Sunday, December 9, 2012

Helping Out Little Brother

Tonight is the first night of Zeke and Ben in the same room at bedtime. It was a rough bedtime, and Ben was very sad that he wasn't in his normal crib in the back bedroom.

That's why we were pleased when, after a few minutes, we heard them being very happy together and laughing in their room.

"Great," we thought, "Zeke is showing Ben all the games and play ideas he normally goes through after lights out, and he sure loves an audience."

After about 45 minutes, we thought we would see why they were still being so loud and to help them calm down a little to fall asleep.

That's when we saw this:

Where do I sleep?
In the words of Zeke, "Ben was sad so I gave him some toys."

Just to clarify, Zeke didn't give Ben some toys. Zeke gave Ben all of the toys in the set of 9 toy tubs in his organizer, the tubs themselves, all of the books in the bookshelf, a few larger toys from the closet, a collection of Ben, Zeke and Dad shoes from down the hall, some pillows, and a ruler.

Ben was visibly tired and looking a little concerned that he couldn't lie down in his crib. Zeke was very pleased with himself and certain that he had done an excellent job getting Ben happy.

We clearly need to work out better rules for bedtime.  And maybe next time we should wait to die of laughter until after we clean up and put them back to bed.

Here are some more picture of the aftermath.

The empty shelves to the left

Sunday, December 2, 2012


It's Christmas time!
We put up the tree (and then had a lighting issue and took everything down and put it all back up again).  The boys are interested in the tree, but they also believe in experimentation.  Zeke managed to break an ornament that was made of baked play dough by licking it to pieces, and Ben is determined to electrocute himself with the lights.
I made two batches of fudge last week (one terrible, one quite good) and they've been waiting in the freezer for a good purpose.  So, tonight we attempted a little Christmas caroling at a neighbor's house.  Mike suggested that we do something that would include the boys, so the jingle bells came out.  Of course, I insisted on a little costuming, which Zeke loved.  (He's pretty handy with scissors and a glue stick.)
Zeke pouted through the song, but at least Ben shook his bells energetically.  It was a bit of a let down to our neighbor, who really enjoyed the brass last year.  We might just save the rest of the fudge for our own bellies.  

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

No eating Ben!

Ben is a big 22-month-old boy. Sometimes we forget that he's still pretty young.

He's also very talkative with quite a vocabulary. Some of the more exciting things he says are:
  • "Would be fun have food"
  • "No biting Ben" (said to ducks and pictures of spiders)
  • "Lid of hose box fell down. Smash Ben's thumb!" 
Here's a short video of Ben saying "daddy long-legs" because I absolutely die laughing when he says that. It's only ~1 minute.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


Well, we did it. We bought a minivan. That sentence looks weird. But we're expecting #3 in April and need to fit three car seats at the same time. Apparently children need car seats until they're 17.
We bought a Honda Odyssey after reading and driving and arguing (with sales people). It's a great minivan full of all the bells and whistles we could ever want, including a sun roof. Hooray!
I'll post daytime pictures later, but our camera is broken so you'll have to put up with these phone pictures.
Yes, he did take this picture while he was driving.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Time Change

I remember when "Fall back" was something I anticipated with joy. It was going to be an extra long night with a whole hour more for sleeping.

But children don't feel the same way, and just wake up when their bodies tell them to get up. I'm sure it's probably this way for all parents until their kids are older.

Here are the boys collapsed on the stairs, which is not a clean or safe place to play but ranks up there next to cardboard boxes and landscaping drainage grates.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Cute Pirate Boots
To Infinity, and Beyond!
Minimalism (and dessert)
Yucky gooey bits

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Fright Night

Tonight, we went to a Halloween store under the pretext of finding a costume for Tina, but we really just wanted to play. My boys are a bit sensitive sometimes, so this was likely to end badly.

The jumping spider at the entrance gave us all a scare, but was quickly forgotten. We visited most of the large, loud displays and Zeke looked on them, from a distance, with respectful caution and fascination. We tried on a few masks and looked at the children's costumes, and then it was time to go.

As I walked with Zeke toward the back wall to return the bloody ax we used to kill a spider and a snake, I pushed the button next to the full-size Frankenstein's monster and kept walking. Zeke wasn't ready for this one, and immediately started screaming and crying for Dad.

I should note at this point that I'm not a terrible father. In this instance, however, I clearly was a super jerk and felt very bad as I carried my sobbing child out of the store and back to the car.

We won't be going back to that store, and might renew our general ban on Halloween stores until our boys are into their teens.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

An Exercise in Pain

I had a chance to hang out with Ben alone tonight, and it was lots of fun. I managed to get a video of one of his favorite activities: hurting Dad. [The sound levels might be a bit high on these, so turn it down a little.]

If he seems a bit distracted, it's because I used the front camera on my phone, so he was busy checking himself out.

I also tried to capture some of his advanced language skills at 20 months, but he was still distracted by his own beautiful face. [There's some loud background noise the last 10 seconds of this video, so watch out.]

Monday, October 8, 2012

All Work and No Play

Zeke is finally old enough to put to work.
Of course, Ben wants to help, too.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Imitation and Flattery

The other night we tucked in Zeke for the last time and his room finally went quiet. A little while later we were ready to turn in, and I went to tuck Zeke back under the covers because he always kicks them off and gets cold. This is what I found.

He had made his bed and was sleeping on top of the covers. I tucked him in (doesn't he look cold in that picture?) and we went to sleep.

The next day I asked him why he was on top of his covers. He did it because I took a nap on top of the covers the day before.  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Fun in empty classrooms

Our ward had a picnic recently, and when we took a break from the heat to go visit the potties in our empty church building, we decided to do some wandering. I managed to snap this picture where Zeke wrote his name on chalkboard before he erased it. His name always looks like this, and if you scrunch up your eyes you can see it really says Zeke. I think it's pretty clear, but maybe that's just because he's my boy.

We then found the only thing more attracting to Zeke than a bounce-house: a microphone. I have several videos from this series, but this is probably the best one. I tried to record the prayer, but Zeke would not allow phones to be active during prayer time. In this video, he starts chewing on the microphone toward the end but nearly all of it should be understandable.

Let him know what you think.

Going bump in the dark

Our boys have discovered the great joy that comes from wandering around the house with the lights off and a pair of flashlights. We purchased a set of small 9-LED lights to replace our previous set of now-broken mini flashlights. These new lights are a hit, and there isn't anything to be seen in our house that isn't more fun to look at in the dark with flashlights.

Also, blanket forts. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012


We went to Maui a few weeks ago, and we went without children (thanks Grandma!). Because we went without children, we only went for a few days.  Actually, we went for the days that Google paid, since they paid for part of the trip (thanks Google!).

We stayed on Maui in Wailea at the Fairmont resort. We were greeted with leis and a delicious fruit beverage that started the 3-day binge. We were shown to our room which had a lovely view of the ocean.
Arrival at the resort
Here's another view from our room without us in the way (thanks porter!).
From our room. The pool to the left of this picture contains the entrance to a waterslide.
It would have been fun with children.
We went to see a luau that night in Lahaina. It was a fine time, although it seemed like the best part would have been the bottomless alcohol. We enjoyed some amazing Strawberry daiquiris. No, they didn't have any alcohol in them.

There was a pig roasting underground (well, under-sandbags).

Roasting pig

Then there was an appropriate amount of dancing by men and women of great physical beauty. They were also talented.
Men and women of talent and beauty.
 The next morning we returned to Lahaina and went para-sailing. It was amazing to fly so high. Also, Mike is afraid of heights and this confirmed the up-to-date status of his fear.
The building where we paid this angry woman to send us up attached to a big umbrella.
We don't have pictures from out on the water?
We don't have pictures from out on the water.
 We bought some souvenirs in town and looked around at some shops. We went to the Cool Cat 50's cafe for some burgers because everyone told us to go there. It was very good.
The front of their menu. We ate and left. 

We went to a small museum nearby and looked at old things with titles and descriptions. It was interesting to read some local history about the sugar plantations, the impact of the War, and life on the island.
Tina looking at old pictures with titles and descriptions.
That night we had a fancy dinner at the restaurant at the resort, mostly because we only rented a car for that first day, but also because it sounded like fun. It was. We have pictures of the other dishes, available upon request.
The bread tray at the fancy dinner. The green dip is soy bean hummus, the red dip is something spicy, and the white  stuff is jasmine butter. Those are fancy rice cakes sticking out of the bread slices.
We did some snorkeling, went down the water slide a few times, stuffed our bellies, and come home with a few pineapples. It was a very fun trip.
Some trees and clouds

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Pioneer Day

I've given some thought to how Pioneer Day ought to be celebrated, if it is supposed to be more than a stake-wide barbecue.  I've seen a ward celebrate it as a recognition of genealogy, inviting members to tell the story of how they personally, or any ancestor, learned about and accepted the gospel.  I've also seen a ward celebrate in true Utah colors - celebrating only the successful journey to the Salt Lake Valley and honoring the sacrifice of those who walked the plains.  
Our celebration this year was awesomely secular.  
Zeke got his face painted:
 Ben ate a giant slice of watermelon:
 And we had a squirt gun fight on the front lawn.  
Ben got the worst of it because he could only push the trigger with his thumb while the gun was turned about facing the wrong way.  Zeke and his pump-action soaker gun didn't help either.  

Sunday, July 22, 2012

First Day of Nursery

This handsome boy started Nursery today.  Can you believe it?  18 months old!  He did very well and only got grumpy in the last 20 minutes or so.  He pouted a bit and then cleverly saved himself by making a stinky in his diaper.  Mama came and whisked him away to spend the last 15 minutes of church in Primary.  

It seemed like such a good idea...  
He insisted that I help him put the boots on (they're Zeke's boots) and then he cried and refused to move his feet.  Ben does not like new shoes.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Fourth of July

 On the Fourth, we got all patriotic by traveling to the suburbs and visiting with family.  My parents do a flag raising and lowering on the Fourth that may not exactly follow military protocol, but is still pretty great.  Someone gave Zeke a hammer and told him to pound in the stakes.  He was very happy with the responsibility.        
The trumpets came out for the Call to Colors, played by Grandpa, Kiwi, and Mike.  In the past there would have been a good deal of bragging, trash-talking, and "warming up" on very high notes prior to the bugle call.  This year the players griped about valve oil and sticky valves, and opted to conserve their lips.  The Fine Musician music was quickly found after that and they played some kickin' Christmas music and a little Alexander's Ragtime Band (which would have been really good with a trombone).
At the flag lowering, I played Taps on a trumpet (with all 3 valves down).
Zeke stayed up for his very first fireworks show.  He sat with Grandpa most of the time, but came to see Mike and I after fifteen minutes or so and asked if we could stop it now - it was too loud.  I think he really enjoyed the fireworks, but he was tired and he was trying to tell us that he needed to go to bed.  We made him stay until the end of the show anyway.
Big thanks to Grandma who stayed home with sleeping Ben.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Dress up

Somewhere in one of the library books we borrowed a story came up about dress-up.  I've never told Zeke about dress-up, and I certainly didn't teach him how to play, but he managed to play anyway.   

One random Wednesday, Zeke came to find me and Ben with two gigantic socks on his hands (and arms and shoulders).  He told me they were Daddy's socks and that he was playing dress up.  I followed him into my bedroom and watched him assemble incredible outfits while pulling most of Mike's clothes out of their neatly folded positions in the drawers. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Zeke the photographer

Zeke asked for the camera one day.  I was feeling crazy, so I gave it to him and showed him which button to push.  I think it was an excellent gamble. 
 Ben "the Cheese", by Zeke 
 Mom, by Zeke
Daddy, by Zeke

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Hand, Foot & Mouth

Ben caught the dreaded HF&M disease.  Here is happy Ben before:

 And here is afflicted Ben during:

We don't have any "after" photos yet, because he's not better yet.  HF&M disease is a common childhood illness that presents strong symptoms in young children (similar to chicken pox), and mild symptoms in older children.  Lucky Ben caught it almost six months sooner than Zeke did (Ben is 16 months old and suffering his first infection, Zeke was 22 months old when he first got it).  Ben spent five days not eating or drinking very much because of the red blisters in his throat and mouth and his bum was very sore and had innumerable blisters.  (The doctor admitted that the name is misleading - it should be called "Hand, Foot, Mouth, Legs, & Bum" disease.)
He's now progressed to some impressive, pus-filled blisters on his feet and one toenail is purple and looks to be trying to fall off.  He is also very irritable.  Very un-Ben like.
We're hoping for a recovery this week - Mom is tired of being inside and tired of worrying about spreading sickness to others.  We have a lot of park time to make up.

Watermelon King

On Memorial Weekend, we bought a gigantic watermelon and stuffed ourselves silly.  Zeke helped me cut some of it into fork-sized pieces and liked the circular rinds I left beside the cutting board.  He put one on his head and declared himself the Watermelon King.