Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Wicked with Harper

Last weekend, Harper and I went to Vegas to see Wicked with my mom. I hadn't seen it since 2008 and was really excited to go again. I was even more excited to see Harper watch it. It is no surprise that she loved it. She loved it with a great, big capital L. She is obsessed with Elphaba now and has been asking me all kinds of questions about her (for example, why is she the only green person? where did her powers come from? can Harper have a real grimmerie of her own? why is Fiyero so handsome? can Harper be Elphaba for Halloween next year?)

With The Wizard of Oz at Tuacahn, Harper being Dorothy for Halloween, and Wicked in Vegas, we have truly had a year of Oz around here. It's been great. I love everything Oz and am happy to see that Harper is into it, too (I just love it when we can bond over our nerdy interests). I am topping it off with an Ozish ornament for Harper's ornament this year. It came earlier this week and is just as perfect as I'd hoped it would be. I can't wait to hang it on our tree (AFTER Thanksgiving) and show it to you.

Until then, here are a few instagrams from our afternoon at Wicked. You'll notice that Harper insisted on changing into her Elphaba/Glinda shirt seconds after we purchased it. She didn't even want to wait long enough to walk to the bathroom. She changed behind a counter. I never thought I'd know anyone that got more excited about new clothes than I do. I was wrong.
Me: Say cheese.

I realize that I am yet to blog about any of our other Oz events. I'll get there. Hopefully sooner than later (most likely later since last weekend inspired me to revisit the Wicked series, which is a pretty hefty undertaking since I'm in school right now). Until then, here is a little glimpse of our Halloween this year...

We also did a little bit of furniture shopping with my mom while we were in Vegas. Harper tried her hand at being a Bassett designer. She loved Bassett and had just as much fun in there as my mom and I do. She's a smart girl and knows that all of those fabric options are serious business.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Family Photos

We had some family photos taken last week. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that they are our first ever family photos. The only other ones we have are snapshots from our wedding and other events. I've wanted to do them almost every year but have put them off because planning outfits never sounded like a very fun thing to do (it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be). We missed our chance at good weather for outside photos so we went to a local studio. I love the photos of Harper and am pretty happy with our family ones. I only wish Hazel and Tucker were in them. I'm hoping we can get a family photo with them sometime next year. Hazel has been having some pretty intense eye issues and just wasn't ready for pictures this time around.

Anyway, we went to Fotofly in Draper and had a really great experience. I loved that we didn't have to go back for a disc. They gave us a code to access our photos, which were ready less than two hours after our appointment, online. Also, the photographer that we had was a sweetheart. She really understood Harper. She was so cute with her and got some truly genuine Harper faces and smiles. I was really grateful to her for that. Real smiles are always better than forced ones, especially with kids.

This photo is my favorite. It's just Harper all the way. The grin. The eyes. The FRECKLES. I can't wait to have this on my wall.

I had secretly hoped to have photos before Colt's hunting season beard got to be too long. Obviously that didn't happen. Colt is pretty proud of his beard and even styled it with wax before our appointment. I'm learning to love it and couldn't help but laughing my face off when this "Let it Grow" video popped up on my Facebook feed (seriously, watch it, especially if you have a beard growing/Movember enthusiast around).

As we were looking through the photos, I realized that this might be the last time we have official pics of Harper with all of her baby teeth. That thought really pulled on my heartstrings. I can't believe that I could be playing tooth fairy sometime this year. I'm. Not. Ready.

I don't know if I have yet mentioned Harper's cheetah obsession. She fell in love with leopard/cheetah print over the summer and has acquired quite the collection of cheetah goods since then (she even has a cheetah beanbag and chose to replace her princess backpack with a cheetah one). She thinks anything cheetah is SO cool and can't wait until she is old enough to get the cheetah bra that we saw at Target last week (heaven help me).

Thursday, November 13, 2014

In the Leaves

I recently upgraded to a new iMac. All of the birthday and Halloween photos that I want to post are on my old iMac. I'm working on sorting and organizing everything between the two computers. I'm hoping that the cold weather, which arrived just this week, will give me an excuse to slow down a bit so that I can have more than five minutes here and there at my computer.

The truth is that I am desperate for some down time. I've never been one to envy people, but lately have found myself feeling jealous of those that have more free time than I do. I'm working on simplifying my schedule and saying no to things that don't feel necessary. Something has got to give because I am stretched very thin right now and am barely hanging on, mentally and physically. I am ready for the cold weather and dark evenings to bring on a bit of a hibernation so that I can read, snuggle, and relax a little more.

Meanwhile, here are some photos of Harper playing in the leaves. We have a tree in our backyard that is as old as our house (over half a century). It is beautiful and provides much needed shade in the summer months. It also provides leaves each fall. Lots of leaves. Harper couldn't wait to get out and jump around in them once they started falling. Heaven knows that someone needs to enjoy them. Colt and I certainly don't. Raking and loading 30+ bags of leaves isn't quite as fun as...

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Witchfest at Gardner Village

You might remember that I am on the committee for Miss Nebo/Panoramaland, which is a local affiliate of The Miss America Organization. I love the women and girls that I work with. They are all so accomplished and inspiring. Harper is lucky enough to be the Little Miss to Miss Panoramaland this year. She will get to spend time with her throughout the year and to escort her when she competes at Miss Utah in June. 

We met up with Kassie, Miss Panoramaland 2014, and some other committee members for lunch today at the Gardner Village Witchfest. It was a lot of fun. Harper a great time (and was the cutest witch around, if you ask me) seeing the witches, eating treats, and having her face painted.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

15 Things I've Learned From My Dad

Most of the lessons that I learned from my dad came through example. He has never been one to give a lot of advice or spout a lot of information out at people, even though he is one of the most well read and knowledgable people I have ever met. I have watched and learned from him my entire life and will always be grateful for the example he was, and always will be, to me.

1. Read the classics. As many as you can. More than once.

2. Be humble. Not everyone you meet needs to know if you are smarter, more successful, or even a better golfer than they are.

3. Be loyal. Especially to your family.

4. Be generous to your family and friends.

5. Have an open mind. (I was always grateful to have a dad that wasn't from the community I grew up in. My dad was raised in a pretty rough part of Los Angeles with pretty rough bunch of Italians- his dad, an Italian immigrant, was a homeless newsie who became a professional boxer and went on to own a liquor store. Before marrying my mom, my dad lived and worked in Las Vegas, and from what I gather, had quite a good time doing so. I'm pretty sure he has seen a number of things he doesn't want to share with me (me being his innocent and naive little girl and all... ha ha) but that didn't keep him from teaching me to be open minded. He taught me that the world is a lot bigger than Payson, Utah, and encouraged me to learn about it and see as much of it as possible.)

6. Don't choose a job that will merely pay your bills. Choose a job that will make you happy. (This is one of the bigger lessons my dad taught me and one that I am so thankful for. My dad is the reason that I can feel completely okay with my decision to run a daycare or preschool. He is the reason that I worked so hard to become good at the piano so that I could work as teacher. The thing I love most about this lesson is that my dad lived it. My dad loved his work and put incredible amounts of energy and passion into it. He was happy with his choice of work, which probably made his 13-14 hour days at the golf course a lot more bearable.)

7. Don't let anyone walk all over you. And if someone tries, kick them to the curb (his words, not mine).

8. Don't speak like someone from Utah.

9. Mormons aren't the only good people in the world. (This lesson was especially helpful when I was a little girl and thought that anyone with a tattoo was headed straight to hell).

10. Family always comes first. Even before yourself. Even if you're tired. Even when you want to punch them in the face.

11. Hard work is the only choice if you want to like yourself at the end of the day.

12. Patience isn't necessarily a virtue but it is necessary if you would like to stay married.

13. Being right isn't always the most important thing, even if you are, in fact, right. Sometimes (most times, actually), it's best to keep your mouth shut. (Confession: I'm still working on this one.)

14. Don't leave the house looking like a slob. Ever. Get up, put on some nicely ironed clothing, and then leave the house. Appearance isn't everything but looking like someone who didn't just roll out of bed is important.

15. You don't have to be someone's biological family in order to be their family. (This is the big one. The one that makes me tear up every time I think of it. This lesson is one that my dad has been teaching me since I was a little girl spending weekends, weeks, months, years, and eventually a lifetime, with him. I've never felt like I wasn't his. I've never felt like an adopted child. I've never had to question his love. It's always been there and I know that it always will be. The thing I really love is watching Harper get the same unwavering love from him.)

I took this in August during our yearly Tuacahn (confession: I STILL have to look up the word Tuacahn every time I use it). I just love these two together.

Did you dad teach you any good lessons? If so, what are they?

Friday, October 10, 2014

15 Things I've Learned from My Mom

My mom is my best and most honest friend. She is the reason that I push myself to always do more/better and, like any girl with a great mom, I've learned a number of very important things from her. I wanted to share a few them with you.

1. Wear lipstick and perfume every day. It doesn't matter if you are running to the store or going to your best friend's wedding. It doesn't even matter if the rest of your face is bare. Wear lipstick, preferably one that is right for your coloring (sub-lesson: if you don't know how to find a lipstick that's good for you, head to ZCMI- or Dillard's, since ZCMI is long gone- and talk to one of the nice ladies at the Estee Lauder counter). And don't go having 20 different kinds of perfume. Find your signature scent and be faithful to it, at least until a better signature scent makes its' way into your life.

2. Don't wear colors that don't compliment you. And don't wear anything that makes you feel ugly.

3. Iron your clothing. Even your jeans. And your t-shirts. You'll look better and feel better if you do.

4. Make your bed everyday. Your tired self will thank you for the smooth sheets in 12-14 hours.

5. Don't use gift bags. They are lazy and boring, not to mention overpriced. When you give someone a gift, take the time to wrap it in pretty paper, with a pretty bow. (My mom's wrapping jobs are always pretty- almost too pretty to open, and I wish I could say that I keep up with her standards in this department but must admit that I use the occasional gift bag. In my defense, I only use them because someone has already given them to me.)

6. Practice makes perfect. This is probably the most important lesson my mom taught me. Practice was mandatory in my home. It didn't matter whether I was entering a coloring contest, learning my times tables, or preparing for a national piano competition. If I was doing something, I was practicing beforehand. And not just a little bit. (True story: my mom would make copies of my coloring contest pages and make me practice coloring them before doing my official entry).

7. Be grateful and always remember to send thank you cards, even for small favors and gifts.

8. Your business is your business. There is no need to share all of it with everyone you know. Keep some things to yourself. Most people probably don't want to know every detail of your life anyway.

9. Honor your commitments. If you say you'll do something or be somewhere, do it and be there.

10. Don't be cheap and don't buy cheap shoes. They are uncomfortable and make your feet stink. (Confession: I don't always follow this advice... I can't help it... the shoes at Target are just irresistible sometimes.)

11. Sometimes, what's popular isn't necessarily attractive. Trendy often equates to tacky so don't hop on every style train that goes by.

12. Reading is fun. So is the library.

13. Pale skin is better than leathery, wrinkled, cancerous skin. My mom was anti-tanning long before the rest of the world realized that spending hours in the sun or visiting the tanning salon every day were bad ideas. I'm so grateful to her for keeping me out of the sun and tanning beds. So is my skin.

14. It's better to have one good friend than a dozen semi-good friends.

15. Lateness is rudeness. Always be on time for everything. If you can, be early. At least five minutes early.

These 15 things are obviously not the only lessons my mom taught me. They aren't the biggest or the most important, either. They are just some of my favorites, some of the ones that I'd like to see Harper learn as well.

What are some of the best lessons that your mom taught you?

Thursday, October 9, 2014


On Monday night, I said goodnight and goodbye to four year old Harper. Then I sat in my office and cried for a good hour (it didn't help that I was looking through photos of the last year). This year her birthday was especially hard for me. It might have even been the hardest.

Five just seems SO big. Like losing teeth, going to school, and reading on her own big. Having her own opinions big. Not always wanting or needing me big. Wanting to go trick-or-treating by herself (which is not happening, FYI) big. Wanting to play in her room, by herself, big. Becoming more of her own person big. Just BIG.

Four was a good year for Harper. She did a lot of growing, physically, emotionally, and mentally. She wears a size 8 now, for heaven's sake! She learned so many things in preschool and ballet. She learned how to ice skate and swim and even became quite a good little horse rider. I am always so impressed with Harper's ability to pick up on new things. She is definitely a girl of many gifts. Thinking about her many talents actually inspired me to give her Miss Rumphius as her birthday book this year. I am hoping to see Harper become like Miss Alice Rumpius and use her gifts to make the world a more beautiful place.

I think the thing that is making five such an emotional milestone for me is kindergarten. This year I will have to send Harper to school. I will have to hand her, and her education (at least in part), over to someone else five days a week. For the first time, she will be out of my protection and my influence. She will be around kids that don't have the same values as her. She might get a crummy teacher (please no....). She might hear bad words on the playground. She'll start to have parts of her life that don't directly include me and that is one terrifying thought.

And it doesn't end there. Kindergarten is just the beginning. It's like the beginning of the end. She'll go to kindergarten and then before I know it, she'll be moving to college.

The world scares me. We have had to leave the park three times this year because of swearing, dirty talk and, in one instance, an arrest (yes, someone was literally arrested in the middle of a children's playground... I could not find Harper and get out of there quickly enough). I am really afraid to send Harper out into it, even for just a short morning or afternoon of kindergarten. I am wishing, hoping, and praying that the world is kind and respectful to her, and vice versa.

These past five years have flown by. I feel like it was just yesterday that Harper was a newborn, all tiny and smelling like baby lotion (technically, she still smells like baby lotion... I can't help it... I just can't stop buying it) and formula, completely dependent on me. I miss newborn Harper. I miss baby Harper and toddler Harper. I miss three year old obsessed with Ariel and tutus Harper. I miss four year old Harper, even though four year old Harper cut her bangs completely off.

I am so excited to know five year old Harper, even if I'm not ready for her. I can't wait to see what she will learn, think, say, and do this year. Being able to experience life with Harper is my greatest joy and blessing and I know, without doubt, that five is going to be good to her.

Speaking of the upcoming year, here are some of our 2014/15 preschool photos. You can just go ahead and be jealous of me. I would be too, if I were you, because I spend my days with some pretty adorable (okay, ridiculously beyond adorable) little people.