Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas tree tour

We've got a tradition in my family to get a new Christmas ornament each year. Which is the only reason we've got any ornaments on our tree this year. 27 to be precise. Here are some of my favorite ornaments, up close and personal:


*I got this at the big and faaaancy Harrod's while in London--pretty sure that's the only thing I could afford there. I didn't see the irony in hanging a Harrod ornament on our Christmas tree until Ryan pointed it out, but isn't it pretty?

*awww. My first Christmas--I was one month and one day old.

*This littlun is from the Houston Temple dedication. Also, the last Sunday in November, I convinced Ryan to string up some popcorn garland while we watched Christmas movies on TV. If we decide to make this one a tradition, we're going to have to buy some Christmas movies because, trust me, they save the quality ones for later in the season. (We did, however, catch the beginning of Jingle All the Way, which is dumb but fabulous.)

*We have no star, and since we vowed to wait until after the holidays to buy decorations, this little glitter crown I got at work is standing in. Classy, no?

*And our latest addition, the 2009 ornament installment. We were out to dinner at Chipotle (such a favorite that it's worth the drive) when a Presbyterian missionary from Russia stopped by our table. He was selling pretty ornaments to sponsor classes on teen chastity, morality, and integrity. Knowing how hard it was to find success on our missions (and we weren't even selling anything!), seeing how freezing cold it was outside, and acknowledging the good cause, we decided to take this little bird off his hands. We quite like him. (Sorry it's so blurry. At least you've got a great view of our mugs.)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sneak peek present

For several years in a row now, my sisters and I have made a Christmas cd for my parents. Some of my favorite memories with those girls are from the crazy late hours we spent inventing new harmonies, selecting songs, and finalizing these cds. We've recorded everywhere from the Cannon Center conference room at BYU to an HFAC practice room, my apartment at Timp Gateway to Christie's bedroom in Cypress, TX.

Then those girls moved away, one to Houston and the other to LA, and I've missed them. Fortunately, Ryan's now joined in the fun, bringing some serious creativity and talent to the table, and together we composed last year's album.

Here's a sneak preview of this year's album, starring a special guest on lead vocals (ok fine, all vocals). Mom and Dad, we'll love you forever. This is for you!

Ave Maria,
with me at the piano (the only mistakes you'll hear),
Ryan on guitar and symphony (also composed by him),
and the very talented Christie Salazar on vocals


I interrupt all the Christmas posts with this outdated one on some of our anniversary celebrations. If you remember, we were driving home from a concert when we saw the crazy light-up-the-sky meteor. Here's a little about that concert.

Ryan and I went to see Wolfmother at the Depot on Tuesday as a part of our own personal pre-anniversary party.

They put on a fun show, accompanied by London's TheNewNo2 (lead by George Harrison's son!) and The Heartless Bastys (did I hear that nickname from you, Aly?) I gotta say, Erika from the HBs can really belt it. See what I mean?

Here's Wolfmother. The lead singer looks kinda like CarrotTop, which made me a little annoyed at first, but then I got over it when I remembered he wasn't there to tell jokes.

We were right in front, and he kept walking right up to me and posing.

I think it's because he noticed we were wearing the same pants.

Here's his organist, who is rocking the caveman cut. Not bad.

All in all, a fun night. I'd do it again.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas caroling

No, we haven't done this one yet, and probably won't unless I can talk a bunch of other people into it, who, in turn, can talk Ryan into it.

I was listening to a Christmas CD a sweet family in Hungary gave me several years ago, and it reminded me of how Christmas caroling was so novel to Hungarians. And by novel, I really mean a waste of time.

We decided to get together with the elders to go caroling to people we were teaching and perhaps to meet a few new people who might be interested in our message. It did not turn out the way we intended. Mind you, there were some incredibly talented singers in our group (who effectively covered my weak vocals), so, to my ears, we sounded so peaceful and sweet in perfect harmony. This, however, did not stop people from promptly shutting their doors as soon as we started singing (and this from someone we actually knew), yelling to us from two floors down to be quiet, and, for those precious few who did stop to listen, looking extremely confused about why we would sing out in the open like that.

Caroling in Hungary = FAIL

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas countdown

In line with creating new holiday traditions, we've been adding a little Christmas spirit to each of our days.

Dec 1: Put up Christmas tree.

Dec 2: Deck those walls. (That cute little twine christmas tree was so easy to make--no glue involved!)


Dec 3: Watch a neighborhood light show. (Though angry neighbors made him change locations to an empty lot for this year's show.) Make Hot Wassail.

Dec 4: Have a sleepover in our new mummy sleeping bags (thanks to ryan's dad for fighting the black friday crowds) underneath the Christmas tree. Before falling asleep, start reading The Christmas Carol. Use only British accents.

Dec 5: Roll out of sleeping bag just in time to leave some cans of food on the doorstep for the boy scouts to collect (I love it when they make it easy for you to give). Go Christmas shopping. Eat at In 'N Out (not christmasy but still tasty). Drink hot chocolate. Make some music.

Dec 6: Watch this Christmas Devotional. Be dazzled by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and be humbled and inspired by men of God.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Birthday bang

I have thick, coarse hair. When I was in first grade, for about the first week, everyone thought I wore a wig to school. I didn't, but this didn't stop girls from asking if they could touch it and boys from giving it a little tug to see for themselves.

Pretty soon, it will be a wig.

The night before my birthday, I did something drastic. I was bored, and Ryan was working on an assignment, and I found a pair of scissors and reverted back to my five-year-old self. And cut my bangs.

It wasn't until after I got started that I realized how hard it is to see what you're cutting when you've got bangs in the way. But I persevered, cut myself some blunt bangs, and ran downstairs to show Ryan. He approved. But then we got to thinking. Which lead to something even more drastic.

I was going to post a picture the night I did it, but then I realized that we would be going to see Ryan's fam for Thanksgiving, and I wanted it to be a surprise. They approved. Then when I got back I was going to post a picture, but then I realized that I would be going to see MY family the day after Christmas, and I wanted it to be a surprise.

But, like with most surprises, I just can't wait any longer.


Some of you may wonder why I did it. Well...
  • The week prior, I found a piece of rice in my hair. It was 3:00 in the afternoon. How long had it been there? Had I even eaten rice for lunch that day?
  • In this same week, I found a split end that split off into 7 new split ends, some of which split off into additional split ends. Some people spend quiet moments trying to find a split end to cut off. I spent mine trying to find an end that wasn't split.
  • Who wants to spend 20 minutes in the shower devoted solely to lathering, rinsing, and repeating? I just don't have that kind of time right now, people.
  • I shed. The longer the hair, the bigger the mess.
  • And, yes, of course: Think of the children. I only hope that once it's in wig form, my real hair will look a little more real than it did in first grade.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Merry Christmas

A little gift from me to you.

What Matters Now

And I promise I'll post some actual happenings around here soon. There have been oh so many...