Monday, December 21, 2009

Holiday Greetings 2009

Child Our 4th son, Brandt was born on June 21st. His warm smile brings us joy.

Handy I can think of other adjectives – happy, or hectic, for example. I chose handy because Mitch and I have been absorbed with trying to discover our inner handyman/woman with all the repairs we need to do in the new house.

Rental We’re making our first foray into landlordhood. We’re on our second renters in as many months. Wish us luck.

Imperceptible You don’t notice it as much when you are with them every day, but when I look back over the year I am amazed at how much the kids have learned and grown!

Soccer/Star Wars Caleb and Dallin both played soccer this fall. Both teams were named after stinging insects (Green Hornets and Yellow Jackets). Almost as exciting, they both discovered Star Wars.

Timer "Beep! Beep! Your time is up." We got a Nintendo Wii this year and, let me tell you, the boys love it! They would play it all day long every day if we let them so we have to intervene with “media minutes” and the kitchen timer.

Moved/Music Mitch carried me over the threshold of our first house nine years ago. We moved to our new house in October. Also music, because Caleb and Dallin have been continuing their music classes and are doing well.

Arm Adam broke his right arm falling off the couch. Shortly afterward we made our first trip as parents to the ER.

Sweet, life is. (I know sound like Yoda right now). But we’ve been truly blessed.

As much as I love the sparkle and magic of this season, really Dallin said it best, “Mom, I know the goodest part of Christmas... Jesus was born.”

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

I am grateful for so many things. And I believe gratitude is essential to maintain a positive state of mind. To be happy. I sat down with my family and we created this tree to help us recognize and be thankful for our blessings. It's still on the fridge, and though it's getting a little crumpled I think I'll leave it there awhile longer.

I was so excited because my parents and my brother John came to visit for the holiday. They come from a colder climate, and so when John heard we had a pool in the new house, he came prepared. This is the first thing he wanted to do...

Never mind that the water is FREEZING! My boys all wanted to join in the fun. After an initial splash in the pool, they played mostly along the outside of the pool. Brrrrrrrrr.

The water was cold but the weather was gorgeous. We spent a lot of time outdoors.

We visited Fountain Hills, where Mitch, John, and Caleb played Frisbee golf.

I love this picture of Dallin and Adam. They looked for five seconds at the fountain, and decided the playground is where the fun is.

It was a happy Thanksgiving.

Caleb's First 5K

Caleb loves being a member of the running club at his school. He ran his first 5k race with his dad last month. He did great! I was so proud of him.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Adam's Birthday Party

For months Adam kept telling everybody he was going to have "a dinosaur birthday," which I promised him we would do. But it so happened that his birthday was three days before we moved. As I wasn't in a state where I could possibly throw a dinosaur party at that time, we did one three weeks late.

The invitation:

The dino guests:

The birthday boy:

Some of the activities:

The cake:

Monday, December 14, 2009

Screwy Finds

Caleb found these screws in the backyard. He then brought them in and arranged them on the counter for us to enjoy.

We're hoping he got them all.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Repairs in the New House

We bought a beautiful new home. Well, it will be beautiful when we're done making repairs on it. You see, it was a foreclosed home and the previous owner must have been extremely bitter, sad, and angry about losing his house. At least that's the only explanation I can come up with for his behavior.

He snipped off chandeliers and took the ceiling fans, light fixtures, shower heads, medicine cabinets, the garage door openers and entry pads, the utility sink, fireplace, kitchen cabinet pulls, and even the kitchen sink. He took a pair of scissors and cut a strip out of the center of the carpet. He drained the pool and took the pool equipment. He took more than a dozen doors, literally tore out six more (including their frames and molding) and ripped all the shelves and poles from the closets, including the pantry. And for an extra special surprise he loosened a main screw in the electrical breaker box outside, just enough to disconnect the electricity for half of the downstairs. We tried for a couple of weeks to figure that one out before we called an electrician, who discovered the prank.

Thankfully the bank replaced the carpet, kitchen sink, and fireplace (sort of , but that's another story), as well as the pool equipment. But we're on our own for the rest. Needless to say we've been a little busy.

Here's a man I like to call SuperJoe.

Joe is Mitch's brother, and he came down for a couple of days to help Mitch build shelving in the closets, and replace the ripped-out doors. We owe him big!

Mitch's mom and dad were fantastic help, cleaning, repairing, and helping with the kids, and a few of our great friends were here to help too. Thank you everyone!

For awhile there I felt like we were in the some kind of time warp, or in another dimension where all you do is sit among cardboard boxes and paint closet shelves all day.

Once we felt we were getting a handle on things, we discovered a slab leak in a hot water pipe under our dishwasher.

Would you believe that thing had been leaking close to a gallon a minute?!

We're to the point now where the house is livable, but we still have so much to do. Want to know what Mitch is doing at this very moment? Painting doors!
Er...I'd better go and lend a hand.

Caleb's Glasses

Caleb has inherited the myopia gene (Ahem. Sorry, Caleb). Doesn't he look handsome in his glasses?

Right now he only wears them when he's trying to see far distances (like for reading the whiteboard at school).


As soon as we moved in Dallin decided to beautify our new house with this arrangement of petals from the bushes in our yard. He chose the spot outside the front door where a doormat would normally go. I wish I could capture this in a doormat because I think he did a beautiful job.

Halloween 2009

We Moved!

At the end of October we moved.

This is how we felt about how long our "to do" list was (and still is).

Friday, December 11, 2009

Adam's Birthday

Adam is 3!

10 things I love about Adam:

1- His laugh. He laughs when he's happy, when he anticipates something good, and when he's excited.

2- His charm. He is very talkative and likes to share his thoughts with everyone. He charms strangers, friends and family alike.

3- His love for his brothers.

4- His rhythm. You know those a cappella singers who do percussion with their voices? Adam does that. And he has a particular rhythm that is his favorite. He'll sometimes sing a phrase with percussion. For example, "The tag ts goes in the back ts ts ts..."

5- His cheerful attitude. He once advised a scolding mom at the park to "Be happy, okay?" Okay forget the mom at the park. He tells me that too.

6- His imagination. On a recent errand in the van Adam held his arm up as if he were grasping the ceiling strap, which he could not reach. "Mom, I'm holding on, he told me. He did so through multiple stoplights and all the way home, even though he was "tired of holding on."

7- His curiosity about the world.

8- His sense of wonder. Tonight Mama and Papa of the Bernstein bears were at Chik-fil-A. Adam's eyes were alight and he wanted to go say hello. Caleb hardly blinked, and Dallin asked, "How do they breathe in those costumes?"

9- His love for his mom and dad. He threw his little arms around me yesterday and told me I was "the best Mom."

10- His sweet hugs and kisses.

Girls Play Differently

A few things my boys have learned from their friends who are girls:
Girls like to play House.

Playing House involves someone being the mom, someone the dad, and someone the baby.

The baby crawls, coos, and cries, and is to be comforted by the person playing the mom (or the dad if the mom is busy making plastic-food dinner).

When playing Castle (another girl-friend favorite), the prince is supposed to kiss the princess if a witch has poisoned her with a bad apple.

If the princess is captive in a tall tower, the knight or prince should save her (the boys knew this one already...that's where a good sword comes in handy).

A carriage is something pulled by horses that a princess rides in, preferably with a prince, on her way to a royal ball. The family minivan can be substituted in a pinch.

Many girls are afraid of *squirrels and wouldn't particularly care to chase after them.
*Substitute any rodent here.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Pet Sliver

Adam got a sliver near the arch of his left foot. He didn't tell me about it. I noticed him curling his toes and bending his foot inward as he tried to run, stiff-legged, behind his brothers. When I examined his foot to find out why, he wiggled and tried to pull it from my hand with all his might (wow, that kid is stronger than he looks!) and tearfully begged me not to touch it.

"But I can get it out for you!"

"No, no, no. Don't touch it!" (kicks his foot out of my grasp and begins hobbling away)

(following him) "If I get it out it won't hurt anymore."

"Leave it. Don't touch it. No!" (sobbing/hobbling)

"Please let me help you. I'll be quick!"

"No!" (sob/hobble)

"Would you rather just have it poking in your foot like that?"


(stop, sigh, mutter) "I guess it will work its way out. Eventually."

Sunday, October 11, 2009

October's Bright Blue Weather

I have always loved fall, even as a child. The feeling of change, gorgeous leaves, apples, costumes, and candy. Now because of where I live October has the additional charm of being that time when the weather finally cools off. People you haven't seen the whole blazing summer are suddenly out walking their dogs, sitting on their porches, and playing ball at the park. And even though I don't get to see all those gorgeous fall colors and I don't have an apple tree, I still love the season and all it's spice and celebrations.

My mom quotes the first stanza of this poem every October. I've come to love it, and every year the words fly through my head.

October's Bright Blue Weather
by Helen Hunt Jackson

O SUNS and skies and clouds of June,
And flowers of June together,
Ye cannot rival for one hour
October's bright blue weather;

When loud the bumble-bee makes haste,
Belated, thriftless vagrant,
And Golden-Rod is dying fast,
And lanes with grapes are fragrant;

When Gentians roll their fringes tight
To save them for the morning,
And chestnuts fall from satin burrs
Without a sound of warning;

When on the ground red apples lie
In piles like jewels shining,
And redder still on old stone walls
Are leaves of woodbine twining;

When all the lovely wayside things
Their white-winged seeds are sowing,
And in the fields, still green and fair,
Late aftermaths are growing;

When springs run low, and on the brooks,
In idle golden freighting,
Bright leaves sink noiseless in the hush
Of woods, for winter waiting;

When comrades seek sweet country haunts,
By twos and twos together,
And count like misers, hour by hour,
October's bright blue weather.

O suns and skies and flowers of June,
Count all your boasts together,
Love loveth best of all the year
October's bright blue weather.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Currently, our Wednesday nights and Saturday mornings are dominated by soccer. Here are a few pictures from this last Saturday's games.

Dallin's team is called the Yellow Jackets.

Dallin taking the ball down the field.

We had a little time between games. The water is a big draw.

Brandt playing with his daddy.

Caleb's team is called the Green Hornets.

Battling for the ball.

Orange wedges at half-time. They sure taste good on a hot day.

It's a lot of fun watching the boys play. They love it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Dirty Socks, Fashion, and Unexpected Art

Random Photos from Today

This morning Adam and I were playing and he wanted me to "be" this action figure.
"This guy's a good guy." he explained, "He shoots bad guys and turns them into socks."
"Socks?" I clarified.
"Yeah, socks."
"Good idea, Adam. Then we can just throw the bad guys right into the laundry."

This picture shows us a sneak preview of Buzz Lightyear's new clothing line for fall. Caleb is the creative force behind this project.

This is my favorite picture of the day. I pulled this out of my dryer (there are two magnets holding everything in place). I think it looks like a sculpture. I call it Tumbled Metal.