Nov 30, 2014

Guest Blog: Nutcracker Week by Princess

Pictures from last year's Nutcracker

Nutcracker is coming up this week and I can’t even concentrate on anything else. I mean, I told my mom I would write this post and totally forgot, I left Fajita at the dance studio and I keep staring off into space with visions of Sugar Plums dancing in my head. I’ve always wanted a lead role, especially one where I get to dance with a boy. So when I was put in as the Sugar Plum Fairy/Princess, I was so excited! Yesterday was our last practice before the dress rehearsal and I had a mental list of all the things we really needed to work on. 

Then, I found out my partner was not there because he was sick (something he did not mention when I was messaging him, I think he didn’t want me to stress, he knows me pretty well). I’m just praying he will be there for next week, I mean, I don’t think I can really do all those turns by myself and I think it would probably look really silly if I tried to do the lifts by myself.

Now let’s get a few things straight. My partner is the greatest, like seriously. He has taught me so many things in the few weeks together and he has the craziest stories. Here’s one of them:
            "My little brother was about five or six and my other brother had just been born. We had given the five-year-old one a doll so he could have his own baby. It seemed like a good idea until one day my mom walked in on him kicking the doll into a tower of blocks. Any mom would be upset, but she was terrified because she thought it was the real baby. Thank goodness it wasn’t."
Nutcracker has affected the whole family. My teacher told me I could only listen to my music so now the whole family goes around humming Tchaikovsky. I have practiced some part of my dance with every one of my siblings and even Gamer (that was a funny moment). Crafty loves to partner with me and she is constantly trying to do it. Strangely, she only likes doing the boy part. One day we were practicing pas de chats in between dances and the actual boys came and told Crafty what she was doing wrong. She was a little offended but it was funny to see them explain what hand and what foot work to do.
 I’m so grateful I have gotten this opportunity. It is literally a dream come true. I have loved every second of South Pointe Ballet’s Nutcracker and I’m so excited to perform this week. If you have the time, come stop by and see it. Hopefully I will have a partner by then, it not, Crafty should know what to do.

Nov 29, 2014

Bridal Shower for Beauty and The Beast

We had a beautiful shower for Beauty and The Beast today. It was a ton of work, but so nice to have a party for them. We set up at the church with tables and food and two quilts to tie. It was an open house format so people came and went. Most took a few minutes to help with the quilts a little and by the time we were ready to clean up, both of them were finished.

The only thing that didn't happen was picture taking. I thought Teach was planning to do some pics, but I guess I forgot to tell her. So other than these few pics Prima Donna took while we were just getting started, there is no permanent record of the event except for two warm quilts.

And a whole lot of food for the happy couple from my generous neighbors and friends. :)

Nov 28, 2014

Nov 27, 2014

Making Pies

Pretty sure I've told you before that I don't like cooking. It's just not my thing. Oh I can follow a recipe, but just naturally knowing what spices are needed and stuff like that is way beyond my abilities.

Princess, on the other hand, is a natural born baker. She loves it! That's why I had to wait until she got home from shopping before I could make the pies and now that it's almost 2:30 AM and the pies are still in the oven, I'm starting to regret that decision.

We made 4 pecan, 6 pumpkin (one without a crust for my sweetie), an apple, and a small empty crust for someone who might be hoping for a cream pie. Scout helped me mix up the pumpkin. Since we made pies in Activity Days last week, she thinks she's a pro.

The best part of pie-making and just holidays in general is spending the time with family. I'm so grateful for them.

I hope you have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

Nov 26, 2014

A Different Pinewood Derby

Tonight was the Pinewood Derby. I think I told you my sweetie was released from his Cubmaster position after nearly 4 years a couple of months ago. He was immediately pulled into the Young Men's presidency, but the Dog Walker is the Assistant Cubmaster, so we are still supporting the pack.

Tonight was Pinewood Derby, but it was totally different for us this time. Sport brought a car over to race in Open Class, but now that he is no longer a Cub Scout, he didn't bother to make a new one. Nor did any of our other kids. My sweetie has been working ridiculous hours, but he took off tonight so he could help the Dog Walker line up the heats for the cars.

It was great to see them working together as a team again. The Dog Walker just loves being in charge and even though there is a new Cubmaster, he is content to let the Dog Walker run things. When we were finished with awards, my sweetie presented each family with a Down and Derby DVD we had gotten for them at the Scouting Expo. They were so excited to watch this fun movie about a few dads that get totally out of control when building their cars... I mean their boys' cars.

It was also the first time I embroidered 12 winners hats and none of them came back home with us. Yes, it was definitely a different sort of derby for us, but good, very good. :)

Nov 25, 2014

High School Musical

I know the weeks right before Thanksgiving are traditionally devoted to the musicals at the area high schools, but having Prima Donna and Curly in Peter Pan at Bingham the same time the Drama Queen's musical was running in Nephi made it difficult to support both shows, but we managed.

We left today about 4:30 and after two quick stops, one for a potty break and one to pick up the last of the wedding fabric, we landed in Nephi at 6:40. Drama Queen had already secured our tickets, so we only needed to give her a hug and find our seats before the curtains opened. We had a full van, with Bossy in the driver's seat since my sweetie had to work and her kids and a bunch of mine and Grandpa.

The Drama Queen was so excited to direct High School Musical patterned after the Disney version. It was a small venue, but very well done for a small-town school. My favorite character was Mrs. Darbus. She did a better job than the woman on the movie! The leads had beautiful voices and the dancing was fun and upbeat.

Thanks for doing all the driving, Bossy.
My amazing daughter does such a great job with kids! I'm a little sad to think that this was the last musical we will see her direct in Nephi. She is planning to move home for a few months before she serves a mission for our church.

So proud of you, Drama Queen! You did an awesome job!

Nov 24, 2014

Scout's Birthday Party

Today was Scout's 9th birthday! We had a nice party for her with the family. In keeping with the Minnie Mouse theme from her friend party, I bought a stuffed Minnie to put on top of her cake. She loved it!

We ate lasagna and Princess's sourdough bread. Scout was super excited about her Frozen t-shirt and her new scooter! She has never really had one of her own, just hand-me-downs from the older kids. The one she got from Crafty recently broke and so the kids have not been able to ride their scooters to school. Although we woke up this morning to a couple of inches of snow so they might not be able to scoot anyway.

I'm not really excited about the change in weather. I have so many things that need to be done this week and the snow makes them harder. Teach, Beauty, and The Beast were all working on the wedding announcements today. It's all just happening so quickly.

I've been trying to stay one step ahead of the game. Sometimes that is the only way to survive and I want to enjoy this time. It's been 10 years since we've had a wedding and the whole situation is incredibly fun... and incredibly stressful.

Nov 23, 2014

Watching the Jazz

Did I tell you we signed up to play Jr. Jazz basketball again? I know, and yes, I committed to coach Scout's team BEFORE I knew about the wedding plans. Not that I'm complaining, I'm super excited about the upcoming marriage, it's just that basketball is one more thing to deal with when we are already so busy.

The games and practices start the first week of December, but we got our tickets to go see the Jazz play Saturday night. My sweetie was stuck at work and Gamer isn't really into big crowds like that, so Bossy, Teach and I took most of the kids downtown. Curly and Prima Donna had a performance tonight, so they didn't come, but we had 12 of us total.

It started to snow about 4:30 and the weather service issued a winter storm watch so we decided to ride TRAX downtown. It's rather an expensive way to go for so many of us, but at least we knew we would be safe and we didn't have to pay for parking so that helped.

I think the kids were more excited about TRAX than the game and they enjoyed the adventure both ways. We arrived at the Energy Solutions Arena about 6:45 so we had time to find our seats and get our free hot dogs and drinks before the National Anthem.

The Jazz were playing New Orleans (who names their team the Pelicans?) and for the first quarter they were pretty even. After that New Orleans jumped ahead and never looked back. The Jazz tried hard, but they aren't really gelling as a team yet and the game wasn't all that fun to watch. Baby Doll got bored quickly and during the 3rd quarter we finally convinced the Dog Walker it was OK to leave a little early.

We got back on TRAX and Bossy suggested we stop at City Creek to see the candy windows. They were amazing as usual! I snapped this beautiful pic of the kids in front of the Salt Lake Temple and then we climbed back on the extremely crowded train and made our way back home.

Nov 22, 2014

Gust Blogger: Getting Ready for Christmas by Elder Dog Walker

It's been a while ever since I've got to tell you a little more about the mission. I just wanted to point out that it's been almost a whole year since I served the mission. I have a feeling that this mission is going by too fast. That's why I decided that I want to extend the mission until the end of the school year for these students.It'll be the first time for me that I'm trying to get ready for the holidays that are coming. I planned a goal for myself that would help me accomplish it. I started putting lights up for Christmas already. I thought I could finish the entire display before Thanksgiving, because Thanksgiving is on a very short time for this year. I'm hoping by the time I finish, I won't have to worry about putting the rest of it up for the rest of December. I'm still working on it, but I still need to find some time to finish before it's too late.

Nov 21, 2014

Making Pies

OK, I admit it.

The idea of making pies with a big group of 8 through 11-year-old girls terrified me a little! But I shouldn't have worried. These girls are awesome. Some of the older ones are just so helpful and kind to the younger girls in the group, and working together, we managed to make all 12 girls one of these cute little pumpkin pies.

They were a bit disappointed when I told them they would have to leave them with me and I would bring them around in about half an hour when they had cooled a bit. I didn't want anyone getting burned on the ride home.

I had a little taste of Scout's and they did a terrific job! It was a nice bite of next week's festivities. Are y'all excited to eat turkey?! (Teach would be so proud...)

Nov 20, 2014

Football Banquet and Footies

Are you starting to see a theme?

Life is definitely hectic around here! I do like the craziness, but sometimes it wears on me, especially when my Sweetie is out of town on business. Not that I don't feel safe or anything, there are still tons of us here and nobody in their right mind would want to run into the Dog Walker in a dark alley...

And I can't really say I'm lonely, can I?

It's more like I can't just call and he would be here in 20 minutes if I really needed him, you know? Like tonight when I wanted a shopping buddy or earlier when I needed help moving the volleyball ladder from one church to another. There was just an emptiness for a second with a moment of realization and then I found someone else to help me. Sport and I did a great job setting up the gym for the tournament tomorrow night. We drove straight to the church after his football banquet and moved chairs and got things ready.

I don't mind hosting the volleyball tournaments, especially when I get to play some of the games, but it's always a juggling act to make sure the kids are where they need to be so I can concentrate on the games. I think I told you yesterday that I'll be making pies with my Activity Days girls and I don't expect to have more than half an hour from pie baking to hosting, so I wanted to prepare as much as possible beforehand.

The only way I can manage to pull things together is to try to stay one step ahead of the game. Teach and I went shopping tonight after 10:00. We ran to Kohl's before my 30% off coupon expired and I picked up shoes and socks for the wedding, some things for Christmas, and a new pair of gym shoes for Sport. (He pointed out the hole in his this morning.)

Then we ran to WalMart to get the shortening I forgot at the store earlier and we managed to choose candy canes for the garland and Teach bought herself this cute and ridiculous pair of pajamas. She laughed when I asked her to pose, but she is a good sport.

Laughter makes the whole thing much easier.
And a chocolate donut...

Now if I could just find those missing pie tins.

Nov 19, 2014

Crazy Busy Days

My brain is kind of mush tonight. I'm not really sure why other than it seems to be stuffed full of way too much crap.Did you ever read the Harry Potter series? Remember when Dumbledore pulls thoughts and memories from his brain and put them somewhere else? I think that thing is called a pensieve, but I'm sure Teach will straighten me out if I'm wrong. Anyway, I need one of those. Then maybe I wouldn't forget things.

Although the way my brain works, I'd likely still be as jumbled as ever.

I went to Tupperware training tonight. I won the turkey dinner for having the most sales in a 2-week period in our group. The kids thought it was pretty cool. Baby Doll and I also spent a good part of the afternoon shopping for Thanksgiving and trying to get a jump on things. It doesn't look like turkeys are going to get especially cheap this year although we did stock up on butter and whipped cream. This is definitely the best time of year to buy those things!

I've got my Activity Girls coming over on Thursday to make mini pumpkin pies. I don't really love cooking, so I'm not sure why I keep centering my meetings around that sort of thing. I won't even have Princess to help me because she has a Cupcake Club meeting.

Prima Donna and Curly have a couple of days off from the play and then performances start up again on Friday. Curly for sure can use a break. It was after 10:30 when he got in last night and he fell asleep on the couch immediately, still in his stage makeup. When he got up this morning I sent him back to bed for a couple of hours. It won't hurt him to miss a little bit of 1st grade and he was so tired. When he got up I had him shower and put on clean clothes so he no longer looked like a "lost boy" and I dropped him off at school about 10:30. The office staff was totally fine with it. He just really needed a break.

I talked briefly with Drama Queen today. Her musical starts on Thursday and she is working hard to make it successful. They are doing High School Musical and the kids are so excited to see it on Monday! I'll let you know how it goes.

I'd better head off to bed now. Tomorrow is another crazy, busy day.

And I'm NOT Dumbledore.

Nov 18, 2014

Moving Right Along

150 Shower Invitations
Things are moving right along here. I got the shower invitations made and they are ready to mail and deliver tomorrow. I also picked up the last of the ties from Mr. Mac and the quilt batting from JoAnn's. I got all the squares for the quilts ready on Saturday, but now I need a sewing day to get things together.

I can't believe how quickly the days are speeding by! I'm only a week away from Pinewood Derby and Thanksgiving now too. Not to mention the shower that is on for Black Friday.

When I look at the big picture, it terrifies me a little, but if I just pull my focus to what needs to be accomplished today, it seems much more doable. We took the kids to see Peter Pan for FHE tonight. Prima Donna and Curly did a great job! I had to keep pointing out which one Prima Donna was to the Dog Walker. Honestly, she makes a great pirate! She looks like a man... Maybe it has something to do with that fake beard.

Tomorrow is another full day and I will just squeeze the wedding prep in the cracks. It will all work.

It has to, right?

How do you eat an elephant?

One bite at a time.

Nov 17, 2014

Guest Blog: The Engagement by The Beast

Well,  I've never been the guest blogger before, but I've also never been engaged before so I guess there's a first for everything. Let's just jump right into it. I decided to propose by taking the whole day and recreating some of my favorite memories and activities of our time together. 
I picked Beauty up from her home around 9:30. I had 5 different envelopes full of little slips of paper and number one contained the three activities we were going to do first since they required the help of my family. Beauty reached in and pulled out "Juanito Bandito." It's a fun little play that we saw on a trip to Bear Lake earlier this summer. Obviously the play is not still showing so I wrote a little 5-minute play and we went to an excellent showing of it at my mom's house. My mom played Juanito herself and I must say she makes an excellent Bandito, extremely charming and funny :) We also had a Hawaiian Ice snow cone during the intermission (just like at the play) and the kids made a cute little cabin to remind us of our stay there. 
The next thing we did was my brother the Dog Walker did an impersonation of our institute teacher, Brother Bartholomew. I asked him to just say a sentence from our three favorite lessons he taught. He knocked it out of the park! He was engaging with questions and really expounding on the topics given. The final thing we did at my mom's house was make toffee together. Last Christmas Beauty and I went over to my mom's and made toffee, fudge, and peppermint bark. This time we only made toffee for the sake of time.
Now on to envelope two. This one was just a grab bag full of different little activities that we enjoy doing together. I feel like divine intervention played a part in the order in which they came out because it really just felt perfect. First was a hike; it was freezing outside so we opted for a shorty and went up Ensign Peak. Next we drew out "run errands." This might sound ridiculous, but really, this has been something meaningful in our relationship. We are both extremely busy people. Sometimes we are both slam packed full of stuff to do but we just want to be together so we'll run errands, and it always turns a stressful situation into an enjoyable giggle fest. Sometimes distractions will happen, but in the end we'll always get what we need to done and we are much happier because we did it together. 
For this particular errand we were going to go buy shirts for our engagement photos. Since it was coming up on noon I decided we should interrupt errands with lunch. I grabbed envelope three that had in it a variety of eating options. Some were places that were meaningful to us, but for the most part they were just places we frequented. She drew out "Freebirds" which is a fairly new burrito place. I gave her the option to look through them all if she wanted to, but she said Freebirds sounded excellent so we stopped by. 
We went to JC Penney in search of shirts, and we found one we liked but they didn't have my size, so we decided to draw something else out of the envelope in the hopes that it would bring us closer to a different JC Penney. "Temple" was drawn out and we drove down to Jordan River Temple to enjoy the beauty of it while feeling of the spirit. We stopped by her house to pick up some things and while she was inside I reached into the envelope to find "First Kiss." I'd been avoiding kissing her ALL DAY in order to truly relive the first kiss moment and it was driving us both CRAZY! She kept trying to sneak them in. I've never had my nose kissed so many times in a 4-hour period. As she came back out I dampened the first kiss paper and stuck it to the weird glue stuff on the edge of the envelope. She noticed it right away and immediately drew it out. 
We went back to my house and I made her pretend to be me as we reenacted the first kiss. After her version of me, I decided to show her how it was really done, not because she did a bad job, just because it was a good excuse to do it again. We spent some time at the house enjoying each other's company while eating cookies, giggling (the giggling started when I took a pair of her green dance pants and tried to squeeze into them. Fortunately they didn't fit! Unfortunately she took a picture anyway.) 
Next up we were off to the Utah Peace Gardens. This place is very dear to me because this is where Beauty told me she wanted to date me. Of course for the sake of silliness I pretended to be her for the reenactment. I put on my best soprano. Beauty put on my jacket and a ridiculous sounding man-voice and we walked through the gardens, taking the same route we did before. Reliving events, we saw them through the other person's eyes. Everything was exaggerated, Beauty made me try a berry off a random tree since she had tried a crab apple on a previous visit. The berry was disgustingly bitter and she had a good chuckle at my suffering. We sat down on all the benches, and looked at all the pretty things. The only thing different from our original excursion is this time we held hands, and it was wonderful. 
Next we went back to our "errand" this time at Target and for Beauty's outfit. After several attempts we came to the conclusion that I know nothing about women's fashion and I just like looking at her because my opinion didn't change once. "I like it!" The next bit gets a little hazy, we were at my house; we laughed, we cried, we hugged, we kissed, we giggled, we danced (ok, in truth she stood on my feet while I walked in a circle, but that's the only dance I know) we couldn't decide on food, we listened to the words of the prophets. Really it was the perfect example of our time spent together and I wouldn't have had it any other way. 
I made her Alfredo for dinner and afterwards we were back to the envelope. She drew out "Steve." I was actually super worried about this one, because it was a little extra silly. Steve is my cat. I've only had her for about 2 months and we picked her out together. She is the sweetest cat in the world and she was one of the first real life-altering decisions we made as a couple so it had a special meaning. I wanted to recreate the moment so earlier in the week I'd borrowed some stuffed animals from my sisters and set up my office to be a fake Humane Society. Beauty played along perfectly, we discussed each stuffed animal and in the end decided on Steve. It was fun playing pretend. I'm so glad I found someone who doesn't need to engage in adult-like behavior to have a good time. 
The next couple of things drawn out of the envelope we'd already done so we just talked about them for a moment and moved on; cuddling, giggling, intellectual discussion, playing with Franco, baking cookies (I forgot I put this one in there and baked cookies the night before). Then we drew out "wade in a lake." Beauty was pretty against going out to Daybreak Lake seeing as how it was 25 degrees so instead we filled up the bathtub with warm water, hiked up our pants and got to splashing around. At one point she told me to close my eyes and while eagerly awaiting the kiss I was so positive would come, I suddenly found my face covered with water and a cold wet index finger in my belly button. 
Next up was "decorating." We had hung up a couple invisible bookshelves in my family room earlier this year and were both in agreement that we needed another so I had ordered one online and we put it up. Next we read a chapter out of The Screwtape Letters which is a book we'd read together earlier this year. I feel like maybe I'm forgetting some stuff, but really, you get the idea. 
At this point I reached for the final envelope that had so ominously been sitting there all day. She pulled out "Goblin Valley." For those of you who haven't been to Goblin Valley, go! It's great! It's a national park by Moab. Earlier this year Lindsey and I had gone down there to look at the stars and share a picnic. We went back to my mom's house where everyone was waiting in the backyard dressed as goblins. 
We went onto the hill we'd had our picnic on, only this time the hill was my mom's trampoline. We had our picnic of cookies and a dog treat (long story for another time) and then we stood up and I said the following, or at least something very close to it.. "Beauty, sometimes life's unstable. It wobbles and wavers, it has its ups and its downs. Sometimes you go up so high you don't know where you're going to come down, but there is no one I'd rather have by my side holding my hand to help me keep my balance. Will you marry me?" 
Of course I got down on one knee for that last part. Luckily she said yes, we hugged, we kissed, we laid down and looked at the stars, but most importantly we loved each other.

Nov 16, 2014

Dancing at the Christmas Family Gift Show

Today was a wonderful, glorious day!! (But you will have to wait until tomorrow to hear all the details...)

We spent the afternoon at the Christmas Family Gift Show. Princess, Crafty, Scout, Fajita, and Baby Doll were all dancing.

The show was absolutely insane! We couldn't even find a parking place. The girls did a fabulous job even though the stage was a big problem. Princess was supposed to dance her Sugar Plum Fairy solo from The Nutcracker, but the stage was all bumpy so she couldn't wear her pointe shoes. She did it on flat. She did a fantastic job, but she just didn't have as much impact as it would have on her toes.

Baby Doll looked so grown up I hardly recognized her! Bossy did her makeup and she looked at least 6 or 7 rather than 4.

Crafty, Scout, and Fajita all did a great job too. The first dance performance of the year is always stressful, but necessary for preparing for the recital in a couple of weeks.

Just a heads-up, I have a Guest Post going up tomorrow and a certain special event... :)

Nov 15, 2014

Scout's Visit From Minnie Mouse

Today was Scout's birthday party with her friends. I worked and stressed about it for a couple of weeks. It all started when Princess decided to be Minnie Mouse for Halloween. She looked so cute in her little costume. Then a week later she made Minnie Mouse cupcakes for a friend's birthday. And a plan was born.

I have to admit to going a little over the top. I made flannel drawstring bags for the treats and I spent way too much time cutting felt and making bows for the Minnie ears each girl would be making.

You already saw my poster we had to redo and the girls enjoyed coloring and then wearing the blindfold while they placed all of their bows. Then we had Princess enter in her Minnie costume. The girls loved it! She read them a Mickey and Friends story and then she presented Scout with a large stuffed Minnie and the story book.

After gifts we sang Happy Birthday and then the girls drank milk and ate Minnie Mouse cupcakes. The Dog Walker put on a movie for the last 15 minutes and some of the girls opted to go in the yard. Everyone seemed to have fun. We had 15 kids here besides my own so it was a little hectic, just like the rest of my life.

I think next year we will forgo a theme and simplify. I can do that without saying "No!" Right?