Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

Jonathan's new business entails a lot of traveling lately. Yesterday after we picked him up from the airport, we celebrated Father's Day with hamburgers. Today he and Melissa are flying to New Jersey. Melissa's eagerly anticipated this trip. She will spend a few days with Grandma while Jonathan works.

For Father's Day the kids talked about their Dad. The italicized portions are their responses.

My Dad
By Matthew
Every morning my dad wakes me up for school and he makes me breakfast. When I was in school, I mean.
At bedtime my dad tucks me in.
My dad likes to play with me.
My dad's favorite thing to do is marbles. Let's just say marbles just in case, 'cause I like marbles and I bet he liked marbles too. Maybe he will play marbles with me.
My favorite thing to do with my dad is playing games. What kind of games? Like Justice League. We used to play chess. I liked that too.
My dad's favorite color is green.
My dad's favorite food is quiche. Quiche is kind of like egg pie, right mom? It's kind of silly, but I still like it.
His favorite superhero is Batman.
My dad's job is programming.
He wears any of his clothes that are clean to work.
My dad works quietly.
My dad makes me laugh when he tickles me.
I love my dad because he's fun and he's nice.
My Dad
By Melissa
Every morning my dad helps me make breakfast and sometimes he plays with me.
At bedtime my dad tucks me in bed.
My dad likes to (he loves to play games) with me.
My dad's favorite thing to do is feed birds.
My favorite thing to do with my dad is go swimming with him.
My dad's favorite color is blue and green.
My dad's favorite food is drumsticks and potatoes and green beans and fruit…. He likes a lot of things that are food and taste good.
His favorite superhero is the magic girl, the Justice League girl.
My dad's job is to wash the silverware and my job is to put away the silverware.
He wears work clothes to work.
My dad works with stuff, but not like a robot and not if he's sick.
My dad makes me laugh when he's silly. Sometimes he's super silly and makes me laugh.
I love my dad because he's very nice.


Yesterday morning I heard:


Interspersed with the thumping sounds I heard delighted squeals. BAH! BAH!

Isaac found the box of assorted sized balls and was dumping all of them down the stairs. After he finished emptying the box he helped me pick them up- then he dumped them again.

Today I noticed that Isaac says "Tah dah!" when he's done something he's pleased about. He turned the light switch on, "Tah dah!" and off, "Tah dah!"

Washington Summer- Mercer Island

We visited the Walthers on Thursday and Friday. We were lucky in that Nolan had a light schedule those days, so we had a chance to spend some time with him, as well as Telitha and the kiddos. They have a wonderful backyard with plenty of space to run around, dig holes, and collect pinecones. Despite the cold and wet weather, that is pretty much all Matthew, Melissa, and Isaac wanted to do. They were very, very muddy but happy kids. Mark and Isaac got along beautifully and played well together. I think they will be friends when they get older. Melissa and James kept things lively; they are both firecrackers. Matthew helped look after the youngest two. He's a pretty protective brother and cousin.

Matthew and James having fun in the dirt:

Melissa on the teeter-totter with Mark:
Thursday evening we went to dinner at the house of my best friend from high school. It was lovely seeing her again and to finally meet Greg! Also, we were introduced to some fantastic peach gelato. Thanks for dinner, dear, and for putting up with a cranky toddler!

Mercer Island also boasts of one terrific playground with chimes to play, a castle playground, rock wall, and a dragon!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Washington Summer- Walla Walla

Road trip!

The drive from Puyallup to Walla Walla seemed a bit shorter pre-children...go figure.

Monday while Jonathan had work in Seattle, I packed up the kids and we made the trip to see my Grandparents, Aunt, Uncle, and cousins.

Here's a snapshot of Grandma and Grandpa.

You can see where we get part of our good looks. :)

I have wanted to visit them for some time since it'd been years since I was last there. It's about a 5 hour drive straight through to Walla Walla. It's a bit longer with small people, however. We made it, but not without checking out several scenic rest stops and McDonald's. Melissa is my "little miss tiny bladder." Surprisingly Isaac was pretty content most of the trip and even napped for several hours. Whew.

Isaac on one of Grandpa Sinden's old tractors. (I think he has 4?) I remember when I was a kid that he'd always take us out for a ride. Good times.

Grandma took us to the Fort Walla Walla Museum. Last time I was there I think I was about 10. They have really added some great exhibits and it is more kid friendly now. They have a nice wooden play ground which was the kids' favorite part. We checked out two early school houses, played in a tepee and saw lots and lots of old farm equipment. There was a full sized replica of a team of mules pulling a combine harvester that filled an entire room. Here's a picture of a mule pulled combine from the 1900s. It took 36 mules to pull, with one man at the reins, one man fueling the fire, two forking up the straw, a water barrel team, and several others doing jobs I can't remember. What hot, hard, dusty, dirty work that must have been! We live in a good age, folks.

This is just a bit before Grandma's time, but she remembered seeing other old equipment that was on display as a girl on her father's farm. Crazy!

Here is Matthew in an old piece of the state pen. (Which is still located near Walla Walla).

A very shady looking character indeed.

His accomplice in crime:

Matthew snapped a shot of Grandma and me in prison. We were framed, I tell you.

We saw guns, and arrows, dolls and dresses, buggies, and old cars; then Isaac had had enough so we called it a day.

Here's Matthew pushing his brother and sister in a wheelbarrow.

Regrettably we timed our visit poorly since cousins Amber and Amy still had school. Aunt Candy was a hit with Isaac though. I've never seen him warm up to another person so quickly. He's usually pretty wary of those he doesn't know, but "baby whisperer" Aunt Candy must speak his language. I can't believe how tall and beautiful Amber, Amy, and Aubrey now are. Last I saw them, they were still little girls. We didn't get to see the Sinden clan next door as much as I'd like, but next time we will stay a bit longer. Matthew in particular was disappointed we had to leave so soon. Alas, I didn't get any pictures of them!

Wednesday morning Grandma, Grandpa, the crew and I, stopped by the park to wear off little kid steam before the long car ride back. Grandpa literally had Matthew running a circuit around the park. He was more than happy to show Grandpa how fast he was.

Isaac enjoying the swings.

It's my Melissa Monkey!

After they were good and tired out we made the trek onward back to Puyallup. Somewhere past Issaquah the kids tired of the snacks, books, and movies I brought, so we sang songs. Matthew's composition went to the tune of the "Wheels on the bus."

The kids in the car are
Bored, bored, bored.
bored, bored, bored,
bored, bored, bored.

The kids in the car are
bored, bored, bored
all the way home!

This he sang with gusto. Despite terrible boredom, we made it! And in time for dinner too. Priorities, you know. ;)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Washington "Summer" Puyallup

Break out the parkas and umbrellas!

We recently returned from visiting Washington. We spent a few days in Puyallup, a couple in Walla Walla, and finished our visit on Mercer Island. It was quite the whirlwind trip!

We stayed with my parents while in Puyallup and they took the older two to Northwest Trek. Northwest Trek is different from a typical zoo in that they only feature animals from the great North West. It's perfect for young kids since it is not too big. While we were there, Isaac "napped" at home with Daddy. It was a drizzly day and school was not yet out for the summer there, so we pretty much had the park to ourselves. It was a perfect day for an outing. Matthew got a kick out of the 45 minute tram ride through the wildlife refuge park where the animals roam freely. We saw bison, dear, elk, moose, goats, and swans. Poor Melissa mostly squirmed, "I gotta go potty!" After the tram ride and a dash to the bathrooms, we checked out the rest of the park. Matthew and Melissa had been before several years ago, but I think they got much more out of it this time, and had more fun. Matthew was a none-stop fountain of questions, as usual.

We saw a beaver that was intensely interested in Matthew and Melissa. It would back flip dive down only to resurface to watch the kids. The beaver did this over and over. I think the beaver was as interested in the children as they were in it!

Once again I forgot to bring a decent camera so most of the pictures I took did not turn out well. Darn it!

A park ranger, Steve, came by as we were checking out the bear exhibit. He was preparing to put the bears in for the night and asked if we'd like to watch. Oh yes, please! He took us to the back and let us watch the nightly routine. Melissa was a bit apprehensive after Grandpa teased her that bears liked to eat little girls, but her curiosity won out in the end. She was thoroughly engrossed. The ranger first prepared the grizzly bears dinner of fresh veggies. Then he collected them separately into their pens for the night. We were about three feet away and got a very good look at their impressive claws and teeth.

Next he opened the back cages for the black bears and they ambled on in. We were able to be a bit closer up to the black bears since they are less aggressive. The two black bears at Northwest Trek are geriatric bears and need supplements to stay healthy. Here he is preparing their nightly meds.

The pills are popped into fresh raspberries and coated in honey. The bears licked it up right from his hands. Yum!

Steve, the ranger, clearly enjoyed his job and answered our questions threw out interesting bear facts. Thanks Steve!

The sun did come out for half a day and so Grandpa took the kids on tractor rides.

Melissa really liked the cows. The twin calves have certainly grown! They were born about the same time as Isaac.

We stayed in Puyallup until Monday then left for Walla Walla.

Pumpkin Development

Isaac is starting to talk! He's been saying mama and dadda for a while now, but nothing else. We were beginning to get concerned, but just in the last few weeks words have popped out amid the baby chatter. Perhaps he is saying other things that we are missing, but the following words are unmistakable.

"DA!" is dog.

"NO!" Usually accompanied by vigorous head shaking. Funny how this was an early word for M&M too.

"Dan 'ou" is thank you.

"Uh oh!" This is perhaps his favorite word. He finds many opportunities during the day to use it, and is more often than not the cause of the uh oh. Busy boy.

"Air eh ehs!" or There it is! Usually said with a squeal after finding something.

"Aw eva" is au revoir? This last one we're not certain...

His words are very tonal, almost how I imagine Chinese babies sounding. In addition to words, Isaac likes to make car sounds whenever he is pushing a toy car with his hand. He also "roars" when he's pretending to be an animal on all fours.

We've known for a long time that he understands a lot of what we are saying to him, so we knew the that language was getting in; it was just a matter of him being able to get it out. I even started signing a few signs with him belatedly in hopes he would be able to communicate at least that way. He can sign "more" and "milk" and I wish I'd started much sooner. French, English, ASL, we didn't care which he chose, just communicate kiddo!

Recently he's grasped the difference between "mine" and "yours" in the game, "Where's my nose; where's your nose?" His favorite body part is the belly button.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


  • I shaved the back of my neck myself, this time. I showed my work to Rachel: "How did I do?" She gasped. Guess I won't be trying that again.
  • Rachel: "The new couple in the ward is really young. He started college in 2001." Me: "Maybe we should invite the other new couple over then, the ones pushing 40." Rachel: "Well, that _is_ closer to your age than 27."
  • I told one friend at church about starting my own company, and now the whole ward knows. Which is fine, it's not a secret, but Rachel has had a lot of women ask her, with concern, if we're all right: "I heard your husband's self-employed now." Apparently they think starting a company is a euphemism for "hasn't found a job yet."
  • Getting Matthew to do a chore was three times as much work as doing it myself, when he was five. With Melissa, it's about ten times. Starting with calling her name five or six times to snap her out of what Rachel calls "Melissa la-la land."
  • Rachel: "Matthew's pretty smart. He gets his mechanical ability from his mother."
  • Ah, Saturday. Nothing like being "encouraged" to get up by your wife squirting you with a spray bottle.
  • Me: "What's Isaac eating?" Rachel: "Marshmallow." Me: "_Marshmallow_!?" Rachel: "Well, you said he ate breakfast." Isaac: "Om nom nom."
  • Left my gaming mouse down. Isaac ate the mousewheel off. (But, I did achieve Gold division in Starcraft II before they closed the beta.)
  • Me: "We're guys. We laugh at each others' facebook jokes. We don't call each other and say, 'I was thinking of you.'"
  • Upside of taking a shared shuttle to Denver airport: $30 instead of $90 for a taxi. Downside: worst shocks I've felt in a long time. Extra downside: driver's credit card machine went down as I was handing him my card, so I put my card on the seat and handed him cash instead. Then I left my card in the car when I arrived at the airport.
  • Rachel: "Matthew had the perfect virus today. It was enough to take his orneriness out, but not enough to make him whiny."
  • Girl: "I have a phone. Do you have one?" Matthew: "No. How old are you?" "Six." "I'm seven. And I'm turning eight this year." I think it's a tie. (Note: she really did have her own cell phone.)