Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas with...

 ...Grandma Carolyn!
Knowing we were going to my Grandma's, I thought I'd try out Anna's gluten free muffins to contribute to the meal (hers are on the left of the side by side pics).  My grandma is an awesome cook and I wanted to show her how domestic I could be. Turns out the recipe is intended for 24 miffins, not 12! It made my day when my grandma set out on the table the failed muffin remnants that I brought in a ziploc bag!
Yes, indeed, the sweater vest was from me, as well as the church loafers.
Inprovised high chair with a a flour sack dish towel!
Grandma illustrated a larger than life version of "The Night Before Christmas" to share with all her grandchildren.  She started some of the sketches about 70 years ago when she taught 35 primary kids as a TEN YEAR OLD!

 ...Grandma Marva!

We were a little surprised to pull up to Grandma's and find the whole block dark! We had a candlelight Houston family holiday dinner! What a fun adventure. The power came on after about an hour! The second picture was with a flash.

I decided to perform a rendition of Slient Night on the guitar for Grandma as a Christmas present, though my guitar skills are severely limited.  I was trying to be cool and sing a verse in Portuguese, but I completely forgot how it went after "Noite Feliz" and had to stop.  Oops.

Grandma made one of these for every child and grandchild! I still can't believe it! sisters!

We had a sisters holiday dinner and cookie decorating party just before Anna and I left town.  I have had a serious gluten eating infraction problem over the past couple weeks and I need to shape up.  #selfcontrol

 ...and with my parents!

We got to help put decorations on the tree, and our mom surprised Anna and I with our own special ornament.  This Willow Creek ornament is called, "Song of Joy" and Anna's was called, "Dance of Life."

We did holiday baking that we delivered in origami scrapbook boxes. The fudge was probably the greatest success.

And then there was my toffee.  I couldn't find the aluminum foil, so I decided wax paper was a good compromise for the 5-10 minutes it had to bake in the oven. Wrong. It all ended up in the trash.

We took a family field trip to Target in Oxnard to buy each other $10 gifts in pairs (kind of like Thanksmas).  Before, we enjoyed Davey's BBQ and all it's cleverly titled sauces.

How amazing is this?

For Christmas Eve, we had the sister missionaries and the Damitz' over for our traditional ham dinner. It was so fun!  It was really neat to have the missionaries share the short video, "He is the Gift."  They asked us to each share our thoughts on the video and that was a great opportunity to reflect on the importance of our Savior on Christmas Eve.  They challenged us to share the video with friends.  Shout out to Anna for letting me borrow her clothes/accessories.

We continued our Houston tradition of each reading a Christmas book on Christmas eve.

Stockings are always a favorite part of Christmas in our family!
Mr. and Mrs. Claus!
Anna loved her mittens and I was stoked about all my jewels :-).
In accordance with tradition, Phil came with our family to see a movie on Christmas Day.  We saw "Into the Woods."  Vocally, Meryl Streep impressed me the most, though I was pleasantly surprised by the talent of Emily Blunt and Anna Kendrick!

Monday, December 15, 2014



I was one of the biggest skeptics when we decided to do Sweeney Todd.  I'll admit it.  But it turned out to be a really fun experience! The music of Steven Sondheim is absolutely crazy and brilliant all at the same time.  Changes in key signature and time signature abound, but incredibly beautiful melodies (such as, "I Feel You Joanna") are heart melting.  

We felt so cool in our Sweeney, it was the most AMAZING excuse to wears sweats to school!

Nathan is my hero!

Best accompanist out there.

Mikell, our fearless director, and Erin, our amazing choreographer

This is Hughes, the musical mascot.

I wanted to sit in the pit during the last performance, so Emily got me an instrument to "play" and I pretended to play during some of the numbers.  I felt slightly guilty and rebellious but it was really amusing to those of us in the pit. At least one person thought I could really play the trumpet!

Here we are modeling our "red mufflers," a thank you gift from Mikell

Closing night!

Here is John, our technical director. Love him and his students!

I had the chance to drive down with Celestial and delightful baby Beau to Duchesne, close to her home town, to see my cousin Emmy play Ms. Dorothy in "Thoroughly Modern Millie."  She was darling! Her voice is phenomenal! #soproud

Michelle and I moved and we now have a ginormous kitchen!!!

I bought couches from a consignment shop.  We now have carpet in our living room, which we are both stoked about.  This picture features the music wreath Christina made me!


Michelle is my biggest supporter- she comes to EVERY SINGLE choir concert I give at Highland and to every Temple Square performance.  I don't know how she does it! It really means so much to me to always have at least one person there to lean on.  We always go out afterwards and "debrief." What an amazing friend and roommate! I am so lucky. 

Our caroling social put on by the choir council was a smashing success! There were probably 80-90 kids there and TONS of food and hot chocolate.  There were several students who aren't even choir, which makes this annual activity is a great recruiting tool for us!

We sang at the City Creek mall in front of the giant Christmas tree.  I didn't make Christmas cards to send out, but this is my Christmas card picture. So Merry Christmas, everyone!

Love this kid with all my heart!

I had an amazing experience at our holiday concert at Highland this year (notice our amazing new shell!).  This is what I wrote on my Facebook after the event: "Time to get sentimental. The holidays can be a lonely time when you live far from your loved ones and you do not yet have a little family of your own. Today, as I looked at my choir students singing Candlelight Carol together (including at least 6 dear alumni), I felt overwhelmed with gratitude for every sweet face. I felt like the richest woman in the world to know each kid by name and to associate with them daily. They bring me such joy and because of them, I will never be alone."