to check out which is a little bit of an ordeal on it's own.  He made a phone call in the middle asking for a discount code... Joseph was getting a $200 phone for free, and we still got to send in for the $50 rebate. So someday soon, we have a $50 Visa card coming, all because Joseph broke his phone. Another reason we love Verizon.

Crazy week (July 8th-15th)

When we got back from our July trip to Idaho we all got sick... no not food poisoning. Dad was 1st, which is weird he never gets sick. After he spent the night sick and a day laying in bed he got up and got ready to go on a 200 mile bike ride! (Seattle to Portland, if you were wondering) And yes, he is insane. Anyway about 12 hours later I was really sick, so I called my mom, who was waiting at the half way for Dad who decided 1/4 through the ride that he was too weak to finish.. Turns out I had the same thing, which is the reason for the call. 12 hours later Joseph and Mom were sick. We shared the flu, the influenza flu- and it was NASTY!!  While I was in the thick of it, I just wanted held, then after I wanted to cuddle but I hurt too much and we both had fevers so it was too hot to get too close. It was one of those times we would just lay in bed and touch hands or feet, because that is all we could stand. Like I said this was NASTY!

We texted Val and she was promptly banned from the house, she was going in for surgery later in the week. So she desperately needed to avoid this yucky-ness.  We were constantly sanitizing the house, and were well stocked with 7up, Gatorade, saltines, chicken noodle soup, top ramen & Popsicles.  And that's basically what we all lived on for that week.

Valerie had her tonsils & adenoids removed. She and Mom (who was healthy by this point) stayed at grandma's house- JR got sick and I was home playing nurse.  Somehow we survived all of that and I was finally just getting energy back when I had to go back to work.

I wanted to document this, because it was so strange. We all got it every 12 hours, except JR, who was boasting that his immune system would withstand it and he got it 24 hours after Mom and Joseph. I am finally working out again, it was pretty darn bad and luckily it happened while I was off work.

and this is a photo of the flu virus, just to make sure this post isn't picture-less. 
(from National Geographic, here)

Lets just say that Lysol wipes and hand sanitizer are my friends.

Monday, July 25, 2011

ABC's of us...

While I have many (3) different posts rolling around in my mind, I haven't yet been able to organize them yet, so here it is...

The ABC's of Me or Us

Age: S- 25, J- 28
Bed Size: Queen
Chore you hate: S- weeding, I have allergies. J- cleaning the toilet.
DogsWe have one, two if you count our cat, she seems to think she is a dog.
Essential start of your day: Prayer.
Favorite Color: Both: Blue
Gold or silver: Silver
Height: 5'6-7"
Instruments I play (or have played): Piano, Baritone, Trumpet, Mellaphone, percussion, and voice.
Job Title: S- Teacher. (Piano and Music). J- TBD
Kids: Definitely.
Live: in Washington, the dry side.
Mom's Name: Leah, LuRose
Nickname: J- Joe, Turbo, speedy. S- Shay, Shay Rae, Sunshine, (Shaylee Rae of Sunshine Swanger Mecham- I have Bro-Bish-Mo to thank for that) 
Overnight hospital stays: S- none. J- surgery in Brasil, surgery on my finger.
Pet Peeve: Bad drivers & and people (singles or groups) that take up entire aisles in stores!!
Quote from a movie: ...We quote so many, it's hard....But Harry Potter being the most recent movie we have watched .."I solemnly swear that I am up to no good. " 
Right or left handed: S- both, J- Left 
Siblings: total? 6 Sisters: Alisha, Valerie, Miri, Bethany, Kaelee, & Jessica. 6 Brothers: Josh, Jacob, Samuel, John, Dustin & Marc.
Time you wake up: When my eyes open, usually around 7 or 8, at least during the summer.
Underwear: Clean.
Vegetables you dislike: S- Mushrooms & Tomatoes. Broccoli dislikes me. J- I like veggies.
What makes you run late: Forgetting things, there are so many things we need when we leave the house.
X-rays you've had done: S-Teeth, foot, back, hip, shoulder.. I think that is it. J- Teeth, head, back, hand, arm, foot, ankle & elbow.
Yummy food you make: Everything I make is yummy, except when it's not. Joseph makes an excellent cobbler!
Zoo animal: S- Giraffe! J-Cheetah!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A long post, with lots of pictures.

Our trips to Idaho, both all wrapped up in one.
During our trip in June we stayed with these lovely people: 
Jake, Bethany & Cadence.
Whom I was privileged to take their family photos,
 but for their privacy I've added a little disguise. 
We enjoyed staying with them in their new house,  
exploring the changes to BYUI campus, and to Rexburg. 
We also played in Idaho Falls, and in Shelley with our family.
 It was so good to get away. 
And we love any time we can grab to spend with our Idaho family this summer.

Exploring in Idaho Falls and seeing the flood waters invade the green belt.

Join me for a picnic? Or a nap?

I got a lot of beautiful shots of the Idaho Falls Temple.

After playing in Eastern Idaho we stopped and stayed with Alisha, Marc, Tori and Sera Jean.
on Mountain Home Air Force Base. 
This is when we met Sera Jean for the 1st time.

Our trip in July was with my family. 
Mom, Dad, Valerie, JR, Joseph & I.
It was quite a road trip, we did manage to have a lot of fun.
Some of the fun including Valerie peeing in a grove of trees.
And the rest of us laughing so hard, we were crying, 
I also managed to text her best friend about it, before she could. 
My advice to her, as she got out of the car
"Don't pee on your shoes!"

We went to Idaho for Sera Jean's blessing. 
Getting that many people on base was interesting.
Her dress was handmade by my Mom,
 from Alisha's wedding dress and some lace from Mom's wedding dress.
We really like their tiny little military branch,
 they were all so sweet, 
and remembered  us from our visit 2 weeks previous,
 and Mom and Dad from 2 weeks before that.

We really love our nieces all 3 of them (soon to be 4)
This is my favorite picture from our visit.
Joseph and Tori, they're such good buddies.
They play so well together. 

Victoria Renee  "Tori"

We talked the family into going to Idaho Falls to see "real" fireworks. 
So the Swanger Family and the Mecham Family all stayed in a hotel,
just down the street from where we watched the fireworks.
Here is John showing off his "chariot" for Joseph.
It was really hot, much too hot for Joseph, 
his muscles get weak and rubbery when it's hot.
So John put this together to get back and forth in. 
Pretty awesome.
Joseph enjoying his ride. 
Check out the patriotic temporary tattoo on his arm.
He could make it wave! 
We had tons of fun,
 and it was great to have air conditioned rooms to cool off in.

Here are some of the great Fireworks that we enjoyed.

So those are the highlights from our trips to Idaho.
I know I missed some details,
 but that's what happens when I wait too long to write about it.
 To sum it up we've had fun, we needed it and
We're lucky to have such great family.