Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Watching Annalisa play

There's something so sweetly satisfying about watching my kids play. Anna is sitting in her room right now, quietly emptying out her box of diapers, but nothing more sinister than that.

Meanwhile, my house smells great! I've made chocolate zucchini bread today and homemade chicken stock, so there's this rich, sweet, chocolaty, mixed with savory, intense, warm...very nice. Especially considering today is 40 degrees colder than yesterday, and rainy/snowy. Yes, snowy.

Tonight the boys are out, so it's just Anna and I at home. hence, the crazy, "what in the world?" post.

I think I need to go to bed early tonight. Agreed?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Homecoming 2009

Today was USU's homecoming, which is always a fun time for us. I haven't missed a single homecoming parade since I came for college 7 years ago. Criminy, has it been that long? whoa. Anyway, it keeps getting better and better. I made a goal that first time I went that I would cheer for everyone. It's become a grand tradition, that improves with more people. We cheer for everybody, from the marching band to the mayor, to yes, even the republicans. Because of all that cheering, and our viciously cute kids, we get lots of loving attention, which equates to a big bag of candy, frisbees (notice the plural), coupons, fliers, T-shirts, and even a couple of bowls of ice cream. We met with my parents and siblings and their respective family units early for breakfast on the edge of Main street, and then had a great time losing our voices as the parade went by.

After the parade, which was a blast, we went to my parents' house for the day, playing with magformers, making delicious rotisserie chicken dinner, lots of talking and laughing, a big game of frisbee golf, and topping it all off with angelfood cake with peaches and whipped cream.

Today's the kind of day, that when it's all done, you fall in bed and let out a big "aaaaaahh." (that's a conteded sigh, by the way.)

Girl's Day Out

For a person whose biggest social outlet is a walk to the park, going to Salt Lake for lunch with my former roommates was a big deal! We had a great time. The excuse to get together was our neighbor and friend Dustin R., who got married and had his reception last night.

As you can tell, most of us have kids now. From left to right: Lisa (Annalisa), Cindy (Kailey), Erin, Sarah (Camden), and Melanie (Winston). The babies were all pretty well behaved, although Annalisa squealed a few times in delight. We ate lunch at Cheesecake Factory, which was great. They brought the babies little plates of banana and sliced bread. The food was delicious too. After lunch we went shopping and eventually made it to the reception. It was a fun day!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Not much to Post About

Well, I feel like posting. But there's not much I have to post about, so I'll put up some pictures and blab for a while.

The kids are growing up fast. Annalisa has been a tad sick this week, with a little cough. She hasn't wanted to eat much. She does like to play, though. She also likes to take rides on Lee's wooden "Nonnie Horse."

Lee's language skills are phenomenal to me. I'm sure he's about average, but it is still so amazing to watch him learn and grow. He speaks in full, complex sentences, remembers songs and stories, and loves to identify shapes, letters, and sounds.

Cody is working harder than ever and I'm running to keep up. And that's us right now, I guess!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Feeling all domestic

Yesterday Lee got an invitation to one of his friend's birthday party. He was really excited. The invite said no gifts, but I couldn't's a little girl, and I've been dying to try these butterfly hair bows, and since I had all the materials, I thought I'd just do it. They're quite inexpensive and easy to make, if you have all the stuff. Granted, the first investment wasn't negligible, but it was a fun Saturday afternoon project. I've also seen these done with just one wing on each side as dragonflies. I'd say they turned out pretty cute!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Food preservation

We've been working hard doing some home preservation the past few weeks. Well, not working too hard...but having lots of fun at it.

Applesauce, peaches, tomatoes, fruit leather, and today up the canyon we found elderberries, so right now I'm making elderberry syrup. It smells fantastic.

OK, since I started writing this post, I've finished the elderberry syrup. Mmmm. We got about 4 pints, which I will freeze. Except for what we eat tonight, as I'm planning on making breakfast for dinner because of the yummy syrup. You can't smell the house all up like that and then not eat it, right?
After we finished bottling the peaches, we had a few leftover. So we made peach pie/peach turnovers. SO delicious.

My mom taught me to love bottling and freezing and drying food for later use. During the abundance of summer, it is very fulfilling for me to fill up my jars and cupboards with food that will taste delicious in a few months. I know not everyone enjoys this process, but for me, it's about the love. In the cold of January, I'm going to remember the happy months of summer and the warm, sunny days I spent picking, preparing, and storing food. Sometimes I feel like a chipmunk. The only downside to all this food storage is that you can't hibernate once you're done getting it together.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

P.T. post #13

I suspect this is my final Potty Training post for Lee.

In about April, at the height of my potty training frustration, I read that on average, it takes a child about 8 months to completely potty train. At the time it was really discouraging, but also, having a goal of "this is when I can officially say that Lee is worse than most kids" gave me something to wrap my mind around, which kept me sane. Well, sort of sane.

Now, it is September. While we still have accidents here and there, especially when we're not really on top of things, I'm declaring Lee 100% "Potty Trained." We have no more diapers or pull-ups. He can get his own pants up and down. He even makes it through the night, which I didn't expect for another few years. It is fantastic!

The biggest thing I learned is unfailing patience and consistency. I consider myself a pretty consistent person, but this required a level of consistency that I never dreamed was humanly possible. Another thing I really needed was help from other people, which was completely invaluable and amazingly wonderful throughout the process.

I still cheer whenever Lee goes in the toilet. I probably will for sometime. This is a huge success for me, which really reaffirms my strength as a mother. Not to mention, it's cheaper and less smelly too!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Let's Go Fly a Kite

We love having Sunday dinners with family, and last night was especially fun. We had a picnic outside, perhaps one of the last of the season, and at the end we flew Lee's birthday kite (Thanks again, Raychel and Paul!). He calls it the "American Flag Kite" and had a great time getting it going. Once it was high enough, it flew awesome and stayed up for a really, really long time.

Matthew and Cody decided to see if it would stay up when they let go. They're kind of goofy guys.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

How'd I get so lucky?

I'm listening to Cody teach Lee how to vacuum his bedroom. Annalisa is happily napping in her bed. I love my family so much. I especially love weekends when we can play together.

Just to wrap up from yesterday--Anna's birthday was great. She loved her gifts, even if she wasn't sure how to open them, or if Lee confiscated it. She downed her whole cupcake, and blew out her candle like she does it every day. Thanks to everybody who showed her/us so much love.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Happy Birthday, Annalisa!

Our baby girl is 1 today!

Annalisa Karin was born at 3:30 pm on September 11, 2008. She had bright, big eyes that she loved to open. Lee called her "Pretty Eyes" for a long time. She has always been a very observant baby, and loves to discover new things. Her latest discovery is with her voice, as she imitates sounds and words.

Anna has been such a joy in our lives already. She walked at 10 1/2 months, and is tough enough to keep up with her big brother, and often, win. She thinks big brother Lee is hilarious, and he loves her right back. Just yesterday, as we drove home from the motor test, they would reach across the back seat and give each other five, and then both laugh hysterically.

It has been a privilege to watch Annalisa grow up this past year. We can't imagine our family without her.

Happy birthday, my precious one.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ares DM-1 Motor Test

This was SO cool! That's the only way I can think to start this blog post. My brother Matthew works at ATK, in the pyrotechnics department. His project is the separation system (Matthew, you'll have to correct me if any of this is wrong) of the Ares rocket for NASA. Whatever Matthew officially does, they tested the Ares DM-1 motor today.

About 2 weeks ago they were going to test it, but the test got scrubbed at T-20 seconds. We were bummed, but that's why it was a test, not just a pyrotechnics display. So, we drove out again today, taking our picnic lunch with us again, and this time, got the show to go with our dinner.

My videos are pretty lame-o. I was shaking and not looking at the screen, and one of them I accidentally did half vertical, so it's really bad. But I did get good pictures. For more pictures, videos, and points-of-view, you can check out Matthew's Blog (private), Sara's Blog, or my parent's blog.
The white tube, almost dead-center in this picture, is the motor. It lies horizontally on the ground, and is usually covered by the building just to the left of it (with the American Flag on the side). When it comes time to test, rather than taking the motor out of the building, they move the building off of the motor. Crazy.

At T-19 seconds, (T stands for Test here, rather than Take-off) a cheer rose from the crowd. We were so happy that the test didn't have to be scrubbed again!
And, blast-off! It took a few seconds for the wave of sound to hit us, and though it wasn't extremely loud, it was powerful, and really shook you to the core.
The blast was so bright it was hard to look at without sunglasses, just shy of the brightness of the sun. The test firing lasted 2 minutes.

Finally, at the end, we were left with just a big cloud of smoke and dust that slowly dissipated. All said, it was totally worth the hour drive for this fun excursion. We had a great time with family, and got to be a part of this special event.