Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Another Birthday Starring. . .

(Enjoying the paparazzi with our brother Wally)

Bridget!!! Happy Birthday!!!
Bridget is my fearless, beautiful, creative, always giving older sister who let me tag along endlessly when we were younger.

Let me give you a few examples of how fabulous she is:

She's a world class traveler--France, Italy, United Kingdom, Turkey, Greece, Egypt, Jerusalem (just to name a few)
Mothering has always come easy to her. She took care of me and showed me the ropes growing up with-Barbie, dress up, exploring and climbing trees

Now I see her with her own children and I am always so impressed with her amazing creativity--parties of all sorts, gourmet meals, crafty projects, beautiful handmade gifts, and encouraging her children to be creative and thoughtful as well.

AND she was recently a model with her daughter Emilia in Organize magazine (I'm working on posting that!)

Groove is also in her heart when she hits the dance floor

I am so very Very VERY lucky to have her as my big sister!


I love you Bridget!!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

(Charla avoiding the paparazzi -Francie)

Happy Birthday Charla!!!

Little Charla, we love you so much and are so lucky to have you as our beautiful, talented and always loving little sister. Here are some things we love about her:

she sings like an angel (sang backup for Golden Shoulders) and sings opera
has a heart filled with love, cuddles and giggles
makes wonderful documentaries (has a Master's in film) with an impeccable artistic taste

has an ultra cool fashion sense
has serious groove on the dance floor

is always ready for discussions on humanity, politics, art and the world
is an amazing aunt to her nieces and nephews and loves little children and they love her
when she was born her heart stopped beating (she was 8 weeks early)--she is our miracle
AND she is the best little sister EVER!

She will always be our little Charla and the baby of the family that we love and think is amazing!

Love,
Your family


Monday, January 28, 2008

Example of Love

I'm so grateful to have had President Hinckley as my prophet. He and Sister Hinckley are such wonderful examples to the world. When Jason and I lived in Draper we went to church one Sunday morning not knowing that it was Stake Conference and that we were an hour early. We decided to stay and wait for the meeting to start and found seats near the front. As the building started to fill with people things seemed normal and then right as the meeting was about to start everyone stood and started singing "We thank thee Oh God for a prophet" as President Hinckley and his wife entered the room! It was a surprise for everyone until that morning. Apparently , the Stake leaders and speakers were only informed that morning before their prayer meeting. My heart was so filled with joy and love and amazement. The regular speakers still gave their talks (could you imagine being one of the speakers?) and after Sis. Hinckley spoke, Pres. Hinckley concluded. It was so beautiful and he commented on those that spoke and was so loving and wonderful. I'm so glad we were there early and had that special experience.

Part of Soren's Prayer Last Night


". . .Thank you that we love Daddy. Thank you that we love Daddy's nose. Thank you that we love Mommy's nose. Thank you for our hearts . . .that we can just love (pause) the blanket. . .the wall. . .the gospel."

As he was praying he got more and more into it and started using his arm like he was giving a sermon. We love his prayers.

On a side note, this morning Jason and I were completing some forms for Soren to start nursery school and one of the questions was "what songs does your child like?" and I wrote down The Grand Old Duke of York and then asked Soren what he liked. Guess what he said? Yep, Gold Digger! (I didn't write that one down--Maybe I should have).

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Once Upon a Swing Time

I love my husband. He made the most enjoyable playlist for me when I travel to and from my dance classes and I was loving my bus ride today. The songs brought back memories and took me outside the bus and to places and times that are now only in my mind.

Have you ever been a part of something extra fun and cool and never really thought much about it until long after it was over? When I was eighteen my sister Charla, my bother Wally and I learned how to Lindy Hop. It's such a dreamy memory--San Diego venues, Senior's Clubs with live bands (they loved us for keeping their era going), and any place we could get to that had a live big band music style. My brother was so awesome and took us with him to lessons in Encinitas and we really had a good time. We were a hit at weddings and could really cut a rug on the dance floor and since Charla and I were already dancers it came easy. When I went away to school I met some other Lindy Hoppers and we started a company called Swing Time where we taught classes and performed for community and civic functions (and made some good money might I add). All the while, I was having loads of fun but not really thinking much about it because I've always been drawn to contemporary styles and artistry. . . but we were rockabilly cool. . . with slicked dark short hair for me . . . and fun vintage frocks!

One year we performed for First Night and that memory makes me smile and want to laugh a bit. I had this totally cute vintage dress that was black with short sleeves. Anyway, while we were performing our first dance my sleeves started to rip. . .and rip. . .to the point that when it was over I just ripped them off and had a tank dress for the next dance. (This is the point where Jason would tell me how hardcore I am). I've got some strong shoulders and they're broad and bigger than most women's. One time my dad asked me if I was wearing shoulder pads. . .I wasn't!

. . .So, I left for Italy and that part of my life pretty much came to an end. Once in a while I have a chance to strut my stuff swing dance style and I've taught Jason a few steps and I think he has great potential (and although he has joked that he'll dance for 15 seconds, one day we're going to jam to a big band together!). Luckily Charla's great at the guys part and so we still dust off the cob webs and dance. La nostalgia!!

Monday, January 21, 2008

I just finished The Kite Runner recommended to me by my friend Suvi and my sister Charla. It's such a well written book but I had a hard time going on with the story at times because of the tragedy and horrific abuse. There's a continuous sense of hope and self-reconciliation but still a harsh reality of what children in a different part of the world are going through. I was depressed for a good while.

When I was on a mission in southern Italy I met the most loving woman at a park who was tending to two beautiful little girls. One of the little girls was her daughter and the other was a little girl from the Ukraine that had come to stay with her for a few months in the summer. She was an orphan and she came to live with this family through a program that sends orphans to stay with healthy families and get a feel for what family life like. This was the second time that she had come to be with the particular family and the mother had hopes of adopting her when it became possible. The girl also had these hope. I have since lost contact with them and don't know the outcome but it's just another reminder of the need there is all over the world for the rest of the world to remember what is happening to little beautiful children. The situation in the orphanage was bleak and I hope that she was able to realize her dream of being a part of her Italian family. I'm going to try and find my Italian friend and see how things worked out. When I met her I had the distinct feeling that she was a person with a special ability to love. I think I got teary eyed the first time we talked. I loved going to her home and learning of her life.

. . . this weekend was also the Late New Years Party for the Maryhill Integration Network and the women that I taught and choreographed for performed the piece we made for the 16 Days of Action to counteract violence against women. Here are some of the photos of the dance and the celebration. And yes, the women are gorgeous-I already knew what you were thinking! There are also some photos of a fantastic musician that did an music workshop for the children. He played at the end with a band while people danced and it was loads of fun.








Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Friends in Provo

We love going to Provo because we love the people we know there. Here are some of the cool cats that we got to see at Bridget's house while we were home for the holidays.

Nikki and Cameron

Bridget and Sherisa

Neil

Andrea, Gian and Jason


Jared, Michelle and baby Ocean


Emily and Richard

So, I didn't get photos of everyone we saw ( and I'm sorry for that). We were also graced with Ryan, Brittany and Grant. Thanks everyone for the deep discussions on The Golden Compass, Depock Chopra, and the men's restroom.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Green Glasgow and a Mudslide






The day before Christmas we went for a walk to the Kelvingrove Park and it was green and mud-tastic. The grassy hill was breathtaking and we were pulled in it's direction. Soren and Jason made their way to the top and as I shouted "ready, steady, GO!" trouble, mud and laughs were already on their way. They raced down and hit a soggy part and although Soren was the muddy one he was such a good sport and was amused at his brown lot for the walk home.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Thanks Mom

My mom and me (I think you can tell we're related).

My dad

Soren and Emilia. She is so amazing with him! I'd love her to come and stay with me in Scotland--she was such a little mother to him.

Soren and Paris

Francie's great karaoke

Peter and Charla doing Dance Dance Revolution (When I saw Emilia and Leif do DDR for the first time I was blown away--they were like little dance machines). Charla and Peter--you're awesome too. I think I'm going to call you guys DDR 1 and DDR 2.

Richard and Bridget-- our gracious hosts (Thanks for having such a full house for so long).

Soren and I came home for two weeks to Utah (my second home) and Jason met up with us a week later. It was my mom's idea to surprise Charla while she was in town (and send us home) and have a baby shower for her. My Secret was outed a few days before and it was so dreamy to see family and friends. (We did have a rough start though).

Despite Soren and I getting sick on the plane, Soren getting a fever for 2 days, followed by me getting food poisoning for the New Year, and then Soren getting the flu, we still managed to have a good time with Bridget's Dance Dance Revolution, High School Musical sing-along and Karaoke. Charla's shower was darling and so is she. I love her stomach and can't believe my baby sister is having a baby! We all loved seeing Peter dote on her as well--they are such a perfect couple. Bridget had a full house for a while as the cousins ran around loving being together again. My brother and his family were the only ones not there because they went to visit his wife's family in Argentina for the New Year--They're still there and hopefully having a dreamy time.

I went to see my beautiful niece Emilia in her ballet class and although no parents are aloud to watch I pleaded my case (as the aunt from out of town) and got to stay for the beginning to take some photos. She is such a lovely dancer and a smart one too. With straight lines and knees over toes as she did her barre exercises she was a dream. I'm so proud of her and was also impressed with her attentiveness in class and her regal posture and focus.




I wish I could start a children's dance company for all of my family and friends' beautiful and talented children in the states. I see so much talent and individuality in all of them. . . .one day.


. . . When Jason arrived Soren was so cute. We went to the airport with Grandma and Grandpa Monson to pick him up and when Soren saw his dad he ran to him in his little striped pajamas and hugged him. It was so nice to be all together again.

At Grandma Pat's house Soren had a ball with her treasures (keys, chains and things that made clanking noises) and would pile them up and say he had made an Eiffel Tower.

We also ejoyed spending time with cousins and having a happy Birthday with Kari (my sister-in-law). Her little boy Weston is a doll and he and Soren had so much fun together. Her older boy Kyson is such a nice big brother. I wish we weren't all so far apart.

My Babe

Grandma's house (always well stocked with wonderful fruits and veggies)

Weston and Soren


Grandpa and Grandma with Soren, Weston, and Kyson

Rob, Kari and Weston (Happy Birthday Kari!)

. . .and I still have more to post but better stop for now!