December 17, 2012

MUSIC mondays: favorite CHRISTMAS songs

I'm being lazy today and doing a repost for MUSIC mondays!  Here are my top 10 favorite Christmas songs.

10.  "Christmas is Calling"

I have my husband to thank for introducing me to this song.  It's just sweet.

9.  "Christmas Song"

I first heard this song by Dave Matthews back in high school.  A different Christmas song, but beautiful nonetheless.

8.  "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"

I love The Carpenter's version of this song.  If I had to pick a romantic Christmas song, this one would be it!

7.  "O Come, O Come Emmanuel"

Love Mannheim Steamroller's version (as Veni Veni).  Perfection!

6.  "Carol of the Bells"

I grew up listening to Mannheim Steamroller's version of this song.  I also saw them in concert.  Amazing.  I also sang this song in my 9th grade choir.  It's a fun, energetic song!

5.  "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"

This is such a fun, holiday song.  Every time I hear it, I think of the scene from Home Alone when he is fooling the robbers into thinking there is a house full of people.

4. "O Holy Night"

"Fall on your knees!  Oh, hear the angel's voices! O night divine, the night when Christ was born."  I love the lyrics to this song, and it's powerful melody brings tears to my eyes.  While Josh Groban is a close second, I think Celine Dion takes the cake on the best version of this song, EVER. (I'm expecting a rebuttal, Karen.  Haha!)

3.  "Hallelujah Chorus"

Handle's Messiah is absolutely amazing.  My very smart mother took me to a Messiah Sing-In with the Utah Symphony when I was still quite young.  It had an everlasting impact on me.  I can't not listen to the Hallelujah Chorus without getting chills, and I love this version of the piece.

2.  "Happy X-Mas (War is Over)"

Whether it's the original by John Lennon, or Sarah McLachlan's cover, or this French Canadian dude's version, I absolutely love this song.

1.  "Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful"

I began taking violin lessons when I was just barely six years old.  One violin teacher I had gave her students the opportunity to make a Christmas album in a recording studio.  It required a ton of work, usually 8+ hours in the studio, often recording/playing the same song many different times.  During one such recording session, I found myself recording Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful. As I played each note and listened to the lyrics of the song in my mind, my heart became very full.  My eyes blurred and swelled with tears.  The message and spirit of this song touched my young soul in a way I can't articulate, but the feelings I had have remained with me all these years later, making this beautiful Christmas hymn by far my favorite song of the season.  Surprisingly, I have yet to find a version of this song I absolutely love, but this piano solo rendition is very lovely.

December 14, 2012

"go, MOM"

Last week Isabelle participated in her first dance recital.  It was a really great day, and I was so incredibly proud of her.

When we arrived at the school where the recital was to be held, I took her to the room where all the dancers had to check-in.  I found the other girls from her class and took her to where they were sitting.  It was so adorable to see all these little girls dressed in the same costume with their hair and makeup all perfect.  They all seemed so excited.

I learned soon after that an older dancer would be in charge of the girls so the parents could sit in the auditorium and enjoy the show.  Given Isabelle's history with stranger anxiety, I was a bit hesitant to leave her alone.  But, I was sort of given the impression that I needed to leave.  And I wanted to leave, so that didn't bother me. 

I put my arm around Isabelle and told her to stay with her friends and showed her the girl that would be looking after her.  Her reaction?

"Ok, go now, Mom."

I was a little taken back by her response.  So, I clarified and said, "You want me to leave?"

And she said, "Yes, go now, Mom."

With a smile on my face, I stood up, told Isabelle I loved her and proceeded to exit the room.

Some moms would probably be mortified if their daughter told them to leave them alone, especially when the daughter is not quite four years old.  But, that's not the case for me.  Any parent that has dealt with a child with extreme stranger anxiety would probably agree the moment your child appears to outgrow the issue is a day to celebrate.  At least, that's the case for me.

I found my family in the auditorium and told Dustin what Isabelle said to me.  We both had a good chuckle about it, and he, too, agreed it was a wonderful thing for her to say.

As I watched my little girl walk onto the stage, seeming completely unimpressed by the packed auditorium, even waving to everyone, I was so happy for her.  She did a wonderful job dancing, looking absolutely graceful at times, and I couldn't help but wonder if this was the beginning of a long road for her and dancing.

No matter what the future holds, I'll always be so grateful for the moment Isabelle told me to "go."  

December 11, 2012

BABBABOX project

Isabelle and I had a great opportunity to do a project thanks to the wonderful people at BabbaBox.  

We received this great box in the mail and couldn't wait to see what was all inside.  To our delight, our box was all based on the theme Sun, Moon and Stars.  

It came with two different projects for us to complete,

a storybook, 

and a set of binoculars.  

In other words, everything any child could want to learn more about the universe!

Isabelle really wanted to create her own constellation.  She's really into stars and stickers, so it was the perfect activity for her.  The best part, I didn't have to get anything.  BabbaBox had all the tools and supplies necessary to complete the project along with step-by-step instructions.

Isabelle loved the stickers and creating her own constellation.

Now, I should mention that BabbaBox wasn't able to provide one crucial ingredient for this project and that was the sun.  I waited and waited and waited for the sun to shine, but alas I was stuck with overcast days.  Isabelle had her heart set on this project, so I decided to do what I could to still make it a success by using what light I had in the house.

Here she is immersing her project in water.

Letting it dry.

Isabelle taking advantage of the coloring pages while we waited for everything to dry.

In the end, our project didn't go completely according to plan, but we had a great experience trying.  And sometimes that's the best part!

What I loved most about BabbaBox is the convenience of it all.  I literally had everything I needed to spend a few quality hours with my daughter delivered right to my doorstep.  I always intend to do crafts with Isabelle, but I always find myself not having what is needed on hand.  

Thanks BabbaBox!


BabbaBox is a theme-based box delivered to your door that allows you to enjoy a little convenience and inspiration! As any parent can attest, the most important thing you can give to your child is quality time. BabbaBox makes this possible by helping you to save time, money, & mindspace.
Just think! Fantastic monthly activities with ALL the materials for kids ages 3-6. Included in the box are 3 projects + 1 bestselling book + digital download + parent surprise gift!
The best part? Babbabox makes a GREAT unique gift during the holiday season.
Act now! Get 50% off your first month when you sign up for a monthly membership using the code, SWAY100. Offer expires December 31, 2012.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of BabbaBox. The opinions and text are all mine.

December 10, 2012


Once again, TV has played a key factor in my spotlight today for MUSIC mondays.  I first heard the song 

on a commercial for Dick's Sporting Goods.  Totally random, huh?  I thought so too.

Anyway, I love this song.  I like the lyrics, the beat and the overall feeling to it.  

Check it out!

December 7, 2012


I had a little bit of a wake-up call yesterday with respect to my cleaning habits.  I posted a little bit ago that I needed to let loose when it came to what Isabelle played with.  I've done better lately by letting her paint inside, color and do other crafts that are potentially very messy and require some clean-up.  However, I still must be a bit uptight about it all becuase this is the conversation I had with her yesterday:

I:  Mom, can I play in my room?

Me:  Of course.

I:  Mom, can I make a mess?

Me:  Definitely

{Some time goes by...}

I:  Mom, I made a mess

I scan her room.  Only 3 or 4 toys are on the floor.  My heart sank.

Me:  Isabelle, you didn't make a mess.  Do you want to keep playing?

I:  Yes, please shut the door.

{Some more time goes by...}

I:  Mom, I'm all done playing!

I scan her room again.  Toys were everywhere.  I smiled and happily helped her clean up.

It's definitely time to make sure my daughter knows she is free to play with her toys in her room without worrying about the consequences of making too big of a mess.  It's not like she has markers in there and will write all over the wall.  It's just a matter of putting things back where they belong, and, since dejunking, things are organized and very easy to clean up.

Working on chillaxing has officially begun!

December 5, 2012


Christmas has officially arrived at our house.  We didn't necessarily choose to wait until December to put our tree up, but since we did I think we'll continue doing that each year.  It's nice to keep the holidays separate as much as possible.

Here is our tree.  Every single ornament is 100% shatterable and nothing about the tree is kid-friendly, but we refuse to put up anything else.  So far, Isabelle is very good about not playing with it.  I thank my lucky stars for that.

Maybe one day we'll have one just for Isabelle that's a bit more age appropriate.  But, for now, she's going to have to suffer with our pre-kid tree because we just love it too much not to display it.

December 4, 2012


On Sunday, I had to attend a meeting at church before my actual worship services began.  It was crazy, crazy windy as I arrived at the church.  My hair, skirt, everything was blowing everywhere as I approached the door to the building.

Suddenly, a very powerful gust of wind slammed against the roof right above me.  This gust of wind caused a large amount of water from the roof to come splashing down to the ground.  But, before it reached the ground it landed directly on top of me.

I was completely soaked.  I stood at the door a little in shock, wondering if I should risk being late by running home and fixing my hair and changing clothes.

I decided to suck it up and stay at the church and to be on time to my meeting.  I made a stop at the restroom to wipe off my face and to do what I could to make myself a bit more presentable.  But, all in all, I looked like a sorry mess.

As I walked along the hallways of the church, my hair looking like it does when I first step out of the shower, I told myself I needed to think about my priorities a bit when it came to my appearance.  Perhaps I need to be a tad more vain and less concerned with punctuality.

I'm pretty sure I'll stick with punctuality, but in the meantime I have a fun story to tell and have added yet another reason as to why I totally and utterly hate and loathe the wind.

December 3, 2012


I can't explain how excited I get when I stumble upon a new artist.  These days, I discover new artists or songs that I just love via TV.  Isn't it funny how commercials and TV shows have killer soundtracks?

Anyway, I first heard BROOKE WAGGONER's song

on one of those made-for-television Hallmark Christmas movies over the Thanksgiving weekend.  Given how those movies usually roll, I wasn't expecting to hear such a cool song.  

So, being the completely normal person that I am, I instantly did a Google search and found the name of the song and the artist within minutes.  And a few minutes later, the song was being downloaded onto my iPad.

Isn't technology great?

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this song.  And, if you're already a fan of Waggoner's let me know which song of hers is your favorite!

Happy Monday Everyone!

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