Monday, December 31, 2012

The annual epistle of exaggeration and outright falsehood, 2012

Yes, I know it's New Year's Eve (again), but we were just so busy with our globe-trotting and investing our millions of dollars that I was unable to get my personal assistant on the task of writing this for me...

2012 was, truthfully, a very full year.VERY VERY FULL, I proclaim.

Thing One landed a spouse. We call him Hot Latin Guy. I knew it was over the first time he came to the door.... After a whirlwind engagement (they gave me TWO MONTHS!!! ONLY TWO MONTHS TO PLAN AN ENTIRE WEDDING!!!) they married in the Manti Utah temple at the end of July. They're currently living in a 4000 square foot mansion (basement apartment) in Cedar Hills (Spanish Fork) where they have already blessed me with three grandchildren (grandkittens? is that a word?). They are adjusting well to the luxuries (ha!) of newlywed life. I am adjusting (joyfully) to getting another son (who unfortunately, makes the other two look like terrible slackers, btw). We miss them tons, and wish they would come hang out on our couch for hours on end like they used to.

Thing Two got a promotion to General Manager at the movie theater (projectionist, actually)!!! He's bringing in six figures (um...much more that minimum wage, at least), and has started looking at his options in earnest. He finally managed to find enough time to get his pilot's (driver's) license, and enjoying the new found freedoms that such a license provides. He is tooling about town in his newest acquisition, a vintage Ferrari Testarossa (1994 Ford Aspire) and has learned much (absolutely tons) of the workings (and repair) of the internal combustion engine.His adorable girlfriend is still in the picture (as we continue to be kind to the boy and not let her in on his true dorky nature), although we still don't get to see her often enough.

Screamapillar continues to be SOO so so so busy. She discovered Drama this year, landing ALL of the leading roles in PHS's production of Les Miserables (well, she was a beggar person who hold's Jean Valjean's coat while he's doing stuff, and she was a prostitute, and I should probably just stop there....she did land an actual lead in the upcoming Spring play, but I'll tell you about that in next year's letter as it hasn't happened quite yet). I won't need to exaggerate about the dating, my goodness, SO MANY BOYS to keep track of. I suppose I should be grateful for variety. She will be graduating this year, and moving on to Harvard or Yale (BYU or BYU-I) next fall. She hasn't found the need to get her driver's license yet, as she has the use of a personal jet pack, invented by Luke Skywalker (she's a first-rate ride moocher).

Luke Skywalker has spent the year (un)productively. He upgraded his living quarters (got a room with an actual door and a queen size bed - I think there's carpet in there, but I'd have to actually be able to see it to be sure). He excels in Science, and continues to enjoy blowing things up (man, if he grows up to be a unabomber, I'm really going to regret all these "blowing things up" remarks). In his spare time, he dabbles with gourmet cooking (he can make a whole bunch of actual food, people) and I have come to rely on him quite a lot this last year with my busy schedule. He has a driver's license now (in his dreams) and an iphone 5 (also in his dreams - he does actually have Thing Two's old phone, with which he can dial 911 any time he needs to). He has great hopes of ruling the world someday.

Eclair has had a busy year also. In January and February she earned her black belt in just five lessons of karate class. In March, she was eaten by a dinosaur. in April, she scaled a waterfall unassisted. In May, she sang in a concert and viewed an eclipse. In June, she ran the entire household while all the other girls were gone to California for a wedding. In July, she was the life of the party and the prettiest flower girl ever at Thing One's wedding. In August, she built a theater in the backyard for a birthday movie night. In September, she took a ride on a UFO, and petted a steer. In October, snakes grew from her head, and she transformed into a creature from Greek mythology. In November, she became an aunt to three kittens, cut off all her hair, and tried to move in with Thing One and Hot Latin Guy. In December, she caught Santa in the act on Christmas Eve. (EVERY BIT of this is true - although I must admit that the "black belt" was actually white under all the electrical tape...)

Lots of other good stuff happened. I relocated and got a promotion at work (or maybe you'd call it an "elevation" since we just moved offices from the first floor at one building to the second floor or another...). I also have the absolute best calling in the history of the Church (assistant nursery leader - sitting around reading, playing and singing with 9 adorable little ones every Sunday). Hubby hasn't got it so easy, but he needed a new challenge anyway. Last year he added some valuable skills to his resume (Screamapillar taught him how to text) and he will be investing more time this year continuing his education (he got a new iphone and will be trained by the children in how to properly use it).

Gabby and Pedro and their parents left us at the end of July (thus the two month engagement, had to get them married before our other flower girl moved away). We miss them TONS! Gabby, tell your daddy that he doesn't need to go to medical school, but should move back here and manage a Taco Bell instead.

We miss our Misty, who passed away in November. Muffin and Gus have stepped up the fighting in an effort to fill the void. Teaching the cats to use the dog door in Misty's absence has proved unfruitful. Like true cats, they must wait for a human to serve them by opening all necessary doors. 

We have been blessed in 2012, and look forward to an even more eventful and fun 2013.

Merry (late) Christmas and Happy New Year!

with love from the insane Roper family

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Conversations with Eclair...and Screamapillar

Eclair comes into the kitchen, one hand cupped over the other, shaking something. Screamapillar and I are preparing the monthly Lasagne Feast.

Eclaire: Guess the number of  dice, Katie!

Screamapillar: Two hundred and six

E: Nope.

S: Two hundred and four

E: that's way too high!

S: Two hundred

E: NO!! It's between one and six.

S: Nine.

E: Still too high, Katie. Guess lower.

S: Negative Three

E: Almost! Just not the negative.

S: Seven

E: NO!! Okay, I'll make it easier. It's between two and four

S: Four

E: NO!! BETWEEN two and four

S: Two

Mom: I'm sorry Claire, she's just not very smart.

E: Katie, guess right!

S: Three and a half.

E: *Exasperated sigh* Okay, I guess that's close enough.
(leaves the room in a huff)

S: THAT WAS FUN!!!! Let's do it again.

E: NO WAY!! I thought you were going to take FOREVER!!!!

Makes you want to run right over here and play games with us, don't it?

Monday, December 24, 2012

So be good for goodness sake.

Another conversation with Ecliar:

E: Mom, you said Santa always watching to see if you're being good or bad?

M: Yep. You're trying to be good, right? So you should be okay. You shouldn't worry about it so much.

E: Well, what I'm really worried about is that everyone says he can see you ALL the time...

(Did I mention that she is standing outside the bathroom, wet and wearing a towel?)

Interjection from Luke Skywalker: He's not a peeping tom, you know.

So everybody be EXTRA GOOD and watch this wonderful video. It stars our FAVORITE musicians, The Piano Guys, and Alex is in there too.


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Almost Christmas...

We can measure it in hours now, the Christmas that is coming. Tonite we finished up our Christmas shopping at the church Distribution store, I wished we had started there instead, it might have set a better tone to the Christmas giving season.

I also remembered something I had forgotten to post. Shortly after Thing One married her hot Latin guy, we got to attend a wedding as guests. The post on that very fun day cannot be done until I do my own daughter's wedding justice. Doing Thing One's wedding post was much delayed by the fact that I wasn't the one taking all the photos, I was at the mercy of others and got the photos right when I started up sewing for the big musical production....but I digress. I promise lots of wedding posts next month, in January, when I hope to have some time on my hands.

Today, Alex and Erica.

Theirs was a blending of families and faiths. Alex grew up back East, raised in a devout Jewish family. He later joined the LDS faith, and became a good friend of Hubby's.

We were honored to be invited to the sealing and reception, the day was very joyful, both families very accepting of the choice the two made to be wed.

I remembered this today, because Alex has been up to some pretty great stuff. He was cast as Joseph in the Church's recent productions of stories of the Savior for the Mormon Channel. His is a small, but very important role. He finished up filming just in time to shave the "Joseph" beard in time for the wedding!

Please, enjoy this WONDERFUL video, and check back again for a few more as we welcome Christmas this year.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

widdle peoples

Hubby and I are in agreement that the Fisher Price Little People were the best part of our childhood. The Castle, the Service Station, the A Frame Cabin. Lots of houses, and accessories, every tiny little detail on these that made them fantastic.

Best was the little people themselves.  The Pigtail Girls. The Farmer and the School Teacher. When Hubby was a boy, they used to have wars with the peoples (as little boys are wont to do), and the "special forces" were always the Mean Boys - you know the ones: hats on backwards, freckled and scowling...

I've seen many incarnations of home-made "little people," even considered making some for Thing One's wedding cake topper. I did finally make some - for my mother. Let me introduce you to them, starting with:

My youngest brother's family. They live in Connecticut, and we don't get to see them often enough. They need to move to Utah. Right now. My brother, there in the back, looks like he works for the mafia, but he doesn't. Really.

Next up, my younger sister:

She married a fireman. So I painted him red. She's actually missing a people here, I didn't realize it at the time, but Lex rolled under the table and almost got lost... kinda like real life, actually. YOU try keeping track of number six when she's a bright and inquisitive FEARLESS child.

Then comes my fambly:

Hello kiddos!! Eclair looks cute and Hubby has hair!

Then the oldest, my sister Diva:

Her hubby is commonly referred to in the family as "that bald ripped guy..." so yeah, I let him be bald.

Now I have a new problem, an ongoing one. Diva has married off that pink one and the brown one. You might know them as Dorita and El Guapo. Younger sister Peggle has married off her Ellie-mae. And my own Thing One is now wed. So we need some more peoples. Don't forget that Dorita has given birth to Gabby and Pedro. My work will never be done.

These were really simple to do. All the wooden pieces came from Hobby Lobby, and they look like this:

This is what I used for the heads, it's called a ball knob - it's flat on the bottom - this is important.

Adult bodies were candle cups:

obviously, these are upside down like some clown wants to put candles in them or something equally stupid...

Kiddo bodies were made from spools:

Just put heads on bodies with Gorilla glue, wait 24 hrs so they're UNBREAKABLE... then paint! Be careful not to get glue on any part you are going to paint. Don't be sloppy....

If I were to do anything different, I would have primed these puppies with spay paint primer before I started on all the hand painting, it would have gone much faster.

They make a wonderful Christmas gift - don't take much time, and don't take up a lot of space. Grandchildren LOVE them (Lex is always running off to play with my mom's set)
SO, GO!!! Gather supplies and make yerself a fambly!!!!

Jus' don' make 'em cuter than mine.....

Friday, December 21, 2012

dear departed doggie

Things have been super hectic lately with all the activities the kids and I are involved in, but I did really need to post about a recent loss we had.

You may remember this header from a while back:

or this one:

Both starring our very awesome dog, Misty. She's been with us a LONG time.

Thing one is twelve in this photo. Hard to tell, I know, because she's still that short today as a married grown-up person....

That's a four-year-old Eclair sharing oatmeal with our doggie. This child doesn't remember a time when Misty wasn't part of our family.

Each winter has been getting harder for her, sometimes she could barely climb the stairs. Then the weather would warm up and she would be her old self again. Her coat went from a caramel brown to a light blonde over the years. This last summer, she really started going downhill, escalated by an injury to her neck and spine in July. The second week of November, she made it known to us that she was ready to go. It's been really hard on us all, she was our first dog ever, and was a larger part of our lives than we suspected until she was gone.

Trying to put together the photoshopped wonder that was our 2010 Christmas card was harder than it looked... Misty was a dog of perpetual motion and great strength. If she had been in the room at the same time as the cats, there wouldn't have been any cats left afterward.

So two separate photos were taken, and the grils were magically inserted afterward to make the very first image above.

Because of the perpetual motion thing, she was a hard dog to get photos of. IMPOSSIBLE to focus on.

She would always sit still for a hug, though.

It's been a difficult adjustment - I still find myself saving the choicest scraps for her while cooking, I look for her to be peeking at me through her "window" between two fence slats at the gate in the driveway, and I miss hearing her "now come pay attention to me" bark from the laundry room when she comes inside. There are a lot of little things that have changed with her absence.

Here is how I will remember her best:


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Whoovian shoes

When Screamapillar was in Prom court last year.....

We made some awesome shoes for her to wear. We would have made the same shoes regardless of prom court, it was just a bonus that so many people got to enjoy them.

Nerdiness runs in the family, it cannot be helped.

The idea was Screamapillar's. The sketch was done by Thing One. The execution was done my Momma.

they are awesome from every angle

Thanks to Momma's mad skillz, her date's boutonniere looked pretty boss also. I used feathers...lots of feathers....

Here's the step by step: 
1. Use sharp scissors to trim away fluff from the spine of the feather, also trim for shaping.
2. for "curled" feathers shown at center above I trimmed the feathers into a very long an narrow shape, then open the scissors and draw the blade up the inside spine of the feather, much like curling gift-wrap ribbon. This may need to be repeated to get desired curl.
3. Wrap each feather with floral tape; put two together and wrap again, wrap each time you add a feather.
4. You could be finished here, or you could draw a TARDIS on some blue fun foam using paint markers and then hot glue it to the feathers......

But you have to have a very awesome date who would wear such a thing: 

So that's it. How to Who-ify your prom.


Monday, December 3, 2012

Messin' with people.

A funny thing happened on the way to work this morning....

Back story first: Luke Skywalker & Eclair are home from school puking (ah, the glamourous life I lead...). I need to go to work. So I can have a job. And make monies. And pay for Christmas. And get away from the puking, actually.

Since I have an unemployed married daughter, I drafted her into service. Called her at a little after 8am and asked her to act as auxillary mom today. I'd have to drive to Spanish Fork where she lives and come get her, but it would be worth it.

I allowed her enough time to become fully concious and bathe and find her purse (during which time I put gas in the car and went to Macey's for Popsicles and Seven-up). When I picked her up, I thought it would only be right if I got her some breakfast before throwing her under the bus that is my sick children.

We went to McD's. The one by her house that just had a corporate audit, so they're on their best behavior. And this was our order:

Two sausage muffins
Two large Dr P
Two apple pies

And then I did a hateful thing.

When Drive-up-window-dude was handing me my drinks, I said "Now which one is which?"

I have never seen such a horror stricken face. A face that said "WHAT HAVE I DONE" like he had just murdered someone. Two dark cola looking drinks and neither had any of those little lid button do-hickies pushed in. Beads of sweat suddenly appeared on his forehead, and he aged before my eyes.

This man's world came to a grinding halt.

And then he looked at the order.

Two large Dr. P

And a grin broke out on his face. "I AM VICTORIOUS. I HAVE NOT SCREWED UP. This insane woman is just messin' with me."

"Have a great day, ma'am!"

I seriously need to do that more often.....

Friday, November 30, 2012

I'm baaack....

Okay, yeah, scold me all you like, I was BUSY for heaven's sake.

But it's nice to know that both of you missed me, loyal readers.

Prepare yourself for a slew (a positive SLEW) of posts. They may or may not be very interesting, or funny or anything, but there will be something to read anyway....

First up: where I disappeared to.

My kid was in a play. Here she is, the harlot.

And being the completly insane person I am, I volunteered to costume the entire production. Partly because I'm really, really stupid, but mostly because it was 
Les Miserables.

Wanna see some more? 

Our incredible Fantine was a 15 year old gril who was the most amazing singer. You would have loved her.

Our Valjean (seen here with his convict cohorts) was wonderful also. Jack E. Sparrow's little brother, actually.

There were factory workers:

And peasants:

And soldiers:

And rebellious students:  

And a wedding:

And let's not forget the Thernardier's....

You see, I spent many many many nights up late. Many nights where I skipped sleep altogether. You may blame much sleeplessness on Enjolras and his lovely vest: 

If I had truly appreciate that I would have over 70 cast members, some of whom had up to six costume changes, I'm not sure I would have been so eager to volunteer.

If these kids had been any less awesome, it would have been a chore. As it was, they were a delight to work with, and they made me cry. Often.

 A good time was had by all. Audience, Cast and Tech alike. Wouldn't have missed it for the world.

And I'm mostly caught up on my lost sleep now.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

the $49 dollar prom dress

This post is SO late. Screamapillar kindly reminded me the other day that I never posted about Prom last spring.

I doubted I would be able to top last year's $26 prom dress, and so far I haven't. This year's dress came from a bridal outlet (....where we may or may not have been looking for a big white dress for somebody else...). My little sister referred me to this place, and I must say I was quite impressed. They had a plethora of beautiful bridal gowns (an absolute plethora I say!), and probably twice as many formal dresses in every color of the rainbow.

I knew before we even got in the car what color dress we were going to come home in...even though we tried lots and lots of things like this:

and this:

Looks like she didn't like this one much. Nice face, dere.

They were very pretty,  but didn't scream "SCREAMAPILLAR" at me...

This one did.

Toxic Lime Green.

The gown only had a halter type strap on top, so bolero time again. She chose pink for the bolero to match the ruffle at the hem, and did all the beading herself. The petticoats underneath are just a bridal petticoat with the top layer pinned up to expose the tulle. We did add one yard of gathered pink tulle over the white layers to add a little more pink (and we only attached it with SAFETY PINS!!!).

The original dress was also backless with just the corset strapping baring quite an expanse of flesh, so Mommy had to fix it some. I just pinned a piece of tissue paper to the back of the dress to create a pattern for the area I needed to fill. Cut two from matching fabric (that was the hard part, actually), sewed it together, turned it right side out, and hand stitched it down the right hand side of the dress back. I put in hooks on the left side to keep it in the right location, but the lacing pretty much held it in place.

Unfortunately, when laced up it looked kinda bunchy, but the bolero covered most of it so it didn't look too bad. At least she passed the dress code and didn't look scandalous....

At the end of the evening, she managed to accessorize with some stuff that didn't quite match:

YEA NOT PROM QUEEN!!! The sash for queen was white, and that would have just been too normal looking.....

Congratulations, Screamapillar, for winning 2nd attendant, you are so completely awesome.

And in case you didn't notice.....her date had a very unique boutoniere... but that (and her matching shoes) are fodder for another post...

Thursday, October 4, 2012

...worth a thousand words...

After many much waiting.... we have some wonderful photos from the reception. I have been really looking forward to these, if for no other reason, because I was under the influence of some heavy duty pain killers after blowing out my knee earlier that day. My recollection of the evening was pretty hazy, and I was sitting here with fingers crossed for the last 9 weeks.

At last they are here, and I have picked my very favorites to share with you. The old saying goes "a picture is worth a thousand words," but some of these need captions.


"Touch not my dear husband, or I shall smite thee, brother mine"

TEAMWORK. (Hard to make such a wonderful cake with three and a half arms to work with)

"Ummm. Uncle Scopp, when I leaned over to hug Grandma, she ran over my dress with her wheelchair  and now I'm stuck..."

"Yeah, we all know I'm the cutest bridesmaid."

"I told you I could be trusted to not smoosh cake all over your face!"

"You did WHAT with the cardboard cutout of our missionary bridesmaid????"

The bride gets her first glance at the gift table.

Daddy - daughter, mother - son

(After dancing with her daddy)

Okay, before you look at this series, you need to know it's title.


(please excuse the poor groom his confusion, as he was completely unprepared for what transpired)
Who knew? Superhero bloomers.

As I mentioned earlier, much of the evening is a blur in my memory. I'm really glad our photographer was able to make sure I didn't miss a moment of Eclair's exploits as she spend entirely too much time unsupervised: