Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

The Set-up:

(Santa always writes letter to the kids:)

Exactly what she'd been asking for! A Pink Baby and a Pink Stroller!!

Surprise! A Gameboy!! Yay!

The biggest surprise was that we got a Lump of Coal. Black Coal. In the form of a 7-week-old Kitten.

Coal Stole the Show.
From Grandma P:

The long-awaited American Girl Doll!
Meet Kirsten!Coal, do you want a Candy Cane?

Real Camping stuff from Grandma and Grandpa P!

What's this??

AAAAGGGGGHHHHH!! Remote Control Tarantulas!! Two of them!! We'll be sure to bring them when we come and visit! . . . heh, heh, heh. . .
There - that's a little more benign - a lovely Christmas dress!
Who do you think will enjoy this book more - Adam, or the kids?? :) Who needs a Pink Baby when you have a black kitty?

Hooray! Audrey and Lizzie both got American Girls and they can play together!
As you can see, Santa also got the Dream Club matching t-shirts. Cool. Can Coal be in the Dream Club?? Maybe he can be the mascot.


Monday, December 22, 2008

The CCC's First Concert...

...was a SUCCESS!! Wow! What a fun night of great music. The best was when we met in the choir room offstage after the concert was over, and I came in and said, "WE DID IT!" And every CCC singer cheered from the top of their lungs for a minute solid! We were all so proud of ourselves for pulling it off.

Amazingly enough, it was just about one year ago that I was talking to my dear friend Lisa about how many talented young singers there were in the ward. I was also saying how it seemed like they needed somewhere to sing because our entire soprano section in ward choir was made up of me and several girls under age 12. Lisa said, "Well, you should start a children's choir, Aimee." And it was one of those lightbulb moments.

Now here we are, one year later, and my picture in my mind was realized on Dec. 18th. We have the beginnings of something really wonderful, and every time they sing, I catch another glimpse of their full potential.

I think one of the best benefits of the night for me was realizing that I helped the audience see my vision of the CCC. Everything, from the venue, to the music choices, to the programs, spoke of "classical music." Especially having out "guest violinist" on the program! It really added another level of class and clout! Thank you, Mom, for coming out and playing with us!!

MESSIAH by the Numbers

1 Unforgettable (That's not a compliment in this case!) Countertenor singing all the Alto Solos with the Phoenix Symphony (!!!)

2 Full, separate performances on the 14th of December alone

2 Articles of Clothing that were worn repeatedly at every performance!

3 Total Rehearsals before our first performance with the Phoenix Symphony

3 Solos I sang this year - but only 1 was planned!

4 Minutes before the concert began to prepare for my first ever Tenor Solo. (Matt got sick, someone had to sing "Behold and See" for him! - Don't worry - I sang it up an octave!)

5 Stewarts singing the Hallelujah Chorus together in the Tempe Stake Messiah Singalong

6 Hours average of sleep per night I've had this month

7 Palmers (5 siblings + 2 parents) performing Messiah together for the very 1st time last night.

7 Separate Messiah Concerts in the last 11 Days in 2 different states

8 Healthy Sopranos only singing the Full Length Messiah at the Mesa Arts Center (usually we have 11-12!)

11 miles over the speed limit up on an empty road in Scottsdale on my way to a performance to garner my first speeding ticket in 8 years.

14 Days ago, I bought plane tickets to surprise my mom by showing up for her annual Messiah concert so we could all perform together as a family for the first time and the last time for at least two years! Erin wrapped me in a big red bow and we rang the doorbell a few hours before the concert. 23 Sopranos in my mom's Messiah choir who kept my arrival a secret and still managed to save me a seat in the process!

12 Months until I can commemorate Christmas by singing Messiah again

X10 - How good I feel when I can express my testimony of the Savior's life every Christmas through singing this glorious music.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Tumbleweed Tree

Hello America. You out there with your pines and firs and evergreens. Lucky, lucky you. You know, not all of America lives in close proximity to a pine forest. We live in a Desert. Where pine trees don't live. And at this festive time of year, we listen to the songs on the radio about Christmas Trees and snowflakes and the chill in the air, and we have to IMAGINE. It takes alot of CREATIVITY. But you know what, that's what this country was built on, right? Especially here. Here in Arizona, we have to be VERY CREATIVE at Christmastime.

Take this tradition, for example. Every year, thousands of people line the streets to see a lights parade and meet Santa and go to the craft booths, and THEN, at the end of the night, when the anticipation is so thick you could cut it, they light the City Tree. Oh - we know we don't have any trees besides cactus and mesquite. This is where the CREATIVE part comes in. I can just imagine 50 years ago a roomful of suits trying to figure out how to celebrate Christmas in the desert with no tree to light. Here's what they came up with:

Do you know what that is? Guess. No, you're totally wrong. Guess again. Closer, but still way off.

It's TUMBLEWEEDS. You know, like from the Roadrunner cartoons. All Piled Up in the Shape of a Cone! Well, in the shape of a Christmas tree. Then it's wrapped up in some lights (to hold it together, I'm guessing). And then they turn the lights on. It looks like this:

I was fully expecting it to burst into flames. Now, that would be something to see. But we waited around all night for the big climactic event and I was thinking there'd be a countdown, like when the drop the ball for New Year's, but no, it was thousands of people pretending to be cold, and then, whoohoo! Lights. On a TUMBLEWEED TREE.

Now we can say we've seen it all - Let's hear it for Creative Problem Solving in the Desert!

Dance Like No One is Watching...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Concerts and Recitals!

The last two days have been fraught with musical performances!

Last night, Lizzie and Eli had their piano recital. They each played a Christmas song as well as a lesson song. I was so proud of how well they played! Maybe we'll even get a video for you of those...we'll see how energetic we're feeling.

In this picture, Eli's thinking, but eventually he gets around to playing, and he played very well.

And tonight, Lizzie's class had their musical performance: Lizzie had a solo, a speaking part, played the extra recorder part, and even beat out the beat on drums for one song! She was all over the place! She had so much fun and really did her parts well. And the music teacher, Ms. Osborne, is truly phenomonal. I'm so happy she's teaching music at our kids' school!

And her sweet friend Audrey came just to support her even though her concert isn't until tomorrow night! What a great friend! :)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Trampoline with Meggie

I think Aunt Megan must have brought some pixie dust for these girls, cuz they seemed to be flyin'!