Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Matthew's first pack meeting

Matthew's first pack meeting
Originally uploaded by jbellis

Smashin' pumpkins

We didn't carve all of the pumpkins we had for Halloween this year. Left over was this gorgeous fairy tale pumpkin. Other web sites mentioned that it was a sweet cooking and canning heirloom pumpkin. The first thing I noticed when cutting it open was the shockingly bright orange flesh inside. The second surprise was that some of the seeds inside had already sprouted! I think the warm October weather helped them along. The flesh was still firm and tasty so we processed the pumpkin anyway.
Matthew and Melissa are good helpers. They did all of the squashing and cranking.

We got 25 cups of "pumpkin guts" out of it and have made several delicious pumpkin pies (one of which we ate for Thanksgiving). The rest is stashed away in the freezer.

The kids saved some of the seeds and now we have half a dozen pumpkin plants growing by a warm sunny window.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Family pictures

We went to the Sunken Japanese Tea Gardens for family pictures this year. The pond was filled with large red, gold, and white Koi.

After many, many attempts, this was the best picture of the group of us. (At least everyone is looking at the camera and no one is scowling.)

We'd planned on wearing our new Fall attire since it was the end of October, but it was in the upper 80s that day so we had to make some last minute wardrobe adjustments.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Gwendolyn's baby blessing

(Gwendolyn in the same blessing gown that her mother wore when she was blessed)

That weekend was a busy one! The day after Matthew's baptism, baby Gwendolyn was blessed by her father. They blessed her at home, which was very nice.

Grandpa holding his newest grandchild.

Brian and the girls. Not quite sure what Andrea and Mom are looking at...perhaps a SQUIRREL! He he.

Matthew's baptism

Matthew was baptized on October 30th. Grandma Linda, Grandpa Don, Uncle Brian, Aunt Andrea, Uncle Jeremy, and baby Gwendolyn all made a special trip to see him.

Still a bit damp, but very happy!

After the program, grandma worked the refreshments.

Melissa worked the grandma. She knew where to find good things.

I am so pleased with the decisions Matthew has made in his life. He has a strong sense of right and wrong and is just a good person. I look forward raising him and watching him grow into the wonderful young man that he will someday be...


Isaac's favorite word currently is MINE.

If he wants it, it is MINE!
If a sibling has something, it is MINE!
If he ever played with it at anytime, it is MINE!
If he sees something new, it is MINE!
If it is old and/or broken, eh, it's yours.

The "tumultuous" twos have hit. He can go from oh so cheerful and playful, to a flailing, full body tantrum in seconds flat. Ah yes, we've seen these tricks before! We're on to you kid.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

My Guy

A few nights ago Jonathan and I were watching a show that featured New York bagels. I made some offhand comment about how delicious they looked.

The next morning he and Isaac disappeared for about a half hour. When he returned he brought a bag of fat, East Coast style bagels. They were amazing!

Later that day he volunteered to take Isaac to lunch while I helped out with a funeral. While at lunch with Isaac, he decided to take my car into the shop to have the oil changed and front tires replaced.

I am utterly and completely twitter-patted.

Rachel *heart* Jonathan


(Matthew's pumpkin top, Uncle Brian's pumpkin lower left, Melissa's pumpkin lower right)

(Some of our Halloween decorations. Pink flamingos = tacky; skeletal flamingos = cool!)

This year with Halloween on Sunday we opted to celebrate early.

Friday night was the ward "trunk or treat." Before setting them loose to mooch candy we had big bowls of chili and cornbread. As Jonathan realized a few years ago, it's a tradition!

Matthew was off like a flash with one of his buddies, Jonah.
Melissa wanted to be a kitty this year.
Isaac was a pumpkin, naturally. Sans the hat. He did not like the hat.

I'm still kicking myself for not getting better photos. Next year.

It Is Great to Be 8!

Matthew turned 8 on October 9th. He had a slumber party the night before at Aunt Andrea's and Uncle Jeremy's house where he stayed up well past 10 PM watching Harry Potter. Eventually he decided that maybe just maybe he was tired and that it was time for bed...

The next day he went with his Aunt and Uncle to a huge scout jamboree.

He passed off some badges, saw "super cool" things, and came home one very excited boy.
We celebrated that night with a Batman cake. The yellow is lemon frosting and the batman logo is dark chocolate and oreo.

He received his first pocket knife from Grandma Ellis, a fine Buck knife. "Every boy should have one!" He was thrilled.
Grandma Linda gave him some books which he devoured in record time.

The highlight of the night was the robot kit from Uncle Jeremy and Aunt Andrea. He wanted to put it together that night but it was getting late. He and I assembled it the next day.

All and all he had a fantastic birthday.

The party continued the following week, and Jonathan wrote about it here.

Monday, November 08, 2010

School Daze

Melissa had an interesting first day of kindergarten back in August. I was hesitant to write about it then, but things have settled down. And it is quite the story, at least in retrospect.

Jonathan picked the children up from school that first day. Matthew's old kindergarten teacher, Ms. Pleak, was directing the children out door when she had a brief word with Jonathan. Apparently Melissa's teacher, Ms. C, spoke to her about Melissa's first day and told her that Melissa pinched her! Jonathan tried to elicit more detail from Melissa on the way home from school, but Melissa was quite subdued and wouldn't elaborate.

Twenty minutes later I got a phone call from Melissa's teacher. The day had gone well up until the end when her teacher announced that it was time to clean up and get ready to go home. Melissa was still coloring and NOT ready to stop. So Ms. C bent down and started assisting Melissa in the crayon cleanup and informed her it was time to go. Melissa did not like what she was saying so she reached over and pinched her lips closed. Ms. C told her that was inappropriate and that she needed to speak with the principal. Melissa got upset and then pinched the back of her leg! The principal came down to the classroom to speak with her, and thus the day ended.

Needless to say we were pretty shocked. How many kindergarteners get a visit from the principal on the very first day? We sat Melissa down and had a serious discussion with her about our expectations. Afterward she was uncharacteristically quiet, and remained so the rest of the day. The next day Jonathan walked her to her classroom where she apologized to her teacher.

Six weeks later it was time for parent teacher conferences and I did not relish the thought of going. Being a decent parent, well, I went anyway. I entered the classroom with some trepidation, but Ms. C greeted me warmly and had nothing but praise for Melissa which she gave liberally. After Melissa tested the boundaries, she'd settled right in and was behaving beautifully. Not only that, but Ms. C found her very bright, eager to learn, and a friend to everyone.


Since then Melissa has come home with smiley faces every day in her behavior folder. She's also told me that she loves her teacher. A kindergartener should love her teacher. All is well. :)


Matthew discovered Youtube origami tutorials a few months back. He's learned how to make cranes, butterflies, frogs, boats, rabbits, flowers, rings, ninja stars, and flapping birds all from watching Youtube.

(a trio of frogs)

Matthew also likes to experiment with folds to create new designs. He has a entrepreneurial streak and hawks his wares to anyone who willing buy. He sold a how-to lesson to one of his buddies, Conner, and to Conner's Dad, plus some paper with which to practice.

This boy has generous heart too. A lady we know was in the hospital with cancer, and he volunteered to make some colorful origami animals to brighten her very bare walls. He filled a small sack with his creations, and was so pleased that she liked them.

Jonathan bought him about 500 sheets of origami paper to use for his new hobby- he's going to have to buy some more pretty soon...

Recently a friend of mine asked Matthew where he learned how to fold origami. He replied, "I learned from Youtube. Did you know you can learn everything from Youtube? You can even learn how to kiss!" What?! "Yup, they had a video posted on the side of the tutorial I was watching. I didn't watch it though. Yuck!" We laughed and laughed to Matthew's puzzlement.

(Guess we need to keep a closer eye on what pops up on Youtube's related videos. Though how kissing is related to origami is beyond me!)

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Things Isaac likes

  • A camo blanket his Grandpa gave him. He likes it so much Grandpa bought him a spare so we don't have to be so careful to make sure it's out of the wash by bedtime.
  • Drawing. On paper, especially when Rachel unrolls butcher paper across the entire width of the table, but also on himself.
  • Riding on the Roomba.
  • Pizza ("issa!"). This is the only food he calls by name, or the only one we recognize at least. The trick is to cut it into bites for him, otherwise he will just rip the cheese and toppings off and consume that, discarding the rest. About a week ago at lunchtime Isaac started calling hopefully, "issa! issa!" Rachel was so amused that she made him pizza. Isaac was a very happy boy.
  • Apples and applesauce.
  • Any soda Daddy drinks. Daddy never gets more than 2/3 of a can when Isaac is around. This is a problem when Daddy is drinking something caffeinated.
  • Climbing on Daddy's back and going for a ride, especially when chasing the other kids. He got on my back recently and started making roar noises the way the Daddy Monster does, and calling "'ere wissa?" [where's melissa] He understands that being chased is part of the fun but when it is his turn he mostly just runs straight towards me and tries to climb on my back again, and giggles with delight when I take off with him aboard.
  • Blues Clues, Kipper, Pingu, and most Disney movies. The movies we watch in French. He does _not_ like The Hunchback of Notre Dame; he wanders off after a couple minutes when I put that one on. He sometimes tolerates Kim Possible or Gundam 00 but mostly to humor his father.
  • Nerf darts. I got him a nerf crossbow like the one Matthew had at his age but Isaac is not quite coordinated enough to cock it with his feet. Nor has he entirely outgrown eating the darts. Not sure what the attraction is there, personally.
  • Dark chocolate. Takes after his mom and sister that way.
  • Climbing. I was shocked that he can wiggle his toes into the cracks between the drawers in the kitchen to climb onto the counter. Babyproofing doesn't work anymore; we've moved to teaching him that "just because you can get into something doesn't mean you should."
  • Playing outside, especially with The Big Kids. Riding toys, balls, "painting" the minivan with a bucket of water, chalk on the driveway, or just running around, he loves it. But his favorite is probably when Mom or Dad turn on the water and let him have the hose. He ends up soaked and I think that's part of the fun.
  • Bathtime. I'm pretty sure that when he smears cupcake all over his face, then grins and says "buh buh baa!" happily that he made the mess on purpose.
  • Chicken. Thai satay, wendy's nuggets, texas barbecue, rotisserie from the grocery store, he likes it all. The other meat he likes is bacon.
  • Green beans, corn, peas, carrots, pretty much any finger-food vegetable. But not potatoes.
  • Ice cream and popsicles. You have to be careful with these: he has sharp ears. The other night I spelled out, "too bad we don't have any i c e c r e a m." Matthew: "You mean ice cream?" Isaac was out of his seat like a shot to the freezer where he stood expectantly. He was a very disappointed little boy.
  • Matthew and Melissa coming home from school.
  • All crackers, but animal crackers and wheat thins are his favorites.
  • Cracklin' Oat Bran and Oatmeal Squares.
  • "Reading" with Mommy. Mostly he just wants to turn the pages.
  • Sneezing. "Achoo!" he says, and tries to do it again.
It is fun to have this happy little boy.

Monday, November 01, 2010

More Isaac Words

Isaac has added:

"where are you?"

in the last week.