Sunday, December 06, 2009

Just watch the kid's nose!

Ben said he was sick of getting grossed out by Bret's bloody stump every time he clicked on my blog and so I had to post something. Since I can barely get myself or my children dressed these days, let alone write a complete thought, I give you Ethan, warming up for his hapkido test. It's unfortunate that there is a guy's arm in my way a lot, but it is worth it to see that my son is awesome at breathing in. I think it's his special talent. I tried to do it at home and almost passed out. He did it EVERY TIME.

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P.S. Is it bad to laugh at your child during his hapkido test? I don't know the martial arts rules. When I showed up to drop him off for the test, I asked his instructor if parents needed to stay, and he looked at me weird and said, "It IS a test." As if that answers anything? I just stared at him back and mumbled, "This is new to me...I'm an actress...," hoping that would explain it. I could have used my old standby, "I have twins..." but it didn't seem to fit in the context. Oh well, NOW I know that a hapkido test is like a recital. And I would never miss one anyway, because they're AWESOME! Serious comedy hour. Plus, he's a yellow belt now--skillz!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Hailey's Babies

That's what is written on a disc sitting on my desk. It contains pictures that my step-dad, Bret, took of my kids when we were visiting for three weeks in July, except we took all of these pictures about one hour before we went to the airport to go home. Bret was in a horrible work-related accident while we were there, which involved 300 lbs. of something smashing down on his finger. Therefore, he took all of these pictures with his hand in a giant bandage thingie. I'm still not sure how he pulled it off. Here he is in the hospital after surgery on his finger:


His hand kind of looks like the monster in the movie "Tremors." Maybe you shouldn't look at it if stuff like that grosses you out.

As for the pictures, they turned out great. If you live in Massachusetts, you should totally hire him to take pictures of your kids or family! His website has more information about all of that. Me, I get mine for free!

First up, my ray of sunshine:


If I had a nickel for every time I've seen this face, I would have a million nickels.


Next up, the boy child. According to Bret, he changed his face for EVERY shot without being directed. He would just look at his reflection in the camera and change it up. Yes, he is my comedian. Since I have one hundred different pictures of him with different faces to choose from, here are a handful (and a half) of my favorites:








The pictures were taken in my mom's theater, so that explains some wardrobe choices.

A few of them together. Bret said they were pushing each other, trying to be camera hogs:


And one with their 9-year old uncle Aydan, my youngest brother:


As for the twins, they weren't crazy about sitting for their pictures, so we kept feeding them apple crisps and cookies. But we still got a few keepers:

Lucy

Lane

Lane gabbing about something? Weird.

And for my next blog post, I'm actually going to write something. It's a crazy idea, but I think it just might work!


Saturday, October 24, 2009

I would totally take Passion over Compassion

So, for the last I don't know how many months, Ethan has said the following words verbatim in every prayer:

"Please bless that we will treat others how they want to be treated, and show love and kindness and passion and love."

I could correct him, I suppose, but I probably never will.

For Mimi

Yeah, I'm the worst blogger, so what? The time just goes by way too quickly. WAY TOO QUICKLY. This video is for my mom. It features Mila, who is now 9, when she was about the same age as the twins are now. She's singing "Hush You Bye," a song that my mom sang to us as kids, and that is now a favorite bedtime song in my house as well. One time, the X-Files had an episode that revolved around the creepiest version of "Hush You Bye" that I have ever heard and I was extremely disturbed. But this version shouldn't give you any nightmares, unless you're the kind of person that has nightmares about ADORABLE TWO-YEAR OLDS.

video

P.S. If you smooshed a Lucy and a Lane together, you would get a little Mila.

Monday, October 05, 2009

le octobre

October is awesome for a number of reasons. But today, I highlight just a few:

**I am still giddy from the awesomeness of Elder Holland's public speaking. I felt like my couch caught fire or something. I met him before he was an apostle, when he spoke at our Stake Conference in La Verne, CA. And when I say met him, I actually mean that I bumped into him as he was exiting the building. He then grabbed my face with both hands (in a very loving way) and said something that I'll keep to myself, but it was very nice and instantly endeared me to him forever. So yeah, one of my favorites, for sure. Love the Conference.

**I have been much more enamored with the mountains this year than any year previous. I want to shout at everyone I see, "Do you even REALIZE how lucky we are here? To walk outside and BAM!" I'm pretty sure it's because my love affair with Provo is in for some bumpy times ahead, as we will be making the move to...somewhere else. No, really, we don't know where that will be yet. But the thought of it is enough to bring me to tears every time I stand in my front yard and see this:

I mean, COME ON! I live ON a mountain!

**Not only do I get to be in a Halloween-y show this year, which is awesome in and of itself, but October brings all of the rest of the joy that is Halloween. So far, we've indulged in decorating pumpkin cookies (with black frosting, no less), playing late night games of Werewolf (suitable for the season, no?) and updating our Halloween playlist (with help from my friend Kacy.)

This is, in my opinion, an extremely cheesily staged promo pic, but I promise the show is good!

SCARY! Well, maybe you have to be there...

Lucy went with orange...

...while Lane opted for the black.

My older kids are so over cookies, apparently...

Seriously, what do you have to do to generate a little festive excitement around here?

We still have plenty to look forward to, including a visit from my mom and Aydan, a visit from my dad and Janine, a Jones family reunion, a production of Frankenstein put on by my friends, and plenty more Halloween festivities! But at the moment, I will blast "Jai Ho" from my computer while tackling the dishes left over from our Thanksgiving dry run yesterday, which might just need to be a new Conference tradition (especially since all I did was make the rolls.)

P.S. Be sure to catch Oprah on Wed., Oct. 7th, as one of Provo's own will be a guest!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

"I Know Seymour's the greatest, but I'm dating a semi-sadist."

It's not very often in musical theater that you get to sing a ballad containing THAT particular rhyme. However, I get to do just that as Audrey in "Little Shop of Horrors," now playing at the Hale Center Theater in Orem.


As a kid, I watched the movie version with Rick Moranis and Steve Martin. I thought it was funny and quirky and altogether entertaining. Imagine my surprise when I was 15 and my mom took me to see a live theatrical production starring a friend of hers. I had no idea it was an actual musical that real people could be in! I enjoyed it all the more and fell in love with the music and characters. It has remained on my top five list of musicals since that time.

So, now I have to thank Ben for letting me check off one of my dream roles by participating in this production. And what, you ask, is all that desirable about a man-eating plant in New York City in 1960? And my answer would be, why don't you come and find out for yourself? If, for nothing else, just to hear the Doo-Wop girls tear it up in their AMAZING songs. (I might just have to lock one of them in a closet one night and go on in their place, but I think that my pasty white skin would be a major give-away.) I will be performing in the show on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday nights (with the exception of Oct. 1st) from now until November 21. Go here to get tickets. Disclaimer: This show does deal with domestic abuse and plants eating people, so you might want to leave the kids at home. My kids, upon viewing a preliminary run-through, just wanted to climb inside the plant, and make it chew up each other. I totally let them.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Most of the Time I'm the Mom

But sometimes, and by sometimes, I mean about every two years, I get paid to be somebody else for a day. This time around, my friend Brett wrote some funny scripts for Xango, and he recommended me for auditions.

I played a blindfolded speed chess champion, so it was clearly typecasting. No, but seriously, I used to know how to play chess pretty well, but I really embarrassed myself that day. They would set up the chess moves every time and I memorized my moves, but then sometimes, they wouldn't reset them and so I'd have to come up with new, real moves. At one point, that 9-year old kid was killing me. I only had one guy left and he was totally talking trash! They were all pretty much making fun of me--whatever, it's fine. I have other talents, right? I don't have to be the best chess player in the room, right?

Although it was a relatively long day of shooting, and I experienced some anxiety over my abandoned children, I had a really fun time and am relieved that everyone involved seems pleased with the final product. And many MANY thanks to Rachel, who watched the twins for 8 HOURS (if that's not love, I don't know what is-maybe you should buy one of her awesome Halloween skirts to thank her for me), and Lisa, who stepped in at the last minute to take Mila and Ethan after school. Living across the street from the school is both a blessing and a curse, eh Lisa? I also learned that day that a lot of times, when you think the camera is off, they are actually rolling, and will actually use your "I'm-going-to-make-these-guys-laugh-because-we've-been-here-awhile" shtick in the final cut. In my defense, I was blindfolded!

Monday, August 24, 2009

This one's about the Twins

Remember when your daughter was little, and she had a cute little friend over, and they played really nicely some of the time, but most of the time they just fought over toys and screamed a lot, and you thought to yourself, "Is this play date really worth it?" and just couldn't wait for the little friend to leave so you could get back to normal? OK, well take that scenario, and imagine that the friend never leaves, and you have what it's like to have 2-year-old twin girls.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that I want one of my girls to leave, or that one is more my daughter and one is the friend. They're both the daughter and they're both the friend. The point is, it's a never-ending play date from you know where. Having said that, it could be a lot worse. They could be two 2-year-old boys and spend all day playing in the dirt and mud in the empty lot next door. At least, that's what Ethan and his bestie did when they were two. Wait. Maybe that IS better. I'll get back to you on that. (Unrelated question: You know when your son and his gang of friends storm into your house and they all reek? What IS that smell and where does it come from? And should a 6-year-old start wearing deodorant?)

A lot of the time, Lane will give in and give Lucy whatever it is she wants. The problem is, Lucy wants EVERYTHING. She sees herself as the sole proprietor of everything in our entire house, and I bet she would kick all of us out, if she could. The girl shares NO thing. Just this morning, I caught her screaming about Lane being in "MY ROOM," and so I had to remind her that there were two cribs and two names hanging over the cribs. She was not happy about that, that's for sure. Lucy is grumpy a lot. I'm allowed to say that, because I'm the mom. If someone else starts calling her "Lucy the grump," we might not be friends.

Lane spends most of her day walking around the house, saying that the blue towels are "beautiful," and her breakfast is "perfect," and that I am "so pretty." She is a super-princess-diva who still refers to herself as "Honey." She will not pray, though. Lucy folds her arms right away and bows her head and everything. Lane just says, "No! I NOT pray!" and keeps on eating. Sometimes, I suspect that Lane takes things away from Lucy just to see her have a meltdown, which is super uncool.

After everyone screams long enough, and we can't come to any solution, we put on Dora, and then everyone wins. How do you think I'm writing this right now?

Also, both girls are super shy (anti-social), and get very upset when I dare to take them in public. Just last week, we went to a free hot dog party for mayoral candidate Steve Clark, and Lucy spent the entire time sitting on the grass hunched over, with her hands over her eyes. Occasionally, she would peek up at me and give me the evil eye, then go back to hiding. They don't really want to play with other kids and mostly tell them to "Go away!" Although, if you think about it, the novelty of having another person around that's your age has LONG worn off. They are so over it.

There ARE the times when they kiss and hug each other, or hold hands at the gym, or walk around the house calling for each other, and that makes up for pretty much everything. I would endure ten tantrums a day just to see one tender sisterly moment, and so it is definitely worth it.

Maybe this is all sort of a disclaimer for my family, before we have our family reunion in less than two weeks. At that time, we will have seven two and three-year-olds together in the same house, and mine are the only girls. And since I am not really big on apologizing for a child's inherent nature, I probably won't be giving them time-outs for being loud. If my child hits another child, they will get a time-out. If they rip something out of their hands, I will make them give it back. But my children have inherited the Cannon-Jones lungs, and there ain't nothing to be done about it. I guess what I'm trying to say is: bring earplugs! There WILL be screaming! The trade-off? Mila, one of the loudest toddlers in the history of time, is now quite the little belter.


A Hug


The beach in Massachusetts


Divalicious


Don't you dare take our picture while we're camping!

This video of them dancing on the 4th of July shows their personalities quite well. Lucy is in white, and is very Mia Michaels with her emotional writhing from her center. Lane is more Sonya Tayeh with her arms extended and her quirky twirling. I have to apologize for my voice when it's recorded, which automatically becomes Ms. Utah Supreme. Please tell me it doesn't sound like that in real life. Please. Also, notice the reaction to the gunshot at the end.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

It's WAY Too Quiet Around Here (I Love It!)

I should totally be doing Thrillionaires contracts or something boring like that, but today is my first REAL quiet time since May and so I am taking it all in. I got to eat leftover Massaman curry with my friend Tivo and it was magical. Except for the part when the show I was watching made me uncomfortable. But that's another story. Anyway, so yes, my kids started school today. Here they are:


Mila is wearing pretty much the only two new things that I let her pick out: her pink Converse and that Old Navy t-shirt. You may think I'm a mean mom, but the girl doesn't grow, bless her heart, and so I'm not buying new clothes when she has 400 shirts in her drawer that fit her, size 6x or no. And Ethan has nothing new on--he could care less and he has more clothes than anyone in the house due to hand-me-downs from my friend's son and my brother. Call me crazy, but I call me practical.

I made whole wheat crepes in honor of Ethan starting the French immersion program today. Well, I actually didn't do that on purpose at all, I made crepes because my kids love them and I was out of white flour so I had to use whole wheat. I just remembered halfway through eating them about the French thing. Whatev. Still counts in hindsight.

Ethan was super nervous about only hearing French for half the day and so I tried to role play what it might be like. "Prenez votre papier et ecrivez un A," I said, and then I asked him if he wanted some "jus d'orange." He was not amused one bit. I think I made it worse. Why did I sign him up for this French thing again? I don't know, I'll give you an update in about eight months. Or maybe 20 minutes, when I go to pick him up and he yells at me.

Mila was super excited for school, of course. That girl is a ball of sunshine and joy and I told her teacher that very thing at back to school night. Best student ever. So, I'm expecting glowing girl and fuming boy, and in the meantime, enjoy this awesome picture of Ethan and the twins at the Squaw Peak overlook after our camping adventure last Saturday. Note to self: toddlers are very, very bad at sleeping in tents. Must not repeat.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Feels Like the Homecoming Queen Days All Over Again

Except this time, I think I have a shot! My improv troupe, the Thrillionaires, have been nominated for a Salt Lake City Weekly ARTY award for best improv troupe. It is the first time we've been nominated for anything, and we are thrilled!


So, if you live in Utah, please vote for us here. You have to register, but it doesn't take long, and then you have to vote in at least three categories to make it count. Since I hadn't seen any of the other nominees, I wrote in "As You Like It" for best play and "Brett Merritt" in "As You Like It" for best performance. Feel free to copy me. And yes, shameless to vote for a play I was in, but I couldn't think of any other show I enjoyed watching more. You have until August 25th to vote!

And after you vote, reward yourself for your good deed by going to see this:


It's funny, it's smart, it's real, it's well-acted, and it has awesome music. What more could you want? Best movie I've seen this year and certainly the best I've seen in the indie-love story genre since this:


VOTE. WATCH. LOVE.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

I want to eat those babies!

Just came across this and almost died. Those toes! Those cheeks! Somebody get me a time machine STAT!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Christa and Lovies by Bubbie Blue!

Once upon a time, I started my freshman year in high school in Claremont, CA, and I didn't know anyone because I had just moved there from Winnetka, IL (incidentally, the movie Home Alone was shot in Winnetka while I lived there and the snow is fake, but that's neither here nor there.)

Not too far into the year, I met a girl named Christa. Christa was wearing the same black and white houndstooth Esprit pants that I owned, and she loved to perform, and she was the skinniest person in the world. Fast forward eighteen years, and Christa has an adorable, curly-haired baby boy and her own business, called Bubbie Blue. Because today is Christa's birthday, and because I adore her so, I wanted to make sure everyone knew about Christa's handmade lovies.

The following is from the Bubbie Blue website, where Christa describes how she came up with her idea:

"After our son was born in 2007, I started paying closer attention to the kinds of products and materials that came into our home, and began “greening” our family as much as possible.

As "the Bub" grew older, we decided that something had to be done about our continued lack of sleep.

I read almost every book on the market, and with my husband's help, set to work sleep-training our little guy. For us, the trick was in what the experts called a “transitional object” and experienced moms called a “lovie”.

I searched boutiques, bargain stores, and the Internet for a lovie that we felt comfortable leaving in our guy's crib, but the products I found were bulky, difficult to wash, and inevitably, made of synthetic materials. Frustrated, I decided to take matters into my own hands. A friend offered a
lightweight, organic swaddling blanket, which I cut into two small squares and hemmed, adding a border of ribbons… and they were a hit! They were just the right size and our baby loved playing with the ribbons. Plus, we were relieved that the materials that were so often pressed up against that little face were free of any yucky synthetics!"


Christa and "the Bub"

I think it's a fabulous idea and I only wish I hadn't had a million kids already when she came up with this! Ethan and the twins have all had stuffed animal lovies but they are difficult to replace and get kind of gross, so a little blankie would have been perfect! And Mila was obsessed with the tag on her blanket so the little ribbon tags are ingenious!

The best part? For the month of August, all lovies are 20% off! I'm planning on getting some for the new and upcoming babies in my life (not my own, mind you)--I think it's the perfect gift! And no guilt, because it's GREEN!

And now, because I've got Christa on my mind, I'd like to continue waxing sentimental...

During our four years at Claremont High, we had all sorts of adventures together. Fortunately Unfortunately, I couldn't find many pictures of those awkward, early high school days, so here are a few from our senior year:


This was before a Preference Dance. Christa is in silver, I am in pink (I was going for Veronica Lake hair, but it was pouring rain, so my finger waves lasted 3.5 seconds.) The other people, l-r, are Eddie, Heidi, Richard, Mark, Puja, and Brandon. We were in Puja's mansion.

This was when Christa starred in the Dinner Theater show. She was the cutest flapper EVER. Also pictured, Ben and Joel.


Our Choir Awards Party. Now you know that my efforts to be THE whitest person on the planet began years ago. Also pictured, Mario and Heidi.


Graduation Day. It poured rain again. And I chopped off my hair a couple of days before.

After high school, we continued to live it up, 90's style. And I mean, 90's style:


I think somebody watched Clueless a few too many times. Not you, Christa, you look cute.

In the fall, poor Christa went to live in this awful place called Malibu so that she could attend Pepperdine, while I headed off to Utah. After that, we saw each other at holidays and over summer break.


Then, the summer after our sophomore year at college, we actually decided to live together in my step-dad's house. Don't worry, my step-dad, Bret, didn't live there--he lived with my mom, of course! But he just happened to not want to give up his cute little house (with no A/C) in South Pasadena, so Christa and I moved right in! I have a lot of good memories of that summer. We shared a room and went shopping for groceries, and bought a couch together, and did chores, like putting Bret's dogs out in the morning and sweeping up the dog hair before breakfast, you know, stuff like that!

We made a list of all of the fun things we wanted to do that summer, which I believe we called "Hailey and Christa's List of Fun." It listed activities such as, "Go to the beach," and "Go to Disneyland," and "Be awesome!" Probably not that last one, but you know that's the kind of list it was, us being 20 and all. We got jobs as waitresses at The Valley Hunt Club in Pasadena. "Oh, is that the country club famous for starting the Rose Parade?" you ask. Why, yes, yes it is, now don't be jealous that you didn't get to wear a horrific forest green waitress dress (we lovingly called the "green meanie) and serve marmalade to old rich men by the name of Guglielmo. We had some good times at the VHC, but mostly we enjoyed smuggling home VHC chocolates in our green meanie pockets. They were to die for. (Christa, I could not find the picture of you in the green meanie anywhere!)

In the afternoon, if we didn't have to work, we had "nap time" in our room, and if it was 114 degrees outside, we had nap time all day long. We listened to music and sat on our front porch and played with my cat, "Kitty." We also spent part of the summer trying to think of things to say to the cute boys that lived next door to and behind our house. One night, we heard them outside and we casually walked by and said, "Hey... how's it going?" and nothing else, and kept walking. It was not our proudest flirting moment. By the end of the summer, we had become friends with them and we'd walk to Trader Joe's and watch "Strange Brew," and one of them was in love with Christa, and she went back to Malibu and broke his heart, so I'd say our job was done there.

Here is proof that I am not making all of this up:

This is our little house, while some skinny guy is roofing it. I ended up having that guy's four children. I guess I liked that roof job. Just kidding, I knew him before he roofed my house.


Christa actually worked at Disneyland at one point, so we sneaked in for free.


This is when we dressed up and went to the Renaissance Festival. We ate meat and we liked it!

After the Renaissance festival, Christa's parents took us to dinner. We had no normal clothes with us, so we borrowed some from Christa's brother.


Christa and Kitty, on our couch that we bought.



One of our beach trips, this time to our friend Ben's beach house. Not the roofer Ben.

Like I said, it was an amazing summer. The next summer, I got married and stayed in Utah permanently, and Christa graduated from college and taught school, and stayed awesome. This is when I got to fly down to go to Christa's beautiful wedding to Mike:


Happy Birthday, Christa! You are still one of the sweetest, most adorable people I have ever met and I love you!