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December 2007

Look Mom, I sewed!

Let me tell you the tale of how this miraculous event came to pass.  I wanted an advent calendar and not just one of those paper ones where you open the numbered doors and see pretty pictures (or, if you're very lucky, you find a piece of cheap chocolate).  However, I haven't seen one like that since the last time my parents' home teacher brought them one from Germany.  Advent_before_2But then I saw this on Jenn Hall's blog! She decorated it up all cool with her scrapbook supplies and I thought, I could do that.  And those drawers are so perfect for little pieces of chocolate.  GOOD chocolate.  So I stopped at my Target on the way home, but no such luck.  Maybe they were sold out?  Maybe they only have them in Australia?  (I didn't know they had Target's there.  Target is everywhere.  Omnipresent, even.) So I went online.  I couldn't find one there either, even on the Target website.  BUT!  I did find this one.Advent_2

And I thought... cute!  But those pockets would be much better served holding chocolate, and this looks like it's mostly felt.  I could do that!  I have all these diecut tools and all, and I can cut out a santa head, right?  So last night on the way home I stopped at Robert's and picked up a stack of felt.  I got home, pulled out all of my diecut tools and my sewing machine (shock... I have one!  Got it for Christmas last year :D  Thanks mom!) and sat down in front of the hockey game to be crafty.  So, without any further ado, here's what I came up with.



Let me point out... this is my prototype.  I messed up a lot on this, which you can see if you look closely.  But when I make the next one, it should be so much faster and easier.  Working felt through a sewing machine is trickier than you'd think!  Or maybe it isn't and I just have issues.  Either way.  :D  (If you're interested, the circles from the face are Sizzix and hand cut, the moustache, beard and hat are hand cut, the numbers, trees, holly and sleigh and reindeer and all QuicKutz, and the hearts, stars and mittens are hand cut).

Also, I finally uploaded a few more of the gift mini-albums that I've made for family.  First is the Grandma's Brag Book I made for my mom last year.  Here are a few pictures from that:



I also uploaded pictures I snapped of the album I sent Erin for her birthday of Ben's first birthday.


The rest of the pages for both of these albums are mixed in here.

Can you tell I'm feeling crafty lately?  Must be the Christmas season. :D

A turkey, a tree, a baby, a birthday, a wedding and a funeral.

Warning, long post ahead... I did say that it's been a little crazy lately, right?

So.  Here's the rundown.  The week after I got back from Texas, I found out that I'm going to be an auntie again!  So congrats to Rick, Erin and Ben... another little one on the way :)

Last weekend, Nicole and Brian got engaged while she was on a layover in San Diego on her way home from Guyana.  Apparently it was wonderful and romantic and was actually a surprise (good job Brian ;) I mean, considering they've had the wedding date picked out for several weeks now, that took some doing!  So congratulations Nicole and Brian!

While Nicole and Brian were busy getting engaged on a beach in California, I was succumbing to my crazy desire to get started with the Christmas season as soon as possible.  So, despite the fact that it wasn't Thanksgiving yet, I did a little decorating. 


This probably came about because last year, I was super excited to do my first Christmas ever in my own place; my own tree, decorations, everything.  I had picked out exactly where in my condo I wanted everything to go but when Christmas season rolled around, I was in corporate housing in Orem and all my Christmas decorations and music were in my storage room in Virginia.  So I decorated and it made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  That rarely happens, so it was probably worth it ;)  In addition to the pictures above of my foyer (such as it is) and staircase, I also set up 2 mini trees with lights and ornaments on the island in my kitchen and strung lighted poinsettia swags across my piano and entertainment center.  I even broke out the cinnamon and cider simmering pot pourri!  What can I say... it makes me happy.

So then, Thanksgiving.  Thanks to the new front brake pads and rotors plus safety and emissions, car registration and property taxes all happening last week, I didn't have enough money left for gas to drive to Rexburg and back and still live for the rest of the month.  I was kind of bummed about that because I really wanted to see Rick and Erin and squeeze Ben for an hour or two, but then I heard that it also snowed in Rexburg over Thanksgiving and I felt better about staying in Utah.  lol.  Besides - I got to hang out with Melody and her family.  I brought homemade butterhorn rolls from mom's recipe.  They actually turned out pretty well - especially considering the fact that I got the wrong kind of yeast. Melody did a lot of cooking and we had a delicious dinner that I ate far too much of.  She even made homemade pecan and pumpkin cream pies!  And check out the totally cute table decorations.



Since it was Thanksgiving weekend, I felt like it was okay to go out and get my Christmas tree and finish my decorating.  My mom and my sister and I all started eclectic ornament collections when we were in Germany for Christmas 4 years ago and I was DYING to get them all out and hang them up.  I now buy funky ornaments when I'm traveling - the latest was a saddle from the Stockyards in Fort Worth :)


So I think that covers the turkey, the tree, the baby and the wedding.

The sad news... on Wednesday my grandma passed away. Her funeral will be this Wednesday and I'm sad that I'm not able to go, but my family and I decided that it wasn't necessary to try and fly me or Rick home for the day.  Grandma had had very advanced Alzheimer's for more than 10 years, so this was really more of a blessing.  We all miss her very much, but knowing that she's finally able to be herself again over on the other side is a great comfort to all of us.

So, with the sad part shared, finally we have the birthday.  Today is Erin's birthday (my SIL).  Happy Birthday Erin!  I hope you get the package I sent you... it should be there today. :)

Look, it's me!


I just got my January 2008 Creating Keepsakes this weekend.  There I am!  I had a layout in the Becky's Sketch column of this issue and I'm so excited! (Oh, and it's the layout on the bottom right with pictures from Germany :).

I'm a total blog slacker... I'll be back tomorrow with a catch-up post.  It's been just a titch crazy here and in my family lately.

Did you see that girl with the mohawk eating a giant pickle?

Well, we're back from Dallas.  It was a great weekend!  The weather was wonderful (I didn't mind the humidity... Steph, not so much), the food was great, the rodeo was a blast and the concert was amazing.  And, if you're wondering, the title comes from Steph's blog posting about things that we heard or said this weekend that would make perfect blog titles.  There were many; we forgot a lot of them. 

A few things we learned. 

1.  NEVER, and I repeat NEVER visit to the Dallas/Fort Worth area without getting a GPS.  Thank you random Budget guy!  When Steph asked him how hard it was to navigate Dallas area streets, he answered "We can rent you a GPS system for $10 a day."  Money well spent.  We named it Susie.

1A.  The roads are weird.  Even after extensive study of an aerial map, we still wouldn't have gotten it.  Susie was our new best friend.

1B.  The roads are highly condusive to motion sickness.  We bounced.  A lot.  Not a great experience after the unhappiness that is eating raw broccoli salad on a plane followed by a rough descent and landing.

2.  Never eat raw broccoli salad on an airplane no matter how good of an idea you think that box lunch you got at SuperTarget so you didn't have to spend $8 on an airport sandwich seems to be.  The broccoli will come back to haunt you.  Over and over and over.

3.  Remember... Dallas is in the Bible belt.  Dallas on a Sunday afternoon is boring.  Everything is closed, no people.

4.  Any aquarium that only charges $4 to get in probably sucks.

5.  Wearing earplugs at a rock concert does not make you a wuss.  It makes you capable of hearing the next day.  lol.  (I learned my lesson after Muse and brought some.  Everyone else was jealous.)

There are probably more lessons that we learned, but that works for now :)

So Saturday, we checked in to our hotel in Irvine and started planning.  We decided to do Fort Worth that afternoon and hit the rodeo at the Stockyards that evening.  So much fun!  First on the list, however, we ended up near the TCU campus because Steph found out, courtesy of Susie, that there were Potbellies sandwich shops in the Dallas area.  The broccoli was still bugging me, so I skipped a sandwich, but I have to say, their cookies are AMAZING!!!  I could really have done without finding that out. 


Next, we wandered around Sundance Square in Fort Worth and then went over to the Stockyards.  It was so old west looking!  I'm not sure how much is historical and how much it tourist trap, but it was all fun.  Steph wanted to stop at the old-west saloon looking biker bars on the way in.  We turned down the street and there was a whole string of them with a long line of Harleys out front.  Too funny.

We wandered the Stockyards, popping our heads into little stores (I got a saddle Christmas ornament for my collection) and then we went to Riscky's for some Texas BBQ dinner.  Of course, neither of us had BBQ.  lol.  But I had a nice Angus burger!

After dinner we went to the rodeo.  That was so much fun.  I'd never been to one before but I really enjoyed it.  Although I have to admit, during the calf roping, I was cheering for the calves.  I hated seeing them get thrown around and tied up like that.  But the bronc and bull riding were amazing.



First up, we enjoyed our complimentary breakfast at the hotel.  You have to love a state that has so much pride they make their own Texas shaped Belgian waffle makers.


Next, we thought we'd go to Dallas.  Allow me to refer you to "things we learned" #3.  Dallas is boring on Sunday.  The Farmer's Market was a real one and not one of those touristy ones.  Having no need for loads of produce in our hotel room, we moved on.  Fountain Square would have been lovely if the fountains had been turned on.  Heh.  So we decided to go to the aquarium.  This brings us to "Things we learned" #4.  Granted... we figured it couldn't be that great for $4, so we weren't too disappointed.  We were able to find great amusement in standing in front of the alligator and trying to figure out if he was alive or stuffed.  He never moved!  Finally, on our second round of standing in front of him looking for signs of life, I saw him blink.


The aquarium was on the grounds with the Dallas State Fair Park which was, surprisingly enough, closed.  But!  There was a beautiful walking area with a floating sculpture and lots of turtles.  We spent some time walking, exploring and enjoying such beautiful weather in November.


By this time we were pretty hungry.  We wanted TexMex for sure.  We were in Texas, right?  Must do.  First try was a texmex place called Mattitos that had won Best of Dallas 4 times or something.  When we finally found it and realized that it was PACKED for brunch and that there were lots of Porsches and other expensive cars going to the valet, we decided to make another pick.  El Fenix, one of the original texmex restaurants... closed.  Greek food!  Closed.  So we figured at this point we should just get out of Dallas.  We went back near our hotel and found heaven:  Mi Cocina.  Delicious!  We had chicken flautitas, enchiladas, tamales and lots of other tasty food that could still be sitting in take-out containers in the fridge of our hotel room for all I know.

As we were driving out of the parking lot after lunch, Steph looked up and this is approximately what I heard: "Oh. my. Goodness. That's the Holy Grail of Food! Quiet! It may run away!"  There in front of us, housed in one building, were Potbellies and Chipotle.  I thought Steph was going to faint.  So, is it any surprise that after a little resting up at the hotel, we went back to Potbellies for dinner before going to the concert? lol.  I had my first sandwich there and I have to admit, it's pretty good stuff!  But the cookies are better.

So.  Finally.  The point of the whole weekend, The Concert.  Four amazing bands, two amazing seats.  We were 13 rows back from the pit, dead center.  All four were amazing - they all do such a great live show.  I could go on and on about them and the songs they played and when members of different bands came on with other groups to jam (like when the guys from Seether and 3 Days Grace came on and did the a cover of the Deftones "Change" while Ben from Breaking Benjamin was down in the pit throwing out water bottles... so sweet.) and all that kind of thing, but this post is already way too long.  So, I leave you with pictures.

Red (only played 4 songs, but they were much better live than we expected.  Love their stuff and love that people in the crowd who weren't familiar with them were going out to buy their CD between sets.)


Seether - I've heard a lot of their music on the radio but didn't really know them well.  I now need all their albums.  They were, as Stephanie had already told me they would be, absolutely amazing live.


Breaking Benjamin - the main reason they were there.  Long gone are the days when we saw them in little clubs in DC while they were nearly apologetic for being on stage and having us cheer for them.  Ben has become a rock star.  But the show was still awesome.


Three Days Grace - another band I knew and liked from the radio, and I now need to get their albums.  They were great!


It was awesome.  Worth even having to fly back to Salt Lake via Atlanta yesterday (hey... for a free ticket, like I should be complaining!  lol). :D

Happy Birthday Stephanie!  The rest of the pictures are here.

Achmed the dead terrorist.

We've been passing this video around at work, and I found the full-length version on YouTube.  So if you have roughly 11 minutes to kill, here's a little Friday funny for you.

And 24 hours from now, Steph and I will be winging our way to Dallas.  Woohoo!

Weekend Recap

Saturday was a busy day.  Stephanie and Sarina wanted to head down early to meet Ben and Dave to help set up for the tailgate.  After finding out that "early" was actually "way earlier than any human should ever have to get up and be somewhere on a Saturday morning," I elected to just meet them there a little (or a lot) later.  I showed up a bit late, but in time for the face painting.  Oh wait.  I brought all the face painting stuff with me.  Heh.


And the obligatory self-portrait...


After some tasty bbq pork and kettle chips (mmm... kettle chips), it was game time!  Ben and Dave finally made it to their seats a few minutes before half-time, so they missed most of the Cougar scoring.  But there was still enough left to come for some Rise and Shout action.


This one is purely for entertainment.  This guy was sitting in front of us and we were amused throughout the entire game by the rhinestone detailing on this guy's sunglasses.  Did he perchance pick up his wife's pair on the way out the door?  The world may never know.  But the entertainment lives on.  More pictures here.


After the game, Stephanie and I ran to the mall in search of a cocktail dress for Steph's office Christmas party.  We were unsuccessful, but we did manage to kill enough time that the north-bound traffic had pretty much cleared out by the time we left.  Stephanie and Sarina headed back to Ogden after a brief visit at my place, and I headed over to Mel's for a little birthday celebration... I didn't want to try and get everyone together on a weeknight, but apparently Saturday is an even rougher night!  But Mel and her family were there, and Al came by and we had snacks, cake and watched Transformers.  Good times.  Oh, and thanks again Mel for the GC... I love a good excuse to go to the scrapbook store!


And now, the count-down is on for Dallas!  Just a few more days and we're off :D

Candy season is now in full swing.

At least Halloween is over.  That's one down, right? 

So I've mentioned how crazy my office is about Halloween.  This year I gathered photographic proof.  We had a costume contest, an area decorating contest and trick-or-treating for all of the families of employees.  Needless to say, we got very little done.  However I did get SOME work done and managed to stay almost completely away from the candy.  I call that a good day. :D  So... here are a few pictures.

These first two are from the spook alley our developers built on my floor.  They won the prize for Most Likely to Cause Psychological Damage (aka the Scariest).  After passing through the hall of hanging psycho dolls, they had a hall with clips from Poltregeist on a big screen TV.  In the next room, another product manager, Janell, was sitting in the rocking chair crooning "Sally" over and over.  Totally creepy.  Matt grabbed my leg from under the bed in the last room but I found Danny hiding behind the door before he could jump out at me... lol.



Here are a few of the best and most creative costumes I've ever seen!  That's a real person inside the pig on a table.  Amazing.  They both won, of course.  Oh, and that's a real baby inside the lobster costume the chef is holding!


This one is Scott's desk, next to mine.  We brewed home made rootbeer in a witch's kettle.


There were lots of other amazing areas.  I walked around with another lady and went through lots of them and took pictures.  I put them all here.  Scroll to the bottom for the ones from yesterday. :)