Home again

Guess who we get to see tomorrow?

My sis, Sarah,
Kris "Hey I know that guy from the gym" Carter,
and Chloe. She is a big girl now. The dog, not my sister.

I have to drive my car plus a trailer for 12 hours to get there, but we're still excited.
I'll be a FL girl again starting tomorrow.

Say a little prayer for us that we get there safely and without U-Haul drama.



Goodbye to the City

We made it back to Houston. Here for a few days to get our stuff then back to the place we both call home. Our friend Ashly took some "goodbye to the city" pictures. She knew the perfect spot. This one is from our point and shoot. She took some with her fancy camera below. 
 She already put a few on FB. Thanks Ash! We love you!


Adios Iowa----Day 52

Good bye midwest. Goodbye to corn fields, creeks, hills, gravel roads, Casey's General Store, Funaro's Deli with those amazing cookies, The Outside Scoop (homeade ice cream), Simpson College, Blank Performing Arts Center, Des Moines and all your antique stores, Apprentice Artists, Principal Artists and Staff, goodbye city with no mall, Target or Joanns, goodbye sucky washer and dryer, Goodbye Nauvoo- we're so happy we got to visit. Goodbye Chicago, maybe we'll see you again soon.

I'm sure we'll miss you from time to time.

Not sure when I'll be able to blog again, but I promise we'll be back soon! Tomorrow, Gabe plans on listening to opera for at least 6 hours in the car to learn a new role. Wish me luck. I'm not sure I can take it in large doses.

Thanks for your love and for still reading!


Stars of Tomorrow

Last night the apprentice artists from DMMO put on a show of  opera scenes to raise money for the opera. It was at Drake University. Here are some pictures from the event.

(Steve, Gabe, Jennifer, Emily, Jonathan, and Adam singing the famous Lucia sextet )

(Drew and Gabe singing exerpt from The marriage of figaro)

wifey and hubby

(Robert Larsen, Founder and Artistic Director of DMMO)

The whole gang

It was a great night. It did involve one minor complication of Gabe's wallet being run over by several cars and imminent stress. But everything worked out. (Huge sigh)
Guess what, we're almost done. Back to Houston to empty out our strorage unit and see some friends. We're leaving Monday morning. Yippee! Happy weekend! 



I have had trouble putting this post into words. Everytime I type something it somehow feels inadequate to explain what we experienced while we were in the City Beautiful. Some adjectives just aren't enough.

So, I've decided to let the pictures speak for themselves (for the most part).



Next stop, wagon ride through historic Nauvoo. One of my favorite parts of the day. Missionary couples take you on a ride and tell stories along the way and point out favorite spots to tour later in the day.

Here is some of what we saw...

(Left to right)
Home of Joseph Smith,  Red Brick House where the Relief Society was founded, 
Home of John Taylor, Barge used to cross the Mississippi

Then we walked around or drove our car to see more. Gabe made rope at the Family Living Center. Then we went to the blacksmith shop. Those Elders have soooooo much fun! They made us some souvenirs. I got a "prairie diamond ring" and Gabe got a mini horse shoe. 

A few more favorites...
The pioneers made many significant sacrifices for religious freedom. It was inspiring to hear their stories and see first hand how they lived.

"We'll find the place which God for us prepared,
Far away in the West,
Where none shall come to hurt or make afraid;
There the Saints shall be blessed.
We'll make the air with music ring,
Shout praises to our God and King;
Above the rest these words we'll tell-
All is well! All is well!"

Third verse "Come, come ye saints" Text: William Clayton 1814-1879


Singing for your dinner

Remember how I told you about Gabe singing a  Masters Recital? Remember how I told you that he sang Carlisle Floyd's Pilgrimage, and how if you ever got the chance to ask him to sing it for you?

Guess who Gabe got to sing Pilgrimage for?

Mr. Carlisle Floyd.

The composer who is world famous for writing American opera. Check him out on wikipedia. He's a big deal.

Mr. Floyd flew into Des Moines to see his full length opera, Susannah, which is being performed on the mainstage here. It is a beautiful piece. Coincidentally, Mr. Floyd worked at Florida State University and University of Houston for a time. When Gabe was a sophomore at FSU, Susannah was performed for a 50th anniversary of the production. It was one of the first operas I had ever seen and I fell in love. I was so excited to hear that Des Moines was putting it on this year. So, they welcomed Mr. Floyd to see it. The director here asked Gabe to sing some selections from Pilgrimage at the welcome dinner because he knew Gabe had just done the piece. The dinner was held in the tallest building downtown on the top floor. Gabe went on and on about the food. It wasn't the first time he has sung for his dinner.
So, here are some pics...




We just got back from Nauvoo. It was amazing, we loved it! Pics and stories to come. Need to edit pics first. Hope you all had a happy Monday!


Lets live in a mansion some day, shall we?

These last few days we have been able to explore some neat sites in Des Moines. The first site was Hoyt Sherman Place. Mr. Sherman was a business man that built this amazing space in 1877. A theater was later added in 1923 when the Des Moines Women's Club needed more space for events. Gabe recently performed in a one act opera there. It was beautiful and the house was amazing to walk through.

The next day we explored a place called the Salisbury house. A gentleman named Carl Weeks built the mansion for his family in 1928. It was modeled after the King's house in Salisbury, England. It is nestled in between hundreds of trees and seems so out of place in this city, but it has been preserved as a museum. Mr. Weeks intended to build the house for $100,000, but ended up spending $1 million to build the home and $1 million to furnish it. It took over 5 years to complete. At the time he was a successful business man in the cosmetics industry. The art and furnishings were a sight to behold. I took way to many pictures to post.



Music Room, or Common room (one of a kind Steinway piano made for Mr. Weeks)

The couple's bedrooms, pretty painting and Mrs. Weeks' loo. It is wicker. I could not get over the wicker loo's. The whole house was so lavish and unique!

Next stop, Nauvoo for more history. Would I have made a good history teacher? Probably not, Gabe just read the pamphlet to me the whole time while I was taking pictures.


Oh that I were an angel

Guess where we are going on Monday???

I will give you a little hint....

Nauvoo, Illinois

Guess how excited we are? It's about two and a half hours away, so it will make a nice day trip. Gabe has the whole day off and we have been waiting to get the chance to go to Nauvoo.

It is a historic site for our church and I've been hoping to get the chance to go. Gabe has never been either so we are ready to experience the stories and places together.

To learn more about this amazing structure go here.

Happy weekend!


The grass runs tall

This field made me wish I lived here (for a few seconds) then I gained my bearings.
This grass made we want to float in the breeze
This sweet little bouquet from my husband led me to kiss him
Then he attacked with the vicious whiskers. They tickle my face.



Part of the DMMO program consists of opera scenes, where singers get to learn new material and present shows. Gabe recently did a duet from "I Puritani."

It's about ten minutes long all together. I caught the last few minutes of the scene, which also happens to be the most impressive. Then, they did an encore because everyone loved it so much. It was so fun, and that was the first encore I've seen since we've been here.


(Dan (Sir Giorgio), Rick (musical direction), Gabe (Sir Ricardo Forth) after the scenes program)

These guys did an awesome job!

The program is almost over. Less than two weeks to go. It has gone by very quickly, but we're ready for the next leg of the trip.


The bow

I found this headband online at anthro. A few seconds of perusing led me to believe that I could make it. I still happened to have one dollar store head band left. So, I took some b & w fabric from my stash and went to work. Part of the fun was taking no measurements and just kind of improvising as I went along. I knew I would get a slightly different effect because the fabric above is more gauze like, where I just used cotton fabric.

First, I wrapped the headband with a thin strip of fabric, folding down the exposed edge and using hot glue sporadically to make it tight.
Then I made the bows by sewing a folded piece of fabric wrong sides together, then I flipped it right side out and pinched the center until I was happy with how it looked. I made two pieces, one slightly larger then the other and used a scrap to wrap around the center.
 I've never done a tutorial before, so if anyone is interested in having all the steps, detailed maybe I can make another one and document better. I was pretty happy with it.

It doesn't look exactly the same but you get the idea. I'd love to make a real colorful one next.


Hope everyone had a great weekend and holiday! Gabe stayed very busy but we were able to escape to a BBQ. Fireworks were cancelled due to rain, but if weather permits we will get to see them tomorrow. Fun times!
(This is my "it's 4th of July and we have to take a picture of some sort, even if it's crappy outside" picture. I love photo editing.)



Off to Heaven, or in other words Fanaro's. It's a deli here with the most amazing baked goods. We went there yesterday just for the cookies!

Notice how Gabe decided he'd like a sampling. So he took a bite out of a few then decided which one to eat first. I don't know the names for all these cookies, but I do know that I'm pretty sure it's like heaven in your mouth.

The cookie I am holding on the left is a snickerdoodle, but with an actual mini snickers bar in the middle. You read that right. A snickerdoodle with actual snickers. It was amazing. Best cookie ever. I may not be a good cook/baker, but in the next few years I have a new goal to master this cookie. I'm sure you recognize the dark liquid in the glass. Made the cookies even better. Forget about milk.

Now that I am putting you over the edge, take a look at this...

Ladies, forgive me for what it will do to your ovaries.

I didn't want to put any pictures up due to the copyrights, but you will not be disappointed.

Hope you all have an amazing July 4th weekend!


Road Trip

Gabe and I went on a road trip Monday. We woke up at 4am and drove a total of 11 hours = longest day ever! Gabe had an audtition in Chicago for the lyric opera. Big time opera company! We literally were in Chicago for about an hour then had to head back to Des Moines so he could be at a dress rehearsal that night. We had no time for anything. I was sad because we have family who live in the suburbs and I have a good friend who lives downtown. Hopefully we will make it there again. Brought back a lot of memories of my trips there when I was younger, lakeshore drive, skyscrapers, navy pier, the list goes on. Here are some of the pics I took while Gabe was in the audition. It was piping hot, and my hair was blowing all over the place.

Here are some more we took while making our way into and out of town. So pretty!

Lakeshsore Drive

Lake Michigan

Part of the skyline

Driving on lakeshore dr

We got back to Iowa just in time for his rehearsal. I watched Act I, then headed back to our room, only to find that the passenger front tire of our car had a nail in it and the tire looked about dead. Really? Did that have to happen? Of course. We didn't go to bed until after 11pm. Like I said longest day ever.