Saturday, November 23, 2013

Dune Sledding

The rent is too high.
We pay obscene taxes on gasoline.
The air here causes perfectly normal people to develop asthma over time.
Street parking is impossible.

Why do we live here?

Because this is November 23:

Thursday, November 7, 2013


Zeke informed me, the day after Halloween, that he was fearless as Spiderman, and he would be wearing his costume everyday until after Christmas. 
He subsequently consented to occasionally laundering the costume.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

She eats! She stands! She has wild hair!

Wild hair day.
Lily is a pretty awesome baby.  She's mostly happy and she seems to like her brothers, even though they are not always so gentle.  She's giving us all the signs of teething - drooling, constant gnawing on everything - but there are no teeth yet.  

So fresh and so clean.
Standing up.
  She is also very eager to eat real food and Zeke and Ben are ready to help her accomplish this goal.  Tina tries very hard to dampen everyone's enthusiasm, but not even Mom can be vigilant every second of the day.  Today Ben fed Lily a bit of his peanut butter and honey sandwich when Tina wasn't looking.  It was even raw honey from a farmer's market, which caused a touch of panic.  If it doesn't kill her it will only make her stronger (but Ben might never be forgiven).  

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Prayer

Zeke said the opening prayer in Primary last Sunday.  I happened to be there as the substitute pianist, and I got to hear him.  He stood up at the podium, shut his eyes tightly and folded his left arm on top of his cast arm.  This is what he said:

"Dear Heavenly Father, We thank you for today.  Thank you for Zeke and Ben and Mom and Dad...(sigh)...and Lily.  Please bless me to get my cast off on the twenty-third and please bless me not to get another one.  And thank you that Jesus is always here to forgive us.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Life is Unfair

It's hard to explain to a 4 year old that a full-arm cast is beneficial, or that life is not fair. Oh, well.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Lost in the Middle

Did you know we have a middle child?  His name is Ben and he's very funny.  Here are some good quotes from last week:

Pig in a Blanket
    We had hotdogs wrapped in tortillas one night for dinner, one of Ben's favorites.  At one point I checked in with him and I saw he had pulled the hotdog out and was trying to get the tortilla wrapped around it again.  I asked what he was doing.  He said: 
"I take-ed it out of the blanket and now it's freezing hot."
Then he covered the hotdog with the tortilla and said:
"I put it back in the blanket and now it's nice and warm."
(Note:  The hotdog was fridge temperature.  I never heat hotdogs for them.  I don't like getting yelled at.)

Ben:         Mom, what comes after eleventy?
Mom:       Eleventy?  Well, Eleventy-one, I guess.
Ben:         And then-?
Mom:       Eleventy-one, Eleventy-two, Eleventy-three...
Ben:          Eleventy-four!
Mom:       Yes, Eleventy-five-
Together:   Eleventy-six, Eleventy-seven, Elevnety-eight...
Mom:        Eleventy-niiiinnnnnne....(waiting)
Mom:        What comes next, Ben?

Ben:           Toodee!!

Mom:         Toodee?
Ben:           Yeah, Toodee!  Toodee-one, Toodee-two, Toodee-three ...
(Zeke's laughter drowns out the rest.  Not because the counting was bad, just because Ben said "Toodee-two.")

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Breaking News!

Zeke broke his right arm, and everyone is very sad, but mostly Zeke. And Tina.
The story of his injury depends on when he tells the story, but it generally goes like this:
We were at a park we don't go to very often.  It has a play structure that's a little bit taller than the stuff we see regularly.  He was playing with some other boys at the playground and someone was going to shoot him in the face with a missile, then he jumped/fell off the play structure. The place he jumped/fell from was about six feet above the ground - which was a nice, squishy AstroTurf.  He landed hard on his right hand and then the right side of his face and crumbled into a ball.
The break is a buckle break and is very common for small children.  He has a cast on for three weeks and will hopefully get it off on the 23rd.
Tina's conversation with the orthopedic doctor after getting the cast went as follows. 
Doctor:  Do you have any questions for me?
Tina:  Sure.  Can he go swimming?
Doctor (offended): No, you have to keep it dry.
Tina: Can we go to the park?
Doctor (slightly more concerned):  No.  No parks, no playgrounds, no climbing or jumping.  No sand and no dirt.
Tina (crestfallen): No sand?!  No dirt!?!  Can he ride his bike?
Doctor (looking incredulous): No.  No bikes or scooters or skateboards or roller skates.  None of that.
Tina (pleading):  Can he jump on the trampoline?
Doctor (firm):  No.  The idea is that he's going to rest for these three weeks.  Take it easy, let it heal.  Otherwise - well, we can always do a glow-in-the dark cast for Halloween.  
Tina (facing stark reality for the first time): What are we going to do? 

Don't worry, Tina made a paper chain to count down the days until we get the cast off.  And hopefully it will have healed, without shifting, so we don't need to wear a cast after that.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Plus and Minus

When Zeke got home from school today I took a moment to focus on him.  I invited him into my "office" (the couch) for a little chat.
"Hey, Zeke, what was your favorite part of school today?"
"Centers?  Oh, centers.  You liked playing in the centers?"
"What did you play?"
"I play everything.  All the time."
"Oh, okay.  And what was something you didn't like about school?"
"Um...the girls."
"Girls?  You don't like the girls at school?"
"Yeah, I don't like playing with them."
"So, like, Kate, who was running on the hill with you after school - you don't like her?  Not so much?"
"No.  Not one bit."

I just wish you could have heard his inflection and seen his face. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Ha ha ha, hee hee hee -

I'm the gingerbread man,
and you can't catch me!

Ben:  Mom, is the Ginger-Man crying?
Mom:  No, Ben.  Why would be be crying?
Ben:  Because I ate all his buttons off.

I've told the story to the boys several times, but I was pretty sure the basic concept of a gingerbread man was out of their reach.  They mostly like the running part of the story because, the way I tell it, somehow the gingerbread man runs faster than Speedy Zeke and Unstoppable Ben and even Daddy on his bike. 
Anyway, one day Zeke asked me if I would make a gingerbread man so that he could run and catch him.  He was being very sweet at the time and I'm a sucker for his cute face so, I agreed.

Lesson #1 - Zeke remembers promises, and his concept of "later" is not well developed.

I've never made gingerbread before.  Not once.  The Internets hooked me up with a recipe and I learned that I was committed to quite a production.  Make the dough, roll it out, cut the cookies, bake, then frost and decorate...there were so many opportunities for disaster in that line up. 

Lesson # 2 - Mothers with children under 4 should not make any cookie that requires rolling and cutting.

It took 3 days.  First, the boys "helped" me mix the dough (and "tasted" at least a quarter cup of the brown sugar right out of the bowl).  They also helped turn the mixer on and off.  We think good cookie dough needs to be mixed with a stand mixer in short bursts - on for 10 seconds, then off.  On for 10 more seconds, then off.  Repeat many times and give each boy an equal number of turns. 

The next day we rolled out the dough and cut the cookies.  It took me 30 minutes to set up the kitchen for the event.  It took Mike 30 minutes to clean up the kitchen after the event.  I'd prefer not to talk about what happened in between.

Lesson # 3 - To a two year old, there is nothing obvious, or simple, about using a cookie cutter.

Lesson # 4 - A four year old will place a cookie cutter in the middle of the dough, every time.

The third day was decorating day.  Again, I invested serious prep time only to be rewarded with an activity that lasted about two minutes and resulted in highly sugared children.  The best part?  Zeke used licorice to tie down his gingerbread men so they wouldn't get away. 

Lesson # 5 - Never, ever, give a bag filled with icing to a two-year-old.  No matter how small you think the hole is. 

 (The buttons are a little crooked.)

Saturday, September 7, 2013

A Trip to the Temple

We finally made it to the temple together again yesterday. It had been a while since we went at all, and even longer since we went together. 

Okay, fine, we didn't actually go inside together, but we did go, and it was wonderful.

Here's a picture of the first time one of our children has been to the Visitors' Center.

Don't worry, she didn't sleep the whole time. We wandered the ground together waiting for Tina, and she was very happy to see Tina.
This time she doesn't mind the bow in her hair.

Thursday, August 22, 2013


Mike has started a pet project which he will hopefully see through. His goal is to post every day, but the posts are short and brief.  You can find the project here: 

The goal of this new blog is to try to remember every day some little blessing or other brief moment that is meaningful to him. Hopefully there will be a picture of this thing, but sometimes not. It helps him to take time throughout the day to look for blessings in his life.

You don't have to read it, but if you do, we hope you'll enjoy it.

Here's a picture for you:

Monday, August 19, 2013

Still Here

Just a picture for now -

We are recovering from "Too Much Family Vacation."  I need more sleep before I will remember what I wanted to blog about.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Don't drown

The swimming lessons are done.  Phew!

The boys are very good swimmers now, although the teacher warned us that Ben, or any 2 year old, will have difficulty retaining his new skill without frequent practice.  In the week since the lessons ended I've already seen the signs of forgetfulness, but he's still a very energetic (and happy) swimmer.

Zeke is just about fearless in the pool and loves to dive to the bottom.  He thinks that the section of water that is 8 feet deep is just right for him.  (I do not agree.) 

My favorite "Zeke at Swimming Lessons" story is one his teacher told me.  She wanted him to learn about diving into the pool safely and said that he should never dive head first.  She said there were lots of fun ways to jump into the pool, like a Cannonball jump, and would he like to try it?  Zeke got very excited and said he wanted to show her a special jump he did with his Dad.  She said, okay, what jump?  He said, "A Helicopter."  Then he got out of the pool and prepared to show her.  She was just thinking that maybe this wasn't a good idea when he jumped anyway, doing a twist move in the air after which he barely missed the edge of the pool and flopped into the water, belly first.  She decided not to do any more jumps with Zeke.   

This is a video of Zeke touching the 8-foot bottom of the pool

Those swim lessons would have been impossible without the help of kind grandparents who came out to help on multiple occasions.  It was an amazing help to have someone hold Lily so I could corral the boys.  Thank you to the grandmas!!!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Swimming Lessons

Our building has a pool, and they heat it during the summer.  (That's good stuff, right?)  During the last month, Mike has been taking the boys swimming after he gets home from work, and they love pool time with Daddy.
Zeke usually jumps with all his might, and in this picture,
his knees would end up in Mike's face.
Ben prefers the extra warmth (~94ºF) of the kiddie spa
They were both "swimming" using flotation devices (see "noodles" in above pictures) but Mike said that floaties are crutches used only by weaklings and children.  I pointed out that our boys are children. He said that was unacceptable. Then he hid the floaties in a back closet and told the boys the floaties were gross and moldy and had to go.

Zeke cried at first, then he jumped in the water anyway and, guess what? He swims like a fish.

While Mike was staring at Zeke-the-Swimmer, jaw on the ground, Ben jumped in the pool too.  Ben did not swim or float, however, and promptly sank to the bottom.  Mike saved him, of course, but he still won't give back the floaties.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Solid Math Skills

My friend has a boy who is one month older than Ben.  She was recently blogging about how brilliant he was because he not only counted down the jumps on the bed starting from ten, but he also asked for negative jumps after he made it to zero.
Here is my retaliation:
Ben was on the patio today messing with the plants.  He plucked an imaginary something off the plant and held his fist tightly closed.  He plucked another imaginary something off the plant and held his other fist tightly closed.
"I have two chocolates," he told me very seriously, showing me his fists.
"Can I have one?" I asked.
"No," he said.  "I only have one for Gareth, one for Zeke and one for Dad."
Then he pretended to put both chocolates in his own mouth.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Better pictures

Mike got some much better pictures of the blessing dress:
 Cute baby!
Dress detail.

   Awesome conversation I overheard:

Ben:  Zeke, do you want to press the fire alarm?
Zeke:  Okay.
Ben:  Don't worry, I'll lift you up.
Zeke:  Okay.
(Ben then grabs Zeke around the waist and attempts to lift him up.  Zeke looks up and holds his arm up as if it will actually work.  It doesn't.)
Ben:  Maybe we'll try again later.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Blessing Day

Today we blessed Lily in church and gave her a name for the official church records.  Equally exciting was the fact that it was ward conference and when they announced the names of the ward clerks, Mike's name was not mentioned.  He's been released?!?
It was very exciting to have grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins and friends there to support us.  Zeke and Ben loved having grandparents to play with during Sacrament Meeting.  They got tickles from Grandpa and snacks from Grandma.  Mike and I enjoyed being able to sit together.
My pictures of Lily in her pretty dress all turned out blurry.
Here's the best one I got:

Good thing I have the girl and the dress at my disposal for the rest of the week - we'll try a photo shoot some night when we're feeling relaxed and smiley.  She's amazing when she smiles.

The boys are doting on their baby sister.  They love to hold her and make faces at her and talk for her.  They use high-pitched voices to talk for Lily and say things like:
Ben:  (in Ben's voice)  What was your favorite part of the day, Lily?
Ben:  (in Lily's voice)  I liked....ummm...pooping.  I pooped at breakfast, I pooped at the park, I pooped in the car...
Ah, boys.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


After the boys go to bed, we usually get some time to play with Lily and remember how fun it is to have a baby.  She's holding her head up pretty well now, for several minutes at a time.  She's also smiling now, which is lots of fun.  

Isn't she cute?  No need to respond.  I already know the answer.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Still kicking

This was something that came home from Zeke's preschool on the night of Open House.  It was a very pleasant surprise.  (I now love rocket ships.)

 We have lots of boys toys in our house.  Guns and swords are favorites.

"We never shoot people."  This is something I say fifty billion times a day.  If there are bad guys we call the police and they capture the bad guys.  In my narrative, not even the police shoot bad guys.  What can we shoot?  Mean bears, wolves, lions, mean trees, mean rats ... and silverfish.  Bonus points for the silverfish.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Trying out bows

Let it be known that I don't know where the bow goes.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Toy Story

Brushing Teeth

To Infinity And Beyond
(to infinity and beyond)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

You gotta have faith

Below is a picture of Ben rocking his George Michael hair at church today.

I'm very happy with my family. My boys are handsome, funny and smart. My little girl is beautiful. My wife is amazing, patient and realistic.

I am very happy. Tomorrow I go back to work, and I'm not looking forward to spending time away from them. I would stay home for three more weeks, but I'm need to go back.

Tina is amazing and will do well. We have great friends and family close who are willing to help out. I know everything will be fine.

Friday, April 26, 2013

One week in

Everything is good so far: the boys are fitfully-happy that Dad is home all day, Dad is tired, and Mom is exhausted. Lily mostly just does baby things the same as the boys did, except she does them in pink.

Dad's home for one more week, and then we deal with powerful separation anxiety and real territorial aggression with little sister.

Ben has a huge head
I have a hot dog in my nose

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

New Baby!!!!

We have our new baby girl, and will be updating more later, but here are the details:

Lily Eve
8 Lbs 4 oz
21 inches
2013/04/16 10:47 am