Sunday, December 30, 2012

Wicked: A Complicated Christmas Gift

The gift:  Tickets for our family to see Wicked at the Fox Theatre in St. Louis the day after Christmas.

The problem: A winter storm warning from 9:00pm Christmas night through 6:00pm the next day between here and St. Louis. The Forecast included white out conditions, blowing snow, and 6-9" of the white stuff. Poor traveling conditions. We live over two hours from St. Louis and worried we might not be able to get there if the storm was as bad as predicted.

The solution: Jeff called some friends he and the older kids met last summer who live 30 minutes from the Fox Theatre. They were happy to let us come and stay with them, on Christmas no less, so that we could avoid traveling in the storm and easily make it to the show the next day.

Our friends who saved the day. These guys sure know how to make you feel at home!

The end of the story: We had the best time! We loved spending time with our new friends - they really spoiled us with great company, good food and plenty of fun. We enjoyed Wicked and were inspired by the music and the message of the show. And... the storm missed us! It didn't snow, it didn't blow, and traveling conditions were perfect on our way home.

Can you tell that Savannah is excited?

The only snow we saw was on the ground when we arrived home. We only got an inch and Spencer used up a good portion of it on his cute little snowman that stands about 18" tall.

I'm so glad things turned out the way they did. It was a great two days we'll not soon forget.

Friday, December 28, 2012

He's Taken

We had some good music playing last night so Jeff and I started slow dancing in the living room. Sadie, a daddy's girl through and through, ran right over to us and announced,

"I'm sorry to say, but he's taken."

Then she promptly pushed me out of the way and took my place.

It's a good thing she's cute!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

I just wanted to share this little clip of a favorite scene from A Muppet Christmas Carol.

We are so blessed!

Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

My Boys

I love this picture. It was taken by someone at the university during orchestra rehearsal one night and it totally makes me smile! I love how Sterling has his trusty pencil tucked behind his ear, as usual. And Sam is looking so handsome there in the background. I love my violin playing boys!

Friday, December 21, 2012

12-21-12: The Day the World Didn't End

Today is the day the world was supposed to end. Remember this? 

The Mayans definitely freaked plenty of people out! But the day is almost over and we're still here. Yay!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Ending the Season With Style

As usual, BYU had a great fourth quarter and convincingly beat SDSU in the Poinsettia Bowl tonight. Most of the points were scored by the defense - there were a LOT of turnovers - but we'll take them however they come!

Oh, and today is twelve-twenty twenty-twelve (12-20-2012). Say that five times fast. :)

Some friends invited us over for dinner. I didn't have to cook!

And Christmas Break starts now.

Yes, it's been a great day!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Showcasing Sterling

Sterling performed Allegro Brilliant Op. 19 by Ten Have in the semi-annual violin recital last night. After a small hiccup in his opening, he got into the groove and never looked back. He played his little heart out, playing his piece the best he's ever done. Savannah was his accompanist. These two make a great team!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Easy Ornaments

I had a box of small colored ornaments that I bought 3-4 years ago for a project I never finished.

Determined to make use of them this year, I stole an idea from my friend, Marcia, and made the red ones into Santa's coat. So easy!! All it took was a small strip of black vinyl and a little gold buckle, also cut from vinyl, around the middle. The blue ones were just begging to be BYU ornaments so a simple Y was all that was needed.

Hooray for simplicity and using up what I had on hand. I love how they turned out. :)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

My Calendar: Due Dates

My to-do list usually looks like a big jumble of stream-of-consciousness tasks. On any given day it might say do laundry, make teacher gifts, return library books, make pie for ward party, and find a violin piece for Sam to play in church. A couple of those tasks might need to be done today, but most of them aren't pressing. The problem is, I look through my list and think, "I'll get started on teacher gifts," but I still have a week to finish those and the next thing I know, I owe a fine at the library and the boys have no clean socks!

I'm trying something new.

(I am the first to admit, this isn't rocket science. I'm sure I'm not the first person to ever think of this.)

I took a blank calendar page and filled in dates beginning with today. Instead of writing everything I have to do on one jumbled list, I wrote each on the day that it needs to be completed (the due date, if you will). Now I can look at the calendar and work on things in a sensible order. This morning I'll make pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting for Jeff's Pscychology Department Holiday Party. The recipe makes a ton so I'll save enough for the violin recital tomorrow - they're better the next day anyway and I will have killed two birds with one stone. :) I'll still tackle teacher gifts well before next Thursday, but at least I won't neglect the things that need to be done in the meantime.

I hope it works!

Now, if you'll please excuse me, I have to go make some Visiting Teaching gifts. I need them in an hour!

{If you have a great method of keeping things straight, please share in the comments.}

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Screen shot of my iPod at 12:12 on 12/12/12.
So I guess this is the last time in my life when the calendar will have three two-digit numbers repeating three times.

I wish I could say today was amazing and that we celebrated 12 different ways.

It wasn't and we didn't.

It was a pretty typical day with plenty going on after school and people to shuttle here and there. But we all acknowledged it and a few of us made sure to notice when the clock turned 12:12 just to say we did.

I did.

It made me happy.

I'm kind of a nerd that way. :)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Taking Matters Into Her Own Hands

Sadie called upstairs, "Mom?"

I ran down to see what she wanted.

Looking a little nervous and stroking the side of her head she confessed, "I really wanted bangs and I know you said I couldn't have them, but I really wanted them and," lifting her hand to reveal her newly cut bangs, "can you please forgive me?"

I laughed and then gave her a big hug. It could have been so much worse!

See? You can hardly tell from the front.

There they are.  I'll have a little cleaning up to do, but not bad.
Sadly (for me), we just finished growing out her bangs a few months ago. Oh well, it's only hair. It'll grow. :)

Friday, December 7, 2012

A Christmas Greeting

So for the last 6+ years - since I got my vinyl cutter - I've kicked around the idea of coming up with a set of door vinyl that I could change out with each season or holiday. I finally got my act together when I put up my Halloween and Thanksgiving decor.

Here is what I came up with as a first greeting to visitors of our home through Christmas. Hopefully that star will remind people of the Savior, God's greatest blessing and the reason for the season.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Having a feverish Sadie home these past 2 days has allowed me to cancel my plans and hang out with my little bug. Other than a mild stuffy nose, her fever has been the only symptom. A little ibuprofen does wonders and we've had a fun couple of days. She's definitely a daddy's girl, but I've loved having her around as my little sidekick. :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Mom, You've Gotta See This!

I'm glad my kids appreciate beauty when they see it.

Soren insisted I stop what I was doing to see the sunset this evening. It was like one big rainbow.

Thanks, Soren. I'm glad I didn't miss it.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Is It Really December?

...because it feels like May.

2:30 pm on Dec. 3 in my little corner of the world.

It's all good. I really like May!

(FYI: Average daytime temperatures for this time of year are 40º to 45º.)

Friday, November 30, 2012

Mary or Martha?

By Simon Dewey
As I sat down with my plate of food at our Relief Society gathering last night, I noticed the little picture of Jesus with Mary and Martha that had been set at my place. I've never been able to remember which one is Mary and which is Martha.

That problem was solved when our Stake Relief Society President, during her remarks, shared a sure way to remember. She said,

"Mary is the one listening to Jesus because
Martha Stewart is in the kitchen!" 

I'll never forget! :)

Monday, November 26, 2012

At Least She Was Quiet About It

See this cute little tea party? This is for Sadie's stuffed animals. She has it all set up in the toy room right now which is right where it should be.

Unlike yesterday...

Yesterday when we left for church, Sadie had Teddy in her arms (as usual) and a bag of other stuff. I didn't bother checking the bag because she sometimes brings a coloring book or church magazine or an extra outfit for Teddy so I figured that's what she had in there.

Imagine my surprise when, right in the middle of Sacrament Meeting, I looked over and Sadie had this tea party (minus the table and chairs) set up on the pew. What on earth? There was only one child between me and her so she was very quiet as she set it all up. I had no idea. Mean mom that I am, I made her put it back in her bag and sit reverently on the bench for the rest of the meeting.

But it's kind of funny now.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Cute Little Christmas Tree

Here is my Sadie-bug, trying on the Christmas tree star. I sure love this crazy girl!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

We have more than enough and so much to be thankful for! We're missing our families, but we are grateful to be spending the day with good friends and plenty of food. We are blessed!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A MINI Milestone

My Mini passed 100,000 miles last week! Only about 30,000 miles of those are mine, but what a fun 30,000 they've been. I still feel spoiled every time I drive my cute little car.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Super Ear Man

Soren's got a great imagination. I don't know how he comes up with these things...

What a funny kid! :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Saying Goodbye

Last night we said a sad goodbye to Absa. Because we were asked to be a "Welcome Family," we hosted her for a little over the first 2 months of her stay. We loved having her here. She is the most respectful, calm, easy going girl and we enjoyed the time that she was in our home. It was fun showing her things for the first time and learning about her culture.

Absa is joining a family who has one child, a daughter her age. I'm sure she'll get a lot more attention and there won't be nearly as much chaos in her new home. (Things get pretty crazy around here on a daily basis!) We look forward to inviting her over and keeping in close touch throughout the remainder of her time in our little corner of the world. It's been a great experience.

All our best, Absa, as you start on your new adventure! We'll miss you.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Where's the Ketchup?

I asked Spencer to get the ketchup and mustard out for dinner the other day. This is what I found when I arrived at the table:

Spencer was as surprised as I was. He had no idea he'd grabbed the wrong bottle. We had a good laugh about it - then got out the ketchup. :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Happy Birthday, Sterling!

A big happy birthday to my Sterling today. It's been 11 years of unpredictable adventures with this boy! He is an excellent student, a great composer (violin duets are his specialty), a fearless daredevil, a lego lover and an all around funny kid.

I sure love you, Sterling! I can't imagine life without you.

I hope 11 is your best year so far!

Sunday, November 11, 2012


We interrupt this happy blog to bring you the following announcement:

Jeff was set apart as our new Stake President today.

Don't get me wrong. I know our family will be blessed. I know that that Jeff will be able to fulfill his many new responsibilities, put in 40 hours per week at work and continue to do all he does for our home and family. I don't know how, but I know that somehow things will work out.

And I know that someday, hopefully soon, I'll be happy about it.

But after leaving the house before 7:00 this morning with all 9 of us polished and ready to go, driving to the Stake Center (it's an hour away), spending 7 hours at church, driving home, feeding the kids and then Jeff and I driving driving the hour once again to arrive home four hours later, I'm way too tired to be happy.

Maybe tomorrow.

This is a very patient Sadie waiting for daddy and trying out "his chair."

Friday, November 9, 2012

What Are We Thankful For?

In an effort to get my kids to focus on gratitude, I put out a blank slate for them to fill up with all the things they are thankful for. After just a few days, I'd say we're off to a pretty good start!

This is what we started with.

No surprise here. Sadie LOVES her bear!

Sound it out. You get the idea. :)

Translation: Foreign Exchange Students Like Absa
(Soren taught Sadie how to write her name in cursive and she's a fan! So cute!)

A few others that made the thankful list:
Lightsabers -Yoda (a.k.a. Sterling)
Cool Hair -Princess Leia
AP Chemistry -Sam
Ibuprofen -Jeff
Chocolate -Spencer
Freedom -Sadie
My Family -Soren

I hope we fill it right up. We have so much to be thankful for!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Late Bloomer

Do roses always bloom again in the fall? I guess I don't pay much attention to these things. Our roses were beautiful in the spring and kept on blooming right through the summer. But then they started to wilt and die and I figured they were done for the year. So I was pleasantly surprised when I noticed our white rose bush full of brand new blossoms the other day. It's as pretty as it ever was.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day (Finally!)

The big day of decision has finally arrived. I'm personally hoping for a Romney victory. I would like nothing more. But regardless of the outcome, I'm ready for it to be over.

So get out and vote. I'm grateful for the privilege!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Typical Sadie

I love this picture of Sadie. My little puzzle building whistler, happy as a clam in her own little world!

Thursday, November 1, 2012


This has been the most beautiful fall that I can remember in a long time. The trees seem to have turned colors earlier than usual which means we've been able to enjoy their brilliant display much longer. The colors also seem brighter than years past. Our grass, which suffered through the drought this summer, greened right up with early season rainstorms and only adds to the effect. I wish I had a dozen photos to go along with this post, but I never seem to have my camera available when I'm out and about soaking it all in.

So I wish you were here to see it.

I hope you are having a beautiful fall, too.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Spencer: When I look at myself in the mirror, I even feel old!

I hear you, buddy.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Our Little Princess

We have our very own royalty! Yes, it's true. When our University had their Homecoming activities a few weeks ago, Sadie was selected as the Little Princess on the Homecoming Court. It was a fun week from Coronation to riding (and throwing tons of candy) in the parade. Here are a few pictures from the events of the week:

Sadie and daddy during Coronation

Making her appearance at Homecoming Family Fun Night

                                                  Riding in an open Jeep during the Homecoming parade                                    photo: J. Grabiec
After the parade, with the rest of the gang.


Friday, October 26, 2012

What Everybody Needs

As I was tucking the boys in last night, Sterling was still unsure what he was going to be this morning for his school Halloween Parade. Looking at the stack of Calvin & Hobbes books on their floor, I had an idea...

Calvin & Hobbes

Sterling is the perfect kid to play Calvin! :)

This might be my favorite costume yet!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Les Mis

We celebrated my birthday* last night. I used all my birthday money and then some to buy 7 tickets to see Les Miserables. Soren and Sadie stayed behind with "the world's best babysitters" (Sadie's words) - two young adult girls in our ward. The rest of us got all gussied up and drove 2.5 hours to the Fox Theatre in St. Louis.

Arriving at The Fox Theatre in St. Louis
The theater is amazing with elaborate carvings and decor everywhere you look. It is no wonder they call it the Fabulous Fox! Built in 1929 and used for years as a movie theater, it opened for stage productions in the 80's. I'm glad we arrived early enough to soak it all in!

The play itself was simply amazing! Savannah pretty much cried through the whole thing. The music, the scenery, the voices (especially the voices!) - it was all so hauntingly beautiful! I wanted to just stay there and have it go on forever, even from our "cheap seats" which turned out to be much better than I expected. I first saw Les Miserables in 1993 in Edinburgh, Scotland. I took Jeff when it came to Salt Lake City in 1995. I love the story and I'm glad I was able to take my family to see it with me this time around.

Now if only I can find a way to justify tickets to Wicked in December...

*My birthday is October 8th. This was worth the wait!