Monday, January 28, 2013

Christmas CD.

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As I've already mentioned, my kids and I made a Christmas CD this year in lieu of a card that we sent out to friends and family.  We made a "Volume 1" in 2002 and have wanted to make another one ever since. It was so much fun to do, all those years ago, and still remains one of our favorite things we've done as a family.

We all chose one song to sing alone and then the girls and I sang one together.  Elliott wasn't really interested in participating, but I wanted all of us to be on the CD so I had to bribe him.  He was only nine then so I figured singing "Rudolph" would be a song that he could handle.  The day we were going to record, (and yes, it did end up taking LOTS more days than one to record, but what did I know when we first got started?) I told Elliott that if he would sing on our CD I would buy him a new Nintendo game. He said he would do it, but that he would only do it once.  And that's exactly what he did.  He went into that booth and sang Rudolph ONCE.

There was a part in the song where he messed up a little bit and I was outside, listening - SO nervous that he would just stop singing right then and there and that would be the end of it ... but that little boy kept on going.  (When I listen to that song now, the fact that he messes up is actually really precious - especially knowing the "back story" of how important that one take was.)

Now that the kids are grown and voices have drastically changed, I had a few requests that I wanted them to sing and they had songs of their own that they chose to record, so there's a nice variety on it and I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out.  (Both CD's are a treasure for me, actually.)

We have a friend, Rob, who has a recording studio right here in Draper.  He and some friends run it together (in addition to their day jobs) so we were fortunate enough to get a great deal on studio time.  We technically started to record with him last year, but like most things it took a lot longer than we anticipated ... the CD's would have been mailed way late so we opted to wait, which actually ended up being a good idea - we tweaked a few of the songs we had already recorded, added a few more, and sending them out this year made it 10 years since the first one - so it was kind of like an anniversary album.  

On one of the nights we were recording, Chloe, Sophie and I were the only ones left in the studio. Rob said he had gotten an interesting phone call a few days earlier. The guy on the phone told Rob that he was the manager for a "high profile celebrity" who was in town and was looking for a studio.  This celebrity and his buddy had been snow boarding in Park City and came up with a rap song they wanted to record.  Then the guy said, "But you have to keep it really hush hush.  No one can know. Not even your friends and family. We're just looking for a studio that's willing to let them come in and work late - for as long it takes."

So Rob said, "Sure. Who is it?"

"It's Justin Beiber and Jaden Smith."


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Yup ... how cool is that?!

As soon as Sophie heard that Justin Beiber had been in that same studio just days before, she sat in every chair that was in the room.  She wanted to make sure to have touched the same chair that the Beibs had touched.  She also asked Rob if he had used the bathroom - he had ... and then she headed into the bathroom.  (Oh, Soph.)

But, if I was her age, you KNOW  I would have done the same thing! ;)

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Christmas greetings.

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One of my favorite things about the Christmas holiday season is Christmas cards ... getting, and giving.  Anyone who has known me for any length of time knows that about me.  This year, it didn't seem like I was getting very many cards in the mail.  Every day after work, I would drive up to our mail box, set the stack down on the kitchen counter, and quickly look through it for any cards.  Most days, my kids would hear me say, "Dang it!  No cards today."  Or, "Shoot, we only got one Christmas card today."

Well bless my kids stinkin' little hearts!  When it was getting really close to Christmas, they sent me a card ... and then another ... and then another still.  It made my heart so happy.  First, that they would take the time to go and have the pictures taken, and then take the time to have them printed off into Christmas cards especially for me!

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Whenever Chloe and Elliott (just the two of them) have their picture taken together, it usually looks like an engagement photo.  That could be partly because they look around the same age (and look a lot alike) and partly because of the way they pose.

This next card was Chloe's idea ... so funny!

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When I renovated my basement two years ago, and brought the big sectional upstairs into our family room, rearranging was necessary, which created one rather big blank wall in that room.  I bought five large frames to put pictures of the kids faces in.  I knew exactly which pictures I wanted to use of each of them, but was having trouble locating the disc that had those specific pictures on it.  BOO.

The kids (and several of their friends) have given me a hard time about those empty frames hanging there for two long years, so I decided that now was the time I would fill them.  I told McCall that I was going to fill them on Christmas eve and put a bow around each frame as a surprise for the kids when they came down on Christmas morning.  Pretty good idea, right?!

Well ............... Christmas eve came, and I still hadn't found those pictures.  The girls and I were standing in the kitchen and I said, "I had the best idea to surprise you guys with tomorrow morning, but now it isn't going to happen and I'm bummed about it."  And then the girls said they were going to go rent a movie at Red Box and get some treats.  I gave them a couple of little neighbor gifts that hadn't been delivered yet and asked if they would take those around for me too. They left and were gone for hours!!!!!  It was Christmas eve!!!!  Where was my family?!?!?!

When I called them (a couple of times) and asked what was taking so long they had pretty good excuses - When we went to the Wright's house they invited us in and we stayed for a while to visit with them.  Oh, and Wendy gave us a fruit cake ... When we went to the Dieterich's Sophie dropped her phone so we had to go back and look for it, but we're almost home.

When I walked into my family room on Christmas morning .....


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The day they went to the park to take the Christmas card pictures, Chloe had the idea to take individual ones to put in the frames for me.  McCall told her that I had already planned on doing that for them as a surprise on Christmas morning, but when I mentioned that my surprise wasn't going to happen - the girls went to the studio where Chloe works and printed off the pictures!  Then Chloe played Santa's helper and got up at 5 in the morning to fill those frames before I got up.

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I wanted to eat them all up.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Sundance Film Festival.

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Every year at this time, as the Sundance Film Festival is going on all around us here in Utah, I think to myself, "This should be the year that I try to get tickets to go see a movie."  And then the week comes and goes and I don't, but it's always okay and I think, maybe next year.

Saturday night, Sophie said, "Mom, Josie and I really want to drive up to Park City after church and just walk around to see if we see any celebrities.  Her parents won't let her drive though because they don't trust her to get up there."  (Wise parents, since Josie is only 16, Sophie is only 17, Park City is about 45 minutes away and unfamiliar territory for both of these teens to boot. Did Sophie think I'd be okay with her being the designated driver?!)

I knew that McCall and her sister-in-law Brandie had wanted to go too, so I called her up and asked if she wanted to drive up with the girls and I would watch her babies.  Chloe was home with me, she was missing those babies anyway and wanted to spend some time with them .... until McCall got to our house.  Then Chloe decided that she didn't want to miss the "party" and headed up to Park City with them.

My girls always say how lucky I am because I have seen so many famous people and they haven't. (It's true. And I do love seeing famous people, but it was also fun for me to let them head out for the adventure and anticipation of such.)

A few hours later .... the text messages with attached photos started coming in.

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(Jef with one F - who clearly wasn't sure which camera to look at)

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(Ponytail boy, as we lovingly refer to him as - another bachelor from Emily's season)

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(Kathryn Hahn, who we all LOVE - best friend in "How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days")

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("Cutie" Gordan Hayward from the Utah Jazz)

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(Happy, happy little girls)

The girls said it took about 45 minutes to find a parking spot, but also said it was totally worth it.  They loved it and I love it for them.  (They also saw James Franco, who I adore ... but the only picture they got had a big arm in front of his face.  I think maybe their paparazzi mom needed to be there too, don't you?)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Dusty snow.

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This morning as I was heading down the stairs, I noticed a little bit of snow flurries outside the window.  I said, "Hey, I didn't know we were expecting any snow flurries."  I said it out loud, although I'm pretty sure I was the only one I said it to.

One of my favorite kinds of snow is the kind that looks like someone took a (really) big bag of powdered sugar and just sprinkled it all over everything.  This morning's snow wasn't even quite like that .... it was like a delicate version of powdered sugar.  When I went to get in my car I just blew on the window and the snow floated away.

I just stared at it for the longest time.  I mean, ever since we were all in elementary school and cut out those folded paper snowflakes, we learned that every snowflake has a different shape. Looking close, it's kind of hard to tell, but I do know this - when you can actually look at an individual snowflake, it's pretty spectacular.

Here's a closer look ....

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And closer still ...

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  See! Spectacular, right?!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

LP Sighting.


Gotta love a Volkswagen with attitude. 


Especially one that's turbo charged.  :)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Sundance Christmas.

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Christmas afternoon at Mom and Dad's.
Affectionately known as "Kindernest" ... Sundance, Utah.
Amazing day with family.
I am truly blessed.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Christmas morning 2012.

tree scape

For those of you with young children, who stay up half the night wrapping and/or assembling toys for your tots, let me assure you now that it really does get easier.  Now that my children are grown, and choose most of their gifts anyway (okay, this year that was only Sophie) and prefer to sleep in - that is exactly what we did this year.

Kay, and I am usually pretty good about filling the stockings with goodies from Santa too, but I'm telling ya ... with your kiddies older, if you haven't gotten around to shopping for all those goodies, it's nice to know that it really doesn't matter much. My kids' favorite candy bar is Reese's, so on Christmas eve, I did (at least) pick up some king-sized candy bars for them.

Christmas morning, when everyone was awake, and the girls were all settled in on the couch for the Disney Christmas Parade, I asked Elliott if he would be a good little Christmas elf and make a McDonald's run for his mama and sisters' diet coke habit, because, believe it or not, our McDonald's had a sign on their window saying that they would be open until noon on Christmas day.

So Elliott (bless his little heart), decided that in the spirit of giving, he would accommodate our wishes.

When he finally arrived back home, we asked (in a really nice tone) what in the world had taken him so long?  "Mom. I went to both of the McDonald's close to us and they were both closed.  They had put up a new sign saying: Sorry for the inconvenience, but we will be closed Christmas day."  (I was actually really glad to hear that because I don't think they should have been open in the first place.)  He decided, rather than come back empty handed (because he knew better), he ran to the gas station and got all of us bottles of diet coke and a dr. pepper for himself.  Happiness.

christmas treats

You're probably all like me in the tradition of the "before" picture in front of the Christmas tree, right? Everyone has usually just rolled out of bed, no one is allowed to have showered or changed their clothes, or put on make up ... and I always adore that picture!

pure joy

McCall and her little family were spending (early) Christmas morning at her in-laws house and she asked if we wouldn't mind waiting for them to open presents until around noon.

None of us minded one little bit.


With Jared coming home unexpectedly and getting to share the holidays at home - it made Christmas extra special for us.  Libby was a new little girl having her daddy around.  She was beyond happy every moment of every day and just as cute as she could be, becoming her daddy's constant companion, aka: his shadow.

the gang

It's usually the youngest one in the family's obligation privilege to act as Santa's helper and pass out the gifts.  Libby was in heaven gathering everyone's presents and putting them in a pile at their feet. (Her pile was taller than she was, and no one minded that one little bit either.)  She was pure Christmas JOY for us.


Logan, that stinking cute little baby boy, was just happy to be there - as he usually is ... and Jared, well, you can probably imagine how happy he was to be there.

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One of the best Christmases EVER.  I am one lucky mama.

(Oh, and just to document that I was indeed part of this glorious day ... here is a "not allowed to get dressed, showered or put on make up" picture of me too - doctored up a bit to look less offensive, in a hue that I chose on photobucket because it is called LOGAN. Are you loving my snowflake jammie bottoms with my striped tee shirt?  Yeah ... me too.)

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Christmas House 2012.


As is typical of me ... I haven't been very good with blog posts this holiday season. So this is where I take the liberty of extending the Christmas holiday at "myhappylittlethings" for a few more days.  It has been a busy, crazy month, that's for sure, but a really great one too.

I had high hopes for a real tree this year, but by the time I bought new lights, a new tree stand, and just thought about spending the time and money to get one home, I opted not to do that .... time was FLYING by way too quickly for my liking so I had the brilliant idea to borrow a tree.  (Borrow a tree?  I know, who does that?)  I called my friend Vicki.

"Hi Vicki.  It's me.  Please feel free to say no if you'd rather I not, but I was just wondering, since you aren't going to put up your big flocked tree this year, would you mind if I borrowed ..... "

"Absolutely," she quickly responded. "You are welcome to borrow my tree." (No fight with the lights, no added expense of purchasing a tree - h.a.p.p.y.l.i.t.t.l.e.t.h.i.n.g.)

I had also decided to make a change to the traditional Christmas tree colors this year. It was fun for me, and my kids loved it too.  I'm one of the lucky ones whose children actually appreciate the effort we moms take to make our houses look festive.  Here is a glimpse into our Christmas home 2012. 



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wreaths on doors

garland with bow



window sill


There are always lots of Santas at our house but I hadn't gotten out my Santa ornaments for at least the last eight or nine years ... so I got them out.  It was fun for me.  A little trip down nostalgia lane.

I really do love decorating for Christmas.  It makes me happy.