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Why We Have Sisters – A Birthday Blog

Dated: 20 Jan 2010
Posted by Rachel Coleman
Category: Behind the Signing Time Scenes
5 Comments

Is it cheating to write a blog, post it elsewhere, and then link to it from your main blog? No. I think not and so I shall. You know how I don’t send Christmas cards, well I don’t send Birthday cards either, this is all I’ve got.
GO! Click! Read!

From Rachel: Happy Birthday Emilie!
I was four years old and she was eight when we decided that we were best friends.

“You’re my best,” she said.

“You’re my best, too.” I answered.

And that’s how it was.

In some ways it was a simple rendition of the reality-TV show Survivor – Emilie and I had an early alliance. We had to, you see; in a family of nine kids, there were ongoing battles with the other siblings, and even though it seemed that it might be easier at times to join forces with the stronger ones, Emilie and I instinctively stuck together.

I was good at flying under the radar. Emilie was not…

(Seriously! Click now!)

It’s My Party… I’ll Have a Sale if I Want To

Dated: 8 Oct 2009
Posted by Rachel Coleman
Category: Crazy Little Thing Called Life
38 Comments

Today is a special day, a special day it’s true! October 9th, is my birthday!

I giggled when I opened my email and received a “Happy Birthday” message from Signing Time, because when I opened that email, I got to see me… singing, and signing to… me. Trust me, it’s a little surreal sometimes.

This year I am 35 whopping years old. Can I get a “whoop whoop!”
I just got back from Washington D.C. and honestly have been traveling so much that I forgot it was my birthday. Leah was in D.C. with me and asked, “Mom, are you excited for the day after tomorrow?” I had no idea what she meant, “Am I excited for Friday? Sure! Who doesn’t love the weekend?”

As far as I know, I currently have no birthday plans, other than unpacking my bags and doing some laundry (hint, hint Aaron) So, I am having a sale! (It’s easier than having a party… very little clean up with a sale) And you my friend, you are invited!

The details came out in the Signing Time Newsletter. (Join it if you haven’t already)

I can’t remember a time we’ve had a sale this big, but then again I have never been this old… so who knows!

The coupon code is in the message below. Feel free to share the video with others, so they can celebrate too. And remember, when October 9th is over… so is the sale!

Visit the Signing Time Store to use the coupon.

La-di-da-di Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday All Day Long!

I Still Love Oregon

Dated: 4 Oct 2009
Posted by Rachel Coleman
Category: Crazy Little Thing Called Life
32 Comments

Ever start writing a blog and just end up boring yourself? I’ve had 2 sitting on my desktop with no compelling reason to complete them. They’re just not good.

So, instead I am going to invite you to check out Oregon with me!

I flew in to Portland on Thursday night. Lindsey (remember her?) was flying in a few hours later, since she had a college class that she just couldn’t miss. I never fly in on the last flight of the day, because if it is cancelled, or I miss it, well, there is no Signing Time event the next day. So, I took and earlier flight and Linds took the last flight.

It’s been awhile since I traveled with Lindsey. Luckily, Lindsey was able to come along, since it is just too early to leave Lucy with a sitter. Lucy was only 2 weeks post-op.

Lucy’s surgeries went really well!

Lucy Wakes Up to a Garden of Balloons

Lucy Wakes Up to a Garden of Balloons

She had three procedures and it took 6 hours. She is very resilient.

Feeling Better

Feeling Better

For this Oregon trip, Aaron stayed home with Leah and Lucy.

While waiting for Lindsey’s flight to arrive, I knew I would have about 4 hours to kill… so I picked up a ticket to see The Killers, who were playing that very night. (Yay for me!) No, I am not afraid of going to concerts or movies by myself.
The Killers in Portland

The show was amazing. It is my goal to get Baby Signing Time to the lead singer, Brandon Flowers, he has a newborn and a toddler and I would love for them to sign with me… since my family sings along with him.

After the show, I picked up Lindsey and we dove 80 miles to Cannon Beach. We checked in and hit the sack. The bummer with driving in the middle of the night is you miss the beauty.

In the morning we met up with Debbie, whose organization brought us out there, and we had brunch at a place called Wanda’s. This was the first of many AMAZING meals we would have on this trip. I had oatmeal… oatmeal… and it knocked my socks off. I mean really, how often can you say you’ve had an amazing bowl of oatmeal? … Me neither! Though, you are more likely thinking, “You ordered oatmeal? Who orders oatmeal?” I do. Okay? I order oatmeal.

Next we visited Nehalem Elementary School. I shared a sign language story time with the Life Skills Class. Then did a Signing Time Assembly for the entire school.

It was still fairly early in the day, so Linds and I drove back to our inn and threw on our swimsuits (silly California girl!) and hopped back into our PT Cruiser and started driving the coast. We pulled over to get our toes in the sand.

Walking The Beach

Walking The Beach

Yes, I brought longsleeves

Yes, I brought longsleeves

Picking up Sand Dollars

Picking up Sand Dollars

We always ask the locals for dinner recommendations and this time we were pointed toward “The best seafood!” a restaurant called Pirate’s Cove.

So Good!

So Good!

Need I say more?

We drove back to the inn, stopping to pick wild blackberries and raspberries that seemed to run rampant everywhere we looked.

Blackberries Make Us Happy

Blackberries Make Us Happy

The following morning was the Buddy Walk at the Beach, in Seaside. The weather was perfect. The walk was just the right length.

I got to meet Lucy’s personal Fan Club, little Dru.

Dru Loves Lucy Coleman

Dru Loves Lucy Coleman

Then it was time to walk.

Walking in the Buddy Walk

Walking in the Buddy Walk

We all gathered for a photo on the stairs that lead to the beach. It felt like a “Where’s Waldo” scene, since most everyone had their Buddy Walk shirts on and I was wearing my signature orange.

Where's Waldo?

Where's Waldo?

Lucy’s buddy, Josiah and his family were there. You may have seen Josiah in “The Great Outdoors” exploring on his crutches or smiling next to Lucy. Josiah and Lucy go WAY back. Josiah’s mom, Gina, was the 77th fetal surgery for spina bifida patient and Lucy and I were the 82nd patients. While on bed rest we got to know each other and kept tabs on the progress of these special kids.

It's Always Fun to See Friends

It's Always Fun to See Friends

We all made our way to the Convention Center where my Signing Time performance would be. Before singing Caterpillar Dreams, I introduced Josiah to everyone. It was sweet to see him on the screen behind me and to see how much he has grown since we filmed those scenes.

When most everyone had left, I noticed some bumper boats for rent nearby. Lindsey and I put everything in the car and then ran down to rent bumper boats.

Bring it!

Bring it!

There was an option to rent water guns as well. At first we loved the idea, but on second thought… that water looked uncomfortably brown.

The Eye of The Tiger

The Eye of The Tiger

We packed up and decided to drive some more. The landscape was eerily familiar and we realized that this must be where they filmed the movie Goonies.

Tell Me That Rock is Not From Goonies

Tell Me That Rock is Not From Goonies

A google search later that evening confirmed that hunch. For what it’s worth Kindergarten Cop was also filmed in that area.

After that we went to the Tillamook Cheese Factory for grilled cheese sandwiches and ice cream cones.

Tillamook Cheese Factory

Tillamook Cheese Factory


We toured the factory and of course tried out the samples. My favorite? Horseradish Cheddar.
Don't Forget the Extra Cheese!

Don't Forget the Extra Cheese!


When the factory closed, we drove to Portland, since we were flying out in the morning.

I love Oregon! I know, I have said it before, but I do. That place just speaks to my soul. The greens are so green! The landscape transitions so abrupt. Who puts a beach right next to a forest?

The Coast is Calling

The Coast is Calling

I have loved traveling for the Signing Time events in Salem and Klamath last year and when I was 19, my girl friend, Jessica and I had hopped in my VW Bus and drove to Eugene on a whim.

I am trying to figure out the best way to get more of Oregon? Should we take a week or two and drive the coast this summer? Camp? Camper? Bed & Breakfast? Should we move to the coast for a month? What is the best way to get more Oregon? Should I sign up for the STP 2010 (Seattle to Portland Bike Race).

I don’t know how, and I don’t know when, and even worse I don’t know why! Something is pulling me toward Oregon.

I’m Pretty Much an Astronaut!

Dated: 15 Jun 2009
Posted by Rachel Coleman
Category: Behind the Signing Time Scenes
30 Comments

When I was a little girl I wanted to be a marine biologist, as well as the typical stuff, a vet, a mom, a teacher etc. I also wanted to be an astronaut. Sure, the astronaut stint was around the time the movie Space Camp came out. I saw that movie ten times, at least.

My dreams of space faded when I found out just how much math is involved with becoming any scientific type and way back then we didn’t have computers easily available to do our math for us… “When I was a kid we had to count on our fingers, instead of downloading iPhone apps to do it!”

With that my NASA dreams faded… that was 1986.

…UNTIL…
In the year 2009 I received a call. NASA wanted me! I had arrived! No, they didn’t want me to go to space, but they wanted me to come to The Kennedy Space Center and speak at their Spring Diversity Program, “It’s About Ability!” – There wasn’t even math involved!

And… the coolest part (although there are A LOT of coolest parts in this story) was that after my presentation, I was invited on a 4 hour, VIP tour of NASA. (Move over Space Camp! You can keep your freeze-dried ice cream!)

Aaron and I arrived at Cape Canaveral. (I could bring one assistant and my current assistant (sidekick) is in school full time, AND this was a once in a lifetime opportunity, so what better side kick than my spouse?) The morning of the event we checked in at security, earlier in the month we had to provide al kinds of personal information in order to obtain security clearance. Let’s just say that I now have government clearance… probably top secret too, except I am not really allowed to tell you that… so shhhh, keep it on the down low!

NASA has THE BEST dot matrix photo ID printouts I have ever seen. Not kidding, Costco has nothing on NASA. My Season Pass at Snowbird looks like a child’s scribble compared to the perfection NASA produced. The worst picture ID card is from our neighborhood Recreation Center, and no, I am not saying that only because they took the photo AFTER I had worked out. (blech!) I am just saying they could REALLY learn a thing or two from NASA!

Once we got through security (we actually had to take a paper number out of one of those dispensers, which reminds you- oh, yeah, this IS a government agency like the Post Office) Bonni (should I have changed your name to protect the innocent?) took us to our first event.

NASA has a daycare.

The Child Development Center

The Child Development Center

Luckily it says Solar System, not Planets

Luckily it says Solar System, not Planets

Yep, scientists and technicians and engineers have children too you know. We pull up to the Day Care and the fire alarm goes off. (Luckily it’s only a drill) They passed the drill and everyone went back inside. When the kids were settled again we came in. Once inside, I heard whispers “sh, sh rainbow lady shh shhh rainbow lady” and then the noise got louder and clearer. “The Rainbow Lady!! THE RAINBOW LADY!!” They shouted.
T H E R A I N B O W L A D Y ! ! ! !

Hmmm… I’ve never been called that before, but it works. I came in, talked with the kids, read some stories and then asked them if they knew any Signing Time songs… they answered by bursting into song; “DO YOU KNOW THE COLORS OF OUR RAINBOW?” –at the top of their lungs. They sang the whole thing a ca pella. I stood there grinning. Their teachers were beaming. This was awesome!

Next we went to an auditorium, where the event, for the adults, was taking place. The auditorium holds a couple hundred, but my presentation would be filmed and broadcast over NASA TV where more than 10,000 people could access it. (just breathe)

I shared my family’s story and shared with them the amazing things that Leah and Lucy have taught me about how to treat people with disabilities and how each time I meet someone with a disability I get to learn something about myself.

Half-way through my presentation the 4 year-olds from the daycare came and showed off their mad signing skills, by performing “Colors of The Rainbow” with me for all the grown-ups. They did great!

I ended the presentation by sharing part of an interview I did with Lucy. I had asked her how it is to be in a wheelchair. Lucy’s insight continually blows my mind. She has a perspective I may never have and she shares it so brilliantly! She said, “I think when people see me, they see a little girl in a wheelchair, but when I see myself, I see a beautiful little girl!”

I could only follow that up with “Caterpillar Dreams.”

Then it was time to start our VIP tour! As we started out, we were told, “Feel free to ask any questions.”… I said, “I don’t even know enough about this to have any questions!”

Serious International Space Station!

The name says it all

The name says it all

This is a real model of the space station, but not THE real space station

This is a real model of the space station, but not THE real space station

Our VIP tour took us onto THE floor of the International Space Station Processing Facility.

The Leonardo

The Leonardo

Holy Orbiter Batman!

One of three buildings for processing orbiters

One of three buildings for processing orbiters

Aaron and I were under, over and right next to the Orbiter Discovery. Too cool!

Above and facing the cockpit

Above and facing the cockpit

Underneath Discovery

Underneath Discovery

The wings are covered to keep them protected

The wings are covered to keep them protected

Cargo area

Cargo area

Everyone in Acronyms!

Vehicle Assembly Building

Vehicle Assembly Building

We went through the VAB (Vehicle Assembly Building) one of the most recognizable buildings at The Kennedy Space Center. The stars on the American flag up there are 6 feet from point to point and they say you can drive a bus down those stripes… if you could get the bus to stick at that angle.

Next we went out to the shuttle launch pads. Both the Atlantis and the Endeavour were on launch pads, it’s pretty uncommon to see two shuttles on the launch pads at the same time.

The Endeavour is ready to go

The Endeavour is ready to go

The Atlantis is also ready to go

The Atlantis is also ready to go

Why Did The Turtle Cross The Road?

Move along little turtle

Move along little turtle

While driving from one launch pad to another, we stopped to move a turtle off the road… this is the sign for TURTLE. We joked that most likely, after we moved it to safety, it was snapped up by an alligator. We really did see alligators on the property too. Ah, the circle of life.

All Day and Night Crawler

This thing is massive!

This thing is massive!

Each cleat weighs 1 ton

Each cleat weighs 1 ton

The Crawler is about the size of a baseball diamond. It weighs 6 million pounds unloaded. It takes the shuttle and the mobile launcher platform from the VAB to the launch pad very, very slowly. One mile per hour! When loaded up with the shuttle it weighs 12 million pounds… and that is just way beyond my comprehension… too many pounds, just too many.

All I have to say is this, anyone who really believes the whole landing on the moon thing was a hoax is a complete dingbat… or else this is THE most elaborate government cover-up known to man. Who’s going to build 3 orbiters and pretend to service them for years and then fake a bunch of launches and landings? (Don’t answer that… just don’t.)

Thank you Bonni, Stephanie and Eric and all who took care of us and made this event so memorable! (Including you Tim!) Thank you NASA!

My Space Camp desire is currently quenched, with little to no mathematics. My 12 year-old self is at peace.

Who knows… maybe next year I will be invited to speak at Area 51. You know, they say it’s easier to cross a signed language barrier than a spoken language barrier. So, let me at those extraterrestrials, I bet I could teach those Aliens a sign or two!

Another Word About Public Television

Dated: 5 Mar 2009
Posted by Rachel Coleman
Category: Behind the Signing Time Scenes
30 Comments

Those of you who read this blog know that Emilie and I took Signing Time off the air because we do not have a sponsor and we cannot continue funding TV production without one. For those of you who are new to this conversation here is a brief recap of my previous post.

• As of October 2008 Signing Time is no longer on public television.

• Having Signing Time on public television has been a WONDERFUL experience. The stations and our distributor American Public Television have been fantastic to work with. You, the viewers have been loyal and supportive.

• Two Little Hands is not paid to be on public TV, in fact we pay to produce the episodes.

• Most children’s shows that are on public TV have a sponsor–a company or foundation that pays for production. To date Signing Time has not secured a sponsor.

• We simply cannot afford to produce episodes for public television without a sponsor.

• Many of you have asked what you can do to help. If you have a relationship with a business or foundation that you believe would be a great sponsor for Signing Time, share your experience with them and invite them to consider sponsorship.

• We hope to have Signing Time back on television!

As you know from reading my blog or attending outreach events all over the country, public TV stations are our partners. They chose to share Signing Time with their viewers. Our distributor American Public Television and many of the stations are disappointed in losing Signing Time, too. Many have told us that they want Signing Time back on the air. We are so thankful for their support! They have gone the extra mile to support the mission of Signing Time. We hope you support your local public television station and thank them for airing great shows like Signing Time.

If you, or your friends or family members are upset about Signing Time going off the air, please understand that it is not because stations cancelled the show. It is because Signing Time needs a sponsor (or to win the lottery! ;) If you need to vent, vent here on this blog. If you want to write a letter, write it to an organization that you believe would be an appropriate sponsor for Signing Time on public television.

We love you guys! Thanks for your support of the mission of Signing Time!

Rachel & Emilie

Merry Christmas! Songs from Rachel and Alex

Dated: 24 Dec 2008
Posted by Rachel Coleman
Category: Behind the Signing Time Scenes
29 Comments

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Kwanzaa! Happy Holidays! Happy New Year!

We hope you are celebrating and making memories with your friends and family.  

This year, at our Signing Time Christmas Party, we filmed a couple of songs for you. I hope you enjoy them!

“What Child Is This?”
Rachel Coleman

Get the Flash Player to see this content.

“Could I Hold The Baby?”
Alex Brown

Get the Flash Player to see this content.

Happy Holidays!

Love~
Rachel, Alex, Leah, and everyone at Two Little Hands Productions

Being Thankful… for Leah

Dated: 8 Dec 2008
Posted by Rachel Coleman
Category: Crazy Little Thing Called Life
75 Comments

Being Thankful for Leah

Thanksgiving is over…
and Leah’s birthday is today. She’s 12! (I KNOW, just go back and watch My First Signs and she will continue to live on as a 4 year-old and we can all just pretend that 12 isn’t happening!!)

The night before Thanksgiving, I was thinking about the things I am thankful for and then I thought that I could probably surprise myself by actually diving into my journals and reading how it really was. I have 10 journals, so I opened one up to see what year and what thoughts it held… The first one I opened was from 6 years ago. The entry written about the Christmas after we shot Signing Time 2 and 3.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
December 29, 2002 – Salt Lake City, UT

Christmas was hard. We had nothing and could give little, even to our own kids. Aaron and I didn’t give each other gifts. Two days before Christmas my dad gave us $200. The next day my sister Julie gave us $200. We were then able to get Leah a bike and a Gameboy. She also got all of her Signing Time wardrobe clothes and the “Leah Doll” – it was pretty humbling.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

After I read that I called Aaron in. I read it to him and we both sat there stunned. We had to think, really hard to even remember that Christmas. The following morning, Thanksgiving Day, I pulled my dad and my sister Julie aside and thanked them for giving us Christmas 6 years ago. Neither one of them vividly remembered helping us out. Just as I didn’t vividly remember the Christmas we really needed help. If it hadn’t been in my journal, would their generosity and our need have been entirely forgotten?

Then I couldn’t stop. Each night I have poured over my journals. It’s been painful. It’s been funny. It’s been an interesting journey, to say the least. My journals are stuffed with concert tickets, notes, postcards, scribbles from Leah, photos, and songs I have written.

I dug deeper in time, reading the details of Leah’s birth and then found this:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
December 10, 1996 – Salt Lake City, UT

… Aaron said, “It’s a GIRL!!!”
I started crying, “My baby, my baby girl!”
Aaron kissed me and said, “It’s Leah.”
Leah Jane Coleman. Leah who was called Anna before her birth. Leah who’d kick my ribs, (and sometimes my heart, it seemed) Leah who pushed against my guitar during all of those shows. Leah who gave me the feeling while singing “In Silence.”

Little Leah Jane whose daddy would run his fingers over my belly and say “Here’s your spider, here comes your spider!” Leah whose heels and knees I could slide around, whose little leg would press out hard as I massaged it. Leah with hiccups- Leah at 1:00AM and 10:30AM playtime.

Leah, who I threw up every day for. Leah who I prayed about and worried about. Leah, who made me what I’ve wanted to be most for years – a mom. My little girl’s mommy.

Leah with me while I hiked in Boulder, Utah. Leah in Bryce Canyon. Leah hiking the Zion’s Narrows. She’s my little girl. My sweet little girl now and for always. I love my daughter more than she may ever know.

It’s 3:20AM and I’m crying my eyes out. You’re here asleep next to me and your dad’s on the other side of you and that’s where we will always be, right beside you.

I love you so much. I love you more than you may ever know, maybe when you have a girl of your own. Goodnight my sweet girl, pleasant dreams. I’m so glad you are here with us. I love you, I love you – I LOVE YOU!”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I went forward in my journal, looking a year after Leah’s birth to find little bits and pieces. Confused entries about Leah’s hearing. Just a line here and there. Things like:

“We don’t know if she can hear us.”
“She has fluid in her ears, but her pediatrician thinks it’s more than that…”
“We can’t get in for the ABR test for 6 more weeks!”
“Still no answer on Janey’s ears.”

No answers in my journal for months and then I found this:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
March 31, 1998 Tuesday
Salt Lake City, UT

I don’t know if I’ve ever felt so alone in my whole life. I feel like there is no one I can talk to because no one would understand why I’m crying. Actually I think they would misunderstand. I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me or for Janey. I don’t want to call our families and tell them what “PK” the audiologist told us today. Half of my tears are simply tears of relief. The wondering and questions are done. A tearful release of 2 1/2 months- fears, hopes, anticipation and prayers.

I know it’s not helpful but I can only blame myself, and it’s eating me up inside. I think that in his heart Aaron blames me too. In only these past few months people have asked if Jane’s hearing loss is because of my band. And playing and practicing while I was pregnant. People ask. Or they say “boy that must be devastating with you being a musician and music meaning so much.” Do they really think I give a S#*! about my music in comparison to my DAUGHTER?

I’d never sing or play another note if it mattered. Music is nothing to me. Leah Jane is my world. She is wonderful. She is beautiful. I feel like the biggest obstacle in her way is me. I don’t know sign language. I came so close to learning it, so many times. But I didn’t. I feel bewildered. But I feel thankful that we caught it as early as we did….

….We may never know what caused it, or if she as born with it. “Deaf” is such an uncomfortable word for me to use. In a way I am glad that I didn’t know when she was born. Maybe I would’ve treated her differently. Maybe I’d be totally over protective. Everyone would’ve treated her a little different. But now I have had 16 months of Janey. And treating her like a regular kid (except that she is more awesome than most kids)…

…I know of 3 people who are deaf. I’ve had conversations with only one of them ever. I hardly know what the term means. I remember the deaf kids in Jr. High and High school. I sure could not tell you any of their names. They all stayed together with their interpreter and I never gave them a second thought.

Severe – Moderate – Mild mean so little all your life. But today, I was told my daughter has a severe hearing loss. And I still barely grasp the concept. But the word SEVERE is clanging around in my brain. SEVERE? What does that mean? And what does deaf mean? Is there a scale to measure it on? If hearing aids help you are you still deaf?

She can sign a few words now. MOMMY, SLEEP, EAT, SHOES, THANK YOU, BIRD. When I teach a sign she always “rolls it and rolls it and sticks it with a B”

She has the most beautiful lips and puckers for kisses. She also puckers when I tell her “NO” because it looks like kisses. How can I keep a straight face when she does that?
When she gets frustrated she hits her head with her hands, or on the floor.

When she’s nursing, she looks up at me then squeezes both eyes shut tight and then pops them open. She nurses, and the corners of her mouth turn up in a smile. Maybe she’s never heard me say the WORDS I love you. But you know what? It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter at all. She probably knows it more than most kids who hear it every day.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A few weeks ago Leah and I were talking. She asked me how I felt when I found out she was deaf. I told her, “I was distraught. I cried. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. I was scared.”

Leah smiled at me and said, “That’s so funny mom. You thought it was terrible and now you know it’s not.”

She’s right.

Wasatch Woman of The Year

Dated: 3 Dec 2008
Posted by Rachel Coleman
Category: Behind the Signing Time Scenes
23 Comments

How perfect! The day after I posted about Marcus, I got a call saying that I had not only been nominated, but won Wasatch Woman Magazine‘s – Wasatch Woman of the Year Award for 2009!

How cool is that? I was nominated (by a fabulous Signing Time fan, Tammy T., who will receive all sorts of cool Signing Time swag!) under the business category, but I won the overall award!!!

That also meant I had a photo shoot coming up and would be on the cover of the magazine. I figured what a perfect chance to take you all along!

Now remember, Thursday I found out there would be a shoot on Tuesday. I quickly made the necessary calls.

First, I called Michael, who does my hair. My roots had grown out about 2 inches. His schedule is pretty tight and to get in before Tuesday when salons are closed on Mondays??? You get my dilemma, I know you do. The call went like this, “Hi Michael, It’s Rachel – hey I have a shoot Tuesday and HAVE to get into see you. Please call me ASAP!”

The next call was to Marcus and I left him a message like this, “Hi Marcus, it’s Rachel. I have a shoot on Tuesday any great ideas? It’s a magazine cover and I am supposed to bring 3 changes of clothes. I am thinking bold and bright. I also have my dirty Signing Time clothes in my trunk. Heh, sorry about that. Call me.”

Then I made an appointment to get my nails filled, because they were about as bad as my roots.
*Little Secret* I am not a girly girl. I only get my hair and nails done when I have a shoot or an appearance or a performance. It makes me crazy to spend an hour in a nail salon or three hours in a hair salon. I NEVER wore make-up or used a hair dryer in my real life prior to Signing Time. I learned everything I know about hair and make-up from our crew. In high school, Emilie did my hair and make-up for important occasions, like dances.

Now, when I get ready in the morning, if I have a meeting or something, Aaron says, “Let me get this straight… are you going to do your hair and make-up EVERY morning for the rest of our lives?” The other day I went to work with a baseball cap on a ponytail. I think he was relieved. When I have a shoot and come home with all that make-up on, he asks, politely, if I plan on washing it off or just hanging out that way for the rest of the day. He thinks make-up is pretty gross and I think he misses his “granola” wife!

1996

1996

1998

1998

2008 crunch

2008 crunch

Michael called me back and scheduled me for Saturday. Marcus called me back and said we could shop after my hair appointment. Saturday was also the University of Utah vs BYU football game and Aaron had tickets. This meant Leah and Lucy would be with me for three fun filled hours of salon and then a long shopping trip.

Saturday I loaded up the girls and got to the salon. They took my iPhone and stayed pretty busy, taking pictures of me and of each other.

Bye-bye roots

Bye-bye roots

Not bored yet

Not bored yet


Then the esthetician took pity on them and offered to paint their nails for free.

We loaded back in the car and called Marcus. We met Marcus for dinner and then dove into Anthropologie. Leah and Lucy ran/rolled around, trying on hats and giving me the “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” as I tried on countless outfits.

Round 1

Round 1

Round 2

Round 2

Round 3

Round 3


Finally we had narrowed it down to 2 outfits and I told Marcus I would bring some other options from home on the day of the shoot.

Fast forward to Tuesday morning. I got up at 7, loaded my car with clothes, shoes and jewelry and got to my hair and make-up appointment at 8 at Tranquility. I arrived at Cafe Niche for the shoot at 9:30.

Cafe Niche

Cafe Niche

Marcus had been there for 15 minutes. The rolling rack was set up and everything was steamed. Lindsey was already there too.

The art director took a look at my clothing options and we decided to go with 3 different looks, since the plan was to have me on the cover and photos inside with my story. Look #1 was some stuff I just brought from home, the art director said my collar had a personality all its own, so Marcus took that as a cue to use his toupee tape and mold that collar, forcing it to follow his artistic whims.

Hair and wardrobe

Hair and wardrobe

Final touch-ups

Final touch-ups

More make-up

More make-up

The photographer, Michael Calanan was great. As I am SURE you can imagine, I am a pretty demanding subject, especially because I RARELY smile. :)

Look #2… I can’t even remember, I guess we will see when the magazine comes out. Maybe the red/orange top and jeans.

While I waited I figured I could probably talk Marcus into taking a picture with me so you can all meet him officially! I even put it up on Twitter that very day. (NOTICE the toupee tape stuck to the top of his hand!! In case of emergency, ya know!)

Toupee Tape - don't leave home without it

Toupee Tape - don't leave home without it

They were shooting all the winners for each category. I wasn’t in a hurry, so I called Aaron and asked him to meet me there. That way we could have lunch after the shoot.

Look #3 was a dress we found at Anthro. They wanted to shoot it on a white wall, but the only white wall had someone sitting at a table eating in front of it. We finally shot it outside against a white shed.

We wrapped around 3pm. Aaron and I ate lunch.

Marcus loaded out… still sporting toupee tape on his hand :) and that fanny pack is filled with all the secrets I shared before. So- he is allowed to wear a fanny pack.

If Marcus is happy, I'm happy

If Marcus is happy, I'm happy

The end!
Oh, sort of the end. I will be featured in the January/February issue. I am even supposed to be on the cover!

My Peeps – Marcus

Dated: 20 Nov 2008
Posted by Rachel Coleman
Category: Behind the Signing Time Scenes, My Peeps
21 Comments

My Peeps – Marcus

I have noticed over the past few months, conversations about “Rachel’s People” have come up, over and over again. It always makes me giggle. Do I have people? My first response was “No! Are you crazy? Of course I don’t have people!” But… then… on second look I realized… oh, maybe I DO have people!!

So, I have started a whole new category called My Peeps.

There are a number of people who are involved in Signing Time that I regularly refer to in my blog and on Twitter. First and foremost there is Marcus.

Marcus handles wardrobe for Signing Time and he is an authorized user on my credit card. He is also the only man other than my husband who routinely sees me in my birthday suit. He is also brilliant at putting together outfits. He buys me bras and hand washes them! I mean Hello?! Everyone should have a Marcus! He would also D-I-E if he saw this post!

When I have any media interview or photo shoot, I call Marcus. He shops. Then he shows up with a rolling rack of clothes that I can only presume he begs, borrows and steals, because that credit card is almost maxed out.

Marcus came over the other night with my Signing Time outfit(s) that he had lovingly hand washed in shampoo for color-treated hair, to keep the oranges orange. He also brought a great pair of shoes, for me. “Do you like them?” he (always) asks.
“How much are they?” I always ask back.
“$30!” He responds proudly.
“Yes, I love them! I have needed brown on brown closed toed pumps for winter!”

Brown on Brown Pumps $30

Brown on Brown Pumps $30

(Marcus picks out better shoes for me than I can pick out for myself.)

See, it has taken Marcus some time to really understand that I feel REALLY uncomfortable with a $400 handbag, $500 boots or even a $100 necklace, even if he thinks it is the most fabulous thing and I will love it and use it for the rest of my life. He knows the first hurdle he will be met with is one question, “How much?” If he won’t tell me, but instead tells me to try it on, I know, that he knows it’s too expensive and he had better have the receipt.

Marcus now knows that the thing I value the most is, well, a good value! My husband appreciates this fact and hates it too, because sure I might get a $350 BCBG gown to wear for the Emmys, but when you say you love it, I tell you, “It’s a $350 dress and I got it for $68 including shipping on Ebay!!!” (Which, by the way, is TOTALLY TRUE!)

Aaron cannot understand WHY I tell everyone what everything costs and where I bought it. Seriously, try it. Next time you see me say, “Oh I love that top!” And I will say, “Thanks! You would never believe I got it for $7.99 at Ross Dress for Less! And my jeans are usually $130 at Anthropologie, my favorite store, but I got them for $18.99 at TJMaxx! Can you stand it?”
(But don’t bother trying it if I am wearing my Signing Time outfit, because each year those puppies get harder and harder to find, so I am not telling!)

Back to Marcus
Marcus does not judge me. He doesn’t care if I’m a size 16 or a size 4. He always figures out a way to decorate the body I currently have and he does a fabulous job.

Marcus not only works on Signing Time, he watches it regularly. He tells everyone about it and is proud to run into people who tell him how much they love Signing Time.

Marcus loves Oprah! Each time we are shopping he will see something great and expensive and say, “We should buy that and save it for when you are on Oprah!” He will also buy things that are similar to something that Oprah had on, like a necklace that is “just like Oprah’s!” He is SURE I will be on Oprah and when I am, of course he will come with me and I will look fabulous. It will be his pièce de résistance!

So- here are a few things I have learned from Marcus and I am happy to pass on to you.

1. Carry Toupée Tape (even if you do not wear a toupée)
Use toupée tape to keep those necklines in place. Since it is double sided you can tape your shirt to your bra so no one ever sees your straps.

2. Never Let Them See You Sweat
Dress Shields are these fabulous oval shaped, soft, moleskin-ish stickers that you can apply right to the underarms of your clothing. So, if you are in jeans, a t-shirt AND a jacket, singing, signing and performing for over an hour under lights… your pits are perfect! And I would like to state for the record that I do not sweat any MORE than a regular person who is running around singing and dancing, thank you very much, YOU KNOW WHO, who posted that I have a “problem” and use dress shields to manage said problem. When YOU KNOW WHO is the person with an actual perspiration problem.

3. Never Let Them Know You Are Cold
Um, well there are these things called Petals. So, just go check them out if you are going to be photographed in the Arctic wearing something that is sort of clingy in the chest area.

4. Spanx = How to Look 5-10 lbs Thinner and Smoother
Did you forget to diet before your upcoming high school reunion? Well, march your hot little self down to Nordstrom and buy a pair of Spanx Higher Power. It will smooth out your waistline and hold everything in tight like magic! You don’t need to hold that tummy in, let your Spanx do it for you! Here’s another tip, once you wriggle your way into that new body(suit) hike it up and safety pin the front center band to the front center of your bra. This will help keep those suckers from jimmying down.
PS- Don’t put them in the dryer!

5. Everything Can Be Altered
I am 5’ 2” tall. (GASP!) I know… Deal with it. I am short… No! I am petite!!! Yes, I am petite. So, nothing I buy actually fits. We (meaning Marcus) usually have to cut off 2 feet of pant before I can walk without tripping. But in Marcus’ world if I try on a dress and it is too big, but it is the last one, he will be heart broken if I don’t let someone “take it in” – but Marcus doesn’t yet understand that NO woman WANTS to buy a bigger size, EVER!… EVER!!… EVER!!! Seriously, NO WAY! – There is something satisfying about buying something that is SMALLER than the size you know yourself to be. There is nothing more crushing and psychologically disturbing than buying something that is a size or two bigger, even if you have it altered. So, stop it Marcus!!

See I lost some weight recently and I have a closet full of clothes that are a few sizes too big. I am happy to clear it out and say “Good-bye!” Marcus wants them ALL taken in!! Uh, no, I think not!

6. Why Iron When You Can Steam?
Marcus carries a professional steamer in his trunk 24/7. This is good. I hate ironing. I hate it. If I accidentally buy something that must be ironed I would rather wear it once and throw it out than iron it! Mostly I just try to avoid buying clothes that must be ironed. If you HAVE to iron something, my advice is only iron the front, you are going to be sitting on the back or leaning back and wrinkle it anyway. (That is MY advice, NOT advice from Marcus) Every time Marcus comes over he brings in the steamer and steams most everything in my closet. I like how he insists on steaming things I am about to pack in my suitcase :) That always makes me laugh. It might make him cry if he saw how I load up my bags after he leaves. He might actually understand the complete futility of it.

When I travel, Marcus brings everything in a garment bag… Let me clarify, EACH outfit is in it’s OWN garment bag and each outfit/bag is tagged.
“Rachel ST! Outfit 1”
“Rachel ST! Outfit 2”
“Rachel Interview 1”
“Rachel Interview 2″ and so on… then he has the matching jewelry and accessories in zip-lock bags that he has hung by a safety pin to each hanger. Everything is there, socks, tights, shoes, underthingys, toupée tape and dress shields.

Sometimes he includes a Polaroid of the outfit hanging up, so I can get it right!

Then he leaves. I take everything out of the garment bags and off the hangers and fold, roll, or stuff them into one suitcase.

7. Two Evening Gowns Are Better Than One
Marcus made me buy two gowns for the Emmy trip to New York. I had never even owned one gown prior to that event and suddenly I need two? Remember the little gold cocktail dress? He removed the big dumb bow and bought 5 pair of gold shoes. (I did make him return 4 of them, because REALLY, I haven’t worn gold shoes since I was 4!) “You have to take it to New York, I am sure you will get to wear it to some fabulous party. If you don’t I will pay for it.” he insisted!
So, I took it, didn’t wear it and am still waiting for a reimbursement. (But, that’s ok because I got it at Nordstrom Rack and it was originally $250 but I got it for $45!!! Can you stand it?)
So, I will probably wear it to the next cocktail party I am invited to, because there are so many of those in Utah! (Add sarcasm)

8. Everything on Hangers
There are no dressers or drawers on a film set to put clothing in. Everything goes on a hanger. EVERYTHING. This accidentally became the topic of a Signing Time Chat one evening, because I mentioned that we do not have any dressers in our house. Someone asked, “What do you do with sweaters?” Well, Marcus taught me to hang a sweater and I passed this invaluable knowledge onto you, my friends.

9. I Have Scissors and I am Not Afraid to Use Them
Sometimes Marcus and I take on the alteration process together. This usually happens while I am wearing the clothes and while the crew is anxiously waiting for me so we can start shooting. Neither of us are trained professionals. I mean we ARE trained and professional but sewing is not our forte. But that doesn’t stop us. We have lopped straps off bras, cut out shelf bras from tops, shortened sleeves on the fly and sliced off jeans and scotch taped them in place. In the last shoot, Marcus cut a large button off the front of my jeans and then used gaffer tape to keep them closed! Ha! It’s movie magic! I do not recommend this, it is fun and exhilarating but, there really is no going back once you lop something off. You must be willing to face the music of your quick fix when someone with mad sewing skills clucks their tongue and shakes their head in dismay as you ask them to make it all better.

10. You Can Buy Taste, Even If You Have None
Marcus (or someone like him) can be hired to shop with you or for you. I have trained Marcus to hit the sale rack FIRST. (Thank me later!) Emilie hired him to shop for her husband Derek one year. My sister Julie has hired Marcus to dress her on her talk show. BUT you cannot hire Marcus when we are in production on Signing Time, because even though it looks like I am just running around in the same outfit, Marcus is hard at work!

Marcus hand painted Leah’s cowboy boots for “Leah’s Farm.”

He bought Alex a wet suit for “The Zoo Train” and had orange panels sewn into the sides, so it was more “Alex”

He took a horse costume and turned it into a unicorn for “Once Upon A Time.” The head didn’t fit anyone other than the director, so I just about giggle to death when I think of Travis, in that suit. Travis who will do anything to avoid being filmed is in that hysterical unicorn costume!

Marcus even took the striped tube tops that I wear under my Signing Time jacket and had them made into tank tops, so I can take off my jacket when it is too hot! See? That is love! I know it is love… or it’s his job… or both!

Signing Time is No Longer on Public TV

Dated: 13 Nov 2008
Posted by Rachel Coleman
Category: Behind the Signing Time Scenes
71 Comments

Ok,

so…

Here it is…

As of October 1, 2008 Signing Time is no longer on public television anywhere in the country.

I think that statement just needed to hang out there in the world for a minute.

So did that one.

We have been flooded with phone calls and emails from you, our Signing Time Families. The stations have called us too, because many of them do not want to lose our show, they know the difference it is making for their viewers and it is a pretty darn popular show.

So, the question you all have is, “Why?”
If the fans love it and the stations love it, why would we pull it? I don’t know how to answer that without total honesty, a little squirming and dispelling some myths.

But, I believe that the truth will set you free, so here is the truth, squirming and all.

Children’s Television 101:
1. We do not get paid to be on television.

2. We are not paid to make the shows. We pay to produce these shows.

3. To maintain a fresh and successful program we need to produce new shows on a regular basis. Ideally a new season each year. That’s approximately a 1.5 million dollar commitment annually.

4. When I say “we” I mean my sister, Emilie and I.

5. We had hoped to find a corporate sponsor or foundation who understands what we are doing and believes in our mission and would partner with us. To date we have not found that partner. (Yes we have gone after grants as well)

6. A children’s show on public TV cannot advertise a product nor can we direct viewers to an internet site where our products can be purchased. As parents, that is one of the things we love about public television.

Many viewers have no idea that there are DVDs, Music CDs, flash cards, t-shirts and books available to purchase. We could not direct them to www.signingtime.com (where we sell our products) we could only send them to www.signingtimekids.com (where we do not sell our products)

7. We do sell enough Signing Time products to maintain our staff of 8 people, fulfill orders, keep the lights on, etc. We do not sell enough product to fund 13 new episodes annually.

___________________________________________________________________________________
Here’s the bottom line, for the past three years, Emilie and I gave Signing Time to viewers for free on public television. We made that choice because we felt that doing so would have an incredible impact on families across the country. We hoped it would get into homes and in front of children who needed it. We believe in communication for ALL children of ALL abilities. That is what we care about. We also believed that through this national exposure we would find a sponsor.

The truth is that there is no way for two sisters to continue pulling this off without a partnership… or by robbing a bank and sorry guys and girls I am not going to rob a bank. At this point it would be financially irresponsible for us to commit to another year and even worse to consider bank robbing, I mean how would you explain THAT to your kids?

I still believe a like-minded organization or corporation will partner with us in our efforts and that Signing Time will be back on TV. I know the difference we are making in the world and how important that difference is. You know it too or you wouldn’t be reading this.

Now what?
1. Well if you saw Signing Time on public TV, you can sit down and write a note to your station and thank them for airing us. Share with them the difference that it made in your life. See, unlike the shows in the PBS Kids Block that MUST air in a specific order at a certain time, your station was not forced to air Signing Time, it was a choice they made, to share us with you. Over 70% of the public television stations chose to air us! Not too shabby for a couple of sisters in Utah.

2. Make a request to your local libraries, early intervention programs, lending libraries, schools and other organizations to add the Signing Time Library to their offerings.

3. Purchase Signing Time products and tell others who miss seeing us on TV that EVERYTHING (Music CDs, flash cards, t-shirts, board books, of course EVERY single DVD) is available on www.signingtime.com

4. Keep telling your friends, family members and complete strangers the benefits of signing with children and how Signing Time has helped this parenting revolution.

5. As far as a sponsor, think about the people you know and the people they know. The right fit is out there. It is just a matter of finding them and them finding us. You may be the one who makes that connection. We need strong leads, not just a bunch of great ideas. If you feel that you or someone you personally know can make a difference, please have them get in touch with us.

I know there is strength in numbers. Let’s all put our thinking caps on! I can’t wait to announce that Signing Time is back and better than ever!

Thank YOU!
Honestly, the partnership we have had is a partnership with you, our Signing Time customers. Each time you purchase our products, you are letting us know that you appreciate what we are doing and that you want more.

From my family to yours, thank you for your incredible, continuing partnership!

~Rachel, Aaron, Leah and Lucy Coleman

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