Thursday, November 29, 2007

I'll be home for Christmas this year...

We just finished putting our Christmas Tree up and decorating the house with the colorful festiv decor. I even moved some of the furniture around - which to my great surprise actually ended up looking really good. I don't know what it was, but having felt sick most of my 1st trimester, I learned to associate our new home with being sick. It's totally amazing what changing your furniture around a bit can do to make things feel new and fresh! And boy am I glad that in another week I will be finally entering into trimester #2!! Goodbye nausea and hello energy!

Okay so I didn't change that much, but I moved the couches around. It looks new and fresh to me at least. lol.

So far, every other year Will and I switch from going to each other's familys' homes for the holidays. I always get incredibly excited when we get to go to Idaho to the Thomas's because, hello, they have a bajillion kids at their house. With 9 other siblings, Will's home is a great bundle of chaotic Christmas joy. From sleeping on the floor, staying up late playing boardgames, new pajamas, and everyone reminiscing about years past...I thoroughly enjoy our time there.

LOVE this picture! Christmas 2004 - The sisters I had never had: Me with Dalynn, Elizabeth, and Grace

And then when it is our turn to go home to my family's house (who only live an hour north of us), I usually let out a little sigh of sadness.

I didn't grow up with the big family that Will did - I have 3 brothers, and since one of them was adopted in later years I mostly grew up with just 2 brothers for the first part of my childhood. Two of my brothers now live in Utah and they have kids of their own - which makes travelling home for Christmas hard and expensive (not to mention they both have inlaws to visit too now). My other brother lives in Oregon and it's hard for him to travel home too - as he works a lot and goes to school as well.

Christmas 1997 - From left to right: Michael, Shaun, my Mom, Stephen, and I. (My dad is taking the pic).

So it usually ends up being just the four of us: Will, me, and my parents.

I crave to hear some sort of chaotic noise in the house, but it's usually the sound of my dad typing away on the computer, and my mom baking in the kitchen. No kids, no choas, no doors slamming with a pile of wet snowy shoes before you come in. Just the sound of 4 very mature adults (lol) spending time together. I usually tease my parents and beg to "rent a kid" for Christmas just so there can be some childlike wonder on Christmas morning.

But as I was putting the decorations on the tree the other day, I realized that the red bulbs were ones that my mom gave me. Most of the angel ornaments on the tree were from my Grandma. I still have my big huge red homemade stocking that says "JENNIFER" acrossed it even though my parents have since bought newer and nicer stockings for everyone. And as I pulled out the table top garland, I realized I had made it when I was single and tried to make it like my mom would - to remind me of being home at Christmas time. And for the past month I've been listening to A Narada Christmas, which is the CD that my parents always played on Christmas morning when they came to wake us up and find out what Santa brought (even though Will finds it very synthesized and 1980s sounding LOL).

I realized I missed and loved being at home for Christmas time - even if it is just my parents and Will and I.

Then I started pulling out pictures of Christmases past, and they brought me an incredible feeling of happiness and nastalgia. Oh how I wish our entire family could be together again for Christmas! Instead of the usual 6, we would now have... 12 (soon to be 13!). Our family has doubled over the years. But it must mean a lot to my parents that at least Will and I are able to make it home for Christmas - because that is what Christmas is really about: Family. No matter how big or small.

Christmas morning 1980 - my brother Michael and I and the expressions on our face after we've run down the stairs and entered the living room to see what Santa brought.

Christmas 1981 - I was four, Michael was 6. My, how my parents look like Austin Powers and Ferra Fawcett.

Christmas 1982. Mike, me, and our shaggy dog "Yogi". We had Christmas at Grandma's house this year. I think I was 5 years old. Christmas at Grandma and Grandpa's house was always fun because they always had snow and we always went snowmobiling! (By the way, I used to have a birthmark on my chin that was later removed by laser in the 9th grade, so no I didn't make a mess of my face after eating or something. It's just a birthmark).

Ah finally a new sibling! I still remember him when he was this little - that's Stephen, who was the cutest most articulate kid on earth.

Me sitting on Santa's lap at the ward Christmas party. I really did think he was Santa Claus too. Do you like my lederhosen? LOL I think my mom enjoyed dressing me up like Heidi.

Christmas 1984 - We went up into the Blue Moutains near my Grandparents' home and cut down a Christmas tree as well as a bunch of firewood, and played in the snow and drank hot cocoa. This was so much fun! From left to right: Stephen, my Dad, my Mom, my Aunt Leslie, my Grandpa Linsday, (bottom) Grandma Lindsay, Michael, Shaun, and me.

Christmas 1987 - Another Christmas at Grandma and Grandpa's in Pendleton, Oregon. My parents made us dress up and they took all of these pictures of us. Michael had the flu so he was barfing all day (notice the pale face and tired smile). Stephen just wanted to play with his Transformers (he's probably hiding one behind his back). I wanted to get out of this ruffly shirt, and I think Shaun was just happy to be there.

Christmas 1988 - Yep that's me with the cheesy grin and the crimped hair (I got a crimper for Christmas). Notice all the snowflakes on the window too - I made those. lol. I went a little overboard I know. I really wanted it to snow that year!!

All the handsome boys: Christmas 1997. Michael had just gotten home from his mission and was at BYU, Shaun was a highschooler, and if Stephen saw this picture he would refer to himself as a "nerd" with his glasses and combed back hair. And then there's my handsome dad. ;)

This is the same Christmas (1997). I was home from Ricks for Winter Break and was thoroughly excited that we actually had snow that year! So of course we had to take our sled out and go down the driveway a few times.

Christmas 1998 - I had graduated from Ricks College and moved back home. I was totally ga-ga over a guy that year and had a very "important" dance to go to. My dad took me downtown Seattle to Jessica McClintock (the store in the mall that had all the pretty dresses) and bought me this dress for the "Christmas Ball". He called it my Cinderalla Dress. And the dress worked too. I got the guy and we dated for a whole two weeks! lol. (He was my first kiss).

Enter Will. :) 2003! Yay! This was our 2nd date actually. He invited me to come down to Portland to be his date for his single's ward's Christmas Dance. I really hate this picture - because it was taken after we had danced and gotten all sweaty. But I do think Will looks incredibly handsome though.

A few weeks later, Christmas dinner 2003 - I believe this is the last Christmas we had where I wasn't the only sibling that came home. Stephen had just gotten home from his mission and was getting ready to leave for Winter semester at BYU.

Okay so Will and I refer to these pictures as our "Engagement Photos", only because at the time we were "just friends" and yet my dad insisted on taking these Christmas pictures of us. He even had to tell Will to "Put your arm around her! Get comfy!". Which was odd for my dad - he must have really liked Will for him to say that. Talk about awkward! LOL Look how stiff Will is!! Hahaha this picture makes me laugh.

And then here is our "Family Photo". Will actually took all of our family photos. Haha. I actually was really sick that day so when I see these pictures I just see how pale I was and really not wanting to get my picture taken. Will was so cute and nice - he came to visit my family and I on his way back from skiing at Whistler. He brought me some Canadian chocolate. Yum.

Christmas 2004 - We actually went to the Thomas's this year, but my parents happened to be in Salt Lake, so a few days after Christmas we drove down to Utah and we got to spend some time with my family too! Will and I were engaged at this time, and my brother Stephen had just gotten engaged to Ileana. From left to right: Emmy (Mike's wife), Mike, Alexander (Mike's son), my Dad, my Mom, Elena (Mike's daughter). And then along the bottem is me, Will, Ileana, and Stephen.

This was my parents' house last Christmas (we weren't there). Wow they really got piled on with the snow! I think it's beautiful! Check out my dad below measuring the snow.

Dad playing in the snow

And so here we are, Christmas 2007 and I'm excited to be home for Christmas this year! It might just the four of us, but hey we've got a bun in the oven and mom told me that we're having the missionaries over for Christmas dinner. That will be fun. So maybe a housefull afterall.

Mom and Dad, here we come!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Turkey, Travel, and Tickling the Ivories

We just got back today from what seemed like a long weekend, but was relatively short when you consider we only stayed in one town for no longer than 36 hours. Our camera ran out of batteries, so below is the only shot we got at the Thomas's for Thanksgiving. (sorry!)

Above: Mark (Laura's husband), Alisha (Will's sister), and Will all munching on Nacho chips.

The day after Thanksgiving, Will and I drove down to Salt Lake City, where we stayed with my good friend Michele McLaughlin and her husband, Stanley. Stanley is an amazing cook, and he grilled us up his famous "mixed grill" which included different flavored/marinated meats from beef, chicken, sausages to salmon and german weinershnitzels. Yummmm.

Saturday, the four of us went down to Baldassin pianos in the early afternoon to make sure everything was squared away for our concert that evening - as there seemed to be a mixup with the pianos. We were originally going to perform on a 7 foot Fazioli, but it sold and so we ended up getting to perform on their absolutely stunning 9 foot Fazioli. Michele and I both had to agree that it was one of the most perfect pianos made. If only I had $180,000...

The Baldassins were so accomodating to us - provided us with a green room (a dressing room), bottled water and anything else we needed to be comfortable.

We do have a lot of video footage of the concert, and pre-concert - but it's at Michele's house right now (she is putting it onto DVD for me). So I'll be able to post some footage later.

Above: Michele performing during the concert
Above: Me talking to the audience, asking how the UofU vs. BYU game went. Whoa...that really broke the ice with the audience. They were more than enthusiastic.
Above: Me at the Fazioli performing. Remember, I'm not fat - I'm pregnant!

Above: Will, can I take this piano home with us? Pretty please?

Above: Me with my good friend, Lori-ann, who is a musician/composer from SLC

Me, again, talking to the audience

And then, after a long 15 hour car trip, we finally made it home today. Our house was freezing so I've had the heaters turned up all day trying to warm up the place. Will had to immediately go into work, so I've just been trying to get caught up on blogs, emails, etc. I think I am going to get the Christmas tree set up tonight. :) I'm so excited.

For those of you in Seattle - I would love to see you at my Seattle concert. It's December 8th, 2007 at 7pm. Details are here:

Monday, November 19, 2007

Pre-Thanksgiving Dinner

Yesterday we had a little "Pre-Thanksgiving" dinner at our place. We were pretty excited to finally get to actually use our big dining room table for more than just the two of us. The funny thing was as we were putting in the extra leafs, Will laughs and says "This is how big our kitchen table was all of the time!" (10 kids in his family).

Dinner was soooooo good and everyone got completely stuffed. We had all the traditional trimmings...turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, homemade rolls, yams, cranberry salad, olives & pickles, fruit cocktail, pumpkin pie and apple pie....

After dinner, Erika, Briana and I entertained everyone with some music, but only after Will and Aaron took their turns at the piano. Will played for us "Birthday Party" from when he was taking piano lessons at 8 years old, and Aaron played a one-handed snippet from the Nutcracker. Wow, they were really hard acts to follow let me tell you.

Michael, Kate, Loretta, and Rolf

Katie - the best entertainment all night long

Ah and now we get to what people looked like after dinner - Briana and Mike


Loretta and Rolf

Aaron and triptophan taking effect

Okay, maybe not everyone got the after-dinner sleepies. Erika licking her pie plates, and Jayne....I don't know. LOL

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Wanna come to my concerts?

I have two concerts coming up, well three actually. So I guess I will tell you about the 3rd one too. And then I'm taking a sabbatical from performing because I just don't think anyone will want to see a big pregnant woman playing the piano come next spring.

My SLC show is almost sold out, but for my Seattle show we still have several seats available. So all you friends in the NW - I need your support! :) Jace Vek is flying all the way out from Pennsylvania to perform with me, and so I want to show him some good Northwest hospitality.

1st up - Salt Lake City - next weekend!

Saturday, November 24th, 2007 (Thanksgiving weekend)- 7:00 p.m.
$5.00 per person

>>>Order Tickets Now<<<

One evening only, two talented women, one Fazioli piano.

You'll already have stuffed yourself with turkey and pumpkin pie, and be bored of playing Phase Ten for the hundredth time with your cousins. Spend your Thanksgiving Saturday night the classy way...

Don't miss this opportunity to see Jennifer and Michele play live together on one of the most amazing pianos in the world and in one of the best intimate concert venues in Salt Lake City. Order your e-tickets exclusively here. Seating is limited, so order now! You will receive your tickets via email. Just print and bring with you to the door. Children 6 and up are invited.

2nd one - Seattle - Benaroya Hall - Dec. 8th

Saturday, December 8th, 2007 - 7:00 p.m.
$10.00 per person
>>>Order Tickets Now<<<

Fire is bound to erupt on the piano as these two "classical crossover" pianist/composers showcase their passionate original music in a rare concert. Two-time Emmy Award winning composer Jace Vek will join Jennifer Thomas live in concert at Seattle Benaroya Hall's intimate Soundbridge recital hall. Seating will be limited to 60, so please order tickets now! Children 6 and up are invited.

“ Key of Sea” is a stunning debut from pianist/composer/violinist Jenni Thomas. Although it is very soothing, Thomas’ music packs a very powerful punch both musically and emotionally. Thomas’ technique is flawless and jaw-dropping in its precision and agility. From one pianist to another, wow!...“Key of Sea” is an awesome debut, and presents a very exciting beginning! Very highly recommended !" - Kathy Parsons, Solo Piano Publications

"I have been completely blown away by the piano performance and compositions of Jace Vek- He is equally talented in both fields, and I truly enjoyed performing with him." -Marvin Hamlisch- Critically acclaimed composer, Winner of three Oscars, four Grammys, four Emmys, three Golden Globes and the Pulitzer Prize for music

Soundbridge (located on the northwest corner of Benaroya Hall)

200 University Street • Seattle, WA 98101• Seattle Symphony website


3rd concert - Marysville Stake Christmas Concert

Sunday, December 16th, 2007 - 7pm
Marysville Stake Center
17222 43rd Ave NE
Arlington, WA 98223

I have been working really hard on a new version of "O Holy Night" for soprano and piano. My good friend Erika Nisbet will be the soloist. This is always quite the production and each year they usually get an audience of around 1,500 people.

I hope to see some of you at these gigs! And by the way, does anyone have any dressy maternity shirts or dresses that I can borrow? Or just free flowing dressy shirts? LOL

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Will the Photographer

Last Saturday Will and I went on a date! We went down to the Seattle Science Center (where the Space Needle is), and we walked around and looked at all of the exhibits, went to the IMAX film, saw lots of dinosaur bones, and went through a tropical butterfly house. Will whipped out the camera and took these shots of the specimens.

Green butterfly

pretty blue butterfly

interesting tiger striped butterfly

pretty black and red butterfly

weird orange butterfly

polka dotted butterfly

um...not sure what kind of specimens these were.

Monday, November 12, 2007


Okay so Laura tagged us, or me, whatever, and then Elizabeth tagged Will. I know Will won't do this, and I can't believe I am either because I just don't think anyone will actually read this because I'm just not that interesting. lol. Sorry if you are bored. And I'm changing it from 5 things to 3 things each...

3 things I was doing 10 years ago (1997)
1. I was a sophomore at Ricks college
2. I was practicing 7 hours a day for a concerto competition that year
3. Dating

3 things I was doing 5 years ago (2002)
1. I was dating Steve Casper
2. I bought my 1st new car - a black 2002 VW Jetta
3. I won a concerto competition and performed a piano concerto with a full symphony orchestra

3 things I was doing 1 year ago (2006)
1. Recording an album
2. I was skinnier LOL (I was going to the gym 6 days a week and burning 1,000 cal a day)
3. Managing apartments with Will

3 snacks I really enjoy
Right now?? Okay, but this is going to be weird.
1. Bacon, bacon, and more bacon
2. Apples
3. Popcorn

3 things I did yesterday
1. Went to church
2. Watched "George of the Jungle" with Will
3. Snuggled with Will

3 jobs I've had
1. Fraud Investigator for eBay
2. Waitress
3. Pianist at a hotel

3 things I would do if i had a million dollars
Will would do this totally different, but if it were ME, this is my anwer (though I should probably do what Will would do):
1. Buy a Fazioli piano
2. Buy a home
3. Go on a nice vacation with Will

3 tv shows I like
We don't have TV

3 things I hate doing
1. Folding laundry
2. Math
3. Getting up when it's still dark outside

3 biggest joys of the moment
1. My Marriage
2. Being pregnant (though I don't enjoy being nauseous and bloated)
3. My marriage, I love Will so much and he is the best thing that has ever happened to me more than anything of the past. I look forward to spending a lifetime plus eternity with him.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Guess what tonight is??

This blog is dedicated to Will and his brother Daniel, who are just a little CRAZY about skiing.

Tonight we're following our annual tradition of attending this year's Warren Miller ski movie.

In honor of this tradition, a moment of silence please.

(This is how I really feel about going to Warren Miller ski movies)

I'm joking of course. I enjoy sitting through 2 hours of punk music and watching people jumping off of cliffs on skis. lol. I remember my very first Warren Miller Ski movie - it was "Steeper and Deeper" from like 1992 or something....the ski pants were hot pink, the ski lifts were slow, and Warren still narrated.

Earlier this year, we were invited to join Daniel, Dalynn, and Tessha to go skiing and stay at a timeshare at Whistler. On one of the days we were skiing, Will and I were riding a ski lift up and we could see below us a guy in a yellow ski jacket who was getting ready to jump a rather dangerous and steep drop off. We were anxious to see him biff it and excitedly watched, as we said "Whoa!".

As we got closer to the guy, we realized, "Hey, that's Daniel!!" LOL

Now I understand why he wears a helmet when he skis.

Daniel and Dalynn - see you guys tonight in Olympia!