Friday, September 26, 2008


There are many unusual things about our Isaac. For one, he loves to clean. And he does a more thorough job than most of us. (You should see him fold laundry - he's a professional.) He is our designated fly-swatter. He wears shorts and a T-shirt when it's forty degrees outside. He has a perfect (and left-handed) golf swing. He is very partial to Dr. Seuss books. He cares for all the worms and roly-polies in the neighborhood, dutifully moving them back to the grass when they stray too far. He has a natural gift for sensitivity and charity. If I give him a treat in the afternoon, he asks me if he can wait until Jacob gets home from school and share it with him. He can read The Very Hungry Caterpillar all by himself. He loves to play Candyland, and beats me every time. He is extremely patient (for a 4-year-old.) His favorite song is I am a Child of God. He sucks his tongue in his sleep. And he wags it back and forth when he colors. It keeps time to the rhythm of his coloring - faster when he scribbles, and slower when he's trying to stay within the lines.

I love you, Boo. And all of your little quirks.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Welcome Home...and Goodbye

After a two-week vacation in California, my camera finally made it home last week. It was a very joyful reunion! Unfortunately, after only 25 exposures, it decided it needed a return trip to the Golden State. Meaning, Nikon didn't fix it right the first time. So, sadly, I am once again without my favorite inanimate companion. Thankfully, Dad was kind enough to lend me his D70 for a photo shoot I had agreed to do for some friends. And for capturing Jacob's birthday festivities... and random shots like this

and these:

Please come home soon, Camera (needs a name, don't you think? Suggestions?) I miss you!

Good to Know

Jacob (as we were driving): "If you go on the highway and you crash into a real moose, your car will get really busted."

One less thing he will have to learn in driver's ed someday.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Date Night

It was late Friday evening, and the sky was overcast. As per tradition, Marty and I watched Numbers at 9:00, after which Marty disappeared. Up to something...

A little while later he called me into the kitchen, then led me out back onto the patio, where I was greeted by a long row of candles, a makeshift fire screen, and two deck chairs. And two plates piled high with marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers. Now this is perfection.

There was a strong "tropical" breeze which made the candle flames flicker, and the faint aromas of FreshCutGrass and Pumpkin Spice. (Did I mention they were scented candles?) Think beach-house in Tahiti. (Not that I've been there.) Marty even arranged a distant lightning show for our viewing pleasure.

We roasted/scorched several marshmallows and watched the brilliant flashes in the sky and thought how lovely it is just to be together. We had just finished cleaning up when the raindrops started to fall.

Yep, I'm the luckiest girl in the world.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Where Do French Fries Come From?

I came across a tasty-looking recipe for homemade french fries a couple days ago, and decided to make them for dinner. As I'm slicing the potatoes into 1/4-inch strips, in comes Isaac with the inevitable question, "Mom, whatcha making for dinner?" French fries, I tell him. You should have seen the look of shock on that child's face.

"You can't make fries!! You have to buy them from the store!"

(What have I been teaching my children all these years?)

I patiently explained that you can indeed make fries - they are made from potatoes. He didn't believe me. And he wouldn't eat them.

This same dinner yielded a lot of laughs (Marty has found his calling in silent comedy) and some interesting quotes from the boys, like:

Jacob: "Dad, do you know what your brain needs most to run?" (Marty gave an answer, which Jacob deemed the wrong one.) "Water!... Well, I'm gonna get some more water so my brain can keep running."

And a little later:

Isaac (flying a green bean through the air on his fork): "I'm heading for Texas... now I'm flying over Texas...." And a minute later, with a new green bean this time: "I'm blasting off for Canada!"

Not that we encourage our children to play with their food. However, we find that it improves their geography skills.

Life Lesson # 741

Those packages of meat at the grocery store are NOT childproof. Ask me how I know.

I turned around after bagging some bananas at Walmart to find a gaping hole in one such package (which I swear was far out of reach in the back of the cart) and Grace intently examining a handful of raw fish.

Thank goodness for baby wipes and hand sanitizer.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Trilogy

Somehow, birthdays always get stretched to three days or longer around here. The festivities began Friday night, when we took the kids and Jacob's chosen friend to Chuck E. Cheese (proof that I truly love you, Jacob.) Two hours of children screaming, dancing robotic animals, mediocre pizza (definitely an overstatement,) and trading tokens for tickets. Apparently, at this age, the games are just a means to an end. The goal is to collect as many tickets as possible so that you can leave with as many Airheads and tootsie rolls as possible, because you know that your mother would never let you have that much candy if it weren't your birthday. Anyhow, we all survived and are looking forward to many Chuck E. Cheese-free months, if not years. (I did beat Marty at skee-ball though. Let it be written.)

On Saturday, we all drove to the Air Force Base for the much-anticipated air show. (Okay, technically this was not for Jacob's birthday - it was more of a present for Marty.) It was a gorgeous day, and we actually ran into several people from our ward there. (Nothing like a free, family-friendly event to draw the Mormon crowd!) Our favorite act was the jets - F15s, I think - you'll have to ask Marty for specifics. We saw many spectacular demonstrations, including the dropping of real munitions, and a terrific sky-diving show (not at the same time.) We also got to tour a C130 that, ironically, was named Christine. Just before we left, the Thunderbirds flew in to practice for the next day's show. What a treat it is to see them! Their low flyover was timed perfectly, as I had just warned Grace to stay with me and she was running away with a mischievous glance over her shoulder. I've never seen her U-turn so quickly. (Sorry, no pics of the air show. My camera is taking an extended vacation at the Nikon repair shop in El Segundo. Not happy about this.)

Finally, the actual birthday arrived. On Sunday, we had the family over for dinner and cake.

And presents, of course. This was the Year of the Hot Wheel and the Lego.

Jacob remembered the backhoe cake I had made for Isaac's birthday (copied from Family Fun,) and requested a race car cake, thus carrying on the Hot Wheels theme. Check out the spoiler! Marty did the paint job, um, decorating. Awesome, huh?

Our version of partying - we're such rowdies, you know.

Isaac and Uncle Danny share a special bond. And I think it has something to do with the goatee.

And with this magical moment, you are officially seven, Jacob. At least according to Isaac, who is convinced it is the cake that makes you one year older.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Happy Birthday, Jacob!

In honor of your seventh birthday, here are seven things we treasure about you, Jacob:

Your passion for life. You just want to see it all, do it all, live it all. Right now. (You've asked us many times why you can't go straight to college.)

Your artistic ability. And wild imagination.

Your fearless determination. When you really want something, you go for it.

Your dramatic enthusiasm.

Your patriotism. You are very into all things American: the national anthem (which has been your favorite song for years now,) the U.S. flag, and the presidential election.

Your fierce independence. You are not one to follow the crowd, but prefer to blaze your own trail. And you are not easily persuaded to do something you don't want to do. (I'm trying to see this one in a positive light.)

Your love for your family, and your righteous desires and goals.

Happy birthday, Jacob! We love you tremendously, and we're excited to watch you growing and developing the special characteristics that make you you. And we can't wait to see what you'll do with your life. Look out, world.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

That Which Ye Sow...

Well, most of the time anyway! This was our third year planting a garden, and we're finally starting to get the hang of it. We grew zucchini, bell peppers, jalapenos, bush beans, sugar snap peas, green onions, carrots, shallots, yellow onions, cucumbers, several varieties of tomatoes, a jungle of raspberries (two if you count the canes coming up from the neighbor's yard,) corn, and a cantaloupe plant, which oddly enough, has two watermelons growing on it. Oops.

We also grew strawberries for a few weeks until they - shall we say - opted for early retirement.

I'm not into planting tons of flowers yet, but we did add some marigolds and nasturtiums for color. And one lonely-looking purple morning glory under the crabapple tree.

The kids planted a wall of sunflowers, ranging from 3 feet to 10 feet tall. They also raised a volunteer cherry tomato plant, which naturally is doing much better than the ones we planted on purpose.


Every year we learn a bit more, and consequently, harvest a bit more. This year we learned that certain plants (corn, cantaloupe-watermelons) don't do so well without sunlight and water. Hmmm... I think I read that in a book somewhere....

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


This is "Blankie," who is practically a member of the family. Isaac and Blankie are inseparable. When Blankie has to be washed, major meltdowns ensue. Once, when I put Blankie in the hamper, Isaac snuck into the laundry room every five minutes to be with it. When I asked him what he was doing in there, he said: "I just want to pet him." Yes, for as long as I can remember, Blankie has been a boy. Which is why I was surprised when Isaac approached me last week and said:

Isaac: Can Blankie come with me to my friend's house?

Mom: No, Blankie needs to stay here.

Isaac: Will you babysit Blankie while I'm gone?

Mom: Blankie doesn't really need a babysitter. How about Blankie take a nap?

Isaac: No!!! SHE doesn't like to take naps!

Mom: Wait a minute - since when is Blankie a girl?

Isaac (smirking): Sssssss. (His standard response to a question when he's being shy or he doesn't know the answer.)

Mom: How do you know Blankie is a girl?

Isaac (rolling his eyes and sighing like this is the most obvious thing in the world): Because she doesn't have any hair!

Sometimes I wonder why I continue to ask these kinds of questions.