Tuesday, November 17, 2015


On October 7 of this year, at 1:18 pm, Harper turned six. That's right. Six. A very grown up age. I was really emotional about it up until her actual birthday. I think I sort of made a subconscious choice to cry my tears about how quickly the years move by and how bittersweet motherhood is beforehand so that I could recover in time to really enjoy Harper's sixth birthday.

We opted for a rather low key day. A part of me was still a bit burnt out from last year's big magic-themed party. I didn't want to be cleaning the house or trying to entertain other people's children on Harper's birthday this year. I wanted to be completely available to her so that we could experience the day on a real personal level.

Harper started her day with birthday pancakes, of course. Birthday pancakes are a tradition that I see myself doing for as long as Harper is here, which might be forever since she claims she is never moving out. I didn't make her pancakes this year. She opted to have my parents bring her some from McDonald's (Harper, thanks to Colt and his love of fast food, thinks McDonald's pancakes are the bees knees).

It was so fun to have my parents in town for Harper's birthday. They came up just to celebrate with her.

After breakfast, Harper got ready for school, which was fun because she got to have a free dress day for her birthday. She took some cute treat bags to her classmates and birthday book donations for her classroom and school library. When I read in Harper's school handbook that students are encouraged to donate a book to the library on their birthday, I experienced some serious nerd-girl excitement and immediately started listing possibilities. It was hard to choose because Harper has so many favorite books. I gave her some options and she decided on Claire and the Unicorn: Happy Ever After by B.G. Hennessy and Susan Mitchell for the library. For her classroom, she chose The Cookie Store Cat and The Bookshop Dog (the two go hand in hand, at least for us), which are both by Cynthia Rylant. Harper's teacher is a real animal lover so we knew she'd appreciate our choices. The Cookie Store Cat is, unfortunately, out of print. We were excited to find a gently used copy on Amazon, which you should do if you're a lover of children's books. I think it is a must have for all little people libraries. I am really sad that it is out of print. It is one of the best children's books that I have ever read and definitely among Harper's favorites. It is such a sweet story!

Colt and I picked Harper up from school and took her to dinner before heading home for a small family party. We had all of her grandparents and her aunts and some cousins over for cake and ice cream. It was a quick and easy party (the best kind, if you ask me). Harper had fun and was spoiled by everyone. Colt and I gave her a new bike, some books (Beauty and the Beast and The Princess Who Had No Kingdom, both of which were illustrated by Sarah Gibb), a unicorn, and some new fall outfits.

My dear friend Heather made Harper a six-layer rainbow cake. It was beautiful and SO delicious. Harper, who is really into rainbows right now, loved it!

And now, a little bit about six-year-old Harper. She is one silly girl, that's for sure. She loves to laugh. And I love to hear her laugh. She has the best laugh. It's uninhibited and totally infectious. She also loves to sing, dance, draw, paint, snuggle, and ride her bike. 

Her favorite foods are chips and salsa, pickles, chocolate ice cream, pancakes, and Jimmy John's sandwiches. Her favorite things to watch are Curious George, Jem and the Holograms, Annie, Hocus Pocus, The Addams Family, and Pitch Perfect (one AND two). 

She still loves comfy clothes and continues to go for the non-matching type of look. She also loves hats and lipstick. 

Harper is super fun, sweet, adventurous, curious, talkative, and sassy. She is just a little bit precocious and probably too cute and mature for her own good. 

If I had to describe Harper with just one word, it would have to be enthusiastic. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015


My little Harper (who is actually not really that little anymore) started kindergarten a couple of months ago. She is going to Channing Hall, which is an International Baccalaureate charter school. It was our first choice among the schools that we were looking at so we were ecstatic when Harper was given a spot. I was sitting on the couch when I received the acceptance e-mail and actually jumped up and did a shout of joy.

Harper is loving kindergarten and has a really cool and focused teacher. The whole process of starting school was a huge change for her and me both, but it has turned out to be a positive and balancing experience. I am delighted at Harper's enthusiasm for school and am receiving nothing but positive feedback from her teacher. The thing that I've been most proud of is hearing that Harper is a caring and helpful friend to everyone in her class.

Here she is on her first day of school. Yes, yes, I know that she looks older than your average kindergartener. She is much taller than everyone in her class and probably the only student that has been asked to wipe off her lipstick before going to her spot on the carpet. She wears uniforms to school and has liked them more than I would have expected her to considering that she's been allowed to wear pretty much whatever she wanted (tutus, swimming suits, princess shirts, etc.) nearly every day of her life since she was 18 months old. Our saving grace is that there are a number of outfit options at her school so she still gets some choice in her ensemble each day. Her favorite things about school are recess, library day, and all of her new friends.

Thursday, July 23, 2015


Oh hey, blog. It's only been a few months or so...

I know that I am not often here. I keep telling myself that will change and I keep getting busier, which means my blogging time is continually diminishing. I was recently elected to the Board of Directors for the choir that I sing with. Getting used to that has taken a lot of my computer time. I'm also in school and tend to be writing or reading for homework assignments whenever I'm at my desk.

Anyway, I wanted to stop by and dedicate a little post to the newest member of our family...

For a few years now, we have been going back and forth on getting Tucker a buddy. We wanted him to have someone that he can play with and, for obvious reasons, Hazel wasn't cutting it. Colt and I went back and forth with different breeds and weighed the pros and cons of adoption versus getting a puppy. We would have loved to get a pup from the Humane Society but didn't want to risk any behavioral issues since we were bringing him/her into a house with two dogs, including one that is very small, and a bunch of children. We kept a close eye on the Humane Society of Utah's Facebook page for a few months and every dog that we were even slightly interested in usually had some stipulation about not being good with children or small dogs. We considered another ridgeback but decided that we didn't want a dog that was quite as big as Tucker, who weighs in at over 100 pounds. Colt and I agreed that it would be best for us to get a dog that was smaller than Tucker but still big/strong enough (50-75) pounds) to hold his own with him.

Colt has wanted a German wire-haired pointer since he was a little boy, but I had my mind set on either a goldendoodle or a labradoodle. We were also open to the idea of a mutt since they are oftentimes healthier and live longer. Imagine our excitement when a litter of German wire-haired pointer/goldendoodle mutts popped up on KSL one afternoon (a shock to the owners, who are goldendoodle breeders... apparently, six-foot fences aren't that much of an issue for their neighbor's GWP). Colt sent me the ad and I was immediately interested. We visited the pups that evening and fell in love with one of them.

Two weeks later, he came home. Harper held him on the way home and told us all about how she was going to love him and take care of him but never going to take him on rollercoasters or to get a shot. She was pretty obsessed with him for a few days. Once his initial bout of puppy sleepiness wore off and he turned into a little shark-toothed monster, she informed us that Tucker was her dog and the new puppy was all Colt's.

His name is Moose Buns Junior (we chose the name before meeting him and added the Junior when we learned that his dad was also a Moose). He's growing faster than any weed I've ever seen (just look at the pics below- he went from 12-60 pounds in just a few months!) and is definitely as naughty as he is cute. And we love him, even if he eats our socks and tears up my garden.

When Moose met Tucker, it was love at first sight. When Tuck met Moose, it was not. It has taken some time for Tucker, who is now five, to get used to having a spunky little puppy around (us, too... Moose is wild and tests our patience at every turn). Tucker has started warming up to Moose. I'm sure that Moose losing his puppy teeth has a lot to do with that. I love to look out the window and see them playing. They are learning how to go on walks and other fun adventures together. Tuck may not act like it, but I know him, and I know that he likes having a brother. 

Hazelnut likes Moose a lot. Initially, they played constantly but have slowed down now that Moose is so big. I do find her sleeping next to the boys' kennels during their nap time each day or whenever we have been gone from the house. She's still the queen Grinch around here and can kick both Tuck and Moose right out of their own dinner bowls whenever she feels like it.

(I have a dream of all three dogs snuggling on a daily basis and will not give up on it.)

Moose will be six months on August 7. We are hoping that he stops growing soon. If his growth rate doesn't slow down soon, he's going to be bigger than Tucker (we get the irony of that situation since not wanting a dog as big as Tucker is what kept us from looking for another Rhodesian ridgeback). We are also hoping to see a change in his attitude. Right now, he's as sassy as a tween and as naughty as a toddler. We are all looking forward to a more mature Moose, but are trying to enjoy his puppy stage too.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

2014 Bucket List, Recapped

2014 got a little crazy. I didn't get the chance to do everything that I wanted to because I was slammed with work and school. Still, it was a good year. I'm moving a lot of these goals forward for 2015 because I think they are important and don't want to say goodbye to them without finishing them.

Spend at least 208 hours at the piano (that's just four hours a week)
Run/walk 312 miles (an average of 6 miles a week)
Take a photography class
Choose a new lens
Go back to school
Practice yoga at least twice a week, for a total of 104 practices
Do an in-depth study of one composer each month
Hike Lake Blanche
Hike Mount Olympus
Try at least three other new hikes
     1. Bell Canyon Waterfall
     2. The Living Room
     3. Salt Lake Overlook
Learn to live with less (this includes clothing, shoes, and lipstick)
Write more
Do yoga every day for 30 days
Start teaching piano lessons again
Go 100 days without junk food (candy, chips, cookies, fried foods, etc.)
Try 5 new things
     1. ice fishing, 1.4.13
     2. shed hunting with Colt
     3. gardening with Whit
Write everyday for 30 days

The Signature of All Things
Crime and Punishment
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Life of Our Lord (with Harper)
Mere Christianity
War and Peace
The Old Man and the Sea
Into the Wild
The Four Loves
Ender's Game
One Thousand Gifts
The Barefoot Executive
These is My Words
My Name is Asher Lev
A Farewell to Arms

Take Harper to swimming lessons
Take Harper to five live performances
    1. Disney on Ice, March 5, 2014
    2. Miss Utah final night, June 21, 2014
    3. Wicked, November 8, 2014
Take Harper to see the baby animals at This is the Place
Do ABCMouse with Harper at least three times a week
Take Harper to The Princess Festival at Thanksgiving Point
Go to Yellowstone
Take Harper to Discovery Gateway
Take Harper to Airborne
Take Harper to the beach

Favorite Things Party + Giveaway

My friend Dani and I hosted a Favorite Things party last month. It was a lot of fun, both to plan and to participate in. Can you guess what my favorite thing was (our budget was $10 per gift)? I'll tell you at the end of this post, I promise, but do feel like most people that know me well will be able to figure it out. Hint: it's from a beauty aisle, the one where you get stuff for your hair.

Dani and I wanted to go with neutral colors and some metalics for the decorations and supplies. I threw some cute tags together and copied a cute gift bag that we saw at Target by sticking gold labels onto plain burlap bags from Michael's (the bags at Target were $3 each, which is fine if you're purchasing one bag, but definitely not when you need ten. The bags I made were under $1 each and were, if you ask me, pretty darn cute). We also put together some small gifts for our guests (CD's of our favorite jams, lip balms wrapped like candy, chocolates, and pen/notecard sets). Everything turned out really well.

For food, we did a soup and salad sort of thing. We had white chili, spinach salad, some appetizers, and a few yummy treats (chocolate chip cookies and salted caramel brownies, anyone?).

Each guest brought four of one of her favorite things to give out and in return received favorites from four other ladies. I loved everything that I received, which is probably because it was all beauty-aisle related. I received nail polishes, hair products, a brush, lip gloss, lotions, and face wipes. I had fun seeing what everyone else opened, too. There was a lot of good stuff up for grabs at our party and the selfish part of me was a little disappointed that I didn't get one of everything. The good news is that I kept a mental note of the things that were interesting to me so that when I go shopping, I can pick them up for myself. Our guests definitely brought, and went home with, some cool favorite things.

My only regret is that I didn't take any photos of people. I only had my camera out before the party. Once it started, I forgot to pick it back up again, which is pretty typical of me when I'm in party mode. I guess I will just have to host another favorites party so that I can take photos of the women that I love.

I gave two of my can't-live-without hair products as my favorite thing:
Batiste Dry Shampoo and Garnier Beach Chic are two things that I don't want to live without. I love them both because they help me keep my hair routine simple (and because they aren't $30 a bottle). 

Have you ever tried either of them? Would you like to? If so, go ahead and keep reading...

I am excited to announce that I am doing a giveaway. One winner will receive both of my favorite things, along with a copy of the CD we gave out at the party and some of the other little prizes that we included in our guests' gift bags. I'm so excited!

To enter, comment on this post. Tell me what your favorite thing would be if you were invited to a Favorite Things party (it doesn't have to be a beauty product- food, drinks, accessories, kitchen items, and pretty much anything that you love is fair game). For an extra entry, share a link to this post on Facebook (leave a second comment if you do). I'll announce the winner one week from today! Good luck and much love!

Sunday, December 28, 2014


This December was a busy one (all Decembers are, I know, but this one was unusually chaotic) and without meaning to, I wound up taking far more photos with my phone than with an actual camera. Boo to me, I know. What makes it worse is that I have an iPhone 4s, so my phone photos aren't even good phone photos. Still, I managed to capture a bit of the magic that came with this Christmas season and really want to share it here, graininess and all. 

Harper and I had so much fun making gingerbread houses together. We started the tradition last year by making one house together. We each made our own this year, which was great because I could have things in neat rows and patterns without encroaching upon Harper's creative instincts. 

She named our gingerbread people. Hers were Johnny and June (she's recently become a fan of vintage country) and mine were Holly and Jolly. Our gingerbread neighborhood was a musical one. It wasn't very tasty, though. I need to buy better candy next year so that we can enjoy eating our houses once Christmas is over.

Harper and I enjoyed a little lady date matinne to The Nutcracker. This book is one of her favorite Christmas stories. I could tell that she loved seeing it come to life on stage. Now that she is old enough to enjoy the show, I'd like to take her every year, or at least every other. I'm thinking of alternating years between this and The Forgotten Carols.

My mother-in-law brought Harper to watch one of my choir concerts (we had two and they were definitely the highlight of my holiday season). When we walked on stage, she got so excited and yelled, "Hi mommy! We brought you flowers!" Afterwards I asked Harper if she liked it. Her response was about as honest as they come: "I kind of liked it but I really kind of didn't because it was super long and boring. But I liked your lipstick because it looked very dark and beautiful."

We made a trip down to Papa Dave's to visit Harper's favorite animal buddies. Riding weather can't come soon enough for cowgirl Harper. Papa Dave has three colts that will be ready to ride this spring. Harper is so excited.

Hazelnut is still the best gift anyone (me) ever gave me. Santa would have to work a pretty big Christmas miracle to top the happiness that she brings me (it could never happen, but I wanted a Rudolph balloon to take back to Harper after Colt's work party).

Harper did a wonderful job in her Christmas recital! Her group did a ballet dance to Sarah Mclachlan's Song for a Winters' Night (confession: I had to look up how to spell Mclachlan). Her teacher, Miss Jasmine, has been wonderful. I am so appreciative of her enthusiasm and the way that she listens to Harper. A few weeks ago, Harper snuck a little gift for Jasmine (a bracelet from her own jewelry box) to ballet class. I had no idea about it until I saw Harper give it to her before warm ups. Miss Jasmine was so gracious and excited about it, bless her. The look on Harper's face when she told her she'd keep it forever was priceless.

We took Harper and Cash downtown to see the lights a week before Christmas. They liked the train ride far more than they liked the lights. I love these two cousins together. See how they are holding hands on the train (or, as Cash calls it, The Bullet Train)? Adorable.

Harper wrapped the gift she was giving at our preschool gift exchange all by herself. She even tied the bow (she learned to tie in preschool earlier this year and has gotten quite good at it).

This darling hat is one of the things she received at the gift exchange. It kept her warm and cozy while she worked on feeling better.

Present night at Grandma Carrie's is always a spoil fest. This year, Harper received a whole new wardrobe of princess dresses that actually fit her (she outgrew her others long ago). She was super excited about them.

Santa came and went without much effort this year. He needed a break after putting together the giant dollhouse that Harper received last year. 

Harper loved her new things but, as always, chose Scout and Kitty Soft Paws as snug buds when it was time to relax. 

We had a nice dinner with the Adams side of Colt's family on Christmas night. It was great to visit with people that we love.

A day after Christmas trip to Target (our gift cards were burning holes in our pockets!) for a pretzel and some new duds was just what we needed yesterday.

Harper is happily putting her new easel to good use. The girl loves to paint.

Here's to a wonderful holiday season. And to more "real" photos in 2015!