Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Clogging at the Mall

Olivia wanted to try out clogging when an opportunity arose to take a class with her good friends. Although we aren't sure it will be a long term interest, she has enjoyed it for these last few months.

Liv is on the second from the left on the front row.

I am pretty impressed with how much they have learned in just a few short months.

Liv and her friend Anna... so happy to do something fun together!

Christmas Recitals 2011

Last weekend we got to attend piano recitals for Olivia and Coleman. They both worked hard on their songs...

Olivia played "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" out of the hymnbook. We sang along for the first verse and she embellished the song a bit the second time through.

Coleman played a duet with Ryan--"Up On The Housetop"

Coleman also played "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" (and we all sang along... I'm pretty sure my voice is way too loud on this recording... so I apologize to the few of you that will actually press play and watch/listen).

 We were so glad that Grandpa Gee Gee and Grandma Jan could come. They have always been so supportive of the kids' piano endeavors!

 Sophia enjoyed the refreshments after both of the recitals!

Getting a picture with all of the children looking and smiling is proving to be difficult. Oh well.

Coleman loves that two of his good friends were involved with the recital. We all love that all of the kids in both recitals are (or were) in our ward. It's so fun to see our friends and neighbors progress in their  musical talents.

We are especially grateful for two great piano teachers and for children that are willing to practice almost every day (even if there are occasional tears and complaints!). We love piano!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Chance's Hundred Acre Wood

It's time again for the Festival of Trees! My sister Megan has been working hard for months and months to put this darling tree together in Chance's memory. Many people donated money and time and ideas and the end result is fabulous!

Each tree has a plaque where people can read the story of the person that the tree was made in memory of.  I loved what Lauren wrote:

Our sweet Chance was taken from us much too soon.  He spent his last 3 ½ weeks at Primary Children’s, receiving great care as he valiantly fought to stay with his mom and family.  As a baby, Chance would go to sleep listening to the music from Kenny Loggins’ “Return to Pooh Corner”.  He loved Winnie the Pooh; in fact, there is a Pooh bear on his headstone to remind us of the carefree and joy-filled days of Chance’s young childhood.  He brightened the lives of all who were lucky to know him. 
          In the song we hear:  “a few precious things seem to follow throughout all our lives.”  Chance was certainly a precious boy who eternally impacted many lives. 
          His mom, Megan, would sing to him the rest of the song:
“After all’s said and done, I was watching my son
Sleeping there with my bear by his side.
So I tucked him in, I kissed him, and as I was going,
I swear that Old Bear whispered, Boy welcome home.”

As Megan kissed Chance for the final time in this life, in a room at Primary Children’s, we know our Heavenly Father whispered, “Boy, Welcome Home!”

Megan made beehives and plaques with famous Pooh sayings and darling "Hunny" pots. The tree also had pinecones and sunflowers and bees flying around. Megan put together puzzles, my mom made a cute quilt (right hand side of the above photo), she got an autographed photo of Kenny Loggins and she is playing his "Return to Pooh's Corner" song.

Megan found all kinds of books and puzzles to go under the tree...

...and she found so many darling Pooh and friends figurines. It all came together perfectly!

My mom and a few aunts and cousins came and helped us on decorating day... it was so fun to see all of Megan's hard work come together.

Many of the trees are donated in memory of someone who has passed away. As we decorated and I looked around, I was struck by how many people were there and how much time, money, and effort goes into the Festival.  Collectively, there has to be a lot of grief and sadness, but on the other hand, there is a huge amount of love and healing. I love that people are able to put their energy toward such a good cause.  All proceeds go to Primary Children's Medical Center.

The Festival is going on Wednesday, November 30th to Saturday, December 3rd at the South Towne Expo Center, and this cute tree is on row C, number 9. For more info, visit their website at If you are in the area, I hope you can go and visit "Chance's Hundred Acre Wood."

Monday, November 21, 2011


This yummy recipe, a fancy decorating tip, and some mini chocolate chips helped me make these beauties:

Maybe not quite as artistic as Van Gogh, but much tastier.


It took our trees a whole day or two to shed most of their leaves... we raked and raked and the kids jumped and jumped. (In their defense, they raked a bit and bagged the leaves too!)

Little Quirks I Love

Just like all kiddos Miss Sophia has some of the funniest habits. She loves to get ready for prayers (not always when it's really time to pray) and "folds her arms" like this...

She also has a thing for ice. The way she gets it off of the floor when she drops it is both horrifying and amusing... it might be a little less horrifying if the maid at our house (that would be me) had a regular schedule for cleaning our floor.

And this is her, so proud of her innovation in not letting any of her ice go to waste. Waste not, want not.

She likes to show us her body parts too, and more often than not she shows us her nose by putting her digits inside of it.
Funny girl!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Oh, Halloween! This year the Harper girls went with a bakery theme...

...and the boys decided to do their own thing. Coleman made an awesome Harry Potter...

...and Ryan advertised the new bakery and Harry Potter on his Facebook page, which was resurrected from last year when it was too rainy to wear outside.

We carved pumpkins last week at Tim and Laura's house... The pumpkins we grew this year were late in  blooming and growing, so when it was time to harvest them they were still green. We learned that green pumpkins are a whole lot cleaner to gut and carve, so that was a bonus! Olivia did a candy corn and musical note, Coleman did a Harry Potter lightening bolt. and Ryan paid homage to Steve Jobs with the Apple icon (note that the Apple pumpkin is lit up using the flashlight app on Ryan's iPhone, which is sitting inside his pumpkin). Today I decorated a mini pumpkin to look like a cupcake for Soph.

We made some tasty "Eyeballs" (Sour Cream Raspberry Cake Bites) to send to work with Ryan...

...and we went and saw the kids in their costume parade at school. Coleman was one of dozens (hundreds?) of Harry Potters, but added his own flair to it. He walked by me so quickly that he didn't even realize I was there (even though he said hello to our friend that was sitting right next to me). Silly kid.

Liv was looking good in her baker's uniform.

Later in the day I got to go into Olivia's class for her party. She was wrapped in toilet paper like a mummy!

I should note (realizing that I should have gotten over high school a long, long time ago...) that one of the other moms was dressed as a perky cheerleader, in her own costume from her high school days. I chuckled to myself thinking about how beautiful and thin and smily she was and that I was right back in the role that I can't seem to break out of, no matter how hard I try--frumpy and sitting off to the side serving food (I was in charge of the drinks). It's funny how insecurities resurface in situations like that, regardless of how many years have passed. The cheerleader mom was so nice and friendly, which made my unease all the more unsettling.

After school we got our treats ready... we handed out cookies and crackers and other "baked goods" (although I think it was lost on all the kids that came to our door... they were just glad to get a big package of anything).

We had a spooky drink (with a frozen brain) to go with our homemade pizza for dinner.

Liv wanted her bag to say "Sprinkles" over the cupcake. Coleman's bag has the seal of Gryffindor on it.

Sophia was so excited to go trick or treating (although she wasn't too excited about keeping her cherry hat on her head!). She lasted for about a block or so before she was ready to come back home (or before Liv was ready to not hold her or chase her anymore?). She and I hung out and passed out candy while Ryan and the older kids cruised the neighborhood seeking the sweets.

Soph and I had a few treats of our own!

**Did you dress up for Halloween?
**Are you ever unwillingly transported back to high school (or some other insecure time in your life)?
**Favorite Halloween treat?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Concerto in G Major

Olivia has an amazing piano teacher who pushes her (almost as hard as Ryan does) to improve and conquer challenging songs. This time, it was "Concerto in G Major" by Robert Vandall for a festival competition. She has been practicing for almost three months, and truthfully has shed more than a few tears over this piece. It was complicated and fast and 13 pages long.  The festival was held yesterday, and Liv rocked it.

Olivia played it so well, without a mistake. It was incredible to see her play! The judges thought it was perfect, too, and awarded her 40 out of 40 points! Her teacher said that it is not all that common to get a perfect score, but she earned it. It was my turn to shed a couple of tears when we realized she had gotten a perfect score. Definitely a proud mama moment!

Liv was happy that Grandma Stover came to hear her...

...and Grandma Jan and Grandpa Gee Gee were there too. They have been such strong supporters of our kids' piano endeavors!
Ryan definitely deserves to bask in this glory.  Liv's skills have long since surpassed mine when it comes to playing the piano, so it is Ryan that gets to be by her side working out the kinks and perfecting her song, section by section.

Coleman and I were happy to be a part of it too, she did great. Watch for yourself:

Fall has Flung

Fall has arrived to our little corner of the world, and we love it. To us, fall means...

Trying out new recipes...

Individual homemade chicken pot pies were a big winner...

...and homemade donuts were kind of "meh." I'm in search of a great recipe for crumbly, sour cream donuts, a-la Krispy Kreme kruellers.

A drive through the Alpine Loop...

Costumes and scary teeth of all kinds...

Carving pumpkins and eating yummy food at Tim and Laura's house with Ryan's brothers and their families:

Spooky soccer scrimmages (Olivia's team likes to dress in their costumes to play some monster ball)...

Freezing at late soccer games (wishing I had remembered to pack this sweet girl a hat and a thermos full of hot chocolate!)...

Getting Halloween cards from Grandpa Cole...

And making and delivering lots and lots of caramel apples...

This year, I thought I was a genius and I (mostly) solved my pesky problem of the caramel sticking to the cellophane bags by putting the apples in a round, plastic 8 oz. deli container before bagging them. My goal for next year is to not get pulled over whilst traveling between friends' houses delivering said packaged apples.  Didn't get one this year? Make sure our paths cross next year during my two week caramel apple making blitz!

**What are your favorite fall traditions?
**Could Sophia look any cuter than she does wrapped up in that scarf?
**Did you make (or eat) caramel apples this year?