Friday, January 28, 2011

The sign says 13 and up

The sign says 13 and up
Originally uploaded by jbellis
Good thing Isaac can't read.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

It's a...


Monday, January 24, 2011

Isaac's favorite family home evening ever

Rachel gave a lesson on the word of wisdom. The activity was to go through a pile of magazines and cut out pictures of bad-for-you things and good-for-you things. Isaac thought this was great.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Trip to CA

Thursday, January 6th, I flew out to California to see a dear friend, Toni, from my freshman year in college get married. All three kids stayed behind with daddy for a fun weekend of fast food and hamburgers.

Kim, another friend from college, and I met up in the Oakland airport and drove over to Beth's house. Beth graciously hosted us and 4 other girlfriends of Toni's in her condo. It was a bit like being back in the girl's dorms or perhaps a grownup slumber party, a bit crowded, but very fun.

That night the four of us drove up to a small town called Brentwood where Toni lived, and we tried out a little Vietnamese place. It was delicious, and so fun to see my old girlfriends and catch up on the news.

Saturday we met up with some more of Toni's friends who'd flown in from around the country. We took the day to play in downtown San Francisco. I was unprepared by how cold the bay is in January. The fog was thick and wet and the temperatures in the upper 30s with a brisk breeze. Brr! Fortunately Beth lent me her heavy jacket and gloves which I wore over my lighter jacket and long sleeve shirt. Another of Toni's local friends lent me her spare hat. It seemed appropriate to take the bride on a trip to Alcatraz the day before her wedding, so the nine of us did.

(Pictures were taken with my little point & shoot- I didn't take the nicer camera with me this trip.)

The dock and building 64 (family apartments for staff and guards)

The blushing bride
(Or perhaps it is the cold- hard to tell.) :)

Touring the penitentiary

Toni, Kim, and Emily (whom I had the pleasure of meeting that day)

A view of San Francisco, such as it was on a foggy damp day:
(It was too overcast to get a good picture of the golden gate bridge- alas)

It was a fun and interesting tour. I did not realize that the island started out as a military fortification, then an Army prison, and then not till 1934 did the prison come under the jurisdiction of the US Department of Justice to become a federal prison. Apparently the island was also home to many families with children as well as the most hardened criminals in America. Here's a good link with some history and photos

Saturday was the wedding, and the bride was gorgeous! She got married in the Oakland temple and just glowed the entire day. I have never seen her so happy! May they have much joy together.

(Unfortunately I forgot to bring my camera to the temple- so maybe I can get some copies later...)

Here are some pictures from the reception that evening:

Me, Kim, Toni, and Beth
Hard to believe that it has been 12 years since we were all on the same dorm floor together.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Mr. Mom, day 1

Rachel is in California for her friend Toni's wedding. Last night she packed the kids' lunches, laid out their clothes, and wrote me a shopping list for meals. Tomorrow, I am on my own.

After we got the older kids off to school, Isaac and I went to Artworks so he could make a mess with paints that I didn't have to clean up. He had a great time for about an hour, then he got cranky because he was hungry and tired.

Mr. Mom, day 1

We had lunch, but he wouldn't take a nap. This made dealing with the phone calls I had scheduled for work during "nap time" tricky. I put on a movie, but he wasn't interested, so I had to do some strategic muting, especially when it was 3:00 and I realized I should have left to walk the kids home ten minutes earlier.

Isaac found something to amuse himself, and I figured he was fine because I hadn't seen him push his chair over to the counter to get into Stuff He Shouldn't. But afterward, I found himself with a bag of marshmallows that was substantially emptier than it had been. I let him keep what he had in his hand but I confiscated the bag.

Later, I found out that Isaac had been planning ahead. The picture quality and the angle aren't great, but you can see the contraband under the seat of his airplane toy:


I mentioned that I was late picking up the kids. If Matthew were walking with Melissa I would have just let them walk home by themselves, which Rachel doesn't 100% approve of but which she has let them do once or twice. But Matthew rode his bike this morning, and would probably assume he could ride it back without checking on his sister. I got Isaac into his stroller with more strategic muting (still not quite done with the call) and started running. I intersected Melissa at the crosswalk; she thought she was capable of walking home herself!

I should have waited to see whether she would cross the second street with the crossing guard -- she didn't notice me, off in Melissa La-la Land -- but I didn't think of that until after I caught her attention. So instead, just in case, I reviewed the "only jaywalk with Daddy" rules.

On the way back, Isaac succumbed to his fatigue. He slept until his brother and his friend Connor woke him up an hour later. I'm going to have to institute a no-exceptions, no-friends-inside-while-Isaac-sleeps policy. We do this every so often, then we relent to Matthew's pleas (not Melissa's, because we know that there is no way she can be quiet with friends over; with Matthew there is a chance), then we regret it.


At 5:30 the older kids had gymnastics. I dropped them off, then took Isaac to McDonald's down the road for a happy meal and play time on their slides. When I picked up Matthew and Melissa again, they were jealous of Isaac's chicken nuggets -- he rarely eats them until he is buckled in the car; in the restaurant, playing is far more interesting -- so we made one more trip to McDonald's to pick up chicken nuggets for everyone.

When we got home, I found out that Melissa had greatly enjoyed the stamp activity at the end of gym class. Here she is with heart stamps up and down both arms and both legs:


Before bedtime, we got to Skype with Rachel. Isaac said, "Mama!" and held out his arms for her to pick him up. Isaac misses his mommy already.

Finally, I read chapter six of "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever," which is tedious and poorly written but Matthew likes it and thinks the underwear jokes are hysterical.

(Then I fell asleep putting Isaac to bed for four hours and woke up at 2:30.)

Melissa is our climber

Originally uploaded by jbellis
She takes after her mom that way.

Ringing in the new year with Pokemon

Originally uploaded by jbellis
We invited the Bates over for New Years Eve snacks and games. I knew this would result in mass chaos, but I was resigned.

I put on a pokemon movie in the living room for Isaac and the little Bates girl, and everyone settled in to watch it. I'm a little surprised the older kids didn't have better taste than Pokemon, but I'm not really complaining.

Meanwhile, we adults got to try Rachel's birthday present, Pandemic, a cooperative board game.

Big boy shoes

Originally uploaded by jbellis
Matthew got new shoes. Here's Isaac checking them out.

Isaac and the merry-go-round

Originally uploaded by jbellis
Rachel found a new park in San Antonio, the only one we've seen in years with a merry-go-round. Playground designers almost universally consider these Too Dangerous now; I'm glad we found one willing to buck that trend.

Isaac has a love/hate relationship with it. When he's on it, he complains. When he's off it, he complains. I got frustrated at first: what else could you want?

He wanted to push it, like the Big Kids. But they go too fast for him.

Finally, on a gray day with almost nobody else at the park, Isaac got to push it all by himself.

The donutburger

Originally uploaded by jbellis
This was lunch on my last Atlanta trip. I have to say, it was pretty good.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Isaac cooks breakfast

Isaac cooks breakfast
Originally uploaded by jbellis