Friday, June 29, 2012

Happy Weekend Everyone!

Woo Hoo!  It's Friday!  I hope that you have a great weekend!  Do you have some fun plans?  Here at the Lehman Ranch we are all primed to chill out!

We may do this:

 And a lot of this:

 And definitely that:



Holy Smokes!!! - 4 Rivers BBQ Rocks!!!

Our middle monkey and I had a couple of high school planning meetings to attend this week . Did I just say high school? Why, yes, yes I did. And now, please excuse me for a second while I scream into my pillow. I have told that boy a million times to stop growing up so fast, and he just won't listen to me. What's a mom to do?

Well, I will tell you what I did. After our meetings, I took that monkey boy out to lunch at 4 Rivers Smokehouse. Twice. And it was really yummy. Twice. And I was really full. Twice. Ah, 4 Rivers, I love you!

4 Rivers Smokehouse is hands down THE BEST BBQ joint that I have ever been to! If you have not tried it yet, you must (but call me first because I would love to go with you, okay?). There are three locations throughout Central Florida. Chef and owner, John Rivers is a culinary genius. Most importantly, though Mr. Rivers has a heart the size of Texas. Click here to see a video of how 4 Rivers Smokehouse came to be. It's a powerful story!

There is always a line at 4 Rivers Smokehouse, but don't let that deter you. The staff is super fast and friendly. And the food, well, it is definitely worth the wait.

Pulled Chicken Sandwich with Smoked Jalapeño Peppers and Bread Pudding
Porch-style dining
Pulled Pork Sandwich with Fried Cheese Grits and Fried Pickles
The 4 Rivers Smokehouse in Winter Park has porch-style dining which makes it outdoorsy and rustic. Don't worry though, there's plenty of wet napkins and cool mist fans to keep you comfy. And if you are lucky, you might just meet a few new friends at the community style picnic tables.

Oh, and don't forget to save room for dessert. Two words - Fried. Oreos!!! 4 Rivers has its own in-house bakery, The Sweet Shop. From scrumptious bread pudding and homemade ice-cream to cupcakes on steroids and mile high cakes, there is something for every sweet tooth.

The only thing that would make 4 Rivers Smokehouse perfect would be a place for people to sleep off their food coma after they eat. Mr. Rivers, would you consider adding a sleeping porch onto each of your smokehouses?



4Rivers Smokehouse on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Blessing Tree - A Unique Bridal or Baby Shower Idea

Tis the season for showers.  We recently hosted an afternoon tea bridal shower.  It was lovely.   I really enjoy hosting bridal and baby showers.  There are so many amazing ideas and themes to choose from.  

Here is a fun idea from a baby shower that we hosted:


Step 1:  Go to your local plant nursery and purchase a small tree.  The ficus tree is a great choice. 

 Step 2:  Place the tree in a basket or pretty pot.

Step 3:  Decorate the tree with little baubles and trinkets.  With an ocean themed baby shower, I used little silver starfish and tiny capris shell rings to adorn the tree.  Clear fishing line worked well when securing the decorations to the branches.

 Step 4:  And now for the fun part.  Provide guests with small hanging note cards that they can write on.  Sentiments could include pieces of advice, quotes, verses, or special memories.   I used round, metal-lined labels tied with thin blue ribbons.  Make sure to provide a high quality fine felt tipped pen for guests to write with.

Step 5:  Secure sentiments to the tree.  The tree will be a work in progress throughout the party.

Now the mother-to-be (or even the bride-to-be) has a very special keepsake to remind her how much she is loved.



Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Birthday Boy in the House!!!

Hello there friends!  I hope that your week is going very well.  Today is a special day here at the Lehman Hacienda!  Our middle monkey boy is turning 14!

Sniff, sniff, dabbing eyes...could this be bittersweet tears or is this an allergic reaction from the copious amount of Axe Body Spray that our boy has just sprayed on?

It seems like just yesterday that this little guy was toddling around here

getting boo-boos on his face and eating pizza.

And now?  Well, I guess some things have not changed.

He's still getting boo-boos on his face...

and he still likes pizza.

Photo credit

One thing that has changed though is our love for this boy.  It grows stronger and stronger with each passing moment.  And I might add that he gets more handsome and more amazing each day. 

Happy Birthday, sweet boy!  We love you so!


From all of us

P.S.  Oh, and those tears, they are definitely not from the Axe Body Spray.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Under My Umbrella..Ella..Ella

Grab you paddles everyone, because I am pretty sure that if it doesn't stop raining soon here in Central Florida we are going have to start row, row, rowing our boats.

Every day when it rains my younger monkeys sing, "Rain, rain go away! Don't come back another day!"

The other day, I was singing some other "rainy day" songs with our little monkey.  Song like "The Itsy-Bitsy Spider"  So cute!  And, "It's Raining, It's Pouring!"  Um, not so cute! 

Just look at these lyrics:

It's raining, it's pouring
The old man is snoring
He went to bed and bumped his head
And he didn't get up in the morning.

And why didn't the old man get up?  I'll tell you why.  Because he died!  It just makes my mind race with questions. What happened to that poor old man?  Was it foul play?  Did the bump kill him or was it old age?  Wait, maybe his wife had heard one snore too many and...oh, dear did she just snap and clock him a good one on the noggin?  

You try singing that song to a little kid and not scarring them for life!  

There is one silver lining in the dark clouds above us.  Rain means you have to use umbrellas, and we have some umbrella loving monkeys around here.  Like this one:

If umbrella dancing was an Olympic sport, she would be the gold medal winner:



Friday, June 22, 2012

The Three Hermanos - How My Brothers Changed My Life

Blake, Dennis Michael, and Marc Paul

I am the oldest of six children.  I have two amazing sisters and three awesome brothers.  As you can imagine we had a full house while I was growing up.  Full of people, yes, but also full of many other blessings and lessons.  One of the most beautiful lessons that I learned was that there is always room in the heart of a family for more love.  

My sisters and I witnessed this first hand when our parents decided to become foster parents.  I was in high school when they opened up their hearts and home to children who needed to be nurtured.  

Shortly after they became foster parents, my parents decided that they would like to adopt.  My sisters and I were over the moon, because we wanted a brother. Within a few months, my parents were informed that there was a seven year old little boy who needed a forever family.  The moment that we met Dennis Micheal, that spunky guy with the raspy voice, my sisters and I were smitten.  We promptly claimed him as "our little brother"  and the rest is history.  

Two years later, my mom and dad amazed us again when they asked us how we would feel about welcoming another addition to our family.  All of us knew what a gift Dennis Michael was, and we could not imagine life without him.  We all agreed that another brother or sister would be wonderful.  

Our brother, Blake, was born that later that year.  I went to the hospital with my mom to bring him home.  I was filled with awe and wonder as I witnessed my mom holding her new baby for the first time.  Right then and there, I realized that some mothers carry their children in their womb, but all mothers carry their children in their hearts.  Even if a mom does not experience physical labor they still "give life" to their children through the labor of love.  There are no words to describe the feeling that I had as I watched my mom gently buckle, that tiny infant into his carseat before we left the hospital.  Knowing that he was coming home with us, that he was our new little brother...I still get overwhelmed with emotion remembering that moment.  

And so, our family grew in many ways during my high school years.  Our hearts were forever changed by the love of two tiny boys.  None of us could imagine what life would be like without Dennis Michael and Blake.  We were meant to be together. 

My parents continued to open their hearts and home to foster children for many more years.  In 1997, to our surprise and delight, they decided to adopt our sweet brother Marc Paul.  That boy has a heart the size of Texas.  He is a lover indeed, and the coolest kid on the block! 

My parents taught me a very profound lesson about love.  My brothers changed my life.



Thursday, June 21, 2012

Cutie Cabana

The following "song" must be sung in your best Barry Manilow voice:

At the Cutie, Cutie Cabana
The funniest spot South of Atlanta
At the Cute, Cutie Cabana
Pancakes and bacon got the party shaking
At the Cutie...
They ate their grub...
They ate their grub....
Cutie Cabana
Cutie Cabana



If You Take a Toddler to a Ballet...

He will ask you for your I-Phone...

Which will remind him that he needs to play his favorite "Talking Tom Cat" game...

And it will be entirely too loud and inappropriate for the theater...

So you will turn it down...

And he will turn it up...

Which will prompt you to quickly distract him and hide said I-Phone...

Hiding the I-Phone will give him another idea...

And he will ask you to find him as he plays a rowdy game of hide-and-seek under the chair in front of you...

Which will make you want to crawl under your chair and hide as you apologize profusely to the sweet woman in that chair in front of you that he just accidentally kicked...

And he will realize that you are talking to the nice lady in front of you...

Which will remind him of the "Talking Tom Cat" game...

So he will ask you for your I-Phone again.

3 year old + 3 hour dance recital = 3 Ibuprofen for each parent (and the sweet lady in front of me)



Wednesday, June 20, 2012

So...How Did It Go?

Wowsers!  Thank you everyone for all of the prayers, well wishes and encouragement!  The audition went really well. I want to share what happened with you, but first, I have to show you the cutest "audition" ever.  This is our youngest monkey singing "Fly Me to the Moon" and reciting some of the roller coaster monologue that he has memorized:

The audition was at 9:05 PM at the Black Box Theatre at Loch Haven Park.  It was nice to have it later in the evening because we were able to get the monkeys fed and settled in for the night before walking out the door.  Pete came with me, which was such a relief.  He let me practice ad nauseam on the way to the theatre.  We arrived early, so we took a walk around Loch Haven Park.  It is a beautiful open grassy area,  full of fun childhood memories for me.  After some more practice and prayer, it was time to check in for the audition.

At the check in desk, I turned in my headshot with my resume neatly attached. There was an information form that I had to fill out.  I had to list all of my contact information, stats (that includes weight (fun!), height, eye and hair color, and age range), vocal range, dance experience (does Zumba count? :-) ), and occupation.  I thought about that occupation question for a moment or two.  Would Domestic Engineer be a good answer?  Or maybe, Child Development Specialist or Director of Education?  Expert Diaper Changer? Chief Nose Wiper?  Professional Boo Boo Kisser? I opted for Homemaker since that pretty much sums it up. 

There were a couple of younger gals ahead of me and because we were sitting right outside the theatre doors, I was able to hear their monologues and songs.  They both did great! It warmed my heart to see or actually hear such ambition and giftedness at such a young age.

When it was my turn to audition, I was greeted by a very amiable team of people, which included an accompanist, a director and a technical assistant.  The theatre was small and intimate.  The tech did a short sound check, the director asked me what I wanted to do first (I choose the monologue) and then it was time to begin.  Thankfully, my friend, Jen, had told me ahead of time that you are video taped during the audition or I would have been very surprised.

As I started the monologue, I felt a big internal pang of panic.  My mind sort of felt numb and for a split second I was positive that I was going to forget everything that I rehearsed.  I felt slightly awkward and very scared.  Then I realized that my "real" reaction was perfect because after all I was portraying a very nervous lady faced with the awkward situation of breaking up with her boyfriend on a roller coaster.  As I moved through the monologue, I was thrilled to hear some laughter from the director.  It made me feel great to know that I was making someone laugh.  I love that aspect of acting!  The monologue came to an end and I went immediately into the song.  The room had a lot of reverb which was nice (kind of like singing in the shower).  Then it was all over. A monologue, a song, three minutes and done!

While I was auditioning, Pete was pacing the hall right outside the theatre doors.  He said that he could hear me the whole time and he was really excited.  He said that monologue was really funny and that I nailed the song.  What a guy!

Without a doubt, this has been an amazing adventure!  We have had a lot of fun as a family, preparing for this audition.  It has been so cool to bounce ideas off the kids and to get their creative input.  Pete has been the best vocal and acting coach anyone could ask for.  He even created an accompaniment track for me. It has been a joy to share this journey with my family and friends.  We will see what happens next, but really, I already feel like I have been cast in the best roles of all.  I am a very blessed wife, mom, sister, daughter, niece, friend and child of God.



Quick Update, Before I Slip Into a Food Coma...

Really quick, I just wanted to give a quick update.  The audition went really well.  More info tomorrow because I am slipping into a food coma...

I may or may not have just consumed way too much food...



Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A-Day, The 80's and My Resume

Today is A-Day!  My audition slot is this evening and I am as ready as I'll ever be.  I'm pretty sure that my family is ready too.  Do you think it's a bad sign when your toddler asks for you to sing "Fly Me to the Moon" at bedtime?  Or when he blurts out, "I'm breaking up with you!" (which is a line from the monologue I am doing) when he is mad that he can not have ice cream for breakfast? Hmm...

I worked on my theatrical resume yesterday and it was kind of fun.  I actually had to pull out some of my old yearbooks to research the names of the plays that I acted in.  Ah, the 80's...such a special time...the clothes...the hair...the braces...the hair...the eye-liner...the hair...

Just look at this display of 80's awesomeness:

Oh, and then to keep the laughter rolling.  Check these pictures out:

I'm Norma the pink I-Zod clad cheerleader in the background shouting out my one line, "YAY, Jock!"  Riveting!

And here I am as Nona the "Elevator Operator".  So edgy!

Oh, here is a doozy. Two seconds after this picture was snapped, the poor guy who played my "fiancé" actually lost his grip on me and dropped me flat on my butt on stage.  Good times!
Despite the "80's Magical Moments Review", I was able to to finish my theatrical resume.  I found this article to be particularly informative.  In addition to those plays from years ago, I was able to include more recent voice over work that I have done and even shared about my background in Speech and Language Pathology (thanks, Anne!).

So, thanks for all the encouragement!  I'll let you know how it goes!



Monday, June 18, 2012

Is This Normal?

Is it normal for...

Our child to look like a chihuahua?

Is it normal for...

This palm tree to be growing there?

Is it normal for...

Our girl to be growing a blue beard?

I live in StrangeVille, USA!



Sunday, June 17, 2012

Daddy O'

As far as I'm concerned, everyday should be Father's Day.

Especially when there are fathers like this guy in the world:

Photo credit
Actually there is no one quite like this man.  The love he has for our kids is profound.   

Pete has been a dad for 20 years and I find myself more in awe of his devotion with each passing day.  

He can be tickling our toddler one minute

And having a heart to heart talk with one of our teens the next minute

He is an amazing man of God who shows our children daily what it means to love sacrificially.  

Happy Father's Day, Daddy O'!  We love you so!



Saturday, June 16, 2012

And Then Again, Maybe...

Okay, so yesterday we made a decision on a great theatrical headshot.

Photo credit

I like it because it is not too smiley or too serious.  

But then, I just can't seem to get over the "sassy".  It really is a good representation of "me".  My personality comes through in that picture.

Photo credit

There is one other picture that Pete and I have been coming back to.  Actually this is the photographer, Heather's favorite.

Photo credit

It is more on the serious side, which is traditionally more "theatrical".  It also still has a little sassiness. I like to call it "Sassy Light".

So team, could this be the one?  What do you think about "Sassy Light"?  Thanks for weighing in.



Friday, June 15, 2012

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends and Family.

THANK YOU!  You all have helped me make a final decision on the headshot that I will bring to my audition.

Honestly, it felt a little strange posting pictures of myself.  I felt a bit vain and a little wacky. However, I loved your feedback.  It was so uplifting and encouraging.  It felt like we were a team making this decision together. 

The picture that we choose is the "Smiley".

Actually, this picture was not my first choice, I was opting for the "Sassy".  However, after doing some research on theatrical versus commercial headshots I had to let "Sassy" go.  In general, theatrical headshots are typically more serious than commercial headshots.  This is not an "official" rule, but a good rule of thumb.

The picture we choose is not too smiley and not too serious.  It is a good mash up.  Thank you again for your input. And a HUGE thank you to Heather of Lisbet Photography for taking these amazing pictures.

With headshots, it is very important to represent your true self.  In other words, your headshot should look like you.  That way when you walk into an audition and hand over your headshot, the director will not wonder where the person in the picture is.

Now, when it comes to printing out the headshot I learned that color prints, with a matte finish (glossy produces a glare) are the industry standard these days. Also a white or black border is a must and your name should be in the bottom left, center, or right side of the picture. Theatrical and commercial headshots are printed in a portrait format and they are always 8 x 10.

There is a great video series from a casting director that has answered many of my questions and helped me in preparation for this audition.  Here is a link if you want to check it out.

And now for the resume...Gulp...



Thursday, June 14, 2012

Calling All Headshot Hunters!!!

Heather from Lisbet Photography is just amazing, my friends!  She met up with me this week in Avalon Park for a headshot photo session.  Right before we met, a major afternoon thunder storm marched through our side of town.  It was raining elephants and thoroughbred horses.  And the lightning...Florida storms do not mess around.  

After the monsoon, the lighting was interesting.  Heather knew just where to get the right shots because being the pro that she is, she had already done some test shots the day before down in Avalon with her adorable kids.  Heather worked her photographic magic and snapped some really great pictures.  If fact, her work is so good that I am having a really hard time deciding on the best shot.

Will you help me find the right one?


The family and I have narrowed it down to three choices for you:

The sassy photo:

The smiley photo:

The more serious photo:

Whatcha think?  



Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Don't Play Koi With Me, You Macaroon!

New things we have seen / tried so far this summer

Take 1:

Macaroons =

We like!

Koi fish  = "Can we pet them?"asks the monkey.

Hurray for all things new! And for hand sanitizer (just kidding)!



Fly Me to the Moon!

Photo credit

Yesterday, I blogged about my utter lack of any audition know how.  In a nutshell, I want to audition for a play / musical. So, I found a local theatre company, signed up for an audition, researched what to prepare for said audition, and found a comedic monologue that made me laugh out loud.

Today, let's talk about THE SONG.

Remember, these instructions?

"Actors over the age of 17 that wish to be considered for a musical should prepare one song (16 bars) with/without sheet music. An accompanist and a CD player is provided for all auditions. "

Well, I pondered and researched and sweated buckets.  Not counting night time sing alongs with the monkeys, and congregational worship in church, I have not formally sang since I was in Mrs. Bass's  9th grade all girls choral ensemble. Yikes!

However, I need not fear, because Music Man lives here!  Pete helped me find just the right song in the right key for me.  He has been coaching me (in between fits of shared laughter) and I must say that I am feeling more comfortable with those 16 bars of musical mayhem each day.  Pete is even going to record an accompaniment track for me on the piano. You rock, Music Man!

Oh, you may be wondering what I choose as THE SONG?

One of my all time favorites...

"Fly Me to the Moon!" by Sinatra