...and they all lived happily ever after...

...and they all lived happily ever after...

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Going Nuts for the Nutcracker (DeMoux style)

Our kids had the chance to perform in Miss Margene's Nutcracker this year, and it was fun to have four kidlets take part of the fun!  

So, let's start the tour.

Logan performed in party scene as a guest and a toy solider and also sang prelude music with musical theater.  This was his first Nutcracker and he LOOOOVED being on stage.  I'm glad he has found a passion for performing.   

This was also Gavin's first Nutcracker.  He was in party scene, danced as a forest guardian, and also performed prelude music with the musical theater group.  

(Sorry boys, I have no video of your performances -- they are on Josh's camera so hopefully I can add some soon so someday your grandkids can watch you get your dance on!)

Elinor is a Nutcracker veteran (this is year three for her).  She even had a small semi-solo in her group number, Petite Waltz of the Flowers.  She was wonderful!  While her true love is dance, she puts up with being part of musical theater too (actually, she likes it, just not nearly as much as dance).

See our Belly-Boo shine (or bloom...after all, she's a flower).

And last, but not least, Aubrey Dawn -- the one who started it all.  Aubs was in the Mice & Soldiers routine for her third time (that piece is always a favorite -- check out the video below to see why), danced in Spanish, and sang with Musical Theater (which is her true love...although this year she has spread her wings and also adores dancing ballroom so Spanish was a perfect fit for her).

And if you'd like to sample Spanish, feel free to have a taste.

All the fun of Nutcracker 2017 thanks to Miss Margene.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Downtown to kick off the holidays

This weekend we jumped headfirst into our musical theater performance season.

We now have four children who participate in this group and Christmas is a busy season (but it's also a lot of fun!).

So, Saturday, we toted our quartet of performers into downtown Salt Lake City for presentations at the Joseph Smith Memorial Center, Church History Museum, and the visitor center at Temple Square.

Normally, these formal performances are only for the oldest group, but this year some of our younger members were invited to be part of a few numbers meaning our whole crew got to take part.  Good stuff.

(Get a little taste for Miss Margene's Musical Theater Christmas Show here)

Round I:  Joseph Smith Memorial Center -- a great venue with fabulous acoustics and beautiful surroundings.  A great place to sing.

Some people may have been bothered that I wouldn't let them munch on granola bars in the middle of the show.  Moms can be total jerks.

Our four favorite stars.

Round II:  LDS Church History Museum -- tight quarters, but a super fun performance.

The kids drew quite a crowd in the entry of the building.

Round III:  Last, but not least, the visitor center on Temple Square.  

And then a few shenanigans and hijinx while looking at lights on the temple grounds.  

Let the fun of the holiday season begin!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Oreo Truffles...and a surprise

Sometimes we decide to make Oreo Truffles (because they are super tasty, seriously).

And sometimes I make chocolate covered brussel sprouts and let my kiddos eat them while thinking they are getting Oreo Truffles.

I'm fun like that.

(Note: The definition of fun may vary slightly depending on which side of the brussel sprout you are on.)

Don't worry, I did soothe sad feelings with the real deal after the fact.

If you'd like to try Oreo Truffles yourself you can find the recipe here.  

Or, you can ask me and I'll make you some.  You may get a fun surprise as well!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

525,600 Minutes at Home

As of today, we have lived in our West Jordan home for one full year.

(FYI, that's 525,600 minutes -- our kids sing the song of that in musical theater -- and it is a strikingly appropriate song to talk about life this past year, listen and see.)

One year ago today, after having all eight of us live in my brother and sister-in-law's basement for just over six weeks (I still cannot believe they were so patient with us), we were finally able to move into our new (to us) home.

The family room became our bedroom.  Seriously, who lets 8 people invade their house for six weeks?  My brothers are amazing.
This was, without a doubt, one of the hardest things our family has ever done.  We had not been planning to move, the prompting to go came suddenly and unexpectedly.

We love you West Valley home.  So many fabulous memories here.
We had lived happily in our small but beautiful West Valley home for almost exactly 14 years and we LOVED it there.  It's hard to describe the incredible people that surrounded us in the neighborhood and the way they watched out of us and our children.  This was not a handful of nice neighbors, it was a family.  There is no other word for it.  We were sooo blessed to be part of that place.

And so when we suddenly felt strongly that we were supposed to leave, while the idea of a bigger house was tempting (you mean maybe opening the door to the fridge or dishwasher might not completely block passage through the kitchen) the idea of leaving these people was devastating.

One year later, that part is still hard.

Anyway, we put our West Valley house on the market the first week of August 2017, and in less than a week it had sold (it really is a great little house -- we were very very happy there).  I was thrilled to learn that it was a family with five children who would be moving in (I knew the house would be happier if it was full of kids).

So we started looking for a new house.

And we looked and looked and looked and looked and looked.

It was a nightmare.  We left a perfectly functional, move in ready, place behind and we could not seem to find a new house that didn't require major work before it would be serviceable for our crew.  So we kept looking.  We stopped counting when we toured our 70th house.

There were a handful of times that we found a house we felt could work, made an offer immediately (the market was ridiculously competitive) only to find the house was already under contract.  That was pretty frustrating.  We had followed the impression to go, we were doing everything we knew how to find a new home, but it just wasn't happening.  We didn't understand what more we were supposed to do or where we were supposed to look or just what we were doing wrong.  We felt pretty deflated as night after night we toured house after house only to continually find nothing.

And I'm sure my brother wanted his house back (although, like I said, he and his wife are amazing and they made us feel welcome the entire time we were there).

Then, one day near the end of September we got a call from our realtor telling us that the contract had fallen through that day on a house they were selling.  He wanted us to see it that day before they put it back on the market the next morning.

We said sure, but really we didn't expect much.  We walked into the house and it was perfect.

Like, literally perfect for us.

More space, six bedrooms, a large yard, bigger family areas, a garage, an en-suite bathroom (I refused to move without that), a sprinkler system, enough room to walk through the kitchen even when the fridge is open (that was a biggie).  There were no glaring issues that needed immediate attention before our family could tumble into the home and begin a new life the moment we had the keys.

And on top of that, it was beautiful.  More than we ever dreamed of for our family for sure.  And on top of that, it was in an incredible neighborhood (we didn't know that until later, but still).

Notice that although it wasn't necessarily in the time-frame WE wanted, God helped us be in the right place to find the home He wanted us to buy at the exact moment it was available.  Even when we felt semi-abandoned as we were temporarily homeless and blindly wandering through every empty house in the Salt Lake Valley, God was there helping us until just the right moment.  Looking back we can so clearly see His hand in every piece of this journey.

While we still miss the amazing people from West Valley and try to connect with them when we can, we have absolutely fallen in love with the amazing people here in West Jordan too.  This area is full of children and teens so our kids have more people their own age to hang out with.  That is nice.

Our boys created a front yard arcade/carnival this summer and lots of kids came to play.  So fun!
Mostly, I think over and over, how did we end up so lucky as to have lived in the two best places on the planet?

So, today we celebrate one year in this home.  I hope it will be followed by many much more (like all the years from now on because I REALLY don't ever want to move again).

A giant heartfelt thank you to all the people in West Valley who made it so hard for us to leave, and a huge, grateful thank you to everyone in West Jordan who has reached out with love and kindness and is slowly becoming a new branch of our family.

It has been an eventful year.

We'll see what the next 525,600 minutes have in store for us.
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