Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Years Eve

New Years Eve. A day many use to eat all sorts of finger foods, appetizers and junk. I bought stuff to make lettuce wraps. Yum. Bryan trumped me, though, by bringing home sushi. My favorite of all foods. The food I constantly crave. See why I love this man?

At midnight Bryan pulled out our stash of Roman Candles and the kids had tons of fun blasting them off the back porch and over the fence. It was actually rather pretty...the colors lit up the snow covered backyard really well.

Monday, December 29, 2008


Messing around with blog backgrounds tonight. Going very simple this idea why. Just in the mood for simple. It may change in the next few days. We'll see what kind of mood I'm in tomorrow.
Nothing going on today. Wow, did it feel good.
Should be coming up with New Years resolutions. So many possibilities running through my head I'm starting to feel overwhelmed. I need to keep my list to a minimum. Too many and I'll give up and do none of them. I know this from past experience. There are just so many things I'd like to learn or do or improve upon this year it's hard to decide which to focus on.
I know already that running on the treadmill more consistently will be on the list. I think I'll go do that now.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Which One?

A few weeks ago Bryan's parents asked us for a family picture. Couldn't find one. Realized that the last time we'd had a picture taken with all 6 of us was at my sister Rachel's wedding reception. A year and a half ago. Lilian was only 9 days old. Which means I was really, very fat still. We decided we'd better have someone take some shots of us at Christmas. Here are two. Not that we need them for anything specific anymore and not that they're photographic masterpieces or anything...but just out of curiosity, which one do you think is better? Lilian looks somewhat morose in the top picture and a little hyper in the bottom.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Pictures Galore

We had a great Christmas. Lilian giggled non-stop for the first half hour. No anticipation or expectation on her part...she had no idea what was in store for her when she woke up that morning. So when she walked out and saw everything...she was downright giddy. I also found Julianne randomly giggling for no apparent reason other than she was excited that Christmas was finally here. And Brandon, who came running over to me after he saw all his Santa gifts to give me a big hug and said "Thankyou, Mom, for all my, under the tree!" Hmmm. Think that kid is suspecting something but wants to maybe hold onto the secret a little while longer? And Rebekah who was trying to be 12 year old cool about everything but still couldn't help but let out excited squeaks when she opened her "Twilight" calendar and her new camera. So here are some pictures. Beware, there's a lot.

In Christmas pajamas waiting (somewhat) patiently for us to let them out to the living room.

Lilian discovering her stocking....she found Elmo's talking super neat. And "candy, candy!"

Santa brought Lilian a tent. Until I got in she didn't realize what it was all about. But then she spent a good chunk of the rest of the day in there....peaking out at us and giggling when we'd notice.

Brandon and his Daddy figuring out how to put his new "High School Musical 3" CD into his new CD player.

All three of my girls.


Had a hard time convincing Lilian that the stroller was for her doll, not for her.

Lilian insisted on reading her new book as soon as she pulled the wrapping paper off of it.

We got Brandon a remote control car...he's been playing with it non-stop ever since.

Bryan's parents came over to see what the kids got and to share our big Christmas lunch. I'm glad the storm didn't hit till later so they were able to make it.

Christmas Sunday

I wish Christmas was always on Sunday. Like Easter. Maybe we could have it be the 4th Sunday of December each year. Any takers? I'm sure there are some people out there thinking it's a good idea but most saying, "No way! Nice thought but..." Personally, I love the idea of going to church on Christmas. This past Sunday I felt the Spirit more strongly than any other time this whole Christmas season. I sang with the ward choir and we were in charge of the whole, entire Sacrament Mtg. program. I sang in 7 other concerts over this past month and while they were all wonderful and had their own special moments, I had a better experience with my ward choir and found myself with tears rolling down my face during "Oh Holy Night." This music on Sunday, I was more worried about it than any other music I sang this month. I had less practice, felt less prepared. And so I had to focus HARD to make sure I was on the right note, in the right place. And I wonder if that was part of it? With the other concerts I sang, I knew the music so well I found myself going on auto-pilot at times. I wonder if, because I had to concentrate so hard, I was more immersed in what I was singing, the message of the song.
And then Bryan and I taught our primary class. We had ten 8-year olds. Sweet, sweet kids. We dressed them up in a Nativity scene. They loved it. We loved seeing how much they loved it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What I've Been Listening To...

I Love, love, love Christmas music. Singing it, listening to's probably my very favorite thing about the season. And the memories certain songs bring Here's a few of the CD's I've been listening to this week:

I love the whole concept behind "The Forgotten Carols." How fascinating to think of what it might have been like for the Innkeeper who told the Holy Family there was "no room". Did he have any idea of what was going on out in the stable later that night? Or maybe there was a shepherd who missed the whole angelic announcement and listened in slight disbelief and amazement to the story his fellow shepherds related to him when they got back. I love the line in that song that says, "I knew that as the world moves on through time, there would be more stories just like mine. About the souls who've chosen to believe in something that they never got to see."

Can't beat the Tabernacle Choir for bringing a wonderful Christmas spirit. I have 3 or 4 of their Christmas CD's but this one is my favorite.

I listened to Carpenters Christmas growing up. It was standard Christmas listening at our house. Along with Lex de Azevedo's 1982 Christmas album. (I couldn't find a picture of it...) These two albums just are Christmas to me, you know?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Christmas Tradition

We had a cool Christmas tradition when I was a kid. Every year, the evening we put up the Christmas tree, my four sisters and I would drag our blankets and pillows out to the living room and sleep "under the tree." My parents would turn all the lights out except the ones on the tree and then we'd play silly games like "Guess Which Ornament I'm Thinking Of" and we'd giggle for awhile until, eventually, we'd fall asleep. The tradition must have made an impression because now my sisters and I all do it with our own children. Here at our house we've modified things a bit. We don't necessarily do it the evening the tree goes up. And, Bryan and I have decided to give them their new Christmas pajamas that day instead of Christmas Eve. Here's what it all looked like this past Friday.

Rebekah didn't want a whole pajama set. That's not "in" right now. "Just pajama pants, Mom." So I ordered some from Aeropostale for her. XXSmall. They're still too big.

Faking sleep for the camera. In all actuality, I think Bryan and I fell asleep in our own bed before these three wound down.

Lilian....mellow at last.

P.S. Happy Birthday Spencer!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Favorite Photo Friday: Superheros?

I came across these pictures a few days ago. They made me laugh so hard I thought I'd share them for Favorite Photo Friday. Julianne might be horrified that I've posted these pictures. I guess then she and Rebekah will be able to commiserate together. Rebekah is still unhappy with me for posting the naked baby picture of her a few weeks ago. But isn't that part of the parent description? To hopelessly embarrass your children at any and all given opportunities? Hopefully someday they'll forgive me. Maybe when they have kids of their own?

Superheroes of some sort. Maybe inspired by the "Captain Underpants" books?

Julianne made this costume out of materials from a package that had been delivered earlier that day.

Brandon made his own mustache by cutting out of paper the mustache shape and then coloring it with a brown marker. I think he attached it with tape.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Happy Things

Things that made me happy today:
* Wearing my new black stiletto boots...or maybe they call them booties or something? Little ankle boots. I bought them a month ago but hadn't worn them yet. They are seriously cute.
* The Salvation Army bell ringer at Albertsons. I think that ringing bell sound is very Christmasy. And I'm glad that Albertsons still lets them ring those bells. Target gave in to pressure from what is probably a small minority of people who thought the sound of those bells was loud and irritating. C'mon, really? I think it's a happy, cheerful sound. Plus, most importantly, it's for charity! I put money in as often as I can.
* Singing "Gualtier Malde...Caro nome" from the opera "Rigoletto" at voice lessons today. It's dang hard which makes it seriously challenging which means that it's tons of fun when it all starts coming together like it did today.
* Sending my Christmas cards. Standing in the huge-out-the-door-long line at the post office to buy stamps wasn't so much fun. But being able to drop all 50 of those cards in the big, blue mailbox...knowing that they wouldn't be sitting on my kitchen table anymore? That made me happy.
* Reading books to Lilian. I pulled out a pile of about 8 books to read and when she saw them...ah, the look on her face and her gasp of joy. Literally, she was so excited she could hardly contain it. We spent a good half hour reading together.

Monday, December 15, 2008


I have a paper cut on my tongue. More than one, actually. Occupational hazard of licking envelopes closed. Christmas cards. 50 of them. Ouch.

Nap Time

Lilian fell asleep in the car on the way home from Costco. It was almost 1:00 so I was okay with that. I very carefully pulled her out of her car seat and got her all the way into her crib without her waking up. But when I tried to take her coat off she woke up. I tried to skip out of her room in a hurry, hoping that she would go back to sleep but she sat right up and smiled at me. I layed her back down and shut the door. Now she's hollering up a storm in there. Do I go get her and try for a longer nap later? Or let her cry it out for a little while longer? I confess, I was quite excited about the prospect of some free time when I noticed she had fallen asleep. And though my free time should include moping the floor and wrapping presents, I was totally planning on watching "Survivor."

Saturday, December 13, 2008

"Wicked" Woes

I tried to get tickets to "Wicked" yesterday. Silly me, I thought it would be no problem since it is going to be here for an entire MONTH! I knew it would be brisk business. That demand would be high. That's why I was at my computer right at 10:00 when the tickets became available on-line. And then...couldn't even get to the arttix screen. Refresh....refresh....refresh. I finally got on at 12:30 and found that everything was sold out unless I wanted to go on Sunday. Which I don't. So, I don't get to go see "Wicked" after all. And if any of you did get tickets, I don't even want to hear about it. Unless you happen to have one ticket you'd like to sell....then, of course, you'd be my best friend for life.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Favorite Photo Friday: Stingrays

January 2006 my little family and my parents took a Caribbean cruise. In Grand Cayman we went out to Stingray City. The water was warm and gorgeous blue. The stingrays were plentiful and huge. The kids were a little nervous. Well, at first, so was I. But, funny enough, the stingrays reminded me of cats. They were really soft and as they swam past they liked to brush up against you. It was seriously awesome. And on a cold day like today with a big snow storm blowing in tonight, doesn't the thought of hanging out in Caribbean sound nice?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I've been singing "Gloria" with Lex de Azevedo for 10 years now. I was on the original recording back in 1998. I sang in the live concert in Jerusalem in 1999. And I've continued to sing it year after year, at many different venues, different towns and states. And yet, every time I sing it, even though I know the music like the back of my hand, I always find something new. There are so many layers to this music. I think that Lex de Azevedo is a hugely talented and inspired man and I feel honored to be a part of this music. This year we are singing at the First United Methodist Church in Salt Lake City. We've sung this oratorio about the life of Christ at Abravanel Hall and the Rose Wagner Theatre in Salt Lake. We've sung it at the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion in Los Angeles. We've sung it in Jerusalem. We've sung it at BYU, at Weber State, at Utah State, at Ricks College (back before it was BYU Idaho :) ). But the past couple of years we've been singing it in smaller churches. Lex has decided that he likes the more intimate feeling of a smaller venue. Plus, he feels like it's more appropriate to perform this type of music in a church setting. This Methodist church is a beautiful place. The soloists are absolutely amazing...George Dyer, Greg Pearson, Mindy Smoot, Catherine Stambaugh. It should be a wonderful concert and I'm hugely looking forward to being a part of it again. If you want an evening of gorgeous, uplifting, spirit-filled music....this would be a good choice.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Happy Birthday Bryan


That sweet man I married turned 37 year old today. I was going to do a fun picture collage showing how he's matured over the years since I've known him. (I was going to say grown but that sounds like he's 7 years old or something.) Our main computer with all the pictures stored on it is having issues at the moment, though. Bryan will probably be relieved that the collage idea is now nixed. Instead, here's a story to show what a good man he is.
(Warning: Long post ahead...)

This morning Rebekah called from school to tell me she had accidentally left her English homework at home. She was wondering if I could bring it over and leave it at the main office for her to pick up in between classes. I was about to leave the house to go grocery shopping anyhow. The Jr. High wasn't exactly on the way but it wasn't too far out of the way either so I said I'd do it. I pulled up to the school and there is where my brain apparently stopped functioning. I had parked in the red fire zone right smack next to the front door. The main office was just a few feet inside that door. I knew that I would only be in the school for less than 30 seconds so I really didn't want to get Lilian out of her car seat and haul her in with me. But I also knew that since I was in a red zone I probably shouldn't turn off the car and make it seem like I had officially parked there. So I decided to leave the car running and then made sure to lock the door so no one would drive off with my car and baby. Ummm. Yeah. About 3 seconds after shutting the door I realized I had a HUGE problem and I went into panic mode. My keys were locked in my car. With my 18 month old. And I had no way to get in. Because I hadn't memorized the key code yet. I started frantically punching numbers hoping to luck out and miraculously hit the right code. But after a few seconds of that I decided I really needed to get someone...Bryan, a locksmith...on their way. I ran into the office and the poor 9th grade T.A. at the desk noticed the sheer panic on my face and asked if anything was wrong. I breathlessly told her the story. She obviously had no clue but sweetly asked anyway if there was anything she could do for me. I asked for a phone (mine was in the car with my purse, my keys, my BABY) and she nodded and told me how to get an outside line. I knew I couldn't call Bryan's cell because he was teaching a class. He was right that minute TEACHING a class!!! How in the world was he going to help me? So I called his office number and got John. I told him the story. I asked him if he could please go tell Bryan that it was an emergency and to call a short break. He did. Bryan came to the phone. John had told him the story already. I was about in tears by that point wondering if Lilian was outside crying and wondering where Mommy was. I expected he'd be frustrated and annoyed at my stupid mistake. Obviously this was not good timing. But hearing how panicked and worried I was he was very sweet about the whole thing. Knowing that he couldn't neccesarily call me back, he had me wait for a minute while he made arrangements for someone else to take his class for a bit and then he came back on the line to tell me that he was on his way. I was relieved beyond words to know that help was coming. I spent the next 10 minutes randomly punching in patterns of numbers into the key code and playing peek-a-boo with Lilian through the window. I even tried getting her to unlock the door by lifting up on the lock. She could actually reach it from her car seat. She got the message that I wanted her to touch the lock but she didn't ever understand that I wanted her to lift up on it, no matter how I pantomimed the action. She just smiled and thought I was playing a game with her. It's probably not the best idea to teach your 18 month old how to unlock the car door anyhow but I was kind of desperate and hoping that if I got into the car before Bryan got there that I could call him and he could just turn around and not have to waste any more of his time. Didn't work. Like I said, it took Bryan 10 minutes to get there. Should've taken more like 15-20....he must have broken all sort of speed records driving and obviously avoided any and all cops on his way. He kindly unlocked the door for me, said hello to Lilian and then got back in his car to head back to work. He never once made me feel like the moron I was. He never once moaned or groaned about having to take off from work at an inconvenient time. As soon as he found out I was in trouble he immediately made quick arrangements and rushed to my side. Honestly, it was a DUMB mistake. Totally brainless. But he was completely kind about the whole thing. What a good man.

He's kind. He's considerate. He's understanding. He's a good father. He's a good provider. He makes sure the kids know that he loves their mother. He's supportive. He's funny. He's romantic. He honors his Priesthood. And he loves ME. Aren't I so lucky? Happy Birthday to my sweet, wonderful, Bryan.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Ye Olde English Christmas

We had a Stake Christmas Festival yesterday evening. Very Dickens....Ye Olde English Christmas. Very cool. There was popcorn, candied nuts and hot chocolate. A live nativity with real sheep. Carolers and brass bands. Fire pits that you could congregate around to stay warm. A horse drawn carriage ride. And then, inside, a Christmas concert put on by the Stake Choir. (I opted out of singing in it this year....just too much else going on.) This whole production was headed by a couple in our ward who asked Rebekah to be involved. They dressed her up Dickens style and she meandered around giving out sweet bread and nuts to the revelers. She looked just sweet. The whole things was really impressive. We had a fun, fun evening.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Favorite Photo Friday: Nativity

December 1999. This is the first year of a newly created Christmas tradition. That year there were only 4 grand kids available...a Mary, a Joseph, an angel and a shepherd. Julianne wasn't even quite 2 years old yet when she played the part of the shepherd. Rebekah, as the oldest granddaughter at age 3, played the part of Mary. Now there are 17 grand kids to dress up each year. Wisemen have been added. There is quite a large group of shepherds. There's even a narrator and an angel choir. It's great fun each year...something the kids look forward to. But as wonderful as it all is, I still think my favorite was that very first year.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

No Snow

Katie called to tell me that it is snowing at her house. She was wondering if it was snowing up here at mine. Um, no. We have blue skies and sun. Life is so unfair.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Christmas Concert

Speaking of Choir is some info about the ones I am doing this week. This is the Sally Bytheway Chorale, a 100 voice choir with orchestra based in Draper. I get to sing with my Mom and my sister, Melissa, in this group. My uncle plays in the orchestra. It's directed by my good friend Sally Bytheway Brinton. And we're good! (No arrogance intended...) :) Before I joined this group I went to see one of their concerts. The main feeling I came away with was how joyful this group sounded. Not only do they sing well, not only do they have a fun variety of songs, not only is Sally an amazing director...they sing for pure joy. I love being a part of it. Feel free to come if you are looking for an evening of great Christmas music.

Finding A Balance

It's here! I can now officially allow myself to sink into that warm, fuzzy, happy coziness that is Christmas to me. We spent the weekend putting up the Christmas decor. I found myself grinning for no specific reason every time I looked at the tree. It really is the best time of year. My Dad says that it's the one time of year when peace and goodwill seem like something real...that the spirit of peace and goodwill are actually tangible at Christmas. So I'm thrilled to be in the thick of it once again.
But even as I'm listening to the soothing Tab Choir Christmas CD my mind is going a million miles a second trying to untangle the mess up there that is all my errands and things to make and do in preparation for the big day. I had told myself that because I have so many Christmas concerts this year I needed to be done with my shopping by Thanksgiving. I'm close but have a few stops still to make. Plus, I need to write my Christmas letter. Plus, I need to figure out what the kids are going to give to their friends. Plus, I need to package up a bunch of gifts and make a trip to the post office. Plus, plus, plus.... And I'm realizing that I need to find a balance. Things are going to be busy in the next few weeks. Really, really busy. But I don't want my house and family to fall apart while I'm shopping here, singing there. I want to feel that peace of Christmas. I want that feeling to be the main thing permeating through our home, no matter how much is going on. When I'm home I want to be really home...baking cookies, reading Christmas stories to the kids. When I'm singing in a concert, I want to make sure I'm leaving the house clean and dinner prepared. I don't want to get to Christmas day and think, "How did we get here?" I want to enjoy it along the way. I want to savor it. And I want my family to feel the same way. Is it possible? I'm darn well going to try.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Favorite Photo Friday: Imitation

May 2007. "Imitation is the sincerest from of flattery." Is that how the saying goes? But does it still count if that imitation is your 9 year old daughter stuffing a balloon inside her bathrobe so she looks as 37 weeks miserably pregnant as you?

P.S. Rachel! Happy Birthday sweet sister of mine!!

Thanksgiving Pics

Here are some pictures of Thanksgiving at our house yesterday afternoon. Bryan decided he wanted to try frying our turkey. Originally it worried me to no end...all those stories of people burning their houses down...apparently Thanksgiving is a rather busy day for the fire department. But I shouldn't have worried. Alton Brown from "Good Eats" would've been proud. Bryan did it perfectly and it was the best turkey I think I've ever eaten. And wow! It cooks so fast! Katie and Jeremy walked in around 12:45 and Jeremy spied the completely raw turkey sitting on the counter. "What time are we eating?" he asked hesitantly. :) I think it took about an hour all told.
Anyhow, we had a great time. We missed you Mom and Dad, Rachel and Spencer, and Mary and Ryan!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thinking About Thanks

It's 8:23 AM Thanksgiving morning. I'm the only one up. I'm finding myself thinking about the upcoming days activities and also, about the reason for the day...the things I am especially thankful for. I think all of us are gratitude filled people. I think we all, if asked what we are thankful for, would immediately rattle off things such as family, home, food, clothes, church, etc. Those are big things. And definitely, we are and should be thankful for those things. But I think it's fun to think about the little things. So, right now, think of 5 things you are thankful for. Don't think too hard about it. Don't overanalyze it. Just 5 things that right this very second you are thankful for. Here's my list:
1. I'm thankful my husband likes to cook and is taking over the task of cooking the turkey today.
2. I'm thankful that Rebekah and Julianne cleaned all 4 bathrooms yesterday so I didn't have to. I hate cleaning bathrooms.
3. I'm thankful for the book on my nightstand that I am enjoying so much.
4. I'm thankful for music and the part it plays in my life every single day.
5. I'm thankful for the relationships I have with, friends. It's something that has been on my mind a lot the past few days. Honestly, what a treasure that is. To really get to know someone and have them really know you in return. And how neat to have different kinds of relationships with all sorts of various people.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

What A Day

We had a busy day yesterday.

I took the girls to see The Nutcracker up at Weber State. Wow, it was impressive! Live orchestra and everything. As soon as I heard those opening notes I got chills and a big grin. I know the music well but, amazingly enough, I've never actually seen the ballet.

We were hungry when it was over and stopped at Marie Callendars for lunch. Is it just me or has that place upped it's prices recently?

We were right near a movie theater and decided to see, if by chance, they still had tickets to the 3:00 showing of "Twilight". They did...probably because they were showing it in 4 different theaters. Yay for us! Rebekah was so excited about the movie that she insisted on buying this t-shirt at the mall a few days ago.

By the time we got home the BYU/Utah game was already underway. We quick changed into BYU blue attire and settled in to watch the game. Originally I thought we'd have to listen on the radio but I discovered that we actually had the Mtn. channel. Who would've guessed? This is me cheering after the Cougars made a touchdown....and Julianne rolling her eyes at my silliness. The game didn't end well. Six turnovers? Seriously??

During all of this Bryan had Brandon and Lilian with him. They headed down to visit Grandma and Grandpa and had a glorious time.

Bryan convinced his Dad to head over to the gun show with him where he bought a bunch of ammo at fabulous prices. Apparently you can never have too much ammo. They were also going to try to see James Bond but the awesomeness of the gun show superseded any desire to hurry so they could do both. I have no doubt that they will get to the movie eventually.

Crazy day. Fun day. Filled with family, guns, art culture, pop culture and football. What more could you ask for? :)