Monday, September 8, 2008

Chocolate Pianos and Silly Nicknames

First of all, the chocolate piano.

Hopefully I don't get too technical for ya'll with this. You can always skip over this paragraph if I'm getting too much in the nitty-gritty. (I can never think of that phrase now without hearing it in Nacho Libre's voice! ha!) So, anyways. In my piano teaching, I use a method I learned from my beloved and revered teacher at BYU, Irene Peery-Fox. She adapted it from the Very Young Pianist Series, by Bastien. Basically, it's a way to introduce beginner students to all the keys, as well as developing good technique, before they ever learn scales. It's called "Group Keys", and the students learn to play 3 different exercises using only the basic 5 fingers, in all 12 keys. Once they can play them all, I give them the "Group Keys Test" to see if they are ready for scales.  Fluffy spent nearly a month getting ready for this. He had to be able to tell me the number of black or white keys in the tonic chord of all the keys, and play one of the exercises for each group. He passed the test, and I made him a chocolate piano! (I did this for Exacto, too, when he passed his group keys test.)

I made it with a candy mold I found online. I specifically wanted a grand piano, so it took a little research to find. But it only cost a few dollars, the way I remember. Then I just melted chocolate chips with a little peanut butter, filled up the mold, and stuck in the fridge!

  20041123-8 Clyn with his chocolate piano 20041123-4 Chocolate piano Clyn earnedDSCF3006


Okay, the origin of the blog nicknames. I don't know much about blog safety or any real risks that come from using our actual names, but since our boys have pretty unique names, I decided better safe than sorry. Also, it was to alleviate my conscience about not going private. :)

Benjamin doesn't need a nickname. We never have to worry about his safety. And that, indeed, is a wonderful comfort.


                                   DC = Darling Cutie. That one is self-evident. :)


2005 0825 Science class 3Exacto. I gave my eldest son this name for the blog because he is exact almost to a fault. If it's 9:03am, and he asks what time it is, you'd better say 9:03, and not 9 o'clock, or you WILL get corrected. He has always been this way. I remember his throwing one of his first tantrums at the tender age of 10 months. We were having a picnic, and the corners of the tablecloth kept getting blown up slightly by the wind. This was extremely frustrating for our young Exacto. He knew that in an ideal world the corners should stay down, and he screamed every time they went up! This need for exactness serves him very well at school, however wearing it can be to his very NON-exact mother. :)

 2005 0825 Science class 



P5170034--2001 05 17 Closeup of Russell James BakerFluffy! Our second son had adorable soft hair when he was first born. He was born 15 days past his due date, and so it was already quite long--long enough to stick up in the back from his very first day on this earth. :) The most typical comment we had from people who saw him was about this fluffy hair. To this day, his hair still has issues with defying gravity, but as long as we keep it short and slick it down good, he is able to avoid the "Buckwheat" look. :)

 20020418 Russell and Gpa Baker


2005 0428 Sweet HyrumHummer! earned his nickname at a very young age as well. Before he could even talk, we noticed that whenever he was given bread, he would retain a piece stuck to the roof of his mouth and suck on it, humming cheerfully. This kid still sings more than he talks. He can hum hundreds of tunes, I think. He even hums the melodies to concertos and sonatas his daddy is working on. He has a ginormous range, too--he can go above the notes of the piano! He hummed through most of Benjamin's funeral, using the melodies from the songs we sang: "I am a Child of God" and "I Know That My Redeemer Lives". Several commented how moved they were by that. Sometimes I wonder if he will grow up to be a lyric tenor.


                                           (artist: Aunt Becky)


Maria said...[Reply to comment]

Thank you Michelle! It sounds like your names fit your boys perfectly. I have tried to think of ways to 'alleviate my conscience' about blog safety... I think you found a great way to do it!

That piano is COOL! I'll bet your boys love(d) it. You are very talented!

Cindi M said...[Reply to comment]

I love your descriptions of how you came up with the nicknames.

Becky said...[Reply to comment]

It is so fun to see pictures of your boys when they were so little. Nicely presented, too. Nanoliters, fluffy hair. :) Ah, I love my nephy-poos! (Anyone? 30 points.)

Mom/Nana/A. Nancy said...[Reply to comment]

Great descriptions and reasons for the boys' names. Hummer is much cuter than "Hymberpoo" as Becky calls him and he calls himself sometimes. Great idea for the chocolate pianos too!

Mom/Nana/A. Nancy said...[Reply to comment]

Oh, I forgot to mention that I love the Mesa Temple picture with Hummer and Becky's PS work too.

snbjork said...[Reply to comment]

How fun! I was wondering about the chocolate piano. How come you've never told me about that, huh, huh??! You've been holding out on me!

I, too, love the pictures of all the boys (and you, too)! I remember Fluffy's fluffy hair when he was a babe. I loved it and always wanted to run my fingers through it!

Sharon Beck said...[Reply to comment]

Now the nicknames make sense! Thanks for taking the time to explain. I could never figure out why you wouldn't just call them by their name. Ha!

Jen said...[Reply to comment]


I love your piano! Or should I say Fluffy's piano. Congrats on passing the test Fluffy! I wish we lived close enough to have your Mom give me lessons too!