Monday, December 8, 2014

A Post-Thanksgiving Post

Thanksgiving came and went in a flash. I feel like a broken record when I say that life is busy, but it's true. Days, weeks, and months come and go so quickly that I feel I can barely keep up with what is happening. It feels like time is going faster all the time, and there is nothing I can do about it. All I can do is appreciate each moment as it passes and try to keep a handful of them alive by sharing them here.

I don't want to let the year end without writing a few words of thanks. Life is so good and I have countless reasons to be grateful. I want to take a few minutes and list some of the more specific things that I am thankful for...

Walks with Tucker: I take him out for 30-45 minutes before bed as many nights a week as I can. I love our time together and know he does to (you should see him when I reach for his leash- it's like he gets Christmas morning several times a week). I love the fresh air and the chance to chat with my mom or listen to some new music.

Chats with my mom: my mom and I talk on the phone every single day, usually more than once. I can't (and don't want to) imagine a day without talking to her.

Hazel's healthy eyes: having a healthy and happy Hazel once again has been one of the best parts of the year. Her eyes are so clear and bright now. I can tell that she is seeing and feeling much better now that we have her on the right meds. Just thinking about it puts a huge smile on my face. I know that probably sounds quite silly to most of you, but I don't care. Hazel has a pretty special spot in my heart. Before Harper and before Colt and before anything else that I have in my life right now, there was Hazel. Every day of my life starts and ends with her. She is very special to me.

My preschoolers: I am so proud of them and am forever grateful to them for their patience with me and their willingness to listen to me and to let me love them.

Good music on my iPod: right now, I am especially thankful for the music of Amos Lee and Shoshana Bean.

Choir Wednesdays: it fills a hole in my soul that only singing can fill. I love singing with a purpose and seeing my choir friends each week. Our Christmas concerts are next weekend and I'm really looking forward to them.

Evenings with Harper: Once the work day is over and everyone has gone home and things are put away, Harper and I have a few hours to read, shop, play, dance, color, watch movies, snuggle, and hang out. I know that Harper won't always want to spend every evening with me so I'm soaking up as many of them as I can while I can. I truly enjoy our time together, just mom and daughter, and I love getting to know Harper more and more each day. She is constantly surprising and amazing me.

Of course I am thankful for all of the big things in my life, too. Colt, Harper, my parents, my piano, my job, Colt's job, and our extended families are among my greatest blessings. I don't know what I would do without any of the things that I just mentioned. I don't want to imagine life without any of them. They are the things that anchor me down and the things that keep me rising at the same time.

I hope that everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. We sure did. We stayed in Utah this year and had dinner with Colt's parents. We had a really fun and productive weekend that ended all too soon.

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?