Thursday, December 29, 2011

Piano and the Wolf

owen and eyan began taking piano lessons this past summer.
they loved it right from the start.
it was something they could see the results of their work right away.
dots on paper, matching keys on a piano, turning into a recognizable tune.
i can't lie, it has been a lot of work, for all of us...
an extreme exercise in patience and persistence,
but i have to say that the fruits of it have been delicious.
confidence, concentration, perseverance,
to hear music played in our home is gratifying...even if its 'twinkle, twinkle little star'.

they performed in their first recital this past week at the home of their ever-so patient and accommodating  teacher Janine Williams.
it was a delightful occasion, hearing so many young children demonstrate their love of music through their piano pieces.

eyan played "up on the rooftop" as a duet with his teacher
owen..."you're a mean one, mr. grinch" {one of grandpa's favorites}
neither of them glanced up at their music
both of them expressed being nervous, but played calmly
i was a proud mother

i pray music will continue to take a starring role in our home as my boys get older
and not just from our dance parties.

music played a significant role in my childhood: with piano lessons starting in elementary school {not that you would know now}, a mother who played Vivaldi, Beethoven, Rachmaninov often, and our own family dance parties.

tonight i turned off all the lights and gathered my boys in the family room.  i had found the narrated version of 'Peter and the Wolf' on Spotify, narrated by what must be the same accent bearing englishman that i can remember as a little girl.  
there was a short period of 'moooommm, can't they talk more?'  but as they began to become involved in the story, dancing and giggles commenced, especially when mom skipped around the room.  hearing the familiar dance of the strings depicting Peter and the ominous horns of the approaching wolf quickly whisked me back in time.  
i soaked up every moment, every note, every giggle, and particularly the wide-eyed glare from Tate when the wolf 'appeared'. {he's a little cautious of coyotes and the like as of late - read his Tate-ism in the sidebar}.  i even caught Owen singing the tune later on this evening.  
love it, just love it.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Unintentional Twinsies

after a wonderful Christmas weekend, i received a wonderfully welcome late Christmas gift this morning...
Mike let me sleep in while he got up with the kids, put together every single toy: the baby stroller, scooters, bike ramp..., and cleaned up the packaging.
i slept in til 9:10am!!!  
after functioning on nights of 2-4 hours of sleep this past week, my body thankfully remembered how to really sleep in.
i woke up, relished in the quietness and solitude, then lazily made my way downstairs to a scene of childish glee as silly string had been dispensed, batteries inserted into various noise makers, and baby dolls were being transported.
i was reminded by a text from my lil sis that we were meeting together for a little shopping.  i got Felicity dressed in her darling boots and purple flannel shirt, then left her in the care of her amazing, sleep-awarding father and proceeded to get ready myself.
standing in closet in front of clothes wondering what to wear.  what can i fit in...
altered initial decision.
went downstairs to get ready to leave.
entered Mike's office to see Felicity and died laughing.
i had chosen the near exact outfit for myself that i had chosen for Felicity.
i couldn't believe it.
anyone who knows me, knows that i can not do 'twinsies', never have been.
yet, i find myself dressing similar to Felicity often.
i remember doing this with my boys as well - similar colors, etc.
but since they are too old for mom to select their clothes,
{trying desperately to teach them style and how things 'go' together}
its just Felicity.
i guess i wake up in certain color/style moods and they play out in how i dress her as much as when i choose clothes for myself.
Mike didn't get the fuss or the comedy in it,
so I waited to show my mom, someone who could appreciate this incident.
of course, shortly after this photo, i proceeded to change Felicity into another shirt:)

isn't she adorable in her boots and bow scarf?  a definite show stopper.
{these are the Twigglet boots i got on Black Friday from my friend's shop}
she was happy to take a little break from shopping to take a turn on this carousel horse.
she was such a good girl, wanting to walk from store to store in pursuit of finding Mommy some brown riding boots {no luck with the boots, but found some darling shoes i am in love with instead-thanks Liz}
it was an enjoyable girl day.
i love that she wants to be with her mom.
i pray that may always be the case!
ok, i guess if she initiates wanting to be 'twinsies', i couldn't turn her down:)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Survey Said... Answers to my Holiday Family Feud Game are In

"Good answer! good answer!" everyone.
Thank you for your responses.  Varied as lifestyles are, but a thread of commonality found in them all.

"Top answers are on the board"
***Find them all written on my original post here or just scroll down 2 more posts.***

"Survey said..."  "Its Time for the Feud"
so gather your family round and ignite some heated game playing, tear jerking laughter, and hearts coming together through a little Holiday Family Feud!

Merry Christmas to all!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

"My Very Own" Nativity Tutorial: A holy clothespin family

Sometimes the intended life you hope your design takes on actually happens...
I knew it had happened when I saw this photo:

...taken by my wonderfully giving and fantabulous photographer friend Melanie {I am so lucky to be surrounded by amazing photographer friends} 
she entered the room upon hearing the following conversation:

Robert {her husband}: "Landon, how come Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus are with all your guys?"
Landon: "That's because everybody was invited!"
Me: "Invited to do what"
Landon: "Everybody is invited to play:)"

Seeing and reading this made my heart so happy!!
Love Landon's busy little fingers off to the side.
Love Mary and Joseph's bright marker drawn faces.
Love baby Jesus at the foot of a masked action figure.
Love that in his mind, everyone belongs together.

It was my assignment as a leader over the children in our church's congregation to create a craft for our annual Primary {what we call the organization for the children} Christmas Party.  I wanted to design a Nativity set which was easy for the littlest of children to make, a Nativity set of their very own.  
One made by their own hands.
One they could hold and play with without Mommy's supervision.
Their very own Baby Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.

Presenting a tutorial for the little hands in your life:

*3 baby flat clothespins 2 1/2" long
*3 - 3" x 3" felt squares - 1 white, 1 blue, 1 yellow
 - on the blue square, cut a small 1/2" slit centered 1" down from one side of the square
{for large quantities, I cut a felt rectangle 9" x 12" - in half to create a 9" x 6" piece, in half again to create a 9" x 3" piece, and then in thirds to create 12  - 3" x 3" squares}
*2 - 5 1/2" pieces of string
*recommend felt glue {I tried both Elmer's and Tacky glue, both with unsatisfactory but doable results}
*fine tip permanent marker
*red crayon

These are the instructions for each member of the Holy Family:

{*if the glue is not cooperating for you, you can rely on the ties to hold the felt on the pins - adding one onto baby Jesus if needed}

{sorry, the glue was NOT cooperating for Mary to get the photo for Step 3.  this step you fold the corners down on each side of the pin - one boy told me it was like making a paper airplane:) }
{correction for Step 1, its the top 1/3, not 1/4.  after Step 6, I turned the pin over before tying on the belt and drawing on his face}

Sweet children ages 3 - 11 busily made these, some requiring more help than others, but all enjoying being able to make them themselves.
Here are some of the children's Very Own Nativities.
Love all the happy faces:)

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas as we celebrate the birth of our Savior. May the tiny hands in your life enjoy having a Baby Jesus, Mary, and Joseph to join their toys.  And may we all find opportunities to bring our thoughts to this Holy Family. After all, as Landon said, "Everyone is invited."

Here are a few beautiful videos depicting the Nativity for you to enjoy with your family:

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Holiday Family Feud Game: Who'd you like to be caught under the mistletoe with?

Thank you to all you Pinterest Lovers!  My Holiday Family Feud Game has reached 127,000 page views {**as of November 26, 2013} from countries around the globe such as Spain, Ukraine, Brazil, and Australia.  
That blows my mind.
Survey says...classic games are always in style.

I have created a printable PDF version of the answers just for you.
Click Here to view and print answers for your own holiday party.

Read on for the scoop behind my little game...
Then click here to see how last year's Christmas Eve line-up of traditions unfolded
And be sure to stop by my blog and say 'hi'
Meeting new people is one of my favorite hobbies.
Enjoy your holidays!

11 19 12

since the shelf life of celebrity crushes is so short-lived
i would love to hear your responses this year to my #10 question
to chime in on which movie star you'd love to meet under the mistletoe this year, click here 

11 29 12

Each Christmas we have something special planned just for the adults of our family.  As parents, uncles, aunts, and grandparents we are thrilled at the joy that we help provide for the kidlings in our family to celebrate Christmas, our favorite being our magical annual Polar Express Christmas Eve followed by a special devotional including the reading of the Birth of Christ to remind us all of the true reason for the season and provide another opportunity for us as adults to testify of that to them.  But as adults we also look forward to a time to be kids ourselves-by ourselves, usually in the form of a game compiled by myself.  In the past the basis for the games have been derived from our favorite movies, our unique Dix family vernacular, or we have been the subjects ourselves. This is of course accompanied by tear-jerking laughter and intense competition, some images and moments I will never forget!  {Dad, ta-dah! and Luke trying to shake his non-existent buzzer}

This year I thought it would be fun to revamp an old classic and do a Holiday Family Feud Game.

Of course this is where you come in...
As you know each answer on the show is proceeded by the words, "Survey Says..."
And the survey was of course asked to 100 people with the top answers on the board.
So would you be 1 of those 100 people and please answer the following 10 questions/inquiries...?
Pretty please...
Once I reach a 100 I will post the top answers so that anyone who wishes to use this little game may enjoy it with their own wonderful family this Christmas season.

Please make a comment with your answers labeled 1, 2, 3... you get the idea:)
Thank you so much for your assistance in compiling my little game.

***Thank you to everyone who helped me compile these results!!  I had so much fun reading everyone's responses:)  The top answers from 100 people surveyed listed below each inquiry.  I will let each of you determine what to do them.  Some answers could be combined, but I'll leave that up to you.  Click here for a link to the basic rules for playing Family Feud.  We usually play men vs women - a little dangerous but loads of heated fun.  I hope this will bring lots of laughter and energy to your holiday celebrations.***

1. Jewelry 41
2. Clothes 11
3. Diamonds 8
4. Spa treatments 6
5. Vacation/day off 6
6. Shoes 5
7. Perfume 5
8. Money 3
9. Appliance 2
10. Slippers 2

1. Christmas lights 36
2. Cousin Eddy 7
3. Electrocuted cat 6
4. Squirrel 6
5. Christmas tree 6
6. RV 6
7. Family 5
8. Mele Kalikimaka pool scene 5
honorable mentions - greasing up the sled, extraordinarily dry turkey, turtleneck dicky
I found that far too many people have not seen this movie!  Its a definite must, if you like to laugh that is:) Some of you don't even know who Chevy Chase is!  Come on people, embarrassing;)

1. New star 35
2. Manger 28
3. 3 Wisemen 10
4. Mary 4
5. Stable 3
6. Angels 3
7. Shepherds 3
8. The inn 2
9. Salvation 2

1. Silent Night 22
2. Jingle Bells 20
3. Joy to the World 10
4. O Holy Night 8
5. Deck the Halls 5
6. The First Noel 4
7. Little Drummer Boy 3
8. We Wish You a Merry Christmas 3
9. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer 3

1. Decorating/Putting up the Christmas Tree 33
2. Baking goodies 13
3. Caroling 12
4. Going to get the Christmas Tree 5
5. Driving around to see Christmas lights 5
6. Decorating the house 5
7. Drinking Eggnog 4
8. Listening to Christmas music 3
9. Exchanging gifts 3
honorable mentions - mistletoe, boat parade, reenacting the story of Jesus' Birth, Christmas Eve service, and testimony meeting before opening gifts
Loved reading about all of your wonderful holiday traditions.  Thought it was funny adding these up, that the majority of people who answer 'caroling' were men.  Never would have guessed.

1. The mall 34
2. Shopping 15
3. Stores 6
4. Crowds 6
5. Scale 5
6. Black Friday 4
7. Traffic 4
honorable mentions - sick people, bah humbugs, people ringing bells outside stores, Christmas carolers, work holiday parties, my grandma's cooking

1. Cookies 18
2. Ham 16
3. Fudge 11
4. Eggnog 8
5. Hot Chocolate 6
6. Tamales 5
7. Pie 5
8. Turkey 5
9. Prime Rib 4

1. Bike 17
2. Doll 9
3. Nintendo/Video Games 8
4. Cabbage Patch Doll 7
5. Dollhouse/Barbie's Dream House 6
6. Action Figure 5
7. Horse 5
8. Barbie 5
9. Rollerskates 4
10. Puppy 3
11. Battery-Powered Ride-on Vehicle 3
honorable mentions - Snoopy Snow Cone Maker, music box, Song Walkman, revolving bookcase that would lead to a secret hideout, to ride with Santa across the sky, bow and arrow, Big Wheel
This one was difficult to tally up.  I left it as is and figured you could combine answers if you wish.

1. Candy 31
2. Orange 13
3. Candy Cane 11
4. Toiletries 10
5. Socks 8
6. Chocolate 4
7. Underwear 3
8. Pez dispenser 3
9. DVD movie 3
honorable mentions - book of Lifesavers, yo-yo, silly putty, jacks, stationary, coal

FEMALE RESPONSES {asked a total of 88 women}
1. Ryan Gosling 7
2. Matthew McConaughey 6
3. Hugh Jackman 5
4. George Clooney 5
5. Johnny Depp 5
6. Matt Damon 4
7. Patrick Dempsey 4
8. Ryan Reynolds 4
9. Christian Bale 3
10. Robert Pattinson 3

honorable mentions - Matthew Bomer {my mistletoe date}, Jude Law, Wentworth Miller, Bradley Cooper, Josh Duhamel, Jonathan Rhymes Myers

MALE RESPONSES {asked a total of 57 men}
1. Jennifer Aniston 5
2. Angelina Jolie 3
3. Anne Hatheway 3
4. Sandra Bullock 3
5. Megan Fox 3
6. Salma Hayek 2
7. Mila Kunis 2
8. Betty White 2
honorable mentions - Audrey Hepburn, Maggie Lawson, Keri Russell, Zooey Deschanel, Jennifer Gardner

This question produced a wide range of answers.  Was fun to read everyone's crushes;).  Since I was not able to question 100 men or 100 women for these questions, if you'd like to continue my quest, I can email you all the responses so you can continuing tallying til you reach 100.

Wishing you lots of "survey said" and "good answer!  good answer!" this holiday season.
oh and for #10 I would love to be able to do separate questions for answers from both men and women, so ask the men in your life and you can label it 10 b.  and no jealousy allowed.  i already know that Mike's answer would be Kate Beckinsale and I'm ok with it:)

leave your answers below by clicking on the 'comments' link below

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mom, can we stop and kick the leaves?

Sometimes all you need is a crisp pile of leaves...

Thank you to my sweet little boy who simply asked on our jog...

"Mom, can we stop and kick the leaves?"

I hadn't even seen them there...over in the corner of the street.
It was such a quintessential fall moment watching the jubilation of my two youngest as they launched handfuls of leaves into the air.
I was grateful to Tate in inviting me to take a moment to slow down.
It reminded me of this video that I shared in a previous post, "Moments that Matter Most"
It makes me teary-eyed each time... seeing the Mom in the rain with her kids, the college son running home to the outstretched arms of his mother, the expression on the doctor's face...
I can watch it over and over.
I pray I will remember its message as I begin this hectic holiday season.
The message can be summed up by these 3 quotes from the video:

moments are the molecules that make up eternity.
Elder Neal A Maxwell

its not so much the major events, as the small day to day decisions that map the course of our living.  
Pres. Gordon B Hinckley

we would do well to slow down a little, focus on the significant, lift up our eyes and truly see the things that matter most.  strength comes not from frantic activity but from being settled on a firm foundation of truth and light.  it comes from paying attention to the divine things that matter most. diligently doing the things that matter most will lead us to the Savior of the World 
Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Becoming a redhead...ish: my first hair coloring experience

So it was time...
Time to finally do it...
Time to hide those greys away.
Pulling them out one by one at night before bed just wasn't going to cut it anymore.
They were aging me and I felt it.

No big deal you say, its just coloring your hair.
Well this 33 year old has never, not once, colored her hair.  Not even wanted to.  Never was one of those teenagers who wanted to use her hair as an accessory.

The truth of the matter is...I like my hair.  Its one thing I've always liked about me.
The other side of the story is...I'm lazy when it comes to me.
My speed:
30 second hair style and some hastily thrown on make-up whilst hurriedly driving off somewhere
{I'm a professional girls. Don't try this at home.  Learned from the best,  Thanks mom!}
The thought of my hair not looking like me and the realization that I would have to keep it up once I started really prolonged the time before I gave in to coloring my hair.

Then I decided that if I couldn't look like me, why not choose someone better to look like, such as:
Amanda Seyfried or Scarlett Johansson

Well, come to find out, it takes a lot to look like these ladies:)  Surprise!
Nevertheless seeing these 2 ladies inspired me to try something I've always wanted, to be a red head.
Nothing quite so dramatic yet, but I can feel it coming...

'Cause as it turns out, its not so scary afterall...
And I may have caught a little...'ooo,this could even be fun' bug too.
As Mike asked me to document my experience, I thought I'd share a little of my first hair coloring experience.

Before and After...
Well, frustratingly I have been unsuccessful in getting a photo in which the red in my hair actually shows. Believe me, in the sun, its red, well maybe a touch on the violet-red side, but red nonetheless.

Ok, so for most of you the following series of photos will seem mundane, a familiar scene you see on a 6-8 week basis, but try and look at them through new eyes, through mine.


{side note: bought these boots from my fashionista friend Erica's shoe company Twigg...everything is 25% off today for Cyber Monday!!!  getting Felicity these!}

color of choice...a dark red- no copper, no violet, true red
igora royal...the color of
lots of red goop...felt as if my hair was somehow transforming into the molded plastic do of a Ken doll
hair hot hot, thankfully remembered to bring my earbuds - listened to Fictionist and Andrew Belle, read a great article from Elle Magazine actually {isn't that what you are supposed to do wearing a shower cap under a hair dryer?} called "Control Freak-out by Rachael Combe about willpower, actually thinking about buying the magazine just to read the rest

so many things wrong with this picture...thinking a little too Jersey...not to mention that I'm not an animal print gal

as I was sitting there I kept having this weird, creeping sensation that at any moment a band of hairstylists would encircle me, enthusiastically clapping and singing some sort of celebratory song commemorating my first hair coloring.  thankfully it didn't happen.

as i sat down, i expected to look in the mirror and be shocked at my reflection.  fortunately and unfortunately i did not.  i don't know what i would have done seeing my hair bold red, yet i felt like i went through all those steps i should have some sort of dramatic unveiling and result.

all in all i think Jaclyn was very wise to steer me toward a slight change my first time around.  however, i've already been thinking about what color i want next.  stayed tuned for our next episode.

Here are a few attempts post-salon in capturing the color with my I-phone quite unsuccessfully:
{Yes, I'm a horrible squinter, and yes, I'll admit it, one of my eyes squints more than the other...annoying!}

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Home, not Hospital, for Thanksgiving

Over the past few weeks I have been thinking about how different my life is this Thanksgiving season than last year.  Last Thanksgiving our family ate our meal in the basement cafeteria of a hospital. 
Vending machines, visitor passes, cafeteria meals, recycling bins, wall-mounted hand sanitizer, and the absence of Daddy, all marked a stark contrast to our normal comfy Thanksgiving Feast.
Attempts were made by friends and family members who sent homemade rolls, muffins, pies, floral arrangements, and even tablecloths and candles, to aid in making it feel a little more homey.  The cousins still played and we all helped them create a Thanksgiving Tree to bring up to Daddy's room later that day.  They each traced their little hands, creating handprints as leaves and wrote things they were thankful for in the centers.  

We came together...mother, sons, daughters, in-laws, uncles, aunts, grandmother, grandchildren, buoy each other up in the face of the dire state of my poor pain, unable to think properly, feeling helpless, wondering, waiting to see if he would improve enough from his cancer to be able to come home soon.  

25 days he was in the hospital.  An absolute test of faith.  Moments of utter fear, moments of anguish, moments of tenderness, moments of miracles.  It has been a long journey for my father this year and he has quietly lived it, drawing little attention to himself. But his is a story of triumph and deep faith, one I pray that he will fully share with us one day.  One that deserves great recognition and emulation.

This past week I received a text from him letting me know that the protein level of IGM,  the cancer in his blood which crowd out his healthy cells, has decreased to 2060 from 2316 last month.  This is such amazing news to hear that it is continuing to drop after reaching its height while he was in the hospital at 9000+.  A healthy person's level is around 200.

What a miracle is has been that this medicine has been helping!  Such a miracle in fact, that he was able to travel to Europe last month to bring my sister Elizabeth home from her mission for our church in Switzerland and France, something he had been looking forward to for months.  Yes, you see, my sister had been serving the Lord away from home the past 18 months.  It had been difficult having her gone during such a trying time, but we received strength from her service in preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, the very message we were striving to live, faith in His plan, faith in His love, the power of His Atonement.

As you look at these photos, you can see the joy in my father's eyes.  The gratitude for His life.  The depth of His faith.  It lightens my soul to see my Daddy's smile.

What can be better than that?...the sound of his laugh.  Anyone in our family would tell you the same.  There's nothing like listening and watching my Daddy laugh.  From the sound, to his squinty eyes, to a full body tremor, to the way his skin goes completely red.  Truly infectious.

So this Thanksgiving season I am thankful for...{just to name a few}:

*the return of my Daddy's laugh
*not needing a Visitor Pass to see him
*a home cooked Thanksgiving Feast, of all our favorites, in my parents' home with my family {miss you Bub, Jani & Abigail}
*the safe arrival of my baby Sis
*a declining IGM level 
*the unconditional love of my husband
*four charming children who love playing outside and dance parties
*living next door to my parents and close to most of my family {come on Bub, everybody's doing it}
*continued prayers from friends and family
*friends who invest their lives in mine
*a testimony that God loves me and that whatever we have experienced this year, "God meant it unto good" {Genesis 50:20}

{to read more about My Daddy click here or on the label in the right-hand column}


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