Friday, November 30, 2012

Christmas Concert

 Our OCMCO Christmas concert was beautiful.  It's always so fun to perform here.

Friends Kim, Kat, Darrell and Sheryl attended.  My dad sat with them, but I didn't catch him afterward for a photo.

Another exciting part of the concert was our Christmas CD that went on sale earlier in the month.  It's a beautiful choral Christmas CD featuring both the Orange County and Arizona choirs.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Last Day with Family

Our last day spent together was spent with the kids on Minecraft (see Jenna's desk turned computer station), Michelle and I making Carmelitas (I forgot some of the butter, but they were still good), playing Apples to Apples with everyone, and saying good-bye.  The Blairs left early Sunday morning as did Grandpa.  What a great few days together!  We are always, always so thankful for our family and the time we get to share.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Paul's Coffe Shop

On Friday morning, we decided to go out for breakfast.  Poor Kelly had to work.  There is a coffee shop right down the street from us that was featured on HGTV's "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" so we gave it a try.  Lots of food for a reasonable price.  It was fun to try it with my sister's family.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Day

What a beautiful day!

Jenna and mom prepared the punch

Ava, our neighbor, stopped by with some Thanksgiving treats

Our traditional "who was at dinner" photo

Kelly made a great turkey, one of the best, and our feast was fabulous

Jenna 'served' the rolls and switched to underhand which was easier to catch

While Michelle and I cleaned up, the 'kids' went out side for some football in the street

We ended the night with a game of Guesstures

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Blairs Visit California

Michelle, Shane and Gavin arrived today from New Mexico.  They are spending Thanksgiving with us and staying until Sunday.  We're so happy to have them here!  On their first night in we went to TGI Friday's for dinner, and Michelle and I made apple and pumpkin pies.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Meeting Jane Seymour

When our choir sang with Catherine McPhee and William Joseph at Jane Seymour's Malibu home in February of 2011, we never got to meet the homeowner.  I heard her introducing the entertainment, and we hung out in her guest house while waiting to perform, but the excitement of the night had been watching Catherine McPhee perform "Somewhere Over The Rainbow."

When I found out Jane was coming to Deseret Book here in Orange County, I had to meet her!  Not only had I performed at her house, I have admired her long hair and beauty since childhood.  She was promoting her book that she had narrated during the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Special. The book, Good King Wenceslas, is beautiful and although I have the author's autograph, it is much less expensive on  It was still a treat to meet her.  She is 61 years old, very beautiful, but not quite as warm as I would have imagined.  She was polite and pleasant and remembered our choir's visit, but not overly warm.  I had invited my friend, Angie, to meet me there, and she had the same impression.  She was still glad to meet Jane Seymour though--Angie's favorite movie is Somewhere In Time.  Her husband had recently surprised her for her birthday with a trip to Macinaw Island where the filming took place.  Angie was able to share this with the actress who was polite and gracious even if she wasn't super warm.  She and Angie did bond briefly over Angie's long, beautiful hair--the same length that Jane had years ago.  It was still a great event to attend, and Angie, Daisy and I got to share a quick lunch together.

Me and my meeting famous people.  I don't know where this comes from, but it's fun.

Breaking Dawn Part 2

Here is the rundown of Breaking Dawn Part 2 events that I participated in with friends.  Let me just say that getting to do all of this was really a blast, and a great way to close out the "era."

Friday, November 9, 2012 - Jimmy Kimmel Live

Some TwilightMoms friends had an extra ticket to Jimmy Kimmel and invited me to go.  The show was taping on Kelly's birthday, and I have to say that he was a good sport about it.  When the gals got the tickets, they didn't know who the guests would be; they assumed guests would include someone from Breaking Dawn since it was Red Carpet weekend.  We scored with getting to see Stephenie Meyer, the author of the series!  It's always been about the books for us TMs, so this was perfect.  The deal was sweetened when I found out who the main guest would be.  You'll see his picture below.
The front of the studio building across from Mann's Chinese Theater

TwilightMoms from all over the country including Texas, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina and more.  We got an update on Hurricane Sandy's destruction...kind of unreal talking to people who lived through it.  I knew most of these women already from our activities over the years, and it was SO great to see them all together again.

Full audience shot - We told the guys seating us that we had THE TwilightMom in our group, and that Stephenie usually asks for her at events.  They seated her right down front, and Steph even waved when she came out and saw her.  As Steph left, she gave Lisa a hug which was very sweet.

Daniel Craig - 007 - Main Guest...Yes, I died.

Our cheeks seriously hurt from smiling!  We were seated in the 'premium' seats, and we got some good camera time as you can see.  We were all wearing bedazzled TMs shirts, and it was kind of impressive.

Stephenie Meyer - Twilight Saga Author -  She is just so beautiful.

After the taping, we continued outside for the concert portion and heard a band called, "Boys Love Girls."  The warm up guy told us all before we left that in his ten years of doing the warm up entertainment for the tapings, they had never had an audience as enthusiastic yet respectful.  They were very impressed with us and asked us to come back, so I'm glad we left a good impression.

Some of us stopped at Johnny Rockets for dinner before the gals headed back to tent city.  Many of us had pitched in a few dollars so that Lisa, the TMs owner, could fly out and attend all the Red Carpet events.  She's never been able to and has had to watch everyone else having all the great experiences.  She was in heaven, and we were all very happy for her.

Thursday, November 15, 2012 - Midnight (10PM) Screening for Opening Day

I attended opening night with the local TwilightMoms, several of whom have remained fun friends.  I was impressed by this part of the movie, and I think BD1 and 2 have become my favorites of the movies even though I didn't like the book as much.  They were able to get some things right in the movie which made up for what was missing in the book.

Friday, November 16, 2012 - Official Opening Day

Because opening day usually begins at midnight, I'm always to pooped to attend with my "junkies."  These are my dear friends who met primarily because of Twilight.  I was already good friends with Sheryl and Michelle, but no one was safe from my recommending Twilight.  Once each lady read it, they were hooked and wanted to talk more about it, and the rest is history for us.  The second viewing was even better than the first, and it was so fun to share the experience with my close friends.

What a fun way to end the movie adventure.  Reading the books back in 2008 was wonderful, and following the movie development has been a lot of fun.  For me, none of these fun adventures were ever about the actors in the movies (people have criticized these old ladies for pining after young actors).  It has been about the stories, the books, the author and ultimately, the friends we made along the way.  Many of our lives have been altered by this series.  It can truly be termed a "phenomenon."

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Out with the old...

We said good bye to our 40-year-old oven last week, and hello to a new one.  The old one simply quit working, and we're not sure why given we haven't used it at all over the hot summer.  Oh well.

Over the past 25 years, Kelly and I have enjoyed a few new appliances (dishwasher, fridge, washer/dryer), but we have never had a new oven.  We used Kelly's parents oven which they'd had for years, our apartment oven which looked original from the 60's, and the oven in this house which we were told was original 1963.  It was made by American Crown.  If you haven't heard of that brand, I can't blame you.  My internet research says they went out of business in the late 80's or so, and this also alerted us to the fact that spare parts were going to be nearly impossible to find.  That's what made the decision for us.

My only problem with my new oven doesn't have to do with the new oven; it's the budget.  We have a very loose budget, but it doesn't really have a category for new appliances, new roof, window or carpet replacement or even the bathroom that needs sorely remodeled.  We don't spend a ton, but it seems that monthly bills, the girls' sports, music lessons, groceries, clothing, fuel and car maintenance, etc. are the only things we have room for.  How do folks do all the repairs and home maintenance that needs to be done without taking out a loan?  I don't know, but Mr. Oven is making me re-look at the budget.  We'll be tightening up the belt a bit to pay for him, and then we'll have to move on to saving for the next "new" that is going to need to come to our home.  There's got to be a way to do this, and I'm sure I'll figure it out.

Financial Guru advice is welcome in the comments.  Thank you.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Kelly's Birthday Weekend

Kelly celebrated his last birthday in his 40's.  Not sure how he feels about that, but he's still young at heart.  He took the girls to Disneyland for Daddy-Daughter dates on his actual birthday (11/9) after graciously allowing me to go be an audience member on the Jimmy Kimmel show.  That will be another post.

Because of my event, we celebrated the over the weekend.  On Saturday we went to Mario's for a dinner date where I let slip it was Kelly's birthday.  He was serenaded by the staff, and we had a yummy meal.  

On Sunday, we made a birthday dinner of tacos and then opened presents and feasted on chocolate pie.

We love our Daddy tons, and one of his birthday presents usually reflect his fun personality.  There have been some pretty awesome shoot-outs since he opened his presents.  I stay out of the way!  Happy Birthday to my handsome prince!

Saturday, November 10, 2012


Kelly has been taking Heather over to the hand ball courts at our old school to practice some hitting for volleyball.  He motivated her by allowing her to serve at him to try to hit him.  It was working pretty well.  Heather is on again, off again, when it comes to her skills.  We've seen her focus and do really well, and we've seen her foggy and not caring.  It's hard to instill a sense of competitiveness and drive in a child when it's not naturally there.  It will be interesting to see how her volleyball career progresses.

I was doing some errands and stopped by to see how they were doing.  We had a family game of Four Square, and we had a great time together laughing and teasing.  When we had to go, both girls were crying out for more.  This tells me we better be making some playtime with them while they want it.  I didn't know it meant that much, but I do remember my dad and mom playing games with us once-in-a-while, and I remember how I loved that.  We're putting some 'play dates' on the calendar.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Election Day

My sister's lawn

And what a day it was.  There was a feeling of hope in our community that Romney could possibly be the next president.  I live in a conservative county, and belong to a conservative faith, so I realize that it was a bit of a bubble to be looking around in.  Alas, "we" have elected a president for a second term.  I pray that in his second term, he will be able to lead our nation to a better place than where we are now.  He can blame the last administration for the current problems, but the last administration is not in charge.  It's time to stop blaming and start doing.  Both sides.  All the way around, for the good of a nation.   

There are no perfect folks on either side of the political line, so I'm not pointing fingers or claiming perfection for a particular party. What bothers me about Election Day is that folks on Facebook or in the media speak as if one party has all the answers, and some people are downright nasty as they feel the need to teach you about the error of your ways (again, this is happening on both sides).  I was accused of representing Republicans as "class above" and "more civilized" than the Democrats.  This was from someone I don't even know responding to a comment I made on a conservative's friend's Facebook page, a truly benign comment.  On another friend's page where I simply agreed with her post and added a sentence, two different people that I don't even know jumped down my throat faster than I could hit "send" on my keyboard.  It was unbelievable.  Republicans may not have all the answers (and neither do the Democrats my friends), but we are entitled to opinions.  Is mud slinging and poisonous blame necessary?  Can we not be civilized in our conversation?  

We've been called a nation divided, and we are divided along political party lines.  This is exactly what the Adversary wants, and the divide and conquer strategy is a cunning, very covert, and very successful strategy.  However, I don't believe we are as divided as the the political lines show.  When it gets down to it, we all want the same things...freedom, family, faith and a strong foundation for our future generations.  I told a dear friend recently--who is on the other side of the political line from where I stand--that if God were running for president, I knew we would all be on the same side.  She agreed.  Oh how I wish there were a way that we could all be on the same side! It would be so much more productive.

We, our nation and its people, are headed in a direction, and it's no secret.  Any person of faith who has read the book of Revelations knows what's coming.  I do not wish the new administration ill.  I will pray for our President and for the decision makers in Washington no matter their party.  It does me no good to lament about a Democrat for president.  He is the president, and our family respects that (we keep our rants contained in the wall of our own home *snicker*).  But ultimately, my peace is found in knowing that the Lord is at the helm and we are on His timeline.  I have complete faith and trust that we are in His hands.  I am mildly worried, but preparing.  And while I'm preparing, I'll continue to be polite and respectful of my friends' feelings as well as those of perfect strangers.  We need to stick together folks!  Let's stop looking for the differences and start focusing on the similarities in our neighbors.  In the end, we citizens are going to have a lot more to do with strengthening this nation than we think we do, and we need to be prepared to do it together.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I Voted

Many people posted pictures of their "I Voted" stickers on facebook and Instagram on election day.  It used to feel a little funny to be handed a sticker at the end of voting as if I were a grade school child who had accomplished a task.  But over the years I have come to appreciate that sticker and wear it with pride.  

I am a Christian and a Republican who lives in Orange County, but my county is in the state of California.  I found out what that meant the very first year I voted for a president.  I remember thinking, "What is the point of voting in California if you are a Republican?"  There was absolutely no way our state would ever produce enough conservative votes to send a Republican vote to the Electoral College, and I was a bit frustrated.

By the time my second presidential election vote came around, our country had been sending soldiers overseas for Desert Storm.  I remember tears slipping down my face one morning during the first year of deployment as I stood to say the pledge at the high school I worked at.  This was the first war the US had been involved in in my generation, the first that I could remember.  It was the first time I was mature enough to understand what the flag truly represents.  My mind and heart were flooded with emotion for the blessing of living in our country, and for those men and women who were making sure our country remained free.  I voted that year with a silent pledge to always vote no matter how grim the future looked.  It is a privilege to go to a polling place, to mark that ballot based on my personal thoughts and opinions, and to be allowed cast my vote without fear of retaliation.  That experience has stayed with me over the past 20 years.  When election day comes around, I always look forward to voting, and I wear my sticker with pride.  I hope you do too.

Heather's New Bangs

My cute teenager got her hair cut today.  She needed it thinned out a bit at the bottom, and while I was listening to Jenna, I missed the bangs.  She was going to ask for long bangs, more like no bangs, but rather shape around her face.  When the scissors clipped I had just looked over.  These were shorter bangs than Heather had wanted!  Oh well.  Hair grows.  She looked cute and sassy with her new layers.  Style is becoming a little more important to her, but not much.  She was feelin' pretty cool though with her new cut.  I'm glad she was happy and not stressing too much.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Sky High

Months ago, I bought a Groupon for Sky High, a trampoline place near here.  Jenna had been once for a birthday party, and she preferred it to the big bounce houses.  So when the Groupon came around for discounted admission, I purchased four passes thinking we'd have gobs of opportunities to go.  That was in February!  By November when the Groupons were going to expire, we hadn't been, so we quick chose a date and rounded up a friend for each girl.  Jenna took Sarah, and Heather took Madi. What a blast!  We went on a Thursday, and there was hardly anyone there.  These girls jumped for two hours straight, and probably could have stayed two more.  Sarah's mom, my dear friend, and I got to sit and chat for two hours which was a bonus for us.  I love inexpensive experiences like this for my girls and their friends.  Great memories!