Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Heber Valley Rail Road North Pole Express

Two weeks ago my family had the amazing privilege of traveling to the beautiful city of Heber to ride the North Pole Express on the Heber Valley Rail Road.

I adore Heber. I even beg and plead yearly for Flavio to buy me a house there to raise my kids. Alas, he never concedes, so I have to get my fix by riding the rail road.

I was SO excited to be invited back by HVRR to ride the rails to see Santa again this year. There was something extra special and magical. It could have been the rain pummeling us as we waited for the train, that hope that at any moment it would turn into glistening snow...but there was something magical about this night with my family, one that I will cherish for always.

Here are my kids waiting in the drizzle. Smiles galore...happy that they finally knew what the 'surprise' I had been brewing for them was!

Well, at least two of them were happy.

Is this one ever happy?

We were greeted by THE most adorable left handed elf. Doesn't she have the most beautiful handwriting? I loved that she put an extra little something after each child's name, from a heart to a smiley. I loved that little touch.

Here is my Millie experiencing the train for the 'first time' (the first time that she can remember).

I adore these two. I don't even have to tell them to hug and love each other like that, they just do. (Unless we have been in the car for two hours...then there is a little less love.)

The train cars seemed extra bright, and I am always in awe of the sweet Christmas decorations and lights rigged up just for us.

Milla taking advantage of the best seat in the house, laying across Mom and Dad's laps. Complete with her upside down name tag.

These kids may have whispered in my ear a million times, "I want some hot chocolate!" It was so so hard to be patient. However, we have learned over the years that if we sit next to the cookies and hot cocoa, we are generally first in line to receive.

With all the rain and cold, the windows fogged up nicely, add in a little Jack Frost and my kids had the perfect pallet to keep their imaginations busy for a bit.

Finally the cookies (made by Mrs. Claus of course) came as did the delicious hot cocoa. I totally splurged and drank every drop of my cocoa. I do not think hot cocoa has ever tasted so yummy.

Our adorable elf waitresses handing out the goodies.

"Hot, hot, hot, hot chocolate!" Don't forget our adorable chef! of me to prove I was there. (That never happens!)

After the cookies and cocoa, there were carols to be sung. Do you know that Camilla does not like singing or 'loud'?

After we ushered her in with our carols, Mrs. Claus stopped by to visit each of us and gave us her special top secret cookie recipe. You can find most of the ingredients at home, but I am still struggling to find that "Giggle of an Elf" that it calls for. I may have to borrow someone's Elf on a Shelf.

Remember how I told you about our adorable elf? I cannot remember her name, but she was absolutely sweet with my girls. She talked to each of them for the longest time.

More artwork was to be had while the three babies waited for Santa to come and see them!

There was so much magic this year for my kids. I cannot remember a Christmas season where I felt more magic with them and for them than I have this year.

Even though Camilla would not have anything to do with the big guy...she did allow him to give her a bell. I think the look on her face says it all.

The North Pole Express: A perfect way to ring in Christmas.

Pun intended. 

From the Heber Valley Rail Road:
Visit Santa Aboard the North Pole Express

Heber Valley Railroad continues annual family tradition HEBER CITY, Utah (Nov. 16, 2012) — Utah’s popular holiday family tradition continues as Heber Valley Railroad’s annual “North Pole Express” chugs back into service this holiday season.

The train ride will take passengers on a journey to see Santa Claus at the North Pole beginning Friday, Nov. 23. Aboard the train, passengers can sing along to classic holiday carols and hear the story of the North Pole Express while Santa’s elves serve hot cocoa and cookies.

Upon arrival at the North Pole, Santa Claus will board the train and greet all of the children with a special gift. Children of all ages are encouraged to wear their pajamas.

The North Pole Express will run at 5 and 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through Christmas Eve, with daily departures starting Monday, Dec. 17.

Select dates will also offer 2 p.m. departure times. Tickets for this magical family experience are now available, and prices begin at $30 for adults and $20 for kids (ages 3-12). First-class ticket options are available at $47 for adults and $37 for kids (ages 3-12).

Discounts for groups of 20 or more are also available upon request.

Tickets can be purchased by calling the railroad at 435-654-5601, online at or at the Heber Valley Depot, 450 South 600 West, Heber City. For more information and directions, contact the Heber Valley Railroad at 435-654-5601 or visit

***Disclaimer: Each member of my family was given a ticket to ride the Heber Valley Rail Road's North Pole Express. I was not compensated in any other way except for the magic I felt and the happiness in my heart from such an event. The opinions expressed in this blog article are my own.***

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thanksgiving Week in Instagram | Toothpicks in Feet |Birthday Bash

If you know me, my life is c.r.a.z.y. I am not sure how it got to be this way...but let me share a little bit of the crazy with you.

This was what last week looked like in The R House Couture's workshop. a.k.a my basement.

We made over 60 necklaces last Tuesday evening. The beginning of our very busy holiday season. As I package each one I love thinking about where each one of these beautiful gifts are going, what the reactions will be of the recipient, and especially for the wives whose husbands ordered them a special little something.


Thanksgiving Eve, Jothan was invited to spend the night with his little cousin. They adore one another, cannot get enough play time in, etc. So, when school is out, we try to make that happen. My sister in law lovingly watched my girls so that I could go out with my cousin, even though she felt like death. {Bless you Anna!} I picked up the girls and as we drove home my phone died. I got home, plugged it in to charge and proceeded to get the girls in bed, and work on party preparations. About thirty minutes later, I can turn my phone back on and I have 8 missed calls. 8. I begin checking texts when my sister in law calls me to tell me Jothy stepped on a toothpick. They feel terrible and I assure them it is no big deal. My brother is bringing Jothan home because he isn't sure what to do.

We sprawl Jothy out on the kitchen island and proceed to examine his foot. It isn't bleeding. Zero blood. It just looks...puckered. He is settled down but if you touch his foot he cringes and screams. Something is definitely in there. What to do? Soak it, try to get it out? My brother, Flavio and I just look at it for seemingly forever. Instacare is closed, he is in obvious pain, so the decision is made to head to an ER. We are all feeling a little silly that it can probably wait until morning, but my gut says, "Take him."

It is about 10:30 p.m. when they arrive and they give him anesthetic to try and see what is up.  They draw a line around it so they know when it is "numb". Emmaree is the sweetest little nurse on the planet to her brother. She begged to go to the hospital with him and Flavio and she was the greatest blessing to Jothan. The doctor begins digging around in Jothan's foot and can not find a thing. He is about to give up and is cleaning the wound when Jothan flinches and cries out. That is when the doctor notices something pushing out near Jothan's ankle.

This is where my famous Instagram #intheheelouttheankle begins.

{Say. What?}

It went in his heel and out near his ankle.

What we thought was a 'sliver' of a toothpick was in fact about half a toothpick.

I think Jothan was a little excited to get stitches. Emmaree was too. I guess stitches are pretty neat.

We keep the toothpick as a souvenir and on Thanksgiving people sign Jothan's "cast". However, the toothpick gets lost in my brother's room and we scour it for thirty minutes to no avail. The toothpick seems lost to time. Thankfully we have photo evidence. 

I cringe and get a little lightheaded when I think about it too much. There is just something about this little boy. When he gets hurt I turn into a pile of mush. This isn't the first time I have nearly passed out from the thought of him hurting or suffering and not being able to help him.

He is healing so very well and I am so thankful. He was feverish for a day this week and generally pale looking and we were worried about infection, but his meds are doing the job and he looks great!

After all the toothpicks were cleaned up I could begin tying up all of the loose ends for my birthday bash which is tonight!

{I am SO excited.}

This is my first 'friend' birthday party ever. With the exception of one Leisha and Lindsey threw me three years ago...but they tell me it was a family party because we were the only ones there.


So, even though my birthday is six weeks away, I never got to have my dream 30th birthday party. You know what? That is okay, because I am so much better approaching 31 than I was 30. That is what this party is all about...the things I learned when I was 31. Mostly? How to love me and take care of me, and be happy and thankful with me.

Mostly? I found hope. Hope when I didn't think hope was ever possible for me to find.

Hence these babies:

Adorable mini hope charms. Just one of the few little party favors being given out tonight. A labor of love I am so happy to share with my friends.

And this guy:

Who inspired me after reading the words. I am raffling one off tonight at the shindig. It is beautiful.

Go see: Take Nothing for Granted Necklace from The R House Couture

Monday I finished these guys, and packaged them up so pretty.

{Love a good party favor.}

Then it was off to Mom it Forward's service project.

{We used it for our Family Home Evening.}

My kids loved it and it was so much fun to see friends, drink milk, and relax, all while tying blankets for those in need of some snuggles.

Cyber Monday did amazing things for The R House Couture this year. We trumped the prior week's orders by nearly double and a half.


These HUGE piles meant that I got a total of 8 hours of sleep in 48...nearly 72 after a second work night last night. I woke up yesterday looking like this:

This photo got mixed reviews. From "F***** up!" to "Stunning".

{I will let you be the judge, for truly, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.}

Last night brought another long work night and final party prep with some fun previews:

Are you coming?
I would love to see you there. So would Damon and Stefan.

{I am not sure yet if Elaina will be making an appearance.}