Thursday, December 27, 2012

Santa Babies.

Just before Christmas last year, Chloe starting working at a company called "Foto Fly." One of her first assignments was as an artist, assisting families who came in for photos with Santa.

Foto Fly had the GENIUS idea to have a parent dress up as Santa so that the kids weren't afraid ... thus getting much cuter pictures of your child with Santa, instead of the oh-so-common screaming baby on Santa's lap.  (Do you remember me as Santa last year, here?)

McCall dressed up as Santa last year too and got the CUTEST pictures with Libby.  This year, she had another appointment with Libby and Logan and I LOVE how darling the pictures turned out.  (Just look at those expressions on little Logan!)  Funny thing is ... McCall told me afterwards that Libby insisted on having their pictures taken with the real Santa Claus.

Makes me love them even more.  Oh, the magic of Christmas and my little Santa babies!

Hope you all had a 
Magical Christmas too!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Best Christmas Surprise EVER!

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My daughter, McCall, stopped by our house last night.  She said she wanted to send a video of Christmas greetings off to her husband who is deployed in Qatar.  He has been gone for almost seven months, and has six more months to go.

It had been a crazy, busy day for me, which isn't so out of the ordinary for this time of year, but particularly busy, crazy yesterday.  My kids and I have recorded a CD to send out as our Christmas cards (as long as they are post marked before December 25th, I'm okay with the lateness).  We finished up recording on Tuesday night, I had met with a friend to talk about the design for the CD jacket, and yesterday was the day to get the order of the songs finalized, send the text to the artist, and email the pictures I want to use for the front and back - problem was .... I could NOT find the pictures we were using anywhere. I turned my house upside down.  I looked in every pile, every bag, every drawer, checked every flash drive I could find in the house, searched through every folder on the computer and they were no where to be found.  Now what?

Chloe said, "It's okay. We can just take a night this week and go to Scheel's or Thanksgiving Point and do them again."  If it wasn't already the 20th of December, I would have been okay with that.

I had taken the day off of work to try and get all of that done so that today I could just drop all of the pieces and parts necessary to the studio that is putting the CD's together for us.  

I did get my Christmas decorating finished (yes, it's been a process this year), and got all of my totes back to the storage unit.  I did clear off all of the paperwork on my kitchen island, which makes me extremely happy since that is my nemesis. I did have a neighbor come over to help me figure out how to get my outdoor Christmas house lights working again, which we did (cue Hallelujah Choir here), so overall, I did feel fairly accomplished beside the fact that I wasn't any closer to getting the pieces and parts together for today's intended drop off.  Sigh.

I told McCall that I had that company Christmas dinner to get to and was being picked up around 6:00, so she planned on being over ahead of that to get our messages recorded for Jared.  When she came, I wasn't ready.  I hadn't done my hair and was still wearing my jeans, t-shirt, and slippers from the day.  I had had an outfit in mind to wear, but wasn't loving how it was looking (pants were a little tight - it's all that darn candy that's around my new office space) so I started to freak out ... just slightly, but freak out none the less.

Chloe kept telling me to come downstairs to record my message. "Mom, just put anything on.  It won't take very long."

"I can't.  My ride will be here any minute and I'm not ready.  Haley isn't even home yet.  I'll record my message later when she does."

"Mom, no, really, just come downstairs, it will take two seconds.  We want all of us to sit as a group and send him a message, then each individually."

"Chloe, I can NOT come downstairs right now.  I don't want to hold up my ride and I don't even know what I am going to wear yet!"

I heard Elliott downstairs, "Hey Jared, it's Elliott, just wanted to say Hi and wish you a Merry Christmas."

Chloe was following me around my room, back and forth from my bed to the vanity, into the closet.  "Mom, you need to come downstairs, there's a surprise.  It will take two seconds, seriously."


I walked down the stairs and turned to go into my living room, and then I saw the fatigues.  I looked up and standing in front of the Christmas tree was Jared.  My hands went over my mouth, my eyes filled with tears, and I just stood still.  It was one of those surreal moments, where you can't clear your head to think about what is happening in that moment. 

Jared walked toward me and we just hugged each other as I cried.  "Why are you here?"  (It was really one of those awesome soldier come home surprise moments caught on film.)  Nothing else seemed to matter in that moment of time.  Jared was home for two weeks.  My daughter's husband was home.  Libby could not have been happier .... her daddy was finally home from "work."

Best Christmas surprise ever.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

December 12th.

Today's date is pretty cool, right? 
Way cool, actually.

I don't think I have mentioned this on my blog yet, but last week I had to move offices. I work at a very small non-profit organization and with changes in the economy over the last several years, we have been averaging a ZERO-profit exsitance, and in the fear of closing our doors the board decided that we had to drastically cut back on our expenses. Since one of our biggest expenses is our rent payment, that had to change.

The office I have been in for the last seven years is really quite nice, and to be honest, I wasn't happy about having to move out of it.  I shared the office suite with one of our board members who owns a company that builds fallout shelters. (Like the ones the government built back in the days of the cold war.)  They found a big warehouse space to rent in an industrial area out by the Salt Lake airport and figured I would head out that way with them.  Here's the thing - that move was going to add about 20 more minutes each way to my commute - NOT including any traffic delays, especially those caused by snow and ice during the winter months, and take me that much farther away from the high school where I have a student who tends to need her mama in close proximity - i.e.:orthodontist appointments, a ride to work after school, I forgot to print a paper I need to turn in 5th period so can I run to your office during lunch to do that?, and like this morning, Mom, I'm in the bathroom with one of my migraines, can you please come check me out so I can go home?

It was going to be hard to be that far away and I was not a happy camper.  In fact, I was pretty vocal about not wanting to jump on that band wagon and said that I'd go if I had to, but that I'd go kicking and screaming. I wanted to find another alternative.  

The owners of the company were rarely in the office, so I have worked pretty much alone for the last four years - which some people might think would be really boring and kind of lonely during the day, but others (like me) found it to be kind of awesome because you get to do your own thing, (like listen to the music you want, take your lunch when you want, have visitors visit when you want, talk on the phone when you want .... you get the gist. I still got my work done though.  Most of the time.)

A friend of mine is the office manager for a company who had recently downsized and thus had also made a move to a much smaller, less expensive location.  On a recent visit with her at their new place, she was pointing out all of the extra space they have on their floor and all of the empty offices that are only existing as "junk" rooms.  
Light-bulb moment.

"So, Karen.  Do you think your boss would be willing to let me rent a couple of these empty offices from you?"   He WAS .......... SCORE!

It is a completely different work environment for me now, but I kinda like it. The other company has taken me under their wing as one of their own, so they include me in their office activities - and these guys like to have fun.  I'm even invited to their management office dinner at a really nice restaurant next week - so there is an even number of attendees.  The downside, (if you can call it a downside), is that they always have a jar full of chocolate candy in the lobby, and are constantly bringing in treats and food for the taking.  That's a lot of temptation for me to try and resist.

Today, Karen left the office a little after 11:00.  She came back with armloads of stuff: sandwiches, chips, drinks, cookies, noise makers, bottle poppers ... they were having a party, in celebration of today's date. No one could start eating before 12:12, and only after the bottle poppers were pulled, streamers were soaring, and noise makers were blowing.

Everyone had gathered in the lunch room around noon. It was about ten minutes after 12:00 when Karen said, "Hey, where's Lance?!  Call Lance, we need to have everyone here!" 

Lance arrived, we waited for the clock to strike 12:12, and I counted the people in the room ... TWELVE. 

And that - is another one of those little coincidences that I get a really big kick out of. 

(Let the good times roll.)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

LP Sighting

license plate tree

One of the things I REALLY enjoy doing at the beginning of this holiday season is to go to our local "Festival of Trees". Sadly, this year I was right in the middle of moving offices during the time I had planned to go with McCall and I just wasn't able to work it out.  HOWEVER.  McCall did take a picture of a tree she knew I would be crazy about, and she was right.  Check out this cute license plate tree!  I love how they cut various plates and patched them together to make them appropriate for skiers.  (VERY clever.)

I managed to get my outside lights hung on a perfectly beautiful light-hanging-weather kind of day a couple of weeks ago.  Elliott and I ventured up on the roof together and it really didn't take us that long - although that could be because I wasn't as careful and plugged way too many strands together, and then plugged all of those strands into one extension cord all being powered by one outlet, which ultimately led to completely blowing up the inside outlet that contained the GFI switch to that particular outside plug, which you could normally just press and have the power go back on, but not this time.  It literally BLEW out that entire outlet.  Now none of the lights work on my house and I need an electrician to come and get that replaced.  Oh, and it also pretty much blew up the modem for our internet so we haven't had internet for several days either and I need to replace that. Sigh.  

The joy of Christmas lights never ends, does it?

self portrait

It also occurred to me not too long ago that I had given my big Christmas tree away last year.  As I was taking it down, several of the strands of lights weren't working, and a couple of the branches were getting ready to just snap off.  I knew I had had that tree for a long time, I just couldn't remember how long.  Then, as I was boxing it up, I noticed the picture that Elliott had drawn on the inside of the box ... super cute, made me smile, and the date next to the picture was December 1999.  Pretty sure I had gotten my money's worth out of that tree, so that's when I decided I would go ahead and send it to the local D.I. (which is Utah's version of Good Will.)

So this is going to be the year that I head to an actual tree lot and find myself a real Christmas tree.  It's been several years since that's happened and I'm kind of excited about it.  Except for the fact that now I absolutely will  have to hang my own lights ... no pre-lits on a real tree.

AH BOY.  (Wish me luck.)

elliott's drawing


(happy decorating!)