Friday, July 27, 2007

Living the Dream

Cassie and I at our high school's 10 year reunion in 2000.

Sometimes I get reminiscent. I think about the days I was a teenage dreamer, and remember all the things I was going to become. Namely, an actress and singer. Yesterday I had one of those remembering days, and I started thinking about my friend Cassie who shared my dreams. So I typed her name into Google and, lo and behold, there were numerous links to info on her life! She has been in a few big movies (including Princess Diaries 1 & 2!) and currently performs on stage at Knott's Berry Farm. She has a website which explains her life's dream and how she is working to accomplish it.

So that got me thinking. Am I living my life's dream?

The closest I got to being an actress-on-stage after high school was emceeing our church's talent show a couple years running. I'm telling you, I brought down the house! I also pretend to be a princess when playing with my little girls. I love using different voices and accents when I read stories to my children. I enjoy acting goofy in front of people, telling animated stories of my life, and making others laugh.

I am definitely not a professional singer, but MAN do I love to sing! I busted out an amazing parody of "Part of Your World" from Little Mermaid for the whole crowd at Young Women's Camp last week. I love to sing my kids to sleep - I love it even more when they want me to. Our crazy family loves to blast the stereo and sing at the top of our lungs and dance like lunatics. I get to sing at church every Sunday. I love it when someone sitting near me is singing a different part than I, allowing me to enjoy the harmony. I sing in the shower, sing in the car, and burst into random song lyrics whenever someone says something that makes me think of one. It's a little game I play with myself, and it's fun. (Seriously, try it!) I did also have a (very) short-lived career as a karaoke singer back in the day.

Are these still my dreams? Sure! And I think I am living them. Just in a different way than I had originally planned. I have also added some dreams to the mix. Like being a wife and mother. And a gourmet chef. Also a master gardener, photographer, chauffeur, cheerleader (minus the short skirt), writer, storyteller, bargain shopper, hairdresser, seamstress, and psychiatrist, to name a few. In varying degrees, I am living all these dreams.

And, let's be honest...

It doesn't get much better than that.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Josh Groban at Michael Buble's Concert

I can not tell you how much I would have paid to be here...two of my favorite performers on one stage. I missed Michael Buble's SLC concert to go to YW Camp - now that's dedication.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Ode to Camp

Girl's Camp, how I love thee! Let me count the ways...

1. How often does a person such as I get to spend time being silly with her daughter and daughter's friends for 5 days? Not often enough.
2. The opportunity to hang out with the most amazing group of YCLs (Youth Camp Leaders) and ACLs (Adult Camp Leaders) was simply awesome. I love you, Big Booty No. 5!
3. The new friendships that were developed over the week at camp are ones I will always treasure. 4. Mother Nature and I got to be pretty good friends. She shared a few thunderstorms with me...
5. ...and sent some forest creatures to pose for pictures. (and one to pretend it was a YCL and emerge from the forest within hand's reach on Brownie Hike night - in the middle of a wicked shake-the-ground, light-up-the-sky kind of storm.)
6. The chance to hike on 4 different occasions, and see some amazing sights! Not to mention good friends to enjoy it all with. (Cami, you need to wear "The Deb" more often. **Pound-fist-on-shoulder, flash ILY sign** )
7. Who doesn't love the re-creation of camping accidents with mud and ketchup?
8. The water fight I instigated at the lake was a soaking good time for all, even if some wouldn't admit it right off.
9. I decided that I could trust our ward's YW enough to do the "trust fall". And guess what? They caught me! I love C's face here...apparently I wasn't the only one screaming as I fell. 10. I love nature, and its beauty surrounded me throughout my 5 days of camp.
The last time I was able to attend Young Women's Camp was 7 years ago. I am hoping we will not remain strangers for so long this time around. Happy Trails, until next time!

Check out Cami's and Courtney's websites for more Girl's Camp fun!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Did Someone Say BIRTHDAY?

This is my adorable nephew, J. He had a birthday party last Saturday. J's parents, my brother Chip and his wife Becky, don't know how to throw a simple party. They only throw **WOO-HOO!!! TIME FOR A PAR-TAY!!!** parties. Let me explain what I mean.
This was a birthday party with a carnival theme. Chip made the hotdogs.
And the snow cones.
There was a Tin Can Alley.
And a Bullseye Booth.
And a Ring Toss.
And a Face Painting Station. (run by yours truly)

And other booths not pictured here, like Fishing and Penny Toss and Throw-the-Ping-Pong-Balls-into-the-Bowls-in-the-Kiddie-Pool.
There was a carnival-decorated cake created by Becky's sister, Diane.
There was a teeter-totter instead of a ferris wheel.
(I am thinking they couldn't find a ferris wheel, but they probably tried.)
The food was enjoyed by all.
The big kids helped run the booths. And eat the food.
There were cute smiles all around.

Don't you wish you were invited?

Maybe, if you're lucky, you'll be invited to one of my kids' birthday parties.

The kind where I make a cake with whatever is in the pantry and top it with powdered sugar because I forgot to get frosting and there's a huge decorative candle in the middle because I didn't get the cute little birthday ones.

And we play games like "Build Something With Legos" and "Hot Potato". (If I remember the potato).

Like I said, if you're lucky.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Some Call Us Peculiar...

Back in the old days at West High, my English teacher gave us the assignment to watch the news and write a summary of a current event.

Oh, bother. The news. I hate the news. Only old people (a.k.a. adults) watch the news.

As these thoughts ran through my brain, The Shy Girl in class raised her hand. "Um, we don't watch T.V. at my house. Can I get a current event from the paper instead?"

A collective gasp sounded throughout the classroom. No T.V.?! What did they do at home? The rumor mill started at lunch... They must be one of those families who only eat organic food, and no meat... I bet they don't have electricity... I heard her mom makes all of her clothes... Someone said they have goats and chickens in their yard... The Shy Girl's family from then on was known as The Weird Family (With No T.V.)

Which brings me to my point. I just realized that my family is our local Weird Family. We stopped watching T.V. a few years back. We do own a T.V., but we only use it for watching videos and our church's General Conference twice a year. (we don't even own any video games! *gasp*) Why would we do this? How can we deprive our children of television? Easy. You just turn it off, unplug the antenna, and watch the magic happen.

CD started standing up on furniture and climbing the stairs this last week, right in the middle of the day. I could have been watching Oprah or whatever else is on during the day, but look what I would have missed! And there's another bonus: I have much more time to keep my house tidy. (People always ask how I keep my house so clean...turn off your T.V. for a week and see if it makes a difference!)
HH has developed a fascination for all trains. He can sit and play with his trains for quite a long time. He points out trains in books that we never knew were there before. We live close enough to trains that HH points out the whistle as it sounds throughout the day. He wouldn't hear that if we had the Disney Channel on all the time.
GA and EG are masters of make-believe. They play with their dress-up clothes, doll house and Furryvilles. They draw and color and paint. They look at books, invent stories and create new bedroom decor with stuffed animals and blankets almost daily. They love playing outside in the yard and picking the neighbor's flowers (sorry, Shawn and Haley). Do they complain about no T.V.? Nope. Not that I've heard.
KC is Mister Imagination. He spends his days and nights reading new series of books, inventing superheroes (ask him about All-a-Boy) and making his rounds in the neighborhood. KC makes amazing Lego and K'Nex creations, builds intricate army forts with wooden blocks, and loves throwing around a baseball in the side yard with anyone who will join him. He asks deep questions after long, thoughtful consideration. Do we wish he played more video games? Not on your life.
JC busies herself creating homemade cards, fashioning new clothes for her stuffed bear from her fabric stash and putting together gifts with her sewing kit. She still enjoys using her tea set. JC writes letters to anyone she can think of on stationery she designs herself. She loves reading, especially anything Harry Potter, and is anxiously awaiting the last book in the series, which J.K. Rowling was nice enough to release on JC's birthday. She loves to read and play with little kids. Her favorite T.V. show? Little House on the Prairie, which we have on DVD. And it doesn't bother her in the least when someone mentions their favorite show and she has no idea what they are talking about.
EM keeps herself busy by reading books, writing her pen pal, practicing (and composing) songs on the piano, and doing things with her friends. EM is an avid reader. She loves sports, especially Ultimate Frisbee, and is glad to be old enough to join the neighborhood kids for night games. EM is everyone's favorite babysitter, and tending kids has become a great source of income for her. Why is she in demand? She doesn't sit at your house and watch T.V. while the kids smear toothpaste all over your bedroom carpet. She plays with the kids, reads to them, helps them color and do puzzles. As for T.V., she is happy to watch one of the Liken series of movies or a Disney musical she can sing along to.

I won't lie to you, AM would love to have an X-Box or whatever the new, cool game system is. But he can play to his heart's content at his friends' houses. While at home he enjoys listening to music on his CD player (he used to be attached to his ipod until he jumped into the pool at Veteran's with it in his pocket...), reading thick books, and being outside. He also enjoys all sports and playing night games with the neighborhood kids. He has a big heart, which is evident in all of the yard work he does as a service for the single women in the neighborhood. (By the way, service = no pay. And he doesn't complain. Seriously.) I'm going to go find him and take a picture of whatever he is doing, too, so you can see...
, he's a great big brother. He even plays with the little girls.

OK, so maybe some of us have TOO much time on our hands. How much is cable?

Friday, July 6, 2007

Oh Baby!

Everyone please join me in welcoming the newest member of the family -
Baby S!
Congratulations, Bryce, Katie, J and C on the new little guy.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

The Neighborhood Parties On!

Every Fourth of July our neighborhood has a BBQ. We also have BBQs all summer long, but this is one with a purpose. The purpose? To eat more, visit longer, laugh louder and light more fireworks than should be allowed. This year's turnout was much smaller than usual because of all the neighbors who decided to spend time with their families on the 4th. The nerve.
Our teen boy population was well represented.
The unspoken rules for the usual neighborhood gatherings are as follows:

1. Bring your own meat
2. Bring something to share

However, this was a special occasion where the rules were changed to:

1. Bring a few dollars and Dan will work his magic on some chicken and brisket.
2. Bring something made with potatoes or watermelon

Number two usually works out great - the neighborhood brain waves generally work it so that some people bring various salads, some bring dessert, you get the idea. This BBQ was the exception...I have never seen so many potato foods! Potato Salad, Funeral Potatoes (we live in Utah, people, it's inevitable) & chips took up the majority of the food table by far. And more watermelon than could be consumed by a small village in a third-world country. There was also a tasty pasta dish that Marci's mom brought and the most yummy avocado/tomato/cilantro-type dip (THANK YOU NANCY!!) I have ever laid taste buds on. GaeLynn and I were ready to secretly transport the dip into her kitchen and indulge, but used our better judgment and left about one-chip-scoop-full so someone else could have a taste. Marci made creamy vanilla homemade ice cream, too.
Oh, and there was plenty of water to drink...
When it came time for fireworks, we had the usual arsenal of smoke and flame. It was beautiful. Some people really, really wanted to like sparklers, but the sparklers wouldn't stop doing that sparkle thing.
All in all, I think the night could be measured as a grand success!

God Bless America!

Monday, July 2, 2007

I Proclaim to the World...Rebecca = B.F.F. !!

This is one of my BFF (Best Friends Forever). Her name is Rebecca. The above picture is her cute family shot from Christmas of last year. One of my favorite things about Christmas is that I get REAL MAIL almost everyday. Lots of family updates and Christmas cards and pictures. LOVE IT!! All of the pictures go up on our door-to-the-garage (it's magnetized - a beautiful thing) until after the holidays are over. Then I carefully select which photos to throw away (I know, it's an abomination), which to put in my file, and which to leave up until a new one will replace them the following Christmas. THIS PICTURE IS STILL ON MY DOOR! The only other non-family members I have there are 1: Julie's family, a BFF from elementary school to the present day, and 2: Trish's kids, a BFF from Middle School to the present day (remember the story about her Anna and my Allen?). That's it! And can I tell you why? Rebecca is just that kind of friend.

And here are a few reasons why she will ALWAYS be a BFF. Rebecca, read up.

1. Who but a BFF would I trust to care for my baby EG while I walked a 50/20 (50 miles in 20 hours)?

2. She approved of and knew about EG's name before I even brought it to Allen for consideration.

3. Allen and I flew to Washington for my birthday to visit and I was spoiled rotten with great food, bargain shopping, games galore, a delightful Easter and wonderful visiting. It was one of the best vacations I have ever had in my life. No kidding.

4. For a glorious but much too short period of time, we were co-camp-assistants. We had a blast planning a Winter Camp and driving the other young women leaders (and some young women) crazy as we stayed up all night playing loud, obnoxious games with the girls.

5. When Rebecca's family moved to Washington, it took me almost a full year before I could even speak to the people who purchased their home. I somehow saw it as their fault that Rebecca was gone, and could not forgive them for it.

6. How many friends do you have who still remember your birthday every year and send a thoughtful gift for the occasion? (Still loving the WICKED C.D., Rebecca! Thanks.)

7. We both love Thrifty's Chocolate Malted Crunch, which can only be purchased south of Mesquite. Enough said.

8. We sing karaoke together and love it. We are natural performers, and our voices blended wonderfully when we sang together at church that one time. Gotta love that. Why didn't we do that more often?

9. We both love board games, especially Settlers of Cataan, much to the dismay of our spouses.

10. Our husbands are friends, and let me ask you, does it get any better (or make it easier to be BFF) than that??

The list is endless. The thing with me is this: once I decide you're my friend, you have no choice in the matter. You're stuck, Rebecca. You hear me? STUCK. FOR. EVER.

And someday, when we're rolling in the millions, we'll go on that cruise with our hubbies and sweep the talent competition like nobody's business.

Me: Deal?

You: Deal.