Sunday, November 27, 2011

Christmas Kick-Off

Waiting for my party guests...

They finally arrived!

Look what Kelton just realized he is standing under with Ashleigh! (Don't be fooled by the panicked look...he loves it.)

Another cutest ever couple!

Look! ANOTHER cute couple! Christmas is in the air...

Working like busy bees to make the cookies of our dreams...

Nate even pulled up his inspiration on his phone. Can you tell what he is trying to create?

The finished products!

Sugar cookie a la Nathan (with help from the Internet)

Sugar cookie a la Kayla

Sugar Cookie a la Katie

Sugar cookies a la Sylvia, Dave, and Celeste

Sugar cookie a la Jake

Another Nathan original.

Decorating the Christmas tree...

The finished product!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Take Your Anna to Work Day

On Monday, I was lucky enough to have this cute thing accompany me to all my classes. I love showing off my cute sisters!

She was so helpful. She graded tests, evaluated choirs, and helped test out some broken keyboards. She was also petitioned for a date by more than one boy in my madrigals.

That night was our closing performance of "The Wiz." Krista, Kate & Darren, and my parents were all able to make it for the final show.

Anna chose my outfit for the big night. She is much more stylish than I am!

The kids were on FIRE. I have never seen them perform like that. I was beaming the whole show! Thanks so much to all my friends and family who were able to make it to the Wiz during its run. It was an absolutely incredible experience for me as an educator. I learned so much (and learned how much I have left to learn!).

Above are Angela and Steve, the orchestra conductor and professional pianist, respectively. I was the vocal director.

Below are Phaidra and Kim. Kim was our choreographer. I just adore her! Phaidra was the WOMAN. She coordinated a cast of 140 including kids from grades 5th to 12th. Words can't express what this director did for the show. She put hours (and hours...and hours...and hours...) into this production.

Added to the group below is Scott, our technical director. They built a rotating set with an elevator in it. Incredible.

More than I've ever wanted anything before, I want to post pics of the kids in their costumes. Amazing! Our seamstress and those who assisted her were OUT of this WORLD.

Every night before a show, we gather in the choir room to do vocal exercises and a focus exercise. For closing night, I wrote a special warm-up for the kids to the tune of the finale number in the show. Here are the lyrics:

The HHS Cast Version

When I think of home
I think of a cast where there's love overflowing
I wish this wouldn’t end,
I wish it weren’t so hard to keep my tears from showing

Wearing purple wigs, converse shoes, costumes sparkling!
Suddenly green shades don’t seem so annoying!
Watching people smile makes it all worthwhile!

Even though I know we cannot come back here
Now that our show is closing,
It will sure be nice to hold these memories close
As we continue growing!
And even though we know we can’t convince time to slow up
Remembering this play, we don’t really have to grow up
It’s on DVD…Just turn on the TV!

Where else can we find an orchestra like ours
Or a pianist like Steve?
Or a set that turns around, and moves up and down
And parents who bring us treats?
And now to Mrs. A.
Please hear us when we say
You helped us believe in what we couldn’t see
You gave us brains to learn our parts,
a heart to feel the words
And courage to help ourselves be free

Being here with this awesome cast
Might be a fantasy
But they’ve taught me to love
So they’re real to me

And I've learned
That we must look inside our hearts
To find a world full of love
Like yours
Like mine

Like home!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanks. For everything.

We had a small crowd for Thanksgiving this year. Anna, Mom, Dad and I have had some sweet memories together as a little group. Our trip to Europe together in 2010, Christmas that same year, and Thanksgiving this year. While we hands down prefer having everyone with us, we do okay for ourselves.

My mom and dad did a KILLER job with the homemade stuffing and gravy. The best I can remember! I was in charge, of course, of the mashed potatoes and setting the table. Those are always my jobs. I can't take credit for the decorations, though. Those were all Mom. Anna made the Dixie salad, a tradition at our Thanksgiving meals.

Daniel and his best friend growing up, Asa, joined us for leftover Thanksgiving food.

Anna and I posed for a picture and Anna exclaimed, "Just don't get my socks!" So, of course, that's exactly what Daniel took a picture of.

As per tradition, we went and saw a movie on Thanksgiving day. We saw the movie Hugo, and on the way out, I met a new guy. It's kind of serious.

After the movie, we enjoyed our pies.

Technically, only one pie was homemade this year. Anna Buddah carried on the Houston girl tradition of making an apple pie even though Christina wasn't here (because we all know it isn't going to get done if left up to me). She did a fantastic job. Everyone was very impressed.

Kneaders made two of our pies this year. Wasn't that nice of them?

Daniel and Asa brought the pumpkin one. I was grateful for that because to me, it isn't Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie.

We went around the Thanksgiving dinner table as we do each year and said one thing we were thankful for. My dad was thankful for his family. My mom was too. She was also thankful for my job, Tina's successful eye surgery, Ella's health, and Anna's friendships. I was thankful for my new job. Anna was thankful for doctors and modern medicine who have saved members of our family more than once (most recently our sweet little niece and sister-in-law).

But we all know that those thoughts only scratch the surface of all we're truly grateful for. We are truly blessed to be on this earth at this time and to have the gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives. We know we can together eternally with our family we love so much.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

When other friendships have been forgit, ours will still be it!

Beamer was in town for a few days visiting family and we got to see her and her sweet daughter at Buco di Peppo.

There is nothing quite like the friends you've had since you were 18 and just beginning to figure out what life is all about.

A special thank you goes out to the Bingham high school students headed to homecoming who took this group shot for us.

I was trying to decide which picture to post of Emmaline, and then I thought, "Why should I have to choose? This is my blog and I love looking at this child."

And now, my personal favorite (SO mad it turned out blurry!):

I promise you she posed for that picture. She smiled right at the camera! And she's not even one year old yet. She's so advanced!

After about 2 hours of listening to her mom chat with her old college roommates, Emmaline had to find new ways to entertain herself. Her favorite activity was simultaneously eating ice and walking on the table. Please note that Emmy rocks the skinny jeans look.

Brie, come back. Like for real this time.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ms. Houston lands (not so gracefully) on T.V.

Dear Fox 13 and Big Buddha,

I know I don't know everything about my profession. I realize there are many things I have yet to learn. But I have acquired a little bit of knowledge about choir in my 4 years of high school choir, 4 years studying to be a choir teacher, and 3 years and 3 months of teaching middle school and now high school choir. That being said, I want to thank you for asking me a question, on live television, broadcast to all of Utah, that I had ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA HOW TO ANSWER. Thanks for targeting (albeit unconsciously) my weak spot in front of the whole world(ish). I've only lived in this community for 3 months. So sue me.

To see the train here. Go down to the left side, click on "Cool School," then click on "Buddha and Future Highland Students."

P.S. My friends at work had me feeling like it wasn't a big deal. But then a friend told me he saw the interview. His comment was (sent via text), "You did fine :-). Nice of him to surprise you by asking you a question only the locals would know. Ha ha." Ha ha is right. By the way, I hate the word "fine." So apparently I didn't cover up my lack of knowledge well. But I TRIED. I tried to pass the buck to the kids and he brought the question RIGHT BACK TO ME. Sigh.

I don't think T.V. is my thing.

Monday, November 7, 2011

To Purchase Tickets for The Wiz... here!

Mom, Dad, Anna, and Kate & Darren, I already have your tickets for Monday, November 21st, so don't get any!

Also, if any of you male readers out there think I'm hot and want to take ME on a date to it on Monday, November 21st, I have an extra ticket. Like for free. My parents will be there...not to intimidate you or anything. We may even be able to work out an ice-cream sociable afterward with my family.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Winter Luau

I had some firsts this weekend!

First, I went to a luau hosted by people who are ACTUALLY from Hawaii (not one of those Hawaiian themed get togethers with plastic leis and all know what I'm talking about!).

It was hosted by Chad's family in honor of Kelly and Chad's wedding the next day. There was delicious authentic food (brought directly on the airplane with his family from Hawaii), a Hawaiian musician, real flower leis, and hula dancing. So fun!

Second, we had our first big snowfall of the year. I was on my way to Kelly and Chad's sealing from Tina's house and needed to stop by my place to get changed. The exit to my house has a sharp clover leaf turn. I lost control of my car on the snow and went about 25-30 feet off the road. It was scary! I was visibly shaky afterward. It made me realize how traumatic it must be for people to recover from serious car accidents. I couldn't even think straight. I had to get my car towed, which took a long time due to the many accidents on the road that day.

Below is the view from the freeway off-ramp that I slid off:

Luckily, Lindsay was following about 10 minutes behind me when this happened and she was able to pick me up at the scene. We left my car, put in a call to get it towed, and hurried to the wedding in the Salt Lake Temple. I really didn't want to miss it! It was so lovely. Sealings are some of the most sacred experiences for me. Here are Linds and I waiting for the happy couple to come out of the temple:

I absolutely love this couple. They are so cute. They are older than the typical couple around here and dated for over a year. It's clear that their love is deep and their committment to one another is very strong. I hope I can one day be as lucky. Seeing them gives me a lot of hope for the future!