Sunday, April 28, 2013

Goons! and other assorted thoughts

I present to you Isaac and Sammy, the two silliest goons that ever lived:
Sammy the Monkey strikes again!  This time, on his all-too-willing older brother.
I love the expression on Sammy's face: "Just give in to the embrace..."
Sometimes you just have to give a big flourish.

Sometimes you just have to fall asleep mid-flourish.  Being a Monkey is tiring business, after all.

And sometimes, you just have to be sweet.

Speaking of sweet, I finally caught a bit of Elinor's crinkle smile on camera.

Like the Star Wars themed outfit?  The cuteness is strong with this one!

And this one!

Aaaand this one!  (He was very proud of his caterpillar project.)

In other news, Elinor is 7 months old now... and she's starting to crawl.  Sitting?  Not so much.  But she can get from Point A to Point B like a crazed zombie caterpillar - partly scrunching up on all fours then launching herself and partly lunging like she's hungry for brains.  It's... cute?  Yes.  It's cute. 

I've decided to start making all our bread.  We just bought a fancy grain mill to use on our food storage wheat, and I figure it's time to start using it.  I'm pretty good at making bread now, but I've always shied away from making our everyday sandwich bread because I hadn't found a good enough whole wheat bread recipe.  Well, my friends, the search has ended! I'll give it a go and post the recipe if it pans out.

Where did April go?  How did we get to the end of it so soon?  Oh right, we were all sick through most of it.  Blerg. Well, happy to be on the other side of it now. 

We bought some plants for our potted garden a few weeks ago when the weather was nice. Two days later, the weather decided to punish my optimism with several hard frosts. And snow.  The more delicate plants - the basil and tomato - didn't survive, but the rosemary and thyme did, and even my mint rallied after I removed a few frostbitten leaves.  Here's to hoping the weather does as it should from here on out, because I'm anxious to fill in those sad bare spots with new plants.

Buying a house is tough business in this just-recovering market when you're dependent on a loan.  We've been looking, and it's been a very *educational* experience.  We had one offer accepted and then fall through because the house appraised way lower than the offer amount and we couldn't/wouldn't pay cash to make up the difference.  Apparently, many homes in the area are still appraising low, even though demand (and accordingly, asking prices) is increasing.  We're on our second accepted offer now, and we're hoping this appraisal (scheduled for tomorrow) comes back more favorable now that several other properties in the area have sold at above the appraisal value.  No wonder one feels more grown up when one buys a house - there's so much to learn about the whole process! I'm throwing out terms like "underwriting" and "comps" and "seller disclosure" like it's nobody's business - no, not even yours. 

And that's about it.  Wait -

NOW that's it.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

All about Isaac

Ah, Isaac.  Our firstborn, our eldest.  I can never quite get over how much I love him.  He is a dreamer.  He creates things based on his daydreams.  He takes an hour to eat his dinner because he is so busy imagining stuff and telling us about it all, or else telling us all manner of bad knock-knock jokes.  You know, the kind that don't actually have a punchline?  He revels in projects of any kind.

He is thoughtful in every way: offering words of encouragement to me when I'm having a bad day or drawing cards, writing notes, and even making "useful" gifts for love ones. One of his latest inventions for our benefit was a 2-dimensional spider trap made from construction paper and a few random scraps that he'd found lying around.  It was basically a maze meant to confuse a spider beyond all hope of ever exiting this diabolical trap.  Genius.

I've probably said it before but I'll say it again:  Isaac is the best big brother any mother could hope for.  He adores his younger siblings and serves them non-stop, even without being asked.  He's one of the few people who can cheer Elinor up when she's upset, and he regularly makes her laugh like none of us has been able to thus far (I'm not bitter or anything...).  

Isaac is a budding photographer.  He has his own little camera to fiddle with, but lately he's been trying his hand at using Mommy's big camera:

That last one had him in stitches.  Nothin' funnier than your little bro's butt in the air!  He also takes videos with his little camera.  It's hilarious to listen to him narrate each clip like a grown-up.  I'll have to post one of his videos one day when I actually take it off the camera.

He loves pajamas, and I mean really loves them.  He tells us so all the time.  "Mommy, I just really, really love being in pajamas.  They're so comfy!"  Not the warm kind, because he instantly overheats in them, but short sleeves and/or shorts just make his day.  He's also a homebody.  He protests going on errands because he "just likes how comfy it is at home" and can only be persuaded to come along if I promise he can get right back into his jammies the moment we get home.

Isaac's stomach has the unique ability to magically and completely empty upon bedtime, leaving him in a state of near starvation despite the fact that we just gave him a large snack immediately preceding bedtime.  It's a scientific marvel.  Really. 

Favorite shows: Rescue Bots (the preschooler's version of Transformers), Phineas and Ferb, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Star Wars Angry Birds, and Ni No Kuni (a Studio Ghibli video game that we're playing).  Favorite food: soups (who knew?), chicken and dumplings, spaghetti and meatballs, pizza, fish and rice, biscuits with jam, all sweets, and all breakfast fare.  

And that's our Isaac!  It's been fun highlighting each child this week.  I love itemizing exactly what I love about what each is going through developmentally at the moment.  We love how unique each of our children is - we learn and grow so much as their parents, and there's never a dull moment! 

Friday, April 12, 2013

All about Samuel

I firmly believe that Samuel was a born leader.  That kid has got more gumption and cajones than many adults, and he has the stubbornness to match!  Most of the time this is a good thing. Sometimes, like during diaper changes and cleanup time, it is a very unfortunate thing.  Still, I absolutely treasure this trait of his and wouldn't trade it for the world.

Sammy is so very affectionate!  He gives the best hugs!  Most kids just kind of stand there and let the hug happen to them, but Sammy will wrap his arms tightly around you and squeeze back with just the right amount of pressure so you know he really means it.  Melts my heart every time. (Photo courtesy of Isaac.)

This kid's a monkey, as evidenced by this picture of Collin minding his own business feeding the baby when suddenly, a monkey-child decides to scale Mt. Daddy and claim it for himself.
He is best buddies with Isaac and will occasionally do his big brother's bidding (see first paragraph re:stubborn streak). Why is Isaac wearing a face mask, you ask?  Why not?  (He was helping Collin with a sanding project, but more on that later.)

Sammy loves books - what kid doesn't?  He is so interested in letters and numbers.  He "reads" to himself, sings the ABC song all the time, and counts anything that holds still long enough for his pudgy finger to point at it.  He can count to 13 accurately, 20 if you count "nexteen" as a number.  (It falls somewhere between 13 and 16, in case you're wondering.)

Favorite thing still?  Yup, cars and trucks.  Lately, he's been much more into playing outside (with his big dump truck) now that the weather is warming up.  In fact, he and Isaac practically live outside these days.  I love watching them be boys - digging in the dirt, finding worms, chucking rocks at trees picking rocks up from the ground...  His dearest ambition right now is to go to Jump On It (the indoor trampoline park) once we're all healthy again.

We just love our Sammy: our independent, silly, energetic, stubborn, cuddly boy!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

All about Elinor

We've come up with a few new nicknames since the last post about Elinor.  Ellie-tor is the current favorite (we've been into dinosaurs lately).  In the same vein, Ellie-gator.

She is a drool machine.  We're talking bad leaky faucet here!  Drip, drip, drip, drip...

She crinkles her nose when she's really happy.  It's just about the dang darn cutest thing you ever did see.  (I wish I had a picture of this, but I've yet to catch her in the act with the camera.)

This baby cannot be stopped from rolling around all over the place and pushing straight up on her hands.  Diaper changes have become a bit of a chore.  It wouldn't surprise me if she crawled early.

She is a total spaz when it comes to eating solids.  There's no tongue thrust reflex, just pure spazziness.  She's been doing it for over a month now, and her eating habits are still quite reminiscent of the Beast when Belle attempted to teach him to eat his porridge with a spoon.

Elinor got sick (along with the rest of the family. Seriously. All of us.) this week.  After she woke up from nap yesterday with a fever of 104, I decided it was time to see the doctor.  Turns out she has a double ear infection and is on her first course of antibiotics (which she promptly threw up on the first dose).  Poor girl.  She woke up in perfectly good spirits this morning, though, so our sweet little girl is back.

Sleeping continues to be a trial.  She's up on average twice a night: once about 15 minutes after we fall asleep, no matter when that happens to be (seriously, it's uncanny!), and once around 5:30am.  That is, unless you count the once or twice she wakes up before we go to bed.  So much for sleep training...

Like her brother before her, Elinor loves to jump and stick her tongue out. (Aw, wook how widdle Sammy used to be!)

Here are the headshots for her modeling auditions.  I think she has a promising career ahead of her, don't you?

Just kidding about that last one.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Easter fun

And oh, what fun we had!  We dyed eggs on Friday - 6 each and I'm thinking that wasn't enough.  The boys chose a glitter dye kit this year, and I'm seriously regretting allowing it.  Still, they had tons of fun dyeing their eggs, and in Sammy's case, re-dyeing them.  Several times.  He discovered grey and brown. Several times.

On Sunday we went to Collin's grandparents' house with the Barringtons to have lunch and our egg hunt.  Whitney was kind enough to supply the eggs, and Dustin did a smashing job of hiding them for the kids while we arrived late as usual.  The kids had a blast finding all the eggs and not eating their lunches (or else eating them under extreme duress).  The grown-ups had a blast eating lunch and not finding eggs.  Everybody won.  Except Sammy, who refused to eat his sandwich and therefore did not get his dessert.  But he didn't actually care about dessert, so I guess he ended up winning anyway. 

Why is it that mine are the only children with buckets on their heads?  Sigh...

  Stealth mode egg hunting:

Also, Elinor is cute!

Happy Easter!


Does that word bug anyone else?  Maybe it's its similarity to "vacay" that makes my brain cringe a little every time I hear or use it.  At least I'm not saying "staycay". (Gah!  Stop already!) 

We decided to take a little staycation the weekend before my birthday.  Collin took Friday off work and we headed up to the city to do things we don't normally get to do.  First up was the Living Planet Aquarium in Sandy.  For a relatively small aquarium, I actually enjoyed it much more than other major aquariums (I'm talking to you, Sea World and Aquarium of the Pacific!).  The boys had even more fun that we had anticipated, and this ended up being the clear highlight of our little trip.  It was all downhill from there...

Okay, that's not true, but it kind of was.  I mean, everything else was fun but this was the MOST fun.  I'm not going anywhere good with this. Here are some jellyfish and an octopus.

Lunch at Sweet Tomatoes (I'm not thrilled that it's starting to become our family restaurant, but why fight a good-ish thing?), then on to the hotel via Trader Joe's for some treats.  I'm not sure what it is about staying in hotels, but I never really outgrew my childhood love of it.  The fresh linens, the baby toiletries, and channel surfing on cable TV - it's all just so much more fun than the same or better stuff you've got at home.  The boys agreed, wasting no time in exploring their bed!

As soon as we had sufficiently jumped on our beds and ascertained the lack of anything good on TV, we all got in our bathing suits and hit the pool.  I kind of want to keep Elinor in her bathing suit all the time now - the cuteness is strong with this one!

We chose a hotel within walking distance to the City Creek mall so that we could have a nice little evening stroll around the fountains and shops.  Sammy requested to visit the temple first (really? We didn't even tell him there was a temple there, nor did he see it there before he made his request!), so we did.  The kids, especially Elinor, were quite tuckered out by the end of the night.
Saturday morning we headed over to the Gateway mall to visit the Clark Planetarium and the Children's Discovery Museum.  Unfortunately, we hadn't known about the St. Patrick's Day Parade that would be taking place just as we arrived, delaying the opening of the museum.  And it was a big one, folks.  So many people, and I'm pretty sure that parade lasted just shy of forever.  The boys wanted nothing to do with it because of the noise, so we ducked into the planetarium and then had an early lunch before the museum opened.

Finally, Science!
The boys loved the museum, but we didn't get to spend much time there before we had to hit the road.  After all, the Heber Creeper waits for no one!

The boys had been waiting for this moment for a month - a ride on a real old-fashioned steam engine train!  Unfortunately, they fell asleep on the way there and were grumpy when we woke them up.  To make matters worse, their dislike (did I say "dislike"?  I meant "abhorrence.") of loud noises reared its ugly head each time the engine's whistle blew.  There was crying and whining and perhaps a little gnashing of teeth.

Once we left civilization behind us, everything was fine...
until we got ROBBED!  Yes, there was a good old fashioned train robbery partway through our ride, though the robbers were a bit confused and actually giving (chocolate) coins away to the kids as they demanded we hand over the money box.  It was a cute bit of entertainment that culminated in one of the robbers getting caught and serving her "sentence" by being our on-board entertainment.  We all had a fantastic time. (That's her in the extremely fuzzy background, and that's proof that I was on this trip in the extremely focused foreground.  Hope that clears things up for ya.)

Once the train ride was over it was time to head home.  As we were driving to the freeway we passed by a park.  Out of the blue, Sammy says, "Can you drop me off at the park?"  What??  "Don't worry, I'll walk home,"  he said in a reassuring tone.  Funny kid.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, Elinor spent the majority of the trip here, doing this:

She was a good sport.  It was such a fun little trip, and I'm so glad we got to go. Sometimes it's nice to take a vacation, and sometimes it's nice to stay home - I feel like we got the best of both worlds with this trip.