Feb 29, 2016

Guest Blog: A Wish To Be Famous By Dog Walker (Blast From the Past)

I'm just not sure that I would be writing this post, but there have been some dreams that I wish that they would come true, but with my family and my home, it makes it seem that some of them won't be coming to past. Besides being a Boy Scout who earned 132 merit badges, and graduating from high school, I always wanted to do something more. I have always wanted to be famous, like be in the movies, sing and dance in music videos, meet celebrities while being famous, be in commercials, and do interviews on celebrity shows, like Ellen DeGeneres. After watching my favorite Disney movies and singing along to my favorite bands and music artists, it makes me feel like that I want to be like them.

Unfortunately, there's just one problem. My mom and dad kept telling me that being famous isn't really good for you, even though it looks like fun. They told me some things of what it's really like to be a celebrity. They told me that you would never be able to rest, and you would have to sign a lot of autographs to fans, you never get to see your family very often and you'd have to be in disguise if you were going to a restaurant so no one would recognize you And the biggest problem is, is that being famous doesn't make enough money.

Steve and Lisa James Return to Christmas
Even though that my parents keep saying that being famous is bad for you, we have some neighbors that are kind of famous, along with making a Christmas album a few years ago, called Return to Christmas. Their names are Lisa and Steve James. They love to play music and they like to do a family choir with their children. And speaking of their children there's this special edited music video about Taylor Swift's song Safe and Sound. This one shows their daughter named Alyssa James singing the song, while her brother and cousin are playing their guitars.

I know how my parents feel about what could happen to me if I accept being famous. They sometimes might say, "Dog Walker, if you choose to be famous, you're going to be having the wrong message!" I guess that I have to just move on and think of other things, like getting school done, be on a mission, and then find a girl to be married too. Have any of you felt like you've always wanted to be famous, but then your family member kept telling you it's a bad idea? If you have, than I understand about that.

Image result for UVU

Other than that, ever since, I'm now attending Utah Valley University (UVU) and I decided that my future is to become a Special Education teacher and all of you probably remember the events about my mission. Maybe being on a mission with the special need children has been made a little fame. Other than, I was praised for being a Graduate of Excellence at Salt Lake Community College (SLCC). I've attended some fun classes that would help me get into my future, like learning about Children's Literature. I'm still planning on writing children storybooks and hopefully get them published by an accepting company. Maybe there are story publishing companies online that you won't have to verbally go to to get a book published. That could come with a little fame, I just never know if that could happen or not. I hope you enjoyed this moment of my life.

Feb 28, 2016

20 Years Older

You remember yesterday I told you about Prima Donna's role in The Importance of Being Ernest? Well, there was one thing that bothered me about this amazing show. We were in the Copper Pit and it is like a little theater in the round, so we were very close to the actors the entire time. At some points I was fewer than 6 feet from my daughter. That's when I noticed that some of her makeup was not very authentic and since I knew an amazing makeup artist, I wanted to make sure we got the problem fixed for tonight.

Lady Bracknell is a much older character than my 17-year-old Prima Donna, so it was important for her to have aging lines on her face. Drama Queen happens to love doing makeup and she was quick to offer her skills. The problem was that Prima Donna usually just did he own makeup at the school, so Drama Queen needed a model to show her how to do it.

Guess who offered.

What could I do, really? It was all for a good cause although honestly, I didn't want to know what I might look like in 20 years. We decided only half of my face would be perfect for her to see the techniques. What do you think, did she do a good job?

I was sort of hoping this last pic would show a huge difference between me and the older me.

I was disappointed.

Feb 27, 2016

The Importance of Being Ernest

Waiting for the show to begin.
Tonight was opening night for Prima Donna's play, The Importance of Being Ernest. Not that she wrote it, Oscar Wilde wrote it, but if she were to write one, I would imagine it would be a lot like this. Set in England, witty and with a ridiculous plot, yeah, it sounds just like her.

The set was a giant book.
We arrived at 6:30 for the 7:00 show. I had pre-purchased tickets, but it was all general admission in the Copper Pit which only seats 100 or so people, and we wanted good seats. We got the front row! It was a little tedious waiting for half an hour, and I really don't think there are any bad seats in that little theater, but as you can see, the kids made good use of their time.

One of her many speeches.
They mostly filled the house and the show was amazing! Prima Donna was right in the middle of one of her ridiculous speeches as Lady Bracknell when the alarm went off in my phone! I just about died, but my girl, she didn't skip a beat and she was only standing about 6 feet from me. I know, I had silenced my phone, but since all of my loved ones weren't with me, I didn't turn it all the way off.

I was embarrassed, but no one threw things at me or cussed me out during the intermission so I guess it was OK. I looked in the program and then listened for an announcement, but there wasn't one, so I sneaked a few pics for you. Sorry they aren't very good. I didn't want to distract from the performance, but I did want you to see Prima Donna at her finest.

If you are close by, go see the show at Bingham. It's well worth the ten bucks. I'm thinking I just might go back on Monday. And this time I will definitely turn my phone all the way off.

Feb 26, 2016

National Make a Blanket Day

Have you ever heard of the Linus Project? About six years ago, we were looking for a service project that would allow us to earn the free day passes to Disneyland (I wish they would offer that again!). We decided on supporting the Linus Project by making a quilt to donate for each of us. It was a huge task!

I'm remembering that we made 14 pieced baby quilts. We had a gigantic quilting bee over the President's Day weekend of 2010 and tied them all. It was a fun and crazy task! (And we all really enjoyed Disneyland too.)

So last week I was surfing the web looking for a good service project for my girl scouts when I ran across National Make a Blanket Day on February 20th. Of course the first thing I thought of was Primary Children's Hospital, but since we were celebrating Thinking Day and it was supposed to be more than something just for our state, I thought of the Linus Project.

Each of my girls cut and looped a blanket to donate. I'm still hoping to boost it to 12 before we get them sent off. The girls enjoyed sitting around and chatting while the work was being done. Now I just need to finish them up and get them delivered.

Feb 25, 2016

Sad News

Image result for Sad face
Bossy warned me on Sunday that something didn't feel right.

Today she had an ultrasound.

No heartbeat.

After 9 years of trying for a successful pregnancy, this one has terminated itself at 13 weeks.

She is devastated.

We are all heartbroken.

Please pray for our family to find peace and comfort.

Especially Bossy.

Pray for her to have the courage and faith to try again.

So glad I know families are forever.

Feb 24, 2016

Prima Donna's Big Week

It's a big week for Prima Donna. First of all, I finally got her phone fixed after she broke the screen yet again. Not happy about that. I think this time might have to be her graduation gift. She cleaned out her own bank account last time she broke it.

So she was finally able to get me a pic from the Sweetheart's Dance last week. Aren't they cute? She had so much fun! Her date was amazing, respectful and lively. All things that Prima Donna dreams about.

She is also prepping for her winter play. If you remember, she has the very best role in The Importance of Being Ernest, that of Lady Bracknell. Honestly, I don't know how she memorizes so many lines and so fully and completely adopts a character. I can ask for a line and she can spew her English accent and larger than life character for 5 minutes easily without breaking a sweat. (And I make her do it often because I love the wit and snarkiness of the character.)

I'm really excited to see this one. For 7 Brides there were so many people on the stage that even when she was singing her solo or saying her lines, they seemed to get lost in the bigness of everything. This time they are going to be in the Copper Pit which is a smaller stage where the audience is almost part of the set. I had to lay down my credit card to get tickets for 9 of us to see the show on opening night, but I'm sure it will be well worth the money.

Then she assumed her role as Laurel President for her church group a week or so ago and that has required extra time and meetings as well as helping to plan Girls' Camp for this summer.

And last, but not least, she has been working diligently on her Director's Book (and her other homework, I hope). She is hoping to be chosen to produce and direct her play for the Spring Showcase. Only about a fourth of the Theater 4 class gets the honor, so it is a big deal.

I'll keep you posted on how it works out.

Feb 22, 2016

Happy Happy Birthday Burrito Dear!

We celebrated Burrito's 9th birthday last night. He wanted nachos with the cheese right out of the can and corndogs for dinner. I guess I'm getting old. That didn't sound at all good to me and when his family showed up with a box of taquitos, it got even worse. I added a fruit salad and a green salad to balance it out a bit. Seriously, old people like me just can't eat like that.

It was beautiful and warm so the kids played basketball outside while we got dinner ready. Fajita frosted and decorated the cake. Not sure how I missed getting a pic of that for you. I've taken to buying a box of Creamies instead of ice cream for the kids' birthday parties. Other than the wrappers all over the place, it's so much easier.

After dinner we visited and Burrito opened his gifts. We gave him a new Star Wars backpack for school, but I couldn't resist wrapping up a few smaller packages and stuffing them inside. He was all smiles and thrilled with everything, even the clothes.

After we cleaned up a little the married kids left and my sweetie and I drove over to Teach and Twiz's new apartment. It was the first time we had seen it. It was very much like our first apartment, small but a place for just us where no one could bother us as we established our own little family.

Good times.

Feb 21, 2016

Zoo with the Boltons

I know I told you a little bit about Twiz's family during the wedding last week, but I didn't get a chance to share about our trip to the zoo on Wednesday. We wanted one more opportunity to get together before they left for New Jersey, so we decided an afternoon at the zoo would be fun.

Teach and Twiz were on the last day of their honeymoon, so they joined us. I thought about taking some of the kids out of school, but they have so many things going on we decided it would be best to only take Baby Doll. Drama Queen and I were thinking it would just be the three of us when my sweetie surprised me by taking a long lunch and joining us.

We picked up Baby Doll from preschool and enjoyed sack lunches on our way. It takes about 45 minutes to get to the zoo, so we got there just right for our 1:00 rendezvous. The afternoon was warm for the middle of February and we enjoyed the walk. Some of the animals were unavailable and we missed the tiger for sure, but the baby monkey made up for it.

The kids loved the sea lions and it was hard to pull them away.

My favorite part was watching the kids and I'm including Drama Queen, Teach and Twiz in this, riding the Carousel. It wasn't so long ago that Teach was the 5-year-old and now there she was, riding with her husband.

It was sad to say goodbye to the Boltons, but real life has to return and they left for New Jersey on Thursday.

Feb 20, 2016

Last Minute Dress

Sometime last night it became apparent that Prima Donna had a date to the Sweetheart's Dance and even though Drama Queen had planned to make her dress, it was now up to me. As you know, I had my tax appointment and then my Tupperware order to do, so by the time I gathered up the sack full of dress pieces, it was already after midnight.

Drama Queen assured me the pattern was easy and if I just followed the one she was making for Fajita, it should go fast.

So I did.

Unfortunately, there was a problem with that dress and I suddenly had Prima Donna trying on a bodice that I had put together totally wrong including the sleeves. It was time to unpick, modify, or throw in the towel.

2:00 AM  I decided to unpick.

2:45 AM  Finished the deconstruction and started trying to figure out the right way to put things together.

3:55 AM  Back to where I was when I started taking things apart.

5:00 AM  Skirt sewn and ready to attach to bodice.

6:15 AM Woke Nephi for his Merit Badge Pow Wow and started working on the zipper.

7:45 AM  Made sure Crafty was up for her Youth City Council service activity. Had to rework the length of the zipper.

8:45 AM  Had Prima Donna try on the dress before Rehearsal and found half a dozen things that will have to be fixed before she can wear it tonight.

9:00 AM  Started working on this post for you.

9:10 AM  Finally collapsed into bed.

Somebody wake me in a few hours...

Feb 19, 2016

Tax Season

Now that the wedding is over, I'm up to my neck in tax documents for my appointment with my preparer tomorrow night. I have a love/hate relationship with taxes. I know they are necessary and we generally come out with a good refund in the end, but it is just so stressful getting all the papers together and in the right order.

Tonight while I was sitting with piles of paper all around me, adding numbers on my phone, my son innocently turned to my sweetie (who was watching) and asked if he ever did the taxes. In a carefully worded answer, he told how it was his job to earn the money so we could pay taxes. Not to be avoided, my son tried again, "No, Dad, do you help figure out all this paperwork?"

He had to admit that taxes were pretty much my job. I've always been in charge of the paperwork here. It's better that way. Since I'm a control freak, I would rather just do it myself so I know it got done. The couple of times my sweetie has taken over the bill-paying, it never lasts more than a month because I am constantly bugging him about it. It's just easier for both of us if I stay in charge.

I'd much rather do that than be in charge of making the money.

Feb 17, 2016

Visiting the Ice Castles in Midway

This is the Charlie's Angels pic. Then I turned on my flash.
We felt fortunate to get a chance to see the Ice Castles in Midway on Monday because today was their last day open. I didn't put it off, we only got our vouchers last week and with the wedding we were pretty stuck until Monday.

We left at 6:00 for our 7:30 - 8:00 time slot and we got there with just a few minutes to spare. Some of the kids had been there before and really enjoyed it, others were not listening when I told them to dress warmly and they suffered a bit from the cold.

We didn't have to wait in line for more than a minute or two before we were inside the castle. It was a bit unnerving to have water dripping from these huge icicles overhead, but none of us suffered injury. I only had one minor bout of claustrophobia in the slot canyons and that is because the people in front of us stopped and for about 2 minutes I felt completely trapped. Someone suggested I look up and the night sky was beautiful and huge above us and that helped until the line started moving again.

Baby Doll loved the small slide! She went down 5 or 6 times until she complained that her pants and gloves were wet. The bigger slide was already closed for the season, so we didn't get a chance to try it although it looked like we could have spent hours there. My favorite part was actually watching the fire twirlers. Since it was dark while we were there, it was even more stunning.

We only stayed for about an hour because some of the kids were getting cold although really, we had seen everything we wanted to see. I seriously had no desire to go back into the slot canyons and even my little ones got tired of exploring. Although it was pretty late by then. In my defense, I had originally procured tickets for the 4:30 hour and I think that would have been much better for my small ones on a school night, but because of the weather we were asked to trade our tickets for later ones.

But then the fire spinners wouldn't have looked as amazing in the daylight and neither would the lights that were embedded in the ice.

***We were given 6 free tickets for our honest review of the Ice Castles. No further compensation was given.***

After the Wedding

Remember last week when I was all stressed about Teach's wedding? I kept saying, "Ask me after the wedding..." "Don't tell me until after the wedding," and "I'll get to that after the wedding." Guess what?

It's after the wedding.

I hate to point out the obvious, but I am really no more excited about taking care of problems than I was last week, but I did spend the day cleaning my bedroom. My grant for Giselle was approved by the Arts Council! Yay! And I managed to get myself to Curves and work out this morning, so it was a pretty good day.

Look at cute little Burrito. He has grown up so much!
You know when you come back from vacation and the laundry is piled a mile high and the fridge is bare? That's sort of how it feels. Except that I have things that need to be done too, like I have a tax appointment on Friday and I haven't even begun to sort out any paperwork. And Saturday is Sweethearts and I have to make Prima Donna a dress. I also promised to take Baby Doll to the zoo tomorrow with Teach and Twiz and his family before they leave for New Jersey on Thursday. Not Teach and Twiz, just his family.

Thursday is Burrito's birthday, so I get to do a party this weekend and a scout meeting for Friday.

I'm starting to think it was easier just planning the wedding.

Feb 15, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day...I mean Presidents' Day!

I didn't mean to keep you in suspense. I was so tired yesterday! I went to church at 11:00 and my sweetie actually drove me home before Relief Society was over and I took off my boots, climbed in bed, and slept for 4 hours! That was after being in bed for 10 hours the night before. I felt like I hadn't slept in a month.

My sweetie gave me a romantic thoughtful gift that included earrings, chocolates, and a few other things. But honestly, the gift from Bossy was the best. She came over with her kids, including her two new foster kids that we are affectionately calling Chips and Salsa. These cute boys are 3 and 8 and have been pretty quiet for the most part.

Burrito brought me the big master calendar and asked me to write their birthdays on it. So I dutifully flipped to July and wrote Salsa's birthday. Then I turned the page to August and wrote Chips' birthday on August 26. That's when I noticed, penciled in on the 24th, "Bossy's Baby Due."


**Just talked with Bossy and she is a little annoyed with me for announcing so early. She would love all of your prayers to help her carry this little one.**

Feb 13, 2016

Teach's Wedding Day

Wait, wrong bride!
I was in an amazing mood this morning. Most of the stress was gone after we got things set up and ready last night. We had to be at the temple at 9:00, and it wasn't long before Teach and Twiz were dressed and ready to go. The sealing was beautiful and they were so happy!

Lunch at the small church
Mr. and Mrs.
We took some pics on the temple grounds and then headed for home so we could change and get to the small church. (I know, Sport gave me crap for tying up two of our church buildings this morning!). The caterer set up the food, so that made it super easy for us to visit with family and friends. We had barbecue and when we were finished and the bride and groom had "left the building" we had a rousing game of basketball. It was fun, but we had about 20 people on the floor of various ages and skill levels so that made it interesting.

My sweetie and I finally took off and left the kids to play. We had almost an hour before I had to meet my friend, Dana, so she could set up the wedding cake, so we sat on the porch and enjoyed half an hour of the sunshine that had peeked through the inversion. Then it was time to run off again.

Prima Donna, Drama Queen and I made
a few last minute touches before the reception would be ready. I loaded all the cookies onto the trays, Drama Queen set up the video and sound system, and Prima Donna ate the cookies...

It wasn't long before the rest of the wedding party showed up. We pinned flowers and fixed hair and makeup before heading out in the back field to take a few more pictures. Some of the girls were standing in the snow in heels rather than boots. Their feet were freezing!

We started the ring ceremony at 5:50, about 20 minutes later than we had planned, but we were still finished and ready to receive the first guests by a few minutes after 6:00. We had a steady stream of visitors until just before 8:00 when the bride and groom decided it was time to cut the cake. That went as expected with each of them smearing the others' face with white fondant and frosting.

Then it was time for dancing. Teach had always wanted to dance at her wedding and she shared that first dance with Twiz and then the second one with her dad. Then Twiz danced with his mom and it was tender and sweet as she finally gave him back to our daughter.

After that she tossed the bouquet which Prima Donna caught (again!) much to the chagrin of her sisters and the other single sisters. Then they changed their clothes and we lined up by the back door to blow them off with a steady stream of tiny bubbles.

Crafty had my phone and took some pics, but we should have the ones back from the photographer in a week or so and maybe I can share more. Our amazing army of helpers had everything cleaned up and we were back at the house by 9:30, much earlier than I was expecting. We rewarmed leftovers from lunch and ate dinner around the piles of boxes and gifts.

It was a beautiful, happy, glorious day full of love and family. Come back tomorrow. I have another surprise for you.

All Ready to Go

Everything is ready!

I can't believe the day is finally upon us. We started setting up for the reception at 2:00 and we didn't leave the church until 8:00. Then we still had to go over to the smaller church to set up for the luncheon. It was much quicker, of course, but at this point every minute counts.

And now it's almost time. I'm hoping to get a few hours of sleep, so I will just leave you with some pictures of our fun decorations. Drama Queen put in SO much time painting and planning. She was definitely the hero here. Tomorrow I will show you everything.