Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Happy New Year's Eve. Not usually an eve that I celebrate. I'm not one for partying. Not really my thing. So no real traditions.

When I was little my brothers and I would eat chips and homemade onion dip. And stay up all night watching Marx Brother movies. I still like chips, onion dip, and Marx brothers. But I don't like staying up all night. And I don't have any brothers around.

But tonight I have plans. I get to see what my husbands been doing with his evenings the past two plus months. And I'm looking forward to laughing. Eating. And laughing some more.

What are you doing?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Here's the problem with Facebook - I can't remember the majority of people sending me friend invites. So if I don't accept you as a friend right away, please don't take offense.

It's not you, it's me. And my brain. Which has issues with memory and recognition. I just have to figure out how I know you before I can accept. I mean wouldn't it kind of be like lying if I accepted everyone? Even those I had no clue who or where they came from? Or am I being elitist? Promoting cliques?

So please be patient. Or, better yet, send me a note with your invite telling me exactly how I know you. Spell it out. Obvious is the word of choice here. For example: post our preschool class picture. I'm pretty sure that will kick my memory into action. I think.

Monday, December 29, 2008


Dear Neighbors -

I apologize if we woke you up Saturday morning. I was cozy in bed too. Until Clin came running in screaming that the sky was falling. In other words, his car was stuck in the snow.

As you know, we live in a culd-de-sac that does not get plowed as frequently as the outer streets. But this past week a miracle happened and they plowed the sac. And left two large piles of snow strategically placed so that we have to maneuver very carefully around them.

Clin decided to tempt fate. Decided to see what our front wheel drive 4 door could actually do. You know, cause he's reckless like that. And he drove it straight into the largest mound of snow. And instead of getting out the shovels, ran for me to drive, thinking his push could get us out. So did not work.

So I'm sorry for the loud engine noises. the grinding of the wheels. the smoke emanating from the vehicle. The stressful voice from Clin as he loudly wondered what the car was stuck to, and my angry reply: snow! But we completely deserve props for not swearing. That's right. We retain that for inside the house.


Thursday, December 25, 2008


At least I should be. very, very merry. But alas - I awoke to find poop on the stairs. Mind you, this is the in-laws stairs. And I blamed the cat. I've never owned a cat, but figured it was something a cat might leave behind.

Sometime, during the opening of presents, the room began to smell. A smell not so merry and bright. And it continued. And I heard whispers around the room. I blamed the cat.

And then, as the smell continued, I decided it was time for an educational toddler wipe session. And that is when I discovered something fowl on the bare feet. And almost threw up. And the in-laws declared that was NOT cat poop. But something more human.

And a few hours later, we ran out of panties. Why must holidays force us all to digress? Into the children we were growing up. Into slothful blobs that desire diet coke or a nap. or both.

And then the younger one, who has not regressed because she doesn't have much to regress to, had multiple diaper changes....(wait for it)......leading...(wait for it) (wait, wait)....vomit! Our theme for the past week.

So on to merrier thoughts and images.

Uncle Nate (the shepherd) - getting ready to move to Virginia. Why must all our siblings leave? Oh. Perhaps the above story explains it all.

Beautiful Arianne with beautiful fiance Ben. Again, leaving us. Well, I guess she already left. But she's moving on through marriage. Never to look back. Probably for the best.

Which leaves us. Alone. Making Cream of Cod for Christmas Eve. And I'm posting this one for MY family. See what you missed? Rather, see what we miss?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Day 24: Re-enact the Nativity

Millie gave up the part of Mary so that she could wear the angel's hat and a green dress. Because all good angels wear green.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

warm and toasty.

Tonight, while Clin battled the elements for rehearsal, I enjoyed an evening with warm blankets. fudge. quiet. and a rendevouz with one of my most favorite comfort movies ever.

Best line ever?

You are a murderer of love.

Day 23: sibling presents

And we went with easy. Dollar store. Release the hounds. See what they choose for the other.

Ellis seemed to hover around Winnie the Pooh and foam pebbles. But we ran into the Ariel straw/spoon, Ellis cried out, "belle" and Millie's gift was found.

Millie decided on Winnie the Pooh mini discs. What Ellis will do with them? Only 1.5 more days to find out.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Day 22: Snow Day!

Not planned, not part of the gifts I wrapped a few weeks ago. But in honor of the pile 'o' snow that dumped on us today - we got a snow day from the advent of adventing.

And we deserve it. Snow days in Utah don't exist. We get snow. But a true snow day is one in which school is canceled. And that just doesn't happen here.

So I declared today a snow day in all respects. No cooking. No adventing. No dressing. P.J.s for all. with blankets on top.

But alas, that did not last long. As the dumping continued - I had to dig us out. And then Clin had to dig us out. And then I dug us out one last time.

Completely handmade plowing. Who says I can't rock the handmade trade?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Day 21: Caroling

Very quick caroling. As in ...we wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year!

But we do it because it seems that no one else carols much anymore. Someone has to. Right?

and we do it in memory of the Harris and Roberts clans, who came every year in Oregon. And are probably out there, somewhere, harmonizing right now.

And in honor of Clin's Mother. who carols in her sleep. And dreams of grandchildren and great-grandchildren singing Christmas is coming the goose is getting fat in the eternal round.

and in rememberance of the most embarrassing caroling moment. When none of us could decide what to sing, the door opened, and my father busted out a rousing version of kum-by-ya. For which we were all forced to join in. and vowed never again. never again.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Day 20: Watch a Christmas Movie

I knew we'd make this one work back into the advent plan. This time we sat together and enjoyed A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa.

It was gooood. 4 new songs. Oh how amazing it would have been had there been 8. But all the best characters were back. Together. Joyous. And fun.

Did you miss it? You can catch it, for free, through 12/31 here.

Day 19: Cope Family Christmas

We got together to say hey to Clin's Mom's side. Cousins, aunts, uncles, soup, bread, jello & green salad, lemon & cheesecake. Talent type show full of strange songs, stranger MC, skits, costumes and more songs.

Ellis attached a chapstick to her upper lip the entire night. Millie attached herself to the other 3 year old in the room.

The girls performed stinkbug (up dog in yoga speak), I did the infamous neck trick, Clin's Mom (aka Granny Lany) tricked Grandpa and myself into joining her in a rousing round of Christmas is Coming. Grandpa stole the show on that one. I forgot the words.

Sonny and Cher made an appearance instead of the S Man. And it was just as thrilling. If not more.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Day 18: Preschool Christmas Concert followed by neighborhood lights

I got the bell. I even purchased fabric red ribbon (my second fabric ribbon purchase. Ever.) to keep the bell around Millie's neck. I decked the Millie-moo in red skirt, white tights, white shirt, and a fancy pantsy new grey sweater. All accessorized with said bell.

I had heard a rumor that the S man was gonna show. Millie was practicing her new catalog of Christmas songs: Jingle Bells (including the verse - not just the chorus), Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Santa (sung to the tune of Bingo), We Wish you a Merry Christmas.

Roads were snowy, traffic was bad, and I was very concerned that we weren't going to make it on time. I've never been to a preschool concert before. How would Millie get to the stage if we didn't get there until it started?

Millie was in the back seat complaining of back pains. I just chalked it up to fatigue and kept worrying about tardiness.

A block away from the school, I heard vomit. A whole lot of vomit.

Since Clin was at rehearsal, and missed our festive evening, I would like to re-enact the drive home. Enjoy.

Here I am concerned that we will not make it to the school on time. We were pretty much already late, but I was hoping everyone else was too.

Notice the action shots. Sounds of vomit. And more vomit. And then some more. A quick u-turn and we were headed home.

As I looked back, Millie was like a small bubbling fountain. She was completely still and her face and mouth didn't move but the water just kept bubbling to the top.

In an attempt to get home quickly I turned into an unfamiliar neighborhood and got lost.

Windows were rolled down and I couldn't stop talking: how are you feeling? are you too cold? are you too hot? should I roll the windows up? don't move. we're almost home (we weren't). does your stomach hurt?

And Ellis couldn't stop the talk either: Millie (while pointing). Millie. Mil-lie. Lights. Lights. Millie, lights.

So apparently it is a genetic thing. We both turn to unneccessary commentary in uncomfortable and smelly situations. At least we fulfilled our neighborhood light requirement.

And this is me waiting to turn left behind 30+ vehicles on the way home. The round trip? 1 hour 20 minutes.

And I still don't know if the S Man was a show.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Day 17: Hot Chocolate

After a happy romp in the snow.

18 monther really has no boots. So we throw on the boots for a 3 yr old. Mmm, they fall off. Constantly. And she doesn't want to sit in the snow. Or jump in the snow. Or lay in the snow. She prefers to sit in her toy car which is really a summer toy and can't move much in the snow.

singing along.

The best Christmas CD? The one you cannot continue to live without?

John Denver and the Muppets

I can listen to it a million times over and it never gets old. Transports right back to 1980s me in rainy, icy Oregon. Sitting. Staring out the living room window into the darkness as my reflection cries in the shadow of the Christmas tree lights.

What? Don't tell me you never sat staring at your crying reflection. Never too late to start. Let the Muppets work their magic.

Just make sure that when purchasing, you get the collector's edition with all 13 original tracks. Otherwise you will miss out on River Meets the Sea, Old St. Nick, and this one:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Day 16: help the girls make gifts for each other

It was a good idea 16 days ago. I was inspired by this. But today I was inspired by grading.

And since the girls can't read, when they open the advent gift I can misread as needed. (HALLELUJAH!)

So today we did what my Visiting Teachers (thank you) left for us.

We read a short story about a boy who was in charge of holding the star for the nativity. And then we put a large sparkly star as high up on our tree as possible. Nice addition. Nice, new tradition.

Monday, December 15, 2008


I'm madly grading papers. And soon I'll be madly grading final exams. And madly trying to find time to clean my house before my madly awesome group of young women come and visit on Wednesday. For which I need to make some mad preparations. But tonight I went to my first madly official rehearsal of All Shook Up where I learned that I'm probably a bit mad to be doing, but madly excited in reality. (opens Feb 13 -April 4 - come hear my mad solo.) Look at those mad skillz in self-promotion! And madly need to find a bell for Millie to jingle madly at her preschool Christmas performance on Thursday as well as someone mad enough to switch me gymnastics set up this week - or watch my kids at the mad hour of 10PM. Anyone up for the mad dare?

In all the madness, what happened to day 15 (it is the 15th. right?) of our Advent? It sits, madly steaming at the fact that it is not opened. But Millie and Ellis did madly open a box from Grandma and Grandpa (mad props!) with presents (one was written to Emma. M & D - want me to madly rush and return?) and mad amounts of books & decorations. Excitement madly ensued.

And I'm off to madly pray for Ava (mad love to the Virginia Summers).

at a loss for words.

Dear Zachary: a letter to a son about his father. The best documentary I have seen in a long time.

Beyond words. Beyond explanation. If you decide to see it, go into it knowing as little as possible.

That is why I don't want to post the trailer. Or a link to the film's website. Or much at all.

Just know that it will make you cry. hard. deep. ache.

The DVD doesn't come out until February. But MSNBC showed it. And may be repeating. So check your local listings. Or come over to my house. We have it on DVR.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Day 14: Wrap Presents

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Day 13: Make Sugar Cookies

Not from scratch.

Cut them out with Mom. Eat some dough.

Frost and decorate with Dad.

Better than scratch.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Day 12: Ward Christmas Party

This year it was just the girls. The three of us. And if it weren't for the saints sitting at my table, I don't think that I would have made it home with all three. They helped wrangle Ellis, and helped hold Millie. Passed around the girls, and went and got us seconds.

Ellis just wanted to wander and by the time I turned back, Millie was gone. I lost Millie at least twice. And both times? She was behind the curtains, on the stage.

The big hit at the party this year? Chicken nuggets. For the kids. And Millie had seconds of everything.

The miss? Santa. Missing. Gone. Not a problem for me. But how is it that my 3 yr old still remembers seeing Santa and the candy cane he gave her (and I later threw away) last year.

We hung around. Millie ate. And I waited. And people cleared out. And I got the clue. Didn't mention the S word. And so far? Neither has Millie.

photo via romap

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Day: 11 - Board Games

A bit 'o' princess match here and some felt farming there.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Day 10: Paint Toenails!

Okay - you're thinking, how is this festive? How does this add to our Christmas cheer?

This being only the second time that I have ever painted Millie's toenails, we both consider it cause for excitement.

And if I was really dedicated, Millie would have been painting mine. But I have virgin toenails. Yeah - never been painted. (okay, maybe once but I've put it out of my mind.) And I wasn't about to scar them for life.

Millie chose light pink. And when it was applied, she complained because it was too light.

Millie: Mom. You're not my best friend anymore.

So I emphasized the fact that it sparkles in the light. And I kept talking about the sparkle. Blind your eyes sparkle. And then all was well.

And to those of you disappointed because day 5 of the month was never fully completed? I'm rockin' the addresses now and you should see an envelope in the near future. And if you don't? Then I don't have your address. Or I don't know you. Or I pretend that you don't know me.
Offended? Let me know.)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Day 9: Write a letter to Santa.
And mail - but I think I'll just keep the closed envelope hidden. And make this a tradition so that when she is older she will have one for each year. You know, to enable her to view the lifetime spectrum of greed.

re-examining my fill.

What is it about actors? Every time I'm in a room with a whole bunch of them, I think - ahhh! Why do they each have to be the loudest? The funniest? Why do they each want the attention? And then I think, please don't ever let me be like that. And I turn into the quietest, shyest person in the room. So much so that I tend to blend into the background.

This is one of the reasons that I don't like auditions. Did you know that I once lost a lead part in college, because I was not socializing with the final other 3 actors in the room? And do you know why I wasn't socializing? They were already friends. They already knew each other. So I listened and smiled on cue, and did my best to act like they were funny (although I didn't really care), but it wasn't enough. And the girl that got the part deserved it. And it was better that I didn't. But it hurt. Because when the director tells you that it is between you and the one other girl that got it.... and says that she just needs you to be funnier...

So how can you be funnier on cue? Especially when you know that you are being compared right at that moment and everything is riding on you being funny.

And that leads me to the other reason I don't enjoy auditions. Comparisons. It's all about the subjective opinion of a few people. Watching you. Comparing your looks and your talent in that one moment. The original audition? When it is you, standing there, in front of a panel of people - not so bad. The callback is a different story.

You enter a room full of people. Some know each other and tend to make this very apparent. If you happen to be one of these lucky few, you cling to those you know. It is what gives you confidence.

And then, if you don't know anyone - you either try to meet people and create some semblance of support, or you sit in shy solitude. I've been in each group, but usually shy solitude is my corner of choice.

But everyone, every single person in the room, watches the performance of the others. And they start sizing up their competition. You always know who you are up against. And in my case? I always know who is better than me. And you pray that you can read early, or that no one before you will make the same choices that you plan to make....or else you will have to re plan your scene/song.

And most callbacks you walk away feeling lousy. Because you sense who connected with the material, or who connected with the director. And you know that you weren't well enough prepared.

So I don't enjoy callbacks. Acting is all about callbacks. That is the life of an actor. And that is probably why I became too practical to continue wanting to face such comparisons.

But - and let me put this in a way that might be understandable to at least the tween girls of the world - So you know how Edward (Twilight. duh.) needs to leave every once in awhile to get his fill of bear blood? And then he can call it good on his cravings for at least a few weeks? - that is how it goes with acting.

And last Saturday morn I had my fill. And walked away from a callback ready to conquer something. Adrenaline pumping. Lark like in my happiness.

Because sometimes, not often, but sometimes something clicks. And you leave a callback sensing that for once you made the right choices. And click. It fit. And it felt good. And it doesn't even matter if you get the part. Because that feeling, that moment, can sustain you for at least another two years.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Day 8: Breakfast for Dinner!

We're talkin' Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes (minus the Ricotta, because I opened my container of it and it was foul), Super Scrambled Eggs, Homemade Hashbrowns, and a bowl of fruit.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

On the 7th day of Christmas my daughter gave to me:

4 poopie panties
3 hours (or what felt like that) on the toilet
2 parents loosing patience
1 screaming daughter
0 toilets to flush

I digress.

Today's activity: A Christmas movie. But the strain of not pooping brought about 2 very tired girls who slept the afternoon. By the time dinner ended it was bedtime again.

My vision of delight, watching Meet Me in St. Louis (my Christmas movie of choice), was not to be.

So a quick 5 minute movie clip, about the Nativity, and then the family returned to the bathroom.

Christmas cheer!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Day 6: Lights at Thanksgiving Point. Drive through. Christmas style.

Millie: (shielding her eyes) There are too many lights.
Ellis: (waving out the window) Hi.

Friday, December 5, 2008

We had such great momentum. When did it end? I'd say somewhere between yesterday and the toilet. Today's advent was intended to include Clin, since he was to be home tonight.

Day 5: Address and mail Christmas cards. I included this as motivation. Even if we haven't written our cards yet, I thought that we could at least address the envelopes and then we would have to get the cards together so as not to waste the stamps. That should work. Right?

Clin decided a date would be a better celebration of the 5th. I didn't challenge that request.

We ate pizza. Real pizza. As in really good, real pizza. If you are in Orem/Provo area - go there. Now.

And then we attempted to see a movie, but missed the beginning of what we wanted to see - so we headed to Toys 'R' Us, purchased the last gift for the kids, and came home.

Stellar celebration. Much more joyous than addressing envelopes. So if you do not get a card this year, you can blame it on Clin. Blame it on pizza. No, blame it on December 5th.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Snowflakes. Today we made snowflakes. Paper snowflakes have this mistique about them. Beautiful, playful, light fun. Everyone can make a snowflake.

What we discovered today is that paper does not differ much from the real thing. Fun to look at from inside, but the the second you have to interact with the stuff it becomes cold, wet, and you're ready to run back in.

It all started when Millie ran away from the advent gift to the bathroom. No problem, we can open it after toilet time. 40 minutes later, it's time to start dinner, and we aren't any closer to starting our snowflake project.

Our Intermission:
  • Millie screamed
  • Ellis screamed
  • Hide panties and toilet paper - this is a new technique. If there are no panties to poop in then she wipes the poop out with toilet paper instead of pushing. And if she can't find either?
  • More screaming
  • Intermittent attempts at finding out how to make paper snowflakes in between. (Yeah, I had to look it up. So what. I haven't really needed to use my snowflake making skills in the past, oh, ever.)
  • I relented and gave Millie two squares of toilet paper to blow her nose. She didn't use the squares on her nose. There was poop every.where.

By the time we got to the snowflakes I was not in the mood for crafting. Okay, I'm not ever in the mood for crafting. Whatever. And then I forgot how to fold the paper and had to look it up, again, on the internet. My scissors weren't sharp enough to make things pretty. Ellis was feeding on markers, paper, and glitter was everywhere.

Let's just say that paper snowflakes? Not making the advent list for 09.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

December 3: Dance Like Crazy!!!!
And the craziest Christmas tome? Jingle Bells by Barbara Streisand (thank you Susan, Clin and Kelly for teaching me in the ways of yuletide Barbara.)

Boring video? Kind of long? Poorly lit? Yeah. I'm testing the technology.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Day 2: Christmas book to enjoy the rest of the month.

And I would like to give a shout out for this book. To all you Costco-ites, if you need an early gift idea this is a good one.

There are buttons and a working keyboard. When you push a button it plays a song and then it gives the reader the opportunity to try. A key lights up until it is pressed, guiding the person to play the song they just heard.

Millie played Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and she felt good. So good that she wanted me to watch her play. Over and over again.

And for the older reader, each page has a musical staff with colored notes. To play the song you play the colored key that coordinates with the note.

Practical AND hours of entertainment.