Thursday, December 18, 2008

I Liiiiiiiiiiiike It!

Lena is officially a toddler. She is almost 2 going on 13, and whilst she has her moments of charm and cuteness (usually when she is performing for other people), most of the time she is , well, a monster. (I guess that is the price we pay for having her be so well-mannered as a baby.) Grocery runs can be particularly eventful, and last week was no exception. Exasperated after trying everything we could think of to keep her somewhat civil, we decided to break all the rules and find her something to keep her entertained. That something turned out to be a $1.50 worth of beads, plastic, tinsel, and feathers.

"Oooooo! Wooooow. I liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiike it. Mama, I liiiiiiiiiiike it. I liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiike it."

This continued for the rest of the shopping trip, all the way home, and for the rest of the evening... interspersed with slurping/licking noises that accompanied Lena pretending her wand was a lollipop.

The next day she added new sound effects...

"Swiiiiish. Swiiish!! I Liiiiiiike it! Swiiiiiiish. Swiiiish. I liiiiiiiiike it."

... and pretended that her wand was a flute by playing it on its side and blowing on it.

"Fwoo-t, mama, fwoo-t!"

The best, though, was:

"Mama, i' magi-t (Mummy it is magic)! I liiiiiiike it. Swiiish!"

Since it is now magic, periodically I find Lena turning Oliver into pigs, trombones, and whatever else.

"Swiiiiish. [Then she bonks him on the head with her wand] Oh no, mama! Pig!"

And, it must be magic... look!

Awesome. Best $1.50 ever. Who said kids don't have the imaginations they used to?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

So Excited!

I finally found these in my size! They should be here next week. Love!

Monday, December 15, 2008


Thanksgiving was pretty good for us. We stayed at home and shared thanksgiving dinner with our friends and neighbors, the Sperleins. Then for dessert we were able to have more friends and neighbors over. It was really nice. The Sperleins tackled the turkey, and when I told them a few weeks ago that I didn't like turkey all that much because it usually is dry and tasteless, they took that as a personal challenge and produced a wonderfully seasoned, moist turkey. It was great. I made side dishes, and a couple of desserts. Culinary successes of the day (well, I think all of them were a success, but the ones that I think stand out):
  • Cranberry and spice poached pears, mainly because I had never made poached pears before, had to make them for 10 people, and only had 10 pears, so no room for errors... oh yeah, and I liked them. I will be logging that 'recipe' away for future use.
  • My roasted vegetables. I love roasted vegetables, and the particularly good one this time around were the fennel bulbs, parsnips, yams, and Yukon potatoes (because roasted potatoes are always good). And yes I did say fennel bulbs. Evan was highly skeptical - I called him a "Doubting Thomas" - but he was definitely won over in the end. You should all try it.
  • Eton Mess, because meringues, whipped cream, and mixed berries, in any combination, is always a good thing.
  • My homemade meringues. As many of you will know, making meringues at high altitude is a recipe for disaster... or at least flat, weepy, chewy meringues. If you don't get absolutely right you end up with wet marshmallows. Gross. So, undeterred after one really failed attempt two days before, I threw caution into the wind and spent Thanksgiving morning whisking egg whites and sugar, and praying that my meringues would work, because if it didn't, I had no back-up option. Fortunately, my crash courses in the theories of cooking at high altitude and meringue-making proved very helpful, and I was able to create a recipe that produced perfect (if I might say so myself) meringues. Mum, I hope you are sufficiently impressed.

On the Friday we drove out to Denver for my freshman-roommate's wedding. We knew that our car would probably not like the drive through the mountain pass in Vail, especially if there was snow, so we elected to rent a car for the trip. Since it was Thanksgiving weekend, however, no-one had returned their rentals come Friday morning and all that was left (from the rental places all through Utah and SL County) was a Chevy Silverado. It had an extended cab so we could comfortably fit everyone in, but even though we didn't have to pay any extra for it, we were none too thrilled about the (lack of) gas economy. Evan kicked up a fuss, and scored a free tank of gas from the rental place. Awesome.

Taking a break in The-Middle-Of-Nowhere-Ville, Utah

The drive was uneventful until we started hitting the mountains in Colorado, at which point it started to snow. Hard. I am glad we had a 4 x 4, if for no other reason than we could pull off the road to take care of kids, etc, without fear of getting stuck in the snow. Traffic was awful, and crawling, and the roads were barely visable and icy. I lost count of how many accidents we saw.


We made it safely into Denver, which is more than others who were traveling out for the wedding could say, and in reasonable time, too. The wedding the next day was wonderful, and I am so glad that we were able to make the trip out for Lorie.

In typical Colorado fashion it snowed pretty much all day, when the forecast was for clear, sunny skies in the mid-40's. Navigating icy walkways in stilettos has now become a specialty of mine. I would love to have taken pictures of Oliver in the snow, but he slept through everything.

Lena loved it, naturally, and spent most of the time at the temple treading on the pansy beds covered in snow, and throwing snowballs into the fountain with Dad.

The View From Our Kitchen

Most of the time I just have things to complain about when it comes to living on the third floor of our building. However, sometimes it has its perks. Our kitchen is west-facing, so when combined with the fair weather we have been having for the past few months, the winter light, and the fact that since we are so high we can see above the other houses in our neighborhood, it makes for some pretty cool sunsets.

(I haven't done anything to these pictures.)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Wasn't It Just Christmas?

I have been robbed. Someone stole my time. I am pretty sure it hasn't been almost a year since last Christmas. And I can't believe, for that matter, that it is December. Maybe it has something to do with the unseasonal warm weather we have been having since September. I don't know. All I know is that the end of the year is fast approaching, and I have no idea what happened to the rest of it.

November was a busy month for us. In fact, now that I think about it, I can't think of a particular thing that made it more busy than usual... it was just busy. It seems to be the story of our lives right now. I think we have been waiting all year for things to calm down a bit, and it never seems to happen. Maybe that is why things seem to have gone so quickly.

So anyway, highlights from the month...
- Not really November, but close enough... Halloween was fun. Oliver was a cow. The same cow that Lena was last year. Lena was 8 months old, Oliver was two months. Go figure. Lena was a Kung Fu fighter. Thanks Hayley for the black and gold silk outfit from China! I didn't take pictures. I forgot. Oh well.
- My fabulous, if I might say so myself, Christmas tree went up two weeks before Thanksgiving. I know that's not kosher for some Americans, but I couldn't care less. In fact, if it had been left up to me I would have had the tree up around Halloween, but Evan reined me in.

- We figured out a portion of just how much information Lena soaks up. The day we put up the tree we heard Lena saying something over and over again when she was playing with one of the decorations, a french horn. "Too-ba, Too-ba. Mamma... Too-ba. Oh Wow! Too-ba!" "That's a french horn, sweetie. Can you say 'horn'?" "Hoh-w" "Good girl. What is that called (pointing to the horn)?" "Too-ba!" So the french horn became a tuba. On closer inspection of her show, it turns out that a tuba is a frequently featured instrument, along with a flute, an oboe, and a trumpet. Lena also like to pull the icicles off the tree and play them like a flute. "Foo! Foo!" There are definitely worse things that she could be picking up from TV shows.

- The stray cat got taken to the shelter. Our cat was on her best behaviour for us for the next week. Awesome.
- Oliver started eating solid food just before he turned 3 months. Yes, I know you aren't supposed to feed solid food to babies younger than 6 months, but, quite frankly, he is growing faster than I can produce food for him to eat... and its not like there is a shortage on my end either. He loves it, cries when there is no more left, and leaves virtually no mess. No adverse reactions to either rice cereal or applesauce. Other babies must be pansies if they have to wait for 6 months to swing around. Kind of kidding.

- Oliver grew. Nothing new there. Today Evan took the kids and went to the gym. He checked Lena into the childcare and the girl behind the desk was very confused as to why he wasn't checking in Oliver too - the minimum age is 6 months. Yes, our boy is a giant. Poor kid. He looks like he should be walking by now, and since he obviously isn't, it just makes him seem like a really lazy, fat chunk to anyone who doesn't know him. Sometimes I feel sorry for him, and then I realize that he will probably never have a problem with bullying, unless you count the fact that he may be the one doing it.

- Evan finished all of his midterms. Hurray for having my husband (somewhat) back. Bring on finals in two weeks. And Christmas break... we are so ready for it.
- Oliver started giggling. I don't have a video of it yet, but as soon as I do I will post it. I love that he is interacting more with us. I love that Lena has also discovered making her brother laugh. Oliver loves her and Lena loves him. It is so cute to see the two 'playing' together. She even shares her blankets and toys with him. She doesn't share with just anyone, as I am sure the nursery leaders and kids will attest to. Although, I don't think she has gone so far as to share her monkey yet.

... and that wasn't even half of our November. More to follow! I'm off to bed.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Trashy McFeline Update:

--to read more about how the nastiest cat in town forced itself into our lives--
--visit our friend's & neighbor's page here--

Although I truly wanted to let my imagination run wild with ways to mitigate the cat "problem"... Hannah talked me into taking it into a shelter.

Unfortunately, on the way to the animal shelter my practical side got the best of me and I had a bit of an epiphany...

Why was I going out of my way to take a rather gross not-really-a-kitten-anymore cat that I didn't want to a place full of animals that nobody else wants?

So I had a little bit of a training session with the cat and explained that it pretty much had two choices.

By choosing option one, it could go with the more conventional stop, drop & roll, where it would quickly learn about gravity. In case it preferred to postpone the effects of gravity, I gave it a crash course (pun intended), in the principles behind Bernoulli's theorem and the mechanics of flight: lots of speed, right attitude, and a tail to hold it steady.

Then I pulled into the fast lane on the freeway, carefully rolled down the passenger's side window, did the pre-flight checks, (landing gear, flaps, tail, engines,) and positioned the box it was riding in in the "eject" position.

... man that cat can JUMP! ...

At home, Hannah told me that Lena searched for the cat for all of 5 minutes...

"Kii-iii, wheah d' go?!" (Kitty, where'd you go?)

"Oh no! Wheah cat!"

"Caaa-aaaat" (the "t" is actually silent)

Then she got absorbed in a book and forgot all about our little visit from the stink fairy.

Disclaimer: No animals were harmed in the actual making of this post. Some, however, may have been harmed in the research material for it. We take no responsibility for damaged windshields, broken headlights, paint chips, spray, splatter, or plopping of animal bits or other material that you may have come in contact with as a result of your reading said post. Also, this didn't really happen. The cat was taken safely to the shelter, of sound body... we can't vouch for the mind.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I Meant To Post These A While Ago But...

... life is pretty busy with two. Oliver is almost three months old. I can't believe it - it feels like we've had a visit or two from a time-thief. Here are some pictures from a few weeks ago of Oliver rolling over.

And some of Lena...
One of her new favourite things is playing with Daddy's torches.

And another thing she likes to do is play with writing utensils.

It took about a week for all of that to come off.

And one for Grandpa P.

More to come.

Friday, November 7, 2008

[Mormons] made bastards of their (the homosexuals') (adopted) children...

Regardless of someone's stance for or against Proposition 8, the pedantic backlash against the Mormon church by the opponents of the California ballot measure is pathetic at best, and ridiculous no matter which way you look at it.

It is high time that equality became an absolute idea, truly afforded to those who claim to seek or defend it, especially by those who pretend to seek it so desperately. How unfortunate that those who concocted and executed such an excellently managed campaign for their beliefs have resorted to juvenile tantrum-like ragings against anyone they can blame.

It reminds me of times when I was a kid and wanted something so badly that I thought it was a "need", wove a story and presented it to my parents, (who inevitably saw right through it,) and then screamed any manner of insults I could think of at them when I didn't get my way. Common retorts included, "It's a free country, I'll do what I want!" "You can't take that away from me, it's my right!" and the thought "I'll show them!" followed by an attempt at never speaking to them for a million bajillion years.

As a child, rules existed in my house, which were aimed at teaching me how to interact in an acceptable manner with those around me. Thanks to my wise parents, these rules also specified a set of consequences for not accepting and not abiding by those conventions. Rules exist in a society to define the way in which we must interact with those around us and the consequences for our failure to do so.

Thankfully, we live in a society where we as citizens have the right to adjust, as we see fit, and by the voice of the majority of the people, said conventions, rules, and consequences. This is exactly what took place in California; the voice of the majority of the people decided that the State of California should be a government in which marriage is defined in the Constitution as being solely between a man and a woman. To claim that the Mormon Church, or even the State of Utah took away the freedom of 5,642,343 million people who voted yes (as of 7 Nov, 2008) and "forced" this measure to pass is absolutely ridiculous. 

I want to make it clear that I am not attempting to pass judgement on the number of upstanding homosexual individuals whose lives this measure did touch in an extremely personal manner. I am expressing my disgust with the very vocal minority of individuals who, like petulant children, are lashing out in anger and frustration against a false stereotype and an institution they may know little about, simply because they did not get their way and want someone to blame. The ones who acted in this instance are the 10 million plus CALIFORNIA residents who voted on the measure, why no backlash against them, no cries of bigotry? Much better to find a scapegoat (in the form of the LDS church) than to face the truth: The majority of Californians who voted would like their constitution amended to say that marriage is strictly between a man and a woman. 

Railings against Mormons for making bastards of the adopted children of the 20,000 homosexual couples married since the law was overturned by the California courts, and cries to punish the state of Utah are nothing more than querulous bellyaching and should be regarded with as much weight as one affords to a child who persists in throwing their toys out of their crib.

As we DO live in the United States of America, with all of her glorious freedoms, I say let these people express themselves according to their various rights, in ways that are constructive and non-slanderous. If they feel that they can not abide by the newly amended constitution, let them pursue such legal remedies as prescribed for alteration of the legal codes.

Until such time, feel free to stand up for what you believe in, but please quit the whining, stop with the tantrums, grow up and act like adults. I know that I always found that when I was trying to get something from my parents, it helped to act like a grown-up. After all, we don't let children get married, now do we?

Saturday is a Special Day

Last Saturday, Evan and I decided that we needed to devote some time to chores around our apartment that we don't usually do on a regular basis. We decided that we would focus on our windows. I ironed curtains (yes, Mum, you did read that right), and Evan, with a little help from Lena, washed the outside of the windows. Our windows looked as though they hadn't been cleaned on the outside since the last millennium, and we were both sick of wasting Windex and time by washing the windows on the inside and it having no impact whatsoever their apparent cleanliness. I would say that there was a fine film of filth on the outside of our windows, but that would be incorrect. There was a fine film of filth on top of a fine film of filth on three more layers of grime.

I have to confess I didn't spend all of the time ironing the curtains. For the first little while I was having coronary episodes while Evan half hung himself out of our windows (we live on the third floor of our building). I had justifiable visions of my husband slipping, falling out, and, at best, breaking his back and not being able to work or go to school. Fortunately, Evan came up with a genius idea which meant Lena could help too... and the idea did not involve rigging a hoist and dangling Lena off the roof. He managed to take the windows apart so we could clean them in our kitchen.

Lena had a blast. She really liked helping, even if she wasn't all that much help. Plus, now our windows are clean. I can't believe we were living in so much squalor! When we were done we were so amazed at how crisp everything looked, how bright the colours outside were, and the amount of light that was finally able to make it into our front room. It was fantastic!

Tomorrow we are going to trying vacuuming. Hopefully we will soon be getting our money's worth with our very own personal slave.