Monday, November 30, 2009

Houston and Cousins

Thanksgiving day we invited some friends of ours to dinner. They'd just moved into town the weekend before and were still in the midst of boxes and unpacking. Deja vu! We moved the same weekend last year.

I cooked everything including the turkey the day before so we could play all morning, and relax during the afternoon. It was nice to see them. Boy their four kids were wired after being stuck in a car for two days and then cooped up in the house with boxes! Naturally a good time was had by all and all the kids whooped it up all over the house. Everyone was tired at the end of the day and slept well. Whew!

Friday we got off to a late start to Houston to see James and Cameo with their two cute boys. Heather and Will flew in for Thanksgiving weekend too, so it was like an extended cousin dinner. I sure miss those monthly dinners... Matthew and Melissa were delighted to see cousin Jacob and play with him. And they got to have a sleepover in his room. I wonder how much sleeping went on...

Saturday James, Cameo, and Jonathan took the big kids to the park to run around while they played ultimate frisbee. Jonathan didn't bring sneakers or cleats so he opted to play barefoot. (Yes, it was that warm last weekend, in the 70s and overcast. Then the next weekend Houston got snow. Go figure.) Jonathan had a good time, but he managed to do something to his foot. What is it with that man and frisbee? James and Cameo caught the BYU game that night, while the rest of us took the kids bowling. Jacob was a real bowler, but Melissa got bored after the fifth frame. Matthew wavered between frustration and elation. He hates losing. Explaining that it's just a game and he's still learning hasn't had much impact. Fortunately for him, Heather and I are also really lousy bowlers, so he was right around our scores. "Gutter ball!" The bowling alley was sophistocated enough to have the bumpers only pop up for the kids. I was impressed. Regrettably, I probably could have used the bumpers too. Heh.

The evenings were spent playing games. Word to the wise, Cameo rocks Dutch Blitz.

Sunday Jonathan forgot his church clothes and I gave him way more harassment than he deserved. Poor longsuffering guy. Haha. He thought I put them in the car, and I assumed he'd done so. Oh well. James outfitted him and he just wore his black socks, no shoes. It worked well enough. :) Thanks James. After a delicious lunch of crepes and orange juliuses made by Will (Jonathan: Wow, Will mixes everything in a blender, and he's good), and a few more games; we packed up the kids and drove home.

Isaac didn't nap much on the way to or from Houston, but at least he tolerated his carseat better this trip. He can be bribed with M&Ms now.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

SeaWorld - Ho!

We made it to SeaWorld!
We live a half hour away, but it's taken us a while to finally check it out. We originally were planning to go on Matthew's birthday, but it rained and Isaac was sick to boot. Boo! Jonathan suggested going on Thanksgiving since it was unlikely to be crowded that day. He was right. We got there and the parking lot was maybe 1/5 full. We walked right in and checked out the dolphins first thing.

The kids wanted to get a bit closer, so we shelled out only $12 for three tiny trays of sardines to feed the dolphins. Matthew and Melissa loved it. Unfortunately the dolphins and the kids were a bit too wiggly to get a good picture.

Here's the best out of a series of bad shots. :p

We saw the Shamu show and WOW was I impressed! Naturally I left the camera in the stroller parking, but it was amazing. The 3 whales leaped out into the air with their trainers standing on the end of their (snout?). They did flips, "danced" in circles, slapped water at the audience, and carried their trainers riding and standing at impressive speeds on their backs, fins, and snouts. It appeared that the trainers and the whales were having a blast out there together. Very fun to watch!

Matthew and Jonathan rode a splash rollercoaster together. Matthew begged to go on it and he just squeaked by the height requirement. It went up did a backwards dip, rotated frontwards again before racing to the bottom in a splash water fall. Jonathan said that Matthew was pretty whiteknuckled and he asked him at the end, "Did you like the ride?" Matthew hesitatingly responded yes. "Do you want to go again?" "No!" He did like the splash at the bottom, but once was enough! Melissa was insanely jealous that she didn't get to go to, but I think it was just as well.

Instead she rode some of the tamer rides.

Matthew up close and personal with the penguins. He asked a few questions and really enjoyed seeing the penguin up close.

One of the many pictures Matthew took of the penguins.

The aquariums were fun to visit too, and the shark tank was HUGE! There was something for everyone there, even play areas for Isaac. We'll be going back sometime since we purchased season tickets as a Christmas present. Maybe next time I can get some good pictures of the kids!

Saturday, November 28, 2009


I started this post over a week ago (finally finished it and hit publish). Hence the delay despite the November 28 date.

The turkey and trimmings are stashed in the refrigerator after another delectable Thanksgiving feast. Now I just have to think of 1001 ways to use up turkey.* Turkey pancakes, anyone?**

I am thankful for my little family and the three ring circus starring Matthew, Melissa, and Isaac. They keep us laughing.....and humbled. Boy do they humble us from time to time! I am also grateful for the my co-ringmaster who keeps me sane and puts up with my quirks. Thanks honey.

I'm grateful for good parents, Jonathan's and mine. I couldn't be luckier when it comes to parents who worked so hard to raise and teach me, and parents-in-law who welcomed me into the family as a daughter. We have great siblings too, both by birth and by marriage. We love and like to be around them, and count them as our friends as well as our siblings. How fortunate is that? Someday we plan to live closer to them so our kids can get to know their aunts, uncles, and cousins better.

Our kids are healthy. In particular, Isaac is thriving, and for that we are very grateful.

Matthew and Melissa are gentle people and (mostly) try to do what is right. Sure they argue from time to time as siblings do, but they also look out for each other and will share their last piece of candy with one another. Melissa always runs up to Matthew when we pick him up from school and throws her arms around him and gives him a kiss. She misses him during the day. Matthew protects his sister in the playground from bigger kids, and always sees that Melissa gets her fair share. He'll even divvy up his goody bag from friends' parties and offer it to his little sister. Both are very good to their baby brother and can't bear to see him cry.

I am grateful for Texas. We've enjoyed our year of respite in the great state of Texas. 2008 was an interesting year. While I wouldn't take anything back since we've learned so much, I'm still glad that 2009 has been peaceful. The people here are good people and look out for others. Our family has been kindly welcomed into the homes and lives of many different families both Texas natives and transplants. Living near five military bases, we have met people from all over that have adopted San Antonio as their home. This is a state populated by people that are unabashedly proud of their state's great heritage and very patriotic to country and to state. Matthew vacillates from claiming to be Utahn and Texan. I've told him he can claim both.

At this time of year my thoughts are more frequently turned to the Savior and his atonement. I am so grateful for a living, hearing God, and his Son, Jesus Christ. In times of weakness, I have been comforted, and do not doubt that God lives.

May you have a blessed Christmas and know our thoughts are with you, our friends and family, even though we are far away.

*I didn't do turkey pancakes, but we did have turkey enchiladas, homemade turkey mac 'n cheese (with stuffing topping), turkey wraps, and turkey sandwiches, naturally.

**We are all a little tired of turkey.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


  • Matthew left his mp3 player down. Isaac ate the foam padding off the headphones. The circle of life: I remember when Matthew ate the foam off one of mine.
  • Muppets: "A photographic memory? In your case, that means a memory that needs developing!" Matthew: "What's developing?" (Even funnier than the actual Muppet Show, or explaining 1970s technology in 2009, is the kids cracking up at the slapstick bits.)
  • Matthew: "I may be cute, but I'm also a little bit sweet."
  • Melissa: "Taste knee bullets! Right, dad?" Me: "?" "Tanks need bullets! Right?"
  • Rachel showed Melissa how to use the radio part of her clock-radio. She started on a classical station. By bedtime, I could hear guitars wailing. That's my girl.
  • Melissa: "Can I have more flat potatoes, please?" (She meant McDonald's hashbrowns.)
  • Watched the WCG Starcraft finals live at 2 AM. (Jaedong 2-1 Stork)
  • "I hate legos! They're stupit! [sic] And I hate Isaac!" Matthew learns that trying to build something on the floor is an exercise in frustration.
  • Every couple months, the traffic waves part just right and I take the 50mph curves on 281 S at 80. This makes my whole day go better. Glad I got this in one more time before we move offices. (I just realized what this means: no more snack closet.)
  • We had friends over for dinner last week. The chicken pasta broiled a little too long, and got a little toasty. Matthew told our guests, "That's okay; my mom burns things a lot."
  • Friend: "Did you finish your book?" Me: "Which book?" Friend: "The one you were reading in church." Rachel: "WHAT?" Friend: "Oops."
  • Melissa, singing: "A is for apple, M is for Melissa, E is for Melissa, L is for Melissa, ..."
  • Took Melissa with me to drop stuff off at FedEx and pick up Thai for lunch. In between, we had time to stop at Toys R Us, and Melissa charmed an empty but cute pink gift card from the cashier. She showed her prize to Matthew, who was green with envy -- not for the pink card per se, but because "You got to go to Toys That Are Us? No fair!"

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Laundry Fairy's Ditty

This is the laundry that never ends,
Yes, it goes on and on my friend.

One lady started doing it, not realizing how much it was,
And she'll forever wash and fold it just because-

This is the laundry that never ends....

Sunday, November 08, 2009


  • Another nerd dream: I was teaching SICP, but I wished my friend Paul was teaching it instead of me. (Paul wrote a lisp-to-python-bytecode compiler, only that part isn't a dream.)
  • Need to blog about the birthday party we had for Melissa's invisible friend.
  • Rachel: "you know what Firefly reminds me of? Cowboy Bebop." She's right. It's a live action Cowboy Bebop with more soap opera and less action.
  • Isaac's morning ritual: diaper change, nurse, walk to the ps3 and eject whatever disc Rachel or I was playing last night, unplug Daddy's laptop.
  • Flew to Atlanta for the NoSQL East conference. (Didn't speak, this time -- just wanted to meet potential Cassandra users.) I've never been called "dearie" more times in my life than by the waitress at the greasy spoon for breakfast. In a Southern accent, of course. On the way back, Delta fubarred the seating assignments somehow, assigning half a dozen people to the same seat. Chaos ensued. Good times. Isaac was _very_ happy to see me when I got back.
  • Isaac isn't as into horseplay as his siblings were, but things like driving a truck over his arm totally crack him up.
  • 20 minutes late to the ward halloween party was not late enough for it to have actually started. It was a madhouse: they combined parties with the neighboring High Country ward, and the line for food stretched around all four walls of the gym. Fortunately we were near the front of the "people with small kids" group, and were done eating forty minutes later (when the line had shrunk to two and a half walls). They had a "trunk or treat" there but (a) it was going to be another hour before everyone ate and (b) we had to go to do real trick-or-treating. So we did.
  • Bishop Cowart: "Our youngest son went away to college in August. I've got to say... [He pauses, and he looks like he's going to get emotional] it's been nice."
  • My friend Ellis's brother is in China. They have church meetings over Skype. Cool.
  • Matthew is in little boy heaven: Uncle Jeremy sent him a Sansa music/video player, and preinstalled Rockbox (so it has games, too). Matthew is having fun with the games but more fun figuring out everything it can do. Also, the songs Jeremy loaded, including "the Mahna Mahna song." So we had to show him the Muppet Show source. Seven-year-old (and four-year-old) comedy GOLD. The phone call brought down the house.
  • Rachel rescued a couple of her 12 year old "young women" from waiting at church an hour early for the temple trip. At the table, one asked the other, "is Paris in Italy, or Italy in Paris?" I kid you not.
  • I realized that if practice could make me good at writing, it would have happened by now. That's me over here, proving talent does matter.
  • Another thing I thought went without saying: "Matthew, don't squirt your brother with the water bottle!" Isaac is soaked.
  • Someone left a bunch of gumdrops where Isaac could reach them this morning. He was a happy pumpkin -- happy, and sticky. (I guess that's step 5 on his morning to-do list: check for anything sticky and/or crunchy within reach.)

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Isaac finds the marshmallow

One of the kids left the pantry door open (AGAIN) and Isaac took full advantage of the chance to explore its forbidden delights. He decided to see what was inside the jar of marshmallow creme and was not at all disappointed by what he found.

I put him in the high chair so he wouldn't get anything stickier than he already had, and relieved him of the creme. He was mad, but he realized he still had plenty on his hands to lick off, and busied himself with that for a while.

I had a trail of marshmallow to clean up, and then Isaac (and finally the high chair, which was by then not a little sticky). I'd just dressed him, too!

Fire Station

On Thursday, we went to the fire station with a small group of moms and kids. Melissa was thrilled. She got to climb up into the fire truck,

try on the hat,

and the heavy coat.

The captain asked the children fire safety questions, and Melissa knew the answers! We'd been discussing and practicing safety the day before, but sometimes it's hard to gauge how much they retain at this age. She knew her stuff. Made me proud.

How to get Melissa to sit still

Rachel: "I've never seen her so patient. She's not like that when _I_ do her hair!"

Me: "Maybe that's because you don't act like you're doing her a favor."

Melissa didn't quite make it through "Return of the Jedi"

Matthew really enjoyed it, though. He kept up a stream of commentary/questions. "This is going be FUN! [lightsaber noises]"

Monday, November 02, 2009

A letter to Uncle Brian, from Matthew

Dear Uncle Brian,

On Halloween, I went trick-or-treating with my friend Christian. We went across the roads with each other, and also we had a lot of fun. I was a knight, and Christian was a pirate.

My jack-o-lantern had some square glasses. It looked funny.

Today, right now, it's night.

Tomorrow I will have art class. I like art a lot, because there's different kinds of art: you can make sculptures and pictures.

I'm doing good. I hope you're doing good too.

I got a new [mp3] player called Sansa. It's like an iPod.

[Here Matthew wanders off to go play with the Sansa, a birthday gift from Uncle Jeremy.]

Love, Matthew

A letter to Uncle Brian, from Melissa

Dear Uncle Brian,

My invisible friend went trick or treating too! And she was a fairy, and I was a fairy. We're both fairies for Halloween, and we go to houses to get candy. I have wings, and a shirt, and a skirt, and tights, and sparkly shoes, and a crown. Mommy made my crown out of flowers!

We carved the pumpkins, and we cut a circle in it, and a square for the roof [top], and a face -- mine was a happy face, with nice eyes ... and one nose!

That's all!

Love, Melissa

Sunday, November 01, 2009


Matthew showing off his pumpkin. He designed it himself and cut out most of it until the pumpkin carving knives gave out and Mom had to step in with a kitchen knife. "He has square glasses! That's pretty silly huh?"

Melissa next to her pumpkin.

Isaac peering into the Jack o' lantern. He stayed with me to help pass out candy help himself to candy. He got a kick out of seeing the trick-or-treaters come to the door.