Friday, November 30, 2007

Oooo Listen To That Fabulous Vibrato

How come Disneyland Paris gets all the good songs? (remember to pause the player on my sidebar first)

I know that Eliza and Taylor and Kjersten and Eric and all of us have made a song similar to this on mom's old Yamaha keyboard in the piano room, making Lyd and Ash dance for us. Take special notice of the vibrato at about 2 minutes 30 seconds.'re welcome.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Check This Scary

A guy photoshopped the makeup off of Christina A. and ohhhhhhhhhmygoodness. This skurrs me! Click it to see it large, and you'll see, he says he only took off the eyelashes, 3/4 of the eyeliner and the rest of the regular makeup. Sick.

You know how we all feel about the people who wear tons of makeup, and how they've got something to hide (insecurities, secrets, shame, ugliness) but! As for X-tina, I say pour it on honey, you scare me!

Eeeets A Rat!

So the day started out nicely, Michael and I got to sleep in (8:30) and the baby was cheerful when he woke up, the boys were up making their beds (???!?!) and the girls were emptying the dish washer. I think I'm basically ready to accept that my children aren't the best self motivators, probably because they were raised with someone who shouted orders whilst laying on the couch watching football. Now that we've got the chore cards that are totally a miracle, and TWO parents who like to watch movies/play games (guitar hero/halo3) and hang out with them, life runs more yesterday! But I usual.

So we had big fat german pancakes with strawberries (and splenda!) and potatoes, onions and ham fried in tons of butta (because we used splenda! on the berries, remember?) and the day began. We started on the rolls, and then getting them out to rise. Next we tackled peeling all the potatoes. Mackenzie helped with that. Then we got out the ingredients for my favorite salad. Now most of you may hate this, but when you're eating that nasty frog eye salad with (sick!) frog eye sized slimy Acini De Pepe, I'll be over at my seat carefully pumping this stuff down my gullet. You know the stuff...crushed pineapple, lime jello powder, pistachio pudding mix, coconut, mini marshmallows, cool whip and cottage cheese. MMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmMMmmMmMmm ! Hello! So good. Anyway, our neighbors love it so we made triple my usual recipe and took it around to all of them. We even sprinkled extra marshmallows, coconut, pistachios and red sprinkles on it. Festive! I had the kids call Joe and his mom and dad, and then got them to help me with the rest. So green bean salad, and some dips for chips were next, and after getting us all showered, we headed over to Mike's mom and dad's house.

Amy, Mike's sister was there and his parents and his mom was literally pulling the turkey out of the oven when we got there, so after we all sat and stuffed ourselves on the regular thanksgiving things, PLUS eggrolls (mackenzie and mike's mom have a special bond because of these and they are connected at the hip), PLUS ham, PLUS a zillion chocolate desserts and pies, we all sat down together to watch Ratatouille. I totally expected it to be cute and all, but we loved that movie. We were totally sucked into it and a few other people came over to visit with Mike's family and all of us, but we were so into that movie. I loved it.

Anyway, there's a quote at the end of the movie and I wanted to share it with y'all. It made me tear up and Mike even did the whole "deep breath, blink blink" thing that means that he, as a big strong manly dude, liked it too.

It was at the end and spoke by the food critic Anton Ego:

"In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize that only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere. It is difficult to imagine more humble origins than those of the genius now cooking at Gusteau's, who is, in this critic's opinion, nothing less than the finest chef in France. I will be returning to Gusteau's soon, hungry for more."

The part that I loved was the words "Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere."

I think I'll tattoo this on my forearm. Just kidding dad.

Anyway, check out my new christmas music and while you're out shopping on Black Friday, I hope you don't die:

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I'm So Crazy With Work

but here's a link to the Disneyland pics, well...some of them!

Oh and so you can see what I've been doing, here are a few more of the Horspools shoot, post-edit. (PLEASE oh PLEASE! Click them each once, and then once again to see them large, it's worth it)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Now Here's A Little Story I've Got To Tell About 3 Bad Cousins You Know So Well

For the first of many posts about our trip to Disneyland with my family, I'd like to start by telling you a tale, a tale so exciting and new, so terrifying and scandalous...

the tale of 3 cousins lost...lost in the wilderness creek of the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail -

On a warm November afternoon, two young cousins we'll call Harper and Dylan (because well, that's their names) discovered, in the land of California Adventure, a stream, and here's where we find them now...


Once upon a time, two little boys found a stream. Harper was chosen to get in first.

"See? It's fun!"

"Now YOU try Dylan!"

"Yes, it is fun, Harper! Let's get all crazy up in hurrr!"

"That's what I'm talkin' bouts, cuz!"

And then, from the corner of the playground...Miles, the slightly younger cousin approached... (dun dun dun...)

And the party really got started

...and there was splashing and kicking and squealing and crawling like Mowgli

and in true "male" fashion, they compared muscles...

can't you just feel all the testosterone?

and then Dylan got tired...

...and Harper got tired...

...and then as was to be expected... PEOPLE STARTED GETTING NAKED!

which horrified Harper! he split!

and sought refuge with Isaac in the tunnel tube...

...but he was turned away. he figured

if you can't beat 'em...

...JOIN 'EM!

the end.


more pics to follow.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

oh my dear

lots to say, but right now Mike and I are writing our talks for tomorrow in Sacrament Meeting. We got asked to be the Thanksgiving Sunday Program. I am not singing for those of you who will be terribly disappointed. Anyway, I'll write more about our Disneyland week with all of the family who came down later, but for now...I'll say this:

Disneyland was fun and we're all so tired.

secondly, my sister has the most beautiful family on the earth. I shot them today and they are ridiculously gorgeous. i mean...check she and curtis out guys. seriously. aren't they super freakin hot? seriously though for real. seriously.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Horspool Family | Saturday Shoot

Today I got to shoot the Horspool family. Amber and Mike are friends of ours, and their kids are the best! We love them. Spencer is in our primary class and he says the best stuff, and the girls are absolutely charming. I love these guys!

click HERE to see the entire set

This first one is of the sisters sharing giggly was absolutely the cutest thing ever!

Next is the baby, Little Staci, and her pink monkey that she couldn't let go!:

Spencer is a stud, and he is about as photogenic as you can get:

Brinley is quiet, and helpful, and so sweet I just wanted to take her home:

Here's Amber and the girls:

Mike and Spencer:

The kids playing peek-a-boo with me:

The whole family:

As they got to the place where we were going to spend the afternoon, I asked the kids to walk away from me as I took pictures, and while I snapped, the youngest one kept turning around to peek at me. So cute:

Laying in the grass (click all of these pictures to see them more clearly, by the way)

Posing together in a tunnel of arches for me:

Cute little giggles on the steps of the Lincoln Shrine, downtown Redlands, in the historic district:

Thursday, November 8, 2007

As We Approach This Season...

In the post below, I mentioned Val Kilmer, which led to some discussion of Kaya and Willow. On December 23rd, don't forget to remember this young man who changed the world forever. I'll always remember him from Foul Play, but he was fantastic in all his other movies. Also he was LDS, so can I get a whutwhut for the LDS LPA!?!? Word.

Not A Long Post

I'm hearing word that my last post was too long. So here you have a condensed movie review and a few other keep it short. We watched Top Gun for the first time with our kids. It went like this:


Ooo, see my big muscles and sweet shades?

(my girls swoon and then laugh and then ask about scientology)


You're a poser, look at me pick my teeth since I'm the coolest ever

(my kids ask if that guy is the Willow guy, we all laugh and say "KAYA!!!" 32 times)

Planes, volleyball, making out, more planes, goose dies, then Tom saves Val

Everybody loves eachother

(my kids high five)


the end.

Monday, November 5, 2007

You Know That Comfy Chair? Find It Again.

Holy moly. I know you've heard some serious and emotion filled blog entries around here, and for the last week or so, I haven't blogged precisely for that reason. I know most of yours are light and fun and cute like Tori's and Eliza's and Kjersten's and Ashley's and Lydia's and on and on and on, and I hate that when I sit down to blog, some of the most complex and serious, or long winded and hysterical things spill out faster than I can type. My rad husband finally pointed out that...this is Alli. That's who I am. I'm complex, and serious, and long winded etc. and having been a blogger for nearly 5 years now, I should get used to the fact that I'm this way.
So anyway...yesterday our fast and testimony meeting was one of those that just could not have been choreographed any better. We had one of our sweet elderly ladies get up and talk about her 93rd birthday this week. She's originally from a tiny town just outside London, and listening to her read a Target receipt sounds cool, let alone hearing her share her deep testimony. She was so grateful for everything she has, and all she could do was praise everyone in her life for the tiny things they do for her.

Then we had a young man get up who just turned his papers in for his mission. His was sweet and short, and all the girls in the congregation swooned, including mine. After he got up and the obligatory 234 little ones bore the exact same testimony (which I find charming and brave), a few of our older gentlemen and a couple of women got up.
The reason I'm listing who got up is because, the running theme for the afternoon was that every one of them touched on two points.

  1. Trials and the hardships that follow
  2. Being Greatful
One lady got up who has the same kind of tumor on her arm as I do. She talked about how she was scared when they found out it needed to be biopsied and how she didn't get out of bed for a few weeks. She has children, and a husband who were worried about her, and they didn't know what to do for her. She finally told her husband that she was fine if they had to cut off her arm, but what if they had to cut off both of her arms? Her husband took her aside and told her that either way, she was loved. This helped her to get out of bed eventually, and return to her life.
Another lady spoke about how through her pregnancy, she's had hardships that have caused her to feel like she's been forgotten by the Lord. She's still dealing with that, but she was very greatful to her husband, and sisters and parents and her kids for making it possible for her to quit her job and deal with her depression.

So what does this have to do with me? Well, I'd first advise all of you who are prone to eye rolling and quick dismissal of emotions to skip to this site for the rest of this entry, because I'm writing this more for me and my health than any other reason. Anyway.

Last week at the temple, I found myself thinking about my situation. I went there to do some thinking, and inevitably ended up doing about 3 whole hours of it. There were specific topics I'd gone to ponder and to hopefully get answers to, and when my bishop walked out, from out of nowhere, I realized that I'd just been given answer #1 to my biggest question. "Who should I counsel with?"

Let me backtrack a bit, and it might explain why I was asking this question. About 4 years ago, I was separated...and secretly so. I didn't want my parents or anybody to know that for the last 2 years, my (ex)husband and I had been not only sleeping in different bedrooms, but on different floors of our house. I have this issue with hiding my spirituality from my family. Part of it is because I don't think they think I'm spiritual. Part of it stems from the fact that when I've received a prompting from the Lord, or when I'm receiving an answer to prayers in the past...the answer will often differ from what my advice is from friends or family. I inevitably and almost always choose what the family member or friend has offered me as advice, because there is this guilt that hangs over me from years ago when was 14 and I made my own decisions and they turned out to be bad ones. These events and choices I made when I was Tiffany's age still haunt me, and are still brought up in my life. When my sweet Tiffany had her issues with school a few months ago, I was hesitant to bring it up, and as a matter of fact, after Michael and I had conferred with our bishop and the administration of the school for about 2 weeks, we finally mentioned it to our family. And the words that I was afraid to hear, the ones that remind me that I'm still going to relive every mistake I made nearly 20 years ago, came out.

I've had the best bishops over the years, one particularly in Washington State who saw everything that was really happening, and he helped me work through a lot of those, and he got me to a point in my life where I could get brave enough, where I could love myself enough, where I could see that the LORD had forgotten what I'd done, and he'd forgiven me. This empowered me to slowly but surely get back on my feet and take the necessary steps to get out of a toxic marriage. Quietly and on my own, I did this. I got depressed through all of it, yes. I was struggling with it every second of the day. But, there's not one part of me that regrets it.
The point of this is that I went through that, took those steps because I received the answer from the Lord, and through prayer and faith and counsel from my bishop, I made a decision that was based on MY personal revelation. Through a lot of prayer, I receive revelation for myself and my family, and Michael does as well. I have a little IKEA pillow next to my bed with two big dents in it from my big fat knees that proves it.

In the temple last week, I was pondering all of these things. I thought about how my past still affects my relationships with family members, I thought about how my decisions since then seem poor by others and then it hit me like, pardon the cliché, a ton of bricks. I have been making my decisions based on who I will disappoint instead of making the ones the spirit whispers into my ear.

I can't tell Tiffany what to do with her life, nor can I understand where the Lord wants her. I can just love her, and let her know that because I have made mistakes in the past, I know what she feels. I know without her saying a word, that the guilt she feels for making a few poor choices far outweighs the pain it caused me. I understand that the Lord speaks to her even when I don't think he does, and when she comes downstairs after being in her room, there's no way for me to know if she's been in there feeling bad for herself, or if she's been on her knees asking for forgiveness. I can just love her and til the day she dies, and if the Lord forgives her, then I must as well.

We learn through trial and error, and if anyone has learned over the years about trials and errors, it's me. The message that I came away from the temple last week is that I am good. I was at the temple for heavens sake! I have 5 kids who want to spend every second with me, I have a 15 year old daughter who responded amazingly to my drowning of love and forgiveness, and I have a husband who loves me and is my best friend. This doesn't happen by accident.

Believe it or not, the Lord speaks to me. He always has. On those dark nights in the desert 20 years ago, He spoke to me. When I was strong enough to ask for forgiveness when I was 20 years old...He forgave me. All these years since then, 14 to be exact, He has spoken to me and loved me and forgotten. Lots of things were whispered into my heart last week, and one that will always stick with me is that He has forgotten.

Who I am right now, is not who I was then. If anything, I am who I am now because of where I've been. Instead of seeing me as the one who rebelled, see me as one who has climbed Mt. Everest. See me as the one who has run a marathon, just to turn around and run back to the starting line again. See me as whatever you want, but don't see me anymore as who I was then. I haven't been her for almost 20 years. My life has been colorful, and exciting, and painful, and experiential...surreal and spiritual and tearful and sweet. You can't know what it's been like, but just stop right now, don't look at one dot on the timeline of my life...look at where I am now. I don't look at the teenage years as one part, then my marriage and divorce from Joe as another part, I look at it as a huge process of learning how to make decisions for myself based not on what others have told me to do, but on what the Lord wants me to do.

Divorcing Joe was NOT what everyone wanted me to do but it was what the Lord wanted for me and the kids...and when I made that choice, I did it gritting my teeth knowing that I would disappoint everyone who was giving me advice...but I did it anyway. That was the best decision I have ever made, and from that moment on, I can't look back. I see my entire process from age 14 to age 32 as one huge lesson in following the spirit. My bishop, Michael and I are the only ones who can receive revelation for our family. So if we're making a decision that seems on the outside as wrong to others, I hope you understand that just because we're very private about our spiritual lives, that doesn't mean we don't have one. We have testimonies, and we are prayerful and we scour our scriptures, and we re-read the talks from conference, we confer with the Lord through our bishop, and we attend the temple.

Our kids are blessed with extended families on my side and on Michael's. We spent the day with Mike's sister and parents on Saturday, and those kids will someday realize how lucky they are to have everyone that they have. We had so much fun with Eliza and Curtis and the kids, and when we went to Susan and Pauls, it lightened our burden to be accepted and loved as equally as the rest of the people there. We're so very blessed.

Ok now breathe. If you've come this far, we're almost done. Now a few updates, and light ones at that.

I've been spending about 20 hours per day getting this business up and running. I took what was a little more than a hobby and in the last 3 months, have turned it into a full grown career. Those of you who have been brave enough to call me every day know this, and to the ones who have spent hours with me helping me out...thank you. You guys never comment (get blogger accounts dangit!) but I know you're there because you mock my entries...jerks. Anyway, my calendar is filling up like crazy, and every weekend from now til Christmas is almost full, not to mention the holidays and during the week. I love what I'm doing. When I got layed off at my last job, I felt like it was over. I was done for. I was so scared, but faith pulled me through. I was told by some to get a night job, and when I'd go talk to my bishop and mention it he'd shake his head no slowly as if to say "No no no!" like if I were a 2 year old. He has been so instrumental in all of this. So...hard work, time and faith have payed off, and because I listened to the bishop, my husband and most importantly, the Lord, I made the right choices and stayed here to work at night to get this rolling. In 2 weeks, the girls from the ward have sold individual portrait sessions and I'll be taking them with all the proceeds going to the girls for girls camp, and I'm also doing a special project with our primary, which I can't mention details...some of you are parents of my primary kids and I don't want to give the secret away ;) It seems like when I donate my time and talents to the church, I am blessed 10 fold almost immediately. Easy trade off, I'd say!

Anyway, we're still pushing forward, and Mike is working for another month at his job. The kids are doing so well, the boys love school and friends, and they're competing to see who can get all A's and E's on their report card. Casey think's he'll win like he did last year, but Jonah is trying to keep his E's up, since he gets S's sometimes for chatting with the girls in class... such a flirt. Kenzie has turned into such a reader. The Twilight Series changed her life, as Ashley would say. She's doing really well, and her social life in our neighborhood is so rich, and I have the housefull of teenagers to prove it. Tiffany has been working really hard on her Young Women's medallion (sung like Son's Of Provo/Everclean) and that reminds me, I need to get off of here and go help her get a project done for Y.W. in Excellence next week!

I'm singing in a regional choir for Christmas and taking pictures by the thousands. Mike is hoping his temple date is around Christmas...they keep pushing it back because our Temple Class teacher moved and they started late. Anyway, he's enjoying doing baptisms for the dead, and he and his home teaching companion are having a Thanksgiving Dinner for their families on the 12th, which should be fun. I'm having it here at our house, so AMBER!!! Call me if you have a kids table!!! If you can bring it, I'd love you forever...well I love you anyway but you know what I'm saying.

K, well heres a of what soothes my soul lately...big fat german pancakes with fresh squeezed lemon juice, real butter and powdered sugar with a side of bacon, shredded potato and onion hash...and there ain't nothin' Weight Watchersy about it! HA! ;)